Google is the Goliath of search engines, and when it comes to law firm web marketing, search engine optimization is the bee’s knees.
Along with relevant content, Google determines its search results based on the PageRank algorithm. Both of these factors are huge when it comes to search engine rankings, which implies a need to address both to achieve the best outcomes.
The significance of search engine optimization to law firms is crystal clear. High rankings through organic search can be result in cost-efficient advertising. The answer to the question of how to achieve this goal lies in getting a good grasp of how the Google algorithm works.
Google's search algorithm is complex and difficult for marketers to gauge. However there is one major theme that supports any search engine marketing campaign – and that is relevance.
Relevance is simply a measure of how well your website’s content matches the search words or phrases used by the targeted searcher (or potential client.) Relevance is usually determined based on the website’s content which includes the Title of the page, the meta data, and the page copy.
The Google algorithm then ranks your page according to relevance, along with the many other law firms and legal practitioners. Google determines what your website is about by looking at its content as well as looking at other sites that are both linking from and to your site. Google uses this data to determine the relevance of your website to keywords and phrases entered by a user.
PageRank is an independent means of measurement which relies on Google's perception as to the authority, quality and credibility of a web page. It does not depend on any search words or phrases as these are taken cared of by relevance. If yours and a competing law firm have the same relevance, the one with the higher PageRank gets the higher ranking. Google scores PageRank from 0 to 10, with 10 as the highest
Generally, Google considers inbound links a confirmation of authority, quality, and credibility; however not all inbound links have the same value. Websites that are considered to have more credibility are valued higher than those that have less credibility. In turn, this credibility is measured by their PageRank which means that your inbound links should come from websites that are also ranked high.
For instance, if your law firm has inbound links from a website that has a PageRank of 3, it can still help you but you'll need a lot more of them to get a higher PageRank. On the other hand, if your inbound links are from websites with PageRanks of 5 and up, then, you'll have better chances of scoring a higher PageRank with just a handful.
As PageRank is calculated on a logarithmic scale, there are wide gaps with say, PageRanks of 4 and 5 and PageRanks of 3 and 4. The difference between PageRanks 4 and 5 will have 5 to 10 times the difference as compared to PageRanks 3 and 4. Expectedly, websites with lower PageRanks are more prevalent, and if your website is ranked 6 or higher, this means that you are among the elite.
You can determine your PageRank using two methods:
• You can download the Google Toolbar and activate the PageRank feature upon installation.
• Use the Website Grader tool which, aside from determining PageRank, offers other relative information as well.
Find out where to download and enable the PageRank feature by visiting this page about Google PageRank Toolbar.
In summary, there are two essential steps your law firm website needs to accomplish to get high rankings particularly in Google. One is to work on the relevance of your content. The other is to aim for the highest PageRank possible by developing a SEO link building strategy from related websites with high domain authority (PagRank.)continue...
Building back links (or links that point back to a specific website) is one of the best strategies to achieve better Google search engine rankings. The link building process is more labor-intensive than it is talent-intensive; however there are a few tricks of the trade that can make a big difference when it comes to SEO.
In the legal profession, building links can have a momentous impact on your organic search engine rankings. Especially when optimizing for local areas and specific practice areas, the advantages of link building are significant. Rankings are often based on link popularity. Google’s search engine algorithm ranks websites according to:
These are just the link building basics. Expand upon your strategy with these SEO link building tips for lawyers.
The best link pages are found on the home page of a related site. But how will you be able to achieve this?
So you got the tips down, but know you might be wondering where to start on your link building endeavor. This can often be the most challenging part. Some websites that appear ideal for your links may not be willing or able to accept them. As a result, sometimes you have to be creative, build relationships, or perhaps invest a little capital.
Below are some sound techniques to build the best links:
Perfectly formatted inbound links are essential to get high search engine rankings for your law firm website. It has become the core driver to search engine optimization, and should never be overlooked in any website optimization strategy.
Whether through Pay Per Click advertising or Organic SEO, the legal profession is one arena that has taken full advantage of Internet marketing opportunities - however only a few firms are taking advantage of the benefits of Google AdWords Express.
Google AdWords Express is an automated version of AdWords and is designed to make Internet advertising easier for locally-focused small businesses. Simplified to match the needs of entrepreneurs with limited online advertising experience, AdWords Express offers a number of advantageous. The core benefits are that it costs less than a dollar per click and can substantially increase local search visibility for a website.
Buts it’s not just simplicity that small businesses are appreciating in Google AdWords Express. In this platform, local businesses can incorporate their Pay Per Click ads and Google Places page. These add-ons can help a website's search listing stand out even more, which is especially valuable for law firms targeting keywords in competitive practice areas. Instead of representing one of the many red pins in the local Google Map results, a firm could stand out from the crowd with blue pin.
Offering the utmost simplicity from ad creation to measurement of results, AdWords Express provides everything a local business needs to start advertising online.
The legal profession is a highly competitive, even from a local approach. Google's AdWords Express offers an attractive option to maximize a law firm’s web presence with minimal costs and excellent results.
Formerly known as Google Boost, AdWords Express made $28 billion for Google in ad revenues for 2010. In the first two quarters of 2011 it generated $32 billion, declare it a success in the Google books.
With users coming from all across America, it initially targeted just two markets; small businesses like local law firms and those that do not have the time or money to take a larger leap in search engine marketing. The potential that AdWords Express offers to local law firms is immense, particularly for those with limited or non-existent experience in online marketing. Even for those with online marketing program, Google AdWords Express ads can be a great enhancement.continue...
On the premise that each law firm is unique, Consultwebs.com's Marketing Director, Tanner Jones says that the same principle should apply for law firm web marketing campaigns.
This is why Consultwebs.com Inc. offers law firms the option to choose which online marketing strategies and related products and services they deem ideal for their unique goals and budget.
Tanner Jones describes this creative strategy as an “a la carte” approach to law firm online marketing. Because there are a large variety of methods used for online advertising, the ability to pick out what their law firm needs ultimately makes it more personalized and cost effective.
Offering a great deal of flexibility, lawyers can exactly pick out specific strategies that will address their needs as they see it. Jones simplifies it by explaining that "one firm may only want to focus on enhancing its social media marketing, while another firm may only want to redesign its website and improve its content". The law firm internet marketing agency, Consultwebs.com Inc. offers a wide range of web marketing strategies to choose from. Some of the more popular include:
Referring to this particular development, Tanner Jones says, "We work with law firms to pinpoint their goals and to select the best products and services that will meet those goals while staying at a cost that's within their reach."continue...
Lawyers are well aware of the importance of attaining online search exposure. A high organic listing in the search engines can result in an influx of new cases. Many legal professionals are keen enough to realize that such results are achievable in-house, and without the help of a SEO company.
Even for those attorneys who are slightly adept in the how SEO works, realizing better search rankings is no mystery. To help get the ball rolling, below are some basic, yet essential press release optimization techniques that work ideally for law firm web marketing.
Most lawyers know that press releases are essential, but what some fail to realize is that they do not need a Public Relations firm to do it for them. Just about anybody can publish a press release, and when “optimized” correctly, these forms of content can do wonders for SEO.
Press releases that contain the right verbiage and are presented in such a way that offers meaning to readers have tremendous SEO value. Such press releases can end up being found through Google News and other related search outlets. This can result in both better brand awareness and more visitors to your website. If you and your staff can publish a weekly press release, this is one easy way to promote better visibility in the search engines.
Submitting press releases and online articles (otherwise known as “content marketing”) is an effective method to build inbound links to website – which can have an immense impact on SEO. More links pointing to a website deems it more popular, and thus credible, in the search engines.
What brings the most impact to a link is both its source and its anchor text (or “link name.”) Some publishing portals are free, whereas others require payment. Typically, the content publishing portals that are paid-for-use offer heavier link weight. In addition to more powerful links, these portals often allow users to customize the anchor text of links.
Having the ability to customize the anchor text of a link (in virtually any link building context) is huge for SEO. This enables users to use keyword phrases as link names, and thus making the link’s destination more relevant to that phrase.
For example, a law firm plans to publish a press release about Intellectual Property law that has a link pointing to its webpage about I.P. legal services. If the anchor text of that link contains the words “intellectual property,” the link will have greater SEO value, making that webpage more relevant on keyword targets of I.P. law. Furthermore, if the firm was located in Atlanta, Georgia and was pursuing a local search engine optimization strategy, the anchor text “Atlanta intellectual property lawyer,” or a related keyword variation, would serve ideal.
Use the strongest syndicates for your press releases and overall content marketing efforts. Some of the most powerful portals for press releases include PRWeb.com, Marketwire.com, BusinessWire.com, and PRNewsWire.com. Through these online news outlets, you can publish content that contains high quality inbound links.
High authority press syndicates can charge anywhere from $200 to $600 for membership, so choose carefully before investing. In addition, take advantage of any “premium-based” press release submissions these sites have to offer. Often, the better the publishing features, the more options users have in tailoring SEO-oriented press releases.
With these tips, law firms and lawyers alike can have an in-house SEO tool of their own. Many firms that implement consistent press release publishing practices see improvements in search engine rankings and overall website traffic.continue...
Although it is true that more online exposure will increase your chances of acquiring new business, this general concept has resulted in some risky Internet marketing practices.
With respect to the classic phrase “quality over quantity,” it is unfortunate to hear of SEO and Internet marketing companies promoting the use keyword targeted microsites. But it’s not just the concept of using microsites that muddy up brands, it is how each microsite is executed.
So what exactly is a microsite? A microsite is a separate domain that consists of a page, or a group of pages, with the purpose of supplementing a larger domain. The idea of microsite is not all that bad. However often times, businesses are duped into buying several microsites to better their search exposure. This easy outlet for SEO’s typically results in diminishes quality of content and questionable online advertising practices.
One group of professionals that are a popular target for the microsite Internet marketing pitch is lawyers that offer a number of practice areas. Countless firms are convinced by shady SEO companies that building a microsite per practice area is the best way to obtain keyword dominance. Yet many do not realize the risks and implications when rolling out many microsites, especially when the content of each microsite is repurposed over and over.
Obsolete microsites can easily damage a law firm's rankings and online reputation. The reason behind this is simple. Many law firm marketing companies fail to provide copywriting services, let alone understand the importance of unique, optimized content. This results in the same blocks of content being published on many domains, and often times these domains link back to the house, or the main website of the law firm. That’s pretty much telling a Google spider, “Hey, we’ve got duplicate content here. And it is all stemming from this particular source.”
Putting out a bunch of microsites with similar content can spell disaster. You may have heard of a little nuisance (or quality control measure) called Panda. This search engine algorithm change was an effort to pinpoint and penalize websites with duplicate content. Even websites with common phrasing and slightly related content have been punished.
In addition to risking search engine rankings, creating a bunch of microsites can be deceptive to online users. Unless ethically branded and uniquely developed, microsites often take on a different image. Some act as “legal resources,” but ever resource links back to the same law firm website. Other microsites might solely be a landing page, offering no value at all to the user.
If your SEO company proposes the idea of microsite optimization, it may be time to shop around. Strong Internet marketing companies have the capabilities and resources to optimize a website as it is, without resorting to these “gray hat” practices. They understand that duplicate content reduces credibility among search engines and their users. For a service oriented law firm, the repercussions can cripple a brand.
In summary, we recommend consulting with a website marketing firm with experience handling SEO campaigns for law firms. These SEO providers typically offer powerful link building resources and professional SEO copywriting services. This can bring the most impact to your SEO efforts, and ensure that your content is unique and credible.continue...
Online advertising in the legal profession has become extremely competitive, particularly in local Pay Per Click (PPC) and Google Places listings. Attorneys are savvy marketers, and many will admit that Google search is the new Yellow Pages. As a result, many law firms are optimizing their websites, and their Internet marketing efforts, to obtain the most advertising exposure possible from local, in-market searchers.
For a law firm looking to optimize their web presence, whether through SEO or PPC, it is important to understand the difference between the variety of Google's ad placements and listings. At the Law Firm Web Marketing Blog, we break-down three primary mediums that help attain better local search visibility, including some best-practices tips for optimization.
The Google Places listings in the search results have become very prominent as well as popular. Aside from having a nice map for users to view, what is also unique about Google Places listings is the page itself. A Place page is a separate entity to a firm's website. And the Place page is core contributor to better local listings in the Google Places results.
Optimizing a Place page for better local results requires a unique approach. Similar to organic search engine optimization (or natural SEO), the popularity of the page has major influence as to how well a Google Places page ranks. Although popularity is directly uncontrollable, there are a few techniques to enhance a Place page that can promote more traffic.
Bidding for top keyword exposure using local PPC advertising is no secret to lawyers. However only few firms have discovered the power behind Google AdWords Express Ads.
You may be familiar these enhanced Google ads - they have a blue pin on search results map (instead of red), and although they are paid ads, they are associated with Google Places pages. This is a relatively new feature in Google AdWords that offers an easy way to stand out in the local search results. For lawyers, using Google AdWords Express Ads could mean the difference between getting a good case, and letting it slip to a competitor.
The process to create a Google AdWords Express Ad is simple. The entire set-up is all from the edit mode of your Place page. The ad creation process is very simple. To learn more, visit http://www.google.com/support/places/bin/answer.py?answer=1040967
Although these might look similar to Google Places listings, the local search results as shown below are strictly organic listings.
These local results are called "Enhanced Google Listings" because they offer more information in the description of the ad. In addition to the Meta description, enhanced Google listings also display an address which is associated with the Google results map. Improving your results in these listings requires organic search engine optimization techniques.
Realizing better search engine exposure from local, in-market users can be achieved. Out-ranking your competitors may take diligence, but it can be done with the right approach and the right combination of geo-local SEO, PPC, and Google Places optimization.