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How Older Law Firm Sites Lose their Position

Google Penguin - © 2012 Adviatech Corp. All rights reserved.

Google Penguin may not be the only reason an older website loses ground in the search engines.

Having an old domain name and a well-established presence in Google can help your law firm achieve and keep high search engine rankings. But sometimes, older websites fall from their coveted positions, leaving the law office confused and faced with declining leads.

This week, we look at some common causes for dropped rankings.

Google Panda/Penguin Updates – Earlier in the year, Google released a series of content-related updates called Panda, and penalizing link-related updates, dubbed Penguin. Most of the older law websites that experienced a decline were being penalized for duplicate content, link exchanges, or possibly by having old websites that had formatting and technical issues.

Not all websites that saw a drop in their rankings did anything wrong. We looked at a number of the law firms that compete with our clients (more…)

Lessons learned from a day of competitor research

Researching your competitors is an important aspect of both the website design and marketing process. Keeping an eye on what others in your field (and locality) are doing helps provide important insight as to what works and what doesn’t. It also helps you avoid making the mistake of marketing your firm in a way that is too similar to that of other attorneys in you area. If your website looks just like that of your competitors, it will not be memorable, and prospects will have no way of knowing why they should hire you over any other firm.

If you can approach the research process thinking like a client and not an attorney, you will be able to see the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches. Do any of your competitors present information in a unique or interesting way? What aspects of your competitors’ websites do you find confusing and what parts (more…)

Do not let outdated advice stand in the way of good website design

Old web design advice is everywhere. You can tell a lot about the age of a list of website design tips is by what is being recommended. This, of course, is not the fault of the original author; screen resolution and browser usage statistics, along with programming languages, are constantly changing. At some point down the road, this post, like others before it, will be obsolete. When sifting through the plethora of articles about website design, it is important to recognize the good, the bad and the dated. Some advice is just no longer relevant. Here is a quick look at how the conventional wisdom is changing.

Images: Think optimized. With images, you no longer have to think small. A quick search on any topic will reveal designs that show big pictures are in. Bigger images, as well as large format background images that stretch to fill (more…)

How Older Websites Discourage New Clients

Having a website with a high ranking in search engines like Google and Bing is just the beginning. After your law firm is getting high placement, it’s time to improve the click-through rate (CTR). The click-through rate is a percentage which reflects the number of times your search engine listing is clicked on, compared to the number of times it is just shown and not clicked on.

Once your website is getting visitors, the next metric that matters is conversion. Most legal marketing professionals look at the number of visitors on your website and compare that number against the number of inquiries received through your website’s contact form(s).

Your click-through rate is most often improved through modifications to your page title and descriptions — the two items seen in your search engine listing. But improving your website’s conversion rate often comes down to design.

As web hosting is relatively inexpensive, it’s fairly common (more…)

The Law Firm Website Disconnect

Attorney websites have come a long way in the past few years. Lawyers are catching on to false marketing prophets and looking beyond cheesy and ineffective SEO tricks. Websites are becoming more helpful, more well-designed and more relevant to people seeking legal help. This is a good thing.

However, it is a big Internet, and there are still too many firms that fall victim to the lawyer website disconnect. To demonstrate this problem, Tech4Law created a law firm website Venn diagram. The illustration was published in 2010, but is still relevant today.

There is a mismatch between what firms are providing and what prospects are looking for. People want to know how you can help them, whether they can afford it (although placing this information on a website is not recommended) and how to contact you, while attorneys tend to focus on factual information about the law and the firm. (more…)

Pinterest Makes Sharing Easier with New Business Accounts

Businesses have been setting up presences on Pinterest and integrating the network into their marketing for some time, but until now the site’s terms have explicitly limited activity on their boards to “personal, non-commercial use.” Because the network was created for individuals, developing a consistent professional presence was not entirely easy. You can, of course, pin your own content and prompt others to pin it as well. While this could prove to be productive, firms wishing to tap into the network’s potential had to sign up, create boards, pin items and follow others as individual attorneys. In order to collaborate with other lawyers or staff at the same firm, someone would have to create a group board and invite others to use it.

Despite the challenge, retail companies and service providers have continued to show increasing interest in utilizing Pinterest for business promotion. Pinterest has certainly been aware of this illicit (more…)

Balancing Your Law Firm’s Marketing Budget for 2013

Law firm marketing plan for 2013As 2012 is winding down, many law firms are looking to how they will spend next years’ marketing dollars. To get the most out of your marketing budget, some diversification is needed.

Phone Book

The Yellow Pages are obsolete. If you are currently paying for a full or half-page ad, consider downsizing to a quarter-page or eighth. Even demographics once loyal to phone books, such as low-income and senior citizens have shifted to the internet to search for services. If you get a measurable number of leads from your ad, you may not want to eliminate it completely, but reducing your ad space will free up some marketing dollars that you could invest in something more beneficial.

Television and Radio

If you are not already advertising on television, contact your local cable company to review ad rates. Most local markets are very inexpensive, and by targeting less expensive time slots, you can get exposure (more…)

Practice simplicity in your articles and marketing materials

Keep your audience in mind when writing articles, blog entries and other social content.

Every profession has own language and jargon – a collection of terms that are used predominantly only by those within the industry. Some industries have more (and more obscure) jargon than others, and attorneys are one group of professionals who have acquired a reputation for being some of the worst offenders.

It is easy to succumb to the idea that using big words will make you appear smarter and therefore impress your audience into respecting your expertise. People of every industry fall into this trap, including marketers who continue to throw around maddeningly overused terms like “ROI” and “core competency.” These are often false gurus (another marketing buzzword) who are merely using words that sound impressive to hide a lack of experience or deeper understanding. People who really know what they are doing can explain a concept in (more…)

Great Design Can Fail Your Law Firm’s SEO But it Doesn’t Have To

While most of our clients come to us when it’s time to update their website’s design or rebrand their firm, others decide to go with their local branding firm. It’s not a common occurrence, but when it happens, we work closely with their selected firm to insure that the onsite search engine optimization is in place on their newly designed website.

One particular client was with us for several years; we achieved top three rankings for them statewide for personal injury, auto accident, and tort keywords — clearly positions worth protecting. But early communication with their branding firm presented us with a big red flag when their account manager told us that their content management system was “SEO friendly” because it allowed us to add keywords to a meta tag on each page. That branding firm went on to convince our client that they could handle their entire search engine optimization (more…)

Prevent SEO mishaps during website design projects

Some website design projects offer a chance to create a new site entirely from scratch. Perhaps a firm is just starting out with a new url, or maybe it has a relatively young or neglected website that is nowhere to be seen in search engine results. This gives designers and developers the chance to flesh out an information architecture, design and SEO strategy with what is basically a blank slate.

But most redesign projects do not offer that level of freedom. At this point, many firms own urls that are a decade old or more. Many are interested in creating a more modern look for a website that already has some sort of SEO and marketing strategy in place. In these cases, it is important that the process of refreshing a website’s look does not negatively affect the site’s SEO. No one wants to wake up with a great-looking site that (more…)