Archive for the ‘Legal Blogging’ Category

Creative Ways to Promote Your New Legal Blog

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

When launching a new business blog there are many ways to promote it, some more apparent than others. The following are some helpful tips to get you going. Lets get started with the more obvious tips. Here is a checklist of those you should consider implementing first:

• Syndicate your blog content, i.e. your Twitter page.

• Link your blog to your other personal social media accounts, i.e. your Facebook page.

• Link your blog to your professional social media accounts, i.e. your LinkedIn profile.

• Consider submitting your blog to blog directories.

• Write and post a social media press release for your new blog.

• Announce the launch of your blog via your email contact list.

 The following suggestions are less obvious:

• Use offline marketing. Ask both new and existing clients to promote your new blog to their contacts. Give your clients an incentive to promote your new blog by rewarding them if they do.

 • Use video to promote your blog. Create a video about your blog and post it on you YouTube, your page Facebook and Twitter accounts. You can also send the video link to your email contacts.

 • Utilize experts and guest speakers. It’s always a great idea to feature other people on your blog. Create an interview series with focused content that features experts and credible speakers. Invite interesting, relevant people to participate in interviews and discussion that ask creative and insightful questions.

 • Link to other blogs in areas of similar subject matter. Commenting and sharing outside blog content, form other blogs, can provide insight and create interest in your blog in the minds of other readers. More importantly, they help to develop a network of links and associations.

 • Engage in guest posting. There are two aspects to consider when doing this–inviting others to guest post on your blog and offering to post on others’ blogs. There are benefits to both in terms of generating visibility for your own blog and business. Links and associations will support your blog launch undoubtedly.

 • Consider hosting a webinar. A webinar resembles a live video chat. You can create a webinar or to launch your blog into the blogosphere, rather than simply introducing your blog in a more conventional way, for example, and email blast. You can also post content to your blog utilizing a webinar as another way to keep things fresh for your audience.

 • Create a theme of special reports. Providing viewers additional access to information and topics already covered in your blog, can be a great way to maintain reader interest. For example, by releasing a extended material in the form of a PDF memo or video tutorial on your blog. Although the additional information may be valuable in its own right, it also acts as a source of credibility for you amongst your viewers, due to your commitment and intent to expand and educate others on interesting and relevant topics associated with your field of work, by presenting specific subject matter in greater detail. It’s also a great way to attract long-term subscribers.

 • Advertise Your Site. Create greater awareness of your new business blog by advertising on Craigslist, Facebook, and other forms of social media that allow for cross marketing. Although this may require an outside budget, it can be highly lucrative with generating traffic to your site.

 To speak with an expert regarding your law firm blogging needs, call us toll free at (800) 877-2776 for more information. Don’t wait- contact us today to get started!

The Content Creator’s Role in Successful Content Marketing

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Content marketing is the latest buzzword in the Internet world and is basically a marketing technique which centers around the creation and distribution of relevant, valuable content to engage a specific target audience. Of course the ultimate goal or objective is ensuring—through the content—that target audience takes action which is profitable in some way to the website owner. On the surface you are simply presenting information that increases the knowledge of your readers rather than overtly offering up a sales pitch for products or services. The underlying belief of content strategy is that when companies bypass the standard hard-sell lines and deliver consistent, ongoing, respected content to their readers, those same readers will respond with their business and their loyalty.

The Inception of Content Marketing

Content marketing was a response to consumers who were jaded and had shut themselves off from traditional marketing techniques. Those who study such behaviors realized that magazine advertising is largely skipped over, and many American families now own a DVR for no other reason than to be able to skip annoying commercials. When it soaked in that traditional advertising was becoming less effective by the day, experts from around the world concluded that content marketing is truly the wave of the future. That being said, content marketing is useless and impossible without the benefit of great content.

Without Great Content There is No Content Marketing

If the content being presented is not informative, relevant and valuable, then content marketing will never be successful. Great content forces human beings to look at their world in a different way, to think and, in the end, to behave differently. One study shows that over 3/4ths of those who are in charge of making company decisions would rather get the information and knowledge they need to make those decisions through a series of engaging articles rather than through a blatant advertisement. Many companies engage their readers through a newsletter, e-mail updates or blog writing and all of these are part and parcel of content marketing.

A Plan for Great Content

While we are all aware of the necessity of posting often, that content must be high-quality or it would be better not to post it at all. When looking at content for a specific website, the question must be asked as to whether that content fully engages the target audience. Is it inviting and above all, is it relevant? Is the content valuable to the reader whether through entertainment, inspiration or information?  The value of content is much easier to gauge than the value of a link in that when great content is posted onto a website the site owner soon knows how many links that content generated, how many “likes” it received on Facebook, how many referral visits it produced and how much search traffic it created through which keywords.

More and more companies are realizing they need more than copywriters—they need writers who can infuse heart and soul into their content, making it ready to take its place in the content marketing strategy. Great content should never be taken lightly as it is crucial to the success of any website or blog.

Adjusting Your Writing Style to the Web

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

While many web writers are new writers in general, many more have spent their careers writing for print media. The leap into cyberspace writing with all its different “rules” can be very unsettling and challenging. In the virtual world writers have some seven seconds to hook their reader who is quickly determining whether or not this particular content is worth bothering with. Writing content that is eminently scannable is the challenge for writers who are coming from print media. Writers must reach out to their readers quickly, telling them exactly what they came to find out in the most engaging, concise manner possible. The most successful web writers will not only coax their readers into reading the content from start to finish, but to interact with the story as well. While audience interaction is not particularly new—think Dickens and his serial stories—this interaction must be used to entice readers to stay put and to return for more.

Slant Your Writing to Your Audience

Although new web writers may believe that creating content which is as generic as possible is the best way to appeal to the most people, those same writers must learn that appealing to the right audience is much more important than appealing to every audience. Of course, slanting your writing to your particular audience means you must know who that audience consists of. Are you writing to parents of teenagers, to baby boomers, to the over-seventy crowd or to tech-savvy twenty years-olds? Each of those demographics will read content from a different background with a different perspective. One style of writing will not work for web writing, so writing style must be adjusted to meet the needs of the targeted reader.  The web writer must address the specific needs of each audience in a different manner, taking their unique perspective into account and adjusting the writing style accordingly.

Become a Conversationalist

Writers for the web who can write as though they are having a conversation with a dear friend are largely the most successful. Think of content as a method of communication and pretend you are having that conversation with a member of your audience. When you think in this manner, it becomes much easier to build trust with your audience as well as ensuring that audience is receptive to your message. While many web writers are hesitant to encourage feedback, fearing negative comments, remember that without feedback you may not be able to see how your content actually affects your audience. Feedback gives you the message that your audience is finding value in your content, and what better gift could a writer ask for?

All web writing must take into consideration the short attention span of the web reader. Short paragraphs with short sentences are crucial, and headlines and subheads which quickly tell the reader what is coming are essential. Web writing is considerably different from print media, and adjustments will need to be made for a successful web writing career however once you’ve successfully implemented the different rules of web writing into your style your success is on the way.

Finding Your Writing Style When Writing for the Web

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

Finding your writing style is much like finding your writing voice. Excellent writing demands a distinctive style and voice and must reflect both the writer and the audience. It is your style which will ultimately connect you to your readers and keep them coming back for more. Even if your readers disagree with your opinion on a subject or even if the topic doesn’t necessarily appeal to them, they will respect the job you do as a writer, trusting you to deliver time and time again. Developing a writing style not only takes time, it takes a command of the craft of writing and a good dose of self-awareness.

Is Writer’s Instinct Enough?

While it’s true that many writers simply write from their gut, letting their instincts guide them—and some do quite well using instinct—most writers need more than instinct to create truly outstanding content. The craft of writing is the nitty-gritty nuts and bolts—not necessarily talent, because it can be learned, rather learning the tools and techniques which go into writing which truly excels. Think about how you get your words to convey what you want—the information, the tone, the emotion. Ultimately you want your readers to recognize your particular style and want more and more. Think of your writing as having a conversation with a friend or acquaintance. How would you approach your subject if you were hanging out in the park talking to another person? You will approach your writing in the same way, letting your unique style shine through.

How your Choice of Words Contributes to Your Writing Style

Every word you choose when writing a new piece of content speaks about you as the author. Think about that. Suppose you have a truly impressive vocabulary—do you use those big words with your closest friends or your family? The answer is likely “no” simply because you don’t want to come off as being pretentious or you don’t want to make people you care about feel bad that they don’t know all the words that are rolling off your tongue. Writing is exactly the same. Just because you know lots of important words doesn’t necessarily mean you must use them in your writing unless they truly add to the overall quality of your writing. Your writing style is almost like a fingerprint in that no two writers tackle a writing topic in exactly the same way. We all bring our backgrounds and beliefs to the table when we write, and those factors will find their way into your overall style.

How Do You Reveal Your Material?

Some writers reveal information in a witty manner, others in a straightforward manner, and still others implement some level of sarcasm as they impart their information. Some writers tend to favor in-depth examinations of a single point while others will go with a broad overview. Of course the material you are writing about will certainly bend your style; if you’ve developed a style that is funny with little bite to it that style could work well for a variety of subjects but would not work at all if you were writing about the increase in murders in a particular area. Obviously you have to adjust your writing style—once you find it—to the subject you are writing about.

However your writing style evolves remember to first know your audience then to always respect them. In other words, your writing style must be true to yourself, your readers and your subject—no easy task, but one that gets easier with time and words.

Increasing the Readability of Your Blog Posts

Friday, June 8th, 2012

Because of the overwhelming level of information on the Internet we have turned into a nation of content skimmers. We are in a hurry and want our information served up fast-food style, so rather than battle this trend, writers of web content might as well make adjustments for this skimming style. For those who have implemented blogs as a part of their website, it is imperative that web readers be able to quickly skim the content and figure out what treasures of information the page holds. First and foremost, an engaging lead—which includes your title, opening sentence and lead paragraph—is absolutely essential to give your reader an overall idea of what will have been gained should they decide to read the content through to the very end. In order to create an engaging lead, ask yourself what value your reader will gain from reading your content then allude to that value in the lead.

One Idea Per Paragraph with Compelling Subheads

Once you are past your lead, you must determine exactly what you want to express within each paragraph. Although we tend to think of outlines as something our high school English teacher forced us to do an outline can be very helpful in streamlining your writing process and ensuring it flows as it should. If your paragraphs seem overly complicated, you could be trying to implement more than one idea, so keep the primary topic to one per paragraph. Sub-headlines give the reader a good idea about the content topic within each paragraph and also offer a convenience for readers who want to skip right to the part of the blog post that pertains to their particular issue or problem. Readers want to spend their precious time reading what is applicable to their lives, or what will answer their specific question.

Multimedia is Also Content

Content is not just your text, rather it encompasses all the various forms of multimedia you insert into a blog posting. You can break up a page of words with photographs which nicely illustrate a point you’ve made as well as bring a bit of color to the page. In some cases an image or a video can be just as descriptive as the written word, so when writing blog posts, mix up the forms of content you include in order to provide the information your readers want as well as giving their eyes a visual break. Bulleted or numbered lists also give the reader a visual break in the text while condensing the information they are looking for into a succinct block. Lists can be visually powerful and are much simpler to skim through than a paragraph, and while you can’t use them in all cases, many times they fit nicely into the content.

Make it Easy on the Eyes

The colors in your blog must never become an obstacle for your readers to overcome simply in order to get to the story. Too many bright colors can overwhelm readers so in general stick with cool, calming colors that don’t distract from your words. Try to stick with fonts such as Arial, Georgia or Sans Serif, simply because they are much easier to read, particularly in chunks of text. Make your headings, subheads and links easily distinguishable from the remainder of your content through the use of highlighting or bold letters. Once you’ve created a pleasing design for your blog and increased the readability, an increase in your visitors will reflect those changes.

SEO for Legal Bloggers

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

Blogging can be one of the very best ways to connect your online business with your online users. Promoting your business becomes much easier and more streamlined once you implement blogging, not to mention your traffic should grow significantly. If you are familiar with the basic SEO tactics used to increase PageRank and traffic to your website, then many of the same techniques can be applied to your blog. There are, however, specific strategies which can be applied to your blog in order to boost both your traffic and ranking.

Optimize Your Blog Post Titles

Search engine optimization can be increased through the use of your blog post titles. If you are an avid newspaper reader, then you are aware of how you scan each page, stopping to read any article whose title attracts you. When you provide an interesting, appealing and attractive post title, you will essentially be persuading your reader to read through the entire blog posting. For maximum search engine optimization you should also include your top-ranked keywords in your post titles so search engines will pick them up more quickly.

Incorporate Top-rated Keywords

As most of us know, keywords play a crucial role in SEO, therefore every blogger should ensure they have identified their keywords and used them in the very best way. Keywords should also be sprinkled throughout the blog posting without appearing obvious. If you use your keywords judiciously throughout the title and posting, then Google will retrieve the article quickly, boosting your rankings.

Build a Network for Optimal SEO

Building a network for your blog will include providing backlinks, commenting in related niche blogs and using social media in ways such as creating a Facebook fan page. Social media is truly one of your greatest assets when building your blog network, so use it to your advantage.

Post Quickly and Post Often

If your blog centers around a specific niche, and that particular industry changes rapidly, you will want to keep your blog readers informed and up-to-date—before other bloggers in your niche get the information out there first. You want to be known as the blogger who informed your readers first about the latest trend, so make sure you keep up-to-date, then post quickly before others have had the chance.

Make sure you post at a minimum of three times per week as well to increase your overall search engine optimization, rankings and reader satisfaction. It can be very disappointing for a reader to finally find a blog which fits his or her needs, but is not updated frequently, and can lead readers to believe you can’t be bothered to put in the time necessary to promote your blog. Even if you are tapped out and can’t think of anything clever to say, you can always find something clever on Google.

Content is the Backbone of Your SEO Strategy

The old adage is correct, and content truly is king. While it may take you a bit longer to reach the top using organic SEO, the results will be well worth it. When you consistently offer high-quality, informative blog postings, your readers will loyally stick with you, and will also share your blog postings with others. Sharing is a very important strategy when building networks, and writing persuasive, quality, helpful content will help you get quality backlinks.

Work on each of these tips for increasing your SEO through your blog, and you will see significant results in a relatively short amount of time.

Promoting Your New Blog

Friday, March 9th, 2012

If you’ve recently decided to take the plunge into the world of blogs, you may be wondering how on earth you will promote that blog and make it as successful as possible. Blogs are often an extension of your business website, allowing you to increase your overall sales and profits. The goal of your online business website is obviously to get more and more traffic, thus more conversions. Blogs are a great tool for generating traffic, but even better, blogs help you keep that traffic as your readers will come back time and time again.

Blogging allows a two way flow of information; you get insights into your customer’s wants and needs, then you turn around and offer them the exact information they are looking for. If you keep your blog content high quality, informative and intriguing, you will grow an incredibly loyal audience who will then visit your website, turning into loyal customers. Take a look at the following tips, then try to incorporate at least one of them each week—you will soon see the fruit of your labors in incredibly increased traffic.

1. If you want to let specific search engines or other websites know each time you update your blog, you can ping your blog post. There are several popular pinging services such as Ping-o-Matic and Pingoat, which are both free and easy to use. It takes less than a minute to ping your latest blog posting, and this effort will attract the search engine spiders to your site, getting it indexed all the more quickly.
2. Use social media to your advantage. Make sure you set up profiles at the most popular social networking sites, including Facebook and LinkedIn, including the URL of your blog. Any time you update your blog, announce that update on your Facebook and Twitter pages. Even better, do this several times a day in order to reach every single person possible.
3. Do a Google search to find popular communities which are specific to your particular niche. Many of these websites will allow you to submit a link which will increase your traffic, plus you have the added bonus of building professional business relationships through these communities.
4. Comment on other people’s blogs, primarily those within your niche. Blog commenting can drive traffic from your comment to your blog, resulting in new readers and subscribers. Remember to avoid any type of “great post” blog comments. Take the time to actually read the blog posting and make sure your comment is thoughtful and even controversial, but reflects the fact that you spent time on another blog.
5. Use your chosen keywords often, although not in a contrived manner. Your keywords should appear in your blog post titles, your links and throughout your content in a natural way. Make sure your blog content is always high quality, and gives your readers something of value. Remember that blogging is not specifically about selling—although your hope is that your blog sends readers to your website—rather it is about educating and engaging your readers. Create an outline of sorts which encompasses your audience, your proposed topic and the keywords you want to incorporate into the posting, then use this outline to stay focused and on topic.

A few more tips: Brainstorm, making a list of ideas for your blog. Post a “definitive guide to….” whatever your blog niche is. Interview an interesting person in your area of expertise. Although you don’t have to blog every single day, at least try to stick to some sort of regular schedule so your readers know what to expect and when to check back. Write a guest posting for another blog—if you’re published you should see a spike in your own traffic. In short, don’t wait for others to stumble across your blog. Promote each and every one of your blog postings and you will soon see better search engine rankings, higher quality traffic and, eventually, an increase in traffic and conversions on your business website.

Blog Commenting as a Valuable SEO Tool

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

Aside from starting a blog of your own, one of the most powerful tools for promoting your site and increasing SEO lies in commenting on other blog sites. Leaving comments on other’s blogs is truly one of the simplest, yet most overlooked strategies, offering exceptional opportunity, increased visibility, and, overall, little competition.

Finding Your Niche

Consider that specific blogs are likely to represent a niche community that you would like to—and should be—a part of in order to further your own website, not to mention that blog commenting can push your website up the rankings quickly. When you leave comments on another’s blog site, you are, in essence participating in the online version of networking, and most business owners are fully aware of the importance of networking in their “regular” business. There are many more benefits to blog posting, but you should be aware of some basic “rules” to truly make your comments stand out from the crowd.

Blog Commenting as a Branding Tool

People who are active in their industry benefit greatly by sharing opinions and promoting themselves and their ideas. The results of such sharing and promoting is an ever-increasing network, not to mention continued awareness of the person’s specific niche, resulting in a personal brand of sorts. “Branding” is a buzzword which is more and more tossed about, but essentially means what you stand for, where your experience and expertise lie—basically what exactly it is that you are well-known for. Our increasingly social world desires connections with others who are, well, like them, and branding helps facilitate those connections.

Blog Commenting to Build a Loyal Fan Base

As you know, building a loyal fan base can take time, not to mention commitment. Most of us begin building our fan base when writing for our own blog, which links to our website. Our goal is generally to share our own little corner of the world—our journey, so to speak—with the rest of the world. As you build your fan base, remember that commenting on other people’s blogs, especially those which lie within your own niche, can promote you and your brand in the same manner, slowly building a loyal fan base who follow you wherever your comments may lead. Use the same techniques for blog commenting that you use in your own blog’s development—consistency, creativity and value to the reader. Share your personality, and do your best to give those who read your comments something they can’t find somewhere else—in other words “Great posting,” is not considered a beneficial comment—to anyone!

Blog Commenting to Generate Highly Targeted Traffic

If you follow certain guidelines, you will soon reap the rewards of highly increased—not to mention targeted—traffic to your own website. The first guideline is to write truly great comments which are both insightful and intelligent. Secondly, throw a little controversy in the mix—we humans seem to be drawn like moths to a flame to controversy. Offer different points of view (politely) and you will see the conversation take off. Keep your commenter name consistent so others will begin to recognize your postings, and, hopefully, specifically look for them. It is helpful to add your blog name or tagline to your name when posting comments, such as Ginger Smith, CatLover, but whatever you decide keep it the same. Comment early, and comment often on the same blog posts. Many folks only read the first 15-25 blog comments (or even less) before they move on, so always consider the short attention span of the web reader, and give them a reason to continue reading.

Make Your Blog Comment Stand Out

In order to ensure your blog comments stand out from the herd, do your best to add value to the original article through your comment. Ask a question, disagree with the rest of the community (in a reasonable and intelligent manner), show some emotion, and post often. These things will get you noticed and will ultimately improve your site’s SEO and push you up the page ranks.

The Basics of Using Google Alerts to Improve Your Legal Website or Law Firm Blog

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

If you are interested in keeping abreast of the ever-changing laws without emptying your pocketbook, Google Alerts can give you the peace of mind which comes with knowing you are up-to-speed and able to monitor the changing laws, while ensuring your practice is fully covered. Do you ever wonder what others are saying about your firm, or you personally? Using Google Alerts in a savvy and intelligent way can keep you on the professional cutting edge.

Google Alerts are basically set up to monitor content, automatically notifying you when any new content from the Internet matches the pre-set terms you have selected. Google Alerts can be used to find out what others are saying (on the Internet) about you and your firm, to monitor the latest legal news, to monitor the status of a bill, and even to stay informed as to what your competition is up to.

How Are Notifications Received?

There are several ways you can receive Google Alerts, the most common one being through your e-mail. You can also receive Google Alerts as a web feed, or even have them prominently displayed on your iGoogle page. There are essentially six types of alerts to receive when content on the Internet matches your particular search terms and the alerts you have created.  You can set your Google Alerts to the default, which is everything, or the entire web, through the Google search engine. Secondly, you can set your settings to News, meaning you will only receive updates when matching content makes it into the top ten results of a Google News Search. Third down the line is the “web” setting, which allows you to receive updates only when new web pages appear in the top twenty results for a Google Web search, and fourth is the blog setting-you will only get updates when content which matches your search terms appears in a blog which resides in the top ten results of a Google Blog Search. The video setting will allow you to receive updates only when matching content appears in the top ten results of a Google video search, and finally, you can set your alters to “groups” which will only send updates whenever matching content appears in the top fifty results of a Google Groups search.

Next, you can choose the frequency of your Google Alerts, meaning you can have Alerts sent to you once a day, once a week, or in real time (or close to it), as things happen. For many subjects or issues, onece a day or once a week will be plenty, most especially if you have chosen a top which receives tons of hits. If you are setting an Alert for something which happens rarely, but you want to know as soon as it does happen, set your Google Alert to “as it happens.”  Don’t get too overwhelmed with the different settings; after you play with them a bit you will easily find the one which works best for you and your specific needs.

How Complicated is Setting Up Google Alerts?

Don’t panic, setting up Google Alerts is fairly simple. You must first go to From here you will pick your search terms; for instance, you might choose Texas DWI Law, then you will use the drop down boxes to select the type of alert, frequency, length, and where to have them sent. Although it may take a little trial and error to get Google Alerts set up exactly like you want them to be, it will definitely be worth it once you have everything just like you want it.

Why Should I Bother?

Google Alerts can be an incredibly powerful tool for lawyers–Google travels around the web literally sucking up insanely huge amounts of data from across the globe, while you work and sleep, then analyzes those sites for relevant information according to you search terms, and sends you an e-mail with the results.

Where Do I Start?

If you are unsure which search terms to use to begin with, first of all put in your own name/firm’s name as a keyword so you will always be up to speed on what the rest of the world is saying about you. If you want to know what your competition is up to, put in their names next. You can easily monitor news about legislation or regulation in specific practice and business areas by setting keywords for those subjects. You can set your Google Alerts to look for proprietary data of your most significant clients—you might be surprised at how often such data shows up in blogs across the Internet. So, if one of your clients sells a highly-recognized product, you can keep up with what’s being said about it, or even watch for knockoffs. You could enter a search term such as “electronic evidence,” which would allow you and your firm to keep up with developments which are highly relevant to your practice. Think of terms which might render some surprising information regarding a pending litigation your law firm is handling, think of a place you want to monitor, such as an office you might have in another state or country.

While it’s true that your Google Alerts can be somewhat erratic at times, meaning you may not get everything you should—or thing you should—and sometimes there may seem to be absolutely no rhyme or reason to why you receive what you receive. Even so, Google Alerts is the best thing going for tracking news specific to your firm and your practice areas.

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More In-Depth Ways to Use Google Alerts for Your Law Firm Website or Legal Blogs

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Assuming you are already using Google Alerts—and presumably already loving it, there are some easy searches you can run that you may not have thought of which can give you some amazing results in your inbox each day. Additionally, if you want more accurate results from your Google Alerts, you will need to utilize some of the advanced search options or search operators in order to narrow your searches.

Advanced Search Options

In other words, if you are interested in receiving the latest legislation regarding DWI in your state, you might type in DWI+Texas+legislation. Enclosing your search results in quotes, and using the minus sign (-) to filter out unwanted results can also give you much more precise Google Alerts results. On each search term you will set how often you want the alert to be sent, so for topics you want to keep an eye on, but are not critical, selecting “once a week,” may be appropriate. For topics which you need to be apprised up the second after they happen, then you will, of course, set “as it happens,” for frequency. Many people simply have a blanket setting of once per day for everything, however this can potentially give you many legal alerts you don’t need or want.

When setting how you would like to receive your alerts, you can check e-mail or RSS feed; if you choose e-mail, you will receive a separate e-mail for each alert you create, or you can subscribe to the RSS feed in Google Reader rather than e-mail. You will next need to tell Google exactly which information to include in the search, whether news, blogs, web, comprehensive, video or groups. Depending on your search terms you may want to only search in blogs, or news, or you may simply use “comprehensive” for most of your search terms.

What Search Terms Should I Use?

First and foremost, do a “vanity search” for your own name, your firm’s name, or your blog’s name in order to find out when your name or your blog is mentioned by someone else. You can set it up as “Richardson Law Firm,” Robert+Richardson+Lawyer, or even Richardson’s Legal Blog. If your name or your firm’s name is fairly common, put it in quotes. You can track incoming links to your legal website or legal blog by inserting your blog’s URL which can track links from other sites to your own site. Use the highest URL level where you have content for your site links, and if you want to track incoming links to a specific post, enter the post’s exact URL.

Check Your Own Content for Plagiarism by Others

Sometimes content can be “stolen” unintentionally, or sometimes content can be stolen using robots which strip out links so the post remains primarily text. You can set your search terms for “specific phrase from your content” which will immediately tell you if someone else is using that amazing phrase you thought came straight from your own creative mind. Unless your content is, in fact highly creative and original, it is likely you will receive lots of alerts regarding the portions you are having checked.

Check for Your Favorite Topics

If you are currently working on a specific brief, or a particular case, you can set search terms for the topic—you will soon realize what a great way this can be to research a topic and see articles and posts where others are talking about the subject as well. Narrow and refine your search topic through the use of (+,-,””, or, not) or through search operators (link:, site:)

As long as you don’t forget that Google Alerts is neither 100% foolproof or reliable, and that it only sends alerts when new pages enter into the top searches, you should greatly enjoy the results your receive from Google Alerts. You may also want to try out Yahoo’s similar service, called, appropriately enough, Yahoo! Alerts.

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