5 Things To Consider When Creating Your FindLaw Exit Plan

Internet marketing for attorneys is a well-established practice. As more of us spend more time online, using Google to find any kind of professional service has become second nature.

Which means it’s more important than ever to have a great website that’s easy to find and promotes your firm well. If you’re like most attorneys, you turned to a professional agency to create and manage your site instead of doing it yourself. Some of you choose FindLaw, one of the biggest, for its reputation and resources.

But Internet marketing is more than just a listing in an online directory and a website, and over time, many clients of big companies like FindLaw become dissatisfied, not only by the level of service but more importantly, the results they get and the premium price they pay month over month, year over year.

If you don’t have a website already, FindLaw might be a good option to help you get started. But working with FindLaw is a case of diminishing returns. While it may be worth a premium rate the first year to get a well designed website introduced to the search engines, it’s definitely not worth this much in the third year, never mind year four … or ten.

Plus, upon entering an agreement with FindLaw, most attorneys aren’t sure who owns their website, the domain, the design, and the content upon termination. They are surprised to learn, when they dig into the terms and conditions, how much leverage FindLaw maintains. [Read more…]

How to Manage Your Online Reputation

These days an individual’s or law firm’s reputation can be enhanced or tarnished by what appears in search engine results. This is because so many people rely on online reviews. Check out these recent statistics from at 2013 ReviewTracker article:

  • 85 percent of consumers say that they read online reviews for local businesses to determine whether these businesses are good or not. (This is up from last year’s 76 percent.)
  • 67 percent of consumers read six reviews or less before they feel that they can trust the local business. Meanwhile, only 22 percent read more than seven reviews.
  • 73 percent say that high ratings and positive online reviews make them trust a local business more, while only 12 percent said that they take no notice of online reviews.
  • Asked if they trust online customer reviews as much as personal recommendations (from friends and family), 79 percent of the respondents said that reviews were as trustworthy as personal recommendations.

Your reputation is public.

Your reputation, and the reputation of your firm, is more public and more accessible than ever before. To stay competitive, attorneys need to act swiftly and positively to show they listen and care about what their clients think about them.

Whether someone is searching for a restaurant for a special occasion, a new desk for their office, or a doctor, dentist, or attorney, they read the reviews. By reading about the experiences that other customers or clients have had, people can judge a business before they ever set foot in the office or meet you.

[Read more…]

Google Authorship – Personalizing Your Online Image

Just a few months ago the search engine giant Google launched a new feature called Google Authorship. Google Authorship lets you link any content you publish on a specific domain (such as www.yourwebsite.com) to your Google+ profile.

This means that every time someone searches for your name or someone with your expertise, anything you have written with your byline (by Jack Smith, for example) will show up on the Google results page with your name and your photo. It will also include a link to a page with any other articles, blog posts, or even Q&As with your name on them!

For example, Googling the phrase “Greater Boston litigation attorneys” produces:

Appearing on the results page with a photo and byline adds credibility, which builds up your reputation as an authoritative source on the topics you cover. Plus, search results with profile images attract a higher click through rate than those that do not have an image. Remember, three out of four people seeking an attorney search online and almost 70% of all searchers use Google. [Read more…]

Today’s Seasoned Solo Practitioner: How to Market Your Experience, Reputation and Value

The business of law is at a turning point. A recent article in the ABA Journal reported, “The legal profession is undergoing a massive structural shift—one that will leave it dramatically transformed in the coming years.” The shift stems from a combination of events including new laws and changes in enforcement, the mobility of businesses and individuals, as well as new competition from non-legal firms such as accounting and real estate and the availability of legal documents online.  The average person today requires more legal representation than ever before and how they choose their legal representation has changed too. The attorneys who have the most to gain are probably those like you: a mid-career solo practitioner or a lawyer at a small firm. Why? Because consumers want you!

You, the mid-career solo practitioner, are quite literally the core of the legal profession. On one side are those young attorneys who have recently passed the bar and are trying to make their way. What they lack in experience they make up for with web savvy, technology skills, and aggressive online marketing tactics, but it is your experience the consumer wants. On the other side are large firms with significant marketing and advertising budgets, a small army of junior attorneys and paralegals pushing a high volume of work, and a team of technical experts to help them advance online, but consumers are wary of high costs, inattentive or indifferent care, and marginal results.

So why do consumers want you? Here are a few reasons why today’s consumer seeks the seasoned solo practitioner.

Experience

At this point in your career you have a solid base of experience in your area of expertise. You have over twenty years dedicated to the practice of law, both at big firms and as a solo practitioner. You are as accomplished and seasoned as the big firm partners with a proven track record and a solid reputation to bank on.

[Read more…]

Legal Search Marketing – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn for Attorneys? You Better Believe It!

The past few years have seen a dramatic increase in new web sites, directories, and social networks for attorneys. From LinkedIn to Avvo to Facebook to Twitter, it seems like there’s always a new opportunity to promote your business. Faced with finite budgets and resources, many wonder whether or not to implement these new tools at the expense of more time-tested tactics.

Happily it’s not an either/or situation – online marketing techniques can reinforce the effectiveness of relationship building, traditional networking, and lead generation. And as more consumers turn to the Internet, having a strong, complete online presence is more important than ever.

Consider these statistics:

•    Most people (97%) search online before making a purchase — anyone seeking an attorney will head to Google first (BIA/Kelsey).
•    66% of American use online local search, like Google local search, to locate local businesses (TMP/comScore/proprietary average).
•    54% of Americans prefer the Internet and local search to phone books (comScore networks).
•    When researching products or services in their local area, 90 percent of consumers use search engines, 48 percent use Internet Yellow Pages, and 42 percent use comparison shopping sites.
•    63% of social networkers are more likely to use a local business if the business has information available on a social networking site (Localeze/15miles). [Read more…]

Legal Search Marketing – How to Protect Your Online Reputation

By Ian Bardorf

What do prospects find when they look for you online? They may find your firm’s website, your LinkedIn and Avvo profiles, blog posts or videos, your Facebook business page, and glowing reviews of your services. But what if your website is listed last or, even worse, not listed at all on the first page of results? Instead the top links lead to a client’s bad review, a disgruntled employee’s comments, or a competitor’s website.

This situation is becoming all too common on the results pages of Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines. Attorneys who have spent years growing their businesses can find their work tarnished by lackluster search results or bad reviews. Many are turning to online reputation management to protect, strengthen and occasionally repair their standing on the Internet. Online reputation management can fortify and preserve an attorney’s reputation in the search results and repair any damage that may have been caused by negative results.

For many attorneys, it’s the nature of their business to be caught in the crossfire between clients and the opposing party. You are there to represent your client, not to make both sides happy. This means attorneys have a greater risk of receiving unfavorable reviews online, possibly from an unhappy client, but more likely from the other side’s client. Unfortunately, these negative reviews may appear first when someone searches for an attorney with your area of expertise.

[Read more…]

Legal Search Marketing – Six Steps for Successful Local Marketing

Clients come from all walks of life, they go online at all hours of the day, they point, they click, they research and buy online. In fact, 97% of consumers research online before they make a purchase. This means prospects may be looking for your particular area of expertise right now. Yet you could be one of many attorneys who lose revenue each year by neglecting to maximize your firm’s online visibility in your area.

Internet searches are becoming increasingly more localized and specific to geographic locations. Local search is on the rise as people become more sophisticated search engine users. Because most people seeking legal assistance start their search on Google by entering their location and the specialty they need, local search should be considered part of a firm’s online marketing strategy.

Consider these statistics regarding local search:

  • 82% of local searchers follow up offline via an in-store visit, phone call or purchase (comScore)
  • 73% of online activity is related to local content (Google)
  • 66% of Americans use online local search, like Google local search, to locate local businesses (TMP/comScore/proprietary average)
  • 54% of Americans prefer the Internet and local search over phone books (comScore networks)

Clearly, having a well-defined local Internet marketing strategy can be crucial to certain businesses, particularly attorneys whose main source of business is their communities. [Read more…]

Legal Search Marketing – Why FindLaw and Martindale-Hubbell Miss the Mark

By Ian M. Bardorf

If you’re like many busy attorneys, you don’t have the time to stay up-to-date on the latest advances in Internet marketing. Your expertise is in helping your clients and providing high-quality legal services. You need a savvy partner that will design and implement a results-driven, cost-effective online marketing strategy.

Most attorneys sign up with a company they believe will take care of their Internet marketing needs and help them stay current. Some of the biggest providers include FindLaw (a part of Westlaw) and Martindale-Hubbell. These are established companies that were founded to produce legal research in the form of print directories and have since moved into the world of online publications and marketing. Many of you have paid to appear in their listings, both in print and online, and have hired these venerable firms to create and host your websites, and market your practice.

But Internet marketing is more than just a listing and a website, and over time, many clients of these big companies become dissatisfied by not only the level of service but more importantly, the results they get for what they pay. If you’re a FindLaw or Martindale-Hubbell client, you may be spending more than you need to for inferior results and missing out on other opportunities to help your business succeed. Read on to find out how FindLaw and Martindale-Hubbell miss the mark.

Local Always Beats National.

Did you know that 97 percent of people conduct research online before buying locally? Or that 64 percent of consumers expect the business within their search results to be within 15 miles of their location? Clearly it’s important to appear in the search results for clients looking for an attorney close by and to work with a marketing partner that understands your area. [Read more…]

Legal Search Marketing – Build your Business using LinkedIn

By Ian M. Bardorf

LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com) was launched in 2003 and is now the leading professional network on the Internet. LinkedIn is reportedly growing by roughly one million new members every week — more than one member each second.

Unlike other social networks like Facebook or MySpace, LinkedIn members are professionals, primarily in the service, finance, and high tech sectors. Executives from all Fortune 500 companies are members and one million companies have LinkedIn Company Pages. There were nearly two billion people searches on LinkedIn in 2010.

Most importantly for attorneys, LinkedIn represents a valuable opportunity to market your firm to an affluent and influential membership. Here are ten things that you can do today to start taking advantage of LinkedIn.

[Read more…]

Question – I’ve been a LinkedIn member for a while. What new LinkedIn apps should I use?

LinkedIn offers a number of applications (apps) for members to connect with other members and promote their expertise. Four that I think are especially valuable for attorneys are:

Events
The Events application adds a box to your profile that shows what events people in your network are attending. This helps you find events based on your industry and job function. You can sort by most popular events, search for events, and create new ones.

Answers
LinkedIn Answers is a tool that allows you to ask questions and answer inquiries posed by other members. It is a valuable place to share knowledge and expertise. To try it, click on the “Answers” tab.

Groups
Nearly 18 million members are a part of LinkedIn Groups, with 1.5 million joining groups every week. Groups are an opportunity to participate in conversations that are relevant to your firm’s practice areas and to answer questions that match your expertise.

SlideShare
With this app, you can share presentations and documents with your LinkedIn network and upload PDFs, presentations, video or more. You can also browse and comment on the presentations of others in your network, and see the latest presentations from your network on your homepage.

Legal Search Marketing – Four Common SEO Myths

By Ian M. Bardorf

Do you Google? More and more people do. In fact, search engine use around the world is growing. Last year there were more than 131 billion searches worldwide, representing a 46-percent increase over the previous year according to comScore, a leading digital marketing intelligence provider. This number represents more than 4 billion searches per day, 175 million per hour, and 2.9 million per minute!

Search engine marketing allows you to reach and engage the searchers who are looking for you. And the process of creating the most relevant site that is also the most search engine friendly is called Search Engine Optimization or SEO. Because this is a sophisticated, on-going process, there are plenty of misunderstandings about how it all works. Read on to get the answers to four common myths about SEO.

[Read more…]

Question – I’ve had success networking at local events. Do I need to use Google too?

Most attorneys are fantastic natural networkers, connecting with current clients and prospects through colleagues, peers in other professions, trade and bar associations, and networking events. They know it’s a necessary part of generating leads and growing their practice.

Only a few attorneys have chosen to use this ability to attract and retain clients via the Internet. These early adopters are using Facebook, Twitter, Google Places, Avvo, Justia and other social media to gain a competitive advantage online. And they are reaping the benefits. Taking advantage of social media to build a network can help you improve online visibility, outrank your competition, get the most out of your digital assets, retain loyal customers, and generate leads efficiently and cost-effectively.

By completing a profile on mainstream and legal social networks and optimizing properly you can dominate the search engine results pages and make it easier for potential clients to find you. This consistently strong online presence will build awareness of your expertise, generate traffic to your website, and create a flow of inquiries that will grow your business.

Legal Search Marketing – Building an Online Social Network

By Ian M. Bardorf

Most attorneys are fantastic natural networkers, connecting with current clients and prospects through colleagues, peers in other professions, trade and bar associations, and networking events. They know it’s a necessary part of generating leads and growing their practice.

Only a few attorneys have chosen to use this ability to attract and retain clients via the Internet. These early adopters are using Facebook, Twitter, Google Places, Avvo, Justia and other social media to gain a competitive advantage online. And they are reaping the benefits. Taking advantage of social media to build a network can help you improve online visibility, outrank your competition, get the most out of your digital assets, retain loyal customers, and generate leads efficiently and cost-effectively.

Improve online visibility.
The goal of an online social network is to allow you to use your arsenal of digital assets – online profiles, videos, blog posts, podcasts, and legal documents — to get as much visibility online as possible. By completing a profile on mainstream and legal social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Places, Avvo, and Justia and optimizing properly you can dominate the search engine results pages and make it easier for potential clients to find you.

Outrank the competition.
When someone needs legal representation, the first place most turn is Google. They typically search by geographic location and practice specialty. For example, “Massachusetts real estate attorney.” If that describes your firm, terrific! If you’ve optimized your site properly, you’ll appear in the search engine results. But what about all the other attorneys who match those terms? They’ll be right there beside you, unless you can claim more of that critical first page. One way to do it is by creating content that Google can serve up like videos, online profiles, blog posts, or podcasts. You’ll be listed more frequently and bump your competition lower in the results. [Read more…]

Question – I’m getting a lot of spam email. How can I tell which ones are real?

Our email inboxes fill up quickly these days, often with unwanted junk mail, solicitations, ads and special offers. Although most email providers are working diligently to filter out this spam, some get through and it’s not always easy to identify a legitimate inquiry. Attorneys are especially prone to receiving this type of email.

Many of these spam emails are intended to get you to give them your email address (by replying) so they can spam you with other solicitations or for more elaborate schemes. For example, one scheme involves sending you a fake check for an agreed upon amount. The check arrives $1,000 too much and they request you wire or send a check for the overpayment.

Here are some strong signals, usually in combination, that can help you identify and filter out spam quickly:

1. Country of origin.
Emails from another country can be a sign of spam. Look at the address extension to see if it ends in .org, .com, .edu or .net, the four standard American extensions. If it ends in .co.uk (United Kingdom) or another country it may be spam.

2. Lack of specifics.
Using general terms like “Dear Counsel” in the greeting and “your jurisdiction” etc. show that they don’t know you and are fishing for more specifics. [Read more…]

Legal Search Marketing – Local Search: Four Tips for Google Places

By Ian M. Bardorf

Google Places is an online directory of businesses around the world. Having a current listing in this directory is essential for all types of businesses, but is especially important for attorneys and small law firms.

Why? Because most people seeking legal assistance start their search on Google by entering their location and the specialty they need. For example, someone looking for help with a will in a Boston suburb may type “Needham Attorney Wills.”

Google then serves up relevant results based on that query. Frequently, businesses from Google Places are among the top ten listings on the critical first page of results.

Being listed in Google Places will help you be found online, differentiate yourself from the competition, and get insights about your clients. And best, of all, the listing is free.

There are four steps you can take to make sure your practice is among those top listings. [Read more…]

Question – Should I reduce my advertising with the Yellow Pages?

We all grew up with the familiar yellow book. Now there are many variations on the original and it’s still on the shelf in my house. But when was the last time you opened it up to look for something – a vendor, restaurant, or service?

If you’re like most people, you haven’t done that in a while, and I suspect most of your clients haven’t either. With more than one billion searches a day, most questions are answered with a quick trip to Google. Even more importantly, one study says almost 70% of people search online before making a purchase.

Because of this shift, companies that manage Yellow Pages are trying to maintain revenues while pitching advertisers to appear on increasingly popular online sites. These companies try to convince advertisers like you that their prospects don’t have access to computers or aren’t likely to search online for an attorney.

Advertising in Yellow Pages can be expensive, with many attorneys spending thousands of dollars each year for print listings or display ads and even more for online listings.

Most attorneys can avoid this expense. Depending on your particular practice area, geographic location, and client base, I recommend cutting back or eliminating Yellow Pages ads entirely. Do a two-month test. Track your incoming leads to find out how many are coming from yellow pages. Reduce your annual spend and see if you see a variation in lead type or volume. Or reallocate a portion of your advertising budget to online advertising and track it. You may want to move completely online.

Bear in mind not only the number of prospects and clients your advertising is generating, but the type and consider the source. You may want a certain kind of clientele that you just won’t reach from the phone book.

Legal Search Marketing – Video is an effective marketing resource for attorneys

Lets face it, hiring an attorney can be an intimidating task and when coupled with an often-stressful legal issue at hand, many prospects settle for the “friend of a friend” route, then find the best attorney for their needs and budget.

Video helps erase the intimidation factor that surrounds the process of contacting and hiring an attorney. Video allows prospects to see and hear from you. It makes a connection with your potential clients 24×7 from the comfort and safety of their own home – with no obligations, commitment, or passed judgment. It is an opportunity for prospects to meet you before they ever walk in your office or pick up the phone. It’s warm, personal and more “human” than written words and static images, and done right it can have the same powerful impact as a face to face meeting.

Considering the fact that Google has rapidly expanded their search results beyond just words and text, it becomes obvious why the use of online video as a meaningful marketing tool for attorneys has exploded over just the past few years. Instead of uploading your video to the standard video sites like YouTube, other sites dedicated to the legal profession, like LegalTube.com have emerged as effective marketing resources. In addition, legal directories like Avvo.com and Justia.com have made room to accommodate videos in their attorney profiles. [Read more…]

Legal Search Marketing – The value of your search rankings

By Ian M. Bardorf

Generally speaking, people who are in business are not inclined to give their company’s strategic assets away to the competition. However, many attorneys and law firms do exactly this and they don’t even realize it!

When it comes to online marketing, what many attorneys fail to realize is the actual value of their online presence.

All too often, “beach front property” in the form of a top website ranking on any search engine, is simply given away to a competitor because of what may be good, yet ill-conceived intentions. A typical scenario is when someone at the firm takes the initiative to update or re-write some content on the firm’s website. Without realizing it, their modifications have dropped the website from the search engines rankings, leaving the vacancy for Google to fill with a competitors website instead.

An even worse case scenario that happens quite a bit, is when a firm decides a sleek new website is in order and proceeds to simply replace the old site without consideration of how established that site has become with the search engines, losing every ranking they’ve ever achieved. Ouch! [Read more…]

Legal Search Marketing – Claims of 1st Page Google Rank

By Ian M. Bardorf

Many attorneys are looking for effective ways to market their legal services on the Internet. Done properly, Internet marketing is undoubtedly one of the most cost effective and productive ways of growing your firm. However, attorneys suffer from the relentless bombardment of inbound solicitations that claim will change their business, and drive highly qualified clients to the doorstep.

Claims like “Guaranteed 1st page Google ranking” and “We’ll put you on the top of Google“, and “Your firm will have an exclusive listing” will certainly lead one to believe that dominating the web in any particular practice and geographic area is only a credit card charge away. The reality of many of these offers is often only realized when the only noticeable increase are those appearing on your monthly credit card statement.

Determining which offers are worthwhile and which offers are scams may be nearly impossible to decipher unless you dig in and do your homework. Unfortunately for attorneys, there simply isn’t enough time in the day to practice law AND effectively manage a marketing strategy that produces results.

Thus, I am sharing my Golden Rule of Internet Marketing. Keeping this rule in mind will undoubtedly save you time, money and a boat-load of frustration: [Read more…]

Question: Why doesn’t my ad show first when I increase my budget?

The days of simply spending more money to buy a top placement in Google’s sponsored ads section (not the natural listings) is long gone. Yet, there still remains a misconception among many that if you simply increase the amount you’re willing to spend on a keyword, you can buy top placement. Not true.

Google changed its criteria for serving ads several years ago as it became abundantly clear to Google that they could make more money. So the smart folks at Google asked themselves, “what will it take to make more people click on more ads?” Thus, the Adwords ‘Quality Score’ was implemented and Google did make a lot more money.

Here’s the scoop: the Google system calculates a ‘Quality Score’ for each of your keywords. It looks at a variety of factors to measure how relevant your keyword is to your ad text, to the landing page text and to a user’s search query. A keyword’s Quality Score updates frequently and is closely related to its performance. In general, a high Quality Score means that your keyword will trigger ads in a higher position and at a lower cost-per-click (CPC). [Read more…]

Legal Search Marketing – 2010 Best Practices for Lawyers and Law Firms

Competition among lawyers, especially in today’s business environment, is as fierce as ever. As a sole practitioner or small law firm, every little advantage that you can create against competitors is going to benefit you. Many attorneys put themselves at a distinct disadvantage without even realizing it. For those attorneys who are not Internet savvy, here are three simple online marketing suggestions that address common mistakes, are easily implemented, and will give you an advantage over the competition.

1. What’s with that email address?

Even something as small and as simple as an e-mail address can have a large impact on your business when it comes to determining whether or not you are going to earn a new client’s business over the competition.

When the internet was first taking off a few years ago, nearly everyone was signing up to utilize free web based email services such as AOL.com, Verizon.com, Gmail.com, Yahoo.com, etc. These free, or generic, web-based email services were very convenient and were primarily created for individuals that wanted email accounts. Even if the account was created for small business purposes, it was acceptable then, but this has changed significantly in recent years. [Read more…]

Question: How do I get the best rankings on Google?

Well, you’ve got to love the enthusiasm surrounding this question.

I’ll assume your asking about getting great rankings in the organic search listings as opposed to the Sponsored Listings or the local business listings which comes at the top of the search engine page when someone search with a geographic reference, like “Boston, MA divorce lawyer“.

This is referred to as SEO – Search Engine Optimization. Although there are many components to a well optimized web site, it basically comes down to this (according to Google):

  • In your site design, use text rather than images and Flash for important content
  • Have relevant and descriptive content on the specific topics you focus on.
  • Make your site work with JavaScript, Java and CSS disabled
  • Organize your site such that you have pages that focus on a particular topic
  • Avoid HTML frames and iframes
  • Use normal URLs, avoiding links that look like form queries (http://www.example.com/engine?id)
  • Market your site by having other relevant sites link to yours
  • Don’t try to cheat the system (by stuffing your pages of keywords, or attempting to target specific content at search engines, or using link farms)

Bardorf Legal Marketing is a Massachusetts Internet marketing and advertising firm working with lawyers and law firms on enhancing their online effectiveness in the areas of SEO, paid search, social media, affiliate marketing, blog and website development, and targeted local search marketing campaigns.

Search Marketing Tip – Building links for law firms

If your law firm sponsors an event make sure you ask the host to add a link to your website from the online description of the event.  Here’s why.

Many times an event coordinator will ask an attorney to speak at an upcoming event on an area of their specialty or focus. In their own marketing efforts the coordinator will publish the details of the events highlighting the speakers invited.

The value of publishing your website (and getting an active hyper-link to your site) in their online listing is significant. It’s significant not because people attending the event will see your site and click through to visit your website, but because a link from their site to your website serves as “a vote” in Google’s eyes. Even better, if the event is about Massachusetts real estate law, and the listing details topics about Massachusetts real estate law, then links to your website which also discuses Massachusetts real estate law, then you’ve potentially established a highly effective link. The more effective links you create, the more “authority” your site will earn in the eyes of the search engines. More authority equals more visibility. [Read more…]

Legal Search Marketing Newsletter

You will find a lot of helpful information and tips regarding Internet marketing for attorneys in our newsletters. We’ve provided an archive of past editions as a resource. We encourage your to subscribe to our Legal Search Marketing Newsletter and get the information you need to effectively market your firm on the web.

Past editions of Legal Search Marketing. Enjoy the knowledge!

 

  • Newsletter – March / April 2015“Using the Law to Protect Your Online Reputation”
  • Newsletter – July / August 2014“5 Things To Consider When Creating Your FindLaw Exit Plan”
  • Newsletter – May / June 2014“Is Your Law Firm Ready for Digital Natives?”
  • Newsletter – July / August 2013“Five Things Attorneys Need To Know About Mobile”
  • Newsletter – May / June 2013“Why Your Law Practice Needs A Mobile App”
  • Newsletter – June / July 2012“The Rise of Local Search for Attorneys”
  • Newsletter – April / May 2012“Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn for Attorneys?”
  • Newsletter – July / August 2010 “Video: The Next Effective Marketing Resource for Attorneys”
  • Newsletter – May / June 2010“The Value of Search Engine Rankings”
  • Newsletter – December 2009  – “Total Search Marketing”

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Question: Isn’t SEO just adding keywords

Isn’t “optimizing” a website just the task of adding lots of targeted keywords?

Although adding appropriate keywords to any web page is a critical step in properly optimizing a site, it is just one task from various interdependent actions and processes required to effectively optimize any site.

Perhaps the most important factor regarding the “process” of adding appropriate keywords to your website is specifically ‘how its done’.

The most severe ramification for improperly optimizing your site is becoming “blacklisted” by the search engines. That means, your website will never be served in the search engine results. One would really have to be totally negligent or willing to take a tremendous chance for potential short term value to become blacklisted for improper implementation of keywords, but it does happen.

For a more complete answer regarding the optimization of your website, I would invite you to read my article title SEO 101.  Let me know what you think.

Bardorf Legal Marketing is a Massachusetts Internet marketing and advertising firm working with lawyers and law firms on enhancing their online effectiveness in the areas of SEO, paid search, social media, affiliate marketing, blog and website development, and targeted local search marketing campaigns.

Legal Search Marketing – Internet Marketing for Attorneys

The practice of search marketing has significantly progressed over the past few years and businesses from Fortune 100s to the two attorney law firm in South Boston, are reaping the benefits. However, still most businesses fail to embrace what is arguably the most cost effective means of marketing and advertising their services by continuing to believe that effective marketing on the Internet is simply having a website.

Search marketing is a continual process of integrating and optimizing various online components. The fact is, there is only so much real estate on the search engine result page (SERP) and we all know that Google is not going to present your website ten times as the only choice. The search engines look for variety. They select websites, blogs, directory listings, social profiles, videos, press releases, PDF files, and just about anything digital that they can index.

Effective search marketing converts searchers into clients by ensuring your brand appears within the SERPs in the right place, at the right time and with the right message. Your chances of obtaining optimal SERP real estate for highly appropriate and targeted search terms significantly diminishes if you simply rely on your website alone. [Read more…]

Search Marketing Tip – Check if your site is indexed

A quick and easy way to determine if your website has been indexed or is even being recognized by the search engines is to do a simple search engine index check.

Here’s how:

To determine how many of your web pages the search engines have discovered and indexed use the following techniques. If your website has 50 pages and you see that the search engines have only indexed 25, then you know that half of your web pages are not appearing on any search engine result pages (SERPs).

Yahoo! To determine if your site has been indexed by Yahoo! you will use Site Explorer.  This allows you to explore all the web pages indexed by Yahoo! Search.

Google: To determine if your site has been indexed by Google, you can simply type “site:yourdomain.com” in Google’s search box. Be sure to enter your website’s domain, and not ‘yourdomain’ :)

Got a question? Let me know if you have any questions about your search marketing strategy.

Bardorf Legal Marketing is a Massachusetts Internet marketing and advertising firm working with lawyers and law firms on enhancing their online effectiveness in the areas of SEO, paid search, social media, affiliate marketing, blog and website development, and targeted local search marketing campaigns.

What Is Search Marketing?

The practice of search marketing has significantly progressed over the past few years and businesses from Fortune 100s to the two attorney law firm in South Boston, are reaping the benefits. However, still most businesses fail to embrace what is arguably the most cost effective means of marketing and advertising their services with the continued belief that effective search marketing is simply having a website.

Search marketing is a continual process of integrating and optimizing various online components, including your website, done in an effort to obtain valuable online real estate and prominently appear in the search engine result pages (SERPs) of Google, Yahoo!, Bing, etc. Search marketing is not an a single “item” like a website, or a one time “event” like launching your new website.

I always say to clients that effective search marketing converts searchers into clients by appearing within the SERPs in the right place, at the right time and with the right message.

Ultimately, one invests in search marketing, which is also often referred to as search engine marketing (SEM), to achieve a defined business goal like obtain new clients, increase visibility and brand awareness, drive qualified traffic, obtain a competitive advantage or integrate off-line marketing initiatives with an online target audience. Search marketing focuses on the organic and paid search listings of every SERP.

At the very basic level of search marketing, there are essentially two components to every search engine result page. They are; Organic Listings which are obtained through search engine optimization (SEO) as well as by establishing and optimizing an arsenal of other digital assets like directory listings, social profile listings, videos, press releases, etc.  and the Sponsored Listings which is paid advertising, like Google Adwords, where you pay for visitors who click on your advertisement and land on your website.

Paid Search is online advertising in the form of ads or text links, which can be found primarily on the top and on the right hand side of the SERPs. Also referred to as “pay per click” (PPC) or “sponsored placement”. This form of search engine advertising means that you can be guaranteed to appear in the paid search results section for the keywords you choose within a day or less. This does not mean you will appear in the organic search results.

Organic Search is the search engine results that are shown due to relevancy to the search terms, not by paid search. Also referred to as “natural” or “algorithmic” search. These are the results that are shown on the middle of the page in the Google, Yahoo!, and Bing search results. One obtains favorable organic search results by implementing an effective search engine optimization (SEO) strategy.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of enhancing a website’s code, content and connections in accordance to a search engine’s algorithmic criteria. SEO is the process of obtaining favorable organic search results for specific keyphrases used by your target audience.

Bardorf Legal Marketing is a Massachusetts Internet marketing and advertising firm working with lawyers and law firms on enhancing their online effectiveness in the areas of SEO, paid search, social media, affiliate marketing, blog and website development, and targeted local search marketing campaigns.