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Think beyond text on a webpage for your content marketing

beyond textContent marketing will continue to get a lot of attention as websites adjust to Google’s new Hummingbird algorithm, which was quietly rolled out in August and formally announced at the end of September. This release is the first entirely new rewrite of the company’s algorithm since 2001, and it changes the way Google looks at keywords. Hummingbird is a move toward a more contextual, semantic search; that is, rather than just focusing on individual keywords or keyphrases, the search engine will try to discern the whole meaning of the text a user enters in order to return results that more accurately reflect the searcher’s intent.

How does this affect your firm’s effort to continually better your search rankings and increase traffic to your site? If you have been keeping abreast of the series of updates known as Panda and Penguin, then it is unlikely you will have to make too many (more…)

Speak to client needs by turning features into benefits

benefitsAttorney marketing is tricky in many ways. You must sell a service that only a certain percentage of the population will ever need, and you do not have the same ability to manufacture demand as large retail companies like Nike or Apple. Attorneys are also restricted in many different ways by a variety of recommendations unique to each state bar’s interpretation of best marketing practices. Lawyers must even approach marketing differently than other service providers who face fewer constraints on they ways in which they can present themselves to the public.

However, attorneys can learn from traditional retail marketing in one very important way: The predominant message of successful campaigns is a focus on benefits rather than features. This is true of top national brands that may not mention a product at all until the end of a spot to local businesses. A commercial for a landscape architect will not showcase (more…)

7 Ways to Enhance Your Local Search Marketing Efforts

localWith the release of Penguin 2.0 in May, Google made it apparent that, among other things, a business’s location would play a little more heavily in search results. You may have noticed over the last few months that businesses near you are getting preferential placement in results for non-geo-specific terms like “sushi” or “veterinarian.” Your firm can take advantage of this development by adding a targeted local strategy to your online marketing efforts.

Google wants to see more diverse link profiles and higher quality content in its quest to provide relevant and useful results. Old-fashioned link exchanges and over-optimized, location-based keyword stuffed pages will do your firm more harm than good. Google may be giving physical proximity more weight, but it will still recognize and penalize geo-specific keyword spam.

Instead, local search marketing efforts must be organic. Here are some things you can do to make sure (more…)

Getting Personal Leads To Getting New Clients – Podcast

People hire you because you ARE you. They do not hire logos. They want to know something about you and your firm before they connect with you. Check out how to do that.

Who is paying attention to banner ads?

One of the challenges of online marketing is determining how to best divide your budget between available methods. A number of forces continue to converge that make this decision ever more complicated. Google’s successful efforts to encourage high-quality, contextually relevant content and penalize sites that try to take short-cuts coupled with the growing influence of apps and mobile search are forcing firms to employ multiple tactics. And the question of how much social media activity and influence may (or may not) affect results adds another layer of complexity.

Within this patchwork of integrated marketing are some tools that have been around for many years, like email marketing and banner ads. Banner ads are ubiquitous, and marketers still like to argue over whether or not they are effective. Certainly, if your firm that predominantly serves small businesses within your local geographic area places ads on a large national site like Bloomberg.com, you will (more…)

Back to basics: How healthy is your law firm brand?

brandBranding is a commonly maligned concept in the legal world, too often associated with low-quality advertising and a move away from focusing on client service. But branding and practice are not mutually exclusive; they can and should work to support each other.

No, a snazzy logo alone will not bring in more business. But your brand is much more than just a logo or a tagline; branding and marketing are not the same thing. Your brand is the sum of everything you do. It is the overall image that comes to mind when others think of your firm. Your brand must convey a sense of your firm’s culture and personality while also reinforcing the benefit you provide to your ideal client. Your brand is a promise. And it must set you apart in a meaningful way from other attorneys in your area.

What is (more…)

Overuse of acronyms in your writing is BS

Every industry has its jargon, acronyms and language that is shared only by those within the profession. Such shorthand is necessary and understandable; people, particularly those who deal with highly technical information, benefit from methods that help them quickly communicate ideas among themselves. Sometimes acronyms spill out into the general population and become so widely used that they can be comfortably employed by writers in any industry with the understanding that most people will be aware of their meaning. But more often, industry terms are confusing to those who have no cause to them them regularly.

There is a difference, technically between acronyms and initialisms. Acronyms form a new word that is pronounced as such, like SNAP, while initialisms form a series of letters that is read as letters, like FBI or ACH. Both acronyms and initialisms should be used thoughtfully and sparingly when writing for a broad audience – (more…)

Get more out of your thank you pages

In a highly saturated market, firms must pay attention to every piece of their marketing efforts. Small details may be the things that ultimately push people to choose you over the competition.

Convincing a website visitor to contact your firm is just a first step; the ultimate goal is of course to convert that visitor into a client. The more you can personalize their experience and convince them that you are a trustworthy resource, they more likely they are to actually take the next step and hire your firm. An often underutilized resource in the conversion process is the thank you page that is displayed after a visitor completes a form submission.

Hopefully, your website already uses thank you pages. That is, once a visitor fills out and submits a form, they are redirected to a page that at a minimum thanks them for their interest in your firm and tells them (more…)

Expand your influence beyond your own blog

Having a regularly updated website and attorney blog are both important factors in any search marketing campaign. In addition to the basic SEO value of well-written content, frequent posting helps to establish trust with potential clients, who will come to see you as a reliable source of helpful information. Being the expert who people can turn to for helpful knowledge has good marketing potential.

But there is a whole world out there beyond your own website where people looking for legal services are searching for information about you. The firm Moses & Rooth, curious about opinions from actual consumers not marketing companies, partnered with Mike Blumenthal to conduct a study about the behaviors of those in need of a specialty lawyer. One question asked, if you are searching for a lawyer online, “what is most important to you?” The top choice of respondents was, “Information about them elsewhere on the Internet,” followed (more…)

How much your firm’s SEO rankings would cost in PPC

Law firms often look at their SEO investment in terms of increased rankings, web leads, phone calls, and other measurable improvements. But there is another way to look at your SEO investment, the pay-per-click value.

The pay-per-click (PPC) value looks at these elements:

1) Your search engine rankings in Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

2) The cost-per-click (CPC) for those keywords at their current position (i.e., if the website is ranked number five for “Boston divorce lawyer,” the CPC would be based on a sponsored listing at position five). That is calculated for all three search engines.

3) The amount of money it would cost to run ads 24/7 on all three search engines with no daily maximum. This is essentially the level of exposure you are receiving with your search engine placement.

We ran a report on a small handful of websites in various practice areas and cities to show a comparison of what (more…)