The Great Shark Hunt: Gonzo SEO, Vol. 1

by on May 15, 2011

For every moment of triumph, for every instance of beauty, many souls must be trampled. ~ Hunter S. Thompson

SEO is not always a glorious profession. It takes a great deal of passion and motivation for personal satisfaction and also the patience of a pro angler as well as the resilience of a champion. You need to be able to think outside the normal schools of thought and be creative with your competitive strategies. Some situations can make you second-guess your abilities to rank a site, until you really think about what it takes to win. Marketing is war. Once your think of it in these terms, the rest comes easier. As a competitor, your strategy must be one of either weakening your opponent’s defense or fortifying your offense or a combination of both if necessary.

In a competitive space such as the legal industry, one can expect that the sharks have teeth deepest pockets are willing to pull out all the stops to dominate rankings. Lawyers like rivalry, they are programmed for dichotomy in law school. So as it happens, lawyers who market online, are fierce adversaries of one another. I have seen some search marketing tactics in my experiences with lawyers that are beyond questionable. The firms that adhere to lenient state bar ethics guidelines regarding marketing are actually among the better behaved online. I have observed most of the ruthless marketing lawyers are in mid-major markets. In smaller markets, there is usually only one big-dog and the rest fight amongst themselves over what he casts aside. In large markets, there are generally more potential clients than any one single firm (or even a few) no matter how large could ever hope to process, so they seem to tolerate each other.

So why are the mid-major markets more vicious in terms of competition? It comes down to supply/demand and the dynamic of head-to-head competition. These mid-major markets such as Omaha, Nebraska and Fresno, California are over-saturated with lawyers that have similar services for a similar price and a limited population of potential clients to hire them. Their ocean is red with blood of their shrinking profit pool. In the book Blue Ocean Strategy, the authors illustrate why you want to avoid head-to-head competition and offers way to innovate your services to make competing irrelevant. I suggested this book to some clients of mine and it helped break some mentalities of lawyers that had old industry ideas that were less effective in their markets and enabled them to make changes in their strategies for new client acquisition.

Until the next scatter of words on a page friends,

Don Rhoades, the Gonzo SEO