How Not to Hire Bad SEM Vendors for Your Law Firm

New or existing law firms may be facing an uphill battle getting their websites ranked respectably in Google, Yahoo and Bing searches unless you’ve hit “organic gold”.  With law firms seeking search engine marketing professionals to assist in ranking their keywords higher in astounding numbers, it’s safe to say SEM professionals are staying quite busy these days.

Unfortunately for attorneys, spending thousands of dollars on wrongly hired SEM vendor costs even more money by virtue of lost clientele and having to rehire another company until you finally get your task completed correctly.

This being said, we’d like to awaken your inner sensibility when viewing proposals from potential SEM vendors to avert spontaneity in hiring someone to perform work they simply aren’t qualified to perform.  This piece will allow you to sniff out great proposals and File 13 the bad ones.

Never Make Price The “X” Factor

Common business logistics teaches laymen to accept the best price offer since ROI is always hindsight. In SEM nomenclature, however, purchasing search marketing services based on lowest bid can historically render abysmal results. Since SEM isn’t a money-back guarantee service, business owners need to have clear understanding of price versus receivables.

When viewing proposals and deciphering what’s being received versus what you stand to gain, leverage common understanding of competition for widely used keywords and recognize some costs may need to go into all facets of SEM, which include social media, pay per click, speeding up slow law firm site, and localization.

If the cost for services is ridiculously low, you’ll more than likely receive lackluster services in one facet, or no services at all in another.  For what it’s worth, if your expectations are high and costs of your goods are high, your marketing dollars need to be factored in as equivocally high.

Understand What You’ll Get

Proposals that come across as “We perform SEM services and send you weekly reports of links built” simply need ignored, and here is why: aesthetics in SEM proposals dictate truly aggressive search marketing teams will have stronger approaches in what they’re willing to offer versus what is simply not going to work for your particular niche.

As you are fielding proposals, you need to clarify expectations, goals and budget so you remain in control of SEM efforts being offered.  Never rely on companies who signify their ability to ‘over-deliver’; desperation usually means poor quality of services or potential for scams to occur.  Simply put, know what efforts you expect and match the best timeline for completion to the company who can provide this.

Find Informative, Well Written SEM Proposals

Have you received the infamous “Dear Kind Sir…” proposal or even junk emailing? If any SEM company comes at your business with no prior knowledge of who you are, what businesses could potentially be competing forces, or if they have no idea what you even sell, run.  Run fast.

All proposals will be fluently written in your language, will contain specific marketing intelligence and what the company intends on doing to position your business ahead of said competition.  It will contain clear contact information, including name, and have nothing less than 100% detailed information of how they conduct business.

Other helpful pieces of information could include your domain stats, page errors and other on-page and off-page issues they can fix prior to aggressively marketing your campaign through Google or others. Understand whether you’ll need comprehensive law firm content writing, some light editing or other content rework.

Self-Educate Prior To Hiring

Used car dealerships love taking advantage of unknowledgeable automobile buyers; SEM shysters love doing the same to law firms simply trying to climb higher in rankings.  With thousands of free articles and how-to guides across the world, there is no reason why you can’t educate yourself on search engine marketing basics before hiring professionals to take the reins from you.

Learn about what will be involved, what steps are no legitimate and what results can be expected in each phase.  Never take presumptive approaches of being educated along the way when hiring these professionals; learning while work is taking place usually doesn’t bode well and simply frustrates law firms instead of helping them.

This is why learning the basic SEM infrastructure will at least allow you to dialogue with vendors and make them understand pulling the wool over your eyes won’t fly.

Discover Manageable Expectations

When deciding which SEM vendor will partake in optimization activities, it’s best to listen to modest offers of under-delivery since keywords change daily in Google’s ranking algorithm.  Companies who simply promise the galaxy within 30 days want most of your money, and that’s about it.

Avoid being someone’s piggybank by listening to fair expectations over periods commonly measured in SEM metrics: 30, 90, or 180 increments are sufficient tracking periods since many steps are necessary before beginning campaigns.

Since Google’s algorithm will return again for another round of penalization, it’s best to receive truthful expectations and clearly understand imminent website ranking necessities before hiring this company to hurt your website ranking even more.

Research Their Website

This may sound counterproductive, yet is an intelligent sign of whether this company has any experience whatsoever: check the ranking information of their website, keywords and other major demographics like social media following, activity on Facebook fan pages, and the likes.  If SEM vendors are not ranking high for keywords related to their own niche, chances are they’ll react poorly to yours.

As with anything in life, if you care little about your own life, chances are you’ll care even less about someone else’s; put this universal fact to the test by investigating their websites for Google ranking, marketability and overall fans or customers serviced.

Poor SEM Vendors Do Exist

For every business in existence trying to make their name known, there are counterproductive and actually hurtful vendors looking to seize the marketplace for themselves – a fact which carries into search engine marketing companies.

When deciphering who should be your permanent optimization teammate, consider the information which is presented before you, including how well the proposal is written, how well the representative’s phone mannerism comes across and even how many testimonials were written about the company.

Every penny your law firm invests for naught will be pennies which need to be made up through price increases, layoffs or securing investors to stay afloat; invest your SEM dollars wisely by spending quality time discussing your keyword or other optimization needs in great length while paying attention to how caring or altruistic the company responds to those needs.