The Court Technology and Trial Presentation Blawg features articles, reviews and news of interest to lawyers and other legal professionals. This blog is published by Ted Brooks, a Trial Presentation and Legal Technology Consultant, Author and Speaker. Ted's trial experience includes the Los Angeles Dodgers divorce trial, People v. Robert Blake murder trial, and a hundreds of high profile, high value and complex civil matters.

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Social Media, SEO, and Haircuts: Enough Already!

Okay, so I’ll admit that you can actually get to know people as a result of using Social Media networking. I have actually met (yes, in person) several people who I first connected with online via professional networking. I’ll also admit that good SEO (Search Engine Optimization) can indeed help a website appear higher up in Google (or other) search results. However, it seems you can’t go 2 minutes without being bombarded by the next wave of “adver-articles” on the topics. And, a majority of the news I typically follow is supposedly intended for an audience of legal professionals.

What is Social Media? Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, and even blogs to a degree, are all examples of Social Media. Although there is certainly room for everyone, not everyone wants or needs to be there. What value is a continuous stream of useless information on every conceivable topic to someone who’s just not interested? On the other hand, if one is indeed interested in a specific topic, and wants to gather info and learn from a variety of sources, it can be helpful. A great analogy I’ve heard many times is that it is like a large, fast-moving river of information. If you jump in this river, you can easily be washed away. If you dip your cup and take a sip, you might enjoy it – but only if you’re thirsty.

If you are interested in learning more about social media, get some help from someone familiar with it, or search the term to get more info. One thing to remember, however, is that anything you say can and will be used against you, and that it should be considered “permanent.” Once you post something, even though you delete it, there are ways to bring it back to haunt you.

What is SEO? It is the use of search-friendly words in various places on a website, including the text you read, title of a page or article, and even “keywords,” which although not visible to the reader, are there strictly for the benefit of being “found” in a search. If you need your web site set up with SEO, get some help from someone who really knows what they’re doing -- and, make them prove it to you. Beware of overly-specific terms which will “guarantee” top placement in the search engines. Yes, I can get a #1 listing for “ted brooks litigation tech,” but what value is that? In other words, is it likely that anyone will actually search for that specific term? If so, will they follow up and contact me, based on what they were originally searching for? Try to think like your own potential client.

If you are concerned with SEO and your Google Search results, and you’re not into web development, have your web team or IT department handle it, or get someone to assist you.

If you are a practicing lawyer or busy legal professional, unless you have a lot of free time, trying to learn, master, and practice SEO might not be the best use of your time. Although I might be able to offer “Top Ten Tips and Tricks on How to Cut Your Own Hair,” you may be among the majority who would probably be better off letting someone else handle it for you.

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