The Internet has made it possible for smaller law firms and legal practices to compete with larger entities. Thanks to Internet marketing channels like search engine optimization (SEO), Pay-per-Click (PPC) advertising, and Google Maps, attaining the exposure and visibility to ensure your practice is found is much more efficient.
One channel that has proven to be extremely cost-efficient for local firms is Google Maps. With Google Maps, you are able to indicate where your office is located as well as provide information about your legal practice. However what's most attractive about Google Maps is that your company's listing is a completely free way to advertise.
To ensure your law firm is listed on Google Maps for your office location and practice area, below is a step-by-step guide to getting there.
1) The first step is submitting your listing to Google, primarily the name, address and phone number of your business. To do this, create listing on Google+ (formally known as Google Places). If you already have a listing, choose to 'manage your page.' It is important that all information you submit is aligned with the info that is listed in your website. Any inconsistency can lead to diminished credibility and minimal exposure as a result.
2) The next step is choose the most relevant categories that reflects your primary keyword targets for SEO or PPC. Ensure that your categories are specific to your niche. You can pick up to five categories. It is often best if each category you choose is somewhat related to one another.
3) Write a description of your business. Indicate the core legal services and practice areas that your firm covers. It is also doesn't hurt to include some keywords in your description, so long as you use the respectively.
4) Next, upload a logo or image representing your business. You could use a picture of your store, office, or restaurant. It is often times best that you take the time to optimize your images for the maximum advertising benefit.
5) If you have a special offer or coupon you want to advertise, Google will let you implement this free of charge.
6) Next, visit www.google.com/local and do a search with your business name as a way of verifying if your business is already listed with an advert.
7) Visit www.google.com/local again and click on the Add/Edit Your Business tab. This is located at the bottom left side of the Web page. This will allow you to add your business to Google marketing.
8) You will get a step-by-step guide by Google. The process is straightforward. All that is required is for you to input the information as described above.
9) Google will contact you and ask you to verify your submission. Verification is done via mail or phone. You will be listed in a few weeks. You can update any information if you wish to.
As you progress through this process, you will find the instructions and content fields to be fairly obvious. In essence, the goal is to ensure that your law firm is properly listed for its location as well as its primary keywords, or practice areas.
The verification process may take some time, but be patient. The free advertising exposure is well worth the wait.continue...
Often times, some of the most insightful clues are right in front of our eyes. When doing keyword research, one source of insight is Google Instant.
However we're not referring to the Google AdWords Keyword Tool. We are simply suggesting using Google search.
When you start to type a phrase in Google search, its Google Instant feature begins suggesting related search queries. These suggestions are based on popular keyword searches and may very well reflect long-tail search trends.
The practice of lawyer SEO is unique in that it's sometimes difficult to pinpoint specific, long-tail keywords when doing research. That is, the detailed search phrases that people search when trying to find a particular attorney, legal service, or law firm, in particular area of law.
Using the search suggestions from Google Instant is great way determine these phrases.
A tip while doing this SEO keyword research technique is to try starting your search with different variations. In the image above, you can see the keyword search started with 'boston lawyer business...' We can immediately tell that the 'small business lawyers' and 'business litigation lawyers' are two popular searches. If start our search query differently, we can gather even more insights.
By modifying our starting search phrase to be 'boston commercial law firm...,' we learn that 'business' and 'corporate' are both very related to 'commercial' areas of law. With this information, we might optimize a page for both 'business law' and 'commercial law' because these terms are virtually synonymous.
We also discover from the above search that 'commercial real estate law' is popular subject in the Boston area. If the law firm specializes in commercial real estate law, then we may include this keyword in our SEO efforts.
This simple keyword research tip using Google Instant can be applied to almost any SEO situation. The trick is keep plugging in multiple phrases to start. Try flipping your search using 'attorneys,' 'lawyers,' 'law firms,' as well as plural-singular variations and synonyms (like 'commercial' and 'business')
The Google AdWords Keyword Tool is also a much needed resources for SEO Keyword Research, however sometimes the long-tail keyword insights are limited. We still suggest using this tool as a starting ground. The latter tips is to help you refine your research.
If you're interested in learning some great techniques to using the Google Keyword Tool, check out this video on SEO Keyword Research. This video will help you learn some best practices tips to doing SEO keyword research.
To get the best results, use a combination of tools and resource while undergoing keyword research. We hope you starting using and appreciate the insights of using Google Instant for Keyword Research.continue...
A how-to blog post is a descriptive form of content where you give people a step-by-step guide on how to do something. For law firms and attorneys, such blog post could provide insights on how to handle a certain legal situation or incident. Sharing informative content of the like can help potential prospects and clients earn you trust as legal professional.
Blogging is one of the most effective content marketing techniques. Creating a quality, topic-specific blog is advantageous in that it may establish yourself or your practice as reliable and highly proficient in your niche. Blogs allow for commenting. This is important because you will not only often times receive valuable feedback on the content you publish, but more importantly you are building your brand online.
If your how-to blog is to be successful, it should be optimized for search engines and it should captivate readers. You could kill two birds with one stone by ensuring you have quality content that relevant readers will want to link to (thus making your blog more authoritative and more impactful on you own link building efforts.)
So, how do you go about writing highly-effective how-to blog posts? Below we offer 11 tips to help you write compelling, highly informative how-to blog posts:
1. Type of content: Ensure that your content is leadership-based content, data-driven analysis, commentary on industry news, or a list-style post if you want to be taken seriously. These categories are advantageous over conventional how-to guides since you will most often have fresh content.
2. Choose the topic carefully: Your how-to topic has to be chosen carefully if the post is to have the desired effect. Generate several possibilities and brainstorm on the list over time with your customer team (the people who deal with customers every day such as sales representatives). Step into the shows of the target market and consider doing a survey. The title should strive to cover day-to-day concerns. A good title is one that tries to answer the questions that your customer team is asked every day. Go to a popular how-to blog for an overview of how a successful how-to blog post title is to be written. When deciding on your title, ensure that it speaks of exactly what readers will find on reading one. Once you have settled on a title, do not worry too much about the length at this stage – you will refine it later once you generate the content.
3. Brainstorm on the steps from the beginning to the end: Start the content generation by writing the outline of the steps your readers are to take. Your development team will come in handy at this. You could do this through your blogging tool whereby you make each step a header and fill in the blanks later. You can add subheadings to some steps if this will help you better explain the steps. Ensure that the steps are in the proper order and that they are comprehensive such that any reader who follows them exactly will get the desired result.
4. Introduction: Once you have the skeleton, write an introduction at the very top. This should indicate what you want readers to do and it should provide the context to eliminate the possibility of confusion. A good introduction is one that urges readers to read on. Include statistics and data here if possible to prove that the how-to topic is vital. It is important that you are specific in the introduction and that you do not overhype reader expectations.
5. Write instructions by filling in the steps: Once you are done with the introduction, write the actual instructions. Write in 2nd person (‘you’, ‘your’ and ‘yours’) for the best results. The transition between different steps should flow smoothly.
6. Be detailed, specific, and descriptive in the content: Write as if you are writing content to a 6th grader who does not know how to do anything you are describing. Do not tell readers to do something – tell them how do actually do it.
7. Link to credible resources: Your readers will appreciate links to valuable resources. These resources could be to websites that explain something you do not want to dwell on in greater detail. Describing some concepts in detail will derail you and it could lead to extremely long posts. The resource has to be credible (such as a .gov and a .edu link). You will get bonus points if you are the writer of the resource you are linking to.
8. Mention the tools to be used: Do not gloss over the tools that readers will require to accomplish whatever you are describing. You could even suggest specific tools and even where to get them. If you are writing the how-to blog to promote tools you are selling, ensure you do not oversell. Just mention the tools.
9. Include detailed examples: Examples go a long way in passing your point across. The best examples are real-life examples, but do not shy away from hypothetical ones if they mean greater emphasis. The example should be something readers can relate to.
10. Use visual explanations: Human beings are visual creatures and using visual components will help you a great deal. The visual components could be pictures of the different steps (such as how to change a tire), graphs, charts, or concept/content visualization. It is recommended that visual aid is accompanied with supportive text. When using video content, have a transcript on the Web page. Do not overuse videos since not everybody likes them and they slow down your loading speed.
11. Finesse your title: You will now have enough information to know what a good title will be. It should be concise, actionable, keyword-conscious, definitive, intriguing, and clear. A good title is one that starts with ‘How to…’.
Bonus - the takeaway or conclusion: To end the blog post, conclude with 1 or 2 sentences or ask a question that will spark further discussion. Include a call-to-action at the very end. Have a colleague go through the blog post to ensure it is free of grammatical, spelling, and structural errors since such errors bring you out as being unprofessional.
If you're seeking help on writing how-to blog posts for your blog, visit www.WebPresenceGroup.com for resources and services on blog writing and blog management services. The experts at Web Presence Group can help you develop an effective blogging strategy to meet your law firm's content marketing objectives.continue...
The landing page, also called lead capture page, is extremely important for all types of web marketing campaigns. The main reason why the landing page is so significant is because it's the place where people who click on your links (whether in the organic listing or paid listing) are taken.
For legal professionals, the landing page is mostly used for Pay Per Click advertising and email marketing. This particular page has to be properly written if prospects are going to take action. Whether you have a reference, sign-up, or a transactional-based landing page, one cannot overstate the importance of great content.
Note that writing compelling landing page copy is different from writing a blog post or traditional webpage of a site. Below are several tips that will help you ensure that your landing page copy is solid and attractive for users.
1. Use the second person perspective when writing: Use ‘you’ and ‘your’ instead of ‘I’, ‘we’ and ‘our’. This helps you forge a strong connection between what you are offering and visitors to your website. It also helps you better demonstrate the value of whatever you are offering since the readers will be able to visualize how they can use the product or service and how the product/service is likely to impact their lives.
2. Emphasize on clarity: Your emphasis should be on clarity, not creativity. Be as direct as possible and avoid jargon that detracts visitors from considering the message. Use a single sentence for everything you are trying to communicate whenever possible.
3. Use language that is action-oriented: Ensure that the language used makes use of action verbs, just as is the case with call-to-action copy. Consider the blink test, which is the three seconds you get to orient Web users to a new Web page. The landing page should be such that visitors are able to see what they can do on the Web page within three seconds. Using action verbs is important because definitive instructions are more likely to be followed by visitors.
4. Use language that is value-oriented: The language you use in the content should convince visitors that the time spent filling out forms is not lost. Have a headline for every one of your landing pages. A good headline is one that explains the benefits of whatever you are offering or you are suggesting that Web users do. An example of a good heading is; “With this coupon code, you stand to get…” The heading should not only explain the features, but also the benefits. Some of the benefits may be obvious to the visitor, but point them out nevertheless.
5. Use reader-specific keywords: Most of us do keyword optimization with SEO in mind, but do not forget the actual reader when writing for keywords. The keywords in your call-to-action should align with the keywords in the important parts of your landing page (the parts where the visitors will first look to find out what you are offering).
6. Use the correct format: The sentence structure should be such that landing page copy is no longer than five lines. Break it down with headers of different sizes, parentheticals, bold text, bullets, checkmarks, and italics.
7. Proofread the landing page copy: Proofread to ensure the spelling, consistency, and grammar are on point. This is an obvious yet sometimes overlooked aspect for writing landing page copy.
Landing page optimization is often times and ongoing process of determining the copy that works best. The design of your landing pages is also critical, such as the placement of images and calls-to-action. We hope this post has been enlightening for you and your landing page optimization efforts.continue...
After Google's Penguin update, the processes of building backlinks for SEO have become even more intricate. Expansive, membership-based blog networks and paid link programs are the primary target, and many of these resources are commonly used by legal professionals.
So if your law firm website has been over-optimized with too much exact phrase match link building (that is, too many backlinks with the anchor text 'Dallas business lawyers' or 'business lawyers in Dallas') and not enough natural links (links using your domain name), we have outlined a list of tips and techniques to help remedy your case.
In essence, if your site has too many over-optimized backlinks, then you need to balance the ratio of optimized and un-optimized backlinks. To help you do this, we have provided 10 techniques to overcome over-optimization with natural, post-penguin backlink building.
1. Do comprehensive research: Know just how bad your ratio of optimized and un-optimized backlinks really is. We suggest doing a backlink scan to get a lay of the land. These insights will tell you just how over-optimized your legal site really is, and how much natural backlink building you'll need to do to balance the ratio.
2. Do surveys: An industry-specific survey or research that is posted on your website will help you acquire long-term backlinks. Surveys are also important in that they help you in product development since you will know what your customers/clients want. You should also have a page dedicated to the survey's results. This can be a valuable content that people will want to naturally link to, and thus offers an effective technique for website optimization.
3. Target related websites: Do a simple Google search or use software like Open Site Explorer to determine the links your competitors are gaining backlinks from. This is particularly helpful if you target successful competitors. Next, reach out to the people linking with your competitor’s site and trying earning those links for your own legal site.
4. Generate video content: Come up with great video content that promotes your legal practice and your brand. Posting these videos on YouTube, Vimeo or other 3rd party sites can automatically earn you a backlink, in addition to the marketing value videos offer.
5. Try running a contest: Running a contest or competition always helps to gain links back to your site. People who like the competition will share backlinks with friends, colleagues or relatives. This is often most effective when combined with social media.
6. Implement social media badges: Adding social badges to your website is great way to establish a following on your website. These social cues can indirectly contribute to more links via credibility and promoting greater online awareness of your website.
7. Post on forums in your niche: Search for forums in your niche and make several posts. If people have questions, answer their questions and include links to your website, indicating that they can find the products/services they are looking for there. Be sure to do this responsibly and ethically.
8. Join the relevant trade associations: Consider attending trade shows and conferences to increase your sales. When you attend such trade shows and conferences, always ensure you take part as a member of a trade association. This will help to make sure that your company website gets listed on the website of the trade association.
9. Give freebies to bloggers: Guest blogging from renowned bloggers will help with your link building campaigns. However, note that well-established guest bloggers will not participate in your blog for nothing. Give the bloggers overstocked products or other freebies that will not hurt your profit margins.
10. Give interviews: You could find industry leaders and interview them. People who know such industry leaders will link back to the content of the interview.
Other important techniques are finding legal web directories to list your site and URL. Other powerful directories include the BBB (better business bureau), DMOZ directory, and Yahoo! local. These offer some of the most natural sources of backlinks. Link wisely.continue...