Is SEO Priced Beyond the Reach of Solo Practitioners?


What SEO Options Are Available When the Schedule Is Full and Money Is Tight?


The following blog was a handout for my 22 April 2014 Presentation. An edited video and transcript will be posted soon.

Veronica Escobar directed me to this article: go solo, grow solo

Are Solos Priced Out of SEO?

This article is aimed at lawyers who are solo practitioners. Carolyn Elefant, the author, is concerned that the investment involved in succeeding at search engine optimization exceeds the budget of most solo practitioners.

Blogging - SEO and the Solo Practitioner - BNI Presentation

Blogging – SEO and the Solo Practitioner – BNI Presentation 22 Apr 2014

My response is that there are effective actions one can take in any price range to improve your search engine optimization. If there is less money to spend then you have to schedule some time to do it yourself.

Do it yourself SEO for a lawyer who is a solo practitioner:

(1) Get a blog. A simple WordPress website on your own URL is best. Your URL should be what you do and where you do it, such as The impoirtant thing is to get a blog.

(2) Pick the last 2 or 3 rules of law that you had to research. Start with the most profitable niche. Lets say, for example, that the profitable niche is bankruptcy law and trusts. Pull up your notes or the letters and emails that you sent regarding bankruptcy law and trusts. Cut and paste all that into a new document. Cut and delete anything that identifies your client.

Blogging - SEO and the Solo Practitioner - BNI Presentation

SEO and the Solo Practitioner – Blogging – BNI Presentation 22 Apr 2014

(3) You now have the basis for a well researched blog post on bankruptcy law and trusts. Write it up and put it on your blog.

(4) Take some pictures with your phone. Your office. You in your office. Your building. You in front of your building. The courts building. Don’t take pictures off the internet, make sure that you own your pictures.

(5) Add pictures appropriate to the blog you’ve written. Two average length paragraphs then a picture, the 2 paragraphs, then another picture. Why? Because people look at the internet on smartphones and text, text, text is boring, boring, boring.

That one blog post above took about 1 1/2 – 2 hours to write. The pictures you took with your phone in the course of the day, maybe 15 minutes. If you do 2 posts to your blog per week, that’s 3 1/2 – 4 1/2 hours.

Blogging - SEO and the Solo Practitioner - BNI Presentation

Blogging – SEO and the Solo Practitioner – BNI Presentation 22 Apr 2014

Make the time, do at least one blog post every week by Wednesday and 2 by Friday. Settle for one per week if you must but at least do one every week.

What makes this work for SEO is you’re providing value and writing about a very specific profitable niche. If you go after a high traffic, high competition area like insurance then you’re competing with giants. If you go after flood insurance on Lake George then you are picking a battle wher you can win.

I bring up insurance in a silky-smooth segue into the broader applications of the above strategy. This strategy can be applied to any profession. Instead of using your well researched opinion as the basis for your post in step (1), use a very successful advertising campaign or a coupon or other promotion. Resurrect it, update it, make it fresh and new and roll it out. Generally, what evoked a good response will get a good response again.

Use the same profitable niche strategy. If you run a sandwich store, don’t go after sandwich, too much competition. Base your post on the two for one Italian Hero sandwich promotion that was successful in the past, add roasted red peppers or sun dried tomatoes to update the sandwich, take pictures with your phone.

Blogging - SEO and the Solo Practitioner - BNI Presentation

Blogging – SEO and the Solo Practitioner – BNI Presentation 22 Apr 2014

Google loves it when you share your expertise, that is considered to be high quality content. Don’t give a second thought to “Am I giving away too much?” You want potential Customers to look at your business and find value.

Take pictures and take video with your phone. An off-the-cuff video is the Happy Customer Video where the Customer says I really like your product or service and you respond “Would you mind me taking a short video of you saying that?” That short video is a post for your blog, it’s social proof – Millie likes it so I like it.

– Get a blog. Talk to Brian Erickson about a pro blog.
– Recycle work you have already done providing that you are not repeating material that you have already put on the internet (duplicate content).
– Take pictures or videos with your phone.
– Talk to Mickey Burns about a pro video on the Profiles set.
– Address the profitable niche, not the high competition primary market – this is choosing a battle that you can win.
– What got a positive reaction in the past will get a positive response now – sales went up after the blue flier went out so resurrect and update the blue flier.
– Share your expertise, let possible clients see that you have VALUE for them.

Call me if this all goes horribly wrong or terrifically right.

Taryn Cooper: Tom’s keys to success.
Ryan Nach: What key is that in?
Taryn Cooper: Produce or provides more . . .
Tom Jacoby: The key to success.
Taryn Cooper: . . . or of a higher quality than what’s expected. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Tom Jacoby.
Anthony Gittens: [inaudible 00:00:02] it’s a long story.
Tom Jacoby: No, no, it’s not. It’s a long story.
Tom Jacoby: Oh, okay.
Tom Jacoby: And the same old story. All right, so Veronica Escobar was nice enough to forward me a link to a blog post that was about . . . this is a misquote but the gist was, is SEO not affordable by a sole practitioner? Do you have to be a big company making tons of money, printing money in order to afford SEO?
So I did this presentation which we all have copies of about things that you can do. Now there’s no getting away from it, if you’re not paying then you’re putting in some time. If you don’t want to put in some time, well then you’re going to have to pay. But even if you ended up paying for this, this is not hardly expensive. Okay, all right.
Now this is not the latest thing that’s happening in SEO. In fact this stuff covered in my presentation is really old [inaudible 00:01:19]. This is from a couple of years ago, but it still works. Blogging can get the word out on your business by having a particular blog [that posts] that focuses on one aspect of your business. For instance, if Carrie was to be blogging, I know you do, you could do something on agriculture [inaudible 00:01:38] which would not touch the other areas of practice. Perhaps matrimonial law next time, so you can focus on one particular thing that you do. Okay.
All right, so that’s blogging. We’ll get back to that in a second. The news in the SEO world is Facebook has been downgraded. They’re eliminating some things from the news feed. So if you happen to spend a lot of time posting on Facebook, you would probably be more productive spending that time on blogging, okay. Don’t give it up entirely, don’t throw it totally overboard, but it ain’t what it used to be.
Why is that Tom, well I’ll tell you. It’s because Google is printing money. They’re making a ridiculous amount of money by selling paid advertising. Last year, right around this time, Facebook started phasing [inaudible 00:02:29] they had plenty of money to begin with but they looked at that and went, look how much money Google has. Can we get some of that? So they started moving into paid advertising.
So now this puts Google in a position of, “Well, do we just support their paid advertising, or what do we do here?” So the days of getting a whole lot SEO bang for your no buck, free SEO bang out of Facebook, is done. Sorry to say, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, that’s over with, okay.
Now that doesn’t mean you should just stop, okay. You should continue to post to Facebook, or to whatever social media you like to post on. But don’t expect the results that you used to get out of that. Oh, as long as I’m talking about Facebook which is not on this, but I ran into a client that had a misunderstanding. The idea that you’re supposed to get personally involved on social media.
In other words, if you’re a Yankees fan talk about the Yankees. Not all the time, but mention it. Bring a little bit of your personality into your social media, right. Be a little social, so that was misinterpreted as like repeating office gossip. Well Janet, she used to be going out with Michael but now she’s going out with this guy Stew, and I don’t know about this Stew. That is not helping your cause. Okay.
If you want to say what your favorite movie is, Apocalypse Now, or you want to talk about the New York City ballet, that’s fine. Put a little personality into it. But don’t . . .
Ryan Nach: Get too personal.
Tom: . . . get away from the core which is engaging people and interesting people in the voodoo that you do. You don’t want to get all into gossip and personal stuff, that’s too much the other way.
All right, so enough about that, back to blogging. So what’s a good thing to put on a blog? What’s going to help you? Actually you
probably already have it. It’s probably already on your computer. Since the article that Veronica sent me was primarily about attorneys–we’ll start with them, okay–chances are you’ve had to research something.
Some particular area of law, and you really did a good job on this.
And you did a write up for the client, and it’s a stew. It really is. It’s a good study of this particular thing. Other people have now quoted you, perhaps you got printed some place. That particular work that you did for that client, you can take out anything that refers to the actual client. You can genericize it if that’s a word, so you’re not betraying any personal confidence, okay.
But you can use that information, you put all this work into already, and you can turn that into a blog post. . So how would this apply to other people who are not attorneys? You put out a promo piece that got a great response, that can be turned into a blog post. You wrote a letter to a client where the client got this letter and went, oh my God, what a fool I’ve been. Here, let me give you money, right, that is a great letter.
Different things you’ve done over the years, you’ve already put the work into it. You’ve already even tested it. You’ve gotten a good response. You can turn it into a blog post, okay. Just a little update, if there’s any personal references or anything like that you want to remove that, because work that you did for a client is work that belongs to the client, but the research you did, that’s yours. You own that so you’re just getting more bang for your buck, okay. So that’s other areas besides blogging.
Now, how much time should this take? You want to post your blog
twice a week, shoot for twice. That will probably come down to once, because everybody gets busy, right. How long is once going to take? Figure an hour and a half to find that good article you wrote. To find that successful promo piece, and to turn it into something generic that you can post to your blog, right.
That ought to do it, okay. Now miscellaneous time with putting it on your blog and getting all that done, give it another half hour. So you’re looking at an hour and a half to two hours per blog post, not terrible, not terrible. Hiring somebody to do that for you, also not horribly expensive, we’re not talking about thousands of dollars a week, right? There’s a number of fine services including . . . Doug would do that for you. So that’s posting to your blog.
Oh, now once you post things to your blog, what then. Anytime you post to a blog, it’s got its own URL, the address. Every single post
on a blog has got its own specific web address. You can take that address, make a comment like new post about goats, and put it on Facebook, put it on Google Plus, put it wherever you want to put it.
That’s the idea, so you can take that link and you can splash that all over your social media.
Two minutes? Okay, perfect. Throwing gang signs. Okay. All right. Let’s go. I was scared there for a moment.
All right, so other things Google likes you to put on your blog.
They want you to share your expertise. So Google, in terms of what they publicly tell you is they want to provide a richer, rewarding search experience so that you’ll find what you’re looking for. You’ll be very happy with that and the next time you want to search for something, you’ll use Google.
That’s what they say publicly. The truth is they want to make money for their shareholders, okay. So what does Google like for you to do? They like for you to share your expertise. If you’re a dentist, they want to see how to keep your teeth for life. How to teach your kids to brush their teeth? How to have that Hollywood smile, that sort of thing. If you’re a CPA, how to keep more of your money and give less to the IRS. If you’re selling New York real estate, then it can be things you should do when scouting for where you want to live in New York.
Simple stuff, and again, you don’t want to provide free consulting,but you do want to share your expertise. So it should be enough so someone can find it useful, but they’re still going to need to call you, right? So you’re giving value, you’re engaging people, you’re providing useful information, but you’re not just, all right, so here’s everything you need to know about how to buy New York real estate. So it starts like this and it’s 9000 word post. You don’t need to do that. That’s not needed, that’s not wanted. Actually, they probably end up calling you anyway, because who’s going to gothrough all of this stuff, right? . So I’ll wrap it up here by saying thank you so much, if you want to discuss this further, let’s do it one on one, okay.
Ryan Nach: Okay.
Tom: Thanks a lot.
Ryan Nach: Thanks, Tom.

Take care, be well, have fun,

Tom Jacoby
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