Have you ever wondered why certain court reporting firms show up above you in Google search results?
The answer isn't quite as straightforward as you might think. Google uses over 200 "signals" to determine the best search result. Understanding how Google determines a result means knowing Google's endgame.
Google is an advertiser. While they have several arms of their business today, their core business is still serving ads. To be good at what they do, they have to understand, accurately, what their users want. If they know what their users are looking for, they can advertise similar products or services with a high degree of accuracy.
So what does Google see to determine whether one small business is more "relevant" than the next? One of the most popular measures what is Google's most fundamental algorithm that was born at Stanford University. It's called the PageRank algorithm. PageRank is a tool for measuring popularity. Generally speaking, if something is popular, it will inherently be more relevant to searchers than something less popular.
Google determines popularity through metrics like the number, quality, and diversity of a website's backlinks. Backlinks are links from other places on the internet that link to your court reporting website. For example, if the NCRA writes a blog post that talks about a particular firm's work on the TakeNote campaign and inserts a link on NCRA.org to a website like DepoInternational.com, Depo International would gain a bit of credibility in the eyes of Google.
Not all backlinks are created equally, though. Having backlinks from unrelated websites can do more damage than good. Example: if you get a backlink from a large cash-for-gold website, Google will think that this backlink is unnatural and possibly bought. Backlinks gained from unethical search engine optimization practices are penalized with what's known as a "manual action."
Manual actions are like a ding on your credit report. It takes a very long time to resolve them and even when they are, the fact that you were penalized remains indefinitely.
"So how do I get good backlinks," you might be asking.
A strategy of creating remarkable content for your website can be a life saver.
Unfortunately, there is no quick fix to becoming #1 in Google. It's kind of like eating right and going to the gym. Each time you go helps a tiny bit, but no one thing you can do is going to give you that beach body that you've always wanted.
Start a Court Reporting Blog
The first thing you can do to attempt at getting more relevant backlinks is starting a company blog. Talk to your readers about what's going on in your business. Did you attend a special event this month? Maybe someone got a promotion, or you gained a new case or client. Perhaps there was a development in your state court reporting association or the rules regarding court reporters in your state.
Things happen all the time, and so long as you're using your website to communicate with your stakeholders (potential clients, customers, reporters, investors, etc.) you up your chances of having your content shared.
Syndicate Your Blog
Having your blog and creating great content is an impressive first step. But how do you get people to visit your website to read your hard work? You have to put it right in front of their face. Take your content and share it within groups that would like to hear it. Example: if you wrote a blog post about a new rule regarding court reporting in your state, a great place to share it might be on the association's Facebook page. Other court reporters would like and share your content driving more traffic to your website.
There are dozens, possibly hundreds of groups relating to court reporting. LinkedIn alone has dozens of highly targeted groups specifically for court reporters.
Engage in Conversation
It's called social media for a reason. Once people are talking about your content, chat with them. Become a thought leader in your industry by exhibiting your knowledge on these very specific topics. If you can do that, people will come to you for information. I know this from personal experience. After starting my first court reporting blog, I had people contacting me from all over the world. It was an incredible feeling of pride for me to be able to help those that sought after the knowledge that I had.
When you're first starting, don't be afraid to go "grassroots" and just ask friends to read, like, share, and comment on your posts. This will help to get the ball rolling. People are sometimes reluctant to be the first to like or comment, but once people know they are not alone, here come the shares.
But I don't Have Time...
No Worries, there are plenty of services out there that are more cost effective than hiring a full-time marketing guru, and can ghostwrite on your behalf. Finding the right partner is imperitive though, as they will be representing your brand in the most public way possible, through the internet.
Spark Digital Marketing provides a turnkey solution for court reporting companies. Sign up for a FREE Competitive Analysis to see how you stack up against your competition.