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 is the difference between a referring domain and a backlink?
Before we discuss the difference between a referring domain and a backlink, it's best that we get on the same page by going over a few basic terms.
Just the Facts, Ma'am
- Domain: A domain is an organization's unique descriptor listed within a URL. For example, in the URL “http://www.honkeytonk.edu,” honkeytonk is the domain name.
- Referring Domain: Also known as a ref domain, a referring domain is a domain that backlinks are coming from.
- Backlink: A backlink is a link on another website that points to your site.
So a referring domain is where your backlinks are coming from, and backlinks are the links on the websites that link back to your site. Think of the referring domain as a phone number and backlinks as the number of times you've gotten a call from that particular number.
Why You Need to Know the Difference
If you've dug into your backlink profile or had us do so with a free website analysis, then you have seen how many referring domains and backlinks are associated with your website. But what do they mean?
What you're looking for is the ratio of referring domains to backlinks. If you have a ton of backlinks and not very many referring domains, your backlink profile is very weak. For example, if you have 10 referring domains and 110 backlinks, Google is likely dinging your site for shady backlinks, which negatively impacts your page rank.
They punish high backlinks and low referring domains because, when a high number of backlinks come from a few sites, it's almost always a paid linking scheme, such as a private blog network. Increasingly, search engines are de-indexing blog networks. If your website is connected to the de-indexed network, your ranking will be affected. Because of this, it's best to stay far away from paid blog networks.
Getting Better Backlinks
If you find that your backlinks are all coming from a few referring domains, you have some work to do. Begin by reading our advice on the best way to get backlinks for SEO. Using these tips, begin to slowly increase the number of backlinks pointing to your site. This will take time, but it's worth the effort. Google is always on the lookout for quality, natural backlinks and will reward your handsomely if you are able to obtain them.
Want more advice on how to improve your law firm website's backlink profile and increase your SEO power? Call 888.886.0939 to request your free website analysis or speak with a member of our attorney SEO team.
How can local SEO help my business?
When done right, local SEO has the potential to not only help your law firm, but explode your practice.
This is because Google and other search engines, like Yahoo!, recognize that their users are increasingly demanding high-quality, local results. To give their users—your potential clients—what they want, search engines have improved their algorithms to ensure that searchers get exactly what they want.
Getting in on the Local SEO Game
To get you started, I'm going to cover the basics of local SEO—what you need to know now about local search SEO:
- Grow where you're planted, or move. It's important that you know that local search results on Google work best when your business is located within the city you want to be found in. For example, if your personal injury law office is in Grapevine, but you want to be found in Dallas—and the Dallas personal injury market in Dallas is flooded—you may be out of luck. While you can and should put some effort into getting found organically in Dallas (e.g. including Dallas-centric keyword phrases in your content), there isn't much you can do in Google Local or Google Maps to get found. Some attorneys choose to move their offices or open a satellite office in order to get in on a more desirable city. Alternately, you can increase your efforts in Grapevine in order to be the top local attorney in your home city.
- The devil is in the details. If critical information—business name, address, or phone number—is incorrect on any listing site, your local search SEO power will take a hit. So, if you are Foreman & Gary on one site and Gary and Foreman on another, or if your address is off by just one number, your firm won't be easily found during local searches.
- Realize the power of reviews. Reviews are an important piece of the local SEO puzzle. Reviews give consumers confidence in your services, and they send signals to Google that you are a business worthy of page one. If you don't have any online reviews, or if you only have a few, it's time to get an online review strategy.
Local SEO is all about taking advantage of your local market. To get help in doing so, request a free website analysis, or call one of our local SEO experts at 888.886.0939. We'd love to help you dominate your local market.
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 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 makes attorney website content “good”?
“Good” attorney website content can be hard to define. If you’re not sure what makes attorney website content “good” or “bad,” think about the types of content you like to read online. What are the qualities of that content that keep you engaged? To give you a better idea, here are a few things that we think make attorney website content good—or even great.
Good Web Content for Legal Websites Is:
- Well-written and has been edited for errors. No matter how compelling your point is, no one is going to struggle through your spelling errors or clunky grammar to get it. Your content should reflect your professionalism, so it’s worth taking the time to edit and proofread before you post.
- Relevant to your real-life clients’ needs. It’s easy to get lost in the excitement of Google rankings and search engine trends, but you should keep in mind that real people visit your website to find answers.
- Original and reflects the personality of your law firm. The best marketing content on the Web is fresh, original content that reflects the personality and values of the business. People use your website to get to know you, and they will be far more motivated to call if they know who you are and what you stand for.
- Part of an overall content marketing strategy. Truly effective content is part of an overall content strategy. Think about what you want from your online marketing and where your law firm is headed in the future, and then tailor your content to help you reach your goals.
Professional Content Writers Are Available to Help
Effective online content writing isn’t easy, and many busy professionals choose to hire an experienced online content writing team to help them succeed. Speak with the friendly team at Foster Web Marketing today at 1-888-886-0939 to find out how our services can help you whip your website content into shape.
What is my unique selling proposition, and how does it apply to attorney search engine marketing?
Although it seems like you should be aiming for a broad audience with your attorney search engine marketing, the most effective online marketing efforts focus on a narrow audience with unique concerns. When you first get started with online marketing, you should be thinking about your “unique selling proposition,” which is really just a fancy way of describing what makes your law firm special and what you have to offer to your clients.
So why does it matter? Here are just a few reasons why your unique selling proposition is so important to online marketing:
- It should be at the core of your overall online marketing strategy. It can be a challenge to stand out from the crowd of online competitors. Getting a clear idea of what makes your services unique helps you build up a strong attorney marketing strategy that really showcases what you have to offer.
- It’s easier to target the clients who need your services. Effective attorney search engine marketing focuses on attracting your ideal clients—and your ideal client is largely attracted by the things that make you special. Figuring out what sets you apart from your competitors helps you focus your marketing attention on your unique areas of interest and expertise, which brings in more relevant contacts.
- It helps you establish an online “personality.” What is the personality of your law firm? How do you work with the clients who visit your office? A big part of what makes your law firm special is what you bring to the table in experience and personality. Letting your personality show online helps potential clients get to know you and makes you stand out from the cold, dry content on other legal sites.
Have more questions related to attorney search engine marketing? Call the team at Foster Web Marketing today at 1-888-886-0939 for help!
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