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26
Jun

Alternative Ways Start-Ups Can Get Online Recognition

In my last blog, I discussed how important it is to have an online marketing plan that goes beyond the basics. Meanwhile, search engine optimizers cannot work on their own, separate from the rest of the business world; to achieve the best success, it should be a team effort. Part of the reason for this is because the Internet is constantly evolving and there is much work involved in keeping up with the changing trends.

This can be a challenge for new business start-ups that often have to play a game of catch-up with those who have been controlling the top spots in ranking order in the search engines. But that seems about to change with the new strategies being implemented online today.

It seems that there are two trends that are appearing in the search engines. The first is the array of Google algorithms that are used to determine where each business ranks in the search engines. With these algorithms, sites can be carefully analyzed to see how well they meet with popular demand. Those that rate high enough on Google’s charts get to land higher up in the rankings.

The Social Search

One new alternative for improving rankings is through utilizing social networking strategies. According to SearchEngineWatch.com, these networking sites have successfully developed their own trends,

Social networking has created its own search language: the #hashtag. Rather than relying on search engines, people in the social sphere decide what’s not and throw a hashtag in front of it. If it clicks, more people put the hashtag in front of it, and then it becomes a trend and a way to search or get noticed on social networks.

This strategy is called the ‘social search’ and as they explain, while it may take months for a business to be identified through Google algorithms, when social search is applied, the recognition could happen instantaneously. This can be a major windfall for new businesses trying to get their foot in the door of Internet marketing.

New Domain Extensions

Another new option to help start-ups move further up the ranking is the new domain extensions. While there is little chance that the .com domain is going to fade into the sunset, new businesses can now choose a domain extension that could be based on their location, industry, or even their own personal interests.

These new extensions give businesses even more of an opportunity to be noticed by adding a completely new way to be identified by the consumer. If these new extensions take off, businesses will no longer be grouped together with other unrelated businesses simply because of their domain extension. Those in the construction industry could share a .build extension while another business may prefer to be identified by its location, .NYC for example.

This new strategy will give new start-ups a fighting chance when it comes to getting noticed online. Some experts say it will help to clear away much of the clutter and trim search results down to those businesses that are in a position to meet the consumer’s unique needs. As they explain in Bloomberg Business,

Small businesses that settled for long, hyphenated, or otherwise cumbersome .com addresses because their first choices were already taken might want to reserve their business name followed by their city, for instance, like johnsplumbing.nyc. Or their business name plus their industry, like tennispro.sports.

As the online world continues to expand at such an exponential rate, it can be difficult for new businesses to find their footing. But with these new strategies for getting noticed online, they no longer have to feel as if they’re constantly on an uphill climb in order to just reach the playing field with other more established businesses.

23
Jun

The Importance Of Developing A Marketing Plan Beyond The Basics

Last week, we discussed how important it is to build up your problem solving skills so you can get the most out of your search engine optimization. Being able to identify problems and issues and respond accordingly will help you to avoid losing valuable business while you’re trying to figure out what’s wrong.

Today, we’re going to go back to the basics of building up your online presence and getting recognized as a credible entity within your industry. This can end up being a pretty tall order for most businesses. With the millions of businesses online vying for the consumer’s attention, without a definable plan in place to push your business higher up in the rankings it’ll be like shooting at a target in the dark; you may hit your mark if you’re lucky but most likely not.

Most businesses understand the importance of having a marketing plan to boost their company’s image. Without a plan it could be difficult if not impossible to connect with new customers or to maintain a relationship with old ones. You need to develop some type of approach to help you build up a loyal following of your business. However, that may not be enough for you to attain to the goals you’ve set out for your company. As they explain at SearchEngineWatch.com,

You may already have some type of marketing program in place, but are you limiting yourself to the traditional platforms that include TV, print and radio?

One of the most common mistakes businesses make when it comes to building a marketing plan is failing to look for alternative options when it comes to creating a marketing plan. There are 4 specific elements you should consider implementing in order to get the most out of your plan.

Website Design

It is a given, and most businesses will agree that without an online presence you won’t see much success in this modern technological age. Still, there are countless people out there who have a website but are still not able to drum up any new customers for their efforts. So, when all your hard work pays off and a prospective customer lands on your website, you must also consider what you have done to make sure he stays put until he does what you want him to do. This means ensuring that your website design is user-friendly, and is attractive enough to make visitors want to stay and see more.

With Google’s new algorithm that incorporates mobile devices, having a design that incorporates mobile response will be extremely beneficial. These will play a major role in following through on all your SEO efforts.

SEO

The purpose of search engine optimization is to push your business higher in the search engine rankings. Most consumers do not have the luxury of spending countless hours perusing a bunch of websites that are unrelated to their needs so it’s important to get your business to a place in the search engine where it can be found. With a solid SEO plan in place, you can make sure that your business stays at the top of your game. This will require you to keep up with the constantly changing algorithms that determine how your business is ranked.

There may be times when you feel like keeping up with Google’s constant changes are just too much, but as they explain at 360psg.com,

Although these changes may seem overwhelming, savvy web marketers know that if you understand the history and trends, you are better able to anticipate where the future of search engine marketing is heading.

By incorporating a few simple strategies for adapting to these changes, you can better manage the constant fluctuations of SEO with less stress.

Take Advantage of Your Freebies

Most businesses are marketing on a budget. Unless they are a major corporation shoveling billions of dollars around every year, it can be very difficult to keep marketing dollars under control. However, by utilizing the many social media outlets you can do wonders for getting your business name in front of the public eye without spending thousands of dollars. Simply by keeping up your business profile and interacting with your consumers, you have the opportunity to build a positive bond with your site’s visitors. According to the OnlineMarketingInstitute.org,

Google looks at social media as one of the ways to assign value to your site. How many people are talking about it? Are they talking positively or negatively? More importantly, who is talking about it – are the people considered experts or gurus in your field? Are these comments one-offs, or do conversations continue over time.

The answer to these questions can make a huge difference in how Google sees you and moves you up or down in the rankings.

Make Sure Your Advertising Efforts Are Aligned With Search Engines

To do this, it is important for you to take advantage of PPC and Banner advertising strategies. When your company name continues to appear on search engines and on various websites, your image will soon be readily recognized. Keeping your name in front of the public eye is one of the most important strategies you can implement when it comes to search engine optimization. This way, when consumers are actively looking for what your business offers, you won’t be so hard to find. This will not only move you up in the search engine rankings but will be an important tool in boosting your conversion rates as well.

While practicing law may be your key focus for being online, attracting consumers who need your legal expertise is your primary goal. There is an inherent need to master the game of search engine optimization to see the success rates you hope to accomplish. The web is a highly competitive place and the days are gone when just having an online presence was enough. You need to actively market your industry and put your business in a position where it can be readily recognized in the search engines.

By having an online marketing plan that goes beyond the basics, you’re building up your reputation in a way that will attract more business to your site and put you ahead of the competition.

19
Jun

Why Problem Solving Skills Are Essential For Search Engine Optimization

Previously, we’ve discussed the importance of knowing what we can realistically expect from our search engine optimizer and how important it is to follow his or her guidance. However, when it comes to anything to do with the Internet, you’ll find that many of his tasks will actually overlap with your marketing needs. It is clear that while both the SEO and the marketer may be on separate teams, there will be times when they will have to work together to solve problems. If SEO professionals want to really prove their worth, they will have to have some killer problem solving skills. As they explained at Search Engine Watch,

A problem-solving SEO is someone who can pull and interpret data like nobody’s business, while understanding what makes their users tick at the same time. An SEO who can balance qualitative and quantitative aspects of our day-to-day jobs will be the SEO who is respected among her “marketing” peers.

Successful SEOs will need to fill both the technical and experiential needs of their users and that will take more than knowledge, it will require a bit of insight as well.

Learn to Sift Through the Data

An SEO needs to be able to determine how much data the client needs. SEOs often have access to loads and loads of information but the majority of it will be information the client will not care about. By carefully selecting data that the site owner actually needs and cares about can save an enormous amount of time.

This may not always be easy. As clients, attorneys may not always know what information they need and what will be useful to them; at least not until it’s been pointed out by their SEO. One of the key problem-solving skills for the SEO is to help attorneys see what information they need and show them how it can be used to drive their business forward. Consider the comments made by Krisa LaRiviere, at Search Engine Watch,

With the challenging landscape of SEO comes the challenging landscape of SEO reporting, and I’m not just talking about merging SEO data sources into one Excel file and adding a logo to try to make it look professional… I’m talking about how to make all the data points and metrics indicate real progress.

This means that the SEO will have to set up reporting metrics that will show the progressive results of the work that’s been done.

Finding the Middle Ground

SEOs must pull from more than one source to decide on the right direction to take a company in. They shouldn’t just rely on the data they’ve received but they must also fall back on their past experience and the insight they’ve picked up over the years. This requires maintaining a balance between what the papers and analytical tools may show, and what personal experience has taught them to find a middle ground that will help them to make decisions that will move the business forward. And with all of that, there is always the human element that needs to be factored in to any decision making process. Understanding user behavior, along with everything else will help to foresee unique problems that the data won’t show. Consider the comments made at New Blood,

“With proper problem solving skills and processes, you can turn any problem into an opportunity and not into disappointment. Solving your business issues can help increase and maintain productivity. Entrepreneurs who are great problem solvers within any type of business are best prepared to answer all their customer’s needs effectively, as well.”

Learning how to be effective problem solvers is key to any business success but it is excruciatingly important for those online. Whether your role is the SEO or the attorney who’s hired one, problem solving is essential to your success.

16
Jun

How To Identify Your Role In Search Engine Optimization

In the past, we discussed the confusion about using links on your website. If in fact, Google is going to change their algorithm with respect to how links are used (for example, we discussed last time the possibility of Google using a new fact algorithm) it is a matter that bears close watching in the future. However, all of that would be for naught if the website has been unable to get the rankings we’ve been striving for. Whether we’ve done all we can to improve our rankings or we’ve relied entirely on our SEO professional could make a major difference in how well our site performs. It is important that you and your search engine optimizer are working together to get the results you need.

At times, search engine optimizers often have to deal with a certain level of suspicion within their own industry. Occasionally, a site owner will come across a few SEO providers that may attempt to use your business to turn a fast buck. These so-called ‘marketing experts’ are not on the up and up, and the tactics they use can often be questionable at best. As a result, your business loses and the whole image of marketing has to bear the brunt of shame for the industry.

This kind of characters has caused many to treat the whole of SEO with suspicion. At times, even when a site is doing well, site owners will demand even more from their SEO, automatically thinking they are not doing what they should. So, the question for you is simple: how can a lawyer, who is not well versed in marketing know the true role of an SEO to ensure you’re getting a real marketing expert and not someone only interested in his own personal gain? You might conclude that the results will determine whether or not he is a real marketing expert. Of course, this would certainly be a true test of their skills and ability, but it might be better to learn what your role is in the SEO marketing game. Consider the comments made at Search Engine Watch,

Sometimes however, the SEO is questioned when despite these metrics all have improved. Despite the site doing better than it ever has before in terms of traffic and relevant unique visitors, the site owner does not see enough money coming through their bank account and thinks it “MUST be the SEO!

The reality is that your site’s performance should be measured based on a number of different factors besides search engine marketing strategies and there are several reasons why. At times it may be the result of something the marketing agent has overlooked; it could also be the result of something Google has done that has had a direct impact on your site. While these things do occur, these incidents are for the most part quite uncommon. More than likely, your site’s performance is something that may very well be out of their control. Your SEO marketing expert can only do what he is qualified to do. It is up to the site owner to cover all the other bases.

Make Sure You Have a Workable Site

When you first sign on with a marketing agent, they will probably do a usability review of your site to identify certain issues. Their goal is to direct people to your site and get them to transition into paying customers or to take some other form of action. Once they make those recommendations, it is up to you to make sure that your site is user-friendly so that their work will pay off.

The fact is that your SEO professional is up-to-date on what is successfully building up web traffic. You may have been effective in building up traffic 5 years or even 10 years ago but with each new algorithm released by Google, SEO tactics are constantly changing. You need to learn to trust their suggestions in order to keep up with the constantly changing landscape. According to Forbes Magazine,

SEO is a rapidly changing practice – thanks in part to the hundreds of adjustments Google makes every year to its search engine algorithm. Because of this, you need to stay on top of the latest industry news and take the advice of some of proven SEO professionals.

While it may be true that some site owners will disagree with the recommendations of SEO professionals, keep in mind that they have their finger on the pulse of the market. They know exactly what’s going on and can point out issues that you may not think is affecting your business.

Micromanaging

One of the things many website owners fail to grasp is the true role of SEO professionals. The common misconception is that they are purchasing a service. The expert comes in, does a little razzle-dazzle and suddenly your business is booming. Well, the truth is that there is much more to it than that. You’re really paying for access to their knowledge of the Internet and search engine optimization. These professionals are paid to stay on top of the hundreds of algorithm changes that Google releases each year. They also have to spend a great deal of time testing and researching certain markets and industries.

For most clients, the rankings are the key to their success. However, for the SEO professional it is only one piece of a much larger puzzle. There are many other factors that must also be considered to determine the success of your search engine optimization. Some owners want to be placed in the number one position after contracting with an SEO professional; this is neither possible nor realistic. Instead, your goal should be to see improvement in your site’ performance and consistently moving up in the rankings as a sign of success.

This does not mean that SEO professionals are not without fault. If you question your professional’s commitment to your success or you feel he’s not doing his job, then by all means you should challenge him. Just make sure that the challenges you make are based on factors that are within his control and not because of some misguided belief that paying for an SEO pro will catapult you to impossible heights. As SEOMark explains,

The only long-term, risk-free way to achieve good rankings is to earn them and deserve them, and that means to ensure that the page on your site that you want to rank for a particular keyword phrase contains better content than all of the pages ranked in the top 10.

The more you recognize your SEO provider’s abilities as well as his limitations and your role in the whole process, the better your chances of moving your website up the ladder will be.

12
Jun

Is Google Planning A New “Fact” Algorithm?

Recently, I discussed the importance of understanding how Google uses links to rank a business in its search engine. It’s almost as if to say the old adage is true, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” With so many businesses, blogs, organizations, and social media sites online now, the Internet has become one of the most competitive places in the world. To survive there, you have to go beyond the obvious.

While today, Google puts a great deal of emphasis on the importance of using links in your site, there is evidence that this may be changing in the future. Consider the comments made in Search Engine Watch,

If Google researchers have their way, we may soon look back and laugh at the time when search engines ranked web pages based on link-driven popularity instead of factual content.

It seems that Google researchers are in the process of developing a new way to analyze and rank websites that will one day take them out of making the link connections.

Fact or Fiction

It’s no secret that there are millions of websites out there that are loaded with information that may be misapplied, misused, or just plain wrong. This fact is common knowledge and has been a growing concern for Google. If rumors of this new algorithm are true, there may come a time (possibly in our very near future) where the accuracy of our content will be just as or even more important than the number of backlinks we may have.

In essence, they will be looking much more closely at the actual value of the content rather than how a visitor feels about your site. The results of this kind of change could literally rearrange the entire face of search engine optimization. According to Slate.com,

The strategy isn’t being implemented yet, but the paper presented a method for adapting algorithms such that they would generalize a “Knowledge-Based Trust” score for every page. To do this, the algorithm would pick out statements and compare them with Google’s Knowledge Vault, a database of facts.

By doing this, Google will be able to determine how trustworthy a site is. Certain websites will automatically make it to the top of the list. An established newswire service would get a higher ranking than a personal blog, for example.

What That Means

If the new algorithm is released, it will entirely restructure what we see when we use the Google search engine. A small business with an accurate site could outrank larger corporations. Size and money won’t be an issue in this case as much as the quality and reliability of the information shared on a particular site.

Another point that Google would factor into this new algorithm is “topic relevance.” They would take a look at the About Us page of the site to determine the goals of the site and then compare each page content to look for compatibility. Those sites that are proven trustworthy will gain the highest recognition in the eyes of Google.

The question many are now asking is whether or not Google will actually go through with it. According to a report by NPR,

Google has been explicit that this is only research and there are no plans to implement the system anytime soon. Still, the reaction… makes it clear that, for some, even the ideas present significant problems.

Considering Google’s past record, they usually begin to suggest future actions in the media several years before they actually implement them. Those who pay attention to such announcements are often rewarded with being prepared before the transition takes place. If this is truly in the future for Google, it would be wise for all website owners to take a closer look at their content to make sure that everything is on point and accurate.

9
Jun

To Link Or Not To Link, And How

In my last blog, I spoke about Do It Yourself marketing for law firms and how small to mid-sized firms can take on and handle their own online marketing needs, and still be successful. Still, when it comes to online marketing, even with the do it yourselfer, there are important facets of the search engines that cannot be neglected.

In the last few years, we’ve watched Google release one algorithm update after another, leading the SEO industry to wonder whether or not it is still wise to use links on their sites. The answer is not always so cut and dry, and the line between building links and earning them may have been blurred.

In the past, when the Internet was still new, a site could simply add links to sources in much the same way as a writer makes a bibliography. Anyone who wanted more information on the topic could simply click on the link and be directed to the new site. Google would then rank a site “good” based on the number of links there were. Once that caught on, then people began creating backlinks, which started much of the confusion and controversy on links today. According to Search Engine Watch,

Figuring out ways to create backlinks became a new industry. Some purposely manufactured links made for Google search results that weren’t necessarily the best results. That’s when everything went haywire.

This left many people wondering just exactly what should they be doing with their links. To link or not to link became the question of the day.

Link Juice

If you haven’t heard the term “link juice,” this is defined as the power of equity that is transferred to a site by way of links. Each link is considered as a recommendation of the site and can be a major factor in determining where your page falls in Google’s rankings. A site’s link juice should be spread out over several pages rather than focusing on just one page (the home page for example).

This becomes a problem, however, when source information is linked from one site to another. The new site then uses the same information but does not use the original source link. If this is done repeatedly, Google may see this as being unnatural or even manipulative. While we all know that a link to the original source of the information would be of the most value to the reader, it wouldn’t serve the needs of the sites that use it. In fact, it will only serve the business if they are the original source of the information.

Why Businesses Avoid Linking to the Original Source

There are several reasons why a business may choose not to link to the original source. For one thing, there may be fear that the site they link to is better than theirs and they may be leading their customers into the arms of another business. As they explain at SEONews,

It is true that a well-known site that references content on a lesser-known site will get linked to like crazy. For example, Hubspot publishes “ultimate lists” with data from numerous sources. Bet they get lots of links and the original sources don’t. And bet some of those sources spend precious time trying to get the link redirected.

Other reasons why they may choose not to link to the original sources could be because of public policy, or they simply don’t want their visitors to click away from their site.

The Value of Links

Any business that is online will eventually come to realize that links are extremely valuable. Whether they are manufactured or organic in nature, they need to recognize that Google factors these links in determining the sites place in the ranking. It’s important to understand that there are more factors involved than just having a link on your site.

Google does not just up your ranking because you have links as it recognizes that there are many businesses that are buying links or manipulating them in order to push ahead. This means that the quantity of the link has little or no value to Google, but the quality of the links will carry a lot more weight.

Online marketing pros suggest that a website owner work to build their links gradually over a period of time and focus on organic links rather than push the envelope and force the issue. They also recommend that links come from a variety of sources, rather than a select few. Since Google actually takes the time to determine where the link is coming from and how fast a site is collecting them, they will be able to determine whether or not a link is truly organic and valid.

Google Strategy

Google has implemented a multi-angle strategy that modifies an algorithm signal based on a business’ niche. Some niches are often loaded with spam and others may be known for being highly competitive, so Google will use a different strategy to analyze these sites. Still, there are a few things you can do to make sure that the links you use will work in your favor.

First, use natural backlinks that are earned and not purchased or manipulated and focus on quality, not quantity. As they explain at Packerland Websites,

Google has redefined its definition of quality content. These days, it is not enough to post a long and unique article filled with relevant keywords. The article has to be useful. It has to illustrate example and provide video clips and infographics that entice people to share the article more.

This makes for a difficult task for the small business website to stay competitive. Google tends to favor well-know name brands creating a disadvantage in many cases. However, while it may be difficult, it is not impossible to do. Website owners need to learn to think more deeply about the quality and diversity of their sites, and be creative in ways that will make them stand out. If they do this, they will be able to sift through much of the confusion about how Google sees the links that everyone wants to add to their sites.

But they have a value that goes well beyond search engine ranking. As one programmer explains, links are for life. They relay to your visitor that a site is trusted and the information is deemed valuable. By adding links to your site, you’re not only leading your visitor to something that will solve a problem they are dealing with, but it will also raise your site a notch in their eyes.

5
Jun

Inspirational DIY Marketing For Law Firms

Last time, I presented several vital online marketing tips for firms. But I should point out that marketing is not the huge commercial operation it once needed to be. Many businesses, and small to mid-sized law firms are now taking their online marketing into their own hands with DIY marketing techniques. Although many firms still rely on a few outside sources for their marketing needs, there are many ways by which you can help push your firm to the top of your local ladder, especially in terms of search engine rankings and traffic conversion success.

Keep on Top of the News

One way that you can take things one step further for your firm without seeking outside help is by tracking the news. Both local and national legal news can make a big impact on your authority within your niche. If clients and potential clients see that you are in the know about cases in the news, legal happenings, and the current laws, they are more likely to put their faith in you as a lawyer. Outbrain.com writes:

Keep your finger on the pulse of emerging issues in your niche and use them in a process called “news jacking.” This technique involves taking recent developments in your practice area, like an important court decision or issuance of a new regulation, and providing your own opinions and commentary to it.

This also helps to add a bit of genuine content to your website that will rank well with Google and other search engines that utilize this concept as a method within their algorithms. Writing about newsworthy occurrences in your own words, rather than simply copying and pasting articles will also earn you big points with clients and search engines.

Take Initiative and Mix Old Customs with New Marketing Methods

While the more traditional methods of law firm marketing warrant a lot of word of mouth promotion, it can be difficult to continuously advertise your firm without seeming to be showy or pushy. What you need to do is get people to know who you are without coming off as needy for their attention and recognition. ABA Journal says:

You don’t need to hand a business card to everyone you meet at a reception if it feels forced and desperate. Instead, get other people’s cards, and email your contact information afterward. There’s a better chance they will remember you.

By mixing this personal method of interaction with the more modern approach of email, you can leave an impression on those you meet, and offer the services of your firm without feeling forced or repetitive. You can write the e-mail in a fresh friendly way that includes your firm letterhead, while still providing personal banter on how nice it was to meet someone.

Blog and Use Social Media in Interesting Ways

I talk about blogging and social media constantly, but here is an interesting DIY marketing tip that will allow you a little more freedom with your Twitter or Facebook posts. Don’t just create a social media account for your firm to promote events and company interactions. You can also create a personal account for clients and public which includes the business side of your intentions with less stiff content as well. Michele R. J. Allinotte writes on the American Bar Association website suggesting:

Most of the blog posts, which I usually write weekly, are on legal topics relevant to my practice areas. But to keep things a bit lighter, on occasion I also post about personal or family things, upcoming events for community groups I’m involved with, and informative nonlegal articles of likely interest to site visitors.

By keeping things light, you offer clients the ability to see who you are as a person, and this makes you more human and trustworthy in the eyes of those whom you will work with. However, remember not to post things that are too outlandish or extreme as this may scare potential clients away.

2
Jun

Marketing Techniques That All Law Firms Should Embrace This Year

Last Friday, I talked about Google’s addition of mobile app data to its Search Console, which was another development for mobile-friendly websites. Meanwhile, I usually have something specific to touch on when updating my marketing concepts for law firms to follow but this week there are a number of things I want to discuss that are becoming really crucial this year. 2015 has brought about a few changes in Google algorithms already, which I have discussed in length in other posts, and with these changes, the online marketing world is beginning to shift as well.

As you grow and evolve as a firm, you must remember to share that evolution with your website and marketing tools and processes. This is the only way to stay ahead of the competition and make a real name for your brand in the future. Check out a few of these 2015 marketing musts that have made this year’s list of online law firm marketing trends to comply to.

Automated News Letters Have Become A Must

E-mail marketing may not be focused on as much as it was when the e-mail was the standard form of internet communication, but it is still very important in terms of keeping in touch with past clients, current clients, and building a relationship with potential new clients. Obviously, these e-mails should only go out to those who have registered for them or they could come off as pushy, but making this an option keeps your firm’s name in the forefront of these clients’ minds when they see it appear in their inbox. The Business of Law Blog explains:

Lawyers should send an automatic newsletter to contacts on the firm mailing list and to visitors who opt-in. Mailchimp has a plug-in for WordPress that will automatically compose, illustrate and send the newsletter on a specified schedule. For example, the Law Practice Advisor newsletter goes out beautifully every week without any manual input.

Whether people skim past your e-mail, delete it, store it for later, or read it as soon as it appears in their inbox, simply seeing the name of your law firm will register with them when they think about obtaining legal aid later on. This can go a long way to bring in new business over time.

Social Media Is A Regular Part Of Your Clients’ Everyday Life

This is no surprise as the above-mentioned e-mail has definitely been replaced by social media interaction. While many law firms are finally getting on board with this consumer communication method, it’s really important that lawyers remember that once you start utilizing social media it needs to be updated, checked, and replied to continuously. For some firms, this means hiring outside help or delegating these responsibilities to somebody within the practice.

People skim their social media in school, on their way to work, at home, at the dentist’s clinic, and just about anywhere else you can think that a mobile phone, tablet, laptop, or PC might lurk. This means that having your firm in front and present on a Facebook or Twitter news feed each day is absolutely crucial if you want to stay fresh within the minds of those whom you have worked with or would like to work with legally in the future.

Content Takes A Front Seat In Online Marketing

I always talk about content, probably so much that you will skip right over this portion of my update, but I still think it is worth mentioning that genuine and interesting content is no longer just an option, it’s a necessity. It affects the way clients view your firm, the placement of your ranking on search engines like Google, and a number of other elements of your marketing and business that you may not realize. Legal Marketing Review suggests:

If you don’t have good content your SEO, social media and public relations strategies will suffer greatly. Be prepared to hire people to help you write blog posts, develop videos, infographics, e-books, podcasts, printed books and more. You also have to plan on a significant amount of time to share those pieces of content amongst the many new channels available.

Think of content the way that you think about a marketing ad in the newspaper, online, or a commercial on television. You want it to say what you can’t say in person to those who are viewing your site, and while you do want it to be attractive and bring in new business, you don’t want it to be too flashy or obvious. The best way to create unique and up to date content is to write it as though you are talking to a real client. It must be regular and genuine, or you will find yourself slipping down the list of local results in search engine rankings.

Know Who Is Visiting Your Site

Finally, one of the top priorities of this year is knowing your audience, and how frequently they are visiting your site. This means monitoring web traffic in one form or another, and staying on top of following up with as many potential clients as you can. This is when that automated newsletter is going to come in handy, or when small contests, community functions, and other events that can be shared through social media will take a front seat. HG.org writes:

Web traffic monitoring should be your top priority. You have to determine the incoming web traffic in order to gauge the visibility of your website, and effectiveness of your marketing. Once you understand your user habits, you can definitely increase your market profits.

Of course, a counter on your main website will show you how many visitors you have each day, week, and month, but you can also use social media. Keep a count on how many people are sharing, liking, and commenting on tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram photos, and other forms of social media. This helps you see what is working and what is not, so that you can tweak your method of consumer interaction to be more beneficial for your firm.

All law firms should know by now that internet marketing will play a huge role in the success of your firm, even if you are well known and successful already. Remember to make updates, add new content, and stay on top of what the audience likes to keep your firm fresh and in the minds of those that you interact with.

29
May

Google Opens Another Door For Mobile Friendly Websites

Previously, I talked about the importance of checking on your firm’s web page load speed. And last week, I discussed why we should all be paying much closer attention to the comments Google has made over the years. Such comments often lead us to some major change in the way things operate in the vast world of the Internet. The opening of the door to the mobile user is a major game changer in site rankings today.

In addition, Google has made another change to pave the way for more mobile users. Its addition of mobile app data to its Search Console can mean a lot of things for firms that are trying to stay competitive. According to the Search Engine Watch,

The update allows Search Console users to see how their app content is performing in Google search results through the new Search Analytics report…. Users can track where their indexed app content shows in search, which app pages are the most popular and which ones have errors.

The new feature on the Console gives the users the ability to see how consumers are actually finding their website and gives them an inside view of how Google is looking at the app content to determine a site’s ranking. In light of Google’s new inclusion of mobile friendly sites in the search rankings, this information could be a very valuable tool to help to move an individual site up in the Google ranks.

Features

From the Console, owners will get a relatively detailed report that will include, the highest ranking queries, and the app pages that rank the highest, as well as the amount of traffic your app receives, all broken down by country. This Search Analytics Tool will have all the basic filters that you normally see for measuring website content but it will be directly applied to the app with a few additional features, which could include filtering by type, region, clicks, impressions, and other things. As it is described at Search Engine Land,

Ever wonder how Google sees the content within your Android app? Google designed a beta version of the Fetch As Google for Apps to give App developers insights into this. It will show you by app URI how Google renders the URI.

The benefits of this additional knowledge can be used in a number of different ways to improve on the rankings of any particular website. This new feature makes it possible for anyone to track where app content will appear in the search results.

How It Can Benefit App Owners

For owners, this could be a highly valuable and practical tool to help them to gauge how well their site is doing in the mobile community. Once they know how their app lines up in the rankings, which pages are attracting the most attention, and where they can make adjustments, their ability to move up to a higher position will be that much easier.

By taking advantage of the new Search Console features, owners will be able to enhance their sites and make them more mobile friendly without having to put in all the guesswork. They’ll know exactly what improvements to make and how they will contribute to positive end results. According to Google’s Webmaster Central Blog,

Our goal is to make Search Console a comprehensive source of information for everyone who cares about search, regardless of the format of their content. So, if you own or develop an app, Search Console is your new go-to place for search stats.

Now that mobility has come neck and neck with the rest of the online community, businesses that take advantage of this new addition offered by Google will find themselves in a better position to pull ahead of the pack and get the high ranking results they’ve been looking for.

26
May

Why It’s A Must To Analyze Your Page Load Speed

Last week, I wrote about ensuring that you’re getting the right ranking for your page. But while we all want to see ourselves get to the first page of the search engines, our job is not done until someone clicks on our site and begins a regular interaction with us that will generate leads or produce customers. Today, we need to talk about the amount of time a customer spends on your page after he or she lands on it.

If you have already started making the transition to more mobile friendly websites so you can keep up with Google’s last algorithm update, then it is time for you to start focusing on each individual page on your site. Your first area of concern should be the amount of time it takes for your page to load once it’s been clicked on. You’ve been there, you’re searching the net and you find a site that looks promising for what you want. You click on it, and then you wait. For some sites it may seem like an eternity before the information you’re searching for appears.

If this is what happens with your site, it may not bode well for you. People tend to be very busy and quite often do not have the patience to wait for a slow site to load up no matter how good it may be. All your hard work of getting the rankings and making it to page one could be wasted over a slow loading website.

If It Matters to the Consumer, It Matters to Google

An irritated consumer is not all that you need to be concerned with. It is also something that Google is watching carefully. Back in 2010, Google made the announcement that they would also take into account site speed when coming up with search rankings. Since then, they have released a number of tools that webmasters can use to analyze their own page load times and work to improve them. Google recommends that you utilize these tools to determine your site’s speed performance on a regular basis and make whatever adjustments are needed for you to improve it.

Other Reasons Why Page Load Speed Matters

When it comes to consumers, you may not think that page load speed is really that important in comparison to other matters involving search engine optimization. However, you might be surprised to learn that according to a study done by the Aberdeen Group, a short delay of even one second in load time can decrease the number of page views you get by as much as 11%, conversion times decline by 7%, and overall customer satisfaction can drop by as much as 16%. This could represent a significant hit to your revenue in a very short period of time.

Another separate study done by the Econsultancy research company, discovered that 47% of consumers will not wait more than two seconds for a page to load up. And among those who do wait the additional seconds for the page to load, 88% of them will not buy from that site, and a full one-third of them will report the experience to others. This means that your problems would then be compounded. According to KissMetrics,

This means you’re not just losing conversions from visitors currently on your site, but that loss is magnified to their friends and colleagues as well. The end result – lots of potential sales down the drain because of a few seconds difference.

It is clear, that page loading speed is a key ingredient in making sure that you get your page rankings up and can keep them there.

Reasons for Poor Speed

There are a number of reasons why website loads could be slowing down. Until you can identify where the source of the problem comes from, you won’t be able to resolve it.

Hosting Provider: Shared hosting situations may be behind the slow page load. When you’re sharing space with other websites, when the traffic gets high, your page loads could begin to slow down. Finding a dedicated host is the preferred solution.

Technology: It could also be the result of the technology that is not able to keep up with the traffic or work as fast as other sites. As explained in Business2Community.com,

Web platforms that don’t have the best SEO features built-in can slow down the process of growing long-term organic search traffic, because content won’t rank as high in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).

Content: By making a few simple changes to your content you can improve page load time. Making sure your image files are not too large, using the right widgets, and checking on the other items on your site that may be working against you. Regularly analyzing your sight to identify page load problems could be a key way to resolve your page load issues.

Whatever the reason for your poor page load, you’ll need to address it. As it stands, you can get a marketing expert to provide the best content available for your site, you can add links to an entire host of other websites, and set yourself up as an authority and go-to expert in your specific niche, and you could have pushed all the right buttons to get yourself up in the rankings, only to find you’re still down because of poor page loads.

A slow page load inevitably means poor rankings, as in today’s world people are not inclined to stick around for your valuable information. As pointed out at Moz.com,

“Clearly Google is increasingly acting upon what is intuitively obvious: A poor performing website results in a poor user experience, and sites with poor user experiences deserve less promotion in search results.”

Those who are seriously interested in getting the right page rankings and attracting the right people to their website, should not neglect their page load speeds and how it may be affecting their conversion rates. Fortunately, this is a problem that can easily be fixed and resolved. For those who are really concerned about the kind of experience that a visitor has on their site, it would be wise to work on improving your sites overall performance to optimize the customer experience. Once you do, you’ll likely see a positive turnaround in your site’s performance.

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