Frequently Asked Questions About the Best Website Design and Marketing for Attorneys, Doctors, and Other Professionals
Below are some questions many clients have when they first contact Foster Web Marketing about the online marketing world.
The questions below may address many initial concerns you may have. If you don't find your answers here, you should contact us for answers to any questions specific to your firm.
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What are Regular Expressions and how do I use them?
Regular Expressions, also known as RegEx, are a way to use characters—such as | and \—to make analytics magic happen. But, more specifically, they are used to do things like create custom filters and goals in Google Analytics. Confused already? Don't stress. We are about to break it down for you.
The Basics of Regular Expressions
RegEx operates on a set of very strict rules. Much like a programming language, each symbol and combination of symbols must be correct in order for the expression to work. Unlike some of the more inexact sciences of website analytics, RegEx is very precise.
Let's look at one of the symbols we listed above, |. Known as the pipe symbol, | is used to symbolize or. So, if you want to create a filter that gives you results for attorney or lawyer, you would use attorney|lawyer. Easy, right? Right. And while this is just one of the many symbols—and combinations of symbols—it's a start. If you keep at it, you'll soon understand the entire RegEx language and be using like a pro.
But Why Bother Learning Regular Expressions?
While there are numerous SEO optimization tools, we believe that knowledge of RegEx is an excellent addition to your SEO tool box. Even for an analytics newbie like yourself, Regular Expressions can be very useful. To show you how, we will give an example.
Let's say you want to hit all variations of your targeted keyword. This is a great idea because creating these filters will give you a good idea if your targeted keyword—Divorce Attorney Layton, UT—is bringing you much traffic. But filtering for all the variations of this phrase would require creating filters for Utah, UT, Layton, divorce, attorney, and attorneys.
However, if you use RegEx, you will be able to create just one filter: “Layton UT Utah Divorce Attorneys. divorce attorneys?|divorce lawyers?” and, on a second line, which indicates the “and” expression to include, “Layton UT|Layton Utah”.
Regular Expressions give you the power to become more involved in the analytics of your website. And, besides, using RegEx is just plain cool. Think of how clever you'll feel when you know the difference between | and \. And, as a bonus, you'll be able to tell fantastic techie jokes like, "/Everybody stand back/ I know regular expressions." Hilarious!
Plus, there are some tasks that Google simply won't let you do without using RegEx. So, if you want to perform even mid-level analytics tasks, you must be familiar with RegEx.
Want to learn more about Regular Expressions? Or do you wish you could forever erase the memory of RegEx from your mind? Either way, call 888.886.0939. We can take over your analytics efforts or help you get a firm grip on this awesome analytics tool. No matter what you decide, our killer attorney SEO team can help you achieve your web marketing goals and dominate the competition.
Which site speed tools are best? Should I be using them to check my website?
Here are the tools our web marketing team most often uses to check site speed and guide our efforts to improve site speed:
We absolutely care about site speed and understand that it's crucial to the success of a website. The above tools can help you identify which elements associated with your site are slowing it down. When read correctly, the reports can help you make a dramatic difference in the load time of your site. And, as a bonus, using them is absolutely free!
The Rub with Site Speed Tools
While site speed reports can be extremely helpful, they can be confusing to the untrained eye and, at times, cause undue panic and confusion. This is because site speed reports are meant to be interpreted by professionals. They contain many false positives and have frightened many of our clients, causing them to call us in a tizzy. And who can blame them? Nobody wants a slow site.
When the average attorney gets a site speed report, they may find that some of their scores appear low. This can be concerning. After all, if a website is running slowly, users are likely getting frustrated by the site and leaving in droves. Also, there is a connection between SEO and site speed. So, if a website is truly slow, its SEO ranking can be affected. Not good!
However, a few seemingly low scores may not be having much of an impact on the speed of your site. This is because the scores given on site speed reports are weighted. So a low score in one or more categories looks ominous, but those numbers could represent a very minor issue. Too many times, we have heard from people who have paid an SEO company a lot of money to "fix" their site speed problems, but their site speed remained the same. Why? More than likely, there were no problems to begin with.
The Take-Away for Our Site Speed Tool Discussion
Our advice is to explore the site speed report sites—just don't panic when you get the results. Instead, call our attorney website SEO experts at 888.886.0939. We can go over the results with you and tell you if it's worth your time and money to improve any low scores.
How do I choose good topics for my website videos?
Sometimes you have the best intentions to shoot an awesome video for your site, but you hit a roadblock when you try to think of topics. What are people interested in, and why would they care what you have to say? The trick is to step outside and explore what's going on around you and what's of interest to your clients. Want to know how to do that? Here are some tips for choosing good video topics:
- Check out the news. Current news stories are great bases for videos, especially when you can easily make a connection between the cases your firm handles and what is going on in the world today. Done properly, that connection will position you in your viewers' minds as an expert in your field.
- Check your existing content. You have already put the time and effort into blogs and articles for your website, so why not utilize that same information for a video? Tweaking just a few sentences here and there can turn an existing piece of content into an easy video script that can be read straight into the camera.
- Check with your staff. Few resources are as good as the people who work directly with your clients, day after day. Your paralegals, legal assistants, and other staff members are probably harboring a wealth of ideas for video topics and other marketing and communication campaigns.
- Check with your clients. The people you serve are often overlooked as potential resources for video and content ideas. Since you are trying to go after people exactly like the clients you already help, who better to ask an opinion of than your existing clients? They will be able to give you insight on what they were looking for in a law firm and what they think would interest potential viewers. They can also tell you what they think would not work, which could end up saving you time and money in the long run.
- Check out your competitors. We are not saying copy your competitors’ videos word for word. But, by browsing through what others are doing, you are bound to come up with ideas or angles on the same information.
- Check out magazine headlines. Catchy magazine titles and stories can give you a wide range of ideas, as long as you are thinking far enough outside of the box to apply it to your own practice. For example, the headline, “Top Ten Must-Have Beauty Products to Use This Summer” can easily be transformed into, “Avoid Injury with These Top Ten Must-Have Safety Products to Use This Summer”.
Need more ideas on how to come up with good website video content? Call Foster Web Marketing; we’d be happy to help guide you. You can reach us at 888-886-0939, by filling out our online form, or by live-chatting with one of our representatives. Call or click today!
How can I survive Penguin 2.0?
To make it through Penguin 2.0 and beyond, it's crucial that you clean house. This means throwing bad links in the garbage and monitoring those you deem "good."
To help you do so, we look to Steven Forsyth of In The Company Of Huskies. Steven recently wrote an excellent blog on how to not only survive the Penguin 2.0 update but thrive in its wake. At Foster Web Marketing, we agree that the following steps will help you get your site clean and keep it that way—assuring you an attorney website that flourishes, no matter what Google throws at it:
- Step 1: Review Your Links. To find out which links are pointing to your website, it's recommended that you use SEOMoz, MajesticSEO, and Google Webmaster Tools. Each of these sites allows you to download all the backlinks they find pointing to your website. Enter all the links the three sources gave you into a spreadsheet, and remove any duplicates. This should give you a very complete link profile.
- Step 2: Grade Your Links. With your spreadsheet complete, you'll need to grade your links. This will take time, as you'll have to look at each site and determine the quality of the link. What you want is a list of Good Links (high traffic from reputable websites), OK Links (decent sites that don't generate site traffic), Paid Links (nofollowed, high-traffic links), Advertising Links (add a nofollow tag to these, see below), and Spam (any links that appear to be added just to cheat search results). Make a list of just the Good, OK, and Paid Links, and use a link management tool like the one at BuzzStream to monitor these links. Once they have your list, they will alert you if any of the links change status so that you can take action, such as removing bad links.
- Step 3: Add Nofollow Tags. Have you paid someone to advertise on a website or blog? Hint: These are your Advertising Links from above. If so, it's important that these links do not help you rank better for certain search terms. To ensure they don't, you'll need to apply a nofollow tag to your Advertising Links. This will save you from being penalized for buying or selling links.
- Step 4: Clean Your Link Profile. Your last job is to deal with any bad links—those you marked Spam Links. To get rid of these, you'll need to contact the webmaster for each of the sites and politely ask that they remove the tag. This can be problematic, as some of the sites no longer have a webmaster. However, it's important that you try. If there are links you simply cannot get rid of, try using Google’s Link Disavow Tool. Google will look over the links and, if they find that they cannot be removed manually, they will discount their value.
Maintaining Your Squeaky Clean Image
Now that you've done the work required to clean up any bad links on your site and monitor the good, it's time to figure out how best to keep your website clean. For starters, it's important that you not let links scare you. Search engines still use links in their ranking algorithms, so it's crucial that you keep creating links; you'll just want to check that sites that link to yours are of good quality and from reputable sites.
To do so, every month or so, go through the steps above and assess the cleanliness of the links associated with your site. Think of it like washing your hands before you eat; 20 seconds of good hard scrubbing every so often can save your attorney website from coming down with a case of Dirty Link Penalty-itis.
Interested in a Free Website Cleaning Service?
In response to our clients' concerns over the constant stream of updates from Google, we are now offering a free web audit for attorneys. We will comb over your site and identify any bad links, bad content, and over-optimization. Our attorney SEO strategy team will then suggest the best way to clean up your site, thereby protecting your law firm from the next round of updates.
How do I improve my website bounce rate?
Trying to figure out Google’s and other websites’ analytics can be extremely confusing. What do all of the ratios and rankings actually mean? Since bounce rate is the percentage of single-page visits compared to visitors who view more than one page of a website, the best way to improve it is to keep visitors on your site.
So let us answer this question instead: “What can I do to keep people from leaving my website?” Here are five simple things you can do:
- Add well-written content. Studies have shown that one of the main reasons visitors will click away from a site and proceed to block it from search results is because of misspellings and poor grammar. (Along with poor grammar, here are some more stats on why people bounce.)
- Add relevant content. Nothing will make a visitor leave in a click of frustration faster than discovering that your article had nothing to do with what you claimed it was about. Fluffing meta descriptions to draw people to the page will backfire if the page isn’t actually about what is described.
- Add call-to-actions to your content. Give people a reason to keep browsing through your site. Phrases like “check out this article on how to prevent car accidents” or “request a free copy of our book” will encourage readers to check out other pages.
- Add credibility to your content. Offering a wealth of common-sense information on your website at no charge shows that you are willing to take the time to educate the community. This shows that you are most likely an expert in your field.
- Add lots of content. Give people something to look at. It makes sense that a visitor would leave your site if there are only five total pages to view. Providing readers with pages and pages of options increases the chances that they will stick around for a while.
Want to learn more SEO optimization tips to help your bounce rate? Let the experts at Foster Web Marketing help you. Feel free to call us toll-free at 888-886-0939, fill out our online form, or chat with one of our live representatives today.
How do I choose the right keywords for my website?
Determining the best keywords for a website used to be easy when search engines like Google put most of their ranking emphasis on whatever one- or two-word phrases you chose to hyperlink. Since then, virtually all businesses have jumped on the website bandwagon and become aware (if not savvy) about SEO.
Now things are much, much different. While content is still King, the phrases and words you use are now only helpful if they have actual substance and meaning.
This means that you now have to do a little leg work. You must research what keywords will best suit your practice and utilize them across the all of your marketing practices, including in your videos, your social media, and on your website.
But how exactly are you supposed to find the keywords you need when you don't even know where to start? We know that the process of maintaining SEO can be confusing and a huge challenge, which is why our FWM SEO gurus put together a list of the top ways to determine keywords:
- Searcher intent. Take an afternoon to sit down and really think about what went through your clients' heads immediately before they made the decision to contact you. If you're a personal injury attorney, perhaps it was figuring out who would pay for the medical bills after the car accident. If you are a doctor, perhaps it was their foot pain when running. Ask yourself "Why would they choose you over your competitor?" Once you put yourself in your potential client's shoes, you will soon realize that "Gotham City attorney" or "Metropolis plastic surgeon" no longer cuts it as a keyword phrase.
- Avoid highly competitive keywords. We've already established that vague keywords like "Gotham City attorney" are becoming useless, but another reason to avoid them is because they are overused. You wouldn't keep spending money on a raffle if the odds of winning were very slim, so why would you keep pumping time and effort (a.k.a. money) into keywords in which you might never be found due to stiff local or national competition?
- Use layman's terms and avoid legal, medical or business-specific jargon. After decades of working in your chosen field, you are more than familiar with terms you use everyday. But you must remember that many of the people you are trying to reach have never even needed your services before, so you must use common terminology in your content and keywords.
- Use tools like Google's Keyword Tool or Google Analytics to get a jump-start on what people are currently searching to find your site.
- Ask us! We'd be happy to help you determine the best keywords for your site, or simply take over the whole process for you. For more information on how FWM can help, call us at 888-886-0939 or fill out our online form today.
Should I create unique content that is only posted to my attorney social media accounts?
Although time restraints and a desire for consistency often mean that offering completely different content on your website, blog, and social media pages is nearly impossible, there are definitely benefits to offering at least a little unique content on your attorney social media pages. Here are just a few of the benefits of developing some unique, social-media-only content for your law firm:
- Social-media-only content helps bring your audience back for more. If your social media pages only offer the exact same information you already offer on your website or blog, then it is unlikely that your clients and potential clients will bother checking in.
- Social media content starts conversations. The best social media content tends to engage users, who will then “like,” share, and comment on your posts. You can respond to questions from potential clients, and you get a chance to actually ask your audience questions about what they want, need, or would like to see. Create your social-media-only content with a conversation in mind.
- Social media can be a great place to talk about current events. Most people these days check their social media accounts more often than they check their email. Talking about relevant local news or changes in the law can be more engaging and interactive when presented “live” through Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Do you need more content ideas or want to learn more about social media for attorneys? Reach out to the friendly attorney social media team with Foster Web Marketing today to learn more!
How can I get more “likes” for my attorney Facebook page?
Although it’s definitely not the only factor, the number of “likes” your attorney Facebook page collects can be a tangible (and, let’s face it, exciting) sign that your social media audience really does like what it sees. If it seems like interest in your social media content is waning, here are a few ways to encourage more people to read, “like,” and share your attorney social media content:
- Add social media sharing buttons to your attorney website and blog. It’s easy to add social media buttons to your law firm’s website, blog, or videos, and the buttons make it easy for your audience to “like” and share your content on social media site. Plus, it’s a great reminder that you’re available on social media sites, too.
- Offer some unique social media content. If you aren’t getting “likes,” it may be because you’re not offering anything special for those who go to the extra trouble of engaging with you via social media. Create some social-media-only content, and give people a reason to follow you on Facebook and click that “like” button.
- Get involved with your audience. If you don’t respond to comments, ask for opinions, or create content that people want to talk about, then you’re missing out on a lot of what makes social media great. And, if you feel like your audience isn’t very excited about what you’ve tried so far, consider just asking them what you could do better!
Do you need help developing effective Facebook content for your law firm? Or are you interesting in learning more about social media for attorneys? Talk about it today with the friendly attorney social media team at Foster Web Marketing—just give us a call at 1-888-886-0939!
What is Facebook Graph, and how will it affect my law firm’s social media marketing efforts?
Facebook Graph Search is a way to search within Facebook. It takes data from Facebook, and only Facebook, to create custom search results.
Think of Facebook Graph Search as a hyper-local, hyper-personalized Google. Results are based only on information gathered from Facebook and, specifically, from your group of Facebook friends.
For example, if you wanted to find out which hairdresser friends in your city use, you could search for just that. You would then get personalized results based on the Facebook activities of your friends.
Facebook Graph Search is a big deal for small businesses like yours. More people are using Facebook to not only catch up with their long lost friends, but to connect to the products and services they use. And, now, their friends’ likes, comments, and check-ins will help determine if your law firm comes up in their search results.
Facebook Graph Should Affect Your Facebook Marketing Efforts
Because of Facebook Graph Search, you should be working harder to maintain your Facebook page. If you build an interactive, informative page on Facebook, more and more people will like, comment on, and share your posts. This will help you get found during a Graph Search.
For instance, if you have created a dynamic, interesting page and a friend of a fan asks Facebook Graph Search for "divorce attorney my friends in San Antonio like," your name will pop up first. As an attorney, this new way of searching holds great marketing potential.
With Graph Search, your name already comes with some serious street cred. The results show the searcher that their friends have already endorsed you and your law firm. And, if their friends and family members have been talking about you, you must be good.
Want to learn more about Facebook Graph and its impact on your law firm’s Facebook page? Call 888.886.0939. Our team specializes in social media marketing for lawyers and strives to provide up-to-the-second information for attorneys who want to dominate their markets and get more of their ideal clients to walk through the door.
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