When we talk about attorney marketing evolving in 2016, the conversation shouldn’t happen without mentioning an event that happened in the last quarter of 2015: online powerhouses Google and Yahoo penned a deal that will likely change the landscape of search engine optimization permanently. Understanding the new partnership – as well as its major implications – will be key to finding SEO success in the coming year and for many years to come.
The Google-Yahoo Deal
In the past, Google has been the search engine frontrunner by a long shot. Today, every two out of three online searches happen through Google, while the remainder are split between smaller outfits like Bing, Ask, and AOL. The two runners-up, Bing and Yahoo, have benefitted from a partnership in recent years that allows Bing to power Yahoo’s search engine and post ads on Yahoo search results.
In March 2015, however, Bing and Yahoo renegotiated their deal. Under the new guidelines of their agreement, Yahoo was able to seek out new partnerships. They didn’t wait long. In October, the company announced a new, non-exclusive deal with Google that will run until 2018. In the partnership, Yahoo will be able to utilize both Google algorithms and Bing algorithms when returning search results to users. In addition, Yahoo may also use both Google and Bing ads while receiving an undisclosed percentage of ad revenue. It is not clear at this time how Yahoo will decide when to use Bing algorithms or Google algorithms to complete a search.
5 Implications of the Yahoo-Google Search Engine Partnership
The Yahoo-Google search engine deal is a sign of the times, as well as a sign of things to come. Here are the five major implications, as we see them, for both attorney search engine optimization and attorney search engine marketing:
- Search results will become more similar across various search platforms. Search algorithms become more complex with each passing day as various platforms strive to create the best search engine possible. But since all search engines use the same tactics to find the best search results, and since various search engine companies are forging partnerships, we are headed into an era where most queries across all search engines will garner very similar results.
- SEO will become less focused on Google. Currently, SEO is often synonymous with “Google optimization.” Almost no one calls up an SEO company these days and asks how they can be the #1 search result on Bing. However, that is all going to change in the coming years. Because the major search engines are entering into partnerships together, and because search algorithms now have a common goal, SEO will be less about watching Google’s every move and more about general SEO best practices.
- Search engine algorithms will only get more complicated. Years ago, search engine results were based on the most simplistic strategy: looking for keywords in titles and content. Today, we live in a very different world, in which search results weigh hundreds of factors, including the authority of your website, your inbound links, your bounce rate, and the grammar and spelling on your page. As platforms like Google and Bing continue to hone their techniques for finding the best content online, their algorithms are getting more and more complex.
- Your paid advertising strategies may need to change. Just as the focus is slowly shifting away from an all-Google SEO strategy, the focus of your paid advertisement strategies will likely also need to shift, especially if you (like many other attorneys) currently spend all of your pay-per-click funds on Google AdWords. You may wish to consider investing a few advertising dollars with Bing or Yahoo – or, even better, experimenting with paid advertising on social media websites like Facebook and Twitter.
- The core SEO best practices for attorneys will remain the same. This is by far the most important takeaway from the recent Google-Yahoo partnership: the core best practices for search engine optimization will stay intact even though the landscape of online search engines is changing. If you always create high-quality, accurate, unique, and interesting content, you will always improve your SEO – and this won’t change for a very long time to come. Keep your user and your ideal client in mind as you create your website, and you will always be rewarded.
SEO Help, Focused on Attorneys and Law Offices
At Black Fin Marketing, we specialize in helping attorneys and lawyers create effective and economical marketing plans that help them connect with their ideal clients, both online and offline. To learn more about how our team can help you boost business in 2016, contact us today.