How to Rank High on Google's Natural Results

I know just enough about SEO – search engine optimization – to be dangerous.

That is to say, I find it interesting, and I’ve looked into it, but I’m not remotely an expert.

But folks come up to me in the Travis County Courthouse frequently – other lawyers that is – and ask me point blank, “How does your site rank so high on Google?” Or “How do you get to Number One on Google?” As a quick aside, the questions amuse me, because it’s always phrased that way, and never includes the necessary part to make the question sensible, that is… “for the phrase [fill-in-the-blank]”.

After all, I certainly don’t ‘rank’ number one for the queries New York Times; Paris Hilton; Mapquest; or GameCheats for Playstation.  

Back to the original question at hand, though: How do you (Jamie) rank so high for [Austin, Tx, Criminal, Defense, Lawyer, or some other similar combination]?

Now there’s a lot of collegiality amongst the defense bar, at least in Austin, but I’ve always wondered whether anyone thinks about the possibility that I might not want to reveal a ‘trade secret’. After all, these are technically speaking my competitors. (I like to think they ask me because they think I’m a no nonsense guy that says what he thinks. But enough about how wonderful I am.)

Actually, I’m always happy to give them the best answer I know. Like the secret of real estate, it boils down to three basic elements, but instead of location it’s:

  • Content
  • Content
  • Content

Content relevant to the keywords your potential customer is looking for. That’s it.

And blogging is the best way to frequently update your website with good quality content about your practice area – after all, a blog is just a specific type of website, nothing magical, nothing more.

I’ll add three more factors to the mix.

Time: For me, blogging takes time. I enjoy doing it, but it’s not always easy. Bloggers Block happens frequently. So, OK, I don’t post for a while. And then it comes in several productive spurts. Not everyone can be Scott Greenfield, with his 4.5 post per day average. Or is that 45 per day? I can’t keep up.

Knowledge: You’ve got to know what you’re talking about. If you don’t, it will show. That’s fine if Grandma is the only one reading your personal diary type blog – she already knows you’re the dimwitted one in the family and loves you anyway. But if you’re doing it even in part for commercial purposes, that’s going to be a problem.

Style: Blogging is writing, and every good writer worth reading has their own style. Mine probably leans a little too far towards the ‘smart alec’ side of the spectrum for my own good, at least for the ‘commercial purposes’ mentioned above, but it’s still my own tone of voice. I think your style comes through, makes the writing genuine and personal, and let’s the reader know how you feel about the subjects you’re blogging about. When it comes to hiring a lawyer to defend you in court, don’t you want to know something about who he really is?

That’s basically it.

Pretty basic stuff. Ask yourself why you use Google as your search engine of choice. The answer is invariably going to be a variation of ‘because it gives me the answers I’m looking for’.

Right. You went and sat at the computer and Googled the phrase [fill-in-the-blank] because you wanted to know more about [fill-in-the-blank]. You don’t want to see a one or two page static website trumpeting the virtues of Q. Benedict Huntington III, Esquire, with the promise that if you call him and/or pay him money he will tell you all about [fill-in-the-blank].

So put some content on your website (blog) that potential customers are literally yearning for, and Google will give you credit for it, and your rankings will go up.

Just don’t ask me how they do it. They will.

Related Post: How to Give Google A Ton of Money

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Austin Criminal Defense Lawyer - April 3, 2008 10:36 PM
Per year. $1,000,000.00 into Google’s coffers.That’s my guestimate as to how much local defense lawyers are spending in these parts to advertise various phrases through Google’s AdWords program. I’m going to attempt to make this...
Austin Criminal Defense Lawyer - April 8, 2008 12:43 AM
Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer**[see first comment] Mark Bennett pokes some good natured fun at me about a recent post and lists some of the phrases where he covets high Google SERPs:Austin criminal defense lawyer Jamie Spencer talks about “how ...
Comments (7) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Windypundit - April 4, 2008 1:07 AM

Exactly right.

My blog isn't business-related, so I don't worry about my ranking much, but for some queries it's amazingly high. If I write about a local store, my article will sometimes knock their official site out of first place in a search for the business name.

When I published photos of the Chicago Marathon, for a few hours a query for "Chicago Marathon 2007 Photos" put my site above the official marathon site.

Content is king, and it's been that way from the beginning. It pays off when other people with quality content link to you, because Google notices that.

Windypundit - April 4, 2008 2:48 AM

All this reminded me I hadn't checked my search stats in a while. What I found was a little disturbing. It turns out that a high query rank isn't always a good thing.

dave - April 5, 2008 9:52 AM

Certainly it's pretty difficult to rank well without quality content, but the measure of that is links.

Having a quality blog means other quality blogs and sites with credibility link to you. Authority bestows authority.

Being widely blogrolled is a huge benefit to your rankings. And that wouldn't be the case if you didn't write things that people think are worth linking to.

Of course, being on the lexblog network of blogrolls doesn't hurt, either.

Jamie - April 5, 2008 5:57 PM

Windy:

Thanks for comment #1, and "haha" on comment #2.

Dave:

I'm writing up a full response to your comment. And thanks for dropping by.

Jon - November 21, 2008 3:53 PM

There is a product coming out on Nov. 25th that will make ranking blogs high in Google Search results super easy. The tool is going to be very powerful. It is called Google Conquest. Worth a look.

techie - February 15, 2009 3:02 AM

Love the article...I will try to do it to my blog to improve it..thanks..

Lawyer Boca Raton - June 10, 2011 3:06 PM

Very nice post and quite right on the content, especially for long tail keywords. Links are the way to the top for more competitive niches.

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