More Control for Less Money

The question of the day: do you have control of your web site? Do you really? Can you change your page titles at will? Can you change your web page copy? Can you add new pages? Can you add links to those pages?

How about this…if you decide you want to move your site to a new server or hosting company, can you repoint your domain name?

If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” then you do not have control. You are at the mercy of whatever company set up your web site and content management system. And if you lack control, then you can forget about being able to do the things that will cause your web site to rank highly in the search engines. Success in search engine marketing cannot be left to chance.

We recently became aware of a practice used by at least one of the big companies in this industry. Apparently, depending on what kind of relationship you have with the company, if you want to point the domain name elsewhere, they require THREE MONTHS to do it. Three months for something that should take about a day. Now that is lack of control.

So what can you do? First off, avoid working with companies that tie you into a content system that is very restrictive. Avoid long-term contracts. Avoid letting another company have control of your domain name (as in the example above). And avoid hiring a large company that is already working with hundreds of law firms, many of whom may be your direct competitors.

Think small law firm marketing company that will give you a high level of personal service and let you keep control. This kind of situation will not only serve you much better in terms of having a web site that will generate leads for your firm, it will probably cost less. More control for less money. Now that’s a good deal.

A Keyword Lesson: Eggs in One Basket Can Be a Good Thing

For many paid search advertisers, including law firms, 2009 was somewhat of a difficult year due to increased competition for paid search traffic and poor economic conditions; i.e., more advertisers chasing fewer customers.

There is one client of ours with whom we have taken a fairly radical approach. And that is that we are now only bidding on four keywords. I’m really not a big fan of bidding on so few keyword, but looking backward, I can see that if we had concentrated our client’s budget in 2009 on that very small set of keywords, our performance would have been substantially better.

Should we go down to a single keyword? In theory, if you place all of your budget on the number one performing keyword, then all else equal, you will maximize the performance of your paid search account, up to the point where you run out of traffic. So there’s one problem with this strategy. It is best employed in a limited budget situation.

If you have $10 thousand to spend, but bidding on a single or very few keywords only soaks up $1 thousand of your budget, there are likely many more opportunities you could be exploiting by spreading your budget around. But if you only have $1 thousand to start with, then spending the entire $1 thousand on a single keyword makes sense if it provides the best return on your investment.

Another problem is that if you’re all in on a single keyword and conditions change such that the keyword’s performance declines, your overall account performance will decline right along with it. So in our case, I don’t see us dropping to a single keyword. We will stick with the four keyword basket, but you better believe if we start to see a trend of declining performance, we will open up some other keywords.

I guess the core lesson here is the importance of allocating your budget so that more of your budget is consumed by keywords that provide the best return for your advertising dollars. The only way to do that is by carefully examining your historical keyword performance. One caveat is that keyword performance can be affected by where your ads are positioned, so your analysis will be most accurate if your ad positioning is relatively steady across keywords.

Paid search management sometimes requires some imagination, and it definitely requires a watchful eye. Work Media has a lot of experience in the field of search engine marketing, and we’re pretty dang good at it. We would welcome the opportunity to work with you. Contact us at 888-299-4837 or email info@workmedia.net.

Ready for 2010?

One of my goals for the new year is to write for a minimum of 30 minutes every day on the subject of search engine marketing, so starting in 2010 this blog should be updated much more often. But in the meantime, I am busy preparing myself to come out swinging. I have created some custom organizer pages (yes, even though I am a computer nerd I still prefer to use a paper organizer to manage my affairs) that will help me take care of all the important facets of my life, including health and family. Not just business. And I’ve scribbled and drawn out elements of our marketing plan on a whiteboard for everyone in our office to see. And we’ve set specific goals for the new year. Plan, plan, organize, organize. This is the time to do it so you can hit the new year running. Anyway…

…hope you have a great New Year’s! Be careful out there…

Using Mobile Blogging to Do More with Less

Today I’d like to explore another way to better leverage your time, which is making posts to blogs and social networking sites with your mobile device. This is fairly new to me, but it is a concept that can really save you some time.

For example, if you have a Blogger account, you can send a message to Blogger and they will assign you a code for your blog. The code lets you make posts with your phone. This lets you update your blog no matter where you are, even if you are nowhere near a computer.

Tumblr has another very interesting example, which is the ability to call a phone number and leave a message which is instantly converted into an audio post on your blog. This is a great way to instantly add some audio multimedia to your blog, and all you have to do is speak into your cell phone. Audio and video are excellent additions to your blog.

There are just a couple of examples that I have played around with personally, but you have lots of options for mobile blogging opportunities. Just find the directions for doing it on the platform of your choice and practice it a couple of times. Do it on a regular basis and you might even be able to keep all of your blogs updated without using your computer. It does help to have a phone with a qwerty keyboard.

For a complete search engine marketing strategy for your law firm, check out The Law Firm Internet Marketing Book (for sale on Amazon.com):

http://www.amazon.com/Law-Firm-Internet-Marketing-Book/dp/1440485585/

5 Questions to Ask Potential SEO Firms

Here are some questions you should ask any SEO firm you are considering hiring to promote your law firm web site:

1. What exactly will you be doing? Make sure the firm can explain how it plans on promoting your site.

2. Who will be doing the work? Make sure it is not going to be interns or junior employees working exclusively on your site.

3. Do you have any referrals, testimonials or case studies? You can’t go wrong by asking for proof.

4. How do you charge? Make sure you understand what you are paying for.

5. Are you promoting other law firms for the same market? This one is huge. You want to hire a company that is ONLY going to be promoting your web site for your geographic market.

If you find a law firm SEO company that can explain how it works, that has some referrals, and that is going to be promoting your site EXCLUSIVELY for your market, then you may have a winner.