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.
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...
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...
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.
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...
There is no doubt that link building is now the powerhouse to stronger search engine rankings. For law firms with regional SEO focus, or those who are optimizing for locally-targeted practice areas (e.g. "Dallas business litigation lawyer,") the strategies for link building come in many forms.
It is not only important to consider what sources for link building a law firm should use, but also how links are built. In this article we discuss a great linking strategy for lawyers who have a local SEO focus. To learn more about the general practice of link building, read this post about SEO link building tips for lawyers.
Before we can define partial linking, we must first define "anchor text." Anchor text is used to define the visible words that are displayed in a link. Using customized (or optimized) anchor text substitutes the need to use the URL for the link. As a result, a search engine spider can better evaluate the keyword relevancy of the anchor text to that of the webpage’s content. This is a big factor in SEO, for it makes websites more popular on certain keyword phrases.
The practice of partial linking means using only a part of the link destination's keyword target in the anchor text. For example, a law firm web marketing blog wants to build an optimized backlink to a website for a corporate lawyer based out of Boston. The blog writer could script the link's anchor text to include all keyword in the targeted search phrase (e.g. "Boston corporate lawyer" or "corporate attorney in Boston.") However from a partial linking perspective, the blog could publish the anchor text to include only the city "Boston," or perhaps only the practice of "corporate" law, in the link.
Some might ask, why script the anchor text of link to read only a portion of the true keyword target? For one, SEO is long-term endeavor. Google interprets websites based on single words and the density of those single words. Although keyword phrasing is important, becoming more relevant on single words is sound strategy for local Internet marketing and long-term link building.
The homepage in particular is the most important page of a website when it comes to SEO. The home domain supports a number of keywords, and may be relevant on several un-related terms. Partial link building is highly effective for backlinks pointing to the homepage. This helps to focus the keyword relevancy of site one word at a time. And although this might appear less efficient than linking with a full keyword phrase, the result can support greater, long-term rankings on both local and globally-targeted keyword phrases.continue...
Law firm web marketing is one of the greatest channels to gain a competitive advantage in the legal profession.
Internet marketing for law firms places significant focus on search engine optimization, which is essential to be found on Google, Bing, and other major search engines.
Implementing the best practices of law firm web marketing and SEO is one of the best ways capture prospective customers. A high ranking website that is visible on many relevant search phrases can provide incredible opportunities.
Below we've outline the top 3 tips for law firm Internet marketing, and how to get the most SEO benefit from a legal website.
The content of a website is an essential element to SEO. By intricately weaving relevant keywords into the copy of your website, you help search engine spiders (or crawlers) index your site according to those keywords. As a result, your website will have more relevance to the targeted keyword phrases that drive you business.
In today's competitive SEO game, it is important to choose keywords that are very specific to your legal practice. Generic keywords, such as "business lawyer," can be too broad and too competitive.
Not only should you consider highly specific keyword targets, such as “business tax attorney,” but also consider local variations, like “Atlanta business lawyer.”
This leads us into our next point about geo-local SEO.
The local search results, such as Google Places, are becoming increasingly important for SEO. Because most law firms represent clients in specific regions, it is wise to reference geo-specific keywords in your SEO efforts.
Be sure to include the local information about your law firm on your website. A solid tip here is to include the firm’s address in the footer of the website. It also doesn't hurt to mention your city or local service areas within the content of the site, such as "contact your trusted family lawyers in Chicago, IL."
Additionally, you can really maximize your local SEO strategy by including geo-references in your link building efforts, which is described in more detail below.
Inbound links, or backlinks, are the powerhouse to higher organic search engine rankings. Link building has become very important to compete in SEO, and now there are a number of platforms available to build backlinks.
Some of the most effective resources to build links to you law firm's website are legal directories, forums, and blogs. Whether you want to start your own blog, or surf other related blogs to write comments (and add links to those comments,) the channels are almost endless. They just require a little creativity.
Legal directories are often times the easiest way to earn backlinks. This task demands finding the proper online directories that will allow you to place (or buy) a listing on their directory. Your listing will contain a link back to your law firm website, and thus deem it more credible and trustworthy in the search engines.
Where real strategy comes into play is the link's anchor text, or link name. If the anchor text of the link reads your specific keyword target (e.g. “Grand Rapids personal injury lawyers”) then the webpage being linked to will have greater relevancy to that particular phrase. You can even take this link building practice deeper by executing partial linking strategies.
We hope these 3 law firm Internet marketing & SEO tips will help you on your way to better success in the search engines. Thanks for visiting the Law Firm Web Marketing Blog!continue...
There are many SEO's and webmasters who are constantly trying to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to search engine optimization. The ideal SEO recipe that Google and other search engines tend to favor seems to change consistently.
The good news is that the best-practices of on-page optimization has remained fairly consistent after Panda - a Google algorithm change that penalized websites with duplicate and/or keyword stuffed content. Aside from the latter concern, the techniques of on-page optimization have remained pretty consistent in nature.
To better hone in on you on-page optimization efforts, we have compiled the SEO do's and don'ts for on-page optimization
1. Write a creative, keyword relevant title. The title is one of the most important parts of a web page. In addition to including the primary keyword target, the title is the main headline in the search engine placement, so it must sell too.
2. Use H2 and H3 tags where they're appropriate. These tags help the search engines understand the second and third most important headings of the page, and serve as ideal opportunities to use secondary keyword targets.
3. Add alt tags to your photos. This is not only simple to do, but it also adds a lot more keyword relevancy to the page. The image alt tags (or alternative tags) are there incase the image cannot be displayed. The text should reflect the image, however if keyword inclusion is always welcome.
4. Trim the fat. Slow loading pages get punished by Google. The Google team has made no secret that they are now ranking fast loading sites better due to their performance and overall user experience. If you are neck and neck with a competitor, removing unused scripts and choppy code may be enough to put you over the top.
5. Optimize keywords per page and align the page title, meta tags, and on-page copy with the respected keyword target. Don't attempt to optimize a page for a ton of keywords, just pick one or two.
6. Update your site often. The powers that be, love fresh content. Give them what they want and be rewarded. Blogs are a great way to keep fresh content flowing in a natural fashion.
1. Never stuff keywords in your content. This is an old trick and your site will only be penalized for over-using a keyword phrase on the pages. Use a natural flow while writing and allow the keywords to come out in an organic manner.
2. Avoid using hidden text. This is another old trick that the search engines are now privy to. If you try to hide text by making it the same color as your background, this can result in the site being penalized.
3. Do not promote off topic affiliate programs. Just a heads up, there are some offers out there that don’t look good on your site or to search engines, keep your ads clean and only display ads from reputable and relevant brands.
4. Re-size your images the right way. Many times people will use html code to re-size an image. The problem with doing it that way is the image still has to load entirely before resizing it. If you upload an optimized image to your site, it will boost load times and help your sites overall presence.
5. Avoid graphic intensive themes. This rule is here just to remind you that the more graphics you have, the slower the page may load. And unlike text, not all images are index-able, so they serve no good to the SEO effort.
We hope you can benefit from these on-page optimization tips. Thanks for visiting the Law Firm Web Marketing blog.continue...
Organic search engine optimization is a significant aspect of most website marketing strategies. Many SEO experts will agree that the efforts performed off from the website (off-site SEO) have the heaviest impact on search engine rankings; however there are some aspects of on-site SEO that are often overlook.
One of those on-site techniques is internal linking - or the linking between pages of the same web domain. In essence, internal linking (or "cross linking") is favored by search engines and displays good on-site navigation and usability. And when strategically implemented, internal linking is a way to get multiple rankings for one keyword search (also known as "double stacks".)
It is very easy to build internal cross links within your website. There are two very important variables to keep in mind:
For instance, if you have a page on your website all about "men's hair loss treatments," and another page all about "men's hair loss products," these two pages share relevancy to one another (both about men's hair loss) and are worthy of being cross linked.
More specifically, if the anchor text of the link reads "men's hair loss products," and the link points to that page about products, the search engines will only deem that page more relevant the keyword search: men's hair loss products. You dig?
Internal linking is a must-do strategy for thorough optimization of a website. Not only does it contribute to greater SEO performance, but also better navigation when users visit your site. If you follow these internal linking tips, you might be able to see multiple stacks of your website listing in the search engines rankings.
Do you have any additional internal linking tips that you use? Please add them in the comments section below.continue...
Finding good sources for backlinks is an integral aspect to the organic SEO process. In order for a website to be competitive in organic search, quality backlinks are a must.
Quality is critical in this aspect of SEO, making the process of building backlinks a meticulous task. In short, there are various limitations and risks involved, such as being penalized by Google for unnatural backlinks pointing to a site.
So how does overcome these hurdles to create a successful organic SEO campaign? A classic solution is to utilize trusted and authoritative directories. Although many directories have lost their SEO value, there are still several out there that provide adequate link juice for SEO.
Below are three of quality directories that can help supplement your organic SEO strategy.
Elib.org is a high authority directory that offers a wealth of categories for various industries and markets. This helps to ensure that the backlinks coming from a listing are as relevant as possible.
Elib.org offers three types of directory submissions: basic, express, and sponsored. Each require payment at different price points, however the more premium the choice the great value to be had for organic SEO.
The "sponsored" submission offers the greatest SEO-impact because you can include up to five backlinks in a listing profile. Just be sure to blend the anchor text of any additional backlinks to ensure they appear natural (and not over-optimized.)
The Yahoo! Directory listings are recognized for top-shelf backlinks. In addition to Google, the Yahoo! Directory can significantly aid keyword rankings in Bing and Yahoo! search engines.
The downside to this directory is that the investment is not cheap. The annual fee is hefty $299, but if your organic SEO budget allows, then this solid directory is definitely opt for this one.
The DMOZ directory has a track record for aiding organic SEO projects of all types. It's a well-known directory that's supported by expertise that most other directories fail to offer. As an authoritative backlink sources with a PageRank of 7, DMOZ.org is a must-pursue for all organic SEO experts in the profession, (not to mention that it's completely free.)
When you visit DMOZ.org, simply find the category in which your website best falls under. Then, near the top right of the page, click the "Suggest URL" link to submitted the domain of interest. The timeline is questionable, but if the site is legit and completely matches that of the chosen category, it should be a matter of weeks before you get a nice backlink to your website.continue...