Archive for June, 2008

The Importance of Title Tags for Lawyer Website SEO

Sunday, June 22nd, 2008

The title tag has always been one of the most important factors in attaining high search engine rankings. The title of a Web page is important because it is the most targeted descriptive tag for the content of that specific web page.

Many of our law firm clients find that by simply correcting the key phrases in their title tags of each law firm website page this often generates quick results with their search engine rankings. Also, their is often far better click through rates from the actual search engine results page because the words in the title tag resonate with the Web searcher’s need.

Search Engines and Title Tag Relevance

Law firm website title tags are one of 3 weighted determining factors to search engine positioning. Many seo consultants agree that they are equally as important as the visible text content and the inbound links that are pointing to your individual Web pages. 

Should You List Your Law Firm Name in the Title Tag?

This is one of the most common questions asked about lawyer website search engine optimization and title tags. This is a difficult question to answer without a proper and in depth needs analysis about your law firm’s marketing goals and current name branding position within your community. 

My opinion is because these website title tags are so important and because the title tags are limited to only 15 words, you would be better off not placing the law firm name on the home page title tag. The Website along with other marketing initiatives are meant to reach consumers who do not already know who you are.

I would focus on optimizing your attorney profile and firm overview pages for your law firm name and search engine positioning.

Should Title Tags Should Contain Specific Keyword Phrases?

Absolutely. You keyword phrases should consist of two items. One, they should include your core practice areas. Two, they should include your office locations or Market Statistical Areas (MSA) that you want to reach.

For example:  Tampa Florida Car Accident Lawyer or Car Accident Lawyer in Tampa Florida

Remember to limit the number of words in your title tag to between 10-15. 12 is optimal.

Matching Web Page Content for Best Results

The best way to optimize your lawyer website is to first write the web page content. After writing the content you should create effective title tags that match specific keywords within that web page content. Then I work on the rest of the search engine optimization meta tags. It is important to see how the keyword phrases are integrated into the text to know where to begin. Many law firms will hire us as a professional SEO copywriter to rough out optimized content along with a search engine optimization campaign.

Converting Web Traffic Into Law Firm Clients

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

Unfortunately many law firm website never will fulfill their potential as lead generation medium. In fact, most law firms settle for no real return-on-investment from their firm website. We have found working with over 3,200 law firms, a properly implemented website can become a powerful resource for generating lawyer leads. 

Here are a few key factors in having a successful lawyer website:

  1. Drive qualified visitors to the website.
  2. Present a compelling firm message.
  3. Pre-qualify the web visitor.
  4. Convert visitors into leads and new clients through strong call to action.

Typical law firm websites convert between 1 to 7% of visitors into leads and new clients. We specialize in developing sites that far out-perform the average. In fact, our clients generally experience conversion rates of 7%-15% and sometimes even higher.

This is How Yahoo's Directory Really Ranks its Directory Listings

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

This is How Yahoo’s Directory Really Ranks its Directory Listings

In this article about submitting your web site to the Yahoo! Directory, you will learn a trick or two to improve your listing so that you may boost your rankings at the same time. Understand that the Yahoo! Directory is a web site directory and not a search engine.

The Yahoo! Directory will ONLY use the information submitted via its How to Suggest Your Site submission form to create the directory listing title and description. Did you catch that?

The 4 directory ranking factors are:

  1. Site title
  2. Domain name / URL
  3. Directory category
  4. Site description

Your submission will then reviewed by a human editor to ensure the information submitted is appropriate and correct. It is typical that a listing editor will edit the submitted information to fit its own editorial guidelines.

Remember Yahoo! will not send spiders to gather information from your web site. The amount of search engine optimization on your web pages will have any effect on your Yahoo! Directory listing’s rankings.

This means that the fate of your site’s ranking in the Yahoo! Directory will be dependent on the information that you submit to its site submission form. Also, once your site has been accepted into the Yahoo! Directory, you are stuck with the listing title, description and ranking. Unless there is an error in the listing title or description, or your site has changed completely, Yahoo! will not allow you to make any changes to your listing.

With the Yahoo! Directory being the most popular directory on the Web, the results could play a major part on the success of your web site.

Lawyer Web Site Developer – Making the Right Choice

Sunday, June 15th, 2008

Lawyer Web Site Developer – Making the Right Choice

The most important decision after deciding to develop a law firm web site is who you choose to develop the web site. There are four key qualifications that are critical for when selecting a lawyer web site developer.

The most important decision after deciding to develop a law firm web site is who you choose to develop the web site. There are four key qualifications that are critical for when selecting a lawyer web site developer.

1. Consultative-Are they helping to implement your firm’s goals into the site?
2. Expert design abilities- Have they designed sites that you find impressive?
3. Search Engine Optimization- Can they show you how their sites rank?
4. Experience- Do they specialize in law firm web design?
5. Cost- Are they competitively priced?

Let’s break it down.

1. Consultative Approach
An experienced lawyer web site developer should be more of a trusted advisor than simply graphic designer. Your law firm web designer should be an excellent resource for enhancing your law firm’s design vision. Your web designer should be asking you lots of questions about the purpose and goals for the web site project. It is also important that your attorney web site design provides your law firm with ongoing consultation as new technologies emerge.

2. Expert Law Firm Web Design
One of my client’s told me that he felt that his web site is the “face his law firm.” To me, this does make a lot of sense. Many law firms spend small fortunes on making their law office look rich and professional. But many law firms make the mistake of being “penny wise” on their law firm’s web site design. Your law firm web site gives your visitor a clear, visual picture of your law firm.

3. Search Engine Optimization for Attorney Web sites
Search engine optimization for your law firm web site is critical for many different reasons. Image if a very important client was referred to your firm and they were not able to find your web when they searched for your firm on Google – or worse they found another law firm instead. Make sure your attorney web designer can demonstrate their ability to rank their web sites for specific keywords.

4. Law Firm Specific Experience
There are some significant advantages for hiring a web design firm that works exclusively for law firms. There are many ethical and complex issues that must be dealt with to prevent your firm from establishing a “client-attorney” relationship. Many web developers claim to specialize in attorney web design although the reality is they do not. Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent these companies from misleading your law firm about their expertise. The best way to verify their claim is to research their company and any parent company on the web.

5. Can They Justify the Cost of Their Services?
Pricing for web site development is all over the board. You can find many “do-it-yourself” web companies for a cost as low as $150 a year. There are some web design firms that charge as much as $250,000 for law firm web development. The average cost of a custom web site design including search engine optimization is around $10,000 for 35 web pages. That figures to be around $225 per page or $50 per hour. Pricing will vary depending on the law firm’s needs and size. Make sure your attorney web site designer is willing to justify or explain the cost of each service they are charging you for.

Link Spammers

Sunday, June 15th, 2008

Link Spammers

James – Our law firm receives a lot of emails from webmasters who want to trade links with our web site. What should I do?

Answer: BEWARE! Do you know who you are linking to? A link exhange with a link spammer could severely impact your search rankings- permanently. Google and other search engines will not penalize you if someone that uses unethical link building techniques, however they wil severely punish those who link to link spammers.

Suggestion: Link building with reputable web sites such as clients, vendors, associations and reputable attorney directories.


Web media is the dominant at-work media

Sunday, June 15th, 2008

Web media is the dominant at-work media and No. 2 in the home, according to a new report from the Online Publishers Association.

A research project, conducted by Ball State University’s Center for Media Design, tracked the media use of 350 people every 15 seconds. The subjects represented each gender, about equally, across three age groups: 18 to 34, 35 to 49 and 50-plus. The people were monitored by another person for approximately 13 hours, or 80 percent of their waking day.

“Someone actually came into their homes and workplaces and had a handheld computer, every 15 seconds registering their media consumption and life activities,” Pam Horan, president of the Online Publishers Association (OPA), told CNET

According to Horan, this is the first type of study of its kind. Previously, consumers were monitored for media usage by phone survey or diary method.

Not surprisingly, newspaper use peaked in the morning; that print media was consumed by 17 percent of the subjects between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. When this media was combined with Web consumption, the potential reach for advertisers climbed to 44 percent. During the same morning period, the number of consumers using magazines jumped from 7 percent to 39 percent, and from 44 percent to 62 percent for television.

“The point is that there is an incremental reach that someone can gain by putting together a multimedia campaign,” Horan said.

A conservative estimate from the study says 17 percent of overall media is consumed via the Internet, and Horan notes that other researchers like Forrester have placed that number even higher.

The OPA-commissioned study also used census data to determine the spending habits of its 350 monitored subjects. Web dominant consumers’ retail spending averaged $26,450, while the TV-dominant group’s spending averaged $21,401.

Yet, studies have shown that only about 8 percent of advertising goes to the Internet, Horan said.

“I hear more and more from marketers that they have shifted their business to be more responsive and realign. There is an active movement by traditional advertisers to be able to explore platform strategies,” Horan said. She believes that research studies are attracting the attention of advertisers and media buyers and may result in a faster shift in advertising dollars to match the actual statistics of consumer media usage.

Others agree.

In March, the Pew Internet and American Life Project published a report that found more than 50 million Americans per day in 2005 used the Web as their primary news source. It also noted that news gathering was the third most popular Internet activity. A research report released that same month from the Association of National Advertisers, in conjunction with Forrester Research, indicated that advertising money would likely follow those people.

Researchers conducting the OPA study also found a consistently direct correlation between offline referrals to Web sites and Web traffic. When PBS tells people they can find more info about the topic being discussed on, people do go to that Web site. The same was found for print media referrals to online counterparts like the New York Times and

CNET Networks is a member of the Online Publishers Association. OPA’s Eyes on the Internet 2006 Tour is sponsored by CBS Digital Media, CNET Networks, the New York Times Media Company and, among others.

Attention Attorneys – It's All About Keywords

Sunday, June 15th, 2008

It’s All About Keywords

What’s the difference between 100 unique visitors and 1 million unique visitors? Content & Keywords… The more keyword enriched content that your website has indexed, the more traffic you will receive. Period.

Forget link building campaigns and PageRank! Pagerank and links will come when you provide valuable information. Spend time gathering quality keywords and developing quality information.  What’s interesting to me is how quickly the Googlebots feed on this fresh content. My website took about 2 months to index about 200 pages. This blog only took about 10 days.

Practice Specific Lawyer Websites

Saturday, June 14th, 2008

Practice Specific Websites

My clients often ask the very same question. “James, how do I get to the top of the search results.”

The answer is: give the search engines what they want. Relevant Content! That is why many of my clients are choosing to go with practice specific websites versus building a massive law firm website. It makes complete sense considering Google rates your website according to the overall relevancy of your website.

A 50 page website that offers content specifically about Missouri Car Accidents will always out rank a general Missouri law firm website in Car Accident search results. This technique is becoming very hot and my recomendation is that your firm jump on this practice specific website development to get a jump on the other firms in your area.

Lawyer Link Building Tip

Saturday, June 14th, 2008

Internet Marketing for Lawyers Tip

One of the most critical parts of your law firm Web Marketing strategy should be to focus on obtaining links from other legal websites to your main law firm website. We recommend that our clients do not buy links, or swap links via automated link swapping programs.

Our strategy that has proven consistent results is to network with webmasters or law related sites to give you links without having to give them one in return.

So how do convince someone to give you a link for free? ALL webmasters care about their visitors, and they are always looking for valuable websites that would provide their visitors with informative content . this can be very helpful to your firm as search engines will see these links as a reasonable and valuable link.

Link building is a very critical techinique because it still drives higher search term rankings. But here are a few things to consider as the algorythms have changed.

  1. Instead if focusing on the nymber of links, focus on getting highly relevant sites to link to your sites.
  2. Link swapping is now virtually a waste of time and effort unless you are targeting highly relevant sites. 
  3. Link purchasing can be an effective practice although it can be risky and doesn’t offer long term benefit.

Building superior content can build your online reputation. This will surely get people to link to your site.

"There's Major Power In Submitting Your Website To Web Directories!"

Saturday, June 14th, 2008

Websites »

September 06, 2006

“There’s Major Power In Submitting Your Website To Web Directories!”

Webmasters like you and me are always on the lookout to enhance the link popularity of their sites. One method of doing so is to seek out authority sites in your niche – sites that are widely known on the Internet (through the sheer number of back links) and have been around for some time (think more in terms of several years). Unfortunately, such websites are often at a Page Rank of 6+ and as such, link exchange or text link ad placement is very, very expensive

Webmasters like you and me are always on the lookout to enhance the link popularity of their sites. One method of doing so is to seek out authority sites in your niche – sites that are widely known on the Internet (through the sheer number of back links) and have been around for some time (think more in terms of several years). Unfortunately, such websites are often at a Page Rank of 6+ and as such, link exchange or text link ad placement is very, very expensive .

Luckily, there is a cheaper alternative. You can use web directories to not only enhance your search engine visibility (through increased link popularity), but by targeting niche categories and using sponsored listings where necessary, you can get a big jump in your traffic as well.

So, let’s get started.

What is a web directory?

A web directory is a collection of links broken down into relevant categories. Think Yahoo! and their directory, the Open Directory Project or even the Google Directory (which, incidentally, is pulled from the ODP). At its most basic level, a web directory is a collection of bookmarks made available to the public. In other cases, like Yahoo, it is a professional resource for people actively looking for information.

To get listed in such a directory, you can either get listed for free (which might take a while), or in many cases, pay a one-time fee to have your website reviewed and entered in the directory. One major exception is Yahoo, which charges a recurring fee for its commercial listings, and we’ll look at that later.

The benefits of being listed in a web directory

In theory, there are two main benefits of being listed in a web directory:

  • Increased link-popularity due to a one-way link from a highly-respected resource.
  • Increased traffic due to being listed in a directory that is searched by many people every day.

In reality though, these benefits are directly related to how popular the directory is itself, and how much money you have paid for your listing. Of course, if the link is for free, there is nothing to worry about.

But if you are paying for submission, you need to know some very important facts.

Link Popularity

As far as link-popularity is concerned, you need to factor in several variables:

  • The Page Rank of the directory
  • The Page Rank of the category page on which you are listed
  • Where you are listed on the page
  • The number of competing websites on that page
  • If there are other websites in your niche that can offer you the same conditions for the same price or less (very, very important).

The last point is very important from the cost/benefit angle. A web directory, while being a hub itself, is NOT a niche website or an authority site. Even within categories and sub-categories, the lack of valuable content means that web directories are, at the end of the day, link pages and nothing more.

Where directories win out is the fact that they require one-time fees. In contrast, authority sites (or most websites with a Page Rank greater than 5 or 6) tend to use text links as a source fo revenue, and thus charge monthly fees. A directory listing then becomes a much better option (but only for link popularity).

More Traffic

Directory listings are also used as traffic building opportunities. How this works is that many directories are searchable for their visitors, so that users can look for information. In theory this is great – you can get lifetime traffic for just a nominal payment, but you should not expect a sudden deluge of traffic from just one directory listing. Here’s why:

  • Most directories, apart from the top twenty or so, are usually used for link-building and not pure searching. This means that while people may use GoGuides or Yahoo for regular searches, you should expect that the smaller directories are mainly for link-popularity, and plan your investment as such.
  • Many directories offer listings based on an alphabetical ordering, or a first-come, first-serve ordering. In both cases, your website has quite a big chance of being lost out in the noise.
  • Directory-search algorithms differ greatly. Some directories, like JoeAnt, base their search on keyword relevancy (which makes it more of an exercise of stuffing your directory listing with keywords rather than making a good website), while others take a more “editorial” approach by factoring in editor ratings. And still, many directories display sponsored listings first, reinforcing the adage that even on the Internet, it’s your advertising budget that talks, and not necessarily the quality of your website.

After you factor in the above points, you realize that there are only a handful of web directories where it is a definite benefit to “pay” to be listed. And even then, you cannot just rely on just being listed – sponsor listings get much more exposure. But before we discuss these dozen or so web directories, I’d like to tell you how you can make sure your website is accepted.

How to get listed – Overview

Getting listed in a web directory is a function of three things:


It takes a certain amount of time before an editor can review your website and approve (or reject) your request. This is usually anywhere between a week to almost never (in huge web directories like Yahoo and Dmoz). You can reduce this to within a week by using the paid listing option.


Apart from Dmoz, the big directories usually require a nominal payment for your website to be listed. While you can calculate the benefit of such a listing from reading the previous section, know that usually there are several listing options, which the better services (that give your website more directory visibility) obviously costing more.


In some cases (very rarely nowadays), directory inclusions can be rejected due to the poor quality of a website. Maybe the editor considered that your website was not ‘useful’ enough (meaning it had little or no useful / original / any content), or sometimes, there may be moral issues (although editors are urged to abide by directory guidelines and not personal beliefs). If rejected, you will almost always receive feedback (you might have to ask for it) on how to improve your website.

In earlier days, quality was a big issue. Today, it is still a major concern for top directories like Yahoo, but this is more to separate the truly atrocious from the rest rather than to separate the best from the rest.

Each web directory has their personalized criteria, but there are two crucial elements to getting listed:

  • Paid Inclusions – Apart from Dmoz, and some directories where you can sign-up to be an editor, the top directories require payment – anywhere from $15 to $299.
  • Website Quality – By this I don’t mean design; I’m talking about having truly useful information – even if your website is a commercial website, simply putting up a bunch of affiliate links will not count as a quality website .
The big guns

Yahoo and Dmoz are the two biggest directories on the Internet, and it’s only fair that I talk about how to get listed on them individually.


A listing in Yahoo’s directory has direct benefits:

  • Google – and perhaps other search engines as well – give your website an added importance if your website is listed in the Yahoo directory.
  • Yahoo is the portal of choice for millions of users. This makes your potential target market at least in the hundreds of thousands, even for obscure niches.

To get listed in the Yahoo directory, you have to access Yahoo Directory Submit and work from there. You will be required to open a Yahoo account, if you don’t have one already. The review process will cost $299, and is no guarantee that your website will be listed.

However, if you have a useful website, and follow the guidelines detailed by Yahoo, there is no reason for your website to be rejected.

The Open Directory Project

Dmoz, or the open directory project, is a directory that rivals the reach of Yahoo. Why? Because directories like the Google Directory and many others are powered by the results from Dmoz. This gives a listing in the ODP a very high premium.

However, because a listing in Dmoz is essentially free, there is very little you can do about the time factor. Many websites that are submitted are never indexed, and that happens mainly due to a lack of time.

On the other hand, quality websites that are added into their relevant categories are almost always accepted, so make sure you follow their guidelines.