Last time, I discussed how to optimize your firm’s SEO practices. As a law firm, the usual standards for blogging don’t apply to you. Of course, interesting content and catchy imagery are still appreciated and a necessity, but there’s more to blog about than the everyday hustle and bustle of legal life. I have talked about blogs a few times, both in relation to online marketing and in relation to content strategies, but what I want to talk about today is how you can make your blog a living part of your practice.
Making A Mark On Your Niche
A blog is a tool but it is also a means of communicating, not only with your clients, but also with your community and the other legal minds in your field of law. Now, if you have been reading along, you will remember my article from the 21st, titled, “Building Your Brand By Becoming An Authority.”This was all about how becoming an authority in your field can increase your chances of being recognized as a firm and as an individual. Well, you can begin building an authority in your blog. Shout Me Loud says:
Every day thousands of Blogs and micro blogs are added and almost 90% of them you will never hear. Reason being, the way they start, it’s the same way they extinguish. Even Google has understood the importance of a Blog Credibility and they started pushing the credible blogs in search engine ranking.
Rather than simply using your blog to add a higher word count to your website and be noticed by Google and other search engines for new and relevant content, try to make that content count toward your firm’s credibility in terms of writing something that is worth publishing in a legal magazine or book.
Use The Authority Of Others
Still in keeping with the theme of authority, creating a blog that contributes to the life of your business means not only proving that you know what you are talking about, but that you are interacting and taking the advice of others who are also authorities in your field of law. In other words, by linking yourself to “celebrities” in the field of law, you can endorse your firm, the same way that a cereal brand makes itself more appealing by putting a professional athlete in the box. Mashable.com states:
Blogging is all about networking, not marketing. Be it interviews, quoting the work of others or even comments, use the blog as a way to introduce yourself to new people.
It is important to make sure that this information being shared is still genuine and credible. It is nice to have a well-known figure to reinforce your own brand, but it will count for very little if the content being shared doesn’t keep with the theme of your business and the rest of your blog. Remember, we aren’t trying to market; we are trying to network.
There are a number of blog tips to be found online and through marketing firms, but be sure that the tips you take are going to propel you forward in terms of what benefits your clients, not just your financial ledger. Blog content doesn’t need to be highly intellectual, but it does have to reflect subjects that new and current clients might be looking to learn more about. Use your best judgment when choosing stories to publish, quotes to include, and even photos and videos you post.
Nothing goes unnoticed on the internet when it comes to building a blog, even those early updates which you are sure nobody took the time to read. If a client should go back and check on earlier subjects, you could get caught with some spam in your history that could create negative associations for your firm.
Last week, we discussed the importance of link building even before an event-based link building campaign is started. Meanwhile, we all want to be successful, but everything worth having is worth working for, which is why I always tell my clients that the first step to building a more successful firm, is to build a successful strategy for SEO. The online world is quickly overtaking the offline world in terms of how businesses grow, are monitored, and even how they make sales or gain clients. If you want your law firm to see this type of growth then you need to be seen online and create a presence; trebuchetlegal.com explains:
Modern search engines are incredibly complex, but they work on fairly simple principles. Basically, they follow links and index the HTML content they find at these URLs into giant databases. When someone submits a search query, they search these databases to try to return the most relevant results, which they then present to the user.
I always talk about content and the importance of keywords and registering yourself locally through directories and other online avenues where community members will see you, but before you do all these, there are other things to be done.
Stake Out The Competition
This should be taken seriously, even if it does sound like something out of a movie. It doesn’t mean you need to drive by other local law firms and find cracks in their armor, but rather take the time to scan their website, and determine how successful they are, and which search engine optimization tactics they are using.
The reason for this research is not to copy the competition, but to beat them at their own game by better understanding which approaches they have yet to try, and implementing those strategies, along with a variety of others. This will also let you see what keywords are being used that might also fit into your niche, and then you can determine whether it is worth it to be listed for the same words, or if you don’t want your firm associated with another brand.
Google Analytics is an amazing tool for those who are new to SEO, especially in the field of law, because it opens up doors for lawyers to better understand how well their site is working, and even where users are coming from. Google Webmaster Tools also helps in this area, and fortunately, setting up these tools is not too difficult, even if you’re not a computer guru. Many websites offer instructions on how to use the tools, but I will give a basic breakdown of Analytics here. If you want to check the influx of traffic on your site, which arrives organically, select Audience from your Google Analytics tool, followed by Mobile, and Overview. This will show you how many of the visits you have had are organic, and how these visits are occurring; for example, are these potential clients using a laptop, cell phone, tablet, etc.
Lose The Sales Attitude
Okay, so I am going to slip a little something in here about content, but I feel like it is relevant to increasing your SEO success rate, primarily because the way that you treat a client is a direct reflection on your firm. When you write something on your firm’s website, you are speaking to many clients at once, so remember that while it may seem a little informal because you are typing to a device not a human being, it will eventually be read by a potential client, or a current client, so don’t push too hard in the sales department. Total Attorneys says:
Go light on the sales pitch: Focus on providing good advice and information to optimize the search value, and let the surrounding contact information and marketing content on your web pages do the work of connecting you with prospective clients.
If somebody has found and is interested in reading the information on your firm’s website, then it has already done the job of bringing in a new potential user of your services. Don’t lose them with generic talk. Show them why your firm is the authority in your field by talking about something relevant.
Keep Your Brand Clean
Do this not with a scrub brush and water, but by using the same idea I just talked about above in keeping your content pure and not all about sales. This isn’t just directed toward content though; you need to think about your brand the way that client would. Would you use the services of a company that comments with spam across a variety of forums and websites in an effort to get more site traffic? Probably not. And this goes double for your clients who are looking for the services of a reputable lawyer to help with a serious problem. Lawyerist.com says:
You know (or you’ll learn) that your reputation is your most valuable asset. Yep, even more valuable than ranking #1 in Google. What you might not know is how inexperienced, unscrupulous, or irresponsible SEO can hurt your reputation as a lawyer.
This is why anything that seems forced, overly marketed, or is seen as spam will result in clients losing interest, and it may even peg your brand as a phony, or a low grade alternative to competitors in your market. You only get one reputation, even if you can change it later, that initial impression will always hang around, especially on the internet where nothing is ever truly deleted.
Finding success in the legal industry in terms of search engine optimization takes a lot of different strategies. The algorithms set forth by Google and other engines can be complex, and difficult to crack in their entirety, but a few things remain true, and throughout these articles, I have shed light on many of them. It isn’t enough to do the very basic in SEO if you want to proceed past other firms in your area. No lawyer got where he or she is by doing the bare minimum, so don’t stop working for what you want now that you are finally climbing that ladder to success.
In our last discussion, we talked about developing different ways to get online recognition. By utilizing these techniques, one can contribute to one’s search engine optimization efforts in ways beyond the traditional methods. Still, it is important that you view the whole package when it comes to building up your reputation. Another way to do this is by being effective in your link building efforts.
For the most part, the most common way to build links for any type of campaign is during the event. It is there that you meet your contacts and build relationships that will bring you the links you’re looking for. Many people may also work on link building after the event by following up with new connections and solidifying those new relationships. All of these are effective tactics that all online marketers do. However, there is one area of link building that often gets neglected. According to SearchEngineWatch.com,
With any event-based link building campaign, there are three major stages of link building opportunity – before the event, during the event, and after the event. Perhaps one of the most neglected is the ‘before stage’, yet get this stage right and you create a powerful foundation on which to build your future success.
In order to do this you have to apply several different strategies to make sure that your firm is recognized even before the event happens.
By providing newsworthy information prior to the event, you build up anticipation for the information you wish to share. When you can create a way to generate public interest in what you have to say, people will automatically be drawn to it. Sometimes, what is newsworthy may have little to do with what you’re offering but if it builds up anticipation, it will drive people to connect to you and link to your site.
Your goal is to create organic links rather than those that are acquired by creating content that people will automatically want to be a part of. If you have an event coming up a great blog post can be a natural way of getting the message out. As they point out at NiftyLaw.com,
If you want to write an occasional guest post, do it to build audience/authority & not just to gain a link. A great blog post can get you in front of a lot of eyes, generate comments, shares etc. & ultimately go a long way.
Start by letting the media know that your upcoming event is newsworthy and that people will be driven to want to know about it. You can also comment on other newsworthy items and connect them to your event. Chances are that if you chose wisely, those interested in the first news item will be interested in your event as well.
Provide a Free Service
Another way to tap into the source before the event is to offer a free service to draw attention to your firm. Some may choose to do this in an effort to build up good will for their firm; offering a free legal counseling day or handing out tickets can bring in a lot of attention.
The reality is that effective link building takes talent and astute observation. By effectively applying these strategies, it will be much easier than you might imagine to build links. As they point out at Lawyer Marketing,
The key point to note, however, is that link-building is a complex and (if not done correctly) potentially risky technique. That said, it pays to have a fundamental understanding of it, particularly when you speak with SEO consultants who contact your firm.
By learning how to use all the facets of link building you can bring your law firm from the stone age right into the modern age without the struggles most firms get while building a brand recognition.
Previously, I discussed the need to focus on geographical location in a firm’s SEO marketing efforts. Now, I would like to discuss the importance of authority. Would you believe me when I say that I’m an authority in online marketing? Well, for one thing, if you didn’t, you probably wouldn’t be reading this blog or accepting my services in other aspects of online marketing. I am an authority because I have experience in this field, and have built a base of loyal clients who know that they can take me at my word. Thus, if you want to expand your brand and be recognized in the legal industry as an authority you need to do the same. Lewis Howes of Entrepreneur says:
So many entrepreneurs and business owners are striving for elite status, but just don’t have the authority to make it happen. And the best way to set yourself up to win with your business is by becoming the authority in your industry. What does that mean? Most of the top authorities get more leads, consistent clients, have higher rates, endless demand, along with countless opportunities knocking at their doorstep.
I have discussed the importance of becoming an authority in previous postings, and briefly touched on it as a sub-topic to other SEO related articles, and now we are going to take a closer look at what it takes to gain this title.
Content Can Boost Your Authority Level
I know I talk a lot about the importance of content and I’m about to do it again. If you want to be an authority, your content must ring true. Think about it like this; if you were looking for a doctor to care for your family, and you found out that a particular doctor you had been considering was proven wrong or lied in his or her online medical blog, would you still want this physician to be in control of your health and the health of those you love? True, a lawyer may not be preventing loss of life or curing disease, but the work that your firm does can be just as detrimental to your clients. Mean what you say and say what you know to be true. This will reflect on the way that clients see you and your opinions in the future. Marketing Blog, Kissmetrics reports:
Another important key in writing content is keeping it updated. Because people can access an article anytime, if it isn’t up to date, it may appear that you don’t have a good grasp on the subject.
You can build client confidence in your content by backing up the points that you make with references to precedent cases, links to articles that provide similar information from reputable sources, or by quoting other authorities in your industry. Think about the way that you would use precedence to support a case, or the way that you referenced legal texts for papers during law school. Your clients may not be as critical as a law professor, but they like to know that what you are telling them is true, and providing examples is the perfect way to show this.
Show Your Clients What Others Are Saying About Your Firm
Have you ever noticed that companies, which offer products or services online, tend to promote themselves through customer testimonials and positive reviews? These will often be displayed on their website or the online retail channel they offer sales through. True, a law firm is different from a retail business in some ways, but in other ways you might be surprised at how similar you are. For example, your clients want to know how good you are, because nobody wants to hire a subpar lawyer. You can build your authority in your field of practice by collecting positive reviews from previous clients and utilizing them through your website or social media accounts. DIYThemes.com suggests:
Short, impactful testimonials get your customers excited about your work AND prove that they aren’t the first one to hire you! The quotes collection plugin was meant for quotes, but it can be used to rotate testimonials in any widget-ized section of your site, too.
This is an easy and inexpensive way to promote your firm, and prove how great you are at what you do. Using widgets like the one mentioned here can bring some reality to the claims you make about being the top firm in your location, and help build confidence in your services by those who have yet to use them. This also means that future clients may offer their own reviews and testimonials which continues the cycle and builds your brand.
Offer Your Expertise To Others
No, I am not suggesting here that you go ahead and begin offering your services pro bono, but rather that you get in contact with those who might appreciate your expertise in the form of an interview, guest blog post, or even an article for an online legal site. Other law firms, local businesses, and potential customers who see these publications are more likely to believe that you know what you are talking about, simply because others appear to want your opinions. It can be tricky to get your content noticed or wanted, but it isn’t impossible; Prolonger advises:
Befriend the big players in your niche. Tag them on thoughtful posts via social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Write about them on your blog and leave a trackback. Engage in discussions with them on their blogs, on forums and on social media. Develop relationships with them, as not only will others see you as a solid part of the niche, but these relationships make it easier to get published on the blogs belonging to the big players.
This is also an excellent way to spread your brand across the nation and the world, as any sort of online publication can be shared, emailed, liked, commented on, and passed around the online community with a simple click of a button. In a sense, becoming a guest blogger or offering a professional article for publication is a form of advertising in and of itself.
Previously, I discussed various key aspects of search engine optimization or SEO. However, in order to be effective at SEO, as an attorney you also need to know what your prospective clients are looking for. Your goal is to capture the traffic and direct it to your site where you can build up your business. In order to do this, you need to know how to work with certain issues that may be unique to the legal field. As they explain at BruceClay.com,
When prospective clients are looking for a lawyer, 21.9 percent start with a search engine, according to Lawyernomics, if you want to capture that traffic, optimizing your online presence is essential. SEO is critical to converting online searchers into prospective legal clients.
There are several strategies that lawyers can apply that can help to push their name and image up the search engine rankings.
Effective Use of Keywords
Online marketing can be a very competitive business for anyone but especially for the newcomer to the industry. Without effective Internet marketing, it will be difficult to establish an online reputation without using a number of aggressive marketing techniques. Experts recommend that you set your goals accordingly and avoid trying to grab the brass ring all at the same time.
They point out that you need to approach your marketing strategy in terms of years rather than getting immediate results. Start by focusing your attention on local traffic first and then build on that. This can be done by utilizing local keywords to draw in potential clients; rather than a blanket ‘accident lawyer’ as your keyword use ‘your city name + accident lawyer’ as your keyword. There is good reason for this. As they explain at QuickSprout.com,
Before you can optimize your website, social media profiles or anchor text for link building, you have to know what keywords you want to use. When it comes to local search marketing, you are not only targeting industry-specific terms but geo-specific terms as well.
By starting out small and building up from there you’re laying a solid foundation for which you can launch a full scale marketing campaign that will get you the recognition you need in your industry.
Take Advantage of Directories
It’s important that you carve out a place for your business in Google Places and in other directories. By having a well-established listing, your law firm will have a prominent place in the SERPs and within Google Maps.
You want to make sure that you earn a spot in those maps for your targeted area. Once you’ve been recognized in Google maps, you’ve tapped into a major source of traffic. It will be well worth the time and money you invest to secure an inclusion into these major attorney directories. These will help you boost your rankings to a more prominent place.
Make Sure Users Have a Positive Experience
Keep in mind that directing traffic to your site is only winning half the battle. Your ultimate goal is to convert as many visitors as you can into clients. That means your website must be your star performer.
When you first open your doors you may be eager to get off to a good start and want to put your name in as many places as possible. However, some marketing experts tell us that it pays to start small. As they point out at Moz.com,
It’s not uncommon for a client to say, “I don’t want to limit my business to a specific area.” SEO people understand this and try to accommodate where possible, but it’s not always practical.
By starting small and expanding you secure a more solid foundation from which to build your business on. With this, your new law firm will hit its paces much more quickly than you might imagine possible.
In my last blog, I discussed how to use social media effectively. Today, I would like to elucidate more on what is search engine optimization or SEO. For many lawyers, especially those just taking the plunge into online marketing, the term SEO might seem foreign. SEO is something that many online marketers are using as an alternative to the pay per click advertising option, among others. It focuses on the way that search engines view your website and rank it online.
While I have discussed SEO in depth several times throughout my blog, I want to take a closer look at what SEO really is, and break it down for those who are new to this. JurisPage says the following regarding SEO and how it can work for you:
For the uninitiated, SEO or search engine optimization is the process of working with Google’s algorithm and published guidelines get your website or blog to appear more visibly in Google search results (top spot of page 1 is the most coveted). SEO doesn’t cover the shaded advertising boxes you see on the top or right-hand side of your Google search results.
The Google algorithms are constantly changing, and you can see most of these updates throughout my articles. While it is virtually impossible to keep on top of every single guideline Google creates, there are many that are easy to keep track of, and these can greatly influence your chances of being recognized above competitor firms in your area.
Keywords Are Still Relevant
Keywords are likely to be a subject that you are becoming sick and tired of seeing, especially if you visit my blog often. But they are still so relevant that I feel there is a need to include them here. When it comes to SEO and you’re working from the bottom up, keywords are one way that you can begin building your case for higher ranking on search engines. Let me tell you why.
Search engines base their ranking systems on many different things, but among those criteria is how many visitors your site has regularly, and the quality of the content on your site. When people are searching for a law firm in your city, they are far more likely to find you if your site has “law firm Toronto” or “Brooklyn Law Firm” visible throughout the page, for example, because these are the keywords they type when seeking a lawyer in their specific area. Main Street ROI says:
Once you know what keywords you’re targeting, you need to make your website relevant to those keywords. You do this by integrating your keywords into meta tags (most importantly, your Title Tag which looks likein your HTML code) and your body copy. This is the step most people think of when they hear the phrase search engine optimization. During this step, you are optimizing your website for search engine queries.
I always tell my clients that it is not only important to find the correct keywords through research and proper planning, but it is also advisable to use them naturally. You may think that Google is too busy to follow up with every law firm website on the net and check their keywords for fluidity, but you would be wrong. Google does not take kindly to spam of any kind and this includes keyword stuffing.
Be Easy To Navigate
Being easy to find won’t make you a success overnight in terms of SEO; your website must also be easy to navigate. The majority of internet users are now searching using mobile phones and tablets. This means that your site needs to be equipped to work on those devices and support the technology they utilize. A change that made Google’s lengthy list of guidelines this Spring was that mobile-friendly websites would be ranked higher when mobile searches are being performed.
Navigation means more than just being mobile-friendly, however. It also means that your pages are set up in such a way that customers can find what they are looking for, and that crawlers can also get to each and every page on your site. A crawler is a bot, which is employed by Google and other search engines, to see what your page is offering the public and to monitor whether or not you are following the rules specified by each search engine. While it may be tempting to block them out somehow so that you can’t be faulted for mistakes online, crawlers can be your friends. I should also point out that blocking Google’s bots from visiting your site can have some pretty hefty negative effects associated with it.
Finally, when it comes to understanding the very basics of search engine optimization, there is no better place to start than your local community. Even if you want to be a nationally recognized law firm with clients flocking from the next state over to seek your services, you have to start somewhere, and the most obvious location for you to build a loyal client base and reputation is your own city or town. Bruce Clay advises:
Legal Internet marketing is exceedingly competitive, so if you’re just starting out it’s important to establish your firm as a brand and market to your immediate location.
You can do this in many ways, one of which is through keywords that are designed to encourage local traffic, as noted above. I would also suggest that you follow up through Google+ and local law directories to make sure that when potential clients do use Google and other search engines to find a firm, yours is listed in more than one location. It would be pretty spectacular if your firm appears at the top of a search list for local firms right away, but you will find that individuals and businesses are more likely to locate you through other listings first, until you build a recognizable brand and begin ranking highly on your own.
The above discussion only begins to cover what SEO involves, and if your firm is serious about incorporating it into your online marketing philosophy, you should definitely do more research. From link building to genuine content, there are many tools to use and guidelines to follow if you want to find success in this area.
Last time, I focused on how Google Trends can be a powerful SEO tool. Meanwhile, I often discuss the potential of social media in the legal field, particularly because of how many firms still avoid it in fear of Facebook or Twitter usage reflecting insincerity. Today, I want to talk not only about why these platforms can be helpful, but how you, as a lawyer, can use them to your advantage.
Over the years, businesses have evolved, and this includes the practice of law. Many businesses can function almost entirely online, and while this might not be plausible for all companies, there is certainly something to be said for using the tools available to you in the best possible way, whether it’s video marketing, pay per click advertising, higher quality web design, or social media.
One thing that Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest have in common is their ability to communicate with your clients and monitor potential legal infractions. In past updates, I have discussed the use of social media as a tool to share info and promote your practice, but what if you used it for more than just self-promotion? The American Bar Association states:
Used carefully, social media can give your firm a voice, amplify your professional reputation, and help drive new business. But that isn’t the whole story with social media. Social media now represents a ripe source of electronic evidence for litigators and potential sources of risk for those advising businesses.
In the past, almost all of the promotional activity for law firms came through word of mouth. One client would share with another client, or a partner in a practice would hand out a business card or two at a social function. Now, you almost need to think about these online accounts as though they are the social functions you are attending. Don’t just post stories and photos, talk to your potential clients through comments, liking, sharing their posts, and even private messages.
Handling Public Relations
Marketing yourself as an upstanding law firm means being an authority in your industry, and that can only be obtained through public recognition. About a decade ago, all of these supportive official documents would come in the form of professional publications, magazines, newspapers, and articles from educational institutions. Now, this same recognition can be found online. Legal Marketing Review explains:
Public relations has changed radically in the last few years. Social media is now a significant part of public relations. When you reach out to journalists you are now often reaching out to bloggers and a common way to do so is through Twitter. Journalists no longer have time to read traditional press releases.
Unfortunately, it isn’t just positive recognition you need to worry about in terms of social media and what the online world has to say about you. Social media can play a huge role in quality control in terms of keeping negativity to a minimum or crushing it all together. If you are aware and present in social media, you can help journalists, potential clients, local businesses, and the world to view you in the way that you want your firm to be viewed.
Don’t Depend On Your Account
Social media may be able to help you communicate with customers, monitor legal issues that may arise with those whom you are advising, and promote your firm among journalists, but it isn’t a magic wand. Simply opening an account isn’t enough to build a following and create a market for yourself. You must manage it properly, and use other resources as well.
I have mentioned before that social media is one of the best ways to share with potential clients you may not have reached yet, but it isn’t the only way. To be smart with social media means not only using it effectively, but using it in combination with other methods of marketing and customer interaction. You can make a bigger impact on your local community by using your account to participate in events and community activities than by simply posting informational videos and links to your blog.
Previously, we discussed how to get some content ideas for blogs. Today, let us examine the impact of Google Trends. The goal of Google has always been to provide users with answers to their myriad of questions that they are searching for online. From its very beginning until now, it has been the very key to the success of Google. This fact has never changed. What has changed, however, over the years is the way they go about getting the answers to what consumers are looking for. They have tried many tactics over the years, some very astute and according to others some very questionable. As they point out at SearchEngineWatch.com,
Google have exploited this at times and this has most notably seen in the Car Insurance market where they have introduced their own price comparison service above others. This customer journey has been instantly improved from the user’s perspective by getting specific answers one-click away from Google’s search engine.
By setting up its own car insurance model that allows users to enter their own car’s registration plate, Google is providing a service that is not available to any other insurance provider. This makes Google extremely competitive in any industry they’d like to expand into.
Now with Google Trends, many believe this could be the beginning of a new era in Google business.
What Is Google Trends?
If you’re new to SEO, then you’re probably wondering what exactly is Google Trends. Basically, it is an online search tool that gives the user the ability to see how certain keywords, subjects, and phrases have been requested over a period of time. With this tool, one can analyze closely Google searches and then compute how many searches have been done over that same period of time. This information can prove to be very valuable for the search engine optimizer. With access to this information people can make adjustments to their marketing strategies ensuring them a much higher level of success. As they explain at the TechTarget.com,
Search engine marketers can use Google Insights to fine tune their keyword strategies because it allows them to examine search cycles and patterns for specific keywords and a keyword’s popularity by location and time range.
When SEO professionals are armed with this information they can almost predict exactly which way the consumer will search for information and place their business right in the center of it all.
How Can Attorneys Use Google Trends?
In the past, we discussed the importance of lawyers being prepared for the next trend in search engine optimization. This can at times be challenging to do if you don’t have the right tools. Fortunately, many attorneys have found that utilizing Google Trends can make a major difference.
When it comes to legal marketing, Google Trends can be a pretty valuable asset. By giving you the ability to rank search interest results on a scale based on a variety of different parameters, such as location, type, or even newsworthiness, you can compare and determine the popularity of your chosen keywords and phrases to see where you can get the best results.
With a key phrase audit, you can see exactly how your chosen keywords measure up in terms of favorability. You’ll be able to determine exactly which topics are losing the public’s interest and which ones are gaining attention and adjust your keywords accordingly.
You can also narrow down your results by geography. If your firm has offices in other cities or states, you can test the popularity of your keywords and phrases in each region to see whether your marketing campaign will be effective. Note that what may work in one area may not be as effective in another location. By testing the waters first, you are better able to ensure that you’ll have even more positive results. It can also help with how you use terminology in your own office. As they explain at Jaffepr.com,
What do you call your partners and associates – do you refer to them as attorneys or lawyers? By doing a comparison on Google Trends, I can see that “attorney” is by far the preferred term by Internet users, and that Texans dominate in their use of the search term “attorney,” while New Yorkers lead in searching for the term “lawyer.”
So, while Google may have the ability to exploit what is discovered in Google Trends, legal marketers will also learn how to take advantage of all the things they can learn from this highly valuable tool. Learning how to take advantage of these things can take your search engine optimization to an entirely new level.
Other Advantages of Google Trends
The ability to know which words and phrases potential clients may use to find the legal services they need can also help a lawyer to determine what topics are of concern to the public. This can be of benefit in other ways as well. If you’re maintaining your own blog, you now have a list of topics to talk about that you’re sure the public will want to tune into. This will organically increase your rankings in the search engines. You may be able to determine their position or viewpoint on a certain subject so you can tailor your views to their side of the argument.
This type of insight into the consumers’ use of keywords can force you to think about your marketing efforts from their perspective. If you learn the terms they are familiar with, you are now in a position to adapt your message in a way that is more appealing to your audience. This will drive qualified leads to your site and increase the probability of higher conversion rates overall.
The idea of search engine optimization for lawyers can be complicated but with the use of Google Trends as a marketing tool, you’ll be given a lot more insight into the minds of the consumers and what they need. With that knowledge you can attract more people to your site, build your business and achieve the conversion rates you’ve been working to achieve. Having Google Trends as your marketing tool can help take much of the legwork out of your marketing efforts and allow you to develop a strategy that will be more effective overall.
Recently, we discussed the importance of preparing for the next trend in search engine optimization. We cannot sit back and expect that everything will go smoothly even if we’ve covered all of the basics. But it always helps to go back to the basics from time to time to make sure that everything is on the right track.
While anyone who has been concentrating their efforts on online marketing understands that without good content, you’re pretty much ‘dead in the water,’ there is much more involved in moving up the search engine rankings than having good content. Your goal may be to bring in more organic traffic, but to do that there is a lot of background work that must be done. According to SearchEngineWatch.com,
Creating a great piece of content that will perform well in search engines can be a time-consuming task. To ensure that your content will drive organic search traffic to your website, you must optimize it from start to finish, inside and out.
This fact may be of major concern to many lawyers who may not have the expertise to handle content marketing well, but there is a way to simplify the process. By using several tools found online, even a novice at content marketing can find success.
How to Come Up With Content Ideas
Some may not be intuitive enough to come up with useful ideas for content on their own. Because of that, more than likely when it comes to creating content, they’ll delegate that responsibility to someone else, usually a marketing team or professional on their staff. While these professionals certainly have something to contribute to the task, there are many things that a lawyer can do to create valuable content without having to go outside of his comfort zone.
One way to do this is by establishing yourself as an expert in your field, not your company. By using this information to demonstrate your unique blend of knowledge and expertise you can make sure that your firm gets the kind of attention it needs. As they explain at Slaw.com,
Too much of marketing is still too promotional and too focused on the firm, rather than on the audience the firm is trying to reach with its marketing. The lawyers in your firm are the subject matter experts. The lawyers are the ones involved with clients daily; answering their questions, solving their problems and advocating for their interests.
When you are creating content for your blog or site, rather than hiring someone to talk about you and your talents, instead you can share your knowledge with the consumer directly, creating a bond that will build up their trust in you and your talents.
Consider the Value
The secret to success in boosting your online rankings is to help the consumer to see the value in your services. Unlike retail businesses online where they have a product to promote, lawyers have to promote their thinking ability and expertise. These are not always easy to show a potential client without the use of content.
The fact is that many lawyers concentrate their efforts on social media. This can be a very effective approach to bringing traffic to your site. However, it should not stop there. As they explain at Good2BSocial.com,
Law firms need to understand that social networks are content distribution channels where you can begin to form relationships and influence. However, if your firm is looking to develop trust, then the firm’s website and micro sites are the critical place to focus your efforts.
Marketing is not the same as advertising. In order for you to be successful at online marketing, you have to think beyond the basics. There are countless tools, strategies, and techniques you can use to draw traffic to yourself. However, by learning how to effectively implement your content, you’ll be adding another level to how well you’ll do in your business rankings.
In my most recent post, we discussed alternative ways of better online marketing that goes beyond the basics. Without an effective plan it can be extremely difficult to achieve the rankings that could put our business on the map. That reasoning is very apropos for today’s online business world but what plans do you have in place for the day when the website becomes outdated and needs to be replaced by something new? That day is not so far off in the future as you might expect.
As lawyers, one of your key goals is to get your business recognized on the Internet. In the past, that meant having a knock-out website that came fully equipped with all the bells and whistles. Smart lawyers made sure they had a steady blog keeping up-to-date with all the latest legal jargon, cases, and issues that were prominent in society. Without the website, getting the recognition you deserved was all but impossible.
Today, however, the online world is making another shift for which all of us will have to keep a close eye on. Some search engine experts are beginning to believe that the transition from the website to the next greatest thing has already begun. They predict that the website will eventually go the way of the record player, VHS tapes, and cassette players. What is replacing it? They say that everyone needs to start focusing their attention on business apps instead. According to Search Engine Watch,
If you’re like most people, you’re probably a co-user of apps and websites. You’ve downloaded a few games, utilities, and shopping apps, but much of your time is spent online using the browser on your desktop or phone. Why is that? Why don’t you exclusively use either apps or a browser?”
There are several reasons why the app hasn’t already overtaken the use of websites, but some experts feel that it is just a matter of time before these transitions begin to take place.
The Universal Use
Many people do not fully realize that a browser is really just another app that is designed to be entirely universal. As of last year, there were more than 816 billion websites holding trillions of pages of content for public use. The problem so far is that most of the websites do not have an app counterpart to allow visitors to find them without the use of a browser. As more developers and businesses begin to create their own apps that trend will gradually begin to change and the app will slowly begin to overtake websites in popularity. This new feature is the result of the new mobile friendly algorithm recently release by Google. As they explain at SearchEngineLand.com,
Google’s mobile ranking factors will not only label your site as mobile-friendly, but will also use that to determine if your site should rank higher in the search results. Google said this algorithmic change will have a “significant impact” in the mobile search results, impacting all languages worldwide.
Many believe that this new algorithm is just the beginning when it comes to ranking businesses. It will make it much easier for people to get relevant, high quality results from their search when it is optimized for their devices.
Another reason why apps have not as of yet taken command is that they do not offer search capabilities. They work well when the user doesn’t know what he’s looking for until he searches for it in the search engines. So far these search engines are not set up to crawl for content in a standalone app. However, just recently both Google and Bing announced that they are beginning to index app content so that they can include that search in their rankings.
One issue that continues to hold apps back is their download speed. As we said before, browsers are simply apps that have universal capabilities. When you visit a web page through a browser, in order for you to view that page on your computer, you must first download it. In most cases, this takes only seconds but with apps the process is much slower. Until apps are able to overcome the speed of app downloads, it will be very difficult for them to overtake the popularity of the website.
But Google is already working on addressing that problem. With the recent acquisition of a new software program, Google can now control a feature called “app streaming” where people can access those apps on their devices without the need to download them first. As they discuss in The Information,
The search giant last fall secretly acquired an “app streaming” startup called Agawi whose technology allows people to access apps on their smartphone without downloading them first. The acquisition, which hasn’t been previously reported, provides strong clues about the direction that Google is trying to move mobile software development.
Once apps are able to be indexed into Google’s search algorithms, it won’t be long before the convenience of having access to businesses through mobile devices becomes a mainstream activity of the Internet.
Ways Attorneys Can Utilize Apps
Because of this growing trend in app usage, it pays for attorneys to have their own app design to promote their offices. Some firms have already begun the process of creating an app to market their services. At the very least, readers can use an app to follow your regular blog but the potential can go much further than that. Clients can use these apps in much the same way as a bank allows its customers to check their balances, monitor their credit card purchases, and even open up new accounts. When a client can log into their app to find out the progress of their cases, or get their questions answered, your software application suddenly increases in value for them.
As mobility continues to be the buzz word for the modern day technological industry, it will pay for attorneys to think more creatively about their online presence. Yes, we do live in a world run by technology, but nothing in life is stagnant. Everything comes and goes in rapid succession. Those who are inclined to stick with the status quo will soon realize that their ability to stay ahead of the game will gradually dwindle. It is important that everyone stay abreast of the constant changes in the Internet, Google, and marketing in general so that they don’t find themselves falling behind the 8-ball so to speak. The future is always full of surprises but one thing we should never be surprised about is change, an inevitable part of life.
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