Lots of people talk about optimizing your keywords to get on the first page of Google – especially marketing firms and SEO companies who want to sell you on their services.

Here’s what many of those SEO firms won’t talk about (or don’t know):

Sometimes, paying to get your firm on the first page of Google is a suckers’ game. However, it’s not for reasons you might think.

It’s not that optimizing your site for the keywords is a mistake. The challenge is that two main kinds of keywords exist, and Google treats each of them VERY differently.

The first type of keyword is what I call a “price-shopping” keyword. For example, a typical price-shopping keyword might be “Durban divorce lawyers”.

Potentials type phrases like that into Google when they’re ready to hire an attorney, and they’re shopping around to see who can offer them the best commercial terms – things like your fee levels, or whether you provide hourly vs. flat billing, or your availability by phone.

Of course, none of that has anything to do with your skills as an attorney, but it makes potential clients feel like they’re getting a good deal.

The second type of keyword is a “question” keyword.

It’s what potentials type into Google long before they start looking for an attorney. They search with “question” keywords when they’re still trying to understand their situation. They aren’t hot to buy – they’re hungry for more information, and they’re not talking attorneys just yet.

A typical “question” keyword would be something like: “Johannesburg divorce will I get custody of the kids?”.

It’s trying to rank on the first page of Google for “price-shopping” keywords that’s the sucker’s game.

Ranking on the first page of Google for “question” keywords is where the real action is – not only is it less crowded, and much easier to get a potential’s attention, but you can also position yourself as a trusted advisor and win their hearts and minds before other attorneys even enter the conversation.

By then, you’ll have already indoctrinated them with your advice.

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