What is working for this divorce lawyer: Adwords, Avvo, a new SEO provider, and videos, yes. Social media, no.
Wail Sarieh has since been practicing family law for nine years. His primary area of practice is divorce, but he also handles adoptions, including those across state lines and abroad. His office is based in Santa Ana, California. http://www.sariehlaw.com/.
Sarieh brought on marketing officer Gabriela Barajas to manage day-to-day marketing operations and coordinate an outsourced contract with an SEO company. The firm’s website currently ranks at the top or very near it for competitive keywords like “Orange County divorce attorney.” Here, she answers several questions about the firm, its website, and its SERP-topping strategy.
1. What marketing strategy has been the most effective for Sarieh Law Offices?
The website and Avvo. We work with an SEO company that’s been very good to us. We used another company for 18 months, and it was very expensive, but we were still showing up on page 8 or 9 of the search results, so it was time for a change.
2. Your website is very professional and attractive. How did you reach a decision about its design?
We came up with the color scheme and it’s still being built, actually. We want to add more things to it, like videos and more content. We’re going to continue building our site to make it more visible to search engines.
3. How do you track visitors to your site?
The SEO company we work with provides monthly reports. These reports break down everything about who visits through the search engines via specific keywords as well as traffic we receive from our Avvo profile. We were actually very surprised to find out how many people use our contact form. People ask a question and we will reply via email or call them back to discuss and we’ve received several good leads through that.
4. I notice quite a bit of content for each of the practice areas you cover. What was your overall content strategy?
The practice area write ups came from the previous Fortune 500 SEO company we worked with. Sarieh had a lot of the content already when this new site launched and we did a lot of tweaking. Now with the new SEO company in place, there was even more tweaking done to get the content just right to boost our rank.
5. Did you perform keyword research before writing? If so, how did you accomplish this?
We didn’t do keyword research before writing, though our SEO company might have done this. One thing that we do, however, is check our keyword placement once a day. We’re dedicated to the site’s maintenance and this means monitoring the keywords we’ve optimized for to make sure we’re still ranking high and that the SEO company is doing their job.
6. I also notice that there are three Avvo badges on your site. Have you received new clients because of them?
It’s been a great source of clients. We’ve obtained more than several from it.
7. Mr. Sarieh has answered over 1,400 questions on Avvo’s Legal Answers and created 3 Legal Guides. I also notice these are embedded on your site. Has there been any noticeable benefit related to this time investment?
It takes a lot of time for him to answer these questions himself but it’s been an excellent source of leads and clients. Avvo has a monthly premium package for specific areas of Orange County, too, and we are on a waiting list for this. Overall, it’s been worth the time and money. It requires a lot of updating and there is a babysitting component because we need to ensure our clients leave testimonials on the site as well. But it’s all worth it.
Avvo has demonstrated itself to be of high quality. Once, a client tried to give a testimonial from our office computer and it was denied because Avvo recognized our IP. The client resubmitted the testimonial from home and it was accepted. This shows Avvo cares about and displays only legitimate testimonials and that’s appreciated. We highly recommend the service.
8. Are you listed in any other directories? Do those entries have an effect?
We’re on Lawyers.com and Justia. And we’re always searching for his name and law firm name to see where we’re present online. If there’s a new directory or company just starting up, we claim our profiles and make sure everything is up to date. We do this search at least once a week.
All of these directories are free except for Avvo. Though I will say, Lawyers.com has been difficult to work with. We’ve been asking our clients to leave testimonials there but they can just provide a rating without writing anything. So it shows a low rating but doesn’t show any testimonials. We’re still working on it but it’s been very difficult because we end up asking clients to leave testimonials in multiple places and that’s a lot to ask of them.
9. Have you found the video at the top of the site to be effective?
It’s been effective. Which is why we recently created more. We produced15-20 new videos talking about what a divorce is, custody issues, and so forth. Those are currently being posted on our site and YouTube.
10. What role does social media play in your marketing strategy?
It doesn’t really do anything for us. We have Twitter and Facebook presences but we’re not active there. They haven’t been a source of leads us and we don’t think they will be. It’s something we need to work on from a social media standpoint but it hasn’t done much for us even when we were working on it.
11. Do you post content on any other sites or participate in guest blogging?
We only blog on our site.
12. Do you use Google Ads?
13. What about Google Adwords?
Yes, we’ve used them for a while and have committed to a particular budget every day and month. However, we did just start a test and halted all Adwords spending. We want to see our organic search volume and test it for about 30-45 days. We’re testing to see how we’re doing organically and if we can cut this expense. We may implement it again with a reduced budget. But we know very well that you have to spend money to make money.
Adwords can be up to a $80-100/day expense. While we have Adwords on hiatus, we’ve implemented videos to see how that affects search. We’re tweaking. We do recommend Adwords if they’re used right, of course. But you absolutely must stick to a strict budget because it can be very expensive.
14. Do you have any suggestions for other lawyers trying to make their marketing more effective?
Many attorneys are a one-man show and it can be hard for them to do it all. It comes down to continually looking online every day to see where you’re at. You must keep track of all the sites you’re listed on, update directory listings, and see how you’re ranking. Sarieh works with other attorneys on occasion but he is mostly a sole practitioner, so it’s a lot of work. Currently, in terms of marketing, we’re paying for SEO, Avvo, and Adwords. Other expenses are related to daily and once-a-week site maintenance tasks. He is only willing to invest in something he knows is going to work.
- Invest in an SEO company. The right SEO company, rather. That investment has done everything for us and all of our other tactics build off of that foundation.
- Google Adwords is a must for startup. It increases site visibility and can give you a significant initial traffic boost.
- Have someone who is focused on marketing for you. It makes all the difference. That way, you can be sure you’re always following up with clients to pursue testimonials, check on your search engine rank, and so forth without eating into time designated for running your practice.