Search engine optimization (SEO) is a great way to help drive traffic to your website, but is also a very misunderstood term. “If my firm were ranked first on Google searches, then we’d really start doing well,” is not an uncommon statement I’ll hear from an attorney. You may have received cold calls from companies guaranteeing the top spot — or at least a place on the first page — of Google search results. What if that company could do what is promised? They usually can’t, of course, but it’s an interesting proposition. This article helps clarify what SEO for law firms really is, and if it will help with your business development activities.

Google and other search engines use algorithms to identify the most effective ways to answer search queries and these algorithms perform world-wide searches in less than a second. Imagine if a search engine had to scour the whole Internet each time you searched for something. With YouTube alone adding 300 hours of video every minute of every day, the process would take forever. The algorithms automate this process by searching the web and ranking relevance.