Taking a Stand Against SEO

*This article appeared in the October 2019 edition of our print newsletter.

After reading “Building a Story Brand” by Donald Miller, I started looking at my business and its role in the world in terms of the story we are telling. In short, Story Brand is the idea that every story is propelled by three main characters: the hero, the guide, and the villain. (Think about Luke Skywalker, Yoda, and Darth Vader in Star Wars for a better idea of the archetypes.) In our business, we call those characters the client, the marketing company, and the competitor, but the premise is the same: It’s a battle of good vs. evil.

At Spotlight Branding, our lawyer clients are Luke Skywalker, changing lives for the better and bringing justice to the world. We’re Yoda, guiding them to a better way of marketing and doing our best to help them achieve their goals. And, in the marketing world, the Darth Vaders are the SEO companies — they often lead good lawyers down a path of frustration and wasted resources by making promises that search engine optimization can’t keep. From the beginning, Spotlight Branding has aimed to expose the myth that SEO is the holy grail every business should chase. SEO is overrated and often does more harm than good. Here are a few reasons.

  1. SEO is a numbers game, and it’s impossible for everyone to win. If your law firm is chasing SEO just like everyone else, you’re stuck in a rat race that will inevitably see a handful reach the top and the rest continue to hemorrhage time and money sprinting in circles on a hamster wheel. Imagine that instead of top slots on Google, SEO companies were selling spots on a billboard. Would you enter a bidding war with thousands of other lawyers, knowing only one of you will show up on the billboard? Or, would you look for a different way to advertise?
  2. The best clients don’t come from Google. If you do win the SEO race, what you will quickly find is that people who choose which firm to work with based on a quick Google search are often price shoppers. They’ll click through a handful of websites, reach out to a few, and ultimately pick one based on cost rather than quality.

So, what’s the alternative to SEO? We like to focus on the two Rs: referrals and reputation. If you bolster your brand in those two places, you will have all the clients you need.

Consider the grocery chain Whole Foods, which has built a strong reputation. I recently went there for lunch with friends. We filled up our trays at the hot bar, then carried them to the checkout, where they rang up by weight at about $14 each. If a fast food chain or even a mid-range restaurant had charged us that much for vegetables, we might have been up in arms, but we shrugged off the price. Why? Because it was Whole Foods! With careful marketing, Whole Foods has built a premium brand, and its customer base knows what its products are worth.

You can apply that same logic to your law practice by ensuring potential clients believe you’re the best in your field. All you need to do is focus your marketing on people, not search engines. By catering all of your web content to people instead of algorithms, you can make your brand more memorable and elevate your position in the minds of potential clients. That will make them more likely to work with and recommend you.

On the surface, what we do may appear similar to other marketing companies. We create websites, manage social media accounts, write blog content, send email newsletters, and shoot video. The difference is that instead of thinking about SEO when we do it, we’re thinking about people and how to create content that connects with them — and, if you choose to use our services, that’s what will separate you from the competition. Give us a call when you’re ready to leave SEO behind.

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Spotlight Branding

Spotlight Branding is a content marketing and branding firm for lawyers and other professionals. Our goal is to help you create an online presence that positions you as a credible expert in your field, keeps you connected with your network in order to stay top of mind and increase referrals, and to become more visible online so prospects can find you!