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Evolving from Yellow Pages to SEO

In today’s polarized media world, reaching your target audience has become an increasingly complicated task.  It is no longer enough to simply have well-written content posted to your website.  Rather, the content needs to be positioned and packaged in such a way that it connects with the intended readers on the platform they are using and at a time when they are actively seeking advice.  It has to be generated with search engine optimization in mind, and published across various social media platforms to truly be impactful.

If you look at a phone book, assuming you still have one, you can see that the yellow pages are a precursor to today’s search engines.   If you wanted a plumber, you searched under the “P’s” and were given a listing, based on who advertised the most, of options.  Google, coupled with its integrated localization services, is replicating this to a “T.”

Now, as a business trying to connect with other businesses, how does this model affect you?  Well, all levels of decision makers are now heading to the search engines for direction.  If a potential client is looking for “superfund litigation experience,” they may input these terms and find both law firms and, more importantly, linked articles by attorneys.  The evolution here is that just as sites like Yelp tell me if the plumber with a big ad is a good one, so do substantive articles tell potential clients which attorneys have demonstrated expertise.

If you have good content, how do you “optimize” it for search engines?  First, start with the end in mind. What terms might a client search for?  Have you woven these into the content?  Then consider your client base.  You may think that none of your clients use Facebook, Twitter or even LinkedIn.  Do a search.  I assure you that at least a handful does. 

Remember that the goal isn’t simply to preach to your current client choir, it is to develop new opportunities.  With today’s heavy participation in social media, it is simply too big a pond to ignore.  Your firm should tweet your article and have it post to a firm Facebook page.  As for you, you should be updating your LinkedIn status with a link to the article.  Track who clicks by using a free analytical service, such as

Overwhelmed?  Well, you shouldn’t be.  Today’s online experience offers a myriad of ways to leverage your content so as to maximize both its exposure and its potential to contribute to business development. New media moves fast, so it is critical to have a good partner guiding you – be it a strong internal marketing department or a relationship with a B2B-focused public relations agency.

– Michael Bond

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