Would a personal injury lawyer use a corporate design for their phone book ad? Would a divorce attorney use an ambulance on their billboard? And would a corporate attorney have an image of a family in crisis? You probably know the answers.
All marketing literature from print to mass media to the web must be properly branded to your practice area. This is very basic. However, many law firms try to cut costs with their online law firm marketing efforts by using templates for their website.
The problem with template designs is that they are oftentimes designed around generic ideas. For example, if a designer is trying to sell their cookie cutter template to as many attorneys as possible, they are going to make it suitable for common ideas. So you will have a gavel, a serious looking professional in a suit, and nine times out of ten, the United States Capitol Building.
At the center of online law firm marketing is search engine optimization. While some less scrupulous search engine optimization companies may give promises of overnight success, the rise to the top requires a little time investment.
Websites that rank highly in Google and other search engines do so because of their clear design, navigation, sometimes age, and the quality of their website.
Search engines want to deliver the highest quality results to their search audience. Google claimed market share from competing search engines like Yahoo and Altavista by writing an algorithm that assessed a quality score to every website and ranked them accordingly. The result, a search engine that displayed top quality search results.
Of course by doing so, they raised the standards of website development and search engine optimization and made it a little harder to get to the top.
In most moderately competitive markets, rankings move up in a “two steps forward, one (more…)
One of the best things we get to do on a daily basis is talk to lawyers from all across the country from law firms of all sizes. It is through this daily interaction that we learn about the concerns of attorneys in their pursuit of online marketing strategies that work.
A major concern with many firms is whether or not they can compete, since they are coming into the online market much later than firms that may have established a web presence well over a decade ago.
While it will not happen overnight, your law firm can compete in the search engines.
When ranking a website, Google looks at two primary elements: your website and the number of quality links coming into your website. The advantage that law firms have – that started many years ago – is simply their inbound link population.
As your website exists, serves visitors and is referenced in third (more…)
We recently did some research on some of America’s largest law firms to see what they do to get traffic from the web. So we picked a few of the firms from the nation’s top 250 largest law firms. Basically, these firms are becoming content machines.
First, we looked at the largest law firm in the country, DLA Piper. On most of their practice areas (on their website referred to as global services) they have a list of publications separated from the news. From an SEO perspective, what we found most fascinating is that their website has a horrible URL structure (i.e. http://www.dlapiper.com/global/services/detail.aspx?service=629&show=pubs) but their publications have neat SEO friendly URL (i.e. http://www.dlapiper.com/life-sciences-personalized-medicine-shift/). Remember, the structure of your URL plays a huge role in how Google favors your website.
Baker & McKenzie (the second largest firm) was our favorite. Separate from news, they have published a massive number of articles on their site (more…)
If your law firm is getting website traffic but converting to fewer cases, one simple fix could be a quick upgrade.
Oftentimes, law firms that have been around a while, have traffic going into their website. If the domain name (www.yourlawfirmname.com) has a few years behind it, that greatly helps the search engine optimization process. Google looks at websites that are more established, have stood the test of time, and offer valuable content. So an aged domain name is a big plus for the search engine marketing side.
While Google likes seeing websites that have been around the web for a significant length of time, that does not necessarily mean they want your design to be old. In fact, if your design is more than a few years old, it’s time for a new one.
The standards for web design have changed significantly over the years. Back in the early nineties, websites frequently used (more…)
When you have traffic on your law firm’s website, you are only halfway to your goal. Google wants to see high quality websites with error free code and professional design. Designs that offer easy navigation for both your end user and the search engine bots are key to getting favorable rankings in the search engines.
Once you have a professional website with inbound links, and your website appears on the first page, then it is time convert traffic to new cases.
Your website must include a call to action. What do you want your visitors to do? Do you want them to read about your achievements, your history and your education? Certainly those are all very important items to have on your website to build a level of confidence in your legal abilities. Ultimately, you want an email or phone call.
The best way to improve your website’s conversion is through a call to (more…)
As many took off this Columbus Day, we continued to work hard to make sure that the attorneys who trust us with their legal marketing continued to climb the search engine ladder.
When Christopher Columbus embarked on his journey, he was searching for the Indies but clearly missed; and thus, landed in North America. When it comes to your law firm’s online marketing, you can’t really afford misdirection as it never ends with discovering something better.
The Internet is still very young (only being commercially accessible to the public since the early 90’s) and still a little risky to explore. This is why it helps to embark on your law firm marketing journey with a map to make sure you are pointing in the right direction.
Here are a few things to consider before marketing your firm online.
1) What are your keywords? – If you optimize for keyphrases that nobody searches for, you will (more…)
Unlike other legal marketing and search engine optimization companies, we like to express an honest expectation of how search engine optimization works. The search engine optimization process is progressive, which means a newly optimized website will gradually make its way to the first page of Google for its related search terms.
So at first your attorney website may rank on page 5 (shortly after the SEO re-indexing) then it will work its way to page 3, then 2, and then ultimately to the first page.
So does that mean you are not going to see results for months? Not at all. Utilizing a series of traffic sources is what gets you to the first page.
You have two main elements of search engine optimization: onsite relevance and third party websites linking to your law firm’s website. The inbound links build credibility for your website, thus resulting in a high ranking.
What are the traffic sources?
As the web standards change, your website may become an obsolete part of your law firm marketing effort. However, not all attorney websites are over the hill. You may in fact own a search engine friendly website that just needs a few modifications.
Here is a checklist to determine whether or not you need to upgrade your site’s design.
Format – Is your website written in HTML, ASP or ASPX, PHP, or CFM (Coldfusion)? If it is written in something other than HTML, is there a content management system that allows you to edit online? Many older content management systems are not SEO friendly. If you are using a program that is sub-hosted by a service provider, chances are, it is also not SEO friendly. However, if your website is in HTML and has a fairly modern design, you can probably get away with doing search engine optimization on your existing site without (more…)
As new methods of online law firm marketing surface and existing forms get enhanced, it’s important to notice another change in the webosphere. Things are getting prettier.
Sometimes we like taking a trip down memory lane and looking at the exhibits of yesteryear. First stop, the museum of website design. In 1990, an application was introduced called the WorldWideWeb Browser. It just so happened to also be an editor. You can see a screenshot of this masterful work at http://www.w3.org/History/1994/WWW/Journals/CACM/screensnap2_24c.gif.
The concept was simple. A website was little more than a bunch of textual pages linked together. A few pages of content, some links to other similar content, and tada, you have a website. Was it built for conversion and optimized for the 20 nonstandard search engines? Probably not. But it was a website and it laid the foundation for the Internet we now have.
Nearly twenty years ago, there was much fascination (more…)