More threads by standenman


Aug 2, 2012
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I am a solo attorney in Dallas TX in a very competitive but niche market: social security disability. In the last year my google organic rank has fallen from top 3 to 7-9, sometimes off first page. I have recently redone website, and this has not helped though site is new (last month).

I read contradictory information. Once analysis I received indicated that my backlinks vis a vis key competitor are very low. Other info on the net I have seen says that backlink building is a waste of time: focus on content.

I gotta do something, phone calls have fallen through the floor. I am not sure whether to spend money on beefing up blog post, or back link building program. ANY advice would be most appreciated.
backlink building is a waste of time: focus on content.

This is something content-marketers say that don't know jack about SEO. I'm not saying to don't focus on content, but that's not all it takes especially in a niche as competitive as yours.

If you need business right now I'd look into paid advertisements through adwords or display networks, they're not cheap for your niche, but can help you bridge the gap while you fix your organic issues.

To get a proper response/direction though, you'll need to give more detail. I suspect with re-doing the website that there are likely historical-pages that are dead now (and may not redirect to their new replacement).
Not sure about the drop in ranking, (not enough info) but for the new site make sure you have connected Google Search Console and redirect any of the 404s that existed on the old site that are not present on the new site (if any of the urls changed). Did you create an entire new site or just change the template within an existing CMS like wordpress?

You could also look into your Analytics to see what internal pages (besides your homepage I assume) have experienced reduced landing page traffic. Maybe some of your most popular pages have dropped rank and this in turn affected the entire site.

As for the backlink content question, my general rule is that creating content is the first step. You can't rank if you don't have anything to rank for. After you have a fair amount of good content, then you can look into getting backlinks for that content. Do the competitors that now outrank you have more fuller content, consistent blog posting..?

But as heckler said, immediate results don't usually come form SEO. You will probably need to find other marketing strategies while you try to increase your organic rankings again.
<style type="text/css">p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 11.0px 'Helvetica Neue'; color: #000000; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000}p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 11.0px 'Helvetica Neue'; color: #000000; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000; min-height: 12.0px}span.s1 {font-kerning: none}</style>Hello Yan,

The first thing to keep in mind is that anytime you create a new website your rank will always drop. Google will go back in and index your website and re-rank it accordingly. Rank typically comes back in 3 months.

My company helped a Law Firm out here in Colorado Springs and one of the firsts things we recommended was a site rebuild. Sure enough they agreed and their rank dropped just like we said it would and just like clock work they got their previous rank back in a few months. From there we were able to rank them on the first page.

My advice to you is to be patient but also be proactive.

Has your domain name changed? If so you’ll need to go through each directory that you are listed and change your website domain to the correct URL.

Is your old website still out there and is the domain different for your new website? If so you’ll need to 301 redirect the traffic that is use to going there.

Take some time to focus on reviews for your Google My Business page. These reviews directly influence rank and if you get enough positive reviews it can boost your rank extremely fast.

I also agree with heckler. Using AdWords to bridge the gap for the lack of phone calls can be a great way to boost business while your new website is being indexed and ranked by Google.
He wasn't clear on how the site was redone. A new website can mean various things to people.. changing a template is different than changing the entire url and menu structure for example. I asked to get more clarification on that point. Need to wait for more info from OP.
To add to what everyone else said:

SEO is (or should be) looked at the same as any other engineering discipline. As incredible as Google is, their ranking algorithms are still (for the most part) man-made, and so they're a whole lot simpler than weather, or stock market behavior. Gathering enough data and analyzing it properly can teach you an enormous amount about how Google works, we don't need to guess or go just off anecdotal, small scale stories. Unfortunately, many marketing professionals (especially content creators) don't even have a solid understanding of basic statistics, much less a deeper grasp of how Google works.

So... it's a year old, but here's a study done on a million domains, looking at which factors have strong ranking correlations. Backlinks were the number one factor. For local SEO, the picture looks pretty similar. If someone else tells you otherwise, ask them to send you the study. Unless they can back up their claims with something resembling real research, they don't know what they're talking about. Even with the studies it can still be hard to make informed decisions (just because something correlates with ranking doesn't mean it caused them, for example) but it at least gives you a place to start when making your decisions.

That said, all backlinks are not created equal, and given the time and money Google's been putting into AI research, you can expect a huge jump in how well they're able to sort and classify backlinks over the next few years. If you invest in backlink building, you'll need to make sure you bring in someone that knows what they're doing. One basic rule of thumb... if a human sees the site that's linking to you, what will they think? Will it make sense? Would a real human find it impressive that you're mentioned somewhere? Then it's a great link. Good luck.
Without seeing your site, hard to give much info. But dallas is notorious for abuse in the legal field on google thanks to a few local rogue seo"companies". I won't take legal clients in Dallas. No interest in the churn and burn game the competition is using.

It is possible they are now outranking you using some shady tactics. Rare to see a dallas lawyer use legitimate tactics and rank.

You need links to pay the game in tour field. Your competitors have plenty, mostly pbn garbage. Links are still the #1 ranking factor. Invest in quality content and natural link building (online pr is my chosen link building method).
Thanks Yan for your time and comments. I appreciate it. I have thee same url, Social Security Disability Lawyer Dallas Texas: Denman Law Office. Was hosted on Hubspot. Redo is Wordpress-based hosted on Bluehost. redirects, 404s have been thorough, search console now showing no url errors. Redo was about 10 days ago. Thorough analytics review shows drop in traffic started March/April 2015. Comparison of 2016, 2017 to date showing steeep drop as well (25%).
Interesting to hear that the Dallas legal SEO market is shady. I would guess this is most pronouced with highly competitive fields likes personal injury. My field, social security disability, includes a number of personal injury firms, so there shade may be falling on my specialty. My major competitors I know, and use Foster Web Marketing for their website development and marketing, big expensive group with lots of personal injury firms and doctor offices as well.
If they all use the same company, huge red flag. Conflict of interest if targeting same area. I can do some digging Monday, on mobile at the moment.

I did not look at anything else but noticed the link to your website from your twitter profile is incomplete. I would fix this and move on to make sure all links that you have are working properly and then move forward.
Your site looks great btw. I would suggest having your own email server ( stan AT disabilityapproved DOT com ) for both appearance's sake and potential confidentiality issues.
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Here are the 2017 local SEO factors for the local 3 pack and the local organic search results:

These factors were created by some of the most influential SEOs and is backed up by a ton of research.

If you look at the local search ranking factors website, you will notice for local organic search link signals (inbound anchor text, linking domain authority, linking domain quality, etc.) is 29% of the ranking results and is the #1 factor.

For the local 3 pack, link signals is 17% and is the #2 factor. Links are very important! The quality of the link is even more important. Link acquisition is one of the hardest SEO strategies, but one of the most important.

Make sure you are focusing on the following: optimizing content based on user intent with on-page SEO strategies (i.e. SEO elements, keywords, localization, etc.), making sure your Google My Business profile is active and fully optimized, getting reviews on your GMB profile and other review platforms (i.e. FB, Yelp), create niche and location specific citations/directory listings, and last but not least get backlinks on authority websites. Find backlinks that are specific to your niche or location is key.

SEO needs to be done consistently and the right way to help you continually compete in the search results for your targeted keywords. Everyone wants to be #1! Some businesses think they can afford to have an on and off switch button, you have to keep investing because your competitors are.

Hope that helps!

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