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Ok Google, I Need a Lawyer

Credit: Consumer Intelligence Research Partners

Credit: Consumer Intelligence Research Partners

Smartphones help you pay bills, communicate, work on the run, tap into your inner photographer, and act as personal assistants. This technology can help people with the basics such as What time is it? Where is the nearest coffee shop? Where is the nearest fire station? It can also help people with life changes such as “I own a business, have two kids, and am getting a divorce”.

Voice search from Apple’s Siri, Google Now, and Microsoft’s Cortana are quickly shaping popular search queries.
While Siri first made its appearance on October 4, 2011, there is likely more development in the wings to upgrade the quality of the responses. Currently, Google is on top for voice searches even though Apple’s iPhone enjoys dominating marketshare among smartphone users.

Google has been enhancing its Knowledge Vault for several years. Some industry insiders have been (more…)

The Curious Relationship Between IT and SEO

SEO and ITImagine a scenario in the “Mad Men” era of marketing where the technicians who kept the printing machines running were invited into the decision room to critique and comment on the ads they would be printing. Frankly, it would never happen. Those mechanical engineers weren’t generally going to provide the best insights on marketing, any more than the marketing personnel could solve ink spatter problems.

Fast-forward to 2015, and you may find that IT personnel are actively involved in reviewing and commenting on search engine marketing data for law firms. In fact, when presenting search engine marketing strategies, account managers often get instructions from lawyers to “explain it to my computer guy.”

The problem with this request is that your website and search engine optimization strategy fall under “marketing and communication” much more than they do “tech”. Your IT personnel will be interested to know the specifications of your hosting environment, web (more…)

Google Shuts the Door on Doorway Pages

youtube one channelThere has been speculation for a number of years that Google would have to include mobile factors when it ranks websites/pages. While not a surprise, the actual implementation of mobile factors is bound to have a large effect on many sites, including law firm websites. If you do not have a mobile-friendly website, this could cost you points in terms of how your law firm ranks on mobile Google searches. It may also cost you new clients. But that’s the only change hitting the search giants legendary algorithm.

Google’s other algorithm modification involves doorway pages to improve user experience. This announcement has come as a surprise to some as these pages were frowned upon years ago and many people stopped doing them. There are still people who create these pages specifically to garner search traffic only, not for user interest. Or as Google said in its Webmaster Central Blog: “We have a (more…)

A look at Google’s highest-ranking personal injury law firms

top_two_pisites_CLM_LabOur friends at Custom Legal Marketing (CLM) recently released a report that examined the highest-ranking personal injury law firms in America’s major cities.

They chose keywords related to car accidents to conduct the study, which focused on the actual website designs of the top two websites for those keywords in cities across the country. It’s an interesting perspective, since ranking studies usually look at other factors — like links, local citations and offsite elements.

The report also measured how the popular do-it-yourself website builders performed in a highly competitive landscape.

Here is what CLM was looking for:
Newer Site Design: How many websites have designs that are less than two years old?
Custom Site Design: How many top-ranking websites were custom-designed for the firm?
Responsiveness: What percentage of these websites have responsive designs?
WordPress CMS: What percentage of high-ranking law firms use WordPress?
Premade Elements: What percentage use pre-made themes or templates?
DIY Site Builders: What percentage use DIY (more…)

Call Only Ads are a Must Have for Law Firms

google_call_onlyGoogle Adwords offers a mobile ad option that instigates a call when someone selects your ad (rather than a click taking the user to a designated web address). This option is called “Call-Only”. In an industry where people are more likely to dial than fill out a form, your campaign is incomplete without a call-only ad.

Google Adwords allows advertisers to create ad groups that are targeted to different platforms. For example, you could have one ad group that is only for people on desktop computers. Another ad group could be for mobile devices. Your ad language and functionality should be slightly different depending on the device your users are on.

The concept of pay-per-call is nothing new, nor is it a Google invention. The first widely used pay-per-call platform (as best we can tell) goes back to a since-acquired company called Ingenio.

Ingenio was founded in 1999. In 2006, the company struck (more…)

Good luck is not a local search strategy

Lucky Law Firm MarketingWhen conducting a search on Google’s homepage, you may have noticed a little button to the right of “Google Search” which says “I’m Feeling Lucky”. Originally, the feature was a fun way to explore the web. Click “I’m Feeling Lucky,” and you go straight to the top-ranking website connected to your search while skipping the search results page. Today, Google uses the button to help Googlers discover art, food and even charities.

While it may be entertaining to play a game of “I’m Feeling Lucky” when meandering around the web, you shouldn’t rely on luck to get your law firm ranking high for local searches.

You may have noticed some law firms that are ranking pretty well in your local search results for your keyphrases. A lot of them probably have the following attributes:

1) A website with a lot of content
2) A website that has an established reputation
3) A solid link portfolio
4) (more…)

Adwords can connect your law firm to the suburbs

Suburban Law Firm MarketingSearch engine marketing often focuses on getting top placement for the most popular keywords related to your law firm’s practice area. This strategy generally delivers the most leads, and it’s a solid approach. But when a big-city search doesn’t perform as well in the suburbs, a pay-per-click campaign might fill the void.

For several years, Google has been using the geographic location of the searcher to determine what search results to display. When you are looking for a place to eat, a mechanic or most other local services, you don’t have tell Google where you are. It knows. And people are catching on.

In most cities, keywords and phrases entered without a city descriptor are getting more traffic than keywords with them. Here are a few examples. The keywords below that do not include a city show the number of searches from within the previously identified city’s limits.

Los Angeles personal injury attorney (more…)

Getting people to use your law firm’s app

iphone_clm_to_goMany law firms see a mobile app as just another item on the list of desirable marketing tools. Once it’s built, they cross it off the list and don’t think about it again, even if it attracts very little attention. They don’t realize that an app needs a marketing plan of its own to really succeed.

If you build it, they won’t necessarily come.

Getting your law firm’s app in the Google Play or Apple store will not independently yield downloads. You have to convince people that your app offers something they can’t currently get from your website.

As a lawyer, knowledge is your product. People pay you for what you know and for the time you spend using that knowledge on their behalf. When someone goes to a doctor, they want to feel better. When someone goes to a lawyer, they want information and action.

You can draw people to your firm by (more…)

If your firm’s website doesn’t go mobile, Google will tell you.

mobile websiteGoogle has started notifying webmasters of their incompatible websites. These notices are sent out through Google Webmaster Tools or via email. If you have received one of these notices, here is what you need to know.

  • It’s not a penalty. Google is not penalizing your website for any wrongdoing. It’s not a warning or a manual action.
  • It may affect your ranking. Last year, Google introduced the “mobile-friendly” tag on the search results page. If you do a search on your mobile device, the search results page will show “mobile-friendly” next to the websites that are responsive or have properly configured mobile websites. We have noticed the majority of websites showing on the first page have the mobile-friendly tag — which leads us to believe that Google is giving preference to these websites for mobile searches.
  • You can fix it. There are a number of options to quickly correct your website. You may (more…)

Local SEO for 2015

In July 2014, Google released the Pigeon algorithm update. As 2015 gets underway, learn how important it is for law firms to understand the effects of Pegeon on local SEO strategies.