You’ve Got Questions About SEO, and We’ve Got Answers!
Our clients often ask us questions about SEO, and for good reason! The rules of SEO seem to change frequently and keeping up with the current recommendations is a daunting task. Here, we answer the most common questions our SEO team gets.
We hope that you find the SEO answers you seek on this page. If you don’t please do not hesitate to call 888-886-0939 to speak with a member of our U.S.-based SEO team.
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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.
How can I maintain my attorney website’s SEO success?
If your attorney website is already performing well in the search engine rankings and drawing in contacts and clients for your law firm, then it’s a good time to sit down and think about how you can maintain that SEO success. One of the biggest mistakes that people make is to start slacking on their SEO as soon as they start to reap the benefits of the groundwork they’ve put in. Effective search engine optimization is an evolving beast, and great search engine rankings aren’t a one-time achievement—your SEO campaign needs sustained attention if you want it to keep working for you.
Here are a few things you can do to keep your online attorney marketing campaign going strong:
- Create additional content related to popular topics. If you’ve had a lot of success with certain keywords and types of content, continue to build on your success by expanding on what has been popular in the past.
- Engage with your potential clients through social media. There’s no doubt that the Web is social, and engaging with your audience through Facebook or Twitter can be a great way to continue driving traffic to your site. If you’re not already involved in social media for your business, it’s definitely time to get started.
- Post relevant content regularly. If you aren’t posting new content regularly, you’re probably missing out on some visibility. Google rewards frequent posters, so it’s worth taking the time to create and schedule content each month.
- Keep current with current “white hat” SEO trends. Old or manipulative SEO tactics can harm your site’s ranking in the blink of an eye. Make sure you understand the most current SEO guidelines and adhere to them.
If you need help building a successful online attorney marketing campaign, or if you are looking for help managing your SEO needs, our friendly attorney SEO team can help. Give us a call today at 1-888-886-0939 with any further questions or concerns.
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!
How long does it take to see the results of attorney search engine marketing?
It really depends. Some attorneys start seeing results immediately, and other attorneys need a few months—or even a year—to tweak their online marketing campaigns and start building traffic. It’s important to understand that SEO isn’t a one-time thing or an overnight solution. Great SEO takes a little time and attention.
Here are just a few of the factors that can affect how soon you start seeing results from your online marketing efforts—and how effective those results are:
- How relevant your content is to potential clients. If potential clients start finding your site and fail to find anything useful, your page rankings are going to struggle. Make sure you’re offering something that is meaningful and relevant to your clients—something that encourages them to reach out to you.
- How targeted your keywords are. The keywords you use to attract traffic should be relevant to the types of clients you’re really looking for. Think about your ideal client and the types of words or phrases he or she might use to find you online.
- How much competition you face. If you are in a highly competitive market with an active online presence, you may struggle more in the beginning than other businesses in less competitive markets. It may be difficult to compete for the most desirable keywords, and it can help to apply your creativity and be vigilant in updating content regularly.
If you have questions about more effective SEO for lawyers, speak with the friendly attorney search engine marketing team at Foster Web Marketing today. Just give us a call at 1-888-886-0939!
How can I best search engine optimize my meta descriptions?
When it comes to search engine bots ranking your web page, meta descriptions don’t count for very much. However, having a pithy, interesting, and well-written meta description can greatly help your click-through rate and help attract readers to your website.
Here are a few SEO meta description tips to keep in mind when writing content for your attorney website:
- The best meta descriptions are ones that very accurately describe the content on your page.
- Never cut and paste the same generic meta description onto multiple pages.
- Keep your meta description under 160 characters so that it is not likely to be cut off when it appears in the search results.
- Don’t stuff your meta description with keywords—it does not help your SEO.
- Never leave your meta-description field blank.
- Take an extra minute to make your meta description interesting and effective.
At Foster Web Marketing, we specialize in providing attorneys with awesome SEO services and training attorneys to take the search engine optimization of their websites into their own hands. To learn more about what we do—and to find out how we can help you—call us today at 888-886-0939 to schedule a free meeting.
How can I best search engine optimize my web page titles?
Your web page titles are one of the most important aspects of your attorney website, and search engines weigh them heavily when ranking your page. It is vital to take the time to write a search engine optimized title that also grabs the attention of readers.
Here are some quick tips:
- Don’t make your page titles too long or too short. Google accepts 70 characters – stick with that limit.
- Put a good keyword or two in your title, but never stuff your title with more. Search engines and readers will notice, and it won’t make them happy.
- Make sure your title is relevant to the content. The closer they match, the happier both the search engine bots and your readers will be.
- Never cut and paste generic titles onto multiple pages of your website.
- Be certain that your title makes sense and is not just a string of important keywords.
- Make sure that your title speaks to the needs and emotions of the reader.
- Take an extra moment to make your title really interesting and well written.
Do you need professional help with your attorney website SEO? We are here to help. Call Foster Web Marketing today to learn more about our services and talk to a member of our marketing team at 888-886-0939.
Won’t search engine optimization just make my attorney website look “spammy?”
Not if you’re doing it right! There’s a common misconception that all search engine optimization services use “black hat” SEO techniques – like keyword lists, keyword stuffing, or paid links – to trick search engines into ranking their sites highly. This is simply not true.
At Foster Web Marketing, we believe that your SEO should never get in the way of a great user experience and that you shouldn’t have to trick search engines – or your readers – into visiting your site. Instead, you should focus on providing an online marketing experience that helps you engage with readers, answer their questions, and encourage them to reach out to you for help. We want search engines and visitors to like your site because it’s actually good and easy to find!
Great Attorney SEO Is All About Enhancing the User Experience
A few years ago, it was possible to manipulate search engine algorithms by stuffing your site with irrelevant keywords or paid links. These days, search engines frown on those activities and, instead, reward sites that provide solid content and please visitors.
When you contact our online attorney marketing team, we’ll start by helping you build a website that looks professional and reflects the personality of your law firm. Once it’s live, we’ll help you maintain an engaging and professional online marketing plan, upload original and relevant online content, get started with social media and video, and adjust to the latest trends and changes in the online marketing world.
If you’d like to learn more about doing SEO right, contact our online attorney marketing team today at 1-888-886-0939!
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