Law Firm Web Marketing

    

Local SEO Audits: What to Expect

SEO AuditWhen the term "Audit" is mentioned, many people become a bit anxious or uneasy. This fixation has come about from the traditional role of tax or financial audit. People expect the auditor to dig out some not-so-good facts about a business or its financial position.

Well, an SEO audit is intended to unearth any weaknesses or bottlenecks in a website, and what opportunities reveal potential improvements for advanced rankings. Awareness results in action items. And when it comes to SEO, taking conscious action to improve your SEO, your ability to earn quality cases multiplies ten-fold.

Below are some general principles that define solid local SEO audits. Look for these components when hiring a firm to audit your site and it's local search engine presence.

1. Website Optimization

A website will achieve high rankings if it is properly optimized with minimal complex coding sturcutures (and thus maximized load speed). This entails creating the right web design, making it search-engine friendly, and ensuring the content is unique and of top quality .

Moreso, website optimization deals with the technical components of SEO and how efficiently search engine spiders crawl and index a website. This aspect of a solid SEO audit, although critical, is often overlook by most SEO companies. This even more vital for ecommerce and enterprise level SEO audits, like those provided by www.ClickCentricSEO.com.

2. On-Page SEO

An SEO audit of a law firm website will shed light on the effectiveness of the on-page SEO - that is, quality of content, use of keywords, internal linking, and other on-page factors. In essence, on-page SEO is the necessary foundation for a site to rank highly.

For instance, an SEO audit will examine whether the URLs follow a good naming convention, in addition to titles, meta data, and page copy. The questions are: are they user-friendly, SEO-friendly, and concise? Do they have the relevant keywords used appropriately?

3. Backlink Profile Audit

Overtime, you will need to earn or build backlinks to your website in order to boost keyword rankings and authority. Backlinks come from all types of web properties, such as videos, blogs, social media profiles, directories, and much more.

However, some of the links will be of low quality (e.g. irrelevant or sketchy sources, over-optimized anchor text, or general spam). Instead of improving rankings, poor quality links can get you penalized and deindexed from Google. A legit SEO audit will identify the strengths, weakness, and threats of the backlinks pointing to your website.

4. Social Media Engagement

Social media has become an important marketing tool, and actually impacts SEO. A good website needs to incorporate social media strategies into its design. Besides attracting and engaging the users of social media sites, the website should build long-lasting trust. An audit will check factors that may be undermining the confidence and trust. These include; malware, hidden text, cloaking, and keyword stuffing.

5. Off-Page Ranking Factors

Off-page SEO influences the way search engines algorithms will rank the site. Factors such as popularity, authority, and activity will dictate the success of the website. How popular is the website? Is it an authority? How do reputable sites such as Alexa, Domain Authority, PR, and Page Authority rate your website? A proper local SEO audit will address these questions.

6. Competitive Analysis

The competition amongst websites is mind boggling. The entry of millions of websites into the market makes maintaining a high ranking a nightmare. But how do you gauge your competition? Well, a firm offering audit on SEO uses specific tools to see what your competition is doing to remain of the first pages.

The primary goal of conducting an SEO audit is to ascertain whether the SEO strategies deployed are actually working. Also, it helps gauge the performance of the website against the best in the industry. It is therefore beneficial to make the exercise part of periodic assessment. By employing good local SEO audit, a user is more assured of the website ranking highly as well as becoming an authority.

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Get a Local SEO Audit to Jump-Start Your Firm's 2015 Marketing Plan

Local SEO auditLocal SEO audits are highly valuable for law firms, not only to expose the weaknesses of a website, but also to identify any opportunities for potential improvements to boost keyword rankings. Investing in a local SEO audit is a quick and effective way to evaluate the optimization of your webpages and plays the role of the very first step of building a SEO-friendly website that can help promote your brand and attract the target visitors.

Below are some of the most significant components that you can expect from a professional and comprehensive local SEO audit.

On-Site SEO Analysis

A local SEO audit of your law firm's website will study the on-page optimization and its effectiveness, which is all about the quality of content, internal linking, proper use of keywords and several other factors.

The on-site SEO component of the local SEO audit should also including assessing your webpages for identifying whether it uses unique and relevant meta descriptions, title tags, meta keywords and SEO-friendly URLs as these attributes are considered by Google to determine the search engine ranking and relevancy of your web pages for targeted queries. It also checks whether you have included your contact information on the homepage and the concerning pages.

Backlink Profile Audit

In order to improve the rankings and authority, you need to build or earn backlinks to your law firm's website. Backlinks come from various web sources including blogs, videos, directories, social media profiles etc. But, those links must be of high quality as poor quality backlinks can lead to deindexing from Google.

An efficient SEO audit lets you know the flaws and strengths of the backlinks to your business website. Although some local SEO providers do not scan and audit the backlink profile during a local SEO, the most proficient local SEO companies will take the time to review this vital aspect of your firm's SEO efforts.

Local Directory Listing Audit

A local SEO audit lets you find out your law firms listings on the web and also what they say about you. It may include checking out top local directories for mentions (or "citations") of your business. You can see what information they carry about your law firm including your important NAP data (Name, Address, Phone number), business description, photos, reviews and star ratings.

According to local SEO company, Traverse City Top of Mind, a citation audit for Google local SEO is equally as vital as backlink audit for organic SEO. You can learn more about this important differentiation by reading the 2015 SEO guide at Top of Mind.

Social Media Report

Social media reports of an local SEO audit helps to get a clear picture of your social status on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn or Foursquare. It ensures whether you are using these essential tools to spread the word about your business and engage with your customers as well as the extent to which your customers liking and appreciating your business. Social media is not only a major marketing tool, but it also affects the SEO. An audit checks the factors that influence your website's trust such as hidden text, malware, keywords stuffing and cloaking. You can understand how you can get more social and expand the social-web presence of your business better.

Off-Page Ranking Factors

The way a site is ranked in the algorithms of search engines is highly influenced by the off-Page SEO factors. Conducting a local SEO audit helps to address all the questions regarding the popularity, authority and the activity of your business website. It also examines the ratings of your website by several reputable sites including Domain Authority, Alexa and Page Authority. These factors explain the affluence of the website or your law firm.

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5 Advanced Tips for Technical SEO and Website Optimization

Just like any other business venture, web-driven companies and online stores that invest in SEO usually demand for a sound ROI. Even though it depends on the initial diagnosis and other underlying reasons why and how an SEO campaign was launched, most business owners usually demand immediate results in terms of increased traffic and improved sales.

Unlike other forms of marketing where the results may not be accurately measured, the opposite is true for SEO; the results are measurable and can therefore be weighed and measured against targets on a real time basis.

Technical SEO Website Optimization

As a business owner, don’t fall into the trap of demanding for immediate results during your campaign. Instead, opt for a solid SEO campaign strategy and have an SEO professional walk you through the entire process. This will ensure that you not only understand the process but also appreciate the intricacies of the process. To assist you through the process, here are 5 technical SEO and website optimization tips worth taking into consideration when engaging the SEO services of an expert or agency.

Think Long Term

If you are looking for an SEO professional, never settle for one who claims that he or she can guarantee a number 1 ranking in less than six months. This is mainly because research has shown that the benefits of a well executed SEO strategy don’t usually manifest themselves for at least twelve months. Adopting other tactics which may get your rankings to the top in a short span of time may be good in the short term but are usually catastrophic in the long run.

Establish Realistic Timelines & Expectations

For the best results and avoidance of any doubt, business owners are advised to come up with a realistic and feasible timeline of expectations with the expert or professional at the onset of beginning of the campaign. This often centers on a comprehensive SEO site audit. Such a timeline should be explicit, stating clearly what the expectations are and what should be done if they are not met. It is also important to come up with another timeline once the audit has been done, this is important because it shows how effective the campaign has been over a certain period of time and whether initial goals are being met.

Itemize Expectations

When developing timelines, make sure that the timelines are action oriented and that they are properly segmented into actions and action plans. Contained in these timelines should be details such as three to five weeks for a comprehensive site audit, two months for complete and thorough content revamp, one to two months for undertaking any technical changes, three to four months for link acquisition etc. The importance of these details cannot be overemphasized enough since they provide the entire team with an easy to follow chart of activities which when considered in totality, make the entire campaign easy to manage and hence ensure its success.

Opt for Sustainable Results

When searching for someone to run your campaign, make a point of getting someone who will not only deliver results, but provide you with sustainable results which can drive the company's web presence forward and outwit competitors. Even though getting fast results may solve the immediate problem, sustaining the gains may become an issue if the underlying factors which led to the growth were not fully understood and supported by appropriate business decisions.

Break-down the SEO Campaign Into Small, Achievable Goals

Even though you may be fully aware about what you want to come out of the campaign, break it down into small achievable goals which are easy to manage and also act as a boost to energize you to achieve the next goal. Instead of trying too hard to succeed in SEO via one huge effort, create something small that’s great then measure its performance and use that momentum and lessons learnt to propel you forward and create another starting point from which you can continue improving and perfecting your SEO campaign fully.

In conclusion, it must be understood that any SEO campaign is not an event but a process. This particular process is continuous and for all intents and purposes is never ending. As a business owner, you must be ready and willing to get into such an undertaking for the long haul and with long term goals in mind. This though does not mean that SEO campaigns cannot be run on a short term basis, this can happen if there is a short term or seasonal goal(s) which needs to be achieved at a particular time; but such campaigns are an exception rather than the norm.

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How to Hire a Solid SEO Provider (Insights from Google)

So your company is doing well and now you want to hire an SEO provider? This is a major decision and your future investment depends on how well you can make this choice. This is because many SEO providers make vague claims about what they can do, while never providing results.


Ecommer SEO Service Provider

However, SEO providers that can show their results with proven track record and dates, usually are the ones you should trust, but usually charge heaps of money.

According to Google, here are a few things you should pay attention to before hiring. Check if SEO providers have such services:

  • Analyze your site's content structure
  • Study content development procedures
  • Learn about website development technicalities like JavaScript use, error pages, redirects, hosting, and others for example
  • Learn how online business development campaigns are managed
  • Learn how to perform keyword research
  • Undergo SEO training
  • Know what geographic market specificities mean

Google does not charge to display your website in its search results. That is different than paid advertisement on Google's Adwords. There you pay for your site to appear in Google's Ads and in their partners network.

Questions to Ask Prospective SEO Providers

Before you hire an SEO provider you should gauge their skills, tactics and expertise by asking them a few questions to know their consultancy level. You should do this with many SEO providers so that you can learn how the top ones answer your questions, and what you can expect as you proceed to make such types of meetings. Questions include:

  • Do you provide cases studies or success stories of your previous work?
  • Do you offer initial SEO site auditing prior to any formal program
  • Is your work compliant with Google's Webmaster Guidelines?
  • Do you have consultancy services to complement your online search and marketing services business?
  • How long have you been in the industry?
  • What's your experience with providing local SEO in specific countries/cities?
  • What are your main SEO strategies and techniques?
  • What's your experience in this industry?
  • How long has your company been operating?
  • How can I know the progress my marketing campaign is having with you? What are the communication means you use, and how do you make reports, and show me progress statistics?

Research The Industry

Use Google in order to find the best SEO companies in your market. It's best that you act locally so that you can make office visits, and speak in person with your SEO agents, among many other benefits.

If choosing an SEO provider that's far away from your location, however, you should choose reputable companies with established businesses, that have many genuine reviews from previous customers.

Linking To An SEO Shouldn't Be Required

Many SEO providers have the habit of requesting a link back to their site. This not only goes against Google's Webmaster Guidelines, but it is a way of reducing your site's link popularity rate. So it would be the same as paying to build your own service provider's website.

These are among the main pointers that Google has to help you hire the best SEO company you can. Also, if by any chance you have been deceived by an SEO service provider, you can report unfair business practices to www.ftc.gov. If the company is located outside the US you can report them to www.econsumer.gov. Doing this ensures that only the legit SEO providers remain in the market. Also check out Google's article on do you need SEO? at the Google Webmasters Blog.

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How to Evaluate a Site's Backlink Profile for SEO

Site AuditLong-believed to be a critical element in the process of SEO, backlinks are considered a dirty word for many marketers, specifically due to Google's changing policies in regard to link building. Backlinks are an important indicator of authority, allowing Google to determine a website's value, and whether or not it delivers the information users are looking for.

Yet backlinks can be tricky, and webmasters need to rethink their link-building strategy in order to get their websites ranked higher. Unnatural links obtained from link schemes can do more harm than good, offering short-term results that make websites vulnerable to penalties imposed by Google.

And if you are not the one trying to acquire unnatural links, there's another  and oftentimes much scarier  premise: your competitors are submitting links to your website across the Internet to land you in the penalty jail. That's why doing back link audits periodically can help you identify bad backlinks and take further action to remove them.

Backlinks Site Audit Process

The guide below shows you the process of doing a backlink site audit, as well as the variables to take into account in order to ensure that all of your links are completely natural.

Step 1. Find a suitable backlink checker. The most popular tools available for auditing your backlink profile are Ahrefs.com, Majestic SEO and Open Site Explorer by Moz. However, you will need to get a paid monthly subscription to get access to all of your backlinks and easily export them in a CSV file format.

Step 2. Once youíre found the desired tool, enter your website URL in the designated field, and wait for it to parse the data.

Step 3. Take the time to review the various information gathered by the tool. Regardless of the SEO back link checker you use, the report should be pretty much the same in terms of elements included: number of backlinks, number of referring domains, anchor texts, URL rating, domain rating, referring pages, and more. While they are all important, only a few of them will directly impact how your website ranks in search engines and these are:

Anchor Text Ratio

The anchor text is a text that webmasters use to embed clickable URLs in. Most of the time, anchor texts are keywords instead of random phrases, and the more competitive these keywords are, the higher the website will rank for them.

In essence, if someone links back to your website with the anchor text, say, best digital marketing agency, this tells search engines that your website is very relevant to that keyword, so it will rank higher for it. Look at the anchor texts included with your backlinks if they are highly relevant, that's good, but if they seem randomly choose, have them changed or completely removed.

Relevancy of Referring Sources

Are the referring sources relevant to your website or niche? If you have a website about shoes (and implicitly, in the fashion industry/niche), relevant backlinks should be coming from websites in the fashion industry as well.

This shows search engines that you have authority in your niche, helping you get at the top of search engines. If you spot a backlink in, say, automotive industry, itís not relevant, and it may actually hurt your rankings instead of helping you rank higher.

Domain Authority of Referring Sources

Domain authority is the most important factor included in Googleís ranking algorithm, and it is calculated based on different variables such as the number of relevant backlinks you have, relevancy of referring sources, and more. The domain authority ranks site on a 100-point scale, so the closer you are to 100, the more authoritative your website is (and the higher it ranks in Google).

To determine the domain authority of your referring sources, simply copy and paste the root domain name in another browser tab with the same backlink checker opened. If a website with a high domain authority links back to you, it means that your content is of a very high quality and likely meets Google's Webmaster Guidelines, thus giving you a boost in search engine rankings.

Social Credibility of Referring Sources

The modern era of information technology is dominated by social media, and websites with a good presence on social networks are usually given more weight in SERPs. A good presence on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other platforms shows search engines that your content is appreciated by your audience, thus ranking your higher.

Take the time to analyze the social credibility of your referring sources. Never let the number of likes, shares, tweets or +1s fool you many companies purchase them in 10,000-for-$10 packages, so they're of a very high quality despite the huge number. Instead, look at user engagement: how often do customers post on the company's social profiles, and how much overall activity does it have?

Final Word About SEO Site Backlink Audit

These are just a few of the things to keep top of mind when doing a SEO site backlink audit. Make sure to copy and paste bad backlinks in a separate document, so you can create a disavow file to submit to Google Webmaster Tools and have those hurtful links removed. This will increase your authority and help your website rank significantly higher, giving search engines no reason to ever penalize you.

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SEO Site Audit: A Sound Marketing Investment for 2016

SEO Site AuditAn SEO site audit is one of the most important tools in identifying your website’s current SEO standing and overall rankings potential. In short, SEO site audits offer insights on how to improve your law firm's website to rank high in search engine results.

In most cases, an SEO audit looks at the technical infrastructure of a website, the on-page and the off-page elements that affects a website’s usability, overall search engine visibility, and conversion rate optimization (CRO).

Put simply, SEO site audit gives you a comprehensive picture of the effectiveness of your website and the marketing strategies you have out in place.

It's also worth mentioning that SEO site audits should be conducted regularly, at least every year. There are many reasons why your law firm or legal practice should perform regular SEO audits, or invest in an SEO site audit from a professional SEO company.

Adapt to Google Algorithm Changes

Google and other search engines are always updating their algorithms in a bid to better the search results. As an online marketer, you need to be informed of any algorithm changes so you can make the necessary changes to the content on your website.

Respecting Google Panda

Google Panda, which was introduced in 2011, looks at the quality of the content in your site. By quality, Google Panda looks at “thin” content (content that adds little or no value to your visitors), duplicate content (content sourced from other sites) and keyword stuffed content (overused keywords).

Sites with low content are ranked low and they may not be indexed in Google. For a site to rank high, it must have original content – Google has way of checking that you are the creator of the content.

The only way to recover from a Panda hit is to perform an SEO site audit and make necessary changes. Every month Google refreshes the algorithm. If not refreshing, they call an update. To be on the safe, always publish high quality content.

Avoiding Google Penguin

Google Penguin was created in 2012 with an aim of hitting sites that create unnatural backlinks. A link is like a vote to your site. If a popular site shares a link to your site, Google will take it that your site should be highly ranked. If an unknown site shares a link to your site, it is not going to count much – unless many small sites vote for you.

In the past, you could cheat the algorithm by creating a horde of self-made links and using anchor texts. Nowadays, one self-made link may affect your whole site. While a genuine link from a known site is good, getting many links from low quality sites is also effective. Like Google Panda, Google Penguin algorithm updates refresh regularly. Get good links and your site will not be unindexed or ranked low.

Meet Webmaster’s Guidelines

Google, Bing and Yahoo are always changing their webmaster guidelines. An SEO site audit ensures that you always comply with the new tools. Here elements of Google Webmaster Tools and Analytics are key to check a site's health and overall crawl and indexing rates, which indicate trust in a site.

Check for Website Errors, Titles and Meta Data and Outdated Content

These enhance the usability of your website. If your website is returning a 404, 403 or any other error to the visitors, the only way to tell is through an audit. Websites errors may also include broken links.

Performing an audit will identify them and help direct the lost traffic. The meta descriptions and the title tags are the first thing that a visitor will see the moment they visit your site. It is important that they are relevant to your site content. Even a good article becomes outdated, an SEO site audit will identify outdated content.

Conclusion

Basically, a comprehensive audit looks at site accessibility (robots meta tags, robots.txt, XML sitemap, site architecture and performance among others), indexability (whether your webpages are indexed, whether penalized and why), on-page ranking factors (URL, content and HTML Markup), off-page ranking factors (backlinks, popularity, trustworthiness and social engagement) and finally competitive analysis.

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How To Prepare Your Law Firm SEO Strategy for 2016

SEO strategies for law firms require in-depth understanding of the most effective and safe SEO techniques and how they incorporated and carried out. Legal services are one of the most expensive and competitive SEO niches in search. Many law firms have invested good amount of their resources to SEO in an effort to reach more potential clients.

Constant adaptation of SEO strategies is very crucial for the success of a law firm on the web. To help prepare your law firm's SEO strategy for 2016, the following are foundational pillars and elements worth addressing.

SEO Essentials for Web Design

The most basic thing in your internet marketing efforts is the website. It should be highly professional, and the web designer must understand search engine optimization and keyword research to ensure your site is SEO-friendly.

Unprofessional web development and design can do harm to your website by incorporating things that are not acceptable by Google. The site should be search engine friendly as much as possible. Professional web development Peoria, IL will have a better Google ranking and therefore getting great exposure to many internet users

SEO Implementation

SEO requires optimization of many things such as subheadings, URLs, text, meta-tags, headings, images, categorization of the content, load time, interlinking structures and many more. There are various items in the search engine algorithms.

It is very important to hire SEO Traverse City specialist who can guide your firm with latest techniques and implement your SEO strategies.

Link Building

Quality backlinks are one of the items that can make your site rank in the search engines such as Google. The major way of getting many backlinks is by having authoritative, unique and relevant content. Other link building items include great public relations, article marketing, and directory submissions.

Social Media Marketing

There are million of people using various social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. All these people are your potential customers, so you should get in front of them on these platforms. Your content should be engaging, consistent and useful. Search engine optimization has been enhanced by the social content sharing among users, and this can improve your exposure.

Content Marketing

Particularly for SEO in 2016, great content is a key element to success in search, as well as other forms of internet marketing. Without a good content, your SEO, public relations, and social media strategies will not be successful. You can hire experts to help you write e-books, blog posts, printed book, develop videos and many more. Also, ensure that you have enough time to share all these pieces of contents in the channels available.

After auditing your on-page SEO, the next crucial step is to conduct technical SEO site audit. Your site should be free of all technical issues that may cost you traffic and make it tough in ranking. The technical audit expert should focus on information architecture, server response codes and site loading time. If any of these areas are weak, they should be added to your priority SEO to do's list.

Depending on the nature and complexity of your site, a technical SEO audit can be exhausting. It is recommended that the auditing should be done in two phase. The first phase involves the listing of all metrics and targets while the second phase involves adopting recommendations. Technical auditing is meant to eliminate all technical errors and ensure the site is optimal for crawling and indexing.

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