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Google SERP Features & Your Legal Marketing

Google has a purpose: make information easier to find.

Your law firm marketing team has a goal: maneuver through the SEO rules in order to make your law firm’s website content the first to be presented and found on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

Google takes a person’s search and replies to it with one of four types of result categories:

  • Knowledge Graph
  • Ads
  • Organic Search
  • Local Search

SEARCH RESULTS IN FOUR DIFFERENT CATEGORIES

THE KNOWLEDGE GRAPH (Google’s Database)

Google’s Knowledge Graph pulls data about businesses, organizations, people, and places from sources it deems authoritative. It then restructures the information based on the searcher’s intent.

PURPOSE: provide instant answers to basic queries

  • Results don’t always link out to a particular page or article
  • Information is drawn from various references and sources
  • For some SERPs, this info is placed at the top, above every other kind of search result

HOW THIS AFFECTS LAWYERS SEO:

Because Google (every single time) is going to beat everyone on the short answers, it means that content must be built out with the long answers — the deep content that explains all the ins and outs of what your site and lawyers web design is representing.

Short Answer: Google for the Win!

If a searcher asks their phone, “what do I do after a car accident?” Google will give them an instant answer in steps to follow.

Long and In-depth Answer: Attorneys Marketing Strategy Scores!

What if the searcher asked, “how do I get permission to take my child to another state if I share custody?” If your lawyers marketing content addresses this, then your team just beat Google — and what’s more, Google knows it and will present your site as the option for an answer to the searcher’s query.

ADS (Adwords)

TEXT ADS

Text ads are visible for nearly any search, IF they meet two points of criteria: you paid for them and the search is relevant.

PURPOSE: basic paid ads supplied to the searcher at the top and bottom of their SERPs

  • Paid function
  • Google decides the ad is suitable based on the searcher’s apparent intent
  • Usually created in Adwords
  • There are ad extensions available to help make the ad more dynamic and responsive
  • If Google sees the extensions are relevant to the searcher’s intent, it will then show the applicable extensions

Google has a video explaining their extensions and how they benefit search results. Your team at Attorney Marketing Network can also help in this process of ad creation and extensions as they create the SEO for attorneys.

HOW THIS AFFECTS SEARCHING FOR LAW FIRM SEO:

If a person searches: “why do my feet hurt after court?” More than likely, an ad to your firm’s site — no matter how great your law firm web design has been executed — is not going to give them the answer to their query.

However, if they search: “attorney to represent me in court,” they are more than likely expecting to find products or services, not a commentary — therefore your site would be displayed as an option.

CALL-ONLY ADS

Call-only ads display the business phone number with a link to call from the searcher’s device.

PURPOSE: When someone is looking for a specific kind of company or business (i.e. personal injury attorney) and their commercial intent is high

  • Only happens on a device that can make phone calls
  • Allows for two lines of text and a link to business website
  • The size of the screen determines how much text is shown to the searcher

HOW THIS AFFECTS SEO FOR LAWYERS:

This allows the potential client to immediately call your firm without having to go to your website or find the tab for “contact us.” They can be on the phone with your legal team within seconds of inputting their search.

This provides a higher rate of competition amongst legal marketing with the local search results of other attorneys also turning up in answer to the searcher’s query.

Your team at Attorney Marketing Network can help you create a law firm marketing strategy and put it into action.

PRODUCT & SHOWCASE SHOPPING ADS

These two types of ads are both image-intensive and product-based. They wouldn’t be used for any type of marketing for lawyers. Therefore, for the knowledge alone, we will simply mention them here — as there might be a use for them in the future.

Product and showcase shopping ads are results that would appear for a search where the person:

  • Knows what they want to purchase, but do not know where (e.g. MacBook Pro)
  • Has not yet fully determined what or where, but have a category of an idea (e.g. laptop computer)

They would be presented with a carousel of images from different stores and links to purchase or find out more information.

ORGANIC SEARCH (Relevance)

PURPOSE: to give the searcher the best results to match their query and to place those results into the easiest format for reaching their goals

Organic search results simply mean the listings & links:

  • Relevant to the search language
  • Not advertisements
  • Individual sources (not a compilation of sources like the Knowledge Graph)

Non-organic searches can possibly included PPC (Pay Per Click) Ads.

HOW THIS AFFECTS LAWYERS MARKETING:

This is where the in-depth answer wins the long game. As in the Knowledge Graph, Google is grading the content of your site, which would be attorneys marketing attorneys, against the intent of the need the searcher has: finding an attorney.

Google is smart and getting smarter. No longer does it read by keywords alone — it understands the content surrounding the keywords. Rich and deep content persuades Google that your site knows what it is talking about AND it is the answer the searcher is looking for.

Through high-text content — that is comprehensive, relevant, and invaluable — law firm SEO can be employed and wielded as the greatest marketing for lawyers possible. With keywords balancing out the content depth, a wider base for search results can be prepared and laid.

Our representatives at Attorney Marketing Network can share the possibilities this approach can make for your law firm website design and lawyers SEO.

FEATURED SNIPPETS (Snapshot Result)

PURPOSE: A featured snippet is a block of information Google found within a website that is relevant* to the searcher’s query and is then displayed with the organic results along with the website link, page title, and URL

“When we recognize that a query asks a question, we programmatically detect pages that answer the user’s question, and display a top result as a featured snippet in the search results.” — Google

*The relevance might be explicit or implied by the search.

HOW THIS AFFECTS LAW FIRM SEO:

With powerful and compelling content written within your lawyers web design, Google will be able to pull answers out for your potential clients immediately upon their search.

These answers are skillfully created by the copywriting teams at Attorney Marketing Network and are crafted to be proficient enough to grab Google’s attention so it hands the answer to the searcher.

The results should be an online search transformed into a physical client.

LOCAL SEARCH (Mixing Organic & Knowledge)

PURPOSE: to give the searcher immediate results that are both relevant to their search as well as to their location

Google uses a searcher’s location data and Google Maps to provide relevant results that either are expressly or by implication looking for a location.

LOCAL PACKS

PURPOSE: to show in one place the Google Maps, Google Reviews, business hours, and phone numbers for local results

Local packs only appear when Google assumes the intent of the searcher is to find a physical location.

Your firm will only be displayed in a local pack if you listed your business with Google. To find out how Attorney Marketing Network can help you get listed with Google, contact a rep today.

Just because a business is listed with Google does not mean it will automatically appear in a local pack. There are still factors Google will consider:

Relevance & Distance

Google considers both the relevance of the business to the searchers query as well as the distance the business is from the searcher.

This means the searcher could be standing near an Outback Steakhouse, but if their search says, “what is the price of an Outback?” the steakhouse will not come up in Google’s results. Their results would instead show them the nearest Subaru dealership.

Best Match & Prominence

Google also takes into consideration what are the BEST results for the question posed to it. This is where the SEO for lawyers and your law firm web design are vitally needed. The results are being generated based on the online presence of your site — links, content, and relevance.

It is also looking at the prominence of your site by taking into account Google Reviews and backlinks. The more your firm has, the more likely you will get listed in a local pack search result.

HOW THIS AFFECTS SEO FOR ATTORNEYS:

The strategic planning of your firm’s legal marketing is key to collecting the clients that are surrounding your business. Daily, people are searching for the help your firm could bring them. With the right network surrounding your team, these potential clients will find you.

To find out how to ratchet up your content so your site can answer Google’s call when searchers are seeking an attorney in your area, call a member of our team at Attorney Marketing Network today (877) 566-7626.

Learn This Google Ranking Element Over Morning Coffee

To understand Google, we first must ask what its algorithms consider as quality content. Second, we must assess how we can wield this answer to improve our standing in searches.

SEO teams have been wrestling with this quandary since the Hummingbird algorithm came out in 2013. Prior to that Google update, we knew the answer resided in keywords — using them correctly and in high quantity. This update, however, relegated keywords to a secondary position and prioritized context above all.

With context up first, this told us that Google’s spiders were not only locating keywords, but they were able to determine if the context surrounding these keywords was also related to them — the algorithm could now understand the meaning behind and the reason for the text.

This search engine monster is no longer using keywords and metadata alone; it is reading the site for relevance to the keywords.

Does This Mean Longer Content Is the Solution?

Many teams of SEO specialists have toyed with the use of longer content. These teams yielded mixed results, with some small successes.

What these moments of both success and failure told us: length is not the answer. It’s something else. It’s the true objective behind Hummingbird: depth of content.

Rich and Deep Content Holds the Answer

How does this play out for us to use for our own sites? Let’s imagine that we did a search “how to find an attorney?” The SERP (Search Engine Results Page) would give us results like this:

 

Those results are exactly what we would expect to find. No surprises. Within all these sites, they should have collectively written about all the topics to do with finding an attorney. Each site would have parts of the topics, but not the whole.

Example:

  • Site A discusses topics 1,4,5,6
  • Site B discusses topics 3,4,6
  • Site C discusses topics 1,3,6
  • Site D discusses topics 2,6

At the completion of our research, we would have a thorough list of every topic (1-6) and we can see an order of priority surfacing.

In our example above, topic 6 is discussed through the content of all four top sites. We would label this piece as a type of mainstay content and prioritize it.

In theory, if we were to write a piece of content that incorporated all six topics and emphasized the sixth one, we would have the most thorough and all-inclusive content for this particular topic.

Because we constructed the most exhaustive content, we should have the top quality ranking result. Our page should fulfill all the qualifications for those searching for our site.

Beyond that, we should have created a quintessential resource that included everything a person could desire or need for this search.

How to Identify Topics to Use

Is there a way to scientifically gather this data for future content to be written? Yes.

Topic Discovery

Nonautomatic

  • (AKA manual): this is the process we discussed above; it can be time-intensive, but for small projects is worth it

Automatic

  • Bring your team at Attorney Marketing Network onboard to use the tools they have created for your site
  • Build and use sites online with tools that allow you to research this; if you don’t’ know what you are doing, this too can be labor- and time-intensive

The Process

1. Single Out Content Worth Improving

We can use new content or take older content that isn’t ranking as high as we would like it to be.

Let’s assume we took an older piece of content that is ranking in fourth position when searched. If we use the top twenty searches that showed up, and do the process we laid out above, we can find what topics our page is lacking.

When we rewrite this page with the needed topics, we can simply have it re-indexed by Google and still use the same URL.

A page that was ranking fourth can, within sixty seconds, be ranking number one.

Another look at this process can be through the keywords and where they are ranking. Some of the keywords might be ranking highly, yet others are ranking low even with strong content. The content simply needs to be brought up to the level of the others with all the topics included.

2. Evaluate Your Already-Written Content

We need to take an intuitive look at the content that is ranking lower than we would like it to.

  • Is it a thorough piece of content?
  • Is there value in updating examples?
  • Does it need updated media?
  • Is the branding out of date?
3. Determine and Establish Topics

We know we can do this a few different ways. We can invest the massive amount of time and labor needed to conduct the research, or we can ask our SEO teams to do this research for us by using their online tools.

Once we have these results, we will be able to see the topics:

  • Aced: topics mentioned in all or most of the top-ranking results, including ours
  • Underrepresented: topics mentioned in all or most of the top-ranking results, but not in ours
4. Revise the Content

The content might be slightly out-of-date, or it might need a complete overhaul. We must determine what is needed for our piece, and then get knowledgeable writers involved with our rewrite.

Finding Copywriters:

  • We can be our own copywriter and rewrite the material for our sites — if we believe we have all the knowledge needed and the time required to invest in the projects
  • We can employ the teams at Attorney Marketing Network — these copywriters understand the needs involved with rewrites and are capable of redeeming the content with robust information that revolves around the keywords
5. Update the Published Content

It is important that we do not create a new link (URL) for our content. This will cause the ranking to start over and will not improve the original link that we are attempting to help. Instead, we must preserve the link equity.

We open the old content and replace it with the newly created content.

6. Let Google Know the Content Is Updated

We then must ask Google to re-index our content. This ensures that the crawlers come back through the page and rank it according to the new content.

7. Verify the Outcome

Go to your browser, open an incognito window, and review the new position of your post.

To Open an Incognito Window:

Ask Our Team at Attorney Marketing Network to Help

It’s time to make sure your site’s content is in the top-ranking spot that it deserves.

If you would like to find out what content on your site needs to be spruced up so Google can rank it higher, or you need a team to do the rewrites to rank your site, reach out to a representative at attorneymarketingnetwork.com today.

You can contact a rep to request a free audit by phone at (877) 899-8460, or by email at info@attorneymarketingnetwork.com.

Google’s Small Thanks: Pairing Digital & Physical in the Review Age

When clients leave great Google reviews, those reviews can be turned into advocate voices for your firm.

  • Potential client runs across the reviews when searching for a firm on Google
  • SEO & marketing teams spread the valued reviews via online platforms

Since the Consumer Review Fairness Act passed, protecting all types of reviews and providing a forum where clients can speak their minds, the importance of cherishing strong client reviews has become forefront and powerfully necessary. Google’s SmallThanks campaign is a great way to wield this commodity of great reviews.

A New Road for Sharing Google Reviews

In a campaign of SmallThanks, Google now provides a way for businesses to download their top reviews:

  • Easy to print as posters, cards, or center pieces
  • Easy to share on social media

This allows business teams to use the four- and five-star reviews from their clients as visual sales points during meetings with walk-in clientele and in-office consultations.

It also provides an easy-to-use and pre-formatted pathway for social media campaigns.

SmallThanks Examples for Attorney Marketing Network:

How to Find Your Firm’s SmallThanks

  • Verify the reviews are for your firm
  • Select “GET YOUR MATERIALS”

  • Download the provided materials to PRINT or USE LATER
  • Share them instantly on SOCIAL MEDIA

Let Us Help You with Your SmallThanks

Let your team at Attorney Marketing Network know if you would like to use your materials on your site under client reviews or stories! To schedule a time to speak to someone about what the teams at AMN can do for your firm, contact us today. 

Improve the Efficiency of Your Review Requests

Through your team’s ranking strategy, your site is bringing in clients. Congratulations! They are satisfied and thankful for your services. Yet, your appeal for a review usually goes unanswered. Why?

In our modern world, it is easy to lean on which tech item needs to be tweaked in order to get a better review. While adding a brighter header to an email or glowing button to an online ad might help optimize a segment of your audience’s response, the biggest impact is still found in personal interactions.

How to Get Happy Clients to Actually Leave a Review

The real world is where your review requests have a greater chance of being heard and getting that physical response you need: a great online review.

As you interact with your clients, build into the structure of your meetings a vernacular about reviews and what they mean to your company and yourself personally.

  • Reviews allow new clients to find you so you can help them, like the client you’re talking to
  • Reviews give a forum and a voice to clients to share their stories and be heard
  • Reviews are the bonus structure for your firm to know which team is successfully transforming the lives of people
  • Reviews build a stronger foundation for you and your firm to fight for clients who need them

Effective business leaders have this as part of their team’s structure and plan. All of their interactions breed a safe place to talk about requesting a review.

You are not begging for something the client doesn’t want to give — you are asking for something the client has already expressed: their thoughts and opinions.

Where to Start: At the Beginning

In the opening moments with a client, offer them your references in the reviews of your firm — so they can see your success stories and the lives of other clients you have been able to help and transform. They are not alone. You can help them.

This also shows them where they can easily find the review system.

Some may have located your firm because of the reviews, while others may not know they are something available to the public.

This opportunity plants the first conversation in their minds that the review structure is there AND you and your firm are not only held accountable by it, but grateful for all the opinions and stories your clients have shared on it.

Continue the Conversation: Check In

As you are walking the journey alongside your clients — whether it is mid-case or mid-research — check in with them. If you know of another client’s success story or a review that is similar to this client’s situation and can bring them hope, then share it with them.

This reminds them there is hope in their situation, and whenever they remember that, they will ALSO remember whatever you shared at the same time, which is the ongoing conversation about reviews and their importance for you, your firm, and that next person or family sitting in their chair.

Remind your client:

  • They are not alone by sharing other people’s stories in reviews
  • The reviews hold you and your team accountable and help you to help others

In the Follow-Up: Be Real

After your client’s case is closed, when they come to pick up their settlement check, find out how they are doing.

You know your clients, and your clients know you. Remind them during your conversation about key points in their case — turning points that helped their case, changed the course of actions, enabling your win.

This requires the real world to come to the table, person to person.

Be real in this moment:

  • Let your client know you would love to have their story to share with others who are in need of help
  • Tell them you value their opinion and hope you were able to help them in everything they needed
  • Remind your client of three important items in their case that made it a success because of your team
    • Bring fresh information to their minds about how much work your team did for them
    • Encourage them to believe that their thoughts, words, and opinions are valuable

Follow Through: Get the Review

After you have reminded your client how important your team was to the case, and brought key points back to their mind, leaving them happy and thankful — let them know how you will send them the review request and also when they can expect it.

At Attorney Marketing Network, our system is set up to champion your closing of getting reviews and will send your clients an easy email follow-up that will allow them to rate your service and lead them to leaving your firm a review.

With the footwork you put in place in your clients’ real worlds, you are more likely to see your reviews thrive in response.

How to Harness the Power of Google Reviews

Our society thrives and functions on giving and reading reviews — from choosing a restaurant for a night on the town, to finding a dentist for emergency repair, to selecting an attorney to represent our families.

The Power of Positive Reviews

A business, large or small, can no longer operate successfully and to their highest potential without positive reviews. A positive review can:

  1. Boost retention of clients who consulted with more than one attorney
    • Up to 10 percent increase in retention is seen by one positive review
  2. Replace a portion of your marketing budget
    • Reviews beget reviews from other satisfied clients
    • Give life to your SEO campaign, and help your site soar in rankings (ensuring your firm is visible on Google before other sites and firms)
    • Improve client loyalty and referrals, by giving a home and voice to your clients

The system of getting reviews can appear daunting, and yet with a few key steps and strategy, reviews can become the lifeblood of any business without creating extra obstacles for the team. The setup can become the networking backbone of a powerful ranking system to benefit your firm and its growth.

Most client cases are complicated, and it can be very difficult to know when or how to request a review from a client. It takes thinking ahead, emotional sensitivity, and a structured approach.

Most people need steps to be simple, laid-out, and explained if they are going to do anything for someone else. If the effort feels complicated, they won’t do it.

Answers to the “it’s complicated” roadblock:

  1. Remove the feeling of it’s complicated
    • Show them how simple it can be
    • Step-by-step instructions are below
  2. Have a personal and human interaction
    • Genuinely ask for the review

Simple Instructions on How to Write a Google Review

  1. From a laptop, desktop, or mobile device
  2. Open Google maps
    • Check that you’re signed in to Google
  3. Search for a location (your law firm)
  4. On the left side under the location information
    • Scroll down to “Write a Review”
    • Select the stars you give out of five
    • Write the review: a sentence, a paragraph, or a page
    • Attach images (if necessary)
    • Click “Post”
    • DONE
    • The review is now public and can be seen by those searching for that location (your law office)

How to Find Great Google Reviews

As we speak about seeking out or soliciting reviews, we will only be discussing Google reviews, where it is a permitted and acceptable practice.

Please note that eliciting reviews is against Yelp’s user policy; we will not be discussing Yelp.

Direct Contact with Existing Clients

You know your clients — how they feel about their cases, and how they feel about you.

Emotion is the drive for most reviews: unhappy clients race to leave a horrifying review, and happy clients may or may not leave a review on their own — you must make that extension of emotional connection with them to cement the review into reality. 

List the Happy Clients

When a client is prompted for a review, the impact of a result (getting a positive review actually posted) is doubled and sometimes tripled when the client is asked by someone who has helped them in their process versus an email from the firm representative.

The result of a favorable outcome of a positive review being posted goes up even farther when the client receives a phone call or is in person with that person who helped them.

Make Your List

Begin by making a list of all the satisfied and happy clients your firm has. Ask the team members who engaged with the clients to give more details about what made the clients happy.

  1. The person who was in contact the most with your happy clients should reach out to them for the review
  2. Ask the happy client to leave a review for the firm
    • Contact the client: first by a phone call, then by email as a follow-up thank you (reminder) for their review 

Steps to Ask for a Review in Person

  1. Remind the client you want to help others like you helped them
  2. Thank them for their review, as it has been an honor working with them
  3. Mention three main victories (if possible) that you are proud of for their case
    • This will also stir their memory for the amazing work your firm has done for them
  4. Have the client leave a review from their own device
    • Don’t set up a computer or tablet in your office where your clients could leave a review as this device might be flagged as spam or locked out of leaving reviews

Settled Cases 

If there is a need to deliver a check to the client, you can ask the happy client in person to leave a review for your firm:

  • With a check in hand, they are the happiest and eager to tell others
  • They can easily do it from home or on their mobile devices

Get Your Employees Excited

Your employees are on the frontlines of speaking with your clients, and your clients see your employees as the face of your firm.

Creating monetary incentives for employees is a great way to multiply the responsive interaction of clients to positive reviews.

Create an employee performance incentive plan

  • The most positive reviews
  • Monetary incentive (the monetary incentive is not for the person who leaves the review, but for the employee who elicited the review)
  • Have your employees communicate to the client
    • Part of their performance is judged by their review scores
    • This allows an emotional bond to help aid the positive review

Software for Case Management

If you already work with a service to auto-email clients, you can sign up for a service. This will auto-email your clients, which does eliminate the in-person feel that creates the emotional bond needed to glue the review.

It has its benefits though:

  • You can email clients after their cases are closed
  • The client can give you a rating from 1 to 10
  • The ones who give a high rating will be prompted to leave a Google review
    • You create the guidelines & limits of a high rating (example: rating 8 to 10)

Special Services & Professionals

If you use service professionals like investigators, process servers, or experts, they too can be a place for reviews — and yet we want to caution that you use this reservoir infrequently. You also want to know the rules behind them leaving you a review.

The depth of your reviews needs to come from happy and satisfied clients.

Harnessing the Power of Positive Reviews

Once you have a stream of positive reviews on Google… Now what?

It is time to find a professional team to build a strategized SEO (Search Engine Optimization) campaign for you and your firm.

Attorney Marketing Network will help you build a strategized SEO campaign to:

  • Harness the power of your Google reviews
  • Raise your firm through the rankings on Google
  • Draw new and engaging contacts and clients

Let our team strategize and mobilize the power behind your online reviews and launch your firm onto the search results of clients looking for you.

Schedule to speak with one of our experts today.

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