As we near the end of November and the weather starts to get colder, it’s time to start thinking about how your firm will survive and thrive in 2017 and beyond. There’s a lot of advice on keeping your SEO up to date out there on the internet, but we’ve got the best of it for you here.
Be Aware of Google’s Semantic Search
What is semantic search? It’s changes to search engines’ algorithms that allow the engines to understand more of the context and intent behind searches, as explained by Search Engine Journal’s Sergio Redondo in his article on semantic search. This type of search gets away from using just keywords, and instead considers synonyms, the phrasing of the search query, common searches, and the ways potential answers to searches are phrased and presented on websites.
Although semantic search was first debuted in 2013 with the launch of Hummingbird, an update to Google’s algorithm, semantic search has spread to other search engines and been refined on Google slowly over the past couple of years – and semantic search is set to become more important than ever in 2017 and beyond.
Although all the changes, challenges, and opportunities presented by semantic search aren’t fully understood by any SEO experts yet, there’s a lot of information out there already, and we’ll be sure to do a post regarding semantic search for lawyers in the near future.
For now, it’s enough for you to be aware, and to check up on your SEO more often than ever before to make sure your site hasn’t lost its ranking on Google due to algorithm changes.
Keep Blogging – and Start Soon If You’re Not Already!
Keeping a blog can be time consuming and involve a lot of hard work, but it’s usually worth it – the top site in almost any field or geographical area almost certainly has a blog.
Why is it so important? A blog is one of the biggest opportunities you have to engage with customers and potential customers, and to bring web browsers your way. It’s much easier to blog with lots of relevant search terms than it is to construct the main pages of your site that way, and blogging regularly and consistently also engages your customers and shows browsers on your site that you care and are involved in your work.
Be Aware of External Properties Related to Your Site
External properties related to your site include your business’ social media accounts, reviews on sites like Yelp, and your business’ presence on Google Maps.
When it comes to social media, make sure you have social media set up and are running it properly, keeping things professional, relevant, and consistent.
As far as other companies’ properties go (Google Maps and Yelp, among others), it’s important to claim your business on those sites so you can have control over the information they’re putting out about you. Each site has a feature allowing you to do this.
With Google Maps, you’ll only need to check that basic information such as your hours and location are correct. Yelp can be more complicated, but also a great deal more rewarding, as it gives you a chance to directly engage with your current and former clients.
Yelp reviews can have a huge impact, positive or negative, on the way your firm appears to the world. First, you’ll need to provide excellent service to all existing clients. Second, encourage them to write positive reviews for you.
When negative reviews do come up, you should respond, but not aggressively or defensively – responding with contrition and professionalism, and showing that you are working on fixing any real problems a customer has brought up, will make your firm look good even to people reading its bad reviews – and may change the initial reviewer’s mind about things.
Out of all the components that make up SEO and SEM strategies, perhaps the best known is SEO keywords. These are words that potential clients of your firm might use in searches when they’re looking for a lawyer – and if they appear on your site frequently, they could greatly increase the chances that site will appear near the top of Google and other search engine results.
Sounds simple, right? Sadly, it’s not.
The effectiveness of keywords is always changing due to tweaks in search engine algorithms. The search engines are always trying to keep relevant results near the top while cutting out results that just overuse a few keywords and don’t actually have relevant or quality content.
That means that the approach you or your marketing professional takes to promote your firm with keywords has to be nuanced and subtle, with a deep understanding of all the issues at hand. However, it’s always good to understand how the basic process works – here’s a step-by-step:
1. Researching the right keywords for your business.
What types of Google search terms do you want to lead potential clients to your firm? It’s easy to say “as many as possible” and leave it at that, but specificity is highly important when it comes to SEO. You’ll definitely want to include generic search terms such as “lawyer,” “attorney,” and “law firm,” but also more specific ones.
For example, if you’re an injury lawyer, “injury lawyer” is an important keyword phrase. Potential clients often know that there are many types of lawyer specialties out there, and will more often than not include one in their searches.
Keyword research is actually where most of the work SEO professionals do is put in – writing with the keywords is fairly easy once marketers have experience and have developed a good method for working them in naturally (see Step Two), but research must be personalized to each client and optimized for the most return on investment.
2. Working those keywords into your site – directly and indirectly.
Many subpar SEO professionals, especially in the past, would use keywords relentlessly, often making the writing sound a little off at best and totally incomprehensible at worst. A good SEO marketer will always work relevant keywords into an article or homepage naturally and fluidly, giving the site a better chance to rank highly on Google and other search engines without compromising the integrity and quality of the content itself.
Poorly executed SEO keyword usage will annoy or confuse potential clients, whereas the best will attract them not only to click on a site, but to stay there and take further action.
3. Putting keywords into their larger marketing context.
This is actually something that good SEO marketers will keep in mind at all times, but it makes more sense to discuss at the end than anywhere else.
It is important for lawyers, small businesses, and SEO professionals to understand that keywords are only part of the puzzle. There are many other factors to consider, including location, links, Alexa rating, and more.
That’s why SEO professionals are so much more successful at getting a site to the top than most business owners – because a great deal of experience and a nuanced understanding of the spoken and unspoken rules of the trade is necessary to find true success.
1. Social media profiles give you a quick and easy way to showcase to potential clients what sets your law firm apart.
Because social networks are so focused on images and bite-sized pieces of information, and because they’re so easy to update and maintain, they can essentially work as a continuous advertising stream for your firm.
Every profile you set up is another opportunity to show the general public what makes your law firm different from (and better than) the competition. Every time you update a profile, you’re getting yet another opportunity.
Because social networks present this type of informational advertising in a way that is entertaining for the public and easy for them to digest, you get essentially automatic free advertising for almost every action on social media.
2. A social media presence is the cheapest form of advertising money can buy.
Social networking profiles are free, and there’s never a need to advertise directly through the social networks’ ad services – your SEO professionals will make sure potential clients can find your business online, wherever it is: on Facebook or on an official website.
Even if you pay a web marketing expert to create and run your profile(s) for you, you’ll save tons of money over conventional advertising – and your return on investment for each dollar will be much, much higher.
3. Your social media presence tells clients everything they need to know about your company.
A social networking profile contains not only the carefully curated, advertising-like information you or your SEO and social network marketing experts choose for your company, but also all of the basic information clients need to know right now.
This includes information like your address, your phone number and email, the types of cases you take, and other basic facts every client will need to know before contacting you with his or her case.
Yes, this information is available in plenty of other places – on your website, in the phone book, and maybe even on Google search results if you’re lucky (or, rather, if you have great SEO professionals working on your behalf). However, the delivery of this information is important.
Because of Facebook’s ubiquity and ease of access, it is one of the single most popular places potential clients for your firm probably go to get their information. The same can be said of other major social media sites.
It’s common knowledge, or at least a common belief, that a social media presence (including profiles on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn) can help any business succeed. However, many don’t know exactly how these profiles can help, and don’t know whether the benefit is worth putting the extra work in.
So how does a social media presence help a law firm (or other business venture)? Here are three ways something as simple as a Facebook profile can improve your client relations and even send new clients your way.
1. Facebook and other social networking profiles provide your firm with another opportunity for search engine result listings.
It’s every business’s goal to appear in the top spot on a Google search—but a social media profile or two in addition to your firm’s website can give you the top two or three spots. And if your website doesn’t rank very high right now, getting help with social media is one way to get some immediate results while we here at PromoteLaw work for your long term interests.
Because profiles, including business pages, on Facebook and other social networks are searchable by Google, they often appear in Google result listings—and because of social networks’ high traffic and known legitimacy, they often rank very high in search results.
2. Facebook’s messaging services provides another point of contact between you and your clients.
Yes, we know—there are already plenty of ways for clients and potential clients to contact your company: phone, email, a form on your website, etc. However, because of the unbelievable popularity and ubiquity of Facebook, the social media giant’s instant messaging service is many customers’ preferred point of contact.
Also, receiving high numbers of messages and responding to them quickly will boost your business page’s relevance and legitimacy, often making it appear higher in Facebook (and perhaps Google) search results.
Facebook’s messaging service is as highly functional as email, but in many cases is much faster and more appealing to the average person. It’s an important piece of the success puzzle for your firm, and should be part of any business’s social media kit.
3. Connecting social media profiles to each other and to your website will boost your search rankings and general accessibility.
Having more pages (such as a Facebook or Instagram profile) link to your business’s homepage can boost your official website’s search ranking—and linking works the same in the opposite direction, too.
Also, allowing a customer who is primarily a Facebook smartphone app user as opposed to a web browser to bookmark your website or access it from his mobile device can only bring more clients your way. The more legitimate, fully developed and maintained pages your business has, the more accessible and relevant it is to potential clients.
You’ve definitely heard the term SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, before, and if you’re on this site you clearly know or suspect it can have a benefit for your law firm. But what exactly does SEO mean? How does it work?
Curiosity about Search Engine Optimization for lawyers and law firms is an important first step toward understanding how to better market yourself to potential clients effectively without the high expense and legal red tape that come along with advertising on television or radio or in print media.
Although the process is much too complicated and nuanced for us to explain in a single blog post (and we don’t want to give away all our trade secrets!), we want to help you learn how SEO for law firms works and how it can benefit your company.
What does “Search Engine Optimization” (SEO) really mean for lawyers?
We’ll start with the most basic part: what SEO is. Search Engine Optimization for law firms is the process by which a law firm’s website is given better chances to appear near the top of the first page of results from search engines like Google and Bing.
Each search engine uses a different algorithm to match websites with searches, and those algorithms are kept secret. However, SEO experts study search terms and results extensively on behalf of their clients, learning the various factors that can bring a given website to the top.
Factors SEO professionals take into consideration:
There are dozens, if not hundreds, of factors that determine whether a given site matches with a given search. Some of these include keywords (the words typed into the search box), location, and more complex items like meta-descriptions.
SEO professionals working for lawyers and law firms take all these factors into account, and help clients edit and add content and information about their site to give it a much better chance of appearing higher on the first page for relevant searches.
We do this in the background, working our magic behind the scenes so lawyers like you can focus on what you do best—the research, preparation, and litigation that make up your everyday working lives. Over time, the small changes we make will put your firm’s website and/or social media presence in front of more people in your area or interested in your type of law firm—which means you get more customers.
How our approach differs from other SEO marketers for lawyers:
There are other services out there offering SEO marketing for law firms or for companies with an online presence in general. Many out there, though, think that SEO marketing is an easy market to break into, but they are failing to take into consideration every single one of the complex factors that bring a website to the top of Google’s first page—or leave it languishing around page 10.
We take a wide approach, working hard on all elements of your website and helping you develop a varied and professional web presence to attract a variety of customers from several different sources. We also focus a great deal on local SEO—which is doubly important for law firms, as most business is going to come to lawyers from fairly close by.
For lawyers, there are many limitations when it comes to advertising or marketing. Many laws bar legal practitioners from common methods such as paying for wide spread commercials or putting up print ads. However there’s great news, as online methods like search engine marketing for lawyer website are still permitted by legislation.
You can use online marketing to give visibility and exposure to your legal practice. Lawyers get revenue through two ways-customer retention and referrals and, through lead generation. Online marketing concerns itself with the latter.
So, what you should concentrate on in terms of lawyer SEO marketing? There are various aspects of marketing online. Making sure you have a unique, fresh and useful website is your top priority. You have to treat it as your office online. Your website should mirror whatever your practice is and wants to be.
Huge amount of time spent on the web is used on social network and social media sites. Creating your portfolio on professional business sites and making friendly pages on networking sites can increase your web visibility and catch the attention of more people and possible clients.
Other than local SEO marketing, you have to go back to the fundamentals. An operating email address is vital in any online activity as well as an immediate response can be favorable.
The central point of the internet is information. Sending e-mail newsletters to generated leads with attention-grabbing information can interest them to the kind of lawyer you are-inclusive, expert, and knowledgeable. Newsletters and notifications must be sent properly to avoid being assumed as a spam.
Local SEO and other search engine optimization techniques can be performed in many different ways. You can pay for a fixed position on search engine or you can hire a reputed SEO company to improve your web ranks on organic searches. You can also market your practice on classified ads websites and listings for lead generation.
As supportive as search engine optimization is to law practices looking to be noticed online, there are some misapprehensions to this type of advertising that must be talked about:
Depending on the targeted keywords you want to rank for, SEO can actually be expensive. The more generic and competitive your keywords are, the more costly your website optimization can be. For targeted keywords, long tail search queries and local SEO marketing, search engine optimization can definitely be economical compared to commons means of advertisement.
Search engine optimization can last for a long period of time. You can rank for the keyword after you stop paying SEO company provided your market competition does not out-optimize you. If a search engine decides that other websites are better than yours, expect that your website will be outplayed and moved from its current ranking. This can happen just days after you have ended search engine optimization.
For a lawyer, SEO marketing can produce great results but the point of online marketing is to get inform users and have people visit your website. The secret to making good revenues and get paying clients is to develop a trustworthy legal practice.
In the eyes of many lawyers, getting new clients through online marketing is not worth the time, effort and money. If you are a lawyer who knows the importance of webmarketing and would like to attract more clients online, then this article will help you persuade the senior partner, or marketing department, to invest in SEO.
The difference between owning a Website and an SEO budget
Educating the senior partner about the language of online marketing is the first part of marketing him or her on SEO or Search Engine Optimization. SEO is just one side of Search Engine Marketing or SEM which is the process of targeting search engine users who type in specific keywords to locate websites.
In today’s competitive market, simply having a website doesn’t guarantee any increase in revenue for law practice. One of the common saying from senior partners who think that SEO is automatically associated in their website is “We have a Website, why do we need SEO”?
SEO refers to the process of adding targeted keywords and HTML into the pages of your website that allows search engines easily read and publish your website in its search engine results pages.
One your senior partners understand what SEO is, they will appreciate what SEO can do.
Tell the senior partner how SEO functions to market your websites
Today, the search engines serve as people’s phone book. It is what people use to find lawyers. When explaining SEO to the senior partner, it’s good to employ an example to explain how SEO works. Like for example, use SEO to your practice area. Let’s say “personal injury lawyer”.
You have to explain how SEO is used to target web users who type the words “personal injury lawyer” into a search engine. When the results are displayed, good SEO makes sure that the law firm will appear in the first page of search results.
Beware of SEO services that promises and guarantees that a website can be ranked number one in search engine is just a couple of days. Because search engine are always changing the way they rank their results, there’s no guarantee that a firm will be number one in the result pages for “personal injury lawyer”.
SEO is very essential to compete with other website in your niche. The web is a great equalizer; it allows solo marketers with SEO to compete with large law firms for cases when users type in particle search terms into Google or Yahoo. For instance, a large law firm without SEO may not appear at all when a user types in personal injury lawyer, even if they have a good website.
Now that you have explain to your senior partner what SEO is and how does it works, do a live search to see SEO in action. Have your senior partner in front of the computer and let him type in different search terms. When the results pages showed, you have to explain that SEO is the main reason why sites appear in the order they displayed.
In the context of market for online marketing and promotion service, search engine optimization companies occupy the biggest market share in the web-industry.Today, a lawyer need not wait for a year to see their website increasing its rank in Google or Yahoo search results. Even with advanced features like local searches, geo-targeting, business results, profile promotion, social media marketing, Google sponsored ads, etc. SEO has just become the right and effective website advertisement tool.
SEO companies dealing with high-end jobs:
SEO service providers or Search Engine Marketing businesses are assigned the SEO project for 6 months to 1year or more. By the time project completes, the website start getting more and more visitors/ clients and in turn creates high sales and leads consistently.
Of course, a website can’t be in the first page of Google in search engine results for long time, unless the prescribed SEO task is sustained afterward. Means, SEO is the technique that is full of scientific wonders and secrets. One must improve these at least at the basic level.
Even lawyers who have absolute interest to know about the SEO procedure in layman’s language can give this article a try.
SEO process for a law website: Know the basic:
The term “SEO for lawyer ” is very popular today, as most of the experienced as well as unskillful lawyers are outsourcing their website marketing job to SEO experts.It starts with searching for the most relevant and high searchable targeted keywords/ key phrase/ search queries for your website. This is to create potential traffic based on your service specific search terms. To make it simpler, SEO is of two categories- Organic SEO – including of On-page, Off-page optimization and Inorganic SEO, for example, sponsored ads in Google, Yahoo etc. (paid advertising)
Here both the methods are described in detailed:
Correcting website designing and fixing page content problems so as to help easy crawling and indexing by search engine like Google crawlers or search engine bots. This includes content optimization, alteration of Meta tags (Meta title, keywords, description, H1 tags) of the web-pages, resolving canonical issues, creating Robots.txt file, generating XML sitemap, error page creation, creating account in Google webmaster tool and site submission, site verification, updating and complete maintenance.
Off-page SEO has generally two major processes: 1. gathering inbound text links through link exchange, and 2. Contextual link building.
Building text links means getting votes or recommendation from other competitive legal websites. For generating contextual links, the following processes are included as follows: Article and blog post writing, syndicating and posting content in different popular article directories and blogs; press release submission, blog commenting and etc.
All these off-page SEO methods are used in such a way so that major search engines like Google and Yahoo can ascertain your website authoritative, information-driven and useful to legal clients.
Of course, a good Lawyer SEO company can also help your website in popular social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and many other social bookmarking websites.
Every law firm has the need to drive new clients and keep the old ones. Lawyers and law firms use internet marketing to do this. It can be done employing more traditional methods like commercial, yellow page ad, advertisement, and billboard and etc. But, more legal practices are using marketing techniques that fit in with the technology available in the 21st century.
A website gives a professional image to your company. A number of people are using the internet to search and contact local business for the services they want. Your first impression to a mainstream of your new customers will be your website. This is why your professionally designed website for your law firm is important.
A website helps you finds new customers. If you haven’t heard the term Search Engine Optimization or SEO before – essentially this talks about optimizing your website to have better rankings on the Search Engine Results Pages especially on Google. Since more and more people are finding businesses through online search, improving your website or search engine marketing has turned into the new yellow page ad.
A website gives your law firm a “home” on the internet. We are hearing the term “social networking” and if you aren’t familiar with it – social networking is using sites like Facebook and Twitter to interact with your current and future clients. Almost every social networking site allows you to post a link to your website. This is how you get people to be familiar about your law firm. They can get to know more about you from your social networking page since that isn’t really the place to make a sales pitch. The idea is to get them click on the link to your website that is listed on your social networking page so that they can learn more about you and your business. You can even interact with clients on your law firm’s website by adding a blog.
A website is a technique to spread out your business card. But, as long as you have a website you can point people back to you will be able to give them all the information that need about what you and your business can provide for them.
Though you may think that a website is not necessary for your law firm right now, have you realized what it could do for your law firm? One of the best things about marketing using a websites is that it is quicker and easier to get date about your marketing efforts then more traditional ways, this means you can try using a website to promote and market your law firm, measure how well it worked, and then decide if it’s something you want to keep doing for a comparatively low cost. Even thoughdealingwith your legal practices online can be identifiedas a daunting task, there’s an assurance that there are plenty of people around that are want to help and the reward is definitely worth the hard work.
Congratulations if you have set up your law firm’s new website! Now, are you ready for the next big step? A sure way of having a successful website is by being ranked on search engines like Google. This can be a discouraging task and you may even experience poor results. If this is the case, then the tips and tricks shared on this article will help you or your chose SEO service that specializes in law firm, grow your business.
Keywords are one of the most essential features of search engine optimization. It is important to use targeted keywords but never over stuff it. Using the keyword just several times should do the trick. Another effective tip that proves very successful is adding common variations of the keywords, even if that may include a couple of commonly misspelled words. This technique will help get more website visitors, but, use it carefully, as too many of these mistakes will trigger search engines to deduct points from your website’s reliability and they will assume it’s a spam website.
Remember that the internet is a universally accessible tool, which means that your website would probably succeed even more if it was accessible in several different languages. Web business can surge from anywhere, which is why interpreting your website can be an effective approach in the extension of your law firm. Mainly, you should translate it into languages that common visitors speak, including the languages often spoken in your zone. To know that chosen language of your visitors, you must check the server logs of your website, which point the location and type of computer used to log on to the website. Having a website accessible to an extensive clientele will ultimately produce more business.
Last of all, but perhaps the most important, you MUST keep the content fresh and informative. Be sure that the location of your law firm is clearly specified throughout the site. It would be quite unproductive to attract visitors to your firm’s website from a city halfway around the world. In addition, define your law firm’s kind of practice to assure that your visitors find what they have been looking for.