Using Paid Search to Promote Your Law Firm? Watch Your Capital P’s & Q’s

There are many things about the Google AdWords platform that I just don’t understand – things that seem to make it harder for the advertiser to maximize the performance of his campaigns. One example of this is the way the AdWords program treats keywords with capital letters. The same keyword can be considered distinct if it is typed with different capitalization. Here is an example:

law firm marketing

Law Firm Marketing

These two words would be considered different keywords. This may not seem all that significant, but we have found that Google seems to favor keywords that are all lower case by awarding them with higher quality scores. So if you have two versions of the same keyword, you may be charged a higher click cost because of a lower quality score. Can I guarantee this will happen? Nope. But why take chances? Especially when you are dealing with an expensive advertising category like legal services.

Another problem with having multiple versions of the same keywords in your ad groups is that your AdWords account can become needlessly unmanageable. Accounts that are fine-tuned to the best (and smallest) set of keywords are much easier to manage.

This is just one example of how something that seems very insignificant can have an impact on your overall paid search account performance. It is important to pay attention to the details. The difference between a quality score of 5 and a quality score of 10 can represent a significant amount of money that could be used to acquire more leads for your law firm.

Got questions? Feel free to contact Work Media at 888-299-4837 or email Info@WorkMedia.net.

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.

Word is Getting Out

I think word is getting out about the unethical practices of some of the bigger companies in the legal marketing industry. Part of it has to do with companies such as ourselves that do our best to try and educate legal professionals about this situation, and part of it is law firms finally realizing that they are not getting what they are paying for.

We have a client we are working with that has a site that was built by a large legal marketing firm, and we have been locked out from doing many of the things that we REALLY need to do. We also got contacted by another firm that knew of the first firm (this firm also has a site built by the same large company) and wanted to hire us as well. We turned the second firm down because it would have been in conflict with our first client (promoting the firms for the same markets and practice areas), but just the fact that the firm sought us out is evidence that the tide is turning.

It is almost 2010. Law firms are getting more savvy about what they are paying for in terms of Internet marketing. That bolds well for companies such as ours that operate in an ethical fashion and work like hell to get our clients’ sites to the top of search engine rankings. The giants are falling…and for that, we can be thankful.

Everybody have a great Thanksgiving!

Welcoming Some New Clients to Work Media

Work Media would like to welcome a couple of new legal clients into our family: Clark & Clark, criminal defense lawyers based in New Jersey, and USA Hurt, a personal injury firm based in Chicago.

Clark & Clark is also presently a client of the large company that provides Internet marketing for so much of the legal industry (initials “F.L.”), and some of the things we have been told about the way the other company operates are ridiculous. I’ll say this one more time: ask how many competing firms your SEO firm is representing! Do you really expect them to have you as a priority over their other clients in the same market?

USA Hurt is also a client of our friends at Joseph Media Group, who specialize in creating outstanding television commercials for law firms.

Work Media has a chart in our office with every metropolitan statistical area in the country. MSAs where we have a client are highlighted. It is our goal to have one client in every major market. Because when you are a Work Media client, you are our number one priority, and it is our intention to help you DOMINATE your market. Can your existing Internet marketing company say that? Call us today at 888-299-4837

The One Question You MUST Ask Any Company You Are Considering Hiring to Promote Your Firm’s Web Site

Here is the question: how many other law firms are you promoting in my market?

This assumes that you have already established that the company has the experience to do the job.

One thing that perturbs me about this industry is law firms hiring a company for their search engine optimization that is already promoting many firms for the same market. SEO is war. How can an SEO firm fight like hell to get your website to the top of Google along with dozens of other firms? The math just doesn’t work out.

It’s not just that the SEO company is competing against itself…it’ s competing against companies like mine. We don’t have competing interests, and we don’t lose. If your firm is promoted by a company like FindLaw, which is probably promoting a dozen or more other firms for the same market, you don’t want to compete against a firm being promoted by us. It is highly unlikely you will come out a winner in that situation.

To reiterate: You only want to compete against firms that are represented by other SEO companies. Not your own.

An Important Lesson from the Twitter Meltdown

Yesterday Twitter blew up. From what I understand, there was a “spamcloud” (whatever that means), and in response, Twitter suspended many thousands of accounts of innocent users (including mine).

It goes without saying that this is very poor policy on Twitter’s part, and the kind of thing that could kill the app. I think Twitter needs to keep in mind that there will be competitors come along to try and knock it down, and this kind of policy is the kind of thing that will hasten its demise.

Here is an important rule of Internet marketing that this episode highlights:

You should spend your time and resources promoting properties that you control.

Twitter owns your Twitter account. Do you own your Facebook account? Nope. Your LinkedIn account is not yours. You are at the mercy of those sites to stay in business and keep your account live.

A simple solution is to point your own custom domain names to your social media pages. For instance, if you have a Facebook Pages page, then you could register a domain name that point to that page. If Facebook goes down or just decides that it doesn’t like you any more, then you can just repoint the domain name somewhere else. If you have promoted a particular domain, rather than the default page name, then you have control. Facebook owns you if you have spent all of your time promoting the default Facebook URL.

So be proactive. Do not let yourself be a victim to the whims of whatever social media sites you like to use. Spend your time optimizing and promoting your own web site, and use custom domains for promoting your social media pages. Then maybe you can avoid the next meltdown such as what happened with Twitter this weekend.

As always, get in touch with me if you need some help implementing an aggressive Internet marketing campaign for your law firm. Contact 888-299-4837 or www.WorkMedia.net.

And I invite you to check out my favorite Twitter management tool for free at www.TryTweetLater.com.

Three Criteria for Judging Keywords for a Law Firm SEO Campaign

With regards to search engine marketing, targeting the correct keywords is vitally important. One mistake that many businesses, including law firms, make is that they pick an arbitrary keyword or two that they think they should rank for and concentrate their efforts (or the efforts of people they hire) in ranking for that keyword. Don’t make that mistake.

On the other end of the spectrum, some businesses or firms want their web site top-ranked for every possible relevant keyword. Don’t do that, either.

So just what do you do? Let research guide your decisions, and pick keywords that meet three specific criteria.

For any potential keyword, judge its effectiveness based on the following three criteria:

1. Relevance. Relevance refers to how closely the keyword is related to the subject of a web site and the content on a particular page of the site. You want to target keywords with a high degree of relevance.

As an example, if a law firm in Miami has a page on its web site about maritime accidents, then a good keyword for that page might be “Miami maritime accident lawyer.”

2. Search volume. The more search traffic there is for a particular keyword, the more potential traffic the keyword could drive to your web site.

3. Competition. Keywords that have fewer competing web sites offer the opportunity to get your site ranked quicker.

So the three major criteria for any keyword you are considering targeting is relevance, traffic and competition. You will have to use some judgment for the relevance component, but you know your business better than anyone – you know when something is not relevant. Google’s external AdWords keyword tool, found at https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal, is one of the best sources of finding competitive data. The competition criterion can be based on a couple of things: either the number of results of a Google search for the keyword surrounded by quotes; or the number of results of an “allintitle:” search for the keyword in Google.

So to begin creating your target keyword list, start by using the AdWords external keyword tool referenced above, eliminating the ones that are not relevant, and then ranking them by search volume. Then highlight the ones that are not overly competitive (less than 1,000 competing sites is good). Your highlighted keywords at this point are your best bet for generating targeted organic search engine traffic in a reasonable amount of time. Your chance of ranking for those keywords, and thus generating visits to your web site, is excellent.

Check back here often for more law firm internet marketing strategies. If you need some help today, contact Work Media at 888-299-4837 or email Info@WorkMedia.net.

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.

The Sticking Point Solution by Jay Abraham: Marketing Brilliance

I was contacted a few weeks ago, along with lots of others, about helping pre-sell the new book, The Sticking Point Solution by Jay Abraham. Well, at the time I just didn’t have any time to devote to it. But Jay’s son, Troy, was kind enough to send me a copy, and I have to say this is one of the best marketing books I have ever read (and I’ve read quite a few).

Abraham may be the world’s top marketing expert. He has worked with businesses in over 400 industries, and he is extremely well paid for helping businesses figure out how to make more money. But you don’t have to pay Abraham $5 thousand per hour to work with you – just buy his book!

This book does a brilliant job of distilling and organizing Abraham’s wealth of knowledge about marketing. If you read this book, do some deep thinking, and then create a marketing plan for your business based on the ideas contained in it, I would be highly surprised if you did not experience increased revenue.

Work Media is entering a transitional phrase, and this book has already sparked many ideas for how we need to build our business. This was the perfect book for me to read, right at the time when I am pondering where my business should go.

The book is out now and can be found on Amazon.com and on many other bookseller web sites. I advise you pick up a copy today.

Have you checked out my new Twitter blog yet?

7 Step Law Firm Web Page Optimization Checklist

My partner and I have worked with quite a few law firms by this point, and we are still surprised at how many web sites we look at that have serious content or coding flaws. Some of these sites are not bad at all in terms of design, but design alone won’t get it done if you are seeking search engine visibility. Here is a checklist of items to make sure your web site meets the minimum level of optimization for search engine rankings.

1. Make sure your physical address is on the home page, in text. Pictures don’t count. There needs to be some text on the page with your city and state.

2. Create a home page title that contains your geographic market as well as main area of practice. Ideally, your home page title will also be based on keyword research to make sure you are using the phrasing that more people use to search for law firms in your market.

3. Give every page of your web site its own specific page title. Again, it would be useful to do some research so that you can insert traffic-generating keywords in titles throughout your site.

4. Have some copy and text links on your home page. If your home page consists solely of Flash or some other non-text technology, you are putting yourself at a disadvantage right off the bat. You want to have lots of text for search engine robots to read.

5. Use text links to practice area pages that contain the practice area in the page name. For example, your home page might have a link that says “Divorce” to a page titled “Divorce Law.”

6. Use your meta tags. Place a set of keywords in the keywords meta tag, and try to use those same keywords in your web page copy. Also give a good, keyword-rich description.

7. Use header (h1) tags to emphasize each page’s primary keyword. For example, if your home page is meant to rank for the phrase “Memphis Personal Injury Lawyer,” then it is helpful to have a header on the page with exactly that phrase.

So there you go. If your web page does not meet all seven of these criteria, then you are lacking some basic on-page optimization parameters that could definitely help improve your web site’s search engine rankings. As always, I would be glad to talk to you if you need some help. You can email me at jwork@workmedia.net, or check out http://www.law-firm-internet-marketing.net for more tips and advice about promoting your law firm’s web site.