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 can I do to take advantage of current events?
There is so much your law firm can do to take advantage of current events that relate to one of your practice areas. If you're not taking advantage of breaking news, then you are missing out on a highly valuable SEO and conversion tool.
What Makes an Effective Breaking News Campaign?
Maybe you think you're already taking advantage of news events. After all, you often blog or write news articles about accidents or events in your area. This is a good start, and it can't hurt the success of your attorney web marketing plan. But it sure doesn't help a lot.
To truly take advantage of breaking news—think big events that are getting national attention—our attorney SEO team suggests that you create all of the following content:
- At least one high-quality video
- Multiple blog posts spread out over a week
- A landing page for news-related traffic
- A recap of the event in the form of a news article
- A press release
- Effective news coverage and commentary through social media
Timing Is Everything When Taking Advantage of Current Events
As you can see, launching an effective breaking news campaign takes a lot of work. To make things more complicated, breaking news must be breaking. It should be a brand-spanking new, not a story you found online from last month. As soon as you see the news—we suggest signing up for Google alerts and checking in on the TMZ website—you must spring into action and put your standing breaking news plan into action immediately.
This means that you need to not only have a plan of action, but that you need to be ready to shoot video, write a ton of quality content, and launch an effective social media campaign. Are you ready to strike when the iron is hot? Are you ready to strike before your competitors do? Are you ready to strike before some other attorney is being interviewed by Anderson Cooper?
If not, or if you don't feel you have the time or skill to do the job right, consider calling our video services and SEO team at 888.886.0939. We can keep an eye on breaking news for you and, when a hot story pops up, spring into action to deliver the video and written content you need within 48 hours.
Do I really need to be involved in social media?
Yes, yes, and yes!
A recent study showed that over 50 percent of people use social media to find a lawyer. 50 percent! So, if you haven't embraced social media, you are missing out on more clients than you know.
Social media is no longer a place where people go to share pictures of their cat and talk about their lunch. With the advent of Facebook Graph Search and the increasing reliance people have on their social network, social media must be a cornerstone of any successful lawyer web marketing campaign.
How to Get Started with Social Media
If you don't yet have an account on Google+, Facebook, or Twitter—or if you do, but you never do anything with your accounts—it's time to make a change. To get going, our attorney social media team suggests that you:
- Do some groundwork. Take a look at what your competition is doing. Are they active on Facebook? Or do they tend to Tweet more? If they seem to be getting good results—lots of comments, likes, and shares—on a particular social media site, start there. You need to not only compete with other attorneys in your area, but do social media better than they do.
- Set yourself up for success. Begin by ensuring that every bit of information you enter into your profile is correct, especially your name, address, and phone number. Make sure your description is interesting and well-written, and then pick a professional, high-quality profile picture. Nothing will scare potential clients away more than a mistake-ridden profile with a grainy picture of your lead attorney.
- Build a following. This takes time. And, like any white hat SEO strategy, it's going to take some work. Before you post anything—and you should be posting once a day on Facebook, or more often on Twitter—be sure that there are no mistakes in your posts and that it's something you would say to a client. Links should be helpful to those seeking your services, and everything you post should be relevant to your area of practice, mistake-free, and shareable.
If you need assistance in any aspect of social media—be it setting up your accounts or running your entire social media campaign—call 888.886.0939. We can help you achieve social media success. Your competition won't know what hit them.
How can I get inexpensive, high-quality video?
Now, more than ever, it is possible to get high-quality and inexpensive video services. This is because the popularity of web marketing videos has skyrocketed—and for good reason!
Google and other search engines reward websites that effectively use video. They do so because they know that people respond to video. When people search, they are more likely to click on a link displayed with a video, so of course Google wants to give searchers what they want. Bud do they want you? Are you giving them what they want? Are you providing the videos they demand?
If you don’t have web video on your website and on sites like YouTube and Vimeo—or if your videos aren’t properly optimized—you aren’t as searchable as you could be. So what’s holding you back? Cost? That does not have to be a factor in your decision to use video.
Making Big Things Happen in Video With Small Budgets
At Foster Web Marketing, we offer custom, affordable video packages. This means that you are able to choose the video services you want and the services that will do the most to advance your video marketing efforts. We can help as little or as much as you want, and we can advise you, free of charge, as to the best options for your situation. Our video services include:
- Video script writing
- Videographer services
- Production services
- On-location video shoots
- Green screen studio shoots
- In-office video studio set up
Beyond Shooting Video
After the shoot—whether we shoot your videos or you shoot them yourself in our green screen studio—we offer affordable post-production services. All post-production services are performed by our video and SEO teams. Because of this, you can be assured that your video is in good hands. After all, the focus of our SEO company is attorney and video marketing. We are obsessive about current SEO trends and video advancements and are not satisfied until the videos we produce and market are the best they can be.
So, after your shoot is over, feel free to choose from any of the following post-production video services:
- Video optimization
- Video distribution
- Video promotion
To learn more about how affordable high-quality videos can be, please call 888-886-0939. Our team of attorney video marketing experts can help ensure that your videos are the effective SEO tool you need to take your firms’ marketing efforts to the next level.
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.
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 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.
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