6 Things Every Attorney Should Know To Rank Well On Google

Have you ever “Googled” yourself? What did you see? If you searched specifically for your name, your website is probably listed right at the top of the results page. But if you typed in a more general term related to your practice, you may find your website on the second page or even lower.

That’s because Google – the search engine giant – rank results according to a complex algorithm. This mathematical formula takes into account hundreds of different criteria when deciding which websites are the best match for a searcher’s query. There are many factors, but in general, Google is looking for credible websites with high quality, relevant and recent content. But ranking well is challenging so it’s important to have reasonable expectations and understand how to get the best overall visibility.

Understanding how Google ranks websites isn’t easy. The company does not readily disclose the parameters of its algorithm. Even professional search engine experts don’t know exactly how it works. And Google changes its formula 300 to 500 times a year, sometimes with a major release that can have a significant impact on your rankings. [Read more…]

What to Look For When Hiring a Marketing Firm For Your Law Practice

To survive and thrive in this competitive economy, your firm needs a well-designed and well-executed marketing plan. An effective marketing plan will raise your profile, establish your reputation, and generate leads that can be turned into new clients. Most attorneys understand the need for a strategic marketing plan, but few have the time or expertise to implement one.

The rise of the Internet, Google search, social media and mobile phones have changed the way attorneys reach and engage their clients. Traditional tactics such as yellow page ads and face-to-face networking used to drive prospects. Now people expect real-time access to information about your firm on their phones and make decisions by reading reviews – the online equivalent of word of mouth. This means that attorneys need to ensure that their message is well crafted and that it can be found on the web easily.

Because the stakes are so high, more attorneys than ever before are outsourcing marketing to firms of all sizes and abilities. Many of my clients find us after a disappointing experience with FindLaw or Martindale-Hubbell. They are looking for alternatives to the big firms’ high prices, poor customer service, and lackluster results. [Read more…]

How can I be sure I’m making the most of my marketing budget?

If you would like to get more out of your marketing budget, you may want to consider hiring a firm to help. Here are some questions attorneys and law firms should be asking themselves and thier potential marketing partner.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Can you meet with a local account representative who can make immediate changes to your marketing campaign?
  • Is it a long-term relationship or is it always a new rep?
  • Are you getting the results you expected?
  • Do you feel you’re getting your money’s worth?
  • Can you be spending your monthly budget better or more effectively?
  • Have you considered taking your budget and reallocating it across more opportunities?
  • If so, how?
  • Who will help you manage all these different relationships?

Questions for your marketing partner:

  • How big is your marketing firm?
  • How many clients do you have?
  • Where is your headquarters?
  • Who will work with me and what are their qualifications?
  • Who do contact if I need to make immediate changes?
  • What kind of clients do you work with?
  • What is your marketing expertise?
  • How do you measure success and track and report results?
  • Do you require longterm contracts?
  • What do I get when/ if I decide to leave?
  • Do I have easy access to my site, content, analytics, etc.?

Using the Law to Protect Your Online Reputation

Reviews are very important these days. Eighty-five percent of consumers say that they read online reviews for local businesses to determine whether these businesses are good or not. But with more people reading and posting reviews, you need to make sure you are protecting your good reputation.

Part of reputation management is monitoring review sites and your search engine ranking. You want to make sure that when someone searches for “your name” that the positive reviews outweigh any negative ones.

We encourage our clients to be proactive and obtain favorable reviews on selective review sites. But more and more we are hearing from clients who get inaccurate, misleading, or defamatory reviews and are unable to get them corrected or removed entirely from online properties, namely Yelp, Google, and Yahoo.

The good news is that there are additional steps you can take to get illegitimate reviews removed from these sites. Many businesses and professionals have turned to legal action to combat defamatory reviews and get resolution. As an attorney, you can use your legal expertise to expedite the process and see it through completion. [Read more…]

Google Penalizes Non-mobile Responsive Websites

On April 21, 2015 having a mobile-friendly website will become more important than ever. That’s the date Google has picked to start penalizing non-mobile responsive sites. Google is going to start lowering the rankings of any site that isn’t mobile ready. Google wants to give searchers the best results possible, and sending someone to a site that’s difficult or impossible to read via mobile is not a good experience.

Mobile-responsive sites are those that “respond” to a user’s screen size. According to a recent study, 60% of U.S. adults now choose smartphones or tablets over PCs to find information before buying products and services offline. With more people spending more time on their mobile devices, the pressure is on to make sure your website is mobile friendly. This means having a site that looks good no matter what kind of device someone is using – smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer.

The good news is that mobile friendly sites will most likely get a boost in their ranking that will ultimately lead to more traffic. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to make sure your website is ready for mobile.

2014 Legal Marketing Year in Review

2014 was a big year in Internet marketing. Some of the hottest trends – the rise of mobile and the explosion of apps – were plain to see. But many of the biggest changes happened behind the scenes. These affected Internet marketing dramatically but were invisible to the average Internet user. Staying up to date in this evolving landscape is a challenge. In this issue, find out about the big changes in 2014, five lessons for 2015, and how we work very hard to keep you safe, secure, and visible.

5 Factors That Influenced Your Online Visibility in 2014

It seems like every year there is big news in Internet marketing. The tools and techniques continue to evolve. This forces attorneys who market themselves online to get more sophisticated and to step up their game – or get a good partner who can help them.

2014 kept this streak rolling. There were many important events from Google algorithm updates like Panda, Penguin, Pigeon to natural language searches, the impact of client reviews, the retirement of Google authorship, and malware attacks on big-name companies as well as millions of websites just like yours.

Let’s take a look back at the biggest changes last year and see how these “behind the scenes” factors will impact your Internet marketing in 2015.

Factor #1: Google Algorithm Updates

Search engine marketing is becoming more important every year. Having your website listed at or near the top of Google, Yahoo, and other search engines boosts your visibility, differentiates you from competitors, and enables prospects and clients to find you more easily.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) must be constantly refined to keep up with changing Google guidelines and savvier searchers. Each year, Google changes its search algorithm around 500–600 times. While most of these changes are minor, Google occasionally rolls out a “major” algorithmic update (such as Google Panda and Google Penguin) that affects search results in significant ways. [Read more…]

Yelp For Attorneys: Marketing Opportunity or Reputation Nightmare?

Good reviews are a great way to connect with new clients and build your business. Avvo and LinkedIn are preferred places for attorneys to share reviews. But last spring, an online survey claimed that Yelp is the most popular and trusted website for legal reviews. I read the report shortly after it was published and didn’t give it much merit. However, it received recognition from industry influencers who re-published the findings on their blogs. Yelp starting pushing the positive claims to my clients who in turn asked me about the benefits of advertising their legal services on Yelp.

Yelp is undoubtedly a well-liked site, with reviews on everything from hotels and restaurants to barbers and mechanics, and even some attorneys. But is Yelp really the go-to site for consumers in search of legal representation and, more importantly, is it a good venue for attorneys to market their services?

Read this month’s newsletter to learn whether Yelp carries its weight in the legal market. [Read more…]

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…]

I have a website I’m happy with. What else can I be doing to market myself?

Successful Internet marketing means creating and leveraging a strong online presence. Your online presence is a combination of all of the ways you are represented on the Internet: your website, online profiles, videos, blog posts, podcasts, social media pages, directory listings, and more. Used separately, each one helps you be found by more prospects and clients. Used together, they will help you get as much visibility online as possible to grow your business.

Read my article “Online Lead Generation: Seven Tactics To Grow Your Law Practice” to get more tips about using the Internet for marketing.

 

Is Your Law Firm Ready for Digital Natives?

Younger consumers, especially those under the age of 35, have grown up in a world in which digital technology is ubiquitous. Also called “millennials,” this is a generation that sleeps with their smartphones and multitasks so much they don’t even realize they’re doing it: texting friends, downloading music, uploading videos, watching a movie on a phone or tablet, and posting on Facebook and Instagram and Vine and Twitter and more.

Digital immigrants, on the other hand, are those older than 35. They have a lesser degree of digital fluency as a result of being introduced to technology at a later age. While digital immigrants understand social media, smartphones, tablets, and wearable devices, and can also be avid users, their immersion is learned rather than innate.

Each of these consumers has distinctive behavior patterns when it comes to using digital technology, from devices and social networks to the Internet and apps. This influences all types of activities: how they shop, connect with friends and family, watch videos, do their banking and even choose a doctor, a real estate agent, or an attorney. According to a recent report, U.S. consumers between the ages of 18-36 check their smartphones an average of 43 times a day.

While the average baby boomer client doesn’t want to create a will or trust online or do research on how to incorporate a business, younger clients prefer it. These young people are moving into the world of work, getting married, and starting families. They are soon to become the typical legal consumers. They are used to conducting their business on the Internet and that’s also how they’ll choose their legal services. [Read more…]