How Search Works

by cj Advertising | August 6, 2013

This blog post was written by Chris Turner, an SEO Specialist at cj Advertising.

Placing highly on a search is important.

There, we said it. And we also believe it.

For many of you, there is an understanding that having a top spot on the search engine results page (SERP) corresponds to increased traffic to the website. This increased traffic correlates with more conversions. In short, that is how search works to your advantage.

According to a recent article by Search Engine Watch, 33 percent of searchers click on the first search result, and 18 percent on the second result. Granted, most studies like this are completed on retail industries as opposed to service industries, which affects the type of users studied and their searches. But the message is clear: the first page and first few places are important.

Search Engine Optimization Theory

Now that we have even more reason to focus on obtaining highly-placed results, how do we get your website there? That is the crux of search optimization: identifying opportunities and strategies that will effectively influence the search engines to position your site’s pages in top spots for terms relevant to your content.

Our search optimization does not start with your website; it starts with the users. Knowing your target audience and what they search for (and how they search) informs us in how we develop our search strategy and build out your content. We do this by:

  • Researching keywords related to your primary practice area(s) that are likely to send relevant traffic
  • Investigating user interactions with your website
  • Performing competitive analysis
  • Leveraging your web assets (e.g. site content, video) in ways that increase relevance and avoiding items that negatively impact optimization

With a clear understanding of your audience, we then focus our attention on the search engines—namely Google. Did you know that Google uses more than 200 ranking factors to determine search result position? That’s right—more than 200 factors affect your website’s pages and how those pages are positioned in search results!

All of these algorithmic computations are completed within milliseconds of a user hitting enter, using voice search, or completing a suggested search. You can see the process in this interactive walk-through from Google.

Ranking Factors for Personal Injury Brands

From specialized work with personal injury brands, our data shows there are specific elements in the 200 ranking factors that impact personal injury websites more than others:

  • Credibility (Avvo or FindLaw profiles; client reviews)
  • Content quality and user interaction
  • Technical elements, such as:
    • website structure,
    • non-duplicate content,
    • and many more

Many of these elements are common and natural. When looking for an attorney, users want someone reliable, trustworthy, and credible. Your offline reputation is brought with you online, either through a search optimization strategy or by users. If users are left to determine your credibility online, that can lead to challenges in a number of areas. This is why we have implemented authorship and credibility development techniques.

How We Measure Success Over Time

Your bottom line and the satisfaction of your clients are how we measure success. We look at impressions as a sign that the search engines approve of the pages we are optimizing. When impressions go up and higher positions result in organic, non-branded traffic to practice areas and key pages, these mark positive changes in your website’s visibility.

When impressions, ranks, and clicks increase, it is natural to experience an increase in calls, forms, and relevant cases for your firm. Conversions are the key performance indicator of search optimization.

Google Is a Business

Google is always looking for new and improved ways to make money while delivering what users want: quick, simple answers to their queries (searches). Google frequently changes how search works, what data they provide users and webmasters, the format of the SERP, and even how many results are displayed per page.

We’ll continue to monitor, optimize, and inform you of changes that occur. And you can count on us to implement changes that help your website be the answer to users’ queries. That’s because our ultimate goal is connecting the injured with your firm for mutual success!