Optimized Co https://www.optimizedco.com Better Leads. Better Clients. Wed, 24 Jun 2020 16:31:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.2 https://www.optimizedco.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/oa-favicon.png Optimized Co https://www.optimizedco.com 32 32 7 Vital Elements of Productive PPC Campaigns for Law Firms https://www.optimizedco.com/2019/7-vital-elements-of-productive-ppc-campaigns-for-law-firms/ Wed, 19 Jun 2019 23:07:07 +0000 https://www.optimizedattorney.com/?p=85164 NOTE: It’s important to tailor a PPC campaign to your specific requirements in order to achieve the best results. This post serves as a guideline for PPC campaigns for the legal industry.

Every law firm that takes client acquisition seriously understands the necessity of an excellent digital marketing strategy, especially one that involves effective PPC campaigns. The right PPC campaign strategy can ensure that you arrive at a good cost-per-acquisition (CPA). But getting it right depends on which agency you’ve hired to help you. At Optimized Attorney, our in-depth expertise in PPC campaigns and digital marketing has helped firms both meet and exceed their growth goals year over year.

KPIs and reporting are a very important aspect of our PPC efforts. Depending on your practice area and geographic targets, your CPA may vary. But an analysis of several campaigns across various industries has revealed that there are certain standard features in KPIs, irrespective of industry. That being said, law-related keywords are becoming more expensive, and of course, competitive. This has made lead generation via AdWords quite difficult.

Marketing is becoming more complicated by the day; it doesn’t matter where you are or what type of business you manage. For law firms, however, the complexities are even greater. The UK has even put rules in place to prevent unwanted pitches via telephone or in person. With these kinds of limitations, it’s understandable why PPC is a crucial channel for law firm marketing. But the competitiveness is due to the simple fact that there are too many firms and not enough real estate on the first page of Google.

Standing out of the crowd is not impossible. But it does require that you conceptualize and execute an excellent PPC campaign that will get you the expected leads without harming your ROI. And this is precisely what we offer at Optimized Attorney.  

This guide outlines 7 techniques that are crucial to getting the desired results from your AdWords campaigns. If properly implemented, these tactics are guaranteed to help you target and attract the ideal clients for your law firm.

Let’s take a look:

1.    Focus on the Right Regions

Defining your geo targets is a vital first step to setting up a good PPC campaign. Yes, keywords are vital to your PPC campaign, but targeting the right regions is more important. If you don’t, you may end up coming up in searches from the wrong states and cities.

Targeting the wrong region is like presenting the best services to the wrong clients. How do you avoid doing this? First, set your target regions correctly:

  • From your AdWords menu, locate the SETTINGS area and select your campaign.
  • After that, set your LOCATIONS.
  • Then click on ADVANCED SEARCH, and in the next pop-up box, choose the RADIUS option.  
  • Now you can input a geographical location and set the target radius around such locations. You can either create one target radius per each location or set up multiple target locations to a single campaign. However, the former offers more flexibility in linking your ad creative to your target audience.

Another vital but often overlooked factor is the time of the day you advertise. For best results, law firms should avoid running ads on weekends. Mondays should be the priority.

2.     Concentrate on Search Intent

Keywords vary in prominence, and it all depends on what the user is interested in. In the case of law firms, the search intent is either INFORMATION or QUICK SOLUTION. Understanding this will help you adjust your ads to be in line with a specific intent.  These adjustments cut across your ad copy, landing page, and other content.

Below are the 3 main categories of intent:

  • Transactional – when the searcher wants to make a purchase. Keywords here are usually with high commercial intent.
  • Navigational – when the searcher is interested in a brand or specific website. This is the same as BRAND SEARCHES.
  • Informational – the searcher seeks an answer to a certain question; for instance, a detailed guide on how to solve a problem.

Transactional keywords (i.e. “divorce lawyer in Georgia”) are usually the most searched, and thus the competition is always higher. On the bright side, these keywords are also very profitable. Users are looking to get helpful information on a certain problem, which could possibly be solved with good content.

An example is “how to find a divorce lawyer in Georgia.” This keyword indicates that the searcher lives in your target area (Georgia in this case) and is a great potential client for your firm. To attract a potential client, you could either create content that answers their question or an ad the encourages them to schedule a consultation.

Your conversion techniques will come in handy here to obtain the prospect’s information. Once you have this, you can then employ automated email marketing strategies to keep the relationship going. Automated emails will keep your firm top of mind as the prospect goes through the process of deciding which firm to retain, thereby increase your chances of signing the prospect.

Clients are the biggest stakeholders in the picture – their money, reputation, or freedom is always on the line. So, you can only create healthy relationships by providing them with educational content that serves their needs.  

Take advantage of the lack of proper client education. Research broad keywords and target them. When you find informational keywords, tailor your content to answer them, while separating informational keywords into different ad groups. This is sure to improve your Quality Score (QS) and lead generation.

3.     Make Your Ad Copy Irresistible

It’s important to get your ad copy right. Your targeting will only yield results if you back it up with compelling ads to the right searchers. This will convince them to click on the ads and subsequently visit your landing pages.

This isn’t as easy as it appears, considering that several competitors are trying to get the attention of the same clients through ads. To stand out, here are some copywriting tips that can make the difference in your PPC campaigns:

1.    Start Right

AdWords copywriting can be a bit tricky, especially considering you have a limited number of characters to use in your ads. Working within the character limits to create compelling ads requires creativity and talent. Below are some basic concepts you want to keep in mind before creating your copy:

  • Ensure that your ad copy is RELEVANT. This involves matching your target keyword to your landing page message in your ad copy. This guarantees you an excellent QS.
  • Make the copy about the clients. Yes, it’s good to talk about yourself, but the priority must always be the client. So, use more “you” and less “we” in discussing client pain points and needs.
  • Highlight the benefits. Make sure the person understands what they are getting, and give them compelling reasons to work with you.

2.    Use Numbers

As a reputable law firm, there is no doubt that you have made excellent progress with your clients. Now it’s time to use these impressive statistics to convince your potential clients that they should hire your firm. When used correctly, this data can make your ad copy more compelling to prospects.  

Start with the headlines. Get some numbers in them. In your ad copy, include statistics – like the number of clients, years in business, the number of cases won, and your average win-rate. Note that some regions may restrict the type of information you can include in your ad copy. For instance, some provinces in Canada don’t allow firms to include their win rate in ads. The rule is more relaxed in the United States. So check to make sure that you are not disregarding any rule(s) with the type of statistics you include in your ad copy.

3.    Key-In Important Questions

Searchers tend to want answers to their questions and solutions to their problems. You can expertly rephrase commonly asked questions and make them your headlines. This grabs potential clients’ attention and makes them want to know more, thereby lead them to click the ad.

The reason this works is because these questions are likely already on searchers’ mind before they launch their search, and the moment they see something similar in a headline, they’re likely to click on the ad. For example:

  • “Are you considering divorcing your partner?”
  • “How to choose a divorce attorney”
  • “Do you need to talk to a divorce attorney?”

Above, we discussed “informational” searcher intent. These headlines are great for this purpose.

4.    Employ Emotional Triggers

Despite the limitations, AdWords copy allows you to grab attention by triggering emotions. With the right content, you can reach deep into your potential client and trigger a feeling that is relevant to the challenge(s) facing them at that moment. Proven emotional triggers are listed below:

  • Trust. You need to convince your prospects that you are reliable, credible, and dependable. Tailor your PPC ads and your landing pages to highlight your trustworthiness.
  • Value. Everyone wants the best value for their money, and buyers try hard to avoid buyer’s remorse. So offer a guarantee alongside your services or a special offer that sets you apart from your competitors.
  • Instant Gratification. While it may take a while to achieve the desired results, prospects in the legal industry still want instant gratification. You can make your ad copy ease their current woes, thus convincing them of your ability to help them get results in the long run.  
  • Hope. Sometimes, the only thing that keeps a prospect going is hope. And when they find someone that offers them a “brighter” future, they’ll take it willingly.
  • Fear. Decision making is a process, and it is often driven by fear. You can take advantage of this by showing prospects why and how your service is the right way to go. Help them find peace in what you offer.

5.    Do Tests and More Tests

It’s practically impossible to integrate all of the elements discussed above into one ad. Instead, you can combine a few of them in different ads and test them against each other. How do you this?

  • Visit your AdWords campaign menu.  
  • Locate ADS & EXTENSIONS, and click the PENCIL ICON that is closest to your best performing ad copy.  
  • From the options, choose COPY AND EDIT.  

Now you can change some elements of your ad. This feature allows you to test various ads against each other. You can set them up from the DRAFTS AND EXPERIMENTS tab.

Once the AD VARIATIONS tab loads, select NEW AD VARIATION and follow the wizard prompts to apply the new variation to your selected campaign. Changes like text replacements, switching headlines, and updating whole sections of your copy can be done quickly using this feature.

For best results, test only one element at a time – either headline or call-to-action, but not both.

4.     Creating Landing Pages That Convert

Now that you have put up compelling and irresistible ad copies, you should move on to putting a proper landing page in place. After all, when your prospects click the ad, it will take them to the landing page.  

What is the goal of a landing page? To convert potential clients. So, design it to convince a visitor to take action.

It’s only when your landing page is designed to convert that you can drive traffic to it. And considering how expensive keywords are, getting as many leads as possible from these clicks is crucial.  

Below are 5 must-have elements for your landing pages if you want to generate an impressive number of leads for your law firm:

  • Get Rid of Navigation Planes

The fewer the distractions, the higher your chances are of your prospects taking the desired action. One major distraction is a navigation plane that allows them to browse the website. So one way to increase your chances of conversion is to get rid of it.

  • The “Hero Shot”

The “hero shot” is obvious visual content that allows the visitor to see what you offer at first glance. Getting a hero shot is easier if you’re selling a product, but it requires creativity if you’re offering services. And sometimes, a hero shot that’s in line with your services may be difficult to come by.

  • Use Videos

If you’re finding it difficult to provide a visual with images, look to video content. A good video can build trust immediately. It allows you to present your personality and showcase your expertise as a law firm. Make sure that your videos are short and simple. Explain clearly what you offer and what makes your firm outstanding.

  • Include Only One Call-to-Action

Having more than one call-to-action on your landing page may end up confusing potential clients and hurting your chances of conversion. Usually, the one call-to-action is to fill out a form, and afterward, request a consultation or call-back or download a whitepaper. Make the layout simple and ask only for vital details. Ensure that the CALL-TO-ACTION button stands out from other elements on the page. Also, find out the best form length for your practice and stick to it. Prospects can get discouraged if the form is too long. To avoid this problem, don’t ask your prospects to submit irrelevant or overly personal information – only information that can generate leads.

  • Build Trust With Testimonials

For a law firm, building trust can be a daunting task, especially when you’re trying to generate new leads. However, one of the easiest ways to give your prospects that extra push is to include testimonials from satisfied clients on your landing page. You can get this feedback from your clients, and while you’re at it, make sure that they’re very specific about what services they received, how their challenges were solved, and why they enjoyed having you as their law firm.

To prove the authenticity of these testimonials, try to include the client’s full name and a headshot when putting them on your landing page. You don’t want your prospects doubting whether the reviews are real or not.

5.     Include Call Extensions

Commercial intent keywords are very lucrative. You may come across desperate prospects that are looking to speak to someone immediately. You can take advantage of their desperation by including call extensions in your ads. These are calls-to-action that are found immediately after your ad when the search is done on a mobile device. The moment a user clicks on this extension, the number you added to the extension is automatically dialed on their device.

Setting up a call extension is quite easy. From your AdWords menu page, locate ADS & EXTENSIONS and click the EXTENSIONS tab. Proceed to click on the blue PLUS button, and then CALL EXTENSION.

The next page provides you with several options to set up your call extension. Here are the basics of the setup process:

  • Add To – Choose the ad group or campaign that you want the extension to work with.
  • Extension – Choose CREATE NEW.
  • Country and Number – Check the drop down and choose your country of residence, then input the phone number through which you can be reached.
  • Call Reporting – Using this option, you can set the call duration and quantity.
  • Device Preference – If you want to restrict the extension to mobile ads only, check MOBILE. If not, leave it unchecked.

While you can choose to make a few other changes from the other options, it is advisable that you leave them as is. Upon applying the extension to a certain ad group, you’ll find the attached under your ad, as an option to call, whenever you search on Google.

Now your clients can reach you faster and more easily.

6. Analytics & Call Tracking

By now, the AdWords campaign for your law firm should be up and running. Well, it doesn’t stop at that. It is important that you continue to monitor your progress, and ultimately determine if your PPC is generating the best ROI possible.

You will most likely get more inquiries via phone calls. It’s therefore advisable that you employ Google Analytics and Call Tracking as your most preferred forms of tracking.

You can link Google Analytics (GA) and AdWords on your GA account:

  • Locate the ACQUISITION option on your GA Account, and choose ADWORDS, then CAMPAIGNS.  
  • On the wizard, click GET STARTED and follow the steps to finish up the linking.  
  • When you have completed the process, go back to the CAMPAIGNS tab, and you will see your AdWords data displayed.

Call tracking checks the source of your calls (where they come from), the duration, and the quality. Based on your location, there are a couple of options out there.  

Although Google Analytics and Call Tracking are not the same, the basic principles are quite similar. In both systems, there is a “dynamic” phone number that is added to your website. Each visitor gets to see a different phone number, which is usually picked randomly from a collection of available numbers. The call goes through the calling tracking system once the number is dialed. The system then records the source of the call – PPC, organic search, or others – the duration, and the call itself. This is a reliable method for assessing team performance.

Both Analytics and Call Tracking are proven methods for keeping tabs on your AdWords efforts as the campaign runs. You can test new ad copy, create ad groups for each of the best performing keywords, and enhance your landing pages to ensure the best conversion rates.  

7.     Advanced Law Firm PPC Techniques

What we have discussed from #1 to #6 are the basics of creating and executing a productive law firm PPC strategy.  However, before we conclude this piece, let us take a quick look at two advanced techniques. When employed, they are sure to ensure a better and more optimized campaign, and of course, improved ROI.

1.    Removing Competitor Clicks

There are good chances that your competitors are also monitoring you, just like you are them.  So, like any other user, they search for the name of your firm on Google and probably click on your search ads too.  If this persists, it might make your campaign ineffective, and waste your resources. After all, your competitors are not your ideal clients. However, with this technique, you can prevent this.

Start by locating their IP address.  How? Simply sign up for their email list, then assess one of their newsletters via Gmail.  Click the drop-down and select SHOW ORIGINAL.

Press Ctrl+F and search for “Received: from” in the source. You will be presented with the IP address used in sending the mail.   Now, the next step is to exclude the IP from your campaigns. You can do this under the SETTINGS tab of your AdWords campaign. Click on ADDITIONAL SETTINGS → IP EXCLUSIONS. Now, punch in the IP addresses of your competitors in the text box containing the inscription “Enter one IP address per line.”

Although your competitors will still be able to click on your ads, you won’t be paying for such clicks.

2.    Increase your Quality Score by Optimizing Your Headlines

There are a couple of vital PPC factors that must be optimized for the best results, and Quality Score is one of them.  When your QS is higher, your CPC will be lower while your CTR will be higher. To optimize your QS quick and easy, work on your headline.  Here are some useful tips in this regards:

  • Add the Keyword.  This can be done by creating a different Ad Group for each of your best keywords.  Then add the target keyword to your headline.
  • Embrace proper punctuation.  Without violating AdWords best practices, you can use punctuation to your advantage, especially to ensure that your copy remains well-organized when the first line starts immediately after your headline.
  • Stay updated.  Use headlines that are recent; they grab prospects’ attention easily.  For instance, add your success rate for the past month.
  • Add your location. In addition to your keywords, include your target region or city. For best results, create different ad groups for each of your target locations.

Note that you can only get the best QS when you have ensured that all other aspects like ad copy, target keywords, and landing page are already settled. However, optimizing the headline tends to be easier and more rewarding.

A quick recap…

Let’s conclude this article by reviewing the six steps to create a more profitable AdWords campaign, and ultimately winning over more prospects for your law firm.  

#1: Focus on the right regions

If you are not attracting the right traffic, your campaign might have failed before it even started. So, attract the right traffic by first setting up your geo-targeting to ensure that your ads are directed to the cities and regions that you serve

#2: Selecting the right keywords

You may find out that the first set of keywords you target brings no return.  However, maintain the same accuracy, and fine-tune your geo-targeting by using specialized keywords as well as intent search keywords.

#3:  Setup Separate Ad Groups

To minimize cost and get maximum traffic, ensure that you optimize your Quality Score (QS). To do this, make your keyword, and ad copy highly relevant by setting up ad groups for each of our best performing keywords.

#4:  Create compelling and irresistible ad copy

You are not the only law firm that comes up when a prospect search for your target keywords. So, to be at the forefront, you must create an ad copy that addresses their needs impressively.

#5:  Use Ad Extensions

These are add-ons that offer more information or more actions for your potential clients to take.  For instance, call extensions make it easier and faster for potential clients to reach you.

#6:  Optimize your landing pages to increase conversion

If your prospect clicks your ad, and your landing page is not convincing enough to make them take that decisive step, then you haven’t achieved your aim of converting such prospects. To optimize your landing pages, create an ad copy that converts, a strong call-to-action, and captivating headlines.

Lastly, tailor your campaigns to turn prospects into clients by addressing their challenges, while educating them, and more importantly, gaining their trust.

Taking the step…

Yes, this guide is quite simple and straightforward, and if followed correctly, you can conveniently use AdWords to improve your practice.  However, if you find any step challenging or even the whole process, feel free to reach us at Optimized Attorney. As a reputable PPC and digital marketing experts, you can rest assured that we will help you get the desired results from your PPC campaigns.  

If you are already on the AdWords campaign journey, share your experience so far in the comments below.   

Good luck!

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10 Best Practices for Paid Search and PPC for Attorneys https://www.optimizedco.com/2019/10-best-practices-for-paid-search-and-ppc-for-attorneys/ Wed, 19 Jun 2019 23:00:07 +0000 https://www.optimizedattorney.com/?p=85162 As Google continues to make changes to the paid search platform, we learn more about the best practices of the year for things like paid search and PPC. You should review your current practices and realign them to improve your performance and gain opportunities.

If you have questions or would like to talk to Travis or another team member about growing your firm via PPC, feel free to call us directly or schedule an appointment using the link below.

Schedule Your Appointment Today!


1. Fully utilize new features in Google Ads.

All Google advertisers were required to switch to the new ad experience by last October. This change introduced many exclusive features available on the new ad experience platform, including:

  • Promotion extensions – Discounts or percentage off can be added to accounts at the ad group level. This is beneficial if you were using links to sites or ad copy for promotions.
  • Bid adjustments for phone calls – You can use the new ad experience to increase bid adjustments on ads that have call extensions on them. Those ads can be served more often. You should review ad impressions and call impressions to determine the best strategy for bid adjustments.
  • Outstream video campaigns – If you use mobile only videos outside of Google and YouTube, they must be on partners sites or apps.

2. Branch out into new platforms.

Many platforms are presenting paid channel offerings to advertisers. No longer do you have to focus on Google, Bing, and Facebook. Instead, you may consider paid advertising on LinkedIn, Pinterest, or Snapchat. Each of these platforms has different offerings and promotions towards a different audience. You should evaluate your needs and spread your advertising strategy among the platforms.

3. Focus on mobile first.

Mobile devices have increasingly become primary search tools. Today, mobile phones are the primary devices used by searchers, followed by computers, and then tablets. As many as 58 percent of conversions come from mobile users. Additionally, they have the lowest cost per conversion.

It’s time for businesses to customize their mobile ad experiences. PPC marketers who fail to recognize the value of mobile will be waiting their paid advertising budgets. Lacking mobile ads will equate to lost opportunities in the target market.  

4. Utilize new advertising features in Bing Ads.

In addition to the changes made by other platforms, Bing Ads has added features that promise a significant impact. Bing Ads’ newest feature, Audience Network, is an AI-powered device that can improve your current search campaigns. Audience Network can analyze billions of intent signals from Microsoft and others, creating relevant in-market lists to help you reach appropriate searchers right when they’re looking to make a transaction. There are more than 200 in-market categories on Bing’s Audience Network, which can improve your advertising strategy.

5. Integrate audiences with search.

Advertisers were once limited to keywords in search engines. However, now PPC users can target audiences and demographics to refine their keyword campaigns. An audience is a list of all users grouped together by interest, behavior, or another manner. Bing Ads has targeted audiences for some time, but now Google Ads will as well.  

  • Demographics will be used, including marital status, home ownership, parental status, education level, and household income.
  • In-Market and intent customization will be possible through searches and online behavior that signals buying cues.
  • Remarketing will be available for advertisers for website visitors and YouTube.

6. Utilize Scripts effectively.

People who use PPC should use scripts and other tools to automate their repetitive tasks. There are free and template scripts that can be used to reduce complexity. Google also has workshops throughout the nation to train people to use Ads more effectively.

7. Prepare for voice search.

Although various equipment has had the capability to voice search for years, it has only recently become more popular. It’s best to review the trends in your account to determine how much voice search is brining you traffic. It’s important to identify voice search queries and cater to them in your paid advertising.

8. Review your budget in 2019.

Many paid advertisers get familiar with their tasks and fail to reevaluate and redistribute their budgets. In 2019, you should establish guidelines for when your budget should be reviewed. Although you will likely want a year-long focus, it’s best to break PPC up into smaller pieces and review relevant information more frequently.

Consider the following when evaluating your 2019 budget:

  • Which of your 2018 campaigns were successful and had a positive ROI?
  • Can you capture additional traffic to grow your results for winning campaigns?
  • Do you have additional budget from less successful campaigns that can be allotted to winning campaigns?
  • Should you shift your budget from less successful channels to those with higher performance?
  • Can you request a budget increase to make better investments?

9. Consider your reporting.

PPC metrics have been reported similarly for years. Perhaps it’s time to replace that data or make additions to your reports. Bing Ads and Google Ads both recently updated their Overview pages, allowing you to pull and graph data easily.

  • When considering your reports, evaluate:
  • Do we need this specific data? Does it tell us anything?
  • Is the information we pull actionable?
  • Are there new metrics we can integrate into our reports?

10. Collaborate with others.

If your paid advertising strategies are going nowhere, reach out to others and get second opinions. The science behind PPC is unique, often lending to individual approaches by everyone. Others may give you ideas or contribute to your strategy. Review ebooks, Twitter feeds by experts, and industry publications for new ideas to improve your 2019 paid advertising plan.

Discovering New Paid Advertising Trends

PPC now looks different than it has in the past. You will want to review new features on old advertising platforms and expend to new devices. You will have opportunities in Google Ads and Bing, but also YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat, LinkedIn, and more. Don’t limit yourself in reach or budget to improve your results in 2019.

If you have questions or would like to talk to Travis or another team member about growing your firm via PPC, feel free to call us directly or schedule an appointment using the link below.

Schedule Your Appointment Today!

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10 Truths to Improve Your Law Firm Marketing https://www.optimizedco.com/2019/10-truths-to-improve-your-law-firm-marketing/ Wed, 19 Jun 2019 22:34:15 +0000 https://www.optimizedattorney.com/?p=85155 The economy is treating many law firms well, with profits up and revenues high. Attorneys are willing to shell out plenty on marketing. It can be tempting to put the whole hog in large-scale marketing that grabs attention. Many attorneys want to do what their counterparts are doing, which often means billboards and full page ads in business journals. However, sometimes these big actions don’t result in sustained business success. You should be focused on strategy that you can trust. A unique and targeted marketing strategy can help you build your firm and improve ROI.

If you have questions or would like to talk to Travis or another team member about growing your firm, feel free to call us directly or schedule an appointment using the link below.

Schedule Your Appointment Today!

Some Marketing Will Bring Attention, But Not Trust

A large marketing campaign in the faces of many people will bring attention to your firm. If your goal is brand recognition, that might work. However, you can’t buy the trust of consumers. People seeking attorneys want to know they can trust them with their lives, fortunes, and futures.

You need a marketing strategy that will get you both trust and attention. This requires a stable foundation and an investment. You must listen and understand what your audience wants. Only once you know what matters to your potential clients can you develop a marketing campaign that will engage people and bring them through your doors.

These Truths Are Not Universal

While we can present information to you that will help you boost your business, every truth may not be the one that applies to you. Though, many of these principles address issues seen by law firms. Focus on the ones that seem relevant to you and work to achieve continued success.


1. Clients care about themselves.

Clients are focused on their own facts and not worried about figures related to your firm. You might think they want to know how successful you’ve been in the past, but in reality, they only want to know how you can be successful for them. Don’t fixate on what you do. Instead, understand the clients and what they want. They act on a feeling. Tell a story to help them achieve that feeling.

2. Clients are seeking outcomes.

Your clients will have a goal in mind when they come to you. However, that goal may not be what you think it is. Sure, they may want to win the lawsuit, but they also want to be heard and respected. If you’re focused solely on winning the case, you may miss a big part of what brought your client to you in the first place.

To attract more clients, focus on the outcomes they want. Pitch them the feelings and justifications that cater to their needs. You should help them make the best choices possible, while still respecting their desires.

3. Your competition is the status quo.

Most people who are looking for an attorney have already worked with one in the past. If not, then they know of or can quickly find a dozen of your competitors. You must offer a radically better option than your competitors. Whether that means better fees, better service, or personal attention, you need to provide more than the status quo to win clients.

4. Potential clients need a reason to change.

Without a push, potential clients will go to the easiest option available. If they’re already working with an attorney, they will return. You must develop a compelling story to earn their trust and initiate their change from the familiar. Building trust involves making promises and keeping them, even when that means going out of your way.

5. Each client should be focused on individually.

Many large law firms handle cases as a massive endeavor, running them through a process involving many people and steps. People don’t want to feel like cattle. Instead, you should be focusing on one person at a time. Mass marketing is a lazy way to focus on large numbers of potential clients who will mean nothing in the long run. When you get to know each person, you have the opportunity to gain a client for life and someone who will recommend you to their peers. This will be more valuable to you in the long run than a message you broadcast to a mass market.

6. Tactics should serve the strategy.

Tactics are those things that other firms are using that work at the moment. Tactics generate a buzz and develop short-term business. Strategy is more broadly focused and is concerned with your business. Use tactics to serve a long-term strategy. Your website, social media, videos, and more should be pieces that you use to support your goals.

7. Thought leadership marketing can benefit your firm.

Freely sharing information, education, and inspiration through content is a method of thought leadership that can benefit your marketing. Many attorneys don’t want to engage in thought leadership marketing. Instead, they want to develop a personal method of marketing that they keep secret. There are few secrets in the marketing world. It’s best to put it all out there and take it all in. You will likely learn as much as you contribute.

8. Start small, achieve big.

Many attorneys start with a small focus area. They have a niche that establishes themselves as a thought leader. You need to commit to one area where you can make a difference. You should aim for depth of subject, not breadth. Opportunities will come your way that are related to your focus. You will be in a position to avoid side projects and distractions that will not grow your firm. Clients who want your specialized services will often pay more for them because they understand the value of your knowledge.

9. First impressions are everything.

The most common piece of advice for people seeking new jobs is to focus on their first impressions” Most people make a snap judgment, either positive or negative, within a few minutes of meeting someone. This applies to clients as well. Whether your client will get a first impression over the phone, internet, or in person, you should make sure that impression is good. Invest marketing strategies into improving your first impression to new clients.

10. You should invest in current clients.

While new clients may be attractive, don’t forget those who have been with you for some time. You should also invest marketing resources in existing clients. Their needs are constantly changing, and they should be reminded you are one call away. Acquiring new clients can be as much as 25 times more expensive than retaining one you already have. You can improve your profits by simply retaining existing clients.

Next Steps to Improving Your Law Firm Marketing

This information has focused on specific steps you can take to improve your law firm in 2019. Most of the truths presented in this article highlight the relationship between you and your clients. This is an important element of success now and in the future. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who is your potential client?
  • What matters to your potential client?
  • How does your potential client see the world?
  • What do you have to offer your clients different?
  • What small steps can you take to gain attention in small groups?
  • How can you break through the status quo?
  • How can you serve your audience?
  • How can you build trust?

The answers to these questions will help you gain success as you progress forward towards your goals. If you are struggling with these issues, you should consult with a professional marketing agency that can help guide you through the process.

If you have questions or would like to talk to Travis or another team member about growing your firm, feel free to call us directly or schedule an appointment using the link below.

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Making Your Client Intake Process More Effective for Your Law Firm https://www.optimizedco.com/2019/making-your-client-intake-process-more-effective-for-your-law-firm/ Wed, 19 Jun 2019 22:03:37 +0000 https://www.optimizedattorney.com/?p=85152 One of the most important steps of the client lifecycle is the intake process. It involves a series of steps that ultimately converts potential clients into paying clients. It is, essentially, the sales process for law firms.

Despite its importance, law firms rarely invest energy into making their intake process more effective and efficient. Instead, they stick with a poorly developed process that wastes time and seems disorganized. This can result in lost revenue when clients become frustrated and get lost in the shuffle.

By improving the client intake process, firms can increase conversion rates and ROI. Client satisfaction will also rise as resources are focused on this process. This article will discuss four stages of the client intake process and how they can be made more effective.

If you have questions or need help improving your intake process, feel free to reach out to our team anytime. If you prefer you can schedule a time to speak with Travis by clicking on the link below.

Schedule Your Appointment Today!

Stage 1: Lead Acquisition and Management

Potential new clients are called “leads.” Leads may come from your website, referrals, advertising campaigns, or other sources. They may reach out to you, or you may contact them. Regardless of how you come into contact with a potential client, it’s important to immediately engage. When you get a lead, the client intake process begins.

Common mistakes in the lead acquisition and management process include responding too slowly, failing to track leads, and not following up with people who reach out. These mistakes can severely impact your conversion rate and the overall health of your business. That’s why the first step in improving your client intake process is improving your lead system.

  • Track every lead. You should have a proper client relationship management (CRM) system that will track each lead, record their contact information, and set up reminders for you to follow up.
  • Use a virtual receptionist. If you don’t respond to a call immediately, you’ll likely lose the prospective client. A virtual receptionist can be used during business hours or outside of those times to answer your calls so that a real person is in contact with every lead. Personal contact will begin building trust.
  • Use drip emails for cold leads. If your lead is hot and ready to hire, then you should jump on that contact right away. However, if they haven’t yet made a decision and they’re warm or cold, then you should send “drip emails” or automated sequenced emails to massage the contact. Those emails will include educational information, testimonials, and case results to engage potential clients.

Stage 2: Consultations with Potential Clients

Once you have a lead, you will need to start building trust. The next step in the client intake process is scheduling an initial consultation. This is essentially a sales meeting. You will learn the nature of the potential client’s legal issue and work to get their business. Consultations are essential in the legal world, so it’s worth investing time to develop a good process for setting appointments and making sure people show up.

  • Screen clients with a questionnaire. Leads may reach out to law firms without any real intention of hiring one or without the financial means to afford the services. Avoid wasting everyone’s time with a well-crafted questionnaire that will make the potential client know you’re serious and help you understand their needs going forward. The questionnaire should be 10 to 15 items that requests personal and employment status, details about the opposing parties, and information about legal issues.
  • Send a confirmation email. No show clients waste everyone’s time. Someone who doesn’t show up won’t likely return as a client. Reduce the likelihood of the potential client forgetting about your consultation by sending a reminder email which should confirm date and time of the appointment.

Stage 3: Gathering Information

Obtaining information to begin a case is at the center of the client intake process. Information gathering typically begins right away when a lead comes in, but it continues during and after the consultation as well. Because this step is so important, it’s essential to optimize the process.

  • Use a standardized questionnaire. Incomplete or inaccurate data can lead to a malpractice claim. Standardize data collection so you know you’re getting a full range of information needed for each type of case you handle. A questionnaire should ask about the client, their legal matter, and key dates and deadlines.
  • Record information in a database. Use custom fields in a database to record information that the client provides to you. If you use paper questionnaires, you may have to manually enter data, but electronic questionnaires can auto populate fields for later review. Software can also provide you with a report of all important information in your case from this database.

Stage 4: Fee Agreement Drafting and Signing

Once you engage in stages one through three, you will have nearly sealed the deal with the client. All you need to do is get a signed fee agreement and contract. This last step is still important, so don’t stop focusing on the goal of landing a new client. This is where the attorney-client relationship is finalized.

You will want to develop a fee agreement process that is easy for attorneys and their staff as well as clients. There should be a steamlined process that flows from one person to the next easily.

  • Use an automated process to reduce errors. Law firms almost always use standard templates for fee agreements. However, you will need to customize things like names, contact information, and fee amounts. This process can be automated with software like Lexicata and Clio. It also helps cut down on non-billable administrative hours.
  • Use e-signatures to create an easier process for clients. Clients may not want to come to your office for every step of the initial legal process. With e-signatures, they can sign a fee agreement from anywhere. This also saves money by going paperless.
  • Open a new matter. Once all agreements are signed, you can open a new case matter and record key deadlines and upcoming tasks. Failing to record necessary dates may open you to malpractice claims. You can automate your software to record those dates for you when you initiate a new matter.

Develop an Effective Client Intake Process

Although the meat of the case may take place over several months or years, the initial stages of the client intake process are just as important. Take the beginning of your case seriously and invest time and resources into improving it to reduce inefficiency.

If you have questions or need help improving your intake process, feel free to reach out to our team anytime. If you prefer you can schedule a time to speak with Travis by clicking on the link below.

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Guide to Law Firm Marketing https://www.optimizedco.com/2019/guide-to-law-firm-marketing/ Thu, 16 May 2019 21:33:51 +0000 https://optimizedatty.wpengine.com/?p=85048 The key to law firm marketing in 2019 is being there when a potential client is looking for services. You should be present and visible to catch their attention. While you should present information about your services, you should mainly focus on what you can help the client achieve. They have a goal, and you should develop a strategy to help them meet that objective.

Setting Your Legal Marketing Strategy in 2019

When developing your marketing strategy in 2019, make sure you:

  • Establish a goal
  • Set a strategy to meet that goal
  • Use key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the achievement of your goals

All of the tactics you utilize should be focused on getting closer to your goals. If your tactics are not focused on your goals, you will be spinning your wheels without moving forward.

Determining your success with strategy requires careful tracking. Rankings, traffic, and other metrics can be useful. However, they are simply a means to an end. Instead, your marketing should result in new clients, a more extensive referral network, and increased brand awareness. If your law firm marketing didn’t go as planned in 2018, you can implement changes in 2019 to hit your goals.

If you have questions or would like to speak with someone on our team, please call us directly at 888-659-7553. 

What Has Changed in Legal Digital Marketing in 2019

Google and other search platforms have made a lot of changes for 2019. In particular, Google’s search engine results page (SERP) is dramatically different. Real estate for organic results is smaller, and user behavior has shifted as a result.

Search results have more featured snippets.

Snippets can take up a lot of space, so organic search results have been pushed even farther down the page on SERPs. The usually appear right below paid ads and above-suggested searches. If you can garner a snippet, though, you may get a majority of the clicks.  

There were a lot of updates to algorithms.

Google made several significant updates to algorithms in 2018, which has resulted in different results for many firms in 2019. Some firms got a boost, and others have seen decreased traffic. To see positive results from these algorithmic updates, your page may have been rated as valuable to your target audience. This includes a focus on quality, comprehensive content, and relevance. While Google is pretty secretive about their updates, the algorithms tend to make sense over time.

Consumers are trusting local results even more.

Local results provide searchers with a plethora of information before they even click into a website. Thus, the user has an opportunity to build trust from the SERP. For that reason, consumers tend to be using local results even more than ever before. This is especially good for law firms that have a lot of reviews and show up high on the Map Pack.

Other updates include:

  • Service area updates
  • The elimination of Google+
  • PPC ads being labeled more discreetly
  • Changes in the way links are valued

With all these changes, it’s really about being in the right place at the right time, when your potential clients are looking for the type of services you offer. You need to get your information out there on the frontline so searchers can see it and utilize it as quickly as possible.

Where Are People Finding Lawyers?

To be successful, you need to know how clients are finding you, and then invest in marketing to that platform. Are your potential clients finding you through referrals, billboards, a database, or your website? It’s worth determining where your clients are coming from to boost your business even more.

According to online studies, as many as 49% of people research a legal issue before they reach out to a lawyer. Your website can help them do this research. People want to get their questions answered right away, without much hassle. However, each potential client’s journey is different. So, you may provide information for one client while another decides to reach out to you directly. Regardless, you can use your website to help people find the information they’re seeking.

Which Search Engines Should Your Firm Prioritize?

Google still holds the majority share of searches; however, other search engines are becoming more popular. As of January 2019, Baidu made up around 12% of searches and Bing had approximately 7.8% of searches. Google was the majority of the remainder, with smaller search engines like DuckDuckGo taking up a minimal share of the market.

While Google clobbers most other search engines, there are some benefits to putting information on different types of platforms. For example, people are searching for legal information on YouTube and Facebook as well. In fact, people tend to spend more time on YouTube and Facebook than they do on Google. Thus, there are many opportunities in those venues.

Some of the top channels you should be prioritizing include:

  • Google
  • YouTube
  • Bing
  • Facebook
  • Legal Directories (Avvo, Justia, Martindale, Jurist, Findlaw, etc.)

Paid vs. Organic Search in 2019

In most cases, organic search will get you better results than paid search. Although paid ads are usually above the fold, they only get around 5% of clicks. The local three pack and organic results further down the page get more clicks. However, you can improve your chance of a potential client click by maximizing how many times your website appears on the first page of Google. Do this by appearing:

  • In the PPC ad section
  • On legal directory listings
  • In the local pack
  • High in organic search

It can take time to rank organically and in the local pack. So, in the meantime, you may be able to optimize your appearance through PPC ads and legal directories. You shouldn’t be focused on one or the other, but rather all of the options available to reach as many people as possible.

Channels to Prioritize to Get New Clients in 2019

If your goal is new clients in 2019, then you should focus your resources on a variety of channels. The more you can devote to diverse channels, the number of different clients you may attract.

  • Referrals – Although digital marketing is beneficial, never overlook the importance of fostering referral relationships. Personal communication and social media can help reach out to current clients to help you garner referrals.  
  • Organic Search – The most clicks still go to organic search. Having a powerfully optimized website that ranks well can be a generous new source for leads. You should have quality content that loads fast with clear calls to action.
  • Paid Search – Legal keywords are some of the most competitive in PPC campaigns; however, they often result in successful cases. Investing resources to get you at the top of a SERP can get you leads.
  • Directories – Although very few people go directly to a directory for attorneys, these websites show up at the top of SERPs when people Google “criminal defense attorney near me.” Standard directories include Avvo, Justia, SuperLawyers, Jurist, and more.

Have a Legal Focus To Improve Your Marketing Efforts

Although many attorneys promote themselves as “general practice” law firms, it can be beneficial to have a focus. Firms that have many different practice areas or locales struggle with digital marketing.  The scattered focus seems off-putting to potential clients who have one goal in mind. Additionally, Google has difficulty categorizing an attorney with such fragmented services. When you have too many focuses, you dilute your efforts.

Use these questions to determine how to focus your law firm’s marketing efforts:

  • What community do you serve? Establish a specific geographic area that you want to serve.
  • What type of cases do you want most? You can take other cases, but determine which ones are the most desirable and profitable to you.
  • How can you master your niche? Although you can know an array of practice areas, you should have one or two that you specialize in. Avoid expanding into new areas until you’ve become recognized in your primary areas.
  • Can you commit to being the best? You are not the only firm in your practice area and locale. You should know what sets you apart and how to achieve your goals.
  • Can you promote yourself? Attorneys often want more business, but they don’t want others to know they are seeking engagement. They often feel their competitors will think they are not doing well. In reality, finding more business means you’ve already satisfied your clients and are ready to build your brand.

Understanding the Legal Sales Funnel

Your potential clients should be able to find you at any stage of their journey through the legal process, from research to hiring. People who are at the bottom of the sales funnel often search transactional keywords like “truck accident lawyer,” and they may be ready to make a decision right away. However, you should also be investing time in the people who are at the top of the funnel and mid-funnel, providing content to assist conversions. Those people searching for information may be clients later down the road when they’re ready to make a decision.

Legal Sales Funnel Example

In an immigration law firm, people at the top of the funnel may be searching for broad information about becoming a U.S. citizen. They may search for terms like “how to become a citizen.” As they move through the sales funnel, they may be more focused on how an attorney can help, and then specifically for an “immigration attorney near me.” Effective digital marketing will focus on all levels of the sales funnel.

Stages of a Law Firm Sales Funnel

A law firm sales funnel typically has five stages:

  1. Awareness – This point is the top of the funnel where potential clients are doing initial research. You can add value to their searches with information on your website that will help in their journey. Things like e-books and FAQ pages can often answer their questions quickly.
  2. Consideration – Consumers who have gathered some information become more aware of their needs and start to process their options. They may begin looking at legal competitors and online reviews.
  3. Conversion – This is where potential clients are ready to make a move. They may not even spend much time on a page, but directly reach out via email, chat, or phone. Bottom funnel keywords should be transactional and focused on what the client is looking for at this point.
  4. Loyalty – You will want to keep clients and make them come back for repeat engagements. At this point, you should have built trust, and you can encourage clients to leave reviews and refer to others.
  5. Advocacy – You are a brand advocate when you do an excellent job for your clients from start to finish. Customers who have been satisfied throughout the sales funnel will rave about your brand.

Checklist for Law Firm Marketing

The previous information was provided as an introduction with basic knowledge about law firm marketing. It sets up the following checklist, which can be used to boost your brand in 2019. This checklist includes action items that you should consider to generate new leads and grow your referral network.

Digital marketing efforts can go in a lot of directions, but you shouldn’t forget your website. Clients will visit it from a variety of sources and may use it for information or direct contact to your firm. You should have complete control over what people see on your website and how they interact with it.

Take the following actions to improve your website:

  • Make sure it’s mobile friendly – Google has a free mobile-friendly website test.
  • Secure your website – You should have an SSL certificate installed.
  • Take measures to help your website load fast – you can find your speed score online.
  • Improve your content – Evaluate your pages with crawlers like Screaming Frog and Google Analytics to create informative content that converts.
  • Eliminate crawl errors – When you move, delete, or rename a page on your website, it can create crawl errors that confuse Google and searchers.
  • Improve your organic visibility.

Organic visibility will generate free traffic for your law firm instead of investing in PPC and other methods of finding leads. You can improve the organic visibility of your website by:

  • Producing and promoting amazing content – You should focus on fresh quality content.
  • Earn links that are valuable to your website – Backlinks and inbound links are major ranking factors on Google.
  • Evaluate your PPC campaigns.

Pay per click campaigns is easy to track with Google tools. Focus on average cost per conversion. You will want to invest in the areas that make sense for your firm. Also, consider which phases of the sales funnel your PPC campaigns are catering to. Do you want to provide information or make a transaction? Oftentimes, top of the funnel bidding can be a cost-effective way to get your name recognized. That’s not the answer for every firm, but it’s worth considering.

  • Review Google My Business.

The information in your GMB listing will be reflected in Google’s map pack and the local results finder. Make sure you maximize your visibility by updating GMB when necessary. Here are some other ways you can reach:

  • Use Google posts – This allows you to highlight something you’ve recently published.
  • Utilize Google’s Q&A – People may ask questions, and you should be the first to answer.
  • Solicit reviews – Satisfied clients are more likely to leave you a glowing review.
  • Check for citation indexing – Make sure your citation has been indexed, and if not, then post, get reviews, and get links to encourage indexing.
  • Improve your reputation.

Legal directories are an excellent way to get your name out there and build a reputation. They allow you to rank for keywords and grab a significant amount of traffic. In fact, some of the directories even engage in PPC campaigns of their own. Being listed in these directories can improve your visibility, which ultimately enhances your reputation. Indexes that can be beneficial include SuperLawyers, Findlaw, Justia, and Avvo.

  • Market on social media.

Don’t forget to invest in social media in 2019. Facebook, Instagram, and other social networking sites can supplement your organic SEO as well as reach new audiences through paid promotion. You can target specific audiences and effectively promote your content. Facebook promotion is typically less cost prohibitive than Google so you may be able to run some testing in social media marketing platforms.

Don’t forget to engage on Twitter. Twitter is a platform that many law firms have avoided until recently. Some law firms do better posting and engaging than others. However, those who are successful can reach a new generation of people. You can also use Twitter to reach out to journalists and others who may be interested in your newsworthy events, such as a food drive.

  • Use email marketing.

Email marketing can often find people at the right time. It puts your information in front of their faces for a longer period of time than a quick search elsewhere. While some people dread email campaigns because they can be a lot of work, others understand the value of a well-built email marketing list.

Allow people to opt into and out of your email marketing. This can be done easily through tools like SumoMe. Sending emails has never been more comfortable with online tools as well. The software will allow you to pull addresses from a variety of sources and send targeted emails to potential clients in a matter of minutes.

  • Retarget potential clients.

For potential clients who have already been on your website, utilize software to retarget them with skillfully worded ads. Retargeting can be easy and cost-effective. It often allows you to stay in front of leads who may still be at the top of the sales funnel. Keep your name in front of them and help to build trust.

  • Track leads from all sources.

You should set up methods of tracking all of your leads from each source separately. This will let you know what marketing methods are most useful to your firm and where you should continue to invest money. Primary contact methods that should be tracked include calls, texts, live chat, forms, click to calls and emails. However, if you’re using PPC and other methods, you should be tracking that as well.

Making the Best Marketing Choices for Your Law Firm in 2019

There have been many changes in marketing over the past few years, and 2019 is no different. However, you can keep up by reviewing the basics and staying updated on more complex topics. Don’t miss any aspect of your law firm marketing this year by staying on focus and making the best choices for your law firm marketing.

If you have questions or would like to speak with someone on our team, please call us directly at 888-659-7553. 

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Personal Injury Lawyer Marketing https://www.optimizedco.com/2019/personal-injury-lawyer-marketing/ Wed, 08 May 2019 20:27:00 +0000 https://optimizedatty.wpengine.com/?p=85043 Marketing Tips and Tricks You Need to Know for Personal Injury Law Firms

It can cost a personal injury attorney more than $900 per click of a Google ad. Some of the most highly competitive CPC terms are in the personal injury legal category. In fact, Search Engine Watch reported that 19 of the top 25 most expensive terms are related to personal injury law. That’s why it’s essential to understand your audience and know how to get the clicks you want.

Personal injury lawyer marketing has always been competitive. From phone book squares to billboards and television appearances, advertising for personal injury attorneys has always been expensive. The trend does not appear to be stopping anytime soon, if Google ads is any indication of search and cost.

Marketing in the Personal Injury Legal Environment

Because personal injury legal marketing is so competitive, these law firms have had to develop unique marketing strategies. Legal marketing campaigns for PI firms are very different than they are for other types of law.

A criminal defendant will pay an attorney a flat rate to take their case from beginning to end. Same with a family law client. Those fees may increase depending on extenuating circumstances. However, at the beginning of the case, the attorney generally knows how much their fee will be.

Personal injury fees are much different. Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis. That means they don’t get paid until their client wins and is awarded compensation. In the majority of situations, personal injury attorneys take 33% of a settlement, plus costs. The higher the settlement an attorney negotiates, the more their fee will be.

In many cases, an attorney will not know how much their fee will be at the beginning of a case. There are many variables that determine the value of a case. Because of this, it is also difficult to determine ROI for legal marketing campaigns. This presents opportunities for high returns if you’re able to outsmart the competitors.

Digital Marketing Tips and Tricks for PI Firms

Instead of using traditional ROI standards, use “Cost Per Case” goals.

It can be difficult to determine how much a case is worth. A car accident case may be worth $5,000, while another Mesothelioma case may be worth $50,000. However, knowing a desired CPCase can help you set reasonable expectations for the firm marketing strategy.

In order to get a CPCase number, use the following steps:

  1. Find your firm’s average case settlement value over the past two years. You may want to exclude outliers, but don’t cut off too many.
  2. Multiply that number by 10%, 20%, and 30% to obtain three CPCase possibilities.

Your percentages of average case values should be used to determine how much you are willing to spend on average case marketing. You can play it conservatively and use the lowest number, or go aggressive with 30% of your CPCase value. Personal injury attorneys usually fall somewhere in between, depending on your market and desired growth.

Track Every Lead You Get

You should be tracking every lead to find out how much they cost and which are the most effective for your firm. Easy tracking includes website submissions and online chats. Google Analytics allows for simple conversion tracking.

Many PI law firms are focused on getting phone calls, so it’s important to set up a process of tracking those as well. You should be tracking calls from websites. You can even use keyword-level call tracking from landing pages.

Some commonly used call tracking platforms include:

  • Google Call Tracking – This integrates nicely with Google Ads (formerly AdWords), and is free; however, it provides you very little information about the call. Additionally, Google Call Tracking only works with Google Ads Campaigns.
  • WordStream Call Tracking – This allows you to see detailed information about the call and works on a keyword level; however, it is limited to PPC and only works with WordStream software.
  • Call Tracking Metrics – This offers detailed call data and changes numbers on the website depending on the source of the visitor. However, it is more expensive than other software.
  • CallRail – This offers dynamic changing of phone numbers on a website depending on where the visitor came from, and it’s a bit less expensive than other software. However, it does not offer as many options as other call tracking services.

Protect Your Brand Name in Google

Most PI lawyers are well aware of PPC and how it impacts their business. However, you may be focusing on commonly clicked terms, such as “car accident lawyer” and “truck injury attorney.” You should also protect your own brand name by bidding on it. Average CPC for a brand name is $0.50 to $3.00. The cost is low, but value is high.

If you fail to bid on your brand name, your competitors may take advantage of the situation. Then, if someone does search for your firm name, their firm will show up in the ads before yours does organically.

Make Sure Your Website is Mobile Friendly

The majority of searchers use mobile devices, according to Google and other sources. You are likely familiar with this and use your phone as frequently as anyone else. However, when you’re building a website, it can be easy to forget that you should have a mobile focus. Mobile is no longer a trend, but is necessary for businesses.

Use the following steps to make sure your website is mobile-ready:

  1. Make sure your website is usable on a mobile device. That includes links, menus, buttons, and more.
  2. Run Google’s Mobile Friendly Test. This tool can give you insights about why your page is or is not mobile friendly.
  3. Test your page speed. There are tools available to test speed. If it’s in the red, optimize the page until it’s in the green.

Dominate Search Results with Ad Extensions

You can enhance your ads with ad extensions. This will give you advantage over the competition. You may be able to list your address or business hours in an ad, which will give users more information and draw them to your website. Common ad extensions that can be useful include:

  • Sitelinks – These are additional website links that allow searchers to click directly to different areas of your website.
  • Call extensions – This allows you to add your phone number to your ad. Don’t forget to track conversions and metrics.
  • Location extensions – This allows you to pull information from Google My Business to enhance your ad with content.

Seek Google Reviews from Clients

Personal injury law firms work in a highly competitive atmosphere. However, one constant is that people want good service. They will go to the firm that they believe will give them the best service and obtain the most money. One way to tout this information without adding it to your website, which can seem like boasting, is to obtain detailed Google reviews from actual clients.

Trust is extremely important in the legal industry. You may have very little time to build trust with someone on the internet. Google reviews shows potential clients why they should trust you without having to pay for additional marketing.

Use Ad Spend with Facebook Retargeting

Consumers often search for PI firms on a variety of platforms. So, in addition to Google, you may want to invest in Facebook marketing as well. Get the most out of your digital presence by putting yourself on as many platforms as is effective. One of the most efficient ways of doing this is Facebook retargeting.

Retargeting will seek out people who have already visited your site and put your name in front of them again. This builds name recognition. It may encourage them to come back to your website or directly call.

While many law-related searches can cost hundreds on Google, Facebook retargeting is an average of $1.35. You can spend much less money and still put an effective face on your firm. People spend more time on Facebook than any other site, so you will be utilizing Facebook’s presence as an avenue for your marketing.

Marketing with PI Law Firms

Personal Injury lawyer marketing is a difficult game in the advertising world. Their marketing techniques must be unique and well-thought out. Instead of following the trend, PI firms must do something different. Take a step forward with these tips and tricks to help you build your business.

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Web Marketing for Law Firms https://www.optimizedco.com/2019/web-marketing-for-law-firms/ Tue, 16 Apr 2019 22:40:43 +0000 https://optimizedatty.wpengine.com/?p=84975 Why Link Building Is Important For Your Law Firm Website

What is link building?

You click on links every time you surf the internet. When search engines read the clicks that take you from one website to another, they store that information away in their database (called algorithms.) When it’s time to determine which websites make it to the top of the search engine pile, the sites that have links that get more clicks tend to get better positioning than those that get fewer.

Where do Clicks Come From?

  • Review a list of websites that pop up from a search. Pick one. Click.
  • Read a blog post with a link to information you want to check out. Click.
  • Find a Facebook post with an interesting video from a company you follow. Click.

How it works

To search engines, all those clicks between sites translate into popularity. When search engine spiders find sites pointing to sites, and transmit that information to search engines, the algorithms give credit to both sides. Warning: algorithms can tell if the content of the information being linked is relevant to both sites and issue hefty penalties that can trash site ranking if it’s not.
To the search engines, links have become just as important as keywords. Keywords and links account for 80% of the criteria used by search engines to determine a site’s popularity. If appearing at the top of organic search results is important for your law firm, a good link strategy helps your website get there.

Why link building is important

If you don’t have a plan of action to build links between your attorney website (or your blog site or your landing pages, or your articles or anywhere else you promote your law firm on the Web) and the places where your potential clients are, you’re losing a lot of traffic.

How to start building links

Link building is a continuous process. It’ll take time to learn the basics and to create the right plan for your law firm website. A comprehensive linking strategy is difficult, but you can start a few link-building activities on your own:
Visit the sites that you like, and look at their link-building strategies. Don’t worry about the industry or whether they’re commercial sites. Focus on the links. Where do they go? Are they relevant to the company’s business? Where are they on the website? Are they simple to follow? Can you easily get back to where you started? Links are meant to improve the quality of visits, not make viewers confused.
If your clients have websites or blogs, ask them to link to you. Do the same for them. Add testimonials.
Check out your competitors’ links. Some of the same will probably help your business.
Link building isn’t a one-shot deal. Just like you have to keep your content fresh, your links need the same updating. Periodically test your links to make sure they still lead to live pages with relevant information. Search algorithms also measure the age of your links. You can’t set them and forget them, and keep a good position.

The Top 5 Ways To Build Quality Inbound Links

Building links has gotten a bad rap over the last few years, as there have been web operators—law firms included—who’ve gone about it the wrong way, and for the wrong reasons. However, building quality links—quality being the operative word here—still holds significance in driving traffic to your website, blog, and social media pages, and for valuable placement on the SERP’s.

To get you pointed in the right direction, here are the top 5 tips to building quality inbound links.

1. Create Worksheets and Useful Downloadable Documents

Are there worksheets, checklists, or other documents you can create that can help people in legal need?Create downloadable documents to provide users with legal guidance, and offer these free on your website.

For example, a personal injury law firm could offer a checklist on itemized steps an injury victim needs to take when involved in an auto accident. Free, downloadable, and useful documents are highly shareable.

2. Offer FAQ and Resource Pages

People love to link to pages that provide useful information—especially legal information that discusses important matters such as bankruptcy, medical malpractice, or child custody. Create an FAQ web page with short answers that links to posts on your blog that answer these questions in greater detail.

Also, create resource pages that contain searchable keywords. A resource page titled “Tips When Stopped By Police at a DUI Checkpoint” has viral potential.

3. Review Law Books and Related Media On Amazon

Your law firm can review law books and other related media, build a credible reviewer reputation, and display a profile with a link to your website on Amazon—all for free.

This is a great opportunity to become visible to a new audience, and be positioned as a go-to legal expert all at the same time.

TIP: Don’t use Amazon reviews for blatant self-promotion. Readers can see right through this, and traffic to your site will be hindered, not promoted.

4. Become a Guest Blogger

The key to successful guest blogging is choosing quality, relevant blogs to submit a guest post to. Reach out to the site owner, discuss your legal credentials and that you know what you’re talking about, and pitch them your blog idea.

TIP: If you’re going to guest blog, be sure the site is a quality and reputable one. Despite what Matt Cutts has to say about guest blogging, it can still boost online visibility if done properly, so don’t try to game the system by submitting duplicate, keyword stuffed, low-quality content. If the website owner doesn’t catch it, Google will.

5. Publish Quality Content On a Regular Basis

Publishing consistent, quality content is the best strategy to build quality inbound links. By uploading fresh, valuable content frequently (daily is preferred), readers will share your links and posts. When you find something of value on the web, don’t you forward it? This practice is universal.

5 Creative Link Building Techniques For Law Firms

If you’re looking to drive more traffic to your site, creating quality inbound links is a must. However, effective link building is a science.

There was a time when webmasters could build thousands of links, and subsequently watch their site climb to the top of the SERP’s. Those days are gone. Link building is now scrutinized by top search engines, and it’s critical that you know how to go about it to keep your site in good standing with both viewers and SE’s.

Here are 5 creative link building techniques that will keep your web marketing for law firms efforts safe and successful.

1. Interview Experts

An easy way to build links is to interview experts related to your area of law—this can be anyone from doctors for personal injury, forensic scientists for criminal law, even lab experts for DUI defense.

How do you build links when you interview an expert? Simply ask them to share the interview with their readers on Twitter, Facebook, and beyond. Chances are, they’ll love to share their exposure with their own followers, so accommodating your request shouldn’t be a problem.

2. Sponsor an Event

Sponsoring an event is a great way to build quality links. Conference sites list event sponsors, and they link back to their sponsors. Plus, when you sponsor an event, you can set up a booth, and make personal contact with possible clients.

The event(s) you choose to sponsor are entirely up to you, although they should correspond with your practice area; e.g. MADD events for personal injury, wrongful death, etc.

3. Sponsor a Non-Profit

Sponsoring a non-profit such as a MADD event, or a charity drive for a children’s hospital, is a great way to give back to your community, and develop contact links at the same time. You can give of your time, offer legal advice to those in need, and meet volunteers at the event who could be a source for otherwise untapped clients. It’s a win-win all around.

4. Take Quality Pictures

Everyone online these days is looking for images to use—especially free, high-quality images. If you’ve got a digital camera, take clear and professional quality photos of industry-related images. Put them on your website, and let viewers know that they’re royalty-free images available for download.

Just make it a requirement for people to link back to your site if they decide to use your images. The great part about this is that you’ll likely get relevant industry links, as legal professionals are the most likely to use these images.

5. Give Away Free Stuff

A great way to create inbound links is to give away free stuff—including legal pads, pens, post-its; anything that’s related to your brand, and preferably has your law firm’s logo on it. If you’re the law firm that gives away cool stuff just by linking to your site, or subscribing to your email (even better), you’ll establish a world of new followers.

Build Links To Build Your Audience

Establishing high-quality inbound links to your website is not an easy process and requires persistence, a few resources, and specific strategies. Here are a few tips to help channel targeted traffic to your law firm website and to allow it to perform better on search engines through link building.

Internal Link-Building.

Link a few keywords in your articles to other related blog posts or web-pages from your site. This will improve the quality of your audience’s visit by keeping them engaged on your webpage for longer, which improves the potential for lead generation. For example, you could link a keyword from your blog post about a particular government program- to a page on your site that introduces a service you provide for it. This will bring your website a higher assisted conversion rate.

Guest Blog.

Find blogs that your firm can potentially write content for. Google’s blogsearch tool can be especially helpful for this purpose. Contact the blog-owner explaining that you would love to write a guest post for their sites in exchange for an inbound link. Anchor the link to a keyword or phrase that you want to rank well in search engines and also include a small blurb at the end of the article that mentions your firm, just in case readers want to seek your website out for more of your content.

Feature Others.

Write an article that features and links to the websites of interesting bloggers, or related professional organizations and events in your industry. Inform them about your article before you publish so that they are inclined to share the post with their social networks once it goes live. For example, because Canadian immigration law is also related to tourism, an article that lists Canada’s best festivals can link to and be shared by the festivals’ websites and social media accounts. Always be sure to incorporate a short byline about your law firm at the end of your articles, stressing the need for a related service that your law firm offers such as temporary resident permits.

Comment on Other Blogs.

Search for popular, influential blogs related to your law firm’s industry and leave a thoughtful comment in response when appropriate. Not only does this help the blogger by increasing the value of their post, it also builds brand awareness, gives your website greater referral traffic and may even lead to an opportunity to write a guest post for them in the future.

 5 tips for improving your website’s link profile

As Google continues to refine its search algorithm, it is becoming more important for attorney search engine optimization to build a natural link profile for your website.   A link profile consists of the:
(a) types of links (directories, forums, press releases, blog posts, etc.)
(b) anchor text used (the words which make up the link)
(c) time period over which these links were acquired

a. Link types

1. The best way to create links from directories Google considers good is to reach out to partners, vendors, trade associations, local Chambers of Commerce, Better Business Bureau, business.com, etc.
2. Do this by sending press releases with links to your website.   Use your personal name or the web address as the anchor text of these links rather than the keywords you want to target.  Why?  See #3 below.

b. Anchor text

3.  When the anchor text for nearly all of your links is limited to a few high-demand keywords (e.g., Milwaukee disability lawyer), your link profile shouts “unnatural!”  Using your own name or your domain name for some of the links will balance the high-value keyworded links.
4. Build links to your interior pages as well as your home page.  This will help you further vary the anchor text used.

c. Link pacing

5. As with most long races, a steady pace is best.  Instead of building dozens of links in a few weeks and then turning your web marketing for law firms attention elsewhere, you should create a roughly even number of links each month and permanently continue your efforts.   Think “slowly and continually.”

Link Building

With spring just around the corner, thoughts turn to website housekeeping and strategic reviews. The legal SEO industry has been turning its attention to the thorny issue of “link building,” mostly driven by a number of comments and explanations made by Matt Cutts on the subject towards the end of February 2014. As Cutts is the head of Google’s anti-spamdexing team, his opinion matters, because it can earn your firm’s website penalties if you fall fowl of Mr Cutts’ priorities.

Now would be a good time to review your law firm’s backlink strategy, or, if you don’t have one, you should consider creating one. You may not know what that task entails. However, don’t worry, this roundup contains tips, explanations and guides.

This week’s roundup features news stories from Google’s Search Engine Watch, Search Engine Land and Search Engine Journal.

How Many Links Should you Build in 2014? All of Them

An expert may have told you that links are no longer important in SEO. If that is the case, you should read this article on Search Engine Journal quickly before you make ill-informed strategic errors for you law firm’s Web pages. As well as explaining that links are still important for SEO, the piece gives a few quick tips on building a backlink strategy. If you a practice manager and have an IT team to do this sort of thing for you, treat this as an executive summary.

Matt Cutts: Excluding Links From Google’s Algorithm Would Make Search Results Worse

If you still think Google has removed the importance of links from its algorithm, take some advice from the company’s Mr Spamdex. If you are now convinced that your firm needs to focus on link building, we have some advice and tools for you in the following links.

When To Consider A Backlink Cleanup

This article from Search Engine Land covers the topic of auditing existing backlinks to a site. Jon Ball explains why, when and how to do it. This advice should get you on the runway if your practice already has backlinks.

How to Deal With an Unnatural Links Penalty on a Budget

This Search Engine Journal article explains some free tools you can use to try to work out whether your law firm’s website has been hit by a rank-crippling penalty for the links that point to it.

New Backlink Analysis Tool Available From WebMeUp Completely For Free

Another Search Engine Journal article explains a tool you could try when auditing the links that point to your law firm’s website.

Link Building on a Budget

If you’re cash-strapped, you might also like to read this article, which is one of an array of recent articles on link building produced by Search Engine Watch.

Others that might help you with your law firm’s links are:

How to Find and Build Powerful EDU Backlinks

This article, which is on Search Engine Journal, explains a source of high value links that will get your law firm’s site boosted up the search engine results pages.

7 Things You May Not Know About Google’s Disavow Tool

Once you have identified the backlinks that are damaging your rankings how do you get rid of them? This article from Search Engine Watch explains how to remove the damage done by links on other sites to your firm’s site.

Link Discovery

Link building is a contentious issue among the SEO fraternity. Many like to quote the fact that Google’s ranking algorithm now contains 200 different factors and is no longer a link-based calculation as it was at the search engine’s creation. Others counter that those 200 factors don’t all have equal weighting in the Google algorithm and if you get a Google employee drunk, they will eventually blurt out that links are still at the heart of the algorithm. So you would be right to be confused on this topic.

A key part of link building is finding out where to get rankings-enhancing links from. This pursuit is called “link discovery” and there have been a number of articles on the SEO news sites on this topic over the last week.  These articles appear in Search Engine Watch, Moz Blog and Search Engine Land.

Announcing the All-New Beginner’s Guide to Link Building

This Moz Blog article is a summary of a link building guide recently produced by Moz. As a busy lawyer, you may not have time to read the full guide, but this summary should give you some ideas about directions you should take to look for link sources for your law firm’s website. It opens with a cracking recent quote from Google’s Matt Cutts, which answers once and for all the question of whether link building is worth the bother. It is.

Google Webmaster Tools Just Got a Lot More Important for Link Discovery and Cleanup

This is another important article on link discovery from the Moz Blog this week. It explains tools you can use in order to see the links your competitors have attracted and to test the value of the links pointing to your own website Pages. The article draws you towards getting your hands dirty with technical stuff. So if you are a complete technophobe, pass this article on to whomever deals with the technical aspects of your law firm’s website.

Link Building: The Art of Persuasion

If you are a little too busy with your legal work and you are not that into SEO topics, then this Search Engine Watch article should be more to your taste. The article outlines the general purpose of link building and proposes some strategies on how to go about the task. The writer also includes links to further reading if this article whetted your appetite enough to give you an interest in link discovery and link building.

How To Put The Brakes On Overzealous Link Junkies

Over at Search Engine Land, Julie Joyce, an SEO consultant, warns us all not to overdo link building. Note, however, she doesn’t say link building is a waste of time. In fact, reading about her experience, link building seems to be a major part of her job. Joyce points out, though that what works now might not necessarily always gain favor with Google. The company has a habit of suddenly taking against certain linking strategies and this could either ruin your rankings, or cost you a fortune in consultancy fees to get those links detected and removed.

Google Wages War on European Link Scheme Networks

This article reinforces Julie Joyce’s point. Not so long ago, link schemes were all the rage because they helped companies with their rankings. Now, they are frowned upon by Google. The landscape changes all the time in SEO and you need to keep track of developments in order to keep your law firm’s website appearing on page one of search engine results.

Penguin Pleasing Link Building

Google has just finished rolling out an update to its Penguin filter. Penguin is meant to penalize dirty tricks that distort the relevance of entries in the search engine’s results pages. A particular focus of this update is a scrutiny of the purity of links into a site. So, with that in mind, it would be a good idea to review the links into your law firm’s website.
Search Engine Land, Search Engine Watch and Search Engine Roundtable have some particularly educative articles this week that will get you up to speed on the topic of link building.

Google Releases Penguin 3.0 — First Penguin Update In Over A Year

First up, here is the announcement of the Penguin rollout as reported in Search Engine Land. There are no details of the intended targets of the filter’s new version. This is because Google sometimes hints about the purpose of its ranking adjustment updates and sometimes just leaves it to the SEO community to analyze the effects of the update and work out how to alter websites to please (or cheat) the new normal. You will note that they don’t always release the version number of an algorithm update.

Google: Disavow Bad Links Early & Move On

As the quality of the sources of backlinks are a major part of Google’s ranking mechanism, Google introduced a disavowal tool to enable website owners to disassociate from certain links pointing to their Web pages. This is because external backlinks reside on other people’s websites and a website owner has no control over their quality. This makes backlinks a potential weapon for dirty tricks. Read through this article to get to grips with the concept of disavowal in case you need to implement this for your law firm’s website.

Traits To Hire In A Link Builder

If you are a sole practitioner and far too busy chasing clients to bother doing your own link building, you may need to hire an expert to do it for you. This easy read will give you just enough knowledge on the topic that you can bluff your way through interviewing a link builder.

Do Weak Links Reveal Powerful Opportunities?

This Search Engine Watch article describes a tool from Majestic.com that could aid your law firm to better target its linking strategy.

4  Tools (And 1 E-Book) I’m Loving For Content Creation And Link Development

Still on the topic of tools, this article includes a review of a tool called Peek, which is a link discovery tool. If you plan to improve the backlinks to your law firm website, maybe this tool could help.

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Attorney Marketing Services https://www.optimizedco.com/2019/attorney-marketing-services/ Tue, 16 Apr 2019 20:41:44 +0000 https://optimizedatty.wpengine.com/?p=84974 5 Key SEO Strategy Changes

There are 3 certainties in life: death, taxes, and changes in SEO. From algorithm updates to technical trends that seem to hit mainstream overnight—new directions in SEO can take long-standing optimization approaches and turn them on their head. The trick is to be ready for them.

There are many SEO changes that will undoubtedly take place, but these 5 have already made landfall, and will continue to gain momentum in the months ahead. Let’s take a look at the 5 key lawyer SEO strategy changes your law firm will need to adopt for optimum business success.

1. Google Dethroned—Optimize For Yahoo, Bing, and DuckDuckGo

Google is already experiencing hits to its royal status; Firefox recently dropped Google as its default search engine and replaced it with Yahoo, and talk around town to switch default browsers in iOS 8 and OS X from Google to DuckDuckGo is hot. So, it’s important that your firm works towards maximum visibility on search engines such as Yahoo, Bing, and newby DuckDuckGo.

2. Optimize For Mobile Users

Mobile traffic now exceeds desktop traffic, and this will impact the way users find your firm in 2015. If users can’t access your website from their phone quickly, easily, and legibly, you’re missing out on attorney marketing services and client leads that can damage your business. Your competition is likely keeping up with mobile trends, and you need to be, too. 

3. Optimize For Precise Keywords and Phrases

2014’s algorithm updates should have indicated that optimizing for broad keywords such as San Diego Personal Injury Attorney won’t have the ranking juice it used to. The search volume for broad keywords and phrases is so large that targeted audiences are being lost.

Now, focus your content instead on long-tail keywords and phrases such as San Diego Supermarket Slip and Fall Attorney, etc. These terms will have less competition, and will attract targeted traffic.

4. Focused Social Media Engagement

It was once believed that simply having a social media presence was the goal, and businesses jumped on as many social networks as possible to share their content with the masses. Over time, quality attention paid to each platform’s audience was stretched thin, and in the end this approach has proved non-productive to viewer retention and lead generation.

For the coming year, focus on 2 or 3 social media networks only; spending quality time on each providing valuable content, marketing your brand, and fostering client relationships. Social media success is based on quality, not quantity.

5. Focused Inbound Links

Inbound links to your site signal authenticity, authority, and trust. Gone are the days of link building on irrelevant sites, as algorithm updates have squashed any chance of this helping your law firm SEO (in fact, now it will hurt it). Earning an inbound link on a relevant, established website is key, as it can boost SEO in the right ways, and help you build a solid reputation.

Why Ranking Reports Don’t Always Tell The Truth

Knowledgeable attorneys know that tracking the performance of their websites is important. It goes almost without saying that unless you can analyze and understand what is happening on your site, making necessary and timely improvements will be next to impossible.
Unfortunately, many lawyers seem to focus on a single type of reporting, one that may not be best suited for analyzing actual website performance: the ranking report. I don’t mean to imply that this type of report is obsolete; rankings still have a place in attorney marketing services, and to abandon this metric altogether makes little sense. However, there are various reasons why putting all of your eggs into the ranking basket may be a misstep.

Localization Segments Your Target Audience

In 2012, Google altered its algorithm by implementing what is commonly referred to as the “Venice” update. This change in search function narrowed broad search terms by a user’s geographic location. For example, type “injury lawyer” into Google and the system will return results near to your location. That’s Venice at work.
Obviously, this update to Google’s core search code had immense consequences for attorney marketing (more competition on a local level, shifting emphasis for website optimization, etc.). It also dealt a significant blow to the relevance of ranking reports. In most cases, search results now vary depending on a user’s location, so what one user sees when searching for a term like “injury law firm” might be completely different from a user searching for the same phrase even across city or county lines.

Personalization Is Unpredictable

To complicate the localization issue, Google can also personalize results based on browsing history, not to mention information shared by friends and family. Predicting what search results people see when they have personalization and web history turned on is basically impossible, thus limiting the effectiveness of any generalized ranking report. The report may only be reporting what basic Google users see, those who are not signed in and aren’t engaging with social signals on their browsers. It is possible for users to turn off personalization, but it’s not a guaranteed outcome, and you can’t rely on supposition if you want hard data about your site’s performance.

What Should Attorneys Focus On Instead?

Due to the fact that rankings are not the same for each user, attorneys should primarily be concerned with increases in organic web traffic and web conversions. A steady increase in your site’s traffic month to month indicates a healthy optimization campaign. For a while you might not be on page one of your favorite keyword phrase, but you could be getting traffic from valuable long-tail phrases that are harder to optimize for. Many of these long-tail phrases statistically convert better than generalized searches. If your site has been constructed well and your traffic keeps improving, more inquiries from the site should reach your office, which is the ultimate goal…not rankings.

So, Why Do Legal Marketing Firms Provide Rankings Reports At All?

All of this information should not be construed to mean that rankings are useless indicators, because they aren’t. Sometimes a site’s performance will be directly tied to its rankings for one or two particular phases, and tracking rankings can also help attorney marketing services predict traffic patterns. At the very least, rankings can be utilized as a baseline for performance, but should only be analyzed in conjunction with tools that track web traffic and conversions, like Google Analytics.

How To Rank Well for Local Searches

When a prospective client searches [your city] [your specialty] attorney do you appear in Google’s first 3-5 listings? Searches like Sacramento disability attorney, Houston DWI lawyer, Atlanta injury attorney, and Charleston criminal lawyer are obviously conducted by prime prospects who you want to get in front of.
If you are not ranking well for those searches, here are some simple and some more technical tips for improving your Google page position.

SIMPLE

1. Place your physical address and phone number on every web page.

This simple step reinforces your location to the search engines. If you have multiple law offices, you should at minimum have one page that lists all locations. Better, create a page for each location.

2. Claim your profiles.

Dozens of yellow-page style directly sites let you provide your business information at no charge. These sites rank well and get lots of traffic. You should be on as many as possible, and the directory information you provide each of these sites must be identical. A few to begin with are Google Local Business Center, Yahoo Local, and Merchant Circle.

A BIT HARDER

3. Check your page titles.

The page title (aka title tag) is the phrase that appears at the top of your web browser when you are on a page. This same phrase appears in Google’s blue linking language. Each of your page titles should contain a targeted search phrase (e.g., Charleston criminal lawyer). This target local phrase should be at the beginning of the page title. No two of your pages should have the same title.

4. Include this same phrase in the page text.

Make sure that your targeted search phrase (Charleston criminal lawyer) also appears in the headline, first paragraph, and last paragraph of the text contained on the page with your targeted local search phrase in the title.

5. Internally link to the optimized pages.

You can’t rank well for all of your web pages, so pick a few pages containing your most desirable local search phrases and link to those pages.

TAKES SOME TIME

6. Create a video or two.

These can be simple and inexpensive explainer videos using storyboards or talking head videos with high production values. What is important from a search perspective is that your post your videos on multiple sites (YouTube, Vimeo, etc.), using your targeted search phrases as keywords. Link to your website from your video site profile, and link back to the video using the targeted local search phrase in the anchor text (the linked words).

7. Add a blog and write regularly.

You don’t have to provide brilliant copy on every blog post, but you should periodically include you targeted local search phrases. Every blog post has a chance of ranking well, so you can see how writing regular posts can greatly increase your visibility.

DIFFICULT

8. Clean up technical problems.

Google Webmaster Tools will identify problems for you, but it will take some technical expertise to fix them.

9. Obtain inbound links.

This step is critically important to your search engine ranking. To be most effective, the links must contain your targeted local search phrases in the anchor text, come from relevant sites with good page ranks, and be added gradually. A reputable agency which owns or controls a large number of lawyer websites can provide this service for you.
Ranking well for several local lawyer search phrases is not hard–unless you are in a highly competitive market (e.g., Los Angeles DUI lawyer). But ranking well does require a fair amount of upfront work, regularly ongoing effort, some expertise, and a network of relevant lawyer sites.

Rankings

The central task of search engine optimization is to improve a site’s rankings, which means the position pages on the site appear in search engine results. As all of the major search engines have been adjusting their ranking algorithms recently, it is a good idea to pick through the latest news and find exactly what the industry experts advise right now to get your law firm’s website’s rankings up.

If you run a small practice, or if you are a sole practitioner, you probably don’t have a big enough law firm marketing budget to hire experts to do this work for you. These articles from Search Engine Watch,Search Engine Journal and Search Engine Land will help you understand the current strategies to improve your rankings.
 

Many Organic Results Influenced by Locality

Regular visitors to the Optimized Attorney blog would have read features stressing the importance of local search results. This Search Engine Watch article continues this advice. Few people fly across the country to visit their lawyers. The majority of people seeking legal advice are only interested in finding a lawyer close to their home or office. Therefore, acing local search results will give you the best opportunities of gaining clients from your website. Focus on ranking high in search engine results for your location.
 

Content Creators Ranking Checklist: How Quality Scores Influence

Last week’s SEO Trends article at Optimized Attorney included the troubling news that Google is dropping the author thumbnail portrait from search results entries. This is a shame because author identification is a very useful tool for lawyers to establish their authority and generate business. This article includes some useful suggestions for those of you who chose the content route to boost your rankings.
 

UI 101: Are Looks or Usability More Important While Designing Your Website?

Here are two web design acronyms to chew on: UI and UX. UI is the user interface, or the theme, the look and feel of your site. UX stands for user experience. This article discusses the relative merits of beauty and usability, which means UI vs UX. It is the usability of your law firm’s site (the UX) that will improve your rankings. Google tracks the amount of time the average visitor spends on your site, so if it is unappealing (UI issues) the visitor will jump straight out and go to the next entry in the search results page. If the visitor can’t easily find what she is looking for (UX) she will leave. If your content entices the visitor to spend some time on your site (UX again) you will rise up the rankings.
 

Former Googler: Links That Change Are Trusted Less By Google’s Algorithms

This Search Engine Land article raises an interesting reason why your rankings are slipping. If you, or someone you pay, has altered the text or format of some of your links since Google’s web crawler first saw them, the mere fact that the links have changed may be losing you your rankings.

Falling Rankings

Once you get your law firm’s website written and have pages appearing on the first page of Google, you may be tempted to leave your website ticking over while you focus your time on your case load. This is a common strategy for small businesses, but you should check on your rankings regularly, because you may suddenly find them drop. There are a range of reasons that this might happen and they fall into four categories: someone has done some intentional damage to your rankings; your competitors have all improved their rankings; Google just changed its algorithm; or Google penalized you.

Search Engine Land, Search Engine Watch and Search Engine Journal have some good recent articles on what to do when your rankings drop.

Three Unexpected Reasons Your Rankings are Plummeting

This article focuses on the keywords in your site. The premise being that everyone else in your field is using their keywords more effectively than you are and so you’re the rankings of your law firm’s website suddenly dropped because you didn’t keep tabs on what keywords work and how best to present them. The article title mentions three reasons, but the body of the article actually lists four. Reason 4 is actually a suggestion to use schema.org to improve the situation.

Black Hat Social Media: How Buying Accounts or Follows Can Hurt Your Business

Certain behavior and tricks can get you told off, and on the World Wide Web, getting told off means having penalties applied to your rankings. If you use social media to promote your law firm, be careful that the methods you employ don’t contravene the rules. Those rules change all the time. So, you may have read some advice on how to ace social media, but applying it got you penalized because the rules changed since that advice was written.

Panda Audit 101: The Roadmap to Complete Panda Recovery

Google’s frequent algorithm updates keep website owners awake at night. The company don’t announce their algorithm changes and much of the SEO news world is filled with speculation on whether there was an update, and what changed. The rankings of your law firm’s website may have fallen because of a recent algorithm change wrought by Google. This article explains procedures you can follow to check whether a change in the Panda algorithm caused your rankings to fall.

4 Easy & Honest SEO Mistakes That Could Penalize Your Site

Google dishes out penalties to site that it feels are breaking the rules. However, Not everyone is a cowboy gaming the system and Google can’t tell the difference between a clever trickster trying to slip a cheat through under the cover of innocence and someone who genuinely didn’t know the rules (which is understandable because Google never tells anyone the rules). This article outlines some mistakes that can lose your law firm’s website its top slot without you realizing you did anything wrong.

The Real Reason No One Wants To Link To You

This article covers the painful truth that your law firm’s rankings may be falling because your website is rubbish. No one puts up a bad website intentionally. However, if you are a sole practitioner, with little time to monitor your website, sections on your site may become outdated and tatty very quickly. Just as a poor site fails to attract links, it will also get a low score from Google – partly because it doesn’t have enough links pointing to it from other sites.

Google Penalties

Has your law firm’s website ever been hit by a Google penalty? If so, you are not alone. Google has been getting increasingly aggressive with its ranking slap-downs recently. A Penalty may arise by one of three routes. Either one of the search engine’s ranking algorithms may reduce the score of one or all pages on your site, a human reviewer may apply a penalty, or the company’s management may take action and arbitrarily hit a specific website with a large penalty. This third category is usually announced and is intended not only to punish a particular website, but act as a warning to all company’s operating on the Web.

You should keep abreast of these public penalties and check to make sure your firm’s site does not apply the same banned techniques. If they are there, it is just a question of time before your law firm’s site gets slapped with a penalty if you do not get them removed.

This week’s roundup features news stories from Search Engine Watch, Search Engine Land and Search Engine Roundtable.

Google’s Matt Cutts: We Can Take Action On Sites Benefiting From Guest Post Networks

This Search Engine Roundtable article from March 20th illustrates Google’s new tactic of penalizing a site and announcing that penalty without naming the site so it can put the fear of God into as many sites as possible.

Everyone involved in sites that fit the description given by Google’s Matt Cutts in his penalty announcement rushed to monitor their rankings. The site proved to be MyBlogGuest.com, which not only ties in with Google’s disapproval of “link networks” but also reminds us of Matt Cutts’s declaration of his dislike of guest blogging made in January of this year.

Google Penalizes MyBlogGuest, a Guest Blog Network

Search Engine Watch’s analysis of the MyBlogGuest penalty examines whether sites linking to the punished blog site were also penalized. This issue would be particularly pertinent to your law firm’s website if you have many guest blogs posted on the Web pointing to your site. In this instance Google said it hadn’t penalized linking sites. However, a number of the Webmasters of those sites reported that they had been affected.

Lots Of Google Search Activity: Likely Manual Vs. Algorithmic

This Search Engine Roundtable article notes that Google seems to have gone into penalty overdrive recently. The article speculates that this volatility may be part of Google’s attempts to reconfigure its rankings in the run up to the removal of much of the Panda algorithm. Watch your law firm’s rankings over the next two months and pay particular attention to any news pages or blog pages. These are expected to be hit by the Panda update rumored to be slated for release at the end of May 2014.

Nearly A Year Later, Google’s Penalty Notices Remain Confusing

Search Engine Land covers the topic of the difficulties of understanding the notifications your law firm’s Webmaster might receive if your site gets hit by a penalty from Google. Google claims to have simplified these notices. However, this article begs to differ.

Manual Spam Action Revoked! A Case Study

Expert Advice

As you form a digital marketing strategy for your law firm’s website, you will come to realize that you cannot set it and forget it. Events are moving rapidly and the shifting sands of what work in SEO are more active in 2014 than ever before. You need to follow two sources of information to succeed in SEO. The first is the latest news, which particularly concerns everything that Google is doing and everything that Google is about to do. You can’t be an expert lawyer and an expert digital marketer, so you need to seek out a second source of strategy inputs, which is expert advice.

You don’t have to pay an Internet guru consultancy fees to find out her opinion on the current direction of SEO because she is probably blogging  or giving interviews and giving away all that expert advice for free. You will read some freebie expert advice from Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Watch, the Bruce Clay Blog, Moz Blog, the Quicksprout Blog and Search Engine Land.

Getting Started with Google Webmaster Tools & Analytics

As a busy lawyer, you can’t be expected to know everything about the nuts and bolts of running a website. However, you would do yourself a favor by getting an insight into how the experts judge your site. At least this will enable you to set benchmarks when writing service contracts with SEO consultancies. In this article, hosted on the site of Bruce Clay, the grand pappy of SEO, you will get an easy walk through of Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics. If you have time to follow through, you will gain enough inside skills that no one will be able to bamboozle you again when you are taking bids for SEO work.

7 Obsolete SEO Tactics You’re Wasting Your Time On

Neil Patel positions himself as the traffic supremo and he has made a very good living out of it, so it might be worth paying him some attention. In this article on his home site, Patel gives a rundown of seven SEO tactics that are a waste of time. Check whether your law firm is paying an expert to march down these dead end roads.

How Some Companies Succeed at Converting Visitors yet Fail to Earn Great Customers – Whiteboard Friday

Rand Fishkin is one of the superstars of SEO and he built his following through his regular “Whiteboard Friday” lectures on the website of his SEO consultancy. This episode will probably resonate with those of you who yearn to be on a retainer, or get repeat business from corporate clients.

Mastering Website Personalization in 4 Easy Steps

Hubspot is a major mover in content and lead generation and Mike Volpe is that company’s Chief Marketing Officer. This article covers the little-discussed topic of website personalization. A small law practice with a specialized field could greatly benefit from this concept, so have a look at this article and see if these tactics could help you win and retain clients.

4 Tools and Tips That Will Help You Be a More Analytical Marketer

Brittney Sheffield is a funky young marketing strategist at hip, switched-on digital marketing company 352. This article, though, shows that Brittney didn’t get her job by being personable. She gives some expert advice on some very technical tools without getting geeky. This is a very approachable article that the non-techy lawyer should be able to understand.

Legal News

The United States has been fixated on shopping over the past week and no great trend emerged in the SEO news world – probably because all their staff were in the malls. If you would like to take some time out from your law firm’s website SEO refinements, you can relax with this list of legal news stories that emerged in the world of SEO over the Thanksgiving week.  This roundup highlights some serious legal actions taking place across the world at the moment as reported by Search Engine Land, Search Engine Roundtable and Search Engine Journal. Legal eagles should find this list easy to digest after a big turkey dinner.

German Legislator Calling For Google Breakup Has Serious Conflict Of Interest

The big legal story of the week emerged from Europe, where the European Parliament decided to vote on whether to demand the breakup of Google. As the US government doesn’t agree on the need to split up the search engine giant from its other activities, the actual implementation of any outcome would only take place after extensive international trade negotiations. This Search Engine Land article draws attention to a New York Times investigation that revealed one of the main sponsors of the action has vested interests.

The Vote Is In: European Parliament Is In Favor Of Breaking Up Google

Events moved quickly on the Google breakup story and the European Parliament vote took place on the 27thNovember. The chamber voted in favor of the breakup. Although the motion is not enforceable, the European Commission is keen to follow the parliament’s instructions in all things so it can counter anti-EU critics who claim there is a democracy deficit in the organization. So, many legal battles are ahead for Google as it tries to muster its influence in Washington and get this move blocked.

US Court Gives Google Free Rein Over Search Results Layout

Although Google is caught up in a series of legal battles over in Europe, it seems to have better luck in the US courts. This recent ruling affirmed Google’s right to use its own methods to order results. Poorly ranked sites can’t use their Yahoo or Bing rankings as evidence that they are being cheated by Google.

Google Settles UK “Defamation” Suit, Agreeing To Remove Malicious Links

Back over on the other side of the Atlantic. Here is a case that Google’s legal team advised wasn’t worth the fight. So, they settled. A UK businessman was the victim of a campaign of malicious links, which is termed a “Google bomb.” Although Google maintains that they aren’t responsible for the content attached to the links it posts, it decided to comply with the plaintiff’s request and remove the links from its results pages rather than let the case reach a judgment and set a legal precedent.

Google Drops Results In European Settlement But Watch The Penguin Drive By…

Search Engine Round Table followed the above story and spotted a funny coincidence in the BBC news report embedded in the Search Engine Land article. The reporter stands in the street with a string of London buses passing behind him, all showing penguins. Anyone with a passing knowledge of SEO knows that one of Google’s main algorithm filters is called Penguin. So, at first glance this seems to be some extreme positioning by the search giant. However, the buses are advertising the release of the film “Penguins of Madagascar.”

As a lawyer, you will be aware that changes in technology force legislators and the judiciary to play catch up on putting in place a legal framework that encompasses the new reality. You would not be surprised to learn, therefore, that the World Wide Web is a concern for legislators and it also opens new reasons for litigation arising from new avenues for abuse. This week, then, the SEO Roundup looks at some important cases revolving around search engines that could change the face of litigation.

This roundup includes reports from Search Engine Watch, Search Engine Roundtable and Search Engine Land.

Is Google’s European Antitrust Settlement In Jeopardy?

The EU seems to be more inclined to file lawsuits against Web-based firms than the United States. This is probably because most of the organizations in question are American and the US administration is happy to allow these corporations to operate unfettered as long as they make money for the government’s coffers and improve the country’s technology profile. This Search Engine Land article illustrates the dangers from the threat of litigation that foreign governments pose to US-based search engines.

5 Fast Facts about the EU’s Privacy Ruling on Google

The EU has scored another hit against Google this week in a case brought by the supranational body against Google in the European Court of Justice. The search engine has been ordered to remove older entries from its results pages and also newer ones if the subject of one of those results objects to its existence. This, together with the anti-trust deal, shows how a ruling in one part of the world has to be applied in worldwide operations in order to avoid hefty fines and possible imprisonment.

Law Firm Sues Their SEO Company For Using Spammy Tactics

Back in the USA, this article from Search Engine Roundtable explains a recent case, wherein a law firm sued its SEO advisors because they used methods that broke the code of practice that Google expects. Google is becoming freer with its penalty notices and this law firm realized that it could sustain long term damage to its rankings because of the devious tactics its SEO consultant were employing. This is an important development in reputation management.

Model Battles Google, Yahoo in Court Over Images Linking Her to Porn Sites

An Argentinean model is suing Google and Yahoo to remove links in their results pages to a sex tape purported to feature her. These SERPS entries come in results from queries on the actress’s name, Maria Belen Rodriguez.

Rodriguez already sued the producers of the tape and won; she has also already sued Google and Yahoo for damages in 2006 and won. The current case before the court is to force Google and Yahoo to de-reference the tape in relation to her name. This, together with the earlier related cases, has far reaching possibilities, opening up an entirely new market for litigation lawyers.

How Google’s New “Right To Be Forgotten” Form Works: An Explainer

This story shows that Google was prepared to lose its case before the European Court of Justice over deleting older sites from their indexes. Almost immediately, they came up with an online form enabling complainants to request the removal of a reference. It remains to be seen whether this form is sufficient to block any claims against the search engine for inappropriate links. The company could argue that anyone who didn’t take up the option of requesting a removal automatically indicates approval.

SEO Predictions

Now 2015 has arrived, it seems a good idea to take a look through the SEO news sites and collect their ideas on what direction the discipline will take in the coming year.  If you kept your law firm’s website up to date with new formats for smartphones and local search SEO, you will need to keep running reviews of your presentation to keep ahead of the game in 2015. This roundup picks up on emerging trends and tips on success for 2015 as reported in Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Watch, Search Engine Roundtable and Search Engine Land.

The Search Experts Have Spoken: 2015 Predictions

Search Engine Watch hit the phones to produce this summary of 2015 predictions from SEO experts. Not surprisingly, mobile access is still a hot topic for the coming year. If you still haven’t got your law firm’s website a mobile-friendly version, now is the time to do it.

2015 Predictions: Google In The Year Of The Goat

Search Engine Land’s predictions for the coming year also open with a mention for mobile access, which reinforces the importance of this change in SEO as seen by those who report on the topic every day. Other nuggets of interest in this gaze at the crystal ball include the increased importance of content and the possibility that Google is going to give up on its efforts to promote Google+. Your Google+ profile is important for tying your law firm’s presentation into Google maps, so don’t bin Google+ completely. The writer reasons that the probable decline of Google+ heralds the resurgence of Facebook and Twitter. However, given Twitter’s recent woes, maybe the new stars of social media, Instagram and Pinterest, will reap the benefits.

Pinterest To Roll Out Promoted Pins To All US Users Starting January 1, 2015

Pinterest is on the rise and 2015 will make or break the site. Technically speaking, Pinterest is a “curation platform,” not a social media site. The company is getting better at enticing businesses into using the site for promotion, so maybe you should consider it to as a tool to gain clients for your legal practice.

3 Reasons to Use Pinterest in 2015

If you are starting to look into a Pinterest presence for your law firm, this article would be a useful follow up read. Pinterest is a minnow compared to Facebook. It is unlikely that Pinterest will ever get more users that Facebook, but it could certainly challenge Twitter this year.

Webmasters Talk About 2015 SEO & Search Trends & Predictions

Search Engine Roundtable is geared towards a tech-savvy audience, so if you are a sole practitioner, just looking after your firm’s website in your spare time, you may find its content too technical for your liking. However, news from the computer room can give you the heads up on any major changes in search engine rankings that may be in the pipeline. The site’s roundup of webmaster views is derived from a browse through the Webmaster World site. If you are getting a little more confident in the use of technology, these avenues of information could become more appealing to you.

The Year in Stats – SEO, Content, and Data Analytics

This article, found at Search Engine Watch gives a picture of the developments of the year in statistics. At the beginning of the year, the big news was that Google was signaling the death of blogging. However, the technological changes required for catering to local search and mobile search seem to have diverted the company from their aim of killing off blogs. In among this list of stats you will read that 54 per cent of retailers found blogs the most effective form of communication. However, you would have read a number of tips here at the Optimized Attorney blog over the last year on how to diversify your law firm’s Web presentation.

SEO 101: How Local SEO Changed in 2014 and How to Get Ready for 2015

The Pigeon algorithm introduced by Google this year definitely focused minds on optimizing for local search. This article summarizes the changes that Pigeon caused in Google rankings and contains some recommendations for how to improve the performance of your law firm’s rankings for local searches.

50 Awesome and Inspiring Responsive Website Designs from 2014

Responsive website design, also known as responsive web design or RWD, is all about making a site that fits the screens of different sized devices. This became a hot topic in 2014 because of the growth in local and mobile searches. As a local legal practice, you are more likely to get clients from your own neighborhood and if you deal with emergency cases, you need to be sure your site works well on smartphones. This article lists some successful examples of RWD.

10 Things I Learned About Local SEO In 2014

Andrew Shotland gives a humorous rundown of the developments in local search over the last year. Law firms need to ace local search, so this is essential reading. Fortunately, Shotland’s humor lessens the shock that not all went well with search engine adaptation to local search in 2014.

Mapping It Out: Our Top 10 Local Search Columns For 2014

Search Engine Land analyzed which of their articles on local search over the past year got the most shares on social media. The report contains links to their most talked about local search articles, so this gives you a good guideline when examining your law firm’s local search strategy.

2014 Year In Review: A Look Back On What Happened With SEO

Erin Everhart took a different path to read back through Search Engine Land’s content over the last year and she has summarized the major movements in SEO on a monthly basis. Hopefully, you would have read that we spotted all of those trends here at the Optimized Attorney blog. If so, you would have kept your law firm’s website design up to speed.

 Authority

Last month, Google’s Matt Cutts announced that a new version of the algorithm would be released soon. The new update would reduce the effect of “Panda,” which is Google’s algorithm that downgrades the output of content farms, and favors blogs and news sites. He also stated that the aim of this new adjustment was to improve the standing in Google’s rankings of small businesses. This week, Mr. Cutts has given further clues about the aims of the update penciled for release in late May.

As the majority of US law firms are small businesses, this adjustment should favor legal websites greatly. This week’s SEO roundup focuses on the current trends in authority, which is another issue central to law firms’ websites. Mr. Cutts has indicated that this is the method by which the new algorithm will boost the little guy. These articles from the Bruce Clay Blog, Search Engine Watch and Search Engine Journal will help you understand the topic.

Authority vs. Popularity: Matt Cutts Teases New Google Search Result Shake-Up

This Search Engine Watch article covers the explanation released by Cutts. The writer specifically mentions legal sites as among the expected beneficiaries of this change to Google’s algorithm. If you only read one article on SEO this week, make it this one.

15 Ways to Avoid Reputation Roadkill @ClickZ Live #czlny

The SEO specialization that deals with issues of authority is termed “reputation management.” This concept should not be difficult for a lawyer. In the real world you get clients because you have authority, you gained authority by building a reputation in a specific field of law and by not fleecing anyone. However, you also have to make sure that your real-world reputation translates to the Web. This article explains some of the pitfalls to avoid when establishing your reputation online.

How to Be Your Best SEO: Bruce Clay’s Advice for Gaining Influence

Bruce Clay has been a leader in the field of SEO consultancy for many years. In this article on his own website, Mr. Clay talks about some of the aspects of leading a company and how they equate to good practices for SEO. Unsurprisingly, Bruce prioritizes ethical behavior as a good way to lead a company and project its image over the Web. Ethics contribute directly towards reputation management and brand building. Thus, these issues should be on your list of priorities when enhancing the authority of your law firm’s website.

Corporate Branding: What It is, and How to Do It Right

Authority and reputation are both tied into the marketing concept of ¨branding.¨ Just as presenting a strong identity is important in the real world, it is important online and is becoming increasingly important thanks to Google´s recent moves. This Search Engine Journal article looks at the basics of branding a corporation, like your law firm. The stress on authority in Google´s upcoming algorithm update means you will need to focus your practice´s presentation on specific services. If you are a general practice it might be a good idea to just focus on your strongest specializations, or split your Web presence across several sites that stress each different practice area individually.

SEO Trend: Layout

Google’s big announcements this week lead the SEO world to consider layout issues of websites and their impact on SEO.

The issues raised by Google in its two posts of the week again relate to the impact of redesigning layout for smartphone users. Practice managers and non-technically-minded sole practitioner lawyers will find it difficult to understand these concepts.

However, get your techies to read up on these issues and then workshop through them with you. Despite a lack of interest in the technical issues, you will need to get an outline of these issues in order to have any understanding or input into the ultimate presentation of your corporate image on the Web.

This week’s roundup features news stories from Google’s Webmaster Central Blog, Search Engine Watch, the Moz Blog and Search Engine Roundtable.

The Best Way to Suck at Marketing

In this “Whiteboard Friday” presentation, Rand Fishkin, owner of Moz, gives a caution to all digital marketers to keep your eye on the ball. This article isn’t exactly pertinent to the hot topic of the week. However, for those of you who are not even slightly interested in the technical aspects of your firm’s website, watching this video will remind you that it is important to keep your Web team on its toes.

Yelp Gets a Facelift, Puts Visual Content Front and Center

This Search Engine Watch article is an easy read for those not technically minded. It explains the effort and expense the Yelp directory is going to by rejigging its design. When the big boys splash out cash, you can bet it will be worth the money. This is an indicator that layout issues and the reaction of search engines to them are important considerations for your law firm’s site.

Video: Twitter Testing A New Design, Similar To Google+

This Search Engine Roundtable is practice-manager friendly and re-enforces the impression of an emerging trend when taken together with the news of Yelp’s redesign.

Google’s Page Layout Algorithm Updated For Third Time

Hello! Yelp is redesigning, Twitter is redesigning and then along comes an announcement that Google is updating its page layout algorithm. Looks like the big boys were ahead of the game on this one. Get your firm’s technical experts to read through this article from Search Engine Roundtable and the two linked articles to check whether your law practice needs a website makeover, too.

Infinite scroll search-friendly recommendations

This is one of the two key reads for this week. You probably won’t understand a word of it unless you design, write and maintain your law firm’s website. This issue is particularly pertinent if you are currently putting up mobile-friendly content on your site.

Faceted navigation best (and 5 of the worst) practices

If you found the scrolling issue incomprehensible, you won’t stand a chance with this article from Google’s Webmaster Central Blog on navigation. However, these two articles, taken together are must-reads for anyone designing or redesigning their firm’s website. Yelp and Twitter aren’t spending all that money on a whim. So, get your Web team to read through this article.

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Marketing for Attorneys and Law Firms https://www.optimizedco.com/2019/marketing-for-attorneys-and-law-firms/ Tue, 16 Apr 2019 20:06:41 +0000 https://optimizedatty.wpengine.com/?p=84973 Learn instantly what grade Google has given your website

It is important in marketing for attorneys and law firms to understand that Google grades every website with a 0-10 score it calls PageRank (named after Larry Page, Google’s co-founder).  Most attorney websites have scores of 0-4.  A few make it to 5.  You have to be a NY Times or Amazon to obtain a 9.
Your website’s grade is one of the critical factors in its Google page position.  If your site has a PageRank of 1 and your top web competitor has a PageRank of 3, your competitor’s site will likely appear above yours for many searches.

Learn your grade instantly

To learn what score Google has assigned to your website, go to http://www.prchecker.info/check_page_rank.phpand type in your website’s address.  For example, when I type in www.JamesAttorneyMarketing.com I learn that it has a PageRank of 5.
You can of course use this same handy tool to learn the scores of your key competitors.  Simply type in their web addresses one at a time.  Their scores compared to yours tell you how large a gap you need to overcome.

How to improve your grade

Inbound links with appropriate anchor text from relevant websites are what count for PageRank.  A percentage of your inbound links should come from sites with higher PageRanks than yours and contain keyworded anchor text (the words that are highlighted and linked to your site).

Optimizing Your Website for Bing

It’s no secret that Google is the search engine powerhouse. In fact, marketing research has determined that Google claims nearly 70% of the Internet searches completed within the United States. However, Microsoft’s search engine Bing continues to hold its own—it claims roughly 8% of the search pie. Nearly 10% of all search engine traffic is nothing to scoff at, and all the more reason for lawyer websites to be tailored for Bing in addition to Google. Consider the following optimization tips that may help your firm increase its Bing SEO efforts.

1. Implement some Google best practices

Some of the same practices and processes that work for Google SEO relate to Bing SEO as well. For example, optimizing URLs and domain names and garnering a number of high-quality backlinks from outside sources will boost website SEO on any of the top search engines. In addition, strategically placing keywords throughout your lawyer website is essential no matter which search engine your law firm is focusing on. To best optimize your law firm’s webpage, be sure to naturally incorporate keyword phrases in article headlines and subheads, within the first and last 50-word sections on the website or blog page, and occasionally bold keywords throughout the page.

2. Focus on social media

Bing emphasizes the role that social media plays on search engine optimization. Basically, the greater the number of followers your lawyer website accrues and the more content sharing the Bing bots notice, the higher your webpage can rank on search results.

3. Structure your webpage to appeal to Bing’s bots

Page structure is hugely influential upon the SEO performance of your website. When optimizing your website for Bing, use “strong” tags to highlight keywords in body text, avoid featuring important text content in images (Bing’s bots have trouble reading text featured in images, scripts, and Flash), and utilize header tags to structure content intuitively.

Also, it’s best to steer clear of hidden text and links. Bing views these elements as “spammer” behavior and can penalize your lawyer website for it.

4. Narrow down the best keywords

Brainstorm possible keywords and keyword phrases, and don’t hesitate to use tools like Microsoft Advertising Intelligence to pare down keyword lists and predict the performance of chosen phrases.

5. Create high-quality, engaging content

This rule of thumb applies to all search engines, but it’s worth mentioning that Bing definitely rewards websites that regularly push engaging and well-written content. This means ensuring that articles and website text are original (no plagiarism or borrowing from other sites!), free of errors, and compelling enough to promote sharing on social media and outside websites.

Weekly SEO Trend: Search Engine Alternatives

The SEO community pays special attention to everything Google does almost to the complete exclusion of all other search engines. This is because Google consistently accounts for around 65 per cent of all Web searches every year.

However, this position may be changing. You may expect that the challenge to Google’s supremacy arises from the search engine’s traditional rivals, Bing and Yahoo. However, this is not the case. New applications, not traditionally thought of as search engines are starting to crowd the search engine space and they are winning market share from Google.

This roundup looks at alternative search engines for you to consider as marketing outlets for your law practice. The reports in this roundup come from Search Engine Watch, Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Roundtable and Search Engine Land.

Search Apps Stealing Mobile Search Ad Revenues from Google

This Search Engine Watch article highlights the fight back that is currently being implemented by traditional directories like Yellow Pages. Way back when, people would automatically reach for the telephone directory to find goods or services, but then the Internet came along. Recent trends towards local searches have played into the hands of the directory companies who have placed their databases online. In this article you will see that the directories are winning market share from Google in paid advertising, so consider paying for feature placements for your law firm in local searches on directories rather than on Google.

With Guided Search, Is Pinterest the “Next” Search Engine?

The headline of this Search Engine Watch article plainly identifies a new direction for Pinterest as a contender in the search engine world. Pinterest is classified as a “curation tool.” This means that people make collections of sites and pictures that interest them and then invite people to look at their collection. This is a rather odd pursuit that is difficult to fit legal services into. However, the endeavor will pay off, because Pinterest is on the rise.

Pinterest Is Bringing Guided Search From Its Mobile Apps To Desktop Users

This is an article in Search Engine Journal on the same subject that you just read about in Search Engine Watch. Reading another article on the same development at Pinterest may seem like a waste of time. However, there does seem to be a lot of interest in the SEO news world in what Pinterest is doing at the moment and so doubling up your time on this topic may help you focus on how you can use it to market your law firm.

Pinterest Introduces A Faster Search Experience For Place Pins

I’m sure you’re sick of hearing about Pinterest by now. However, look at this article about the company, which also comes from Search Engine Journal. The site has “Place Pins,” which look remarkably similar to Google Local’s search methods on Google Maps. As you are more likely to get clients from your law office’s locale, you need to find a way to get your place pinned just in case Pinterest ends up trouncing Google in the local search market.

Why Your Business Should be on Instagram

Like Pinterest (sorry to mention it again), Instagram is a big online marketing platform you have probably never heard of. However, with 200 million accounts, most of which are in the USA, this is site you need to get to know. As the title of this piece suggests, you may benefit from tailoring some of your law firm’s marketing towards Instagram. This article gives a good 101 on the site.

Facebook Explains Organic Reach; While Some Users Are Afraid To Like Content

This article in Search Engine Roundtable explains that things are not going to well for marketers who focus their strategy on Facebook. Reading this, you will probably start to realize why so many people have started to switch their marketing from Facebook to Instagram. If your law firm’s marketing is heavily invested in Facebook, maybe you should now take a look at Instagram as an alternative outlet.

Testing

The past month has seen a slew of algorithm updates from Google. If you decided to tweak your law firm’s site to account for these changes, or if you decided to put up an entirely new site, you need to track what benefits those changes brought you. SEO testing is a complicated process and involves the knowledge of a whole range of tools. An army of SEO specialists make a living testing websites for SEO enhancements, so you may just want to commission a study of your new site’s positioning in search engines.

Search Engine Land, Search Engine Watch, the Moz Blog and Search Engine Journal have some interesting new articles that will help you get an idea about the topic of testing a website.

How to Track The Impact of Your Website Redesign

This Search Engine Journal report is written by an SEO consultant who makes a living tracking the changed performance of redesigned websites. This is a long and involved article, so you will need to dedicate some time to it.

If you don’t want to pay for analysis of your law firm’s site, but just want to do it yourself, you can follow the steps that Sergio Aicardi explains in this article. He uses Google Analytics and tells you what metrics to look out for and how to judge whether your redesign was worth the money.

How To Estimate Traffic From A Ranking Increase Using Actual Metrics, Not Generic Studies

This is another good article for those with little SEO knowledge who want to test the performance of their firm’s website. The topic of this piece is how to estimate goals of traffic visiting your new site. In short, it is a way to benchmark the performance of your new site in attracting Web surfers through search engines. The article features a guide on how to use Google Webmaster Tools.

Mobile Search Ranking Study: Rank Number One Or Not Rank At All

The key goal of SEO is to get your website high in search engine results pages. This is the first of two articles listed in this roundup that explain how recent developments have changed the behavior of search engine users. Smartphones have smaller screens than desktops or laptops and it seems this factor has influenced the likelihood of people clicking on an entry further down the page. The top spot is even more important to get the attention of mobile users.

Eye Tracking in 2014: How Users View and Interact with Today’s Google SERPs

This article seems to contradict the mobile search studies, above. It discusses another recent study into where people look on Google’s results pages. It found that back in 2005, there was a Golden Triangle at the top of the page where most people focused their attention, but now that behavior has changed. People are now likely to scan further down the page. An explanation for this contradiction between the two studies is that people are resistant to advertising. Now Google puts paid entries at the top of search results and flags them with the word “Ad.” Probably people are scanning a little lower to filter out the paid entries.

Finding Local Search Success, Post-Pigeon and Penguin 3.0

This article appears on Search Engine Watch, but is entirely based on a survey conducted by Moz (link in the article). Most lawyers work as sole practitioners or in small partnerships and get all of their business from their neighborhood; so, success in local search is really important. The Moz study examines what factors on a website will get a high ranking on search engine results pages for local searches.

SEO Trends: SEO Skills

As a lawyer, you are probably very confident about your skills in the legal profession. However, if you are trying to run your own website, you may worry that your SEO skills are not up to scratch. In fact, you may know so little that you don’t even know what skills you lack. Don’t worry. Even SEO experts get those feelings sometimes. There is always the worry that others know things that you don’t. However, this week’s SEO news roundup focuses on what skills you need for search engine optimization, and how to acquire them.  This review includes articles from Search Engine Journal, the Moz Blog and Search Engine Watch.

18 Areas of Knowledge Every SEO Must Possess

In this article, SEO guru Neil Patel admits that he sometimes worries that he doesn’t know enough about SEO. He then runs down eighteen categories of knowledge that he believes every SEO practitioner should master. The list just covers general categories of optimization, but if you worry that you don’t even know which areas you should be skilled in, this is a useful checklist to help you brush up your skills to manage your law firm’s website.

What’s the Best Way to Spend 30 Minutes of Your Time on Social Media Marketing?

Social media knowledge was at number 17 on Patel’s list. This area of digital marketing is a key area for law firms and so read this article to zoom in on more specific skills needed to ace social media marketing. Use of social media will help establish key lawyers in your practice by giving them credibility and encouraging familiarity.

7 Places to Learn to Code – for Free!

Although you shouldn’t be expected to write your own programs and web pages for your law firm’s site, a little knowledge of HTML will enable you to fix little glitches on your site and insert links without having to call out an expensive consultant. Learning a bit about programming will also help you understand the degrees of complexity involved in the topic and help you better negotiate when getting prices for coding.

2015 Guide to Free SEO Training Courses Online

If you identified knowledge gaps when reading through Patel’s list, then maybe you need to look for some SEO training courses. Rather than splurging your law firm’s profits on specialist on-site courses, you could benefit from this guide to free SEO training.

Local Search Expert Quiz: How Much Do You Know about Local SEO?

How much do you know about local SEO? If the answer is “nothing,” you may find this checklist, presented in the form of a quiz a useful tool. Local SEO is really important for most legal practices, because small law firms get all of their clients from their immediate neighborhood. This article contains a list of links to resources on local SEO once you have taken the quiz and discovered what you know and don’t know about this important topic.

SEO Trends: SEO Tools

t is a common mistake to let pride in your work cloud your judgment. You probably worked hard to get your law firm’s website up and running and you are probably pretty pleased with it.

However, if the site isn’t attracting visitors, there is something wrong with it. You may find it difficult to see anything that could be changed. This is because you don’t know what to look for. The only way to assess your own site with objectivity is to use SEO tools. Search Engine Land, Search Engine Journaland Search Engine Watch have some great tips on SEO tools this week, along with examples of how to use them. Here’s a rundown of some tools you could use to improve the rankings of your law firm’s website.

Google Trends Updated to Provide Minute-by-Minute Data on Trending Searches

Most of the best utilities for analyzing your website are online tools and a lot of them are free. Google provides a number of different tools. Google Trends won’t analyze your law firm’s site, but it gives live data on what subjects are important. You can narrow the results to show what searchers are looking for in your local area. This tool can give you ideas on topics for blog posts and also help you target your law firm’s specializations to the practice areas that seem to be in particular demand.

SEO 101: An Expert’s Guide to Auditing a Website’s Onsite SEO Health

One of the most important analytical tools that website owners use is called Google Webmaster Tools. This tool offers in-depth analysis of SEO factors on your site. You need to link your site to the tool before you can use it. Google has renamed the tool to “Search Console.” However, everyone still calls it Google Webmaster Tools, as does the author of this article. Search Console is included in this list of tools you can use to check the SEO qualities of your law firm’s site. Other tools demonstrated in this article are Screaming Frog, Xenu Link Sleuth, Copyscape, Pingdom and Google Analytics.

Keyword Research For A New Website

The main aim of SEO is to get your website a high ranking for specific keywords. Therefore, getting Google to log your law firm’s site for the keywords that potential clients are likely to search for is of primary importance. This article explains tools that you can use to find the right keywords for your new website. The first port of call in this journey is the Google AdWords Keyword Planner, which is another free tool from Google. Other tools illustrated in this guide are SEMRush and Term Explorer.

8 Essential Tools to Simplify SEO for Content Marketing

All the writing on your law firm’s website, even the “Hello and welcome” message on your homepage, is called “content.” This article explains how to gear your law firm’s content so that it contains all the important keywords you need to rank for and engages visitors long enough that you get a ranking boost from the amount of time they spend on each page. The first tool this article visits is the Google AdWords Keyword Planner that was explained in the previous article. You can get ideas for topics to write about on your site from Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator and see which articles are doing well right now (both yours and that of your rivals) through BuzzSumo and Impactana. The article suggests using Grammarly to check the grammar in your new articles and explains WordPress SEO, which would be of use to those of you using WordPress. Sendible and BuzzBundle can help you promote your site on social media and in comments and reviews.

How Changing One Word Increased Revenue by $330,000

This article outlines methods for market testing your law firm’s site to see which versions appeal more to the general public. This is a case study of how one site owner tested different text on a button on his site that encouraged people to access a free trial. The study includes the use of Optimizely and VWO SEO tools.

37 Awesome Tools To Get The Most From Your SEO Campaigns

This is a long list of tools you could try out to improve the performance of your law firm’s website. Most of them have free versions. Each entry in the list has a link through to the website of the tool’s provider. The article divides tools into three categories: analysis tools, link prospecting/acquisition and performance measurement. Majestic, Open Site Explorer, SEMRush, Screaming Frog and Google Analytics are probably the most widely used of the tools in this list.

10 Tools to Help Discover and Monitor Negative SEO Activity

One way to get to the top of search engine results pages is to undermine the rankings of your competitors. This methodology is called “black hat SEO,” or “negative SEO.” How do you find out if someone is using dirty tricks against your law firm’s website? This article outlines ways to detect what is going wrong with your rankings and identify a negative SEO campaign that someone has launched against you.

 Using Analytical Analysis to Help Improve Conversions

This article is a useful tutorial on how to use Google Analytics. This is a free tool, but you can nly access stats on a website that you can prove you own. So, if you do not have the primary responsibility for your law firm’s website, you would need to get your practice’s webmaster to set up the account for you.

 The Content Marketer’s Toolkit: 35 Tools You Can’t Blog Without

Neil Patel runs his own SEO consultancy. In this Search Engine Journal article, he passes on some tips about the tools he rates. He has been a little bit cheeky, putting his own website, Quick Sprout, at the top of the list. However, each entry contains a link through to the tool in question, so check through them to see if any will help you with your law firm’s website.

5 AdWords Optimization Checkpoints You May Be Missing

If you use Google AdWords to advertize your law firm, this Search Engine Watch article should be of interest to you. Like many tools, Google AdWords has lots of features and it is difficult for new users to get to know all the tweaks that bring the most benefit from the system. The article includes screen shots of the important sections of the tool as each is discussed so you should know where to look in order to follow the article’s advice.

Conferences

If you want to get out of your office and leave the law behind for a few days, you could profitably spend your away time getting up to speed on your digital marketing strategy. Conferences, expos and seminars are a great way to take time out from your day to day workload and really go in-depth on SEO strategies.

The first benefit of attending these conferences is that you are not physically available, so you won’t be constantly dragged back to your caseload, interrupting your stream of thought on your Web strategy. A secondary benefit is that conferences are organized at many different locations around the country and even abroad. You get a nice little tax-deductable trip to Hawaii out of the research, as well as contacts and insights.

These events range in themes and styles from sales expos to intense training courses. Have a look at the different formats of meetings and see whether one might be worth the trip. In this week’s round up, you will be directed to Search Engine Watch, Search Engine Land and Search Engine Journal.

Search Engine Strategies Coming to Atlanta in July, Registration Now Open

A number of the SEO news sites are closely linked with conference and training seminar organizations. In fact, in many cases they seem to be corporate stablemates. In this article, Search Engine Watch plugs a forthcoming one-day conference in Atlanta, which is run under the banner of Search Engine Strategies. SES run a rolling program of conferences across the country throughout the year. However, they have been on a hiatus recently and they are relaunching their format with this July conference. SES brings in keynote speakers, who act more like guest lecturers on a one day course. Another brand of conferences that Search Engine Watch promotes heavily is called ClickZ and you can see a list of upcoming events in the rightmost column of the Search Engine Watch Home page.

Search Engine Land and SMX

The main rival to Search Engine Watch and their SES/ClickZ friends is Search Engine Land with its affiliation to the SMX brand of expos. Search Marketing Expo runs exhibitions and conferences all over the world at regular periods throughout the year and you can see a list of their forthcoming events in the right-most column of the Search Engine Land Home page.

25 Great Marketing Conferences Happening in 2014

Search Engine Journal doesn’t seem to have its own brand of conferences to plug. However, you can see the importance of these events to the industry by that fact that SEJ has three stories on its front page based around conferences. The first of these is a bumper roundup of events in the pipeline. Not all of these are directly related to digital marketing and you will struggle to find a conference specifically aimed at websites for lawyers. However, if you read through the list, you might find something that could benefit your law firm’s digital marketing strategy.

Look out HubSpot: @Marketo Adds SEO Tools to Their Marketing Suite

SEJ uses SEO conferences to pin down key players and interview them on video. This interview, conducted by Murray Newlands at Marketo’s Marketing National Summit is a typical example. Even if you are not interested in what the interviewee, Mike Berger, has to say, it is worth taking a look at the video in this article to get an idea of the atmosphere at these events.

#SMSSummit 2014 Chicago Recap: Humanizing Your Brand on Social Media With @Ramon_DeLeon

This article from SEJ illustrates the third method the site uses to draw content from conferences. This is a summary of a talk at the SMS Summit 2014. This is an example of how you can learn from conferences without even attending them. So if you can’t take time away from your caseload, you can pick through the articles that sites like Search Engine Journal produce by sending their writers as attendees.

Google Says

Google does not pre-announce changes to its ranking algorithm. The company dominates the search market and sudden changes in methods can ruin businesses. Thus, a large part of the SEO news media is concerned with reading between the lines of whatever any Google official says. Unfortunately, Google’s official announcements are not always good advice to follow. So this week, the SEO trends analysis looks at what Google is saying at the moment.

Some of these whispers may turn into major events in the future, others may turn out to be major mistakes.

Explore this topic with the following articles fromSearch Engine Journal, Search Engine Watch and Search Engine Land.

Be Careful Of Switching To HTTPS To Improve Google Rankings: The Buffer Story [UPDATE]

This story from Search Engine Land is an example of how it is not always a good idea to rely on everything that Google says. This confuses the general advice of following Google’s opinion to the letter when managing your law firm’s website. In August, Google announced that those sites that used https secure connections would get a rankings boost. Over the following few weeks, analysts detected that this boost was negligible. One company that leapt over to https got a serious downgrade in its rankings. Therefore, it is necessary to listen to what Google says, but then what analysts and news sites say about what Google says.

Google May Use What’s On TV As A Ranking Signal, According To New Patent

This article is based on a clever way of detecting what Google is doing without waiting to listen to what Google says. A news site has noticed a new patent filed by Google that shows it will start to pay attention to what’s on TV in a local area and adjust rankings accordingly. It is difficult to see how this will influence law firm websites, but it is certainly a factor to look out for when monitoring Google’s announcements.

When Google Shows A Source Or Credit For Quick Answers & Knowledge Graph

Google has started showing its own answers at the top of search engines. Sometimes this comes in the form of a snippet taken from another website and sometimes it is Google’s own content, like a quick How To, or conversions of units of measure. This move will have huge ramifications for information websites because searchers will no longer bother to look at the sites listed in the results pages. Now Google says that it does not always need to attribute its sources of information. This may well have legal ramifications in the future.

Google’s My Maps Upgrade Presents Opportunities for Local Search

Google says it is going to replace Google Maps with My Maps. Google’s mapping structure is central to its local search strategy and so it is vital to check out My Maps to make sure your law firm’s location info has been copied over from Google Maps.

The End Is Near For Panoramio, Google To Migrate Photos To Google Maps Views

In another article this week, Google says it is getting rid of Panoramio and integrating it as a photo feature in Google Maps. It will also include public photos of a location that are posted on Google +. In another story Google says it has just added on coverage of 20 new countries to Google Maps. So, between this, and the news about My Maps, Google seems to be contradicting itself. Why is it investing so much in Google Maps if it is going to replace it with My Maps. Why not just focus new developments on My Maps? It seems that the switch over to My Maps may be a long way off, so it is best to make sure that your law firms location is registered on both mapping systems.

Mobile Websites

Search engine insiders, like the rest of the human race, have been slow to recover from the holidays. This means that vital news has been thin on the ground for the first half of January 2014.

However, the third full week of the year has seen the industry spring back from the post-celebration climb down so coverage of new topics has sprung to life. In this roundup you will read about Google’s first major announcement of the year and the industry’s reaction to it.

This week’s roundup features news stories fromGoogle Webmaster Central Blog, Google’s Inside Search, Search Engine Watch, Search Engine Land,Search Engine Journal and the Matt Cutts Blog.

Googlebot re-designed for mobile and smartphone content

Attorneys, do you have a mobile website? Have you experienced difficulty getting Google to notice your smartphone-specific law content? This big announcement from Google is one to read through. Googlebot-Mobile is being phased out over the next 3 to 4 weeks to make way for a new crawler that is more sympathetic to smartphone content. If you found your smartphone pages ignored in the past this is because the Googlebot-Mobile strategy discarded content-rich mobile content, assuming that these were handset and service-provider features rather than third-party content. Lawyers, get your Technical Services team to read through this one – it is a tech-heavy article.

Google smartphone crawling explained

While your tech team crunches through the Google announcement on Googlebot-Mobile changes, you can find a more human-readable explanation over at Search Engine Watch. This article, published on January 24, puts the latest update into the context of Google’s ongoing effort to improve mobile accessibility and if your firm’s website caters to smartphone access you will need to keep abreast of these changes.

US Consumer Device Preference Report

Search Engine Journal produced an interesting news item on the 24th that illustrates how urgent Google’s adaptation to mobile technology really is. Research from Movable Ink shows that more marketing emails are read on smartphones and tablets (combined) than on desktops. Bear these trends in mind when designing email campaigns to your law firm’s clients.

Rich media search effects

Although Search Engine Land covers the Googlebot-Mobile change, they have another article that will be of more interest to your law firm’s website designers. This article covers an analysis of rich media content, such as images, on top ranking pages.

Snippets in SERPs

In their only post of the year so far, Google’s Inside Search covers a new feature of their search results pages. This article, dated January 22, explains that a snippet giving info on each SERP entry will appear in an overlay box when the user hovers the mouse pointer over that entry. Make sure you know where Google gets the snippet for your law firm’s pages and get it in shape.

Guest bloggers beware

Google’s algorithm supremo took to his own blog to drop a bombshell on the industry on the 20th. Matt Cutts fired off a few rounds to show that he is gunning for guest bloggers. This revelation should have caused an SEOer stampede back to the drawing board, but the SEO news sites don’t seem to have noticed the fatwa. Strategists take note: reassess any blogs your partners and lawyers may have contributed to.

Upcoming Events:

SES London

If you like conferences and love London, then you are in luck. The search engine and social media marketing conference will be taking place at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, across the yard from Big Ben from 10th to the 13 February. Twitter’s UK Managing Director, Bruce Daisley will be headlining the “converged media” shin-dig.

SMX West

If you can’t make it to the UK for February, then make sure you know the way to San Jose. The Search Marketing Expo (SMX) will be rolling into town on March 10th for four days of boot camps and summits. Book your place before February 1st to earn a discount.

If you need help with SEO for your attorney website, contact us to see how we can help you.

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Lawyer Marketing Services https://www.optimizedco.com/2019/lawyer-marketing-services/ Tue, 16 Apr 2019 19:34:09 +0000 https://optimizedatty.wpengine.com/?p=84972 Is Local SEO for Lawyers Important?

The short answer is: Yes. There seems to be precious few lawyers who have a practice so specialized that they take clients all over the U.S. or operate mostly on referrals. Local SEO should be the main focus of any lawyer marketing services. We often find law firms that have not focused on their local SEO efforts being outranked by less experienced firms in their market. Law firms should laser focus on their local SEO rankings. Unfortunately, few understand how local SEO works and what needs to be done to get into the coveted three pack on the first page of Google.

A few key stats that should get your attention and interest you in reading this entire article.

  1. 88% of consumer local business searches on a mobile device either call or visit the business within 24 hours. (Nectafy)
  2. 46% of all searches on Google are seeking local information.
  3. 97% searched online to find a local business  (Source: Hubspot)

Business litigation attorneys, personal injury attorneys, criminal defense attorneys, civil defense attorneys, family lawyers, employment law attorneys, and estate planning attorneys, and others, need to operate at least within the state whose laws govern their practice. Most clients like to meet their attorneys face to face. However, in cases where that isn’t possible (say a tourist gets into a car accident while visiting another state), they still need an attorney who is local to the area. So concepts like geolocalization are extremely important to attorneys and their law firms.

Here, we’ll discuss how it works. If you would like to discuss lawyer marketing services in more detail with me or my team, click here to schedule a time that works best for you.

Google My Business

Google My Business is where localization begins. Without it, your business will not show up in “near me” searches and Google itself will do precious little to help along the way. The first step is claiming your listing. How do you do that?

Supposing you don’t have an SEO firm doing everything for you, the process is relatively simple. You’ll want to make a specific Google account for your business. This process is free and simple. Everything you need to accomplish can be done so here. Google will ask you some rudimentary questions such as where you’re located and what kind of business you are and then you’ll be set up with a page. Please note that it could take up to three days for Google to publish your business and make it searchable. This is a quality control check.

The process doesn’t end with your GMB listing, but since Google has an 87% market share when it comes to searches, it’s definitely the best place to start.

Understanding Local SEO

Search engine optimization involves making your business eminently more searchable (and thus easier to find) over search engines like Google. When someone types in “car accident lawyer”, you want to ensure that your website is at the top of the list. There seems to be very few people who will look beyond the first page of hits. More traffic to your website means more cases for you and that translates into more money for your firm.

Google automatically sifts through results that are local to the searcher although “near me” searches remain valuable.

Aside from basic “organic” search results, Google offers a number of options that law firms can familiarize themselves with to improve their standing in local searches.

Google Snack Pack Results

“Near me” searches remain a large part of local Google SEO, yet the organic search results you’re likely to find on Tripadvisor links and then, down the list, you’ll find actual businesses. However, at the top of the search engine box, you’ll find a list of three results. Google considers these the top three options for your search.

As an example, try a search for “delis near me”. You’ll notice that the top three delis listed in your area are probably not the only delis within a 10-minute drive of your location. Not only that, but some of those delis may actually be closer than the ones listed in the snack pack list.

Now, research has shown that Google searchers will choose an option off the snack pack list 33% of the time while 40% will choose from the “organic” listings underneath. The best play is to rank highly in both.

Lastly, these results look different on different devices. Therefore, it’s important to consider the experience of searching over different kinds of screens. You can rank well regardless of device, but it takes a little effort. It means developing a site that looks right for both mobile and desktop/laptop searches. Google supplies a tool for testing how mobile-friend your site is. You can find it here.

Keyword Research and SEO

In the early days of SEO, sites could saturate content with keywords in order to artificially drive up their search engine results. However, the content itself was abysmal and the visitor experience of the content was unpleasant. Today, keywords still matter, but the user experience of the content matters now too. Google can analyze things like how long a visitor stays on your site or the number of interactions. For instance, if they click around a site or send you a message, Google will recognize that the search result was worthwhile to the visitor and rank it higher.

How can you be sure you have the right keywords?

SEO specialists use common sense tactics and SEO tools to make such determinations. First, let’s take a simple example. If you’re a personal injury attorney, then one of the keywords you’re going to want to rank for is “personal injury attorney”. This is obvious. If you type that into Google, you can scroll down to the bottom of the page and you will find other related searches. These can give you some indication as to what other search queries are worth ranking for.

In some ways, attorneys have it lucky when it comes to SEO. Lawsuits are stressful events and when people feel stressed, they want to seek out knowledge related to their situation. That’s why you’ll find “personal injury calculators” on websites that attempt to answer the question “how much is the average personal injury case payout”. It’s not that these calculators give an accurate answer, it’s that people are curious about that question.

Potential clients also have other questions related to their lawsuit that they’ll desperately want answers on. These include: Do I have a case? Defenses against DUI; How to win a case; Understanding insurance settlements; and so on. It’s fairly easy to predict what kinds of questions your clients will have given your area of practice. By answering them, you set them at ease and generate a good rapport. Google rewards you when their interaction with your site is good. That’s why having the best content results in better lawyer SEO rankings which results in more business.

Service in Location Queries

Service in location (SiL) queries follow all variations of the format “[service/profession] in location”. For instance, “personal injury attorneys in Atlanta”, “Atlanta personal injury attorneys”, “personal injury lawyers Atlanta”, “personal injury lawyer in Atlanta” and so on. There are even tools that exist to generate all variations of SiL queries from a given prompt. Some tools provide more information like statistics related to the search query and the cost related to purchasing an ad using the search query.

Interesting Ways to Find Relevant Keywords

SEO specialists use a number of industry patented methods to uncover all of the glorious keywords that you want to rank for. One of the most common is using Google’s predictive/auto-complete text to find common searches. These are searches that others have put into Google enough times to warrant them easing the process of searching by offering it as an option. The technology to do this is called n-grams. It creates a statistical model of the most common searches and then ranks them according to frequency. For those interested, tools like Ahrefs provide a number of options for predicting keyword searches related to your law firm.

Local NAP Citations

“NAP” refers to Name/Address/Phone. It is a typical listing that includes your business. Sites like Tripadvisor have NAP citations and so does Yelp and other such sites. All search engines (not just Google) regard NAP citations highly as a top indicator for your business. They bolster Google’s confidence in your GMB listing, and they figure into whether or not you’ll be listed in the “Snack Pack” results.

One important thing to consider here is that the information should be consistent. In cases where you move your business or change your phone number, the NAP listings should be corrected as quickly as possible. Google does not like inconsistent NAP listings.

SEO specialists will scour the web to ensure listings in any and all business directories contain consistent NAP information.

Another technique that is useful is to build more NAP listings in various business directories across the web. You can find many of the most important local business directories here. For attorneys, FindLaw and Nolo are two obvious places to list your law firm.

SEO in Content and Geolocalization

For obvious reasons, you want to understand the basics of SEO keywords in the content you use on your website. For instance, if you want to rank for the query “DUI Defense” there are certain spots where you want to have your keyword. Those are:

  • Your title tag
  • Your first heading (H1)
  • The URL
  • The meta description

This is also important when trying to rank locally. In fact, it’s one of the most important things to bear in mind when creating content.

It is also the reason why websites will have multiple landing pages for different areas in which they operate. You don’t need to go crazy creating landing pages for every city in your state, but you will want landing pages for major suburbs. Or if you operate in a smaller town and want to do business in a major city, it helps to have individual landing pages for those cities.

Link Building

Link building remains one of the most important factors for ranking in local searches and Snack Pack listings. However, directory listings won’t (necessarily) factor into those. When your site is listed on another site and someone uses that link to access your site, the interaction is recorded and the link. Additionally, link signals can be generated from basic questions asked over Google such as: “car accident statistics in [my local area]”. These sorts of queries strengthen your site’s Google ranking. They can be only indirectly related to your area of practice. For instance: Safe driving tips or How to reduce your car insurance can work for a traffic accident attorney.

Other ways to build links include:

  • Guest blogging – Attorneys have a great opportunity here because their knowledge is both invaluable and esoteric.
  • Improve well-performing content – Simply giving blogs that are performing well a better look readability wise or adding a more comprehensive amount of information can improve your visitor’s interaction with your site.

For more information on link building, have a click here.

Reviews

The oldest form of advertising is word of mouth. In today’s market, it has become even more important. With the speed at which information travels, good results for clients result in higher rankings for your webpage. You can respond to customer reviews or concerns (or not). With GMB, you can also keep them in the loop as far as your latest results and updates by creating new posts.

Fresh Content

Adding fresh content keeps your web page in the public eye. You can share this content over social media and it also lets Google know that your page is being actively maintained. This is good for local SEO. Whereas once, SEO specialists believed that quantity trumped quality, today, it is largely regarded that the reverse is true. High-quality content encourages visitors to read about situations that are similar to their own. Moreover, Google keeps track of that interaction and weights it positively helping your website.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that local SEO is extremely important for 99.9% of the law firms in the U.S. Consider the digital profile of your business quite carefully. You need fresh, exciting content that is updated on (at least) a monthly basis that ranks for important keywords relative to your business. You also want content that indirectly relates to your law firm and draws visitors who may possibly be interested in various aspects of your practice. Taking the measures listed above ensures that your site out-competes other sites in your market. Which in turn brings more cases to your firm, and keeps your visitors reading for more information that may help alleviate some of their anxiety concerning their situation.

If you would like more information on our legal SEO services schedule an appointment with our team today. We are happy to review your current law firm SEO strategy and give you recommendations to improve your rankings.

Google My Business For Law Firms

With business giants and global corporations competing daily for top placement on Google, it’s nice to know that Google is still looking out for the little guy. Introducing Google My Business: a free tool and one-stop shop for small businesses—law firms included—to increase their online visibility via Google search, Google Maps, and Google+. Google My Business is a more visual way for smaller businesses to connect with clients on a local scale, and is ideal for those who aren’t SEO-savvy, and/or are looking for Google to help them establish a significant presence online. Google My Business puts all Google services and business-related applications in one place. With Google My Business you can:

  • Update business information on Google search, Google Maps, and Google+ simultaneously.
  • Upload staff photos and a virtual tour of your law firm to help clients see your firm on a personal level.
  • Connect daily with clients by sharing content, news, events, and other updates from your Google+ page.
  • Stay on top of business reviews from top review sites, including Google reviews.
  • Determine how clients find your firm using integration with AdWords Express.
  • Access your Google Analytics dashboard.
  • Start or join a Hangout (aka video meetings) with just a click.

Google vs. Facebook: The Battle Continues

Google My Business is designed to make advertising, and finding, a local business easier than on other search portals—e.g. Facebook. While Google My Business is meant primarily for small businesses, all page owners have been upgraded to the new view to appeal to companies of all shapes and sizes. Non-local accounts can also use Google My Business effectively.

A New Dog With New Tricks

Although Google has tried management platforms before, Google My Business is different in design and application, and is poised to be the easiest, most effective way to manage your business listings and content under one roof. Also, if you already have a Google Places account set up, no worries. There’s no need to duplicate content, as an existing account will populate into all of Google My Business portals. Further, Google has already launched Google My Business for Android mobile users, and the iOS version will be released shortly.

SEO for Attorneys Has Changed—Here’s What Your Law Firm Can Do about It

By now, all attorneys and law firms are probably familiar with the acronym SEO, which stands for search engine optimization.  Yet, many may be unaware of the recent changes within the SEO world and how they could be affecting their firms’ daily business. In May 2013, Google released its Penguin 2.0 search engine algorithm update and in October, rolled out Penguin 2.1 tweaks.  The company stated that the updates were designed to punish websites that were taking advantage of Google’s current system and utilizing malicious strategies like keyword stuffing and “aggressive webspam tactics” to increase search rankings and website traffic.  Similarly, the changes aimed to reward honest websites abiding by Google’s quality guidelines. So what do these changes mean for law firms’ SEO strategies?

1. SEO for attorneys has become more about producing quality content and websites

Gone are the days when businesses could get by with occasionally producing average content or piggybacking off of external material.  In order to stay competitive, law firms must constantly push unique blog and webpage content, and a cache of additional materials such as white papers, newsletters, and infographics does not hurt either. The rule of thumb is the greater the amount of quality material your law firm produces, the greater your chance of impacting current and potential clients

2. Law firms should avoid keyword stuffing at all costs.

This goes back to the first point—quality, not quantity, matters. Although plugging keywords into website, blog, and article content matters to SEO, inserting keywords naturally into text (rather than crafting articles to simply disguise loads of keywords) is a must.  Google has even stated that it can ban websites promoting rampant keyword and tag stuffing.

3. Social media involvement is even more crucial.

Focusing on SEO does not mean merely writing great content.  Getting current and potential clients to engage with the content is the real test of a law firm’s SEO strategy.  Think social media—LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, Yelp, Pinterest—as well as article comments, client testimonials, inbound links, and outside references to your law firm’s articles and webpages.  Accruing engagement is truly twofold.  First, it demonstrates that your law firm’s content is valuable and reliable and second, it exponentially increases the content’s reach.

4. Focus on website design or risk getting lost in the dust.

A website’s format and coding can make or break a user’s experience, not to mention enhance or diminish attorney SEO impact.  Ask yourself: is my law firm’s website easy to navigate?  Is it optimized for mobile usage?  Are the site’s links naturally occurring rather than built in just for SEO purposes?  If you answered ‘no,’ it’s time to redesign.

Weekly SEO Trend: Local SEO

Google hasn’t added any new announcements to its three key blogs (Matt Cutts’ Blog, Inside Search andWebmaster Central Blog) this week, despite the fact that the company has been making changes to its Google Local structure. Fortunately, other SEO news sites picked up on the development and have been busy featuring Local SEO stories during the past week. This week’s roundup features news stories fromSearch Engine Watch, Search Engine Land, Search Engine Journal and Search Engine Roundtable.

Google Places Adds Over 1,000 New Categories

All the SEO news sites covered this story. However, the changes to Google Places won’t affect many US law firms. These new categories only apply to international business listings.

Google Sending Warnings To Business Owners

Another story featured on Search Engine Journal may require your attention. Google has made changes to Google Maps and this seems to have impacted Google Places listings. Your law firm may lose its Google Places listing unless you log in and verify the details of the business. Make sure whoever is in charge of your firm’s Web presence reads this article and takes the appropriate action.

Google+ Local Pages Now Show To User Before Pin Verification

Search Engine Roundtable features this story which covers a change Google has made to its Google + Local dashboard. This is a minor technical change on the visibility of a business to its owners. However, coordinated evolution going on at Google in its Maps, Google+ Local and Google Places show that you need to get your law firm on these systems because they are becoming important tools to get your law firm at the top of search engine results pages.

Can Yahoo Make A Come Back Into Search?

Good news from Yahoo sparked another article on Search Engine Roundtable. This details that Yahoo is planning on re-launching its own search engine.

Yahoo Turns To Yelp To Beef Up Local Search

Search Engine Land has more insight into Yahoo’s moves with this article showing that the company wants to focus its new search engine on local data. If your law firm already has a Yelp listing, it looks like that will soon be transferred over to Yahoo search results.

YP Wants To Compete Directly With Google And Yelp In Local

Search Engine Land also reports that Yellow Pages, now called “YP” is reconfiguring its online service to look and feel more like a search engine. Given the nature of Yellow Pages, this will result in another rival for Google+ Local. Check your law firm’s Yellow Pages listing and make sure it is up to date.

5 Tips To Kill The Competition In Local Search

If your law firm is not taking advantage of Local SEO, check out this guide from Search Engine Land on the topic.

6 Local Tips For Small Business SEO Success

This second guide from Search Engine Land would prove useful reading for the partner responsible for digital marketing at your law firm.

4 Tactics to Drive Incremental Local SEO Performance

Search Engine produced this guide which will also be of interest to you as you develop your law firms Local SEO strategy. The “World Wide” in “World Wide Web” stresses the international nature of the Internet which enables the little guy to reach a vast marketplace. However, in reality, do you really need the attention of the world to make a living as a lawyer in the US? Small partnerships and sole practitioners only need to focus on their own neighborhood to find clients. This reality applies to many businesses and the search engines have latched onto this factor. As far as search engine optimization is concerned, we are currently in a transition phase from global reach to local focus and from computer-based Internet access to phone-based access. The advancement of local and mobile go hand in hand and both have lurched forward slightly this week, according to news from Search Engine Watch, Search Engine Land and Digital Third Coast.

Secret Contracts Keep Google In Control Of Mobile Search Argues Lawsuit

This Search Engine Land article makes interesting reading for a legal eagle. It illustrates how vital mobile is becoming and that Google is making sure it remains top dog among search engines in the mobile search arena.

Google: Local Searches Lead 50% of Mobile Users to Visit Stores

Over at Search Engine Watch we learn that Google is promoting its position on the marriage of local and mobile. Although this article talks about local searches on mobile devices leading directly to footfall in shops, the implication of this study is obvious for small law practices. This new trend is greatly to the benefit of small local practices over the multi-site mega-corp law firms and brand affiliations.

Local Listing Management Priorities: How & Where to Syndicate Local Data

Speaking of large multi-site law firms, if you run one, you would be more interested in this Search Engine Watch article, which explains a strategy you could adopt to fight back in the local search rankings. The little guy might like to read this, too, just to see what you are up against.

How To Build A Local Brand Through Online Marketing

As a small partnership, you stand to gain most from the trend towards local and mobile, but we now know that the big boys are muscling in on the local action. Your response to this is covered in this Search Engine Land article, which explains the importance of building a local brand to tie in with your local search opportunities.

Bing Launches On Firefox OS, Does It Matter?

Just to show that the Web isn’t all about Google, here is a story about the Bing search engine, which also powers searches on Yahoo. Google has established a dominant position in mobile applications because of its ownership of the Android operating system. Ironically, Bing, owned by Microsoft, is the underdog in the mobile search fight because of the migration away from Windows-operating laptops towards smartphones. Bing is getting into bed with the open source Firefox operating system for smartphones, which Google is pointedly ignoring. Therefore, if you are testing your law firm’s Web presence, make sure your new pages look good on the Firefox operating system, because it looks like it may be on the rise.

How to Improve Your Local SEO

In this article by Digital Third Coast, they dive into the reasons of why local SEO is important, and how can you improve it for your law firm. This article has some great in-depth tips for you to take a look at and reevaluate your SEO marketing. In fact, 46% of shoppers report using their phone to research local products and services. This is a statistic you can’t ignore, as it will only increase in the near future.

Google Places Adds Over 1,000 New Categories

All the SEO news sites covered this story. However, the changes to Google Places won’t affect many US law firms. These new categories only apply to international business listings.

Google Sending Warnings To Business Owners

Another story featured on Search Engine Journal may require your attention. Google has made changes to Google Maps and this seems to have impacted Google Places listings. Your law firm may lose its Google Places listing unless you log in and verify the details of the business. Make sure whoever is in charge of your firm’s Web presence reads this article and takes the appropriate action.

Google+ Local Pages Now Show To User Before Pin Verification

Search Engine Roundtable features this story which covers a change Google has made to its Google + Local dashboard. This is a minor technical change on the visibility of a business to its owners. However, coordinated evolution going on at Google in its Maps, Google+ Local and Google Places show that you need to get your law firm on these systems because they are becoming important tools to get your law firm at the top of search engine results pages.

Can Yahoo Make A Come Back Into Search?

Good news from Yahoo sparked another article on Search Engine Roundtable. This details that Yahoo is planning on re-launching its own search engine.

Yahoo Turns To Yelp To Beef Up Local Search

Search Engine Land has more insight into Yahoo’s moves with this article showing that the company wants to focus its new search engine on local data. If your law firm already has a Yelp listing, it looks like that will soon be transferred over to Yahoo search results.

YP Wants To Compete Directly With Google And Yelp In Local

Search Engine Land also reports that Yellow Pages, now called “YP” is reconfiguring its online service to look and feel more like a search engine. Given the nature of Yellow Pages, this will result in another rival for Google+ Local. Check your law firm’s Yellow Pages listing and make sure it is up to date.

5 Tips To Kill The Competition In Local Search

If your law firm is not taking advantage of Local SEO, check out this guide from Search Engine Land on the topic.

6 Local Tips For Small Business SEO Success

This second guide from Search Engine Land would prove useful reading for the partner responsible for digital marketing at your law firm.

4 Tactics to Drive Incremental Local SEO Performance

Search Engine produced this guide which will also be of interest to you as you develop your law firms Local SEO strategy.

SEO Trends: Mobile Search

Run For Your Life, Chicken Little — The Google Mopocalypse Is Coming!

You should enjoy reading this first article in the list if you have no idea where to start with getting a mobile-friendly site for your law firm. The author, Will Scott, is a digital marketing consultant and he specifically explains the importance of mobile search for his law firm clientele. Scott’s advice is easy to follow and he explains some of the Web jargon, such as “responsive,” so you will be able to use the right language when hiring a Web designer for your new site.

Everything You Need To Know About Google’s New Stance On Mobile

Web entrepreneur, Neil Patel summarizes much of the ground covered by last week’s SEO Trends article, including how to use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. Patel lists four action points at the end of the article, which should enable you to find your direction when considering a revamp of your law firm’s Web pages.

Infographic: Mobile SEO Tips To Help You Survive The Coming Google Mopocalypse

The first two articles in this review should get you familiar with the terminology of mobile Web design. This article gets down to the nitty gritty of actual coding decisions that make a site mobile-friendly. You might be daunted by the idea of an article all about programming code, but the infographic presentation of this information makes the topic so digestible, you will be able to understand the advice even if you don’t know anything at all about programming. If you pay someone else to write your law firm’s website, the information in this article will give you tips on what specific code to look out for when checking through your new pages.

Mobile Is Local: Quick Wins and Fast Fails

Here is another easy-to-read guide on adapting your law firm’s website. Local search is particularly important for small law practices and you will read here specific tips on quick ways to get better rankings in local search.

Mobile Optimization and the Google Algorithm Change – 7 Steps to Stay Friendly

If you haven’t had enough of checklists about checking your site for mobile-friendliness, here is another one. This Search Engine Watch article gives a good overall scene-setting discussion before summarizing the things you need to do now for your law firm’s website. Although much of the content of this report covers the same ground as Patel and Scott in their articles, it is good to see that all the advice out there at the moment speaks with one voice. Hopefully, this body of advice will motivate you to examine the mobile friendliness of your site and take steps this week to get it in order. April 21 is not far off and those who aren’t ready will lose out to more mobile-responsive websites.

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