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From Digital Generalist to SEO Expert: Jordan Mollins’ Journey

In Conversation with Jordan Mollins

For this episode of E-Coffee with Experts, Dawood Bukhari interviewed Jordan Mollins, Director of SEO at Neon Ambition, an Advertising Services Agency located in New York, United States. Jordan shares his journey from a digital generalist to an SEO expert, the unique challenges of legal SEO, and the innovative ways he leverages AI to enhance SEO strategies. We dive deep into topics like internal linking, content creation, backlink strategies, and the future of legal marketing. Jordan also discusses his approach to building a successful SEO team, emphasizing the importance of curiosity and adaptability in an ever-evolving field.

If you’re looking to gain valuable insights and practical tips for your SEO efforts, this episode is a must-watch!

The ability to adapt and stay updated with the latest SEO trends and AI advancements is critical for success in digital marketing

Jordan Mollins
Director of SEO at Neon Ambition

Hello everyone. Today we have with us Jordan Mollins, Director of SEO at Neon Ambition. With nearly 15 years of experience in digital marketing, Jordan has a proven track record of success in managing SEO campaigns and driving organic traffic growth for enterprise websites, particularly in competitive industries like legal. Jordan, welcome to the show, and happy to have you.

Hey, Dewood. Thanks for having me. I’m excited to be here.

Jordan before I start asking you questions. Why don’t we you know, like start like with your journey You know your work across You know niches I mean, and now like, you know mainly focusing on legal like how did you discover? You know the world of SEO. I mean what sparked your passion?

What sparked my passion I was a digital generalist I went to college for marketing and I started in agency life as a generalist who worked on SEO, PPC, Social media, etc I was at a company my first agency for about a week and asked me as it for the SEO purposes to write an article The agency was mostly natural. Sorry HVAC and heating oil focused and they asked me to write an article Senator Markey from Massachusetts has recently passed a bill or proposed a bill. I forget which was anti-natural gas and they were touting this for a local heating oil association. And I wrote that article. It gained a lot of net localized traction, not national traction localized traction, and the heating oil association was forgotten several signups and several new members and different things like that. And I was hooked right away. As soon as I got that and I heard the excitement in their voices and all the feelings that they were having about what that one article could bring for them, I was hooked. I was on the SEO forever.

Right. Well, I mean, you, you know, I mean, as I said earlier, you have worked across niches. You have had like an amazing career so far and you know, there’s still a long way to go. But any particular moment so far which you consider to be like a turning point.

I mean, a turning point for me, I guess in my career was that moment that I just discussed was that one moment, but there’s several moments along the way that have sort of revalidated that opinion. There are always frustrations at different times over Google updates client concerns or all these different things, but there are several moments. I mean, even recently we had a client who told us we got them a white whale of a case and it changed. It was a small firm and it changed the firm owner’s life and firm trajectory. And they helped the people that they were trying to get, like, that were on the other side of it too. It wasn’t just like a greedy cash grab or anything like that. So it was great to hear and fulfilling.

Right. How did legal happen? Like, was it just like, you know, I mean, did it just happen, or was it like some interest you had? I mean, how did legal happen?

I grew up in a legal household. Everyone in my family worked in legal and I got questions from the time I was a little kid my entire life. Are you going to law school? Are you going to take over the business? Are you going to become a lawyer? Are you going to do any of that stuff? And my answer was always, I wanted to get as far away from legal as I could get from legal. So I went to marketing and then ended up in legal. That’s the story.

Yeah, I mean that that’s I mean I got the job in Morgan and Morgan Sort of by chance and fell into legal from there.

Right, right. I mean, what are the unique, you know, like, I mean, like, not issues, but you know, when you’re working with law firms, like any unique, like, SEO, you know, like, considerations you see or any, like, main, you know, like, gaps you, like, you know, like, see in law firms overall?

Law is a tricky field because there are so many law firms and the competition is so strong, but there’s a huge chasm between the ones who do SEO and know what SEO is and those who don’t. It’s really easy in certain instances to pass through some of the ones that have never done SEO or done SEO in a novice way and kind of get your firm’s client ranking fairly well.

But there’s always some really big players because there’s a lot of really big players in the market, as well as legal directories and different things that it’s really hard to break through. So, another legal hurdle is the restrictions from the bar association. So everyone’s kind of creating the same content because everyone does car accidents and everyone does truck accidents and everyone does all that stuff. And it’s, it’s hard to necessarily be different when you can’t, you can’t say things that aren’t within regulation.

Right? I mean, you’re talking about, you know, like, you know, like services or like practices, like, you know, like personal injury, like you said, I mean, if I am a car accident lawyer and you know, I mean like all my competitors are like car accident lawyers. I mean, and then, you know, from an SEO standpoint, you have to kind of take care of making sure the keywords are there and everything is there. I mean, how do you like, getting the uniqueness for your clients in these target pages? Like is there any particular strategy you follow?

I mean just because you have to have the same content and you have to say the same thing there’s, first of all, a bunch of tools that will tell you if your competitors have things that you don’t have on the page so that’s from a basic standpoint making sure you have comprehensive content but just because you have to have the same content doesn’t mean your content has to be the same you need to have personality within the content to sort of break through the clutter and part of that is you know, not SEO-focused or anything like that. It’s just making sure you have a brand voice and making sure you’re saying things. I mean, there’s People, Law by Mike, for example, has 8 million followers on TikTok and he’s answering the same basic questions that within the video, everyone answers on their website in a really basic way. He’s just doing it entertainingly. You know, Morgan and Morgan has the billboard campaigns and a lot of them are pretty controversial.

But they have a voice at least and they’re able to speak and if you have negative publicity, I know that’s the old saying, right? Any publicity is good publicity. You’re gonna break through the clutter and that will help a lot with SEO because if people are talking about you, then you’ll show up in news articles and different things like that versus just having a standard, you know, matter-of-fact law page.

Right, right. When it comes to, you know, like internal links, like is there like, I mean, like, is there like a formula, like, I mean, is there anything like too many internal links or like too less internal?

That’s what so internal links are one of the biggest first things I noticed on many legal sites and talk about once that I’ve had SEO done in the past, not once that needed to update their title tags or anything like that, but.

Most sites do a really poor job of linking their pages internally for PILMA. As you just mentioned before, I did several audits for different firms that were going to be at PILMA. They signed up for free audits and we weren’t doing a sales pitch or anything. We just wanted to give them an idea of sort of where they stood. And that was one of my main findings is that no one does internal links on their pages to help delineate which pages are really important and which pages are less important obviously if you have an internal link it sort of passes the external link, juice as they call it from the pager linking to the pager linking internally so internal links are just as important often as external links and it is too many there is a limit of too many I don’t have a number to give you for that it depends on how long the content is I mean all of that stuff internal linking is an important SEO factor that goes largely ignored by many firms, SEO companies, and just everyone.

Right. How can personal injury law firms identify the most impactful backlinks to target?

So backlink importance, I should say, is sort of calculated by a couple of things. The two most important law firms are location and topical relevance. So links from your local bar association are huge. Links from a local law school or even not a local law school, just a law school, would be really big. I’m not saying you shouldn’t get links in the New York Times Washington Post or Wall Street Journal, pick your publication, but local publications are also really big because they update their content consistently. And if you can, which is another important factor for that, for their site rankings. And if they rank well, it helps you. And getting those sites to link to you is also really important. Local charity events. If you can sponsor a charity event and get a link from the charity event in your area, that’s important.

So how to identify that is just to find things locally that you can use your money not to buy the links necessarily, but to help the community that will get you. I mean, that’s one of the main tactics I use is not necessarily to pay for links, but to do things that help the community that will also earn you back.

Talking about creating link-worthy assets on the website, what are your favorite content types when it comes to creating link-worthy content on the website?

Often its videos and videos are important right now Google and YouTube so that helps everything it does often slow down your site as well So you need to figure out how to integrate it into your site in a way that works effectively, but videos are really important and they’re a great way of Conveying the personality I was talking about before into your messaging and not just having a dry flat page you can all You can also obviously have an infographic or a chart or anything about like the most dangerous intersections in your city and all of that typical sort of content that does, you know, it sort of appears across law firms all across the country, but it will get local coverage in your area. But I would say videos are the main area that should be focused on in terms of scalability and, and morality.

Right, right. How are you leveraging AI? You know, I mean in your day-to-day.

So I’m glad you asked that question because AI is huge. Different things are happening every day and different things are happening in marketing, legal marketing, and law firms in general. So just to start with the SEO-centric part, which is what we’re talking about here. I look for tools that help streamline SEO processes and help make things easier and faster. So we have a tool in the ambition that basically will do the work of a junior SEO. It’ll help locate pages that need schema and it will write the schema for us. It will help identify pages that need title tags and it’ll write us updated tags for that, need alt tags, et cetera. And that stuff all obviously needs to be reviewed and the work needs to be validated as it were with any junior team member. But it does save us hours because it would take a junior or even a senior person who’s doing hours upon hours to do and it does it in seconds. Content-wise, we are not writing content with AI solely. We have a writing team and we don’t trust necessarily AI to be the sole source of our content, but it does have a lot of uses in content for us. We have a couple of different tools that will tell us what higher-ranking competitors have on their pages that we don’t have on our pages to allow us to know sort of what we’re missing and what we can add to those pages. As well as letting our writers find case law or case studies about other cases that have happened within the industry, within the region, on different things they would never really have access to because we don’t have fine law or any of that stuff to look into it.

So it lets them find other things they can reference within a really quick period that makes the content more in-depth more comprehensive and more informative because it allows them to write content that most people aren’t writing. Most people aren’t referencing other case law and case studies and different things like that to continue with their case. Outside that, we also are using a couple more little ones here, super normal is what we use to transcribe our meetings. There’s a bunch of those going around, but super normal we found to be great in terms of action items and takeaways and things like that. And scribe, I just signed up for. I haven’t used it much yet, but I do think that’s going to be incredibly useful in terms of marking down and creating our process documents without me having to think about what I’m doing and sort of translating that to people who don’t necessarily understand the tools or use the tools that much. It will be a great advantage and I’ve heard people who use it.

I was just gonna say one more thing is, because I did mention at the beginning of that answer, legal firms are having a huge change with these AI tools as well. So that’s not necessarily based on marketing, but marketing is gonna have to adapt to it. I’m working on a suite of tools right now that will help some firms implement some of this AI stuff in terms of helping their intake process. So it’ll integrate with their CRNs and help get the right questions asked to the people that help answer case-specific questions. It can help reset reminders to email for medicals or forms from clients, and different things like that. So again, it’s not gonna do the work of the lawyer, but it can help streamline and do the work of a lot of the lower level professionals to help just streamline and make that process more seamless and easy and get people answers a lot more quickly and then marketing is going to have to adapt with that because as firms become more sophisticated, obviously the marketing has to become more sophisticated as well.

So, you know, like just adding to your point, you know, like, I think if we embrace, you know, like AI properly and use it as a tool, you know, you know, we, I mean, we can kind of, you know, do a much better job with it. Like for example, last month, for our project managers, we created a custom GPT where we put all the conversations that we have had with the clients all these years into a custom GPT and asked it to kind of create a knowledge base for responses. So that now when a new project manager comes, you know, and there is a response from a client, which is something he’s not confident about, you know, I mean, he puts it there in that custom GPT he at least gets a response which would ideally be what, you know, like, like somebody senior would tell him. Similarly, like a lot of these clients, and I think in law firms, a lot of these law firms are now also doing podcasts. So we had this client who was doing podcasts. We just used AI to create blogs and so much, so much, so much content around you know those podcasts by leveraging AI which I don’t know I mean I don’t know how many resources I would have used if I was doing that all manually.

Yeah, I agree. And back to the first example, about the training of people and how you can upload all your emails. One of the most important things probably for you in that case, and also for law firms is to make sure that information is gated and not accessible to the public. Cause all these AI models train on public information and the information people put in. That is possible, which I think anyone in the industry probably knows.

But people in legal don’t know. And that’s a thing that you have to comfort them on because people are really worried about privacy concerns and having the information that they put in there go out publicly. And it’s possible to have that not happen. It’s pretty easy to have that not happen. It’s just a setting you need to change. But that’s a piece of knowledge and a piece of information that needs to sort of be spread throughout the industry more so than people know it. I mean, I just kind of assume people know and are as up-to-date as we are sometimes and that’s not, definitely not the case.

Right. Also, Jordan, I mean, you kind of lead an SEO department and, you know, I mean, when you’re hiring people in your team, what are some of the qualities you look at when you’re building your SEO team?

That’s a great question and it’s been an evolving answer for me, but for sure at this point, it’s going to be curiosity and adaptability. So I need people who want to learn the changes that are happening and are not stuck in their ways because SEO has a really low barrier to entry. Anyone could sort of pick up a computer, figure out some things and learn.

But it takes, it’s also really easy to be left behind and you know, you can be left behind and sort of, especially in these times with the things that are changing. And then there was the Google leak this week and there was the AI overviews and there’s perplexity happening and all these different things. It’s really easy to get left behind. So you need to be ever-evolving and ever-learning. And that’s gotta be a big part of your attitude in your job is more than just getting results for clients. You have to be willing to also put in the time and effort to learn. So that’s what I look for in the interview process and when I’m looking for someone on my team is just making sure that they’re, I mean obviously, they have the basic skills but also making sure that they have that attitude and want to you know have strive to learn and be the best at their fields.

Right. Jordan, tell us your favorite client story.

I may have spoiled this one out twice. I think I’ve told two of them as we went through. But, you know, there was the one I started with where I started my SEO career on that client that was just so excited that they got all the different, you know, signups and different things because they were just like a local heating oil agency. And so that was one of them. And then the other one’s probably recency bias, but it was the one that I mentioned that a firm mentioned they got a white whale of a case and that case is still ongoing, but it’s probably going to be a six or seven-figure settlement for the firm. So it’ll be a six or seven-figure settlement in general. And then the firm will also get that much sort of in part of their fees. And just seeing how that one case that we put them in the right place at the right time, sort of can get them and change their, you know, the person’s firm a manager who we deal with or a firm owner, I would say, who we deal with all the time and change their lives is huge. That’s exciting and it makes us feel great to help good people on our end who are our clients, but also to help our clients help the individuals who they’re helping, who need it, who are going through a rough time in their lives and just need to help. So I guess that’s the general area of my response there is that I love hearing the positive impact it has on people, whether it’s our clients or whether it’s their clients, but that’s all my favorite client stories. I probably have a couple more examples that I didn’t think of off the top of my head, but that’s always the area that sticks with me are the ones that change people’s lives.

What excites you most about the future of legal marketing?

We sort of got into this one too, but the AI revolution is really exciting for me. I’m diving headfirst into that, but what’s even more exciting than the fact that it’s happening is that legal is viewed generally as a behind-the-times backward industry. You know, a lot of people, they don’t, they’re pictured in their heads, you know, a bunch of old guys sitting around and they don’t want to deal with technology or any changes in the industry and they want everything to stay. I’ve had a bunch of clients come to me proactively with questions about and saying things about perplexity or the Google algorithm leak in the last week, in the last couple of days, I should say. Any of that stuff, they’re staying on top of it to the most of my knowledge and to the people I’m dealing with. And the fact that they’re trying to be proactive and be in front of it.

It was a real opportunity for me. So we deal with clients of all different sizes at Neon Abition, big and small, but this is a different time and a different chance for small firms to even the playing field with larger firms that they don’t usually get. There’s not normally an opening or a big change that allows the local firm to compete with the firm that has 50 locations or 25 locations, or anything like that. But in this case, If you can be proactive and you can beat people to the punch on some of this stuff, you can be right there with them in the long run. And that’s pretty exciting that it kind of evens the playing field for me.

Right, right. Well Jordan, in the end, I like playing a quick rapid-fire round of three to five questions. Are you ready?

I’m ready.

Early mornings or late nights.

Morning.

favorite ice cream flavor.

and chocolate chips.

Last Google search if you remember

I do not remember. It was probably this morning, too. I can go to my history and figure it out if you want. well, I mean, my last Google search was actually about how to get my camera to work on this podcast.

If a movie was made on you, what genre would it be?

Ooh, that’s a good one. I think comedy, my life, and I don’t want to get into my entire backstory, is that a lot of weird twists and turns and different things happen that can be sort of taken in any way, but my general philosophy and personality is to sort of roll with the punches and make humor out of sort of any situation I can. So I’m hoping a movie about me would do the same instead of taking things no more serious or tragic road.

Well Jordan, thank you so much for your time. It was fun having you and hopefully, we’ll have you again for another episode.

Yeah, that would be great. Thanks for having me and it’s been great being able to answer some questions on the industry with someone who knows so much.

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