Lawyers.com improves natural search by 2,000 percent
Before May 2006, online directory Lawyers.com had great content but
much of the Web site was not search engine friendly or optimized for
targeted search terms. The URL structure and hierarchy of the site
was not uniform, organized or crawlable by search engine spiders.
There were duplicate content issues that were affecting the site's
Nick Chasinov, director of search engine optimization at the site's
parent company LexisNexis, New York, discussed the site's organic
search engine strategy with DM News associate editor Giselle Abramovich.
GA: What exactly did you do to fix the site?
NC: First off, we needed to tackle the duplicate content issue.
Google's guidelines are very clear on where they stand with duplicate
content and a huge percentage of our pages were taken out of their
index. We had multiple URLs displaying the same exact content due to
our multi-environment database driven back-end. We attacked this
strategically by consolidating multiple URLs with duplicate content
and implementing URL rewrite rules so dynamic URLs that were not
search engine friendly were rewritten. We put 301 redirects in place
to ensure all value, including page rank, reputation and relevance
that had accrued over the years is passed through and inherited by
the new URLs.
Next we needed to employ what I call on-site optimization and
optimize the pages for the specific search terms that we wanted to
get ranked for. Since we had so much varying content across millions
of pages it was imperative to implement a systematic strategy that
could create unique meta data - title, descriptions and keywords - on
a page-per-page basis efficiently.
I created keyword-centric algorithms based on the page content that
would apply optimized titles, descriptions and keywords to every
page. This ensured that all page meta data was optimized for the
search engines and reflective of the actual page content. We further
globally optimized the pages for targeted search terms by applying
additional "on-page optimization" techniques such as h1 and h2
headers to emphasize primary search terms.
Once we had successfully implemented the on-site optimization
strategies, it was time to focus on the off-site optimization. It is
no secret that Google ranks sites based on the quality of sites
linking to the domain in question. With that in mind it was
imperative to launch an aggressive link-building strategy to
strengthen our back-link value in Google's eyes. If we wanted to get
ranked for "attorney" and other extremely competitive terms we needed
to secure some very influential inbound links. It is not about
quantity of links but rather the quality. We identified relevant and
authoritative sites within the legal space and secured keyword
optimized links from their site to Lawyers.com.
What are the results of performing SEO on the site?
Since the launch of our SEO strategy in May 2006 we have secured the
top rankings for some of the most competitive and highly sought after
search terms in the legal space including but not limited to
attorney, attorneys, lawyer, lawyers and attorney at law. Our organic
rankings have improved by more than 2,000 percent, our organic
traffic has seen double-digit visitor growth year over year from 2005
versus the second half of 2006, triple-digit visitor growth month
over month, and we were recognized as the No. 1 Online Lawyer
Directory by comScore Media Metrix Custom Reports. ComScore claims
more than 60 percent of clicks occur within the organic listings, so
a significant presence in the organic rankings is vital to the
success of any online business.
What are your recommendations for SEO in the legal industry?
The online legal space is so flooded with competition. The only way
to receive significant organic traffic is to be on the first page for
heavily searched terms and within the top three positions. I call
this section above the fold because if the user needs to scroll, you
are out of luck. To get there you have to secure as many relevant
inbound links as you can to surpass the competition. Continue to
implement the "on-site optimization" techniques, add fresh new
keyword-optimized content and then get even more links.
What other Internet marketing tactics are used to promote Lawyers.com?
In addition to our world-class SEO campaign we continue to dominate
in the legal space paid search market on the major search engines. We
cooperatively integrated our PPC campaigns with our SEO strategies to
ensure we are paying for the right terms, at the right time and at
the right cost. It is imperative to take a holistic approach to
Internet marketing. You need to monitor, analyze and optimize paid
search campaigns in tandem with SEO to maximize your budget and