Are Your Article Submissions Doing You Any Good?

Article marketing is a highly effective search engine optimization strategy for law firms or any other kind of business. If done correctly, it gives you the ability to create many links to your site that contain your preferred keywords. At one time, we were proponents of a mass distribution strategy in which you would submit your site to every directory you could find. However, a recent trend among article directories (and many other content-heavy sites) has caused us to re-evaluate our strategy. The trend is that many article directories are now putting “no-follow” attributes in your links. This means that they will have little value for helping improve your search engine rankings. A better approach now is to focus on a small set of directories that you know are of high quality and that allow “do-follow” links. Two such recommended directories are Ezinearticles.com and Goarticles.com.

Promoting Your Law Firm in Spanish

A couple of recent conversations with law firms that deal with Spanish-speaking clients has got me thinking about the need for firms to be prepared for this market. If you open up your practice to those who speak Spanish, you could tap into an entirely new market. You might double the size of your practice. Who knows? Of course, something like this is easier said than done. But to get you started, I am going to give you a bare-bones strategy for promoting your law firm to the Hispanic market.

1. If you are going to promote your legal services to people who speak Spanish, you probably need to actually be able to talk to them. So someone on your staff is going to have to be fluent in Spanish, unless you are just going to refer all that business to another firm. But even then…don’t you need to be able to understand what is being said?

2. Perform Spanish-specific keyword research using Google’s external keyword research tool. The seed keywords should also be in Spanish:

https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal

3. Create pages for your web site, or create a new web site altogether, written in Spanish and optimized for the Spanish language keywords. Caution: do not use software or a web site to do your translation! There is a high likelihood that the language will get mangled, which will damage your reputation. If you’re going to do it, do it right.

4. Generate keyword links to your Spanish language pages just like you would your English pages. SEO is still SEO, regardless of the language.

English language SEO is time consuming and has many moving parts. Shifting to a language that you are not familiar with adds to the complexity. If you are already fluent in Spanish, then you’ve got a big advantage over the rest of us.

Another consideration is whether you are promoting to a broad, global Spanish-speaking market or to markets in particular countries or to specific groups of people. There are many variations of the Spanish language, and what works and is acceptable language to one group may not be understood or even considered rude by another group. In general, the best strategy is probably to take a high level, global perspective and try to avoid using language that is specific to any particular group.

So preparing yourself to do business with Spanish-speaking people will require some effort and resources, but it will open your firm up to a whole new market.

Don’t Get "Locked Down"!

Due to some difficulty we are having getting started with one of our client’s web sites, I wanted to take this time to reiterate the following:

Do not hire a search marketing company that does the following:

> Requires a ridiculously long-term contract that is basically for nothing more than putting the site up.

> Is promoting many of your competitors.

> Does not give you full control of the site.

Our client, who has a contractual web site obligation with one of the big companies in the legal marketing industry (initials “F.L.”), has been told that the ability for him to modify his web site’s page titles and meta tags has been “locked down.”

So…you’re not going to promote the site (you might say you are, but come on…), and you’re not going to let me do the things I need to promote it?

That is a bad deal. Look, avoid the temptation to take the easy road by just hiring a company because you have heard the name or because the specialize in the legal industry. Hire a REAL SEO firm that knows what it is doing and will do everything it can to get YOUR site to the top.

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.

Automated Versus Manual: Which Content Distribution Strategy is Better?

I am constantly in search of tools to help me make my job easier by getting more done in less time. As such, I love tools that do things for me: submit to directories, create articles (from seed articles), research stuff, whatever. But I have found that anything that relies too much on automation just doesn’t do as good a job as what you can do yourself manually. I think the key is to find the right mix of automation, semi-automation, and manual work.

For example, I used to use SENuke for social networking content distribution. But the problem I have is that the program always creates new web sites and blogs, rather than adding content to sites and blogs you have already set up. So over time, it results in lots of orphaned web sites that might (possibly) rank well, but that are of much less value to visitors than a site that has been built up over time with lots of content.

So in this particular case, I have stopped using the program for content submission. I do still use it for keyword research, which saves me a great deal of time, and for creating spun content. I just don’t use it for submission. So it takes me considerably longer to submit content to social networking sites, but I have much more control over those sites and can build up content-rich sites over time, rather than creating lots of individual sites that are very light on content.

Here is another example: I used to use Articlemarketer.com for article submission. But the service does not allow for article spinning, and I was finding that my articles were being rejected by Articlemarketer’s staff on a regular basis, which always required me to re-work the article, resubmit, and wait for their approval (which at times was taking weeks). I trust my writing, and I don’t need that kind of babysitting, so I have stopped using the service.

Now I use a semi-automated article submission service. I have complete control over where my articles are submitted, and I don’t have to ask for any one’s permission to submit articles. It does take me longer to submit the articles, but they get distributed much quicker and I have much more clarity about what is going on with my submissions. So again, some automation combined with some manual work has become my preferred strategy.

I can’t tell you what tools and strategies will work best for you. You just have to decide how much you are willing to trust your name and reputation to automated products, and how much time you have to invest in doing things manually, then try different things until you find the perfect match.

On a different subject, if you are involved in the promotion of law firms, I suggest you check out the following site:

http://lawfirminternetmarketing.ning.com

Have a great day!

Jerry Work

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.