The Myth That High Ranking on SERPs Equals Clients 

High Ranking Always Brings in Clients…Or Does It?

High Ranking SERPs
Despite what you may have heard, high rank on search engines does not always mean more clients.

For many years lawyers and businesses have heard one thing: you must rank first on SERPs (search engine results pages) for certain key words to get clients on the web. And those key words must be things like “family law attorney philadelphia”, “nursing home abuse las vegas”, “car accident attorney brooklyn” and so on. As a result, when lawyers hire SEOs (that is people who do search engine optimization) they tend to be laser focused on ranking for those specific types of words and phrases. These folks then spend a lot of money and/or time trying to rank for those words and phrases. And then, when they do, they wait for the phone to ring or the emails to come in. And they don’t.

Why Don’t High SERPs Always Equal Clients?

There are a number of reasons high search engine results may not guarantee new clients. I will give you some of the most basic.

Potential Clients/Customers are Not Searching for Those Terms

As lawyers and business people we think we know how people search for us. But we don’t. We only know what makes sense to us. It is our job to think beyond what we believe and figure out how clients are searching on the web for the services or products we supply.

How do you solve the problem? You figure out how people are actually searching for your business or practice area. You do this by listening to your clients’ questions, using key word planning tools, and drilling down to what kind of language people use when they are serious about hiring (or buying). Then you focus on ranking for those words and phrases.

Your Titles and Meta Descriptions Aren’t Appealing

Titles are an important part of SEO. Google uses them in its algorithm. But, it is important that the title makes sense, shows up fully in the results page (isn’t cut off because it is too long), is relevant to the search the person is conducting, and is eye catching when compared to the competition.

Meta descriptions are what appear in Google SERPs underneath the title. These are descriptions of what the page is about. While they are not directly part of your rankings, a good description will encourage people to actually click on the link and visit your page. Some website software auto-generates descriptions that get cut off because they are too long. It is important that you or your SEO take time to craft proper meta descriptions.

Your Website Isn’t Good

Most SEOs will promise you an increase in traffic, but they won’t say anything about an increase in leads. You want leads, so hire an SEO who promises to help with leads. And that may mean a website edit or redesign.

To me, a lead is an action taken on your site to communicate with you. A phone call, email, contact form completion and so on. If your website is not well-designed, if the content is not well-written, if it is not easy to communicate with you, you will not get leads. There is no point in increasing your ranking if you have a terrible website that is not easy to use.

  • Keep your website simple.
  • Make sure your website looks good and is professional.
  • Make your website easy to navigate.
  • Make sure you have a lot of good content.
  • Make sure it is easy to contact you.

Take a fair look at your site. If you came across it on the web, would it make you want to reach out? Ask friends and colleagues to do the same thing. If the answer is no, then time for some modifications or a re-design.

You Aren’t Following Up Properly

The job of a good SEO is to bring in leads. The job of the business is to use those leads to create clients or customers. Therefore, it is absolutely critical that the law firm or business know how to react properly to the leads that come in.

As a business, you need to know what your potential clients/customers expect in terms of response time. You also need to know what they expect to hear from you. You need to think through what you need to say to convert people from leads to clients. Remember, the people communicating with you are probably contacting other businesses and firms too. If they don’t hear from you in a timely manner, or if when they do hear from you, the way you communicate is lacking, they will move on to someone else.


When you seek to increase your presence and ranking on the web, make sure your approach is appropriate for you and your potential clients/customers. This means:

  • Making sure you rank for the right phrases
  • Having good titles and descriptions show up on SERPs
  • Presenting a top quality website that is easy to use
  • Having a plan to follow up and convert leads to clients/customers

Don’t just throw things out onto the web hoping they will stick. Do the research and the work to make certain that you aren’t wasting your time and money. That is the only way to get the results you want.


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