Safely Using Blog Comment Links for Law Firm Web Site Promotion

This post is similar to one we posted on our main Work Media blog, but I thought I would focus it a bit more here on legal marketing.

Google recently posted in its Webmaster blog about spam links in blog comments, and how using these links will damage your positioning. This is a strategy that Work Media sometimes employs for the promotion of our law firm clients, so we wanted to address this subject.

To begin with, why is this a good strategy? Lawyers are creatures of information. They have information that those of us who are not lawyers need to know. A lawyer adding to or commenting on a blog post about a legal-related subject is not spam. That is a high value person adding high value content.

You also have to take Google’s public statements with a grain of salt. Google likes to keep things secretive, and we believe it often does and says things just to create confusion about how its algorithm works. The Web is built on links. Without Web site hyperlinks, there would be no Google. Google uses links to find web sites and as a measure of a site’s worth in assigning it a ranking. So, in general, you still have to get links to your site if you want high search engine rankings.

We also don’t think it really makes sense to punish a web site for having links pointing to it. If Google is going to punish a web site for having links to it contained in blog comments, why wouldn’t I use this against my competitors? What is to stop me from going around to blogs and submitting spammy comments with links to my competitors’ web sites?

Google says this: “…it’s useless to think of harming your competitor’s ranking by spamming comments with their name, since it usually won’t affect their ranking if their sites are complying with Google Webmaster Guidelines.”

In other words, if you do things the right way, you will be fine. Here is our approach to blog commenting:

1. Use a keyword for the name field.
2. Type a URL in the appropriate field.
3. Type out a well-written, well-thought-out comment that relates directly to the content of the blog post.

If you use this strategy for law firm web site promotion, you should seek out blog posts that discuss a subject to which you can add information of value. Increase the value of the blog post. The difference between this approach and what Google is talking about is that we are making legitimate comments, while also taking advantage of the opportunity to get the link.

One more thing: don’t rely solely on this or any other SEO strategy to get links. Mix it up. And be credible.

So what should you do? Don’t worry about it. Do your blog commenting like we suggest above and you will be fine.

Social Media Integration 101

Social Media Marketing is about integration. It’s about feeding a piece of content into a machine that drives that content onto various social media web pages. These can include article directories, video directories, social networking sites like Facebook and Linkedin, and anywhere else on the web where people are gathering to share information or to have fun.

By “machine” I mean an organized system for systematically distributing your content. Your system will likely involve a combination of software automation and manual work. However, there are lots of low cost sources of online labor that can greatly reduce the amount of time you have to spend manually working on your system. For example, you can outsource the article writing process. In my experience, it may take some time to find an article writing resource that you trust and that does good work.

For automation, there are a few basic tools you can use to get the job done. For example, Ping.fm is a tool of that will distribute a single blog post to numerous social media sites, such as Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr and WindowsLive. In this scenario you want Google and other search engines to find your content on your main blog first, and then find it on the other social media sites. So you might want to incorporate a staggered distribution strategy in which you first post your content to your main blog and wait a few days before distributing it to other sites.

The staggered distribution strategy applies to article marketing as well. You probably want search engines to first find your articles on EzineArticles Com. And then find it on the other article directories. The reason is that a keyword link from EzineArticles may carry more weight and thus help improve your search engine rankings more than a link on other article directories.

We’ve started recording the world’s shortest Internet marketing videos for law firms, which I invite you to check out at http://12seconds.tv/channel/lawfirmseo. And we recorded a longer video on this same subject on our YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7zGC83lzm4.

Integrating Your Law Firm Blog and Facebook Account

You must blog. If it is your intention to use the Internet to generate leads for your firm, one of the most basic components of an online lead generation campaign is a blog. Just a few reasons why you should be blogging include: the process creates lots of text content that can be indexed and ranked by search engines; your blog content can be used for many more purposes; and you can use use it to prove your expertise. So you or someone at your firm must blog.

Another reason for blogging is that blog content can be streamed to other web sites, such as a Facebook Page (note the capitalized “P” indicating we’re talking about a business page). As painful as it may seem, you might as well go ahead and set up a Facebook Page and put someone in your office in charge of that, too. Spend some time setting up your profile, telling who you are and what services you provide. Go ahead and tell all about your firm. If you have video or photo content that would make your Page more interesting, go ahead and add that. If you know other lawyers or business professionals who are on Facebook, go ahead and send them a friend request.

Once your account is set up, set up your blog to stream to your Page. The Facebook Notes application can be used to stream your blog to your business Page. Notes supplies the functionality to add your blog as an updating note. Your Facebook Page will then be automatically updated every time you post a new blog.

If you get a hang of blogging regularly and integrating your blog into your Facebook page, then you might want to explore some more advanced options such as using an application like Ping.fm to update your blog and multiple social media sites all at once. In this scenario, you would actually post your blog content to the Ping.fm interface, and the program would then update your blog as well as all your social media accounts.

However, when using Ping.fm, you have to be very careful about NOT updating blog style content and “update” style content all at once. You will end up with lots of very short blog posts with no titles. A blog post needs to be substantial and substantive, which requires far more characters than you are allowed in most social networking update boxes.

Official Product Recommendation: Tweet Later

I have been searching hard for the best tools for managing a Twitter account, and the single best one I have found is Tweet Later. I started using the free version a while ago, and I just upgraded to the professional (paid) version, and I love it!

With the free version, you can automatically follow back anyone who follows you and send the person a direct message. Just doing those two things help tremendously in building up a Twitter following.

If you are serious about using Twitter as a marketing tool, then it is well worth the money to upgrade to the professional version of Tweet Later. With the paid version, you can pre-configure a bunch of spinnable tweets to be posted at regular intervals. If you set it up right, this can save you a TON of time managing your account.

If you already have a lot of content to link to in your tweets, then this strategy is a little easier to implement. For instance, if you have been publishing a blog for a while, or doing article marketing, then you can set up a bunch of tweets that link to various blog posts or articles.

If you don’t have any existing material to set up lots of tweets for, you can still make good use of the system. It just might take more work to come up with material for all of your pre-configured tweets.

I do VERY little affiliate marketing because most affiliate products are junk (not that stops me from buying many of them in the pursuit of new tools for my toolbox). But I am impressed enough by this product that I am officially promoting it to my readers. I officially recommend the professional version of Tweet Later. To learn more, visit this link:

http://www.tweetlater.com/86969.html

There is a one week free trial (no credit card required!), so I definitely recommend you try it out with all of its features.

Social Networking Scheduling for Law Firms

Social networking is a complex area with a lot of moving parts:

  • Blog posts
  • Forum posts
  • Updates
  • Groups
  • Content creation and article writing

Social networking is one of those things that tends to happen haphazardly, as time permits, whenever you think about it. This is especially the case when it is done by someone who is extremely busy, such as the typical lawyer. This can all be done much more effectively if you create a monthly social networking/content distribution schedule that tells you exactly when you should be doing things and what you should be doing.

In other words, you need a system.

I have been working on an Excel-based organization system that lets you input some data into some fields, after which a calendar of activities you need to perform for the given month is created. I will be giving this away for free, but also working on a more advanced, online, database-driven version for use by Work Media’s clients and friends.

But it’s something you can begin to do immediately, even if you are just writing notes out on a piece of paper. You gotta start somewhere.

I consider content distribution to be a major part of online social networking, so that is where your system should start. If you leave this part out, and just concentrate on meeting people online, then you are not taking advantage of the Web’s ability to spread your name and marketing message. Writing blogs and articles and distributing that content gives you something to talk about in a social networking environment, and it accomplishes the more broad marketing goals of branding and name recognition. And that’s not to mention the search engine optimization effect, which I’m not going to go into at this time.

To begin with, I suggest you create a simple calendar of when blog posts should be posted and articles written. Aim for eight blog posts and three articles per month. You can get away with only two articles, but the eight blog post minimum is written in stone.

When you lay out your blogging and article writing schedule, go ahead and write out an idea for each blog post in advance, and create groupings of two or three blog posts in a row that elaborate on the same general topic. Then for each of those topic groupings of blog posts, specify a date to write an article that combines the information from those blog posts.

For example, a lawyer who deals with a lot of automobile accident cases might write two or three blog posts about driving safely in various conditions, and then combine those blog posts into an article about the same thing. At the end of that blogging cycle, you would have three new blog posts, which search engines will index, as well as an article to mass distribute. You also have several items you can link to or mention in forum posts in social networking groups you belong to.

Just doing the above things will go a long way toward giving your content distribution efforts more focus. In later blog posts, we will continue talking about content scheduling and hit on some other functions that should be included in your social networking calendar.

Contact Work Media at 888-299-4837 or email Info@WorkMedia.net if you need some help promoting your law firm online.

Staggered Distribution of Spun Blog Content

My company uses a strategy that we call “staggered distribution of spun blog content.” Sounds fancy, doesn’t it? At Work Media, one of our specialties is making things sound scientific and complex. Despite the long name, it’s really just a strategy for getting the most value out of your blogging efforts. I believe if you take the time to write something of value, you should get maximum value from it for your law firm promotion efforts. It’s also related to something I blogged about previously, which is using multiple blogs to promote your web site and firm.

In my previous blog post, I stated that you should maintain up to ten blogs focused on your areas of practice. The idea is to use article spinning software to create multiple versions of a core blog post that are technically unique, and use those for updating your blogs. These blogs would be spread out among various blogging platforms and have many different names.

To carry this concept a step further, I also suggest you stagger your blog posts. In other words, rather than updating all of your blog posts on the same day with a similar spun blog post, make the posts over multiple days. Less time is required between updates the more blogs you maintain.

If you are careful, your spun blog posts will each qualify as unique content. However, there is still some risk in releasing many blog posts on the same day that are all very similar. Staggering your blog posts over time closer matches the idea of different humans updating different blogs. It sets off less of a signal.

For more advanced ideas about how to promote your law firm online, check out my book The Law Firm Internet Marketing Book.