Posts Tagged ‘law firm seo’

Optimizing Your Law Firm Website For Top Search Engine Rankings

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

SEO — search engine optimization – is to Google and lawyer websites, what Boolean searches are to Lexis-Nexis and Westlaw. Feeding specific search terms into the search engine quickly produces reliable results consistent with the search terms. SEO relies on keywords and key-phrases (e.g., search terms) that have been narrowed by feeding criteria specific to your practice into the latest web traffic reporting tools.

Lawyer Success, Inc. uses these results to decide to the best and most frequently used keywords and phrases and, more specifically, those likely to generate the highest volume of web traffic to your lawyer website. Google then uses algorithms that interpret the SEO to evaluate your lawyer website and determine your search rankings. When a prospective client uses search terms that contain your keywords and phrases, the SEO elevates your lawyer website search ranking producing consistent search results for both you and the prospective client.

These important tips can complement your SEO campaign:

  • Titles. Your page title is the most important tool you have to attract new clients from Google search listings. Productive titles incorporating SEO increases search engine visibility. SEO is how prospective clients find you on the Web, and factors into their navigation of your lawyer website by guiding them to the specific page that is useful to them.
  • Answers. Clients expect lawyers to answer their questions. Prospective clients searching your lawyer website expect your legal content to answer their questions. Our goal-driven nature sends us to the Web in search of a specific find or to accomplish a particular goal. The next website is just a click-of-the-mouse away, making efficient and relevant legal content interspersed with SEO critical to meeting the needs of prospective clients and keeping them on your lawyer website.
  • Design. Effective lawyer website design complements SEO and promotes the prospective client’s goal-driven search. Remember, you are branding your name and marketing your practice — not advertising. Animation, flashing text, pop-ups, and banners give the appearance of a gaming business, and not a lawyer website. Make your professionalism stand out through tasteful lawyer website design and legal content.
  • Color. Changing the color of visited links guarantees ease-of-navigation for prospective clients visiting your lawyer website. This allows them to exclude pages already visited, and to proceed to pages that spoke to a particular issue or otherwise piqued their interest. Links are generally tied to SEO. For example, links labeled “personal injury” and “product liability” are likely to contain cross-over information; yet, each topic has its own link allowing the prospective client to discern the difference. The changing color link also helps visitors easily identify and recall pages on your lawyer website that were helpful.
  • Format. Your legal content needs to be “scannable” meaning you are writing for an online audience, as opposed to a print media. Prospective clients are drawn to the use of short paragraphs, simple writing style, highlighted keywords, bulleted lists, and subheads. The idea is to draw the visitor’s eye to your page using understated, yet highly-effective formatting.

The SEO experts

At Lawyer Success, Inc., optimizing your lawyer website for great search engine rankings is our biggest goal. We provide that critical keyword research, and guarantee the results. Our consultants are happy to show you how to stay competitive and increase your client-base through no-obligation strategies. Our lawyer website design and 24/7 client-support saves you both time and money! Ask about our Free, No Risk lawyer website design when you call.

Call For Free Advice & Guidance From Experts, Not Sales People! Call 1 (800) 877-2776 Today.

The Latest News in Successful Link Building

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

What Works Best?
The primary way of building your site’s SEO through link building is to use manual linking rather than any type of automated methods. Although there is software available which proclaims to build all your links for you—avoid it, and do the work necessary to manually place high-quality links in your site. Automated methods rarely continue to offer results over the long haul, and because Google’s algorithms continue to evolve and get smarter, it is highly likely that bulk comments and directory submissions will probably begin to be flagged.

Manual Directory Submissions and Forum Comments
Manual directory submission requires you to actually go to the directory and input your information. The advantage of manual submission is that you can change your headings in order to minimize the risk of getting slapped down by Google for building the same anchor text link time and time again. Rather than automate forum and blog comments and responses to gain valuable links, spend a little time on each forum in order to get a solid feel for it. Then post an insightful, relevant comment, along with relevant links to your website. Even though some of the latest automated software is better, automated comments are still pretty easy to spot and flag as spam, so do the work yourself.

Look at Your Competitors Prior to Building Links
Stalk your competitors to find out the directories they are listed in and sites they are mentioned on. This will give you a necessary starting point which will then evolve into a comprehensive strategy targeting specific sites. If your direct competitors are ranking high on Google, then they must be doing something right, so it’s your mission to find out what that “something” is. Discover how they build their links, then use some of their knowledge to build your own website.

The Good and Bad Regarding Reciprocal Linking
Until a couple of years ago, reciprocal linking was a perfectly viable method of obtaining coveted links to your website. Unfortunately, the practice was so abused that it became almost a spammy technique, actually causing your site to get lower ratings. Reciprocal links can still work under certain circumstances. If you have an extremely tight niche and trade only with equally “niched” sites in your specific area, then reciprocal linking can be beneficial, however it’s not likely to bring volumes of visitors to your site.

Work on Your Backlinks
Backlinks, also known as inbound links can be a huge benefit to your site as they are typically ranked highly by Google and other search engines. However if you go overboard and have a ton of incoming links from low-quality or junk sites, not only will you see your page rank plummet, but you will have lost all your carefully cultivated credibility—something that is hard to recover once it’s lost.

In Short, Don’t Engage in Lazy Link Building
Most automated services can be equated with lazy link building, and the quality of those links will reflect that lack of effort. Any link which can be made without benefit of any human involvement is essentially a low-quality link. Resist cutting link-building corners, and should you simply not have the time to devote to your manual link building campaign, then consider hiring a reputable link building service to do it for you.

Link Building Strategies to Avoid
Any time you are being offered some ridiculous number of anything, including directory listings or forum and blog comments—beware. This level of promise means it is automated and done in bulk, and if it’s easily automated, it’s equally easy to spot and to devalue. The goal of Google is to provide the very best search results to users, not the site which has the best spam links around. Unfortunately, such excellent link building strategies as social bookmarking and RSS feeds have become increasingly easy to automate, meaning they are losing their cachet.

The Best SEO Strategies for New Websites

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Those who are new to the SEO game may find it entirely overwhelming, and are not even sure what a search-engine friendly website consists of. It can feel like too much information crowding into your brain, and you may even start to wonder if it’s worth it to have a website for your business. Believe me—it is. And not only is it well-worth it, but as you learn the tips and techniques for creating a website which is so well-optimized that not only are you bringing in highly targeted traffic but are also climbing steadily up the rankings, you will actually find yourself enjoying the process. You will learn how to tweak your website on a regular basis to continue to rack up conversions and bring new readers to your site the longer your website is up.

Your Website’s Design
First of all you need to ensure your overall design is SEO-friendly, especially your navigation. You want each and every page of your site to be able to be found easily and indexed quickly through Google and other search engines. If you are unsure whether your current links are all fully accessible from your homepage, use a tool such as the SEO Chat Link Analyzer Tool which can show you how your site is crawled by spiders. Any problems with internal linking or navigation on your site can hurt your overall search engine optimization, not to mention cut down on your readers. Don’t use JavaScript navigation as search engines may be prevented from indexing the entire content of your site because of it.

Target Your Website Content
Because a spider takes mere milliseconds when determining what a given page on your website is all about, every single page must have a phenomenal HTML title, which is a maximum of 66 characters. Granted, that’s not much space to pack a punch in, but your meta description gives you 250 characters to play with. Both of these should concisely identify what your site is all about, must read well, and must use your highly targeted keywords all wrapped up in a grammatically correct, highly readable sentence.

Your content is hugely important, and the more original and useful your content is, the higher you will climb in Google’s rankings. Your goal is to attract readers, not just insert your keywords here and there in an attempt to fool Google. One of the criteria of Google in assessing your website is to determine how long your visitors spend on your website after they chose it from a list of results. What this means is that your keywords must be exceptional, and must match what people will type in to find a business such as yours. High-quality content also attracts organic links from other websites, which will also boost your visibility and your traffic.

Implement a Sitemap on your Website
You will need to include a sitemap on your site which uses hyperlinks to link to your other pages. The sitemap will contain a categorized list of all the pages which are a part of your website and the anchor text which is used for each link must reflect the content of the page through the use of one or two highly targeted and highly relevant keywords. Always avoid duplicate content on your site as it will get you penalized by Google, and be sure to take the time to read Google’s guidelines. The more you adhere to the stated guidelines the better chance you will have to make your website a glowing success, and the less chance you will get a reprimand by Google for violating rules.

Before You Redesign Your Law Firm’s Website, Get Your SEO Firm Involved

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Redesigning your law firm’s website can be time-intensive, expensive and likely frustrating and difficult. It can even leave those within your firm with hard feelings due to different beliefs regarding the future of your firm.  Should your firm decide to take the re-design plunge, the SEO firm should be involved right from the get-go. If your firm has a sound SEO strategy in place, it can definitely make a difference in internal firm debates, allowing you to choose the best platform, programming language and layout. Having your SEO firm involved early in the firm’s redesign can also alleviate the possibility of additional development work following the launch of the new site. If your legal firm doesn’t already have an SEO firm, now is the time to choose one—preferably one that can communicate effectively with your website design company.

Optimization vs. Compliance

While most web development firms will extoll their abilities to produce search engine sites, don’t confuse this with SEO. While it is true that web development firms can certainly create an SEO-compliant site, they are likely not going to be conducting true site optimization for your law firm. Although there are exceptions, there are few development firms which have the capabilities to conduct more sophisticated market and keyword research or to find weaknesses through conducting analytics reviews. What your web development firm can do is create a basic SEO compliant site and perform basics which include ensuring search engine compliance by creating web friendly code. On the flip side, your SEO firm should certainly be able to supply a standards manual which will enable SEO compliance.

How to Utilize Your SEO Firm During Redesign

Of course your law firm’s specific SEO budget will dictate their level of involvement in your web redesign, but unless you are using Joomla, Drupal or WordPress, you need to make sure your SEO reviews your content management system to make sure nothing is blocked.  A review of your CMS platform by your SEO company is a pretty simple and inexpensive task which can ultimately save your company literally thousands of hours. The SEO firm will also review your finished templates for compliance to the standards manual guidelines. As far as content optimization goes, the SEO firm will want to thoroughly review every one of your law firm’s traffic-driven pages to ensure they have integrated keyword research and are optimally positioned. Most SEO firms will simulate spider crawls and check for broken links before the site goes live, and this final review is really important to the overall success of your website. Oftentimes companies don’t even know there are serious problems with their website until it is late in the game.

Questions to Ask Before Taking the Plunge

Search engine optimization is both an art and a science, and is absolutely essential in positioning your law firm’s website in the search engines with the highest-ranking keywords. There are questions you should discuss prior to re-designing your firm’s website, the most important being to ask what the problems with your current site are. Even if you, or even everyone in your firm is tired of the look of your legal website, that’s not necessarily a reason for a re-design. The more important question is how your clients and potential clients feel about the website. Consider a survey or poll on your website to garner some feedback—even though your clients probably aren’t professional web designers, even the “Average Joe” can usually spot a bad website. Don’t update your site just because you think you should do it once a year, like you do your spring cleaning at home. Consider your goal. Is it to increase traffic, improve conversion rates, or reduce bounce rates? The answers to these questions make a huge difference in not only whether you should redesign your website, but how you should structure the redesign. Make sure you have goals that are measurable, or you will be right back in the same position this time next year.

What Effect Will a Redesign Have on My SEO?

If you have specific problems with your legal website, resist the temptation to overreact. It’s quite possible that the perceived problems can be fixed with optimization rather than a full-blown design. If so, all the better.  Certain changes you may decide to make in the design of your legal website can significantly impact your search traffic, so it’s a good idea to have your SEO firm take a good look at the overall picture before you begin. Site redesigns are notoriously long and laborious, so make sure you have some safeguards in place; will you maintain and optimize the old website while building a new one, or will it languish in neglect? Finally, if you are planning drastic changes to the design of your law firm’s website, you need to know that things may get worse before they get better—change is difficult, and clients may be confused by your new layout. As long as your firm considers all aspects of changing your website design before beginning, you should have smooth sailing.

The Debate Continues: Black Hat, White Hat or Just Plain Bad SEO?

Sunday, August 28th, 2011

The goal of Google’s panda update was to ferret out black hat SEO, however in the process it penalized some websites which were not perhaps intentionally duplicitous, but happened to be filled with plain bad SEO. Even if your legal website or blog was not one of the many who were slapped by the new update, it could be time to do another “once-over” to ensure your legal site does not employ any of the tactics which could garner you a penalty.

What is Black Hat SEO?

Sooner or later Google will catch most all black hat tricks, so it’s important that you know exactly what to look for. If you are not clear on what black hat SEO really consists of, it basically refers to search engine optimization “tricks” which are downright underhanded and unethical. Black hat SEO seeks to deceive the search engines, giving your legal site a ranking it may not deserve. The most common ploys used during black hat SEO consist of keyword stuffing, hidden or invisible text, cloaking, content farming or link farms. While these tactics will get your website noticed quickly by the search engines, they fail to provide your potential clients with anything of real value.

Keyword Stuffing, Content Farming and Link Farms

Keyword stuffing consists of filling your legal website with information which is almost unintelligible due to the overuse of keywords. Unethical SEO companies also write keywords in white text onto a white background—you or I are unable to see the keywords with our human eyes, yet search engine spiders can easily see them, bringing about an immediate bump up the search engine ladder, at least until the search engine discovers the ruse. Spinning software takes one article which might have started out as high quality copy, then spins it into hundreds of articles used by many companies as a means to link to their site. Again, most search engines will eventually figure it out if you are using content farming or article spinning techniques. A link farm consists of a website which is set up with no other purpose than increasing the link popularity of other sites by increasing incoming links to those sites. These links are generally totally unrelated, and will be picked up by the search engines.

What is White Hat SEO?

White hat SEO will enhance the quality of your legal website by giving value to your reader, and, although it will take longer than using black hat SEO, you will eventually earn a high website ranking. White hat SEO chooses a solid keyword phrase which accurately represents your legal page, then uses it in the Meta tags. White hat SEO contains content which accurately reflects your business and your website, and gives your reader value and worth. When your legal website garners other high-quality websites linking to a legal blog post or page within your legal website, you have a quality inbound link, further boosting your search engine rankings. This is in sharp contrast to black hat SEO which incorporates a less than stellar link list which is traded simply to boost search results. In short, any SEO tactic which conforms to the stated guidelines of search engines, making no attempt to deceive them, is considered white hat SEO.

What if Your Legal SEO is Just Plain Bad?

Even if you have avoided being penalized for obvious black hat SEO techniques on your site, you still need to be hyper-vigilant about checking your legal sites often to ensure the content is superior, the links are legitimate and of excellent quality, and, while your keywords are used judiciously they are also used in a way that makes sense and doesn’t alienate your reader. Using white hat, organic SEO will get your legal website noticed—in a good way!

How Google’s Panda Update May Affect Your Legal Website

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

As most everybody with a website now knows, SEO is one of the hottest topics around—as well as one of the most vague. If you type in “SEO” on Google you will garner nearly 600 million results, which should give you an idea of the far-reaching effects of online marketing and your legal website. When Google makes the decision to alter their search ranking algorithms—which they do on a more and more frequent basis—you may find your legal website or blog has been relegated to the virtual trash heap and is now considered nothing more than collateral damage.

A Panda that’s Less than Cute and Cuddly

Google’s latest update is known as the Panda, and experts estimate that it affected some 12% of the total websites currently listed in Google. Most of the affected websites were those which had previously ranked in the top few pages. Somewhat alarmingly, Google states that Panda is only the beginning, and there will be 500 or more “tweaks” to their algorithms during the coming year. Panda was ostensibly targeting content farms and spam sites as well as short articles which read like ads, or articles which were poorly written or scammed from other sites. Unfortunately, there were some high-quality sites which were accidentally lumped in with the content farms, and now are left angry and frustrated, trying to get their site back where it belongs.

What Panda Looks At

According to Google officials, Panda is seeking out high percentages of duplicate content, low amounts of original content on an individual page or an entire site, high numbers of inappropriate advertisements, unnatural overuse of a word on a page (keyword stuffing), a high bounce rage, low visit times, low percentage of returning users, no links to the website from social media, low or no quality inbound links, and a high percentage of the same content of each page in the site. While it may be difficult in some cases to determine exactly what set the Panda off, most of the time it will be fairly obvious. If your legal sites or legal SEO techniques were penalized unfairly, contact Google immediately.

Panda Takes Aim at Backlinks

If you have a good understanding of SEO in general, then you probably are aware that building backlinks is one of the primary ways to get your legal website noticed and give it the stamp of approval by search engines as a quality site. On-site linking occurs when you interlink your legal website pages and blog pages, while offsite linking occurs when other websites link to your legal website.

Over 50% of Panda’s algorithm focuses on offsite linking, while another good portion of it takes aim at sites which are both low-quality and overflowing with ads. If you were slapped by Panda over offsite linking, what’s a law firm to do? First, track down those who linked to your site, and ask any low-quality sites to remove the link. Like your mother always said, you are judged by those you associate with, and a negative association is just not work the backlink. Once the low-quality links are gone from your legal website or blog, cultivate high-quality backlinks from other reputable law firms.

Content and Social Media

Continue to post high-quality content regularly on your legal website and blog—if you don’t yet have a legal blog attached to your website, get one. Blogs are one of the very best—not to mention easiest–ways to keep your legal website fresh and updated. If you have yet to jump on the social media bandwagon, now’s the time. Your potential clients are on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sites, so use them to your advantage.

Trust is (Still) Key

Although Panda’s algorithm seems complex, take a look at the content on your legal website or blog and ask yourself if you would trust the information presented. Does the article appear shallow, or do you get the sense it was written by an expert–or at the very least someone who knows the subject well? Does your site have duplicate or overlapping articles, or do you notice spelling, grammar or factual errors of any type? Does each and every article on your legal blog contain a complete description of the stated topic, and is the material insightful and interesting? The ultimate test may be—would you actually bookmark your site or your blog article or share it with a friend? If you can answer all these questions in a positive manner when you give your legal site a totally unbiased look, then you are probably safe from the Panda—for now at least.

Call (769) 218-6099 for free law firm SEO advice from experts not sales people. Call today to get all the answers you need.

How the Age of Your Site Plus Relevant Legal Links Can Affect Your Law Firm SEO

Sunday, May 15th, 2011

Many people have heard that the age of their website, as well as their links, can affect the way Google “credits” the website. To most SEO consultants, it makes perfect sense why the domain name is now used as a legal SEO consideration—think about it, older domains have obviously been around longer, garnering them at least the perception of being more successful and reliable. Since most spammers only ply their tricks for a limited time, with Google giving high points for domain age, the spammers are no longer able to pull in high rankings using black hat tricks. Of course the age of your domain name and links are far from the only part of the equation in your law firm SEO ranking, meaning the effect may not be the only deciding factor—good news for those of you who are just jumping into the marketing waters via your legal website.

Establishing Your Law Firm’s Reputation

In fact, many solid legal firms can establish a good SEO ranking within a year of the domain name’s registration. Keep in mind, however, that it’s not only the registration date, but also the number of back links and the period over which those particular back links were created. That’s why, when a reputable legal firm decides to go with a new domain name, they thankfully don’t lose their ranking as the back links from their old site are simply redirected to the new website. As far as Google is concerned, your firm is creating a “library” of sorts over time which consists of unique, quality content with back links, giving you a decided advantage in the SEO wars. Like it or not, however, the newest legal websites truly will take a good year before they have a high—and more importantly, steady—ranking.

The “Other” Side

Just as there are those who believe age of site and links is vitally important, there are others who think it matters not at all.  It’s been noted that it could be more related to correlation rather than causation if you are backing up your age theory by the fact you will quite often pull up websites which may be dated two, three, four, even more years back. Perhaps those people who registered early simply got great domain names, exact match domain names, or short domain names. They’ve had a longer time to build their brand, let more people know about them, reference them, link to them. They’ve likely been in the media or press, and are included in directories and lists which are linked to by the important people. Because of all these factors, it may look as if these earlier sites perform better simply due to their age. Those who don’t believe in the age factor will tell you that if you produced a site today, and accomplished all the things a ten-year old site has, you would likely outrank them because you’ve earned those links, reputation and brand much faster. Personally, I’m still leaning toward the side that says age of your law firml website actually does matter.

Update Frequently

Many SEO professionals believe that a website’s age and constantly updated content will, in the end, get them much higher up in the rankings than going strictly on backlinks and keywords. Not to imply that the backlinks and keywords aren’t critically important, but if you are thinking about the long-haul rather than the immediate results, you just can’t forget to update your content frequently and be patient as your domain name ages. Bottom line is that Google, as well as other search engines reward older websites in the belief the content will remain solid for people to read—again, as long as it is updated regularly in order to keep your readers coming back for more. I realize I’ve mentioned it more than once, but you just can’t neglect the last part of that sentence—update regularly. Even a once-powerfully performing page can gradually work its way down the list if it hasn’t been updated since initial publication.

Just as having children requires a great deal of patience and fortitude as they struggle through their  awkward or difficult periods, so will your legal website require some of this same patience and fortitude. Be steady, add content often, make sure your keywords and backlinks are stellar quality, then wait patiently as your attorney website grows up, matures, and becomes what you knew it could all along!

Call (769) 218-6099 for free advice from experts in the Law Firm SEO and link building industry.

How Google Instant Preview Affects Your Law Firm Website SEO Plan and Results

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Many people are as yet unaware of the small magnifying glass icon on the right of the organic search results you get once you type in a search term; it is called Google Instant Preview, and no one has yet determined how it will affect ultimate conversion rates—it’s just too soon to tell. To be honest, although I took some kind of vague notice of the tiny magnifying glass I had yet to click on it until I read an article about Google’s latest change. Apparently the goal of the new feature is to refine the relevance factor in search results, alleviating the frustration users can feel when they click on a result which has little to do with their original search.

One of the key factors in conversion rate optimization is managing human expectations, therefore it’s a good idea for your law firm to keep a close eye on how Google Instant Preview evolves over the coming months. It will be a matter of significant importance to be able to tell whether or not GIP is becoming popular with your targeted market. And if GIP makes their small little magnifying glass bigger, will this affect the number of people who use it?  Before you read further, do a quick check of your law firm’s website pages to see how they show up in GIP—you certainly don’t want to be the last one to realize that your pages are virtually unreadable when previewed.

After the Preview

If you test your site with GIP and get some kind of funky results—or worse a totally black page—then you must take the bull by the horns immediately in order to ensure your page shows up as it should. Occasionally, if a site has used Flash for a large portion of their page content, weird results will show up in GIP as it doesn’t seem to be particularly fond of Flash. If your legal website is fine when you visit, with content which is relevant to the search query, but doesn’t look at all like this in GIP, your potential clients may move right on to the next results and not bother with yours. If the above paragraph has made you want to rush into a total web re-design, take a moment and regroup. It may be worth your firm’s time and money to wait and see whether GIP proves to be popular enough with your target market to justify the expense of a total overhaul to your website.

If your law firm’s website has already taken care of the core elements such as ensuring your legal webpages have page content closely matched by their descriptions, then you have already promoted conversion from search results that are not previewed.  However even if your firm has done the necessary work on core elements yet your pages just aren’t looking great in GIP, consider that GIP does not affect your ads on the Google Display Network as they don’t feature a preview icon, and neither does it affect paid search results, or traffic that is either PPC or affiliate-driven. These factors alone can be a good reason to hold off on re-designing your legal firm’s websites—for the moment at least.

Future Changes

If the future brings lots of people in your search target market who are becoming enthusiastic fans of GIP, then beyond just fixing your webpages so they look good in preview, you may want to reconsider your overall search strategy. If, for instance, you use affiliates, consider that a large collection of thumbnails can be really difficult to see when the entire page is being shown as a thumbnail. If you are providing an organic search result which is accompanied by an attractive preview, you may end up getting more traffic than a paid result at the very top which lacks a great preview.


The new GIP feature has made law firm SEO even more important than ever by essentially “killing” the second page of a search index. When you are typing into the search bar, Google suggests terms for you, making your search theoretically more effective, but pushing those businesses which are not saturated with content down the line. GIP pulls content from blogs, photos, social media, news and products, so obviously the more places your business covers, the higher your law firm will rank. You can’t simply focus on keywords and backlinks anymore, but need to expand and cover all topics with content related to your law firm. Some believe that Google Instant Preview will increase conversion rates and render more satisfied searchers, and Google has made some suggestions to business owners to help them continue to rank high.

Your legal website’s overall appearance and organization matter more now than ever, so ensure your site is uncluttered, readable and very visually appealing. Eliminate all popups which could appear in a preview pane as it could hide relevant content, preventing users from clicking on your site. Legal SEO is more important now than ever for your firm’s website, so your job is to be super-aware of what your potential clients are searching for. In their own blog, Google stated that using Instant Preview will make searchers 5% more likely to be satisfied with the results they click on—the big question remaining is whether that 5% is really enough to change the way people search.

Free Advice Hotline – Call (769) 218-6099 for free advice from an experienced law firm Internet marketing guru not a sales representative.

SEO and Social Media Marketing – What Your Law Firm Needs to Know

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

As you are probably already aware, law firm marketing has made a concerted shift toward online avenues in the past few years, the result being that the cost of online advertising has skyrocketed. The simple rules of supply and demand, plus the greatly increased cost have pushed many smaller law firms completely out of the market, while the larger law firms may be vastly overpaying for their own online marketing. Considering that some law firms who were spending as much as $5 per click for Pay-Per-Click ads just to claw their way to the top spot on Google, are now paying an astonishing $15 (and more) per click. If you do the math, and figure that the average online conversion rate is a paltry 1-2%, and that a firm such as the one described above could conceivably receive anywhere from 300-1000 clicks per day ($4,500 per day, $135,000 per month) then you get a good idea of the enormous amounts of money currently being spent on legal online advertising. The same law firms which are spending these big bucks for PPC ads, are likely also paying large amounts to advertise in legal online directories, which have been found to be semi-effective at best.

Set Yourself Apart From the Crowd with Great Legal SEO

So, what’s a legal firm to do, you may ask? If dedicating massive amounts of financial resources to get your firm noticed online is not the way to go, then just what should you be doing? The ultimate goal–and one you should never, ever forget when designing your online presence–is to set yourself apart from the crowd. Get yourself noticed, not because you spent the most money for online advertising, but because you are an amazing, cutting edge law firm who rightfully should be noticed. In order to be noticed for all the right reasons, your first line of business should probably be to completely re-evaluate your marketing campaign, putting many more eggs in your social media marketing and SEO baskets than before. Once you are firmly established as a legal firm who generates useful, high quality content for its potential clients, posting it on a blog and sharing with the social world gives you a personal connection to your visitors, inspiring them to contact your firm rather than your competitor’s when they need help. In order to ensure you get the very most from your online marketing campaign, you must, of course, utilize SEO in every conceivable way. Proper SEO will get your legal website, articles, blog, right up to the top of the search engines, increasing visibility and exposure, thus conversion and, finally, revenue.

The Cost of Social Media and Law Firm SEO

If you haven’t already figured it out, the cost of social media marketing and search engine optimization are a mere fraction of what Pay-Per-Click, television commercials, online legal directories or print ads will cost you. As a large law firm you could easily be paying $100,000 per month on this type of conventional advertising, while a social media and law firm SEO retainer can cost you from ten to fifteen thousand per month—and achieve exactly the same results. Once your website and online content has built up its rankings, the marketing budget can be cut even further.

Does Social Media Marketing Really Work?

If you are skeptical about the power of social media marketing, remember that social media gives us the opportunity to be a part of a community which allows us, if we listen closely, to learn things regarding our market we may not already know. In the quest to establish your authority and promote your legal brand, you can make valuable contributions to the social conversations, quickly becoming recognized as an authority on your particular specialization. When you are seen in many places on the internet, there is a greater likelihood people will follow links back to your website where they can learn more about your particular expertise.

Social media has completely changed the legal marketing game, making your law firm more accessible to your clients and potential clients as well as allowing you to successfully engage the community regarding particular areas of law. Remember that even though your time is limited by your caseload, social media gives you the kind of virtual presence that is literally 24/7. Many law firms hesitate to jump into the social media waters due to privacy concerns, however you should carefully balance these concerns with the incredible benefits you can reap from an active social media online presence.

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Changes That Can Hurt Your Legal Website’s SEO

Monday, November 1st, 2010

It is likely that you usually read about all the things you can do to improve your legal website and make it stand out from all the rest. However, there are things that we do without thinking too much about them, which can really hurt our website.  Remember that one of the factors responsible for the traffic your legal website attracts is the inbound link profile to your particular site. If you make substantial changes to your website, you have to consider whether or not those links are still valid. While the search engine can’t necessarily determine whether the links are still valid, what they can do is reduce the effective value of the inbound links until they see if people are removing your links after changes to your website.  If you want to keep the ranking of your law firm website stable, then you should think about the following issues, especially if you have recently implemented or are contemplating changes.

Watch Out For Duplicate Content

Having duplicate content on your website can seriously destroy your search engine ranking position. If you’re wondering what constitutes duplicate content, this basically means having the same content on two or more pages of your website. You may have even done this deliberately in an attempt to reiterate or emphasize certain aspects of your law firm’s specialty, but be aware that Google is not a fan of duplicate content. Keeping archive pages on your site can also fall under duplicate content unless they are indexed through your robot.txt. You could also write custom summaries of your legal articles rather than posting the entire post on the main page.

Domain Change

If you have started out your website using a .net, and are now able to obtain a .com variant of your domain, you may think this is a good thing, but beware of making this type of change, as it will be seen as a huge change by search engines, especially if you also add in a website re-design. While change can be good, this is one you need to be very cautious of. Should you implement a relatively simple domain change, the search engines may believe that people who linked to your old domain will no longer link to your new domain. Even if you properly implement a 301 redirect, you may still have significant setbacks in your website traffic. Even if you have only implemented a new content management system, it may still take weeks or months for search engines to “get it”, leaving your legal website being vulnerable and somewhat devalued.

Theme Changes

If your legal firm currently specializes in personal liability, but is branching out into family law as well, it will take time for the family law section to receive the trust and authority conveyed by the current inbound links, and the value of the personal liability links may also end up being devalued. A theme change may seem obvious to we humans, but to search engines, even adding a significant amount of content to pages that previously had only a directory of links can be seen as a significant theme change. Be careful when implementing major theme changes to your law firm’s website unless you are prepared to be bumped back a few spaces and scratch your way back up to the top.

Appearing to Change Owners

Search engines relate the way one website links to another to trust in the owner, therefore the question begs, “if the owner changes, is the trust still there?” Many times the search engine may offer a resounding “no” to that question. If you have only changed the e-mail address of the administrative contact it will not likely be seen as a major change or violation of trust, especially if you are not making other significant changes at the same time. However, changing the name or address of the registrant is likely to be interpreted by search engines as a change in owner, so avoid making major changes to your legal website and a change to registrant name or address at all costs. If you must change the registrant, do it as a standalone, then wait before making any other changes.

The main principle you must remember is that search engines use algorithms to make their complex determinations when deciding who gets ranked highest, and algorithms are still not quite as smart as a real human being at figuring out exactly what a material change consists of.

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