When creating a highly optimized website for a legal practice, most professionals dedicate a considerable amount of money to the investment. A lot of this investment may go into making the site look attractive, but if the site is not found in the search engines, it fails to meet its full potential.
Beautiful looking websites that result in little search engine exposure are often the result of improper optimization and/or having a non-SEO friendly web design. Some web design elements may inhibit search engines from effectively crawling and indexing the website. In addition, a properly optimized website must include the right keyword placement and optimized content throughout the various elements of the site.
Whether you have a small legal practice or large law firm, it is important to make sure that your web design and SEO investment is for the right services and achievements. Below we highlight 6 tips to create a more SEO-friendly web presence. You can use this as checklist or questionnaire for your future SEO provider, or as means to better optimize your legal site yourself.
Many SEO providers will choose the keyword targets that will drive them traffic. However, what is more important than traffic, is obtaining conversions for that traffic. Before choosing a keyword target, ask yourself "will this keyword result in an actual case?"
A highly relevant, conversion-oriented keyword phrase will often include a specific practice area of law as well as geographic modifier, such as "family divorce lawyer Austin" or "criminal defense attorney Peoria".
A very necessary and integral element of any optimized website is the title tag. An optimized title tag for a webpage will always contain the exact phrase match of the keyword target. Because Google and other engines weigh the title tag heavily on the keyword relevancy of a page, including the keyword target once (and perhaps a variation) will ensure that your site is better search engine optimized.
Since only contextual content can be read and indexed by search engines, if a website has any Flash content (animation, images, videos), an HTML version should be simultaneously provided. Flash will cause a search engine spider to choke while crawling your page, and slow the optimization process of your site.
The second most important page to a website is the sitemap (with the homepage being number one.) Search engine consider this page the index of the book, and reference this page to find all of the links that make up your website. Always take the time to build out a sitemap, and always be sure to submit a XML version of the sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools.
The page copy of your website is not only important for search engines and keyword relevancy, but also converting users and traffic to your website. Avoid generic content and focus on unique copy which talks about your legal practice. In addition to including keyword phrases, convey value and meaning to your audience.
Next to the Title Tag, the URL string is another key opportunity optimize a webpage. Always include the core two or three keywords of the webpage in the URL. Using the examples above, an optimized URL might look like "/family-divorce-laweyers.html" or "/crimimal-defense-attorneys-peoria-il.html”.
By following these basic tips you can surely progress the SEO-friendliness of you website. Also, if you see any of these elements missing after your SEO provider as "optimized" your website, you may want to ask them about it.continue...
If you or your law firm are not utilizing Facebook, you may be missing out on serious opportunities to connect with one of the largest online audiences. Facebook accounts are free to create, and Facebook marketing can be one of the best ways to get the word out about your firm or your personal law practice.
Below are eight Facebook marketing tips for attorneys. These ideas can assist you in establishing your firm's Facebook presence, and offers insights about the type of content you should consider posting to make the greatest impact.
If you have a personal Facebook page, be extremely careful to keep that separate from your business or company page. Many attorneys with small, personal practices make this initial mistake when establishing their Facebook presence. Business pages allow for additional features, such as creating forms that potential clients can fill out, as well as standard features like uploading videos, images, and other forms of content
Start a simple discussion by asking a question, and then when people start to post replies, you can respond and provide valuable feedback or advice. Keep in mind to never cross the line between networking and solicitation. Certain states have specific rules regarding the issue of solicitation within electronic communications, so inform yourself and adhere to the guidelines of your state.
Most attorneys are not going to be able to provide specific numbers, but it is entirely possible to explain the difference between hourly billing and contingency fee agreements, for example. Most people are not aware of the difference, and they fail to take into account the expense of additional taxes and disbursements.
General answers are acceptable to user questions, but giving legal advice can be risky. Advice can be misinterpreted, and some advice may be perceived as attorney-client relationship. Protect yourself by adding a disclaimer to your page or by adding the disclaimer into the bottom of any post that can be construed as legal advice.
Polls can be extremely serious, or they can be light. Nonetheless, Facebook polls are a great way to engage your audience and learn about what others believe on a certain topic. You can ask just about any question you like, but try to keep it the poll very related to your practice, and use the results as a tool to help you understand what your audience is looking for.
If you have an opinion on a recent decision or an ongoing case, Facebook is a great place to provide your insight. This can also attract readers who are interested in the topic of the post. New laws can be confusing, and posting an interpretation of a new law in terms that everyday people can understand is extremely helpful.
If people start to read your page, and find your tips useful, they will continue to return to the page to see what else you have to say. Sharing your knowledge with people will increase the likelihood of them retaining you or your firm in the future over your competitors. This is because they feel a connection to you and you have positioned yourself as an expert in the field based on your tips.
For example, if you want to let people know you are moving your office, you can announce that on Facebook. If you are interested in new business, you may create an event inviting people to a seminar or some similar event that will encourage clients to do business with you or your firm.
Facebook is an extremely flexible platform and can be used as the leverage your practice. You can better position yourself as honest professional in you area of law, and share ideas, knowledge, and other bits of value with a relevant online audience.continue...
Twitter is one of the best platforms for social and professional growth. Tweeting can help to expose legal professionals to new clients as well as fellow attorneys for networking and referring cases. It is one of the easiest and most cost-effective portals for attorneys to build their online reputation and connect with a wide and relevant audience.
Twitter can be the ideal place to promote your practice; however, the way you use Twitter and other social networking sites can be either triumphant or disastrous. Below we have outlined some basic Twitter tips for lawyers and legal professionals.
When posting tweets, it is advisable for professionals to maintain a moderate level of use (many will agree that 3-5 tweets per week is a good number.) When giving an opinion or suggestion, let it be known but do not let people judge you from what you post. Leave your followers some space to reason and some blanks to fill especially if the subject is controversial.
Attribution shows that you understand your profession and that your care about your audience. Whether it is a quote from your favorite book, a poem or retweet, always attribute borrowed information to the source author. Twitter is very specific about retweeting, and even makes the process simpler for retweets.
Remember that not all of your followers understand legalese - or legal speak. Most of your Twitter audience are consumers sourcing for information. Use simple language to reach out to your followers.
It is good to be professional with tweets, but avoid tweeting about an experience with a certain client. Your current and past cases should be kept offline, regardless of how valuable or grave they may be. Do not give examples with the cases you have handled, as this might turn potential clients away.
When tweeting, remember that you may have followers from all walks of life. Avoid posting something that may hurt someone's feelings. Imagine yourself in the shoes of your reader, and observe your reaction. Avoid negative tweets about any group of people; and always consider all your followers as potential clients.
Always be polite regardless of the situation. Some of your followers might attack you, but this is not reason enough to attack them back. If any of your followers has personal issues with you or your profession, respond to their tweets diplomatically. If you encounter a bully, it is better for you to make use of the unfollow button than to engage in bitter exchanges. Remember that your posts may be used against you, and so refrain from any questionable conduct.
In conclusion, remember that Twitter is a place for fun as well as a place for business. Your conduct may affect your profession in irreversible ways, if you are not keen. Be polite, but you are not obliged to follow anyone. If a person within your network becomes unbearable, do not allow them to destroy your reputation. Be of value to your followers, and then business will follow.continue...