I own my own criminal defense law firm. I opened it up less than six months ago. So far I have gone from no web presence on Google for terms like Seattle DUI lawyer, Seattle criminal attorney, and other related keywords to being on the first page for some (and within the top three at all). How did I do it? You guessed it - SEO, or search engine optimization.
The good thing about creating a web presence for your law firm is that there isn't yet a tremendous amount of competition out there for it. Sure there are SEO companies selling spots on the first page of Google (allegedly), but they are a fly by night organization. Over time they will get pushed out by those that do it the right way, setting up a web presence that gets stronger over time, not weaker. What this means is there are ways for you to build an online presence and get the phone ringing more and more over time.
If you go out searching on the internet for ways to improve your search engine rankings, you will find there are a lot of conflicting stories out there. For some it is a lot of content and a lot of regular readers of your site or blog. For others it is backlinks, the links on other sites that link to your site. Some things work, some don't. As you might have guessed, in the end it is a little bit of everything that will maximize your online presence.
When you finally figure out what backlinks are and start trying to get them, you'll quickly learn one thing - it is not easy. Everybody knows how important backlinks are to increasing your law firm search engine ranking, and because of that they aren't very quick to hand them out like candy. You have to find out how to make some good quality backlinks to your site to get Google to love you. And at some point someone is going to tell you comments are the key.
Once you hear this you are likely to go out and start commenting everywhere you can, throwing out as many links as possible back to your site. It won't matter if you have anything to say or if it is even relevant to the post you are commenting on. The backlink will be key. And in the end, you won't see your search engine ranking increase one bit. Why is this? Because comments, even if they allow you to place a link of yours in the comment, don't count as backlinks, for the most part.
Google has created code that you can insert into links that will actually make Google just skip over the link like it doesn't exist. It's called a nofollow tag, and like the name suggests, when Google encounters one, it will not follow the link to its destination, like it doesn't even exist. Nearly all comments are nofollow links, for that exact reason. They want comments to be related to the article, not people hopping around looking for links.
If you want to build up your website presence, you need to do more than just leaving comments on blogs. You need to dedicate yourself to working hard to building your online legal web presence. This means you are going to have to do a bunch of stuff that isn't necessarily fun or exciting. But when you start climbing in the search engines, you are going to see some serious dividends being paid.