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Why Is Technical SEO Important To An Attorney Website’s Success?

At the Attorney Marketing Network, we appreciate that the technical side of your online existence is something you would like to leave to the experts. Technical SEO is definitely not going to help you in the courtroom. But it can place more clients in your office, who will later be represented in that very same courtroom. Knowing why technical SEO is important can increase client conversion rates, which means you may begin to learn exactly how new business is landing at your virtual, and then physical, doors.

Every Page On Your Attorney Website Should Be Purposeful, Unique, And Valuable

When it comes to your attorney website, each component on your page, from images to navigation and copy to videos should be unique. And not just unique to your site from all other law firms. The web pages on your site should be unique from all the other pages on your website.

The overall purpose of your website is to provide a unique value to the user. Your attorney website pages, from the home page and practice area pages to the supporting pages and blog, should offer a sincere value that allows prospective clients, information seekers, and common searchers to get the information they need.

For instance, let’s say your website includes a practice area page for corporate law that connects to three supporting pages, including:

  • What Is Corporate Law?
  • Who Needs a Corporate Law Attorney?
  • When Should I Hire A Corporate Law Attorney?

The information contained on these pages may not be different enough from each other to provide value – especially if any of the content repeats, including a rewritten version or image that exists on the main corporate law page.

In order to add value to the website and to the searching process, it is important to combine the pages to create a fully-informed and purposeful resource for the individual who is seeking legal counsel.

From a technical SEO standpoint, you must then block the search engines from accessing the old pages, so the new, improved page is indexed properly by Google.

Technical SEO For Attorney Websites: Crawlers, Load Times, And Text-Based Browsing

Much like a lawyer’s website content must be uniquely valuable, so must the technical side of the design. The importance of technical SEO is two-fold: For Google’s benefit and the user’s positive experience.

First, for Google’s benefit, all webpages should be accessible to search engine crawlers. These crawlers are what allow your site and its content to be found by the search engine.

Second, the webpages should load as quickly as possible. Speedy results allow Google to crawl your website faster and more frequently, which means you are returned in the search engine results pages more often than slower lawyers’ pages. The second benefit of fast load times is that the user, the actual searcher, enjoys your website’s interaction.

When users enjoy their experience, they are more likely to continue their site navigation, share links, and avoid the negative pitfalls that result in searching for another attorney.

Third, your lawyer website should be fully parsed in every text browser. No matter which browser your prospective clients are using, there is always a chance that someone is using an unsophisticated or outdated version.

This means it may not do an exceptional job of reading any or all of the built-in content, including Flash, JavaScript, or other post-loading scripts. The search engine crawlers should be able to visit and fully read the technical side of each page that you want to present on your attorney website in text form.

How Do I Know If My Attorney Website Is Accommodating These Technical Needs?

The reliable way to ensure your law firm’s website is being read clearly by the search engine crawlers is to load everything related to each of your webpages in HTML in text. At AMN, we develop each attorney website in HTML 5, which provides the most recent and necessary technology for crawlers to find your website, so clients enjoy using your website and browsers understand each component on the site.

 

A Secure HTTPS Website And Your Attorney Marketing Success

Building a website that ranks on the search engine results pages starts with its security certificate. When you are searching a website, take note of the initial address, and whether it is HTTPS or HTTP. The latter is a non-secure version that can place your users at risk for security issues.

What’s more important is that Google reward pages that use HTTPS, and penalize those that do not.

At AMN, we use WordPress to design, build, and develop our websites, which delivers a uniquely secure final product and hosting at all times.

What Should I Eliminate From My Attorney Website To Ensure I Am Maximizing Technical SEO?

Knowing what to include on your attorney website, and where it is placed for technical SEO importance, is just as vital as knowing what to eliminate from your website.

To ensure technical SEO success, it is important to exclude:

  • Thin Content

Thin content is any type of attorney website content that does not provide meaningful use or differentiated value. In our previous example, corporate law, having three different pages on the same topic does not provide value to the reader – or the search engines – that cannot be gained when they are combined.

  • Duplicate Content

Duplicate content is exactly like it sounds: The same content on more than one webpage.

  • Crawling Traps or Infinite Loops

Crawling Traps or Infinite Loops cause web crawlers to get stuck in a loop, which means they are loading pages that add zero value to your website.

Also referred to as “junk pages,” these can include:

  • Exact duplicates, including endless URLs that point to the same page
  • Near-duplicates, including pages that differ in only small details, which can include a printer-friendly or mobile version of a page
  • Pages that are technically unique, but provide no useful information, including calendars that infinitely process dates

The technical SEO importance here is that the behind-the-scenes language should tell the search engines: This is the original version of this page, and it is the only one you should return to searchers.

The Importance of Clean Lawyer Website Architectural Structure & Navigation

Pages with valuable content are accessible through shallow, thorough internal link structures, which means everything on your lawyer website should be accessible in just a few clicks.

Since most attorney websites are comprised of dozens of pages and not hundreds, each different page, from practice areas to your contact page, should be no more than three or four clicks away.

Visitors should not have to go to your blog to access a practice area page that does not appear in the main menu, nor should they have to click from page to page to find valuable information.

If you find your site to be confusing, or if you are noticing erratic movements in visitor usage when reviewing your metrics, it may be time to audit your attorney website’s architectural and navigational structure.

One Domain. Accurate Subfolders. Clear URLs.

Part of your attorney website’s architectural structure is cemented in the domain and its subfolders. Let’s say your website’s domain is mylawoffice.com.

You want subfolders to lead the searcher through the online experience, meaning:

  • Mylawoffice.com/losangeles
  • Mylawoffice.com/santamonica
  • Mylawoffice.com/pasadena

You do not want subdomains that lead your searcher to a completely new site, meaning:

  • Mylawofficelosangeles.com
  • Mylawofficesantamonica.com
  • Mylawofficepasadena.com

But, why?

In our experience, lawyers who have moved from a subdomain to a subfolder saw their rankings increase quickly and exponentially.

In real-time terms, it is typically the result of using subfolders that are working properly all the time. Subdomains have many moving parts that they are practically begging for errors to occur, which will immediately turn the searcher in a new direction – away from your firm.

Use Relevant Folders Rather Than Long or Hyphenated URLs

Google not only prefers subfolders to subdomains, as listed in the previous example but also clearly defined folders, instead of hyphenated URLs.

Using the previous example, Google prefers:

  • Mylawoffice.com/losangeles/personalinjury/caraccident

Instead of:

  • Mylawoffice.com/los-angeles-personal-injury-car-accident

But, why?

Google crawls and analyzes websites more efficiently when a good folder structure exists. They also reward websites with clean structures handsomely as a result.

The other benefit is that the multiple pages listed within the folder structure are easier to find and access by both Google and the user.

Each Page On Your Attorney Website Should Be Optimized To Display Cleanly And Clearly On Any Device

Google considers mobile friendliness in its ranking system, which means you will need all of your webpages to load quickly, cleanly, and clearly on any device.

At the Attorney Marketing Network, we use mobile-first design and work backward to desktop and laptop efficiency. This means our websites are optimized for 4G first, and then they are equally enhanced for 3G, 2G, and no G. Why? Because more than half of U.S. residents use their smartphones as their primary search engine device.

What If My Lawyer Website Contains A Redirect?

There may be times that segments of your website must move somewhere else to react optimally to searches. When they do move, there are five acceptable actions and status codes that can be reported.

  1. Permanent Redirects: Page X was here, now it is here. This is typically reserved for new versions of content that are created to replace old content. Status Code: 301
  2. Dead Pages: Page X was here, but now it is not. Status Code: 404
  3. Permanently Removed: Page X has been permanently removed. Status Code 410
  4. Temporarily Unavailable: Page X is here, but it is under maintenance. Status Code: 503
  5. Everything Is A-OK: This is what you want all the time. Every page on your website should be operating optimally at all times. Status Code: 200

Anything outside of these five status codes should be avoided, and at the Attorney Marketing Network, our crawlers tell us: “Hey, this looks problematic to us. You should probably do something about this.” This keeps your website operating optimally at all times, providing a positive user experience from any device, any time.

Does My Attorney Website Require Breadcrumbs?

A “breadcrumb” is a secondary navigation scheme.

Breadcrumbs are helpful for websites will a lot of content and web pages, and reduces the number of actions a website visitor needs to take in order to get to a higher-level page. and they improve the findability of website sections and pages. They also reveal the user’s location in an app or website.

When your website uses breadcrumbs, Google will provide the added benefit of showing your URL in a friendly way, especially on mobile devices.

Technical SEO for lawyers is an integral part of your website’s success. At the Attorney Marketing Network, we can help your law firm understand the behind the scenes technology, simply. The more you know about your technical marketing efforts, the more you can recognize the value of your budget. We’ll walk you through the process.

 

Reach Your Law Firm’s Full Potential With Customer Relationship Management Software

At the Attorney Marketing Network, our staff works tirelessly to increase the online rankings of our law firm clients for the purpose of expanding leads and delivering qualified clients to their virtual and physical doors. Once they get there, it is up to the attorneys in your firm to nurture the lead into a converted client. And that begins with successful customer service techniques.

When a prospective client contacts your firm, how do you retain that information? In an email? On a handwritten note? Chances are, the communication efforts around your firm vary, based on who takes the call. Some leads are comfortable explaining their legal needs in a voicemail or to the receptionist. Some insist on speaking with an attorney before disclosing the details of their claim. The important part of the client-attorney interaction is how effectively you and your staff are communicating with not just the potential clients but with each other.

Prospective clients want to believe that your firm is listening to everything they say. They want to feel important. They want you to care. When that connection is lost because the piece of paper their entire legal need was transcribed onto disappears, you are forced to ask the same questions again. Simply put, you were not listening and now the lead is dead.

Our Customer Relationship Management, or CRM, and client intake software provides a solution using a simple user interface that helps attorneys across the United States collect pertinent data about their prospective, existing, and past clients to help lawyers recognize and communicate with customers in a scalable way.

CRM is a management strategy that results in increased profits for lawyers by consolidating different methods, practices, and tools needed to track client activity. And when there is a reliable system in place, attorneys can eliminate costly manual errors, and still make each client feel as if s/he was the most valuable lead you have.

How Will Customer Resource Management Software Help My Law Firm Grow?

To be successful, your firm’s attorney marketing techniques must go beyond your online ranking. To create the best marketing plan available for your law firm, you must learn everything there is to know about your target market, so you can reach them efficiently and effectively.

Our CRM system allows law firms to gather important information about their target audiences and retain the information electronically — for your entire staff to learn from — including their demographics and why they need legal representation.

This allows law firms to better anticipate their clients’ needs and fulfill them.

CRM systems also allow your law firm to organize the information you collect from your clients to identify, document, and record each aspect of communication that takes place. And the more channels you have, the greater the need to manage your interaction with your client base.

Our CRM system allows your law firm to quantify and categorize data for easy future reference. It also makes the data available to everyone in your firm, from the receptionist to the attorneys and accounting to marketing. Each conversation that takes place can be annotated from anywhere, including your mobile phone, thanks to the cloud-enabled technology.

These touchpoints that can be saved for all-office use without losing detail in translation can include:

  • Emails
  • Calendars
  • Reminders
  • Phone calls
  • Text messages
  • Voicemail messages
  • In-person meetings
  • Social media
  • Online submission forms
  • Surveys

Each person in the firm can provide the same high level of service by having access to the same client data. This allows your firm’s attorneys to pick up with any client where they, or another person in the firm, left off. No lost notes. No repeat conversations. Just a trusted connection to help you extend excellent customer service while solidifying solutions for their legal needs to boost revenue.

CRM Systems Improve Analytical Data Reports For Better Marketing

CRM systems are easily integrated with different tools or plugins, so you have the ability to generate automatic reports and maximize your time and efforts for future marketing campaigns.

Including focuses on:

  • Summarizing the demographics of individuals and groups to market more effectively and increase conversion
  • Effectively targeted marketing communications aimed specifically at your clients’ needs
  • Highly personal approaches for the development of new or improved services in order to win more business in the future
  • Solidifying your firm’s reputation in the community and attorney marketplace

Better reporting data allows attorneys to make resourceful and effective decisions to increase client satisfaction and long-run profitability.

Retain Client Information Inside Your Firm

Any client data that leaves with an outgoing employee, either in their deleted emails or simply inside their heads, can be detrimental to your law firm’s success. With a CRM system in place, all information is entered into the software program, so it is always available — even when someone calls in sick or moves on.

Is My Law Firm Too Small To Benefit From CRM Service?

The diversity of CRM is designed to benefit both small and large businesses. Using a CRM tool lays the foundation for a scalable sales and marketing system. Any company will benefit from maintaining a record of which conversations and marketing efforts can be associated with leads and clients, which will translate into growth.

Partnering With Customer Relationship Management Success

Searching for a better way to communicate with your clients? Attorney Marketing Network CRM and client intake software partner, Salesforce, provides a fully scalable CRM system that fits the needs of each of our clients in a unique way. Our attorney marketing professionals will walk you through the CRM system that is best suited for your law firm to target the right leads at the right time and with the right resources by calling (877) 899-8480 today.

Optimize Your Law Firm Website To Include Voice Search Marketing

The growth of smart technology is changing the way people search for products, services, and information on the internet. Studies show that 32% of consumers own a smart speaker, and 77% of the U.S. population owns a smartphone, which means voice search assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Google allow the masses to search for products and services without a screen or text but simply by asking a question using their voices.

By 2020, 50% of all online searches will be voice searches, and in order to get ahead of the curve, businesses must start preparing and optimizing for voice search.

The Need For Local Products And Services Are Leading Voice Search Requests Throughout The Country

Voice searches are three times more likely to be used than text for local business searches, with 46% of voice searchers using smart technology to find local businesses daily.

As people become more comfortable talking to their smartphones, speakers, and assistants, they are embracing the ease and acceptance of leaning on their electronic devices for answers without typing a single word of text. What started with simple inquiries about traffic, music, and weather has evolved into searches for important services, including hiring a local attorney.

As technology improves, so will the seamless search opportunities that will require your firm’s online marketing efforts to be optimized for inclusion in the results.

Where Does The Voice Search Information Come From?

Studies show that just over 40% of voice search answers come from rich snippets, which are an integral part of any law firm’s structured data. This behind the scenes optimization is marked up by our site operators to ensure search engines understand and identify the important information contained on each page of your website, so they can deliver the snippet, or detailed extract, in the search engine results.

When it comes to local searches, assistants source their information in varying ways, including:

  • Amazon’s Alexa partners with Yelp for search results from listings and review data
  • Google Assistant searches within their own search engine data, Google Maps, and Google business listings
  • Apple’s Siri sources information from Apple Maps, and listings and review data from Yelp
  • Microsoft’s Cortana is powered by the search engine Bing

Optimizing For Traditional Search Is Massively Different From Optimizing For Voice Search

Studies reveal the over 35% of clicks on Google’s search engine results page comes from the first organic search result.

When people are using assistants to find services, the responses are extremely limited. Smart speakers deliver a single response to the person’s query, and smartphones only list the top three results based on the question asked.

This means ranking at the top means everything. And unlike text searches, where an individual may type in keywords, voice searches operate by answering questions, which means your content must be optimized to deliver results in a language that smart technology understands.

Optimizing your firm’s online persona for voice searches requires an in-depth review of your current SEO tactics to ensure they align with the requirements of new AI and connected technology.

How Can My Law Firm Increase Their Voice Engine Optimization?

Voice searches are going to become an integral part of a consumer finding products and services, and that includes queries to locate local law firms.

There are several ways to increase your voice search engine optimization, and the Attorney Marketing Network can help keep your firm ahead of the technological trends, so you are not left behind during text or voice attorney searches.

  • Optimize Your Business Listing

A recent survey found that over 47% of respondents had a strong negative reaction to queries that produce incorrect local information. Missing phone numbers, old addresses, and outdated URLs cost people time and lead them to distrust the businesses who list the wrong information, so they search for a new firm.

It is essential to keep your business listings clean and your name, address, and phone, or NAP data, consistent in directories, online listings, and throughout your marketing efforts, including live maps and locations.

  • Increase Your Website’s Speed

While Google has confirmed that site speed will be a ranking factor in mobile searches, it is also important to provide speedy results for your clients, so they can find the answers they need from your firm. If a website takes more than five seconds to load, searchers are 90% more likely to find another service.

If your site is not ranking well on mobile searches because of speed issues, then it might affect your voice search opportunities too.

  • Develop A New Content Strategy: Create Frequently Asked Questions

When people are engaging voice-activated assistants, or using varying means of smart technology, they conduct voice searches using questions, which allows the response to return in the form of an answer.

Developing content that answers frequently asked questions about your firm’s services not only helps drive conversion but optimizes your website for inclusion in voice search returns.

Our content strategy focuses on a question and answer format construction, as even searchers who are using their keyboards are asking questions to get the best results. When your website’s home, about, and practice area pages include long-tail keyword phrases, it helps answer natural language questions that are posed to voice assistants.

Refreshing your content to include frequently asked questions can also solve the need for including mark-up opportunities for rich snippets that appear in the results, placing your firm at the top of the rankings.

  • Markup Your Online Language Properly

Headings, subheadings, tags, and links are important to your search engine optimization, and even more important to your voice search engine optimization. Make sure that all questions that are incorporated into your site’s FAQs are marked up properly with <H2> headers, so they provide the proper impressions.

  • Test Your Voice Search

If you have a smart speaker or smartphone, it is easy to test the voice search function to see where your firm lands in the results. Since the technology is still new, it is important to test different devices that employ different assistants.

Testing will help you understand how many listings each device or assistant offers, and where your firm ranks when answering the most common questions. It also delivers a simple competitive analysis, so you know where other attorneys are ranking in your area.

Google Is Propelling Voice Activated Searches Into The Mainstream

Last year, the Google Assistant improved how it understands the English language to include a clear understanding of the nuances of a conversation, resulting in a:

  • 95% accuracy rate
  • 4.9% word-error rate

Google’s significant breakthroughs are propelling voice-activated technology to be rapidly adopted in simple terms that are effectively understood, and it will take long before the other smart technology sources reach the same intellectual heights. This only amplifies the importance of expanding your marketing efforts to include natural language that answers questions about your services, so you can get the ranking you deserve.

How Can The Attorney Marketing Network Help With Voice Search Engine Optimization?

Optimizing content, locations, and your overall brand information will increase the likelihood of powering your firm to the top of the voice search results. Our successfully developed approach to delivering conversion-based Local search engine optimization and marketing can provide a fresh look at how your online persona and advertising efforts can optimize your voice search engine results.

Contact one of our attorney marketing professionals today at (877) 855-6063 to learn how we can help you get ahead of voice search technology, so your law firm is not left out of the newest way people are finding lawyers in your area.

What Do Prospective Clients Want From Your Law Firm’s Website?

In 2018, the average firm allocated nearly 41% of their marketing budget to their online presence and employing varying advertising and local search engine optimization practices with the goal of being one of the top lawyers who appear when the search engine results are returned.  And it was money well spent. 95% of all online traffic click on only the results that appear on the first page of the returned search criteria. And in the competitive attorney landscape, being at the top of the list is the beginning of your firm’s approach to conversion.

The larger question is, once the prospective client is on your website, are they going to see what they want and need to convert them to an actual client?

The proper legal web design and web development can mean the difference between a website visit and actual revenue. Let’s make sure your law firm website and development are delivering the experience your prospective clients want and deserve, so you can reap the rewards of expanding your client base through actual cases.

What Does Your Law Firm’s Website Design Say To Visitors?

We have talked in the past about how to Optimize Your Law Firm Ranking with Eye-Catching Visual Content, and it is a major part of grabbing and holding the visitor’s attention, especially for existing sites that are being refreshed with new content regularly — which is always recommended.

Start With Your First Impression: The Website’s Design

When someone clicks on the link to your site, the layout is the first thing prospective clients see, which makes your web design an integral part of grabbing their attention and keeping them on the site to find the solutions they need.

A clean, easy to navigate site that responds quickly to their movements is imperative to making a successful first impression. Broken links, hard to find contact forms or information, and poorly designed template-style sites will send anyone back to the search engine results page to click the next attorney on the list.

Your website’s design must convey trust by providing solutions, which requires a professional design, original photography, and an exceptionally easy to use format.

An increasingly important aspect of your website’s user experience relies on it being mobile friendly. Last year, over 52% of all website traffic was generated through the use of mobile devices. If your site is not mobile compatible, you are in jeopardy of losing a significant chunk of your audience before they can even consider your firm.

Build Your Brand Story: Invest In Valuable Content Marketing

Your law firm’s website must begin with a deep understanding of your audience’s needs, and proceed with creating a mental image of what your internal operations look like. Your site should tell the story of how you produce solutions for your target market, so there is no confusion, fear, or unknown aspects to your retainment process.

Studies show that individuals retain 70% of information through stories and only 10% from data and statistics. Attorneys must add a human element to their brand stories and keep it simple and universal, so everyone can connect with their content.

Providing value to your persona is still the best approach to ranking in search engines, and long content ranks better by providing value to your visitors.

  • The average first-page result on Google contains 1,890 words
  • 45% of all companies say content marketing is ‘highly integrated’ with their SEO strategy
  • 50% of search queries are longer than four words, as searchers hone their personal needs and expect results that relate directly to them

Prospective clients are seeking:

  • Solutions that relate to their legal needs
  • Connected calls to action
  • Detailed bios of the lawyers in the firm
  • Blog topics that provide in-depth information

Bonus: Updating and republishing old blog posts with new content and images can increase organic traffic by as much as 111%.

Introduce Your Audience To Interactive Content That Provide Solutions

Studies show that incorporating interactive elements encourage prospective clients to spend more time on your website. Audiences enjoy clickable and downloadable content, which can double as valuable information that helps cement your firm’s services and abilities while strengthening trust.

Valuable branded content can include:

  • eBooks on specialty representation topics, including medical malpractice or workers’ compensation
  • Checklists on what to bring to the initial consultation
  • FAQs on what to expect from the attorneys and the process of filing a lawsuit
  • Access to past and present law firm newsletters

Encourage Reviews and Testimonials And Monitor Them Accordingly

Reviews and testimonials provide a clear story of your law firm’s reputation and how others view your important services.

  • 91% of people who search for services online read online reviews
  • 84% of people trust online reviews as much as they do a personal recommendation from their friends

When this valuable information is listed directly on your website, it lends a qualifying component to their decision-making process.

AMN Review Software allows you to influence your law firm’s reputation by boosting your online reviews, so they can work for you — not against you.

Our services include:

  • Instant notifications when negative feedback is included in reviews
  • Real-time email alerts when the latest reviews appear
  • Review monitoring and marketing
  • Proactive reviews solicited from positive customers only
  • Successful monitoring of the main review sites
  • Testimonials automatically displaying on your website

Your firm will control your online reputation with personalized services that deliver:

  • Ability to add locations at any time
  • Alerts and notices controlled by your preferences
  • Customized dashboard
  • Full access to manage users, settings, and notifications
  • Immediate access from your tablet or smartphone
  • Ownership to the feedback you receive
  • Tracking capabilities to view your reviews over time

Monitoring your online reputation encourages contact from prospective clients who can read your reviews on your website, before using their preferred contact method. The better your reviews, the more popular your firm becomes to online viewers.

WordPress Development and Plugins for SEO

WordPress development for law firms provides the easy to use combination of exceptional design, superior development, and secure hosting that delivers a high-performance website through a single platform.

At the Attorney Marketing Network, WordPress development is an instrumental part of our clients’ successes, because the platform is not only user-friendly but customized to allow the client to take over the site. This means changes can be made in minutes, right from your own office and in real time.

Other WordPress development attributes include:

  • Create easy to copy and share links with shortened URLs and landing pages
  • Highly responsive mobile templates require less time and effort to fill
  • HTML framework that is mobile, tablet, and desktop friendly
  • Kiosk modes that deliver high-tech usability for tablets and iPads
  • Open-source content management system (CMS)
  • Secure hosting

Our in-house creation of WordPress Plugins is developed with our legal clients’ focuses in mind that adapts our technology to their customized needs, including:

 

  • Analytics
  • Backup capabilities
  • Chatbots
  • Contact forms
  • Email list/contact capture
  • Image optimization
  • Security
  • Social media icons and sharing capabilities
  • Verification plugins (captcha) to avoid SPAM
  • Website speed booster
  • Sitemaps
  • Schema/rich snippets to develop star ratings in search engine results page
  • Checks for broken links, and redirecting links
  • Disabled comments

Our attorney marketing objective is to turn your web traffic into phone calls and form submission entries by providing the varying degrees of contact your audience expects while keeping their information safe.

Payment Portals For Lawyers

When law firms accept online payment solutions it effectively increases their cash flow while giving their clients easy access to payment alternatives with the click of a button. Allowing online payments also helps foster goodwill from your clients, who will automatically appreciate how your firm adapts to their needs.

What’s more is that adding a payment portal can boost your marketing efforts by sending clients to your site each time they make a payment, which not only increases your visibility, but allows them to view any updated material you have added including blogs, videos, or successful verdicts you have secured since the last time they were on the site.

Evaluate And Upgrade Your Online Presence With the Attorney Marketing Network

As audiences grow and their needs change, it is important that your website evolves with their expectations. Millennials search for online services much differently than Generation X does and Baby Boomers differently still. Understanding where your website’s strengths and weaknesses are regularly will help you target your audience effectively.

This assessment will differ for each law firm. Like your brand, your website design and content will be dictated by the audience you are pursuing, and depending on your firm’s practice areas, that could change rapidly.

Contact the professionals at the Attorney Marketing Network today for a free website audit to assess your marketing efforts and determine how to reach and convert clients more effectively.

How to Avoid Penalties from Google

Whether you are a sole practitioner or a managing partner in a dozen-lawyer firm, you understand how important your website is to your livelihood. As we near 2019, your website — and more importantly, its content — is a significant driving force behind your marketing practices. And Google is definitely watching how, when, and where your marketing efforts are displayed through their search engine.

As the search engine leader, Google plays a significant role in where your law firm’s website ranks on their search engine results page. Staying on their good side is imperative to your success. Here are a few tips to ensure you are avoiding penalties from Google, so your site remains ahead of your competitors.

Integrity Rules the Web

As the Attorney Marketing Network, it is important for us to provide full transparency to our clients. In short, we value our communicative partnerships with the lawyers we represent, and we pride ourselves in stating clearly: Here’s what we are doing. Here’s why we are doing it. And even more importantly: Here’s what we will not do. And here’s why we will not do it.

Your online integrity is as valuable to Google as it is to your prospective clients. Instead of taking shortcuts to drive traffic to your site, consider your overall value and emphasize what makes your firm unique.

Google’s Quality Guidelines provides a clear look at how Google responds to your website, and when you will be penalized for overstepping their policies.

Your site must contain:

  • Unique and Valuable Content

This means nothing copied from other websites, even if it is just a disclaimer or actual statistics. Your content must be unique, valuable, and resourceful.

  • Creating Quality Citations

This means nothing that violates Google’s guidelines as spam. Loading a page with invaluable links it only going to get your site flagged by the search giant. The links that are embedded in your site should be relevant to the material on that page.

For example, adding statistics from trusted government sources, and then linking to their page for reference, is beneficial to your audience and provides a credible citation source for Google, which in turn can boost your ranking.

Overall, Google wants to know that you are building, maintaining, and updating your site with the sole purpose of benefitting the user. In its guidelines, Google often asks the website owner, “Would you take this technological step to enhance your site’s content if there were no search engines?”

Obviously, that point is moot. There are search engines — and in fact, they are the largest! But they are driving home the point that what is on your website matters, and if you fall short, penalties will follow. And when Google penalizes a website, it hurts.

How Can Google Penalize My Website?

Google can penalize your website in one of two ways, and only one of them is going to alert you that you are doing something wrong.

First, the manual penalty. A manual penalty is exactly like it sounds: A person has manually reviewed your site and found that it is not operating within Google’s guidelines.

Most manual penalties are derived from:

  • Spam-related backlinks
  • Low-quality or thin content
  • Unnatural links, which can include artificial or manipulative outbound links
  • Hidden text or links that cannot be seen by the viewer
  • Traffic redirects, where the user believes they are going to one page, but end up somewhere completely different
  • User-generated spam, which can occur in the comments section of your blog

When Google believes you are in violation of their policies, and it has been manually corroborated, you will receive a message directly from their administrators stating that you are in violation of their policies. At this point you will be asked to adjust the site accordingly, or be penalized with severe drops in your page rankings — or worse — your site can be removed from their search engine completely.

Next, the algorithmic penalty.

What Is An Algorithmic Penalty And How Can I Avoid It?

Here’s where things get tricky. Say you include a link on your site that later turns out to be spam. Google will typically give you the benefit of the doubt, which is why they will manually penalize you. It gives you the opportunity to address the issue, and get back in their good graces.

An algorithmic penalty will simply drop your ranking without notice and is typically the result of an update to Google’s algorithm and your site not being prepared. This can include their mobile optimization update that penalizes your site for not being mobile-friendly, so you are going to drop in rankings. (Your site should absolutely be mobile-friendly, by the way.)

How Do You Avoid Being Penalized By Google?

Your website is an absolute reflection of your firm, and is polished, professional, and informative. You are proud of your site, and you are happy with the traffic it receives. So, how do you avoid being penalized by Google for something you cannot control? Partner with an SEO firm that does know.

SEO trends are our job, but it is important that you know what is happening behind the scenes. SEO transparency is important to us, and our clients. We do not use technical talk that leaves you scratching your head. We want to build your online identity, so you know exactly what is happening, and why you are ranking the way you are.

The legal industry is extremely competitive, and our goal is to keep you at the top of the search engine results pages, so your actual foot traffic increases, generating real cases and real income. Staying on top of the Google algorithms, which change daily, is a key component in that success.

We provide the analytic transparency that allows you to:

  • Review your traffic, rankings, and performance
  • Understand your site’s history, how your traffic has grown, and why
  • Seek results from fluid marketing practices which keep you ahead of the algorithm updates
  • Take advantage of competitive analysis
  • Have monthly meetings with our staff to investigate both downward and upward trends, so we can change our strategies to ensure optimal results

High-quality content and links are the cornerstones of your site’s ranking ability and your resource for avoiding a manual penalty from Google. The Local SEO practices that our firm delivers behind the scenes is imperative to avoiding an algorithmic penalty from Google, but that does not mean you should be in the dark about how it is working.

The more you know about our ethical practices, the more you will benefit from our transparent approaches to boosting your ranking. It is not going to happen overnight, but it is going to happen the right way. And Google will reward your firm handsomely for it.

Contact one of our attorney marketing professionals today to build a partnership that produces results.

Incorporating Law Firm Review Stars on the Search Engine Results Page

Online reviews really make a difference in how your law firm is perceived by prospective clients. With 84% of consumers stating they trust online reviews as much as they trust a personal recommendation from a friend, reviews are significantly impacting the way people find service providers — including attorneys. You already know that it is important for your law firm to carry a high star review rating, but how important is it for that rating to appear alongside your search listing?

Schema star ratings, or stars with review snippets that appear with your search engine results, are a great at-a-glance marketing tool that is becoming increasingly important to searchers and how they choose which sites to visit. A recent research study suggests there is a 35% increase in click-through rates when review stars appear in a company’s search engine result listings.

Companies who have a four- or five-star rating appearing directly within a Google search is going to get a higher click-through rate, but the star system also makes a great first impression. Consider this: Before the prospective client even gets to your site, they already trust the value of your services based on the schema star rating that is available directly within their search.

Ratings Rules: The Dos and Don’ts of Adding Star Ratings to Your Listing

So, how do you get these valuable stars to appear beside your Google search listing? There are a couple ways to streamline the process, and as it always will be for technically adjusted website options, there are rules.

The proper technical approach for getting the aggregate schema rating to appear on your Google search listing was designed by the search engine giant themselves. And it comes with several rules that must be followed, otherwise you risk being penalized by the very powerhouse that helps prospective clients find you.

First, Google has rules about what can and cannot be listed as part of your review snippets.

  1. Review snippets must be independent to your site, and cannot be taken from a third-party like Yelp, Facebook, or Google
  2. Testimonials/reviews where the snippets are pulled from must appear in full on your site
  3. There must be an active field on your site that allows unfiltered reviews to be posted

Simply put, if you do not have a section on your website that accepts and lists unique-to-your-website reviews, you are going to have to start there (more on this soon).

Second, do not cut corners or you will be penalized.

  • Do not use the aggregate approach on your home page, as it may send a spam signal to Google
  • You must have the reviewer’s permission to publish their words on your site
  • Use well-linked/trafficked pages to host the reviews, so they are well-received with Google and have a better chance of increasing your search engine star potential
  • Although third party reviews are allowed on your website, and may already exist there –you cannot mark them up to be rich snippets that add to your star rating

How Do I Get the Star Rating to Appear within My Search Listing?

Getting the highly coveted stars to appear alongside your search engine results listing can happen in one of three ways: Software, plug-ins, or code.

Option One: Software

The easiest way to get star ratings to appear on your search engine results page, alongside your listing, is to purchase the software that will do it for you, and Review Builder is a perfect solution.

Since Google is the premier search engine, staying on their good side is the only way you are going to be found by the masses. Review Builder, designed by the Attorney Marketing Network, will do the work for you, so you aren’t in any jeopardy of having your law firm targeted for penalties from Google.

Maximizing your star rating with software means you are simply paying the cost of the service to reap the benefits of the starring system, and its effectiveness alongside your listing.

Review Builder will:

  • Positively solicit reviews from actual, satisfied clients
  • Optimally place the reviews on your site
  • Automatically adapt the schema-rating
  • Target the data, allowing the star system to appear alongside your listing

Option Two: WordPress Plug-Ins

If your website exists in open content management like WordPress, you can download a plug-in that will mark up the values within your reviews, so you do not have to do it manually. This is incredibly helpful, but circles back around to the initial need: Reviews that are directly left and located on your website.

Again, you cannot use third-party reviews to assist in your star-ratings boost. The reviews must appear on your site and cannot be pulled or copied from other sites. This is where the Review Builder software comes in. Not only does it solicit the reviews for you, but it ensures that you are not cutting corners or jeopardizing your Google ranking.

If you are starting from the beginning, step one is the process of collecting reviews on your website. Plug-ins like Universal Star Rating is a great option to assist in your gathering process, if you prefer to do on your own.

 

If you already have the reviews on your website, or once you have started collecting them, look to programming plug-ins like WP SEO Structured Data Schema plugin to begin coding the reviews for schema ratings.

Collecting reviews and programming them to work in your favor is going to take time. Be patient with the process and know that the starred results are going to be worth it.

Option Three: Write the Code Yourself

If you already have existing reviews on your website, writing the code to wrap the schema rich information yourself is an option. And while it may appear more tedious than the software or plug-in options, there is a method that Google recommends, and it is the JSON LD.

 

Follow the instructions fully to receive positive results from your programming actions, by wrapping your reviews in the proper coding, as follows – entering the information for each category as it pertains to each review.

Once you have wrapped the reviews for the aggregate rating, use the Google Structured Data Testing Tool to check your work, and do not worry if you are prompted with a warning. Simply follow Google’s suggestions for correction and move forward. Do not disregard their warnings. It will end in penalties, and your ranking could drop immensely.

Make Intelligent Review Posting Decisions

Do not place reviews on every page of your site, and do not add them to the home page. Maintain the reviews on a page that makes sense, which — and this is ideal — can be a page that is dedicated to reviews, services, or information. Avoid adding reviews to your blog page or resource pages, or anywhere they obviously do not belong. The reviews should complement your site, not interrupt it.

Google will view sitewide ratings as an attempt at beating their system. And if there is one thing Google does not like, it is anyone trying to pull one over on them. Should you tamper with what is acceptable, you will receive a warning from inside your Google Webmaster Tools, and possibly even be assessed a palpable rankings penalty.

Google will have the final say in when the schema star system appears with your listing, and abiding by their overall rules, avoiding shortcuts, and staying above board with the review collection process will produce results sooner than later. The click-through rate that follows will have your law firm lined with prospective clients, as your search engine results listing stands out from your competitors.

Chatbots for Law Firms: Convert More Clients, Provide Better Customer Service

Technology has progressed mightily over the past decade, including impressive forward momentum in artificial intelligence communications. The popularity of Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa have changed the way people search for services and products. This is true for everything from purchasing laundry detergent to finding a Latin-focused restaurant nearby or locating the nearest physician – and, yes – finding an attorney.

In a world dominated by technology, people are searching for lawyers the same way they are searching for a movie theater: On their laptops, tablets, phones, and voice-activated devices.

Once a prospective client searches for a law firm, and locates yours, you want them to contact you, which isn’t the easiest feat – considering the search engine results will provide more than just your firm. Now would be an appropriate time to mention that being at the top of the page will help send the coveted traffic to your page. That’s a given. But how do you grab and keep them there once they arrive? Chatbots can help facilitate a conversion by answering questions, collecting contact information, vetting their legal needs, and walking the client directly to human contact: You.

Where’s the Value in Talking to Chatbots?

Chatbots are a computer program that allows a prospective client to hold a conversation with a program that can answer questions quickly and effectively. Simple questions like, “Does your firm work on a contingency basis?” can be answered online, without you or your office staff taking a phone call to provide the same answer.

When you are saving time in the office, you can focus on the clients you have in-house and allow your website or app to work for you by employing a chatbot.

Chatbots engage prospects in real-time, keeping their attention, expanding the conversation, and delivering value including:

  • Decreasing response times, answering questions in seconds
  • Vetting their needs, and actual claim parameters to confirm their case is one your firm can/will handle
  • Scheduling contact through a phone call, text, or email between the prospect and the firm’s attorney

How Many People Are Actually Participating in Chatbot Conversations?

An effective way to think about chatbots is to consider them as automated messaging services, which is exactly what they are. Their existence and effectiveness are driving client communication into an area where most online adults are already comfortable.

Research suggests:

  • By 2020, more than 85% of customer interactions will be handled without a human
  • 60% of adults in the United States are already using online messaging, video, or voice chat services
  • For the first time, more people are using messenger apps than social networks
  • 72% of people are using seven or fewer apps each day, leaning more towards messenger apps to communicate
  • 90% of the most frequent questions asked by attorney website visitors can be answered by a chatbot
  • Chatbots remove the stigma of speaking with a human about uncomfortable circumstances, especially when talking about legal issues

As people move away from apps, and into online messaging, chatbots provide a comfortable transition for question and answers from service providers, including attorneys. When the chatbot is unable to answer the other 10% of inquiries, prospective clients can contact you directly, or schedule a contact preference. By the time you speak with the individual, you already know their needs, and can take the conversation from inquiry to a solution.

Popular Chatbot Services for Law Firms

Choosing the best chatbot for your law firm begins with choosing a service that helps, not hinders. Chatbots are converting more clients with each visit by simply providing immediate answers. Visitors have reached your website or landing page to fulfill a need, and the quicker they receive the answers they need, the quicker they can be converted to actual clients. Your target audience will help you determine which chatbot service is right for you. Here are a few options to get started.

Messenger via Facebook

The power of Facebook goes much further than birthday reminders and pictures of your friends and relatives. In fact, 79% of adults who are online in the United States are on Facebook. This makes a Facebook Messenger Chatbot a winner in communication lead generation.

Messenger chatbots allow law firms to make these conversations part of their marketing strategy, allowing attorneys to retarget users and drive conversion rates.

With 1.3 billion users dedicated to Messenger, chatbot developers have heeded the call to create bots that work with the platform, and there are over 100,000 compatible options on the market.

One of the most popular chatbots for Messenger is Chatfuel.

Chatfuel

The simplicity of Chatfuel drives its popularity with law firms interested in building chatbots.

Chatfuel’s attributes include:

  • Intuitive, easy to use design features
  • Zero coding, simply copy and paste
  • Templates included in the service
  • Up and running on Facebook Messenger in as little as ten minutes

The real value of employing a chatbot in Messenger is that your firm will have direct access to Facebook users, their information, and demographic data. This will allow your law firm to target prospective clients through focused advertising opportunities on the site.

Botsify

Botsify is a customer service chatbot platform that can be added directly to your website. This application is perfect for capturing visitors who have gone from search engine results to your legal website and allows them to access customer support in a single click and ask format.

Botsify provides:

  • Easy website integrations using Plugins
  • Drag and drop templates
  • Intuitive intelligence, allowing owners to add phrases and sentences to the program, essentially teaching the bot how to answer questions more accurately
  • Analytics integration
  • Alerts for human interaction takeover

Chatting with prospective clients directly from your site allows immediate access that delivers a quality connection, without asking the user to switch platforms.

Intercom

Of the chatbots mentioned here, Intercom is more involved and provides an intricate process for the user and owner alike. Instead of answering questions directly, the bot will engage prospective clients be rerouting them to articles or Q&As that provide the answers they are looking for or will reroute them to a human who can answer their questions directly.

Intercom:

  • Engages clients quickly to find answers to their questions
  • Collects contact information
  • Qualifies leads
  • Measures the user’s satisfaction of answers provided
  • Tracks conversations the user closes, so you can review the contact

Join the Movement: Chatbots Are Converting Law Firm Website Visitors into Clients

Lawyers know their client-base as well as they know the law, and when it comes to providing the services they need, including enhancing their journey from online visitor to contact, chatbots are a beneficial addition to any team. The key to its success is using the technology smartly. You do not want the chatbot to attack your website visitors, or to cover your logo or contact information when it is in use. It should be easily accessible, and able to provide sufficient answers that lead to an actual conversation regarding the retention of your services. With more and more people shying away from making actual phone calls, that conversation can be as simple as asking how the prospective client would like to be contacted – which is something a chatbot can do. The easier you make the process, the easier it will be to land the client.

Track What Is Critical to Your Law Firm’s Growth by Measuring KPI Values

Want to evaluate your law firm’s marketing success? Key Performance Indicators, or KPI, allow attorneys to measure their business, marketing, and performance successes using values that reflect how efficiently lawyers are reaching their objectives.

Simply put, how do you know if you are reaching your marketing goals? Are you measuring the proper indicators? Let’s find out!

What Types of Key Performance Indicators Are Important to Attorneys?

There are two types of key performance indicators, and typically companies that market products or services can find their measurements in one type of KPI.

Because of the unique nature of law firms and their audiences, their ability to appeal to markets through precise marketing efforts, and personal, less calculated approaches, both types apply to lawyers and staff.

Type One: Quantitative

Quantitative key performance indicators for lawyers is measured in the value of facts. No personal feelings, interpretations, or biases. These facts are typically numbers that are weighed against a standard, which could be the number of phone calls, conversions from the website, and new clients received over a measured amount of time.

At the Attorney Marketing Network, we provide our clients with the tools they need to successfully gather quantitative KPIs to ensure that their marketing goals are measured and analyzed in real time.

Our unique marketing services are web designed for lawyers based on their firm’s exclusive needs, which allows us to accurately monitor and report key performance indicators, including:

  • Phone calls
  • Web and social media traffic
  • Form submission leads
  • Review solicitation, submissions and notifications
  • Retargeting and remarketing achievements
  • Visitor engagement analysis
  • Pay-per-click campaigns
  • Pay-per-call and pay-per-text mobile campaigns
  • AdWords successes
  • Personalized marketing KPI measurements, designed specifically for your firm

Type Two: Qualitative

Qualitative key performance indicators for attorneys is measured in the value of influence, personal feelings, and opinions. These facts are also represented through numbers but must be manually obtained, instead of reflected through online metrics and compiled data like quantitative KPIs.

Qualitative KPIs can include clients who were referred to your firm from:

  • Previous clients
  • Review-based contact, where a prospective client reads your legal reviews and makes contact
  • Print, radio, and television advertising

The conversion rate of the individuals who heard about you, saw your ad, or read about you online is the most important performance indicator in qualitative measurements. Keep track of them!

What Are Legal Marketing KPI Values?

KPI values are used in legal marketing efforts to help attorneys understand if they are reaching their targets effectively. Because there is so much data to keep track of, especially in social media, website, and media engagements, it’s often difficult for lawyers to understand which indicators they should focus on to enhance their success.

First, all data is important and serves a purpose. However, it’s not all critical to your success. Focusing on the proper KPI values will allow you to understand where your marketing strategy is working — and, more importantly, where it isn’t.

Key performance indicators should be:

  • Applicable to your law firm and the legal industry
  • Defined and quantifiable; you must outline exactly what you are tracking
  • Communicated to your staff, partners, and associates
  • Crucial to achieving your goals

What Legal Marketing KPIs Should Your Firm Measure?

While it is exciting to check your online metrics and review traffic boosts, click-thru rates, and conversions — all of which are important data — focusing on successful KPI measurements should lie within the firm first.

Legal key performance indicators that will allow your firm to track and achieve growth include:

  • Law firm’s culture, ensuring all staff projects:
    • Consistent marketing campaigns through personal and electronic communications
    • The overall integrity of the firm’s brand, vision, and mission
  • Client development, and the journey from online search/media ad/referral to consultation
  • Cost of client acquisition, and where your marketing dollars are being successfully spent
  • Client satisfaction, reviews, and referral opportunities and their results
  • Lifetime value of a client
  • Direct advertising costs spent on each channel
  • Converted, revenue-driving clients acquired through each channel, its duration, and expense
  • Staff time required to convert each client to an actual claim
  • Staff time consumed by non-converting leads, and how they found your firm

These metrics will include:

  • Number of new clients per month
  • Revenue billed per month, and revenue collected per month
  • Overall monthly expenses
  • Client satisfaction scores
  • Employee satisfaction scores

How Does Your Law Firm Measure Marketing KPIs?

Unfortunately, there is no checklist that allows lawyers to ensure each figure is accounted for, so you know what is working and what isn’t. No form, no problem. Your law firm will simply have to create a process where KPIs are recorded and tracked — otherwise, measurements cannot be qualified or reviewed, and you’re back to square one: Not knowing where your marketing dollars are effectively targeting new clients.

Quantitative data, which is data that is provided in factual numbers including online performance, pay-per-click, and AdWords is easily obtained and reported to help law firms understand where their electronic media budget is going, and what’s working to increase their ranking.

The Attorney Marketing Network will record the quantitative data that is important to your law firm, and deliver precise:

  • Net Promoter Scores: An index that measures the willingness of clients to recommend your law firm to others
  • Review Reports: Specific law firm KPI marketing metrics that create opportunities for growth and target audience expansion

Qualitative data, which is based on personal feelings, is much harder to track, but equally as important! The crucial thing about qualitative key performance indicators for law firms is that they must be tracked to ensure success.

Some ways to collect qualitative data can include:

Reviewing Legal Key Performance Indicators While Building Objectives

Collecting data and understanding the key performance indicators that are the most important to your law firm’s growth is no small feat. It will require a dedicated approach to outlining, recording, and reviewing the data regularly.

The measurement process is something that will need to be shared with your staff, marketing team, and vendors who help build your firm’s online, physical, and media presence. This will allow everyone to be on the same page, and understand which key performance indicators are working — and which parts of your legal marketing budget are PERFORMING?

The results of measuring legal marketing key performance indicators will allow your firm to:

  • Acquire more high-value clients
  • Minimize your costs of reaching, connecting, and retaining clients
  • Reduce your staff’s time consumption on non-converting clients
  • Boost your marketing reach to effectively access target markets and audiences swiftly and accurately

Once your firm’s employees understand the importance of measuring marketing key performance indicators, it will be easier to track, review, and share the information. Getting on top of your KPIs will allow your firm to really understand how your advertising and marketing budget is being spent. The Attorney Marketing Network will get you on the right path of collecting data, measuring its success while extolling the benefits of knowing exactly which legal marketing efforts are working, and which are not. Call us today to find out how we can implement key performance indicator metrics for your firm and watch your target audience grow.

Optimize Your Law Firm Ranking with Eye-Catching Visual Content

Websites are more than your information on demand, they are a marketing tool that allows current, past, and prospective clients to gather information, make contact in seconds, and provide feedback for your legal services.

Each year, websites evolve and become a true part of your law firm’s makeup. In the online world, content is — and always will be — the ruler of rankings. Content dictates how you are found, and by whom, as its website design and substance contribute highly to search engine optimization. Simply put, the better the content, the easier it will be to separate your firm from the masses.

In today’s online world, content means more than excellent, SEO-focused writing. Content is all- encompassing and includes each item added to your website, blogs, landing pages, and beyond. Content is information. And information is exactly what your online searchers seek.

Here are a few tips on standing apart from the legal crowd.

Content Diversity is Rewarded with Higher Rankings

No matter which search engine an individual is using, the algorithms behind the scenes will reward sites using diverse content with a higher ranking. Content is more than words, although great, purposeful writing is still a major factor. Content is the whole of your firm’s online composition.

This can include:

  • Infographics
  • Data-driven visuals
  • Photos
  • Illustrations
  • Screenshots
  • Slide Share Presentations
  • Embedded Maps
  • Videos

When Google crawls the web for search engine results, the more diverse your content, the better ranking you will receive, as each component is awarded a different value. When prospective clients are searching for an attorney, their position must be on the first page. And combining visual effects into the site will create a tremendous boost that sustains.

Infographics & Data-driven Visuals

Law firms have more data-driven information to share than realized. Imagine each of your cases’ victories, monetary awards, and successes put forth in an infographic, instead of through text alone.

The success of infographics and data-driven visuals is compelling, and enhances your reach, as they:

  • Grab the reader’s attention
  • Simplify communication
  • Deliver attractive and compelling displays of information
  • Answer legal-related questions instantly
  • Demonstrate attorney expertise
  • Boost credibility
  • Drive traffic to the site
  • Liked and shared through social media 3X more than any other type of content

Photos and Illustrations

Photos and illustrations are commonplace on websites, and certainly shouldn’t be overlooked when adding an original blog, practice area page, city page, or supporting page.

Here’s why:

  • Over 90% of the information that is transmitted to the brain is visual
  • 40% of people respond faster (and better!) to an image than they do 1,000 words of text
  • Visual images are processed 60,000 times faster than text
  • Websites with images receive 94% more page views than online text content alone
  • Images may appear in search engine results, serving as an immediate attention grabber
  • Increases local search engine optimization

When adding photos or illustrations to your website, there are a few guidelines to improve your results while maintaining ownership of the content.

  • Only use images that your law firm has purchased or own outright
  • Research free images found online to ensure they are not being used by other law firms
  • Ensure clarity by cropping the images to project informative, relevant value
  • Create a photo credit for photos you own, so they are not used by others without your firm’s permission

Screenshots & LinkedIn SlideShare Presentations

Often, screenshots and informative visual platforms are overlooked, simply because the value of their use is unknown.

Screenshots can provide a wealth of information to online viewers, simply by displaying exact and direct instructions. Attorneys can visually walk clients through a process, whether it is instructions on how to leave a review or testimonial to express their happiness with the firm, or how to upload documents for the attorney to review.

  • The visual aspect of providing clients with screenshots leaves little room for error

In addition, LinkedIn’s SlideShare is becoming a monstrous online entity of its own, allowing firms to upload presentations, documents, and infographics through a completely visual platform that touts:

  • 60 million unique visitors per month
  • Among the top 120 most-visited websites globally
  • Lead generating success

The online success associated with SlideShare also provides a credible backlink to your firm’s website, ensuring its existence is picked up by search engine web crawlers.

Embedded Maps

Chances are, your legal team is already a member of Google My Business, and benefit from the Google Maps that accompany the registration. The boost of having your location available at a glance online is only second to having a map or maps if there is more than one location, embedded on your website.

The embedded map delivers:

  • Free and effective local lawyer marketing for prospective clients in and around your area
  • Local attorney search engine optimization through proximity and reviews
  • Instant access to the law firm’s hours of operation and directions to each location
  • Immediate contact buttons through talk, text, email and social media to gain access to available lawyers

Video, Video, and More Video

When it comes to video content on your website, the importance of its inclusion cannot be overstated.

The statistics and online engagement speak for themselves:

  • Within two years, online videos will comprise more than 80% of all consumer internet traffic
  • One minute of video is worth 1.8 million words
  • Blog posts with video attract inbound links three times that of posts without video
  • Video on landing pages can increase conversion rates by 80%
  • Companies that use videos in their marketing have:
    • 27% higher clickthrough rate
    • 34% higher conversion rates
  • Viewers remember 95% of a video’s message; Only 10% of a message in text
  • 78% of people watch online videos every week; 55% every day

What Does This Mean to Your Local Exposure?

The short answer is, everything.

The Local Search Association (LSA) released the results of a study of those who search and buy local products and services online and found that:

  • Local searchers reported viewing an online video while searching for services or products 44% of the time, of those people:
    • 33% visited the local business in person
    • 51% visited the local business’s website
    • 51% of those people moved forward with their hiring action on the same day 
    • 53% of these viewers contacted that local business after viewing their video online
  • 67% of those studied did not have a business or service provider in mind when they began their local search
  • 71% of those people ultimately made a local purchase or hired a local service related to the video they watched online

 

What Type of Video Content Should Attorneys Create?

Your law firm has specialized practice areas where you and your staff are legal experts. Begin your video production approach by creating a list of topics that help you stand out from other firms in your area.

These topics can include:

  • Introduction to the law firm, partners, associate lawyers, and legal support staff
  • Image boosting videos regarding new attorney hires and accolades
  • Victories through mediation or courtroom verdicts
  • Local legal issues plaguing the community, and your solutions
  • Hot topics in the local or national news
  • Testimonials from legal clients who share their experiences with the firm
  • Instructional videos on how to proceed with a legal claim in your respective practice areas
  • Legal solutions and practice procedures for clients

The goal is to create informative content that is concise, relevant, and shareable.

Allow Visual Content to Participate in Your Growth: Share on Social Media Platforms

Statistics do not lie. Social media is, or should be, an important marketing tool for your business. Fortunately, increasing your visual content can provide easily shareable social media updates for not only your target audience to see, but for the search engines to crawl.

Each time you create and apply a new image, infographics, presentation, or video to your website, share the visual content on your social media platforms.

These platforms can include:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Snapchat
  • Tumblr
  • YouTube

Here’s why:

  • A social media post accompanied by an image is ten times more likely to be engaged
  • Facebook posts that include images will receive 2.3 times more engagement than a post without
  • Organic engagement on Facebook is higher when the post includes videos
  • Tweets with images receive 150% more retweets
  • 74% of marketers on social media include visuals content in their posts
  • Articles featuring an image every 75-100 words earned double the number of social media shares as articles with fewer images
  • Video content is responsible for 71% of all internet traffic

Conclusion: Visual Content is a Direct Contributor to Online Conversion Rates  

It is important to understand that visual content is pertinent to how your law firm is found, contacted, and converts prospective clients to actual caseloads. Each person who searches for an attorney can provide a boost to your bottom line, no matter the size of their case.

The customer’s journey to your door, and their experience thereafter, will set you apart from competing attorneys in your area. And visual content is going to be a large part of their initial search results.

It isn’t necessary to hire a production firm to create images or videos for your online applications. With access to high-resolution cameras and video recording devices, infographic tools, and online slide share platforms, the costs are contained, and the results are easily shareable.

Consider topics that deliver useful and relevant information to your audience and make a list of the items you would like to expand on in a visual capacity. Need help? Contact the Attorney Marketing Network for a nudge in the right direction and learn how to expand your law firm’s online reach without breaking the bank.

Dominating Your Local Market Through Paid Search and SEO

You have opened your legal practice and are ready for clients. But, no one is contacting you for legal help. What should you do? The first place to look is the internet. Using a combination of paid advertising and organic SEO practices, you can begin attracting clients.

Depending on the level of competition and the SEO techniques that they use, you may quickly climb to the top of the rankings within months. Though, this is not always the case.

If you want to increase your chances of success, you should work with a reputable SEO company that specializes in SEO for law firms and lawyers.

The local landscape has changed over the past several years. This is in part due to changes to Google searches and paid ads.

Early in 2016, Google removed side ads that would appear along the right sidebar in organic search results. They have also reduced the number of ad positions to seven.

These changes have had a large impact on paid local advertising strategies. SEO specialists had to reassess their techniques.

If you want to increase the online presence of your law firm, you should take the time to learn more about the use of Google AdWords and local SEO practices.

Without local online marketing, it is incredibly difficult for a business to compete locally. Learn how to dominate your local market through paid search and SEO.

How Users Find Local Law Firms


With a limited number of ad positions, you must also rely on your organic search rankings. At the same time, your on-site SEO will have an effect on the ad position that you receive. Therefore, paid ads and SEO are directly connected.

In order to compete with other legal practices in your region, you need to incorporate effective SEO techniques. It can be difficult to understand how these techniques work without understanding how users find local businesses.

You have probably searched for businesses in your area, such as restaurants and local stores, and you are not alone – over 84% of the public perform local searches. The majority of the population relies on Google for these searches, with a fraction of the public using Yahoo or Bing.

Searching for Local Businesses

When using Google, users have a few different options. You can search from your phone or tablet, desktop or laptop, or with the Google Maps app. More than 1 billion people now use the Google Maps app.

Based on your search query, Google will attempt to determine whether you are searching for a local business or performing a general search. The following applies to local searches, which is the focus of your SEO and paid ads.

Google Search Results Page

With the standard local Google search, the first search results page contains a selection of Google Places results, along with a map, above the organic search results. No ads are displayed on this page. Though, if a user clicks on the map, the Google Maps results page will open.

Google Maps Search Results

The Google Maps search results page includes a map of the area and the results contain business listings from Google Places. One to two ads is displayed at the top of the Google Places results. With the Google Maps app, only one ad is displayed.

So, when a user performs a search for a local business, they will only see a couple of ads. The majority of the results will come from organic results with business information obtained from Google Places.

Updating Your Google Places Profile

Working with an experienced SEO company will help increase search rankings across Google searches, including Google Maps. When you interview an SEO company, you should ask about what methods they will use to improve your Google Places rankings for local results.

As a part of SEO techniques for Google Places, they should update your profile, which includes important business information.

First, you will need to verify that you are the owner of the law firm that appears in Google Places results. Once the verification is completed, your phone number, website address, and other details can be updated. This is also necessary for connecting your law firm listing on Google Places to your Google AdWords paid advertisements.

Now that you understand how potential clients can find legal help, you are ready to learn how to use Google AdWords to ensure they choose your law practice.

Google AdWords for Local Advertising


Google AdWords has gone through numerous changes and updates in recent months. As mentioned, Google streamlined the search results pages by removing side ads and limiting the number of ad positions to seven. This increases the importance of good SEO.

If there are only one or two ads per results page, how do you use Google AdWords for local advertising? With effective local SEO techniques, such as keyword optimization – both on-site and on your ads. You will also need to include Google Maps as a part of your local PPC (pay-per-click) ad campaign.

Desktop and Mobile Searches

The ad placement will vary based on whether the user is searching for a law firm on their desktop or mobile device. On the desktop, one or two ads will appear below the search box or directly on the map. On the mobile Google Maps app, one ad may display below the search box.

Using Standard Google AdWords

You should still use standard PPC ad campaigns to reach local clients for your law practice. These ads should target commonly searched legal issues that you are capable of handling.

When a user searches for legal help, Google may provide standard web results instead of local results. But, your PPC ads can still appear in these searches and are effective when you target your local region. Though, you still need to create separate ad groups for targeting Google Maps searches.

Enabling Your Local Ads for Google Maps

Your paid ads will not automatically appear in search results on Google Maps. You must first enable location extensions for your AdWords account. Along with updating these extensions, your Google Places profile must also be updated.

Location extensions provide details about your law firm, such as your location, office hours, and phone number. Updating location extensions also allow potential clients to call your offices directly from the search results on their phone.

One of the advantages of using Google AdWords is that you can easily create multiple PPC ad campaigns. When creating an ad campaign for use with Google Maps, you will need to target a specific location and set bids by location.

Paid ads for Google Maps search results work similar to standard CPC for Google AdWords. You will pay for each click on your Google Maps ad. This includes the following three types of clicks:

  • Get location details clicks
  • Get direction clicks
  • Clicks-to-call clicks (for mobile)

When setting bid by location, you will be able to target different groups of potential clients. You can use this option to create different ad groups for different neighborhoods or regions.

Once these steps are completed, you will be able to use Google AdWords for targeted local advertising through Google Maps. But, the work is not yet done. There is still a good chance that your ads may not appear in search results, especially if you have a lot of competition from other law firms in the area.

The Benefits of Paid Ads for Local Searches

It is okay to be skeptical about the benefits of using paid advertisements for obtaining new clients. When you are paying an SEO company to increase your organic search results you may wonder about the effects of paying to start an ad campaign.

Despite the fact that only a few ads now appear in search results, Google AdWords remains a quality investment for local businesses, including law practices.

Here is an overview of the top benefits of paid ads for local searches :

  • You get fast results
  • AdWords is flexible
  • Great return on investment
  • Easy to understand metrics
  • You can learn more about your market

You Get Fast Results

One of the primary advantages of PPC ads is that you get fast results. When you use SEO to increase organic search results, you may have to wait several months to a year before you notice a positive return on investment.

With PPC ads, results are instant. As soon as your ad campaign is active, users will begin clicking on your ads and will visit your website. You are paying for the benefit of getting immediate results. Though, keyword research and SEO techniques must be performed before you begin your Google AdWords ad campaign.

AdWords is Flexible

Google AdWords is also extremely flexible. It is the perfect solution for any business of any size with any budget. You also have the ability to make changes as needed. You can instantly pause your campaign or adjust your bids.

Great Return on Investment

Overall, Google AdWords provides a great return on investment. You are only paying for each time that a person clicks on your ad. Additionally, the potential clients that click on your ad are more likely to result in a conversion – meaning that they are likely to contact your law offices after clicking on your ad.

Easy to Understand Metrics

It can be difficult to accurately judge the impact on SEO on your law practice. While you can look at search traffic and conversion rates, the results can be ambiguous. This is not the case with PPC ads. You can easily determine how much you have spent and how many clicks have resulted in a conversion.

You Can Learn More About Your Market

Another advantage of paid ads for local searches is that you can learn more about your market. The results are completely transparent, so you can see which ads were most effective at attracting clients. You will also be able to determine which ads provided the highest conversion rates. This information can be useful for marketing research.

Paid ads are one part of the solution for dominating your local market. The other part is legal SEO – with the help of a reliable SEO company.

How SEO Impacts Paid Ad Placement

Google has reduced the number of paid advertisements that appear in search results to a total of 7 sponsored ads. When a client searches for a local firm using the Google Maps app, one sponsored text ad will appear at the top of the search results. Desktop users will see a maximum of two ads.

Since there are only one or two ads per local search result, these ad positions will require good SEO practices. The following criteria play the largest role in ad placement:

  • Your bid for the targeted ad
  • Expected click through rate
  • The relevance of your ad
  • The quality of your landing page

Google considers these factors in order to calculate your Ad Rank. The Ad Rank is then used in an ad auction to determine the ad position. The expected click through rate is based on previous clicks and impressions.

So, you have no control over this factor. But, you do have the ability to adjust your bid and to use legal SEO to improve the ad relevance and the quality of your landing page.

Choosing the Right Bid

Choosing the right bidfor your advertisement can be tricky. This is another area where hiring an experienced SEO company can be useful. They will be able to help you choose an acceptable bid that fits within your budget and allows you to receive hits on your ad.

As mentioned, there are three different types of clicks for Google Maps. For standard search results, all clicks are treated the same. An SEO company may make adjustments to the bid depending on how the ad is performing. They are also able to judge the effectiveness of the ad for reaching potential clients in your local area.

Keyword Usage on Advertisements

Working with an SEO company, you can determine the best keyword phrases for use in your ads and on your website. These keyword phrases need to be relevant to the searches that you are targeting. Your ad will appear in a higher position when the text is relevant to the search.

Improving the Quality of Your Landing Page

Targeted landing pages are often used in conjunction with an ad campaign. This allows you to use the same keyword phrases while increasing the relevance of your website to the search query.

Additional Impact of SEO on Your Paid Ads

Not only will SEO help increase your ad position, it will boost conversion rates – which refers to the percentage of website visitors that complete an intended action, such as contacting your law offices. Using good SEO can also lower your cost per click (CPC). This means that you will spend less on your paid ads.

The bottom line is that legal SEO and paid advertisements go hand in hand. In order for your ads to be effective, you need to use search engine optimization – and remain up to date with any other changes that Google decides to put in place.

Staying Up to Date with Local Search Results

You can expect Google to make additional changes to how ads are displayed across their search network. Along with the issues that have already been discussed, it is essential that you stay up to date with these changes.

Where is Google headed? What can you expect from the future of PPC ads and local search results? It is hard to predict what Google will do. For example, an equal number of PPC ad specialists believe that the CPC rates will increase or decrease in the coming year.

More Law Practices Will Focus on Local SEO and Paid Ads

One trend that could have an impact on PPC ads is targeted advertising. You can count on an increasing number of local businesses to begin focusing their SEO strategies and paid ads on the local market. The various techniques and practices described in these pages will be commonplace among your competitors.

As more people begin realizing the importance of local SEO and paid ads, you will need to remain on the forefront of changes to these techniques.

The best solution for remaining current with local search results is to work with a trusted SEO company that specializes in legal SEO. They will be uniquely equipped to help your law firm take advantage of Google AdWords and good SEO practices. You will be able to increase your organic search results while gaining immediate results through paid ads.

You have learned more about the use of paid ads in local search results and how important they are for increasing traffic to your website.While paid ads do not have a direct impact on organic search traffic, it will provide immediate results. This can be crucial for a law practice that is just starting out. For those that are struggling to attract new clients, now is the time to get help.

If you want to dominate your local market, you will need a combination of marketing methods. At the front of this list should be paid ads and legal SEO.

Get started today. Contact Attorney Marketing Network, a legal SEO company to take the next step towards attracting more clients to your law practice.

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