It Takes an Umbrella, Not a Stick

I’ve been involved in a very interesting discussion on one of the LinkedIn groups that I participate in, and I thought it would be worth blogging about to bring the conversation into the public arena. The discussion started when I proposed an informal three-way linking arrangement among law firm members of the group. Basically, web site A would link to web site B, web site B would link to web site C, and web site C would link to web site A. It is similar to reciprocal linking, except the sites don’t swap links, but rather link to one another in a chain. The advantage to this kind of concept is that it helps each site build its link portfolio, and the links carry more weight since they are not reciprocal links.

What has surprised me about the conversation is the amount of resistance to the plan. There is a lot of worry about being banned by Google. Technically, this kind of arrangement is a violation of Google’s policies…as is just about everything that my company does. It was pointed out that in 2007, Google banned a bunch of real estate web sites for reciprocal linking. So is there some risk involved in something like this? Sure. But in my opinion, it is just as risky to do nothing.

Which is the better situation? Your web site not having any visibility because you haven’t taken steps to promote it, or your web site getting banned? Answer: there’s no difference! Either way, you’re invisible.

I think one point that I probably have not been clear on is that I am not at all suggesting that you should RELY on any particular link building strategy. I think that is where the above referenced real estate web sites made their major mistake. These were sites being promoted by amateurs who relied on link swapping to build their link portfolio. You don’t need a single technique; you don’t need a stick. You need an umbrella! In other words, you need to use lots of different strategies to get links from lots of different places.

Swap links. Do three way linking. Distribute articles. Post blogs. Submit to directories. Distribute press releases. Post blog comments. Build social networking pages. Submit to social bookmarking sites…

Do you get my point? Again, search engine optimization ain’t about using a stick. It’s about using an umbrella. If this sounds like a heck of a lot of work, it is. But either you do it or you don’t. Either you promote your web site or you don’t. If you’re NOT going to promote your web site, if you’re not going to be aggressive in doing things to improve your search engine rankings, then you might as well stick to Yellow Pages advertising.

Want to talk about how to promote your law firm web site? Call Work Media at 888-299-4837 or email info@workmedia.net. We’ll be glad to talk to you.

Multi-Channel Marketing Integration for Law Firms

The process of combining your marketing initiatives into a unified campaign is called multi-channel integration, and it is not just something done by big companies with big budgets. It is also something that you should be doing for your law firm. For clarification, the concept I’m talking about is using email, your web site, social networking, blogging and other relevant channels in an integrated marketing plan, rather than just relying on one or two of them.

To clarify, let’s look at an example. Maybe your web site has an autoresponder form for people to sign up for your newsletter. Autoresponders are high leverage tools because they automatically send a series of pre-programmed messages to those who sign up. The emails you send should be informational and high value, but they can also be used to promote your web site, your Facebook page, or whatever. Your blog RSS stream would be used to update your Facebook page and other web properties. Your blog content will contain references and links to your various other web properties. Basically, everything should link to everything else.

And there is the matter of your offline marketing – print, TV, etc. All of your offline printing should contain at least your main web site URL. There has been a trend in advertising recently to begin a conversation with the viewer with offline advertising that tries to lead him to the advertiser’s online marketing.

For the ultimate example of this type of marketing integration, look no further than everybody’s favorite domain registrar, GoDaddy.com. The TV advertising created by GoDaddy is fun, sexy, and a little bit controversial, and it does a great job of driving the viewers of the commercials to the GoDaddy web site where they can view uncensored versions of their commercials and more Web-only content. If you’ve ever bought anything at GoDaddy.com, you also know that they are the masters of the up-sell (but that’s another story).

The main point to come away with here is that any single online or offline property should not be viewed as a standalone entity; it should instead be looked at as one component of an integrated campaign using properties that all relate and make reference to one another.

I would welcome the opportunity to talk to you about this stuff in more detail. Contact Work Media at www.workmedia.net, or check out www.law-firm-internet-marketing.net for more law firm-specific Internet marketing strategies.

The Law Firm Internet Marketing Book

Our BRAND NEW book, The Law Firm Internet Marketing Book, is now available for purchase on the following page:

http://law-firm-internet-marketing.net/the-law-firm-internet-marketing-book.asp

This book is written specifically for people who promote and market law firms. It compresses everything we know into a tight, cohesive law firm Internet marketing plan that incorporates MANY different elements: SEO, PPC, social networking, blogging, etc.

Currently, it is only for sale via digital download in PDF format, but in a couple of weeks it will be for sale on Amazon.com for those of you who prefer a hard copy.

Some of the topics covered by the book include:

  • Keyword research to identify the keywords that people are using to search for the legal services you offer.

  • On-page optimization to rank highly for your target keywords.
  • How to use blogs and the SEO content cycle to create huge amounts of content to link to your site.
  • Using social networking sites like Squidoo and StumbleUpon to promote your web site.
  • Using social bookmarking sites to improve search rankings.
  • Creating your own informational site to guide the search engines to links you want them to find.
  • How to create XML sitemaps to make sure the search engines find all of your web pages.
  • How to perform keyword research specifically for pay per click.
  • How to manage your pay per click accounts to generate the maximum number of leads for your marketing dollars.
  • How to write pay per click ads and landing pages that get results.
  • Specific pay per click strategies for Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing, and Microsoft adCenter.
  • How all the pieces of search engine marketing fit together.

This is a book based on real-world strategies that Work Media uses to promote our clients.

Google Automatic Matching for Law Firms

Google just released a new feature for AdWords that is in beta trials called automatic matching. This could be useful for your the promotion of your law firm’s web site if you are not maxing out your budget every month.

The feature is intended to help you capture traffic that you may have missed because you didn’t have certain keywords in your account. It works by analyzing your account and displaying your ads for keywords that Google deems relevant, even if you have not specified to show ads for those keywords.

The amount of traffic your existing keywords receive is not supposed to be affected. So if you already spend all of your budget, then the feature probably won’t have any affect on your account. However, the pay per click market for legal terms is very expensive, so this might be a good way to get some additional traffic by letting Google automatically manage any budget that may be left over.

Google wants you to spend every dollar of your budget, so this is certainly helpful for Google because it helps the company maximize its revenue.

But is it good for law firm advertisers?

It depends. I would certainly not recommend increasing your budget just to let Google manage some of it for you. If the economics of your account are working in your favor, then it probably won’t make much difference. But if you are in a very expensive market (as most legal markets tend to be), then it might be a way to generate some additional targeted traffic.

The following links contain more information about pay per click placement:

http://hubpages.com/hub/placing-ppc-ads

http://placing-ppc-ads.tumblr.com/

Welcome! Let’s Learn Some Law Firm Internet Marketing!

Welcome to the Law Firm Internet Marketing blog! We will occasionally publish articles of a more lengthy nature (available via our Articles page), but in this blog we will pass along frequent, small nuggets of information and advice related to online law firm promotion. We have years of experience in the online promotion of law firms, and our intention here is education you so that you make good use of your marketing dollars.

It is so easy to get ripped off in this industry…

We’re not going to name names, but there are some very large companies associated with the business of promoting law firms who take on multiple, multiple clients in the same market and the guarantee them all high search engine rankings. How exactly does that work?

Don’t fall for it. Educate yourself about this business. And then hire a company you trust. It would be great if you hired us. But regardless, learn as much as you can and then make a decision that you are comfortable with.

We’ll do our best help with the process.