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Are You Amped about AMP?

Accelerated Mobile Pages for Lawyers

Accelerated Mobile Pages, or AMP, have recently been gaining a lot of attention, even though they were first announced in 2015 and were implemented in 2016. We’ve been receiving lots of questions about the value of AMP, especially when it comes to the search results. So far, we have been able to identify some positive features and a few drawbacks to these pages.

For those of you are interested in, here’s what we’ve gathered so far.

What is AMP?

AMP is an open source project that is a subset of HTML, the markup language and specifications for making websites. AMP has restrictions on the type of HTML tags website creators use that allow a mobile web page to load faster. It also includes a proprietary version of JavaScript, which also puts limits on functionality in favor of speed. It was initially engineered by Google, and therefore is obviously of import to SEOs. This is a continuation of Google’s push for more mobile-friendly web design.

The standard was first announced in 2015, began appearing in mobile search results last February, and was rolled out onto Google’s global mobile search results last September. Because AMP is a mobile standard, it only appears on smartphones, tablets, and other smaller-scale devices. It has no bearing on search results on PCs and laptops.

Benefits of AMP

The goal of AMP is to provide speed to mobile webpages, and that’s where it shines. Page speed is a very minor factor in Google’s ranking algorithm, but it’s incredibly important to mobile web users. As more people are searching via mobile platforms, the value of page speed becomes clear. If a webpage takes more than a few moments to load, many people simply hit their back button and go to the next one, which may load faster.

AMP pages have been receiving favorable treatment on search results pages, and even get a nifty lightning bolt icon next to their listings that indicates their AMP status, as shown below.
Accelerated Mobile Pages

As a result of their zippy load times, which are essentially instantaneous, visitors may be less likely to bounce off of AMP pages, which can have an indirect effect on rankings as well.

Drawbacks of AMP

For all of these benefits, it’s hard to imagine why we may be hesitant to add AMP to sites.

Many of our clients have some form of live chat on their sites. Because AMP pages are using a barebones version of HTML that severely restricts the types of elements that can be included in favor of reduced page load times, the JavaScript that chat systems (like Ngage Live Chat for attorneys) is built in won’t work in some cases. This can have a very real impact on lead-capture systems that may outweigh the load speed improvements AMP may provide.

AMP pages are also stored on Google’s servers rather than your site. Any AMP page that appears in a search result is essentially a copy of that page that exists on Google’s servers rather than your web host’s. While this isn’t a problem per se, it does transfer a lot of control to Google, since it makes your visitors Google’s visitors. This also has the added problem of making it difficult to share AMP links, because the URLs for the links are obscured.

Final Thoughts

AMP can be a great option if your website delivers only text and images, or if you want to keep things relatively simple. With that in mind, sites like that would load quickly anyway, though the boost AMP’s framework provides is welcome. A simple plugin for those using WordPress sites (like we do) makes creating AMP pages even simpler. The issue is that if you want to create a rich experience on your site, AMP’s restrictions and limitations can make delivering that kind of content impossible.

To discuss whether including AMP on your site would be worthwhile, contact The Search Engine Guys at (512) 806-7955.


How Positive Google Reviews can Help Your Business

Reviews from your clients on Google play an important role in your marketing efforts. Good reviews have been correlated with better local rankings and higher click-through rates (CTR). People read reviews before selecting an attorney, so reviews help legitimize your firm to prospective clients. If they see that you’ve helped other people in their area, you are humanized and become more than words and pictures on a screen. You stand out from the herd. Reviews are essential to building a strong online presence and capturing as many positive reviews as you can should be a part of your marketing strategy.

With that in mind, it must be said that your reviews have to be positive for them to have the impact you want on your firm. Negative reviews can end up hurting your efforts. Take, for example, the case of Donald Tobias, a lawyer who received a mysterious one-star Google review that simply said “It was horrible.” Tobias had never met or worked with the person who left the review, and it seems as though the reviewer mistakenly left a review on his page under the assumption they were commenting on the death of another man named Donald Tobias who was hit by a train. Google refused to take down the review, despite Tobias’s objections. This can obviously have negative consequences on his business.

There are ways for firms to respond to reviews on Google, so there is some form of recourse from misleading or toxic reviews, and Google has been known to remove some reviews, such as those from competitors. However, another way to combat a negative review is to simply outnumber it with positive reviews. A person reading reviews of your firm will question the one review that claims to have had a bad experience when faced with numerous people who were happy with your service.

Getting clients to leave positive reviews of your firm can be a challenge. Typically, people aren’t moved to go out of their way to leave a review unless they’ve had a bad experience. For the most part, clients who receive service they are satisfied with don’t feel the need to go online to leave a review. However, when they are prompted to leave a review, these positive interactions can be captured and added to your online profile. Adding positive reviews to your firm’s Google profile can help you get more clients. Getting more clients can net you more opportunities to deliver great service and therefore get more reviews.

We have software that helps streamline how law firms get Google reviews. It enables your firm to obtain reviews from happy clients with a simple text message. They can complete their review right on their mobile phone in a matter of seconds. You can see a demonstration of the software below.

To learn more about The Search Engine Guys‘s reviews platform, contact us at (512) 806-7955.


New Website Launched: The Mokaram Law Firm

Today, The Search Engine Guys is excited to launch a new website for The Mokaram Law Firm.

This new web design features a stunning video at the top of the landing page, showing the attorneys hard at work and highlighting the professionalism with which they carry themselves. The firm’s total settlements of over a billion dollars is prominently overlayed on top of the video, sending a powerful message of success.

website design for lawyers

This site’s use of video and parallax effects is compelling and draws visitors in to see more. This is of incredible importance in web marketing, as most people leave a website within seconds of getting to it. If you are looking for a website design for your law firm that can help you retain visitors, call The Search Engine Guys at (512) 806-7955 and speak with our knowledgeable web development experts.


Launch Alert: Truslow & Truslow

The Search Engine Guys has launched a new website for the Columbia DUI defense attorneys of Truslow & Truslow.

The new website design puts the information searchers need at the forefront and showcases the experienced and  approachable attorneys of Truslow & Truslow. By putting the attorney’s photos at the forefront of the design, we allow potential clients to get to know who they are going to put their faith and trust in through the criminal defense process.

SEO for Lawyers

Building websites for client conversion and SEO requires a specific attention to detail. Additionally, achieving desirable rankings don’t usually happen by chance. At The Search Engine Guys, we’ve been handling SEO for lawyers since 2007. To learn more about our web marketing services, give us a call at (512) 806-7955.


Launch Alert: Therapy Hair Studio

We’ve recently launched a new website for Therapy Hair Studio, a Houston-based hair salon. The new design implements a sleek, smooth parallax scroll, enabling it to deliver a lot of information in a way that looks great and is easy to digest. We’re really proud of the result:

SEO web design

If you’re looking for a new web design for your site, get in touch with us at (512) 806-7955. Our philosophy of designing websites for conversion helps keep our clients’ phones ringing.


Mobile Friendly Search Results are Coming

mobile friendly websites for lawyers

Here are the two main reasons you should make sure your website is mobile friendly:

  1. Mobile traffic – Give your potential clients who come to your website a better experience.  We’ve been following mobile traffic in Google analytics for the past 5 years, in that period of time we have seen mobile traffic jump from a range of 1% to 5% (depending on the market) to 20%-35%, with some clients seeing mobile traffic in above 45%.
  2. Google has announced that they will start to value mobile friendly websites in their rankings. For the past few years, people have speculated whether Google would move in this direction based on various indicators and signs; but up until this past Feb it was only speculation. Click here to read the announcement, where Google explicitly states that they “will be expanding their use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal”.

To test if Google considers your website to be “mobile friendly” click here.

Keep in mind that if you have a great website and don’t want to go through the process of re-designing it from scratch, we are able to convert your website into a responsive theme. Depending on your design, some or many elements may need to change… but we can often maintain the overall look and feel of your design.

If you would like to explore a new responsive website, or converting your existing website to a responsive theme – call us at 800.267.1704 and one of our account managers will help you determine your options.


TSEG ranked #1 for “Best in Online Marketing” in legal field on bestseos.com

The Search Engine Guys (TSEG) was recently included on bestseos.com’s list of best SEO providers in the legal industry. In fact, TSEG was ranked #1 for “Best in Online Marketing” in the legal category, an honor we are extremely proud of. We were also listed on topseos.com, and ranked #4 in the web design category.

Topseos-Web-Design

best3


Google Local Search “Pigeon” Update

local seo for lawyers

On July 24, 2014, Google released an update to improve its local search algorithm. This new update is intended to leverage traditional web ranking signals in order to provide more accurate and relevant search results for the user. Though Google has not officially given this local search update a name, Search Engine Land has decided to title this update “Pigeon.”

What have we noticed from the Pigeon update so far?

law firm seo
It’s been a little over a week since this update rolled out, and in that time, webmasters and search experts tracking local search results have reported a noticeable change in the local “pack” results, or the map results displayed for a given search. In the graph below, you can see the days that were most heavily affected by Pigeon, as well as the stability that resumed on July 29, 2014.

The following are some of the most significant changes that webmasters have noticed from the Pigeon update:

  • An apparent decline in the number of local map pack results for a huge number of search queries – from 6-7 local map pack results to only 3
  • An increase in exposure and rankings for local business directories such as Yelp and Zagat
  • An overall improvement in search results according to distance and other location ranking factors

What should your business expect for the future?

  • A lot of change in rankings while this algorithm rolls out, especially for small, local businesses
  • More directories appearing in the search results
  • A better mobile experience for users that are shopping or looking for near-by businesses

Like other Google algorithm updates, it is difficult to understand the entire purpose of these changes during the early phases of the algorithm roll out. Here at The Search Engine Guys, we will be keeping an eye on the Pigeon update and will provide more information when it becomes available.

If you have questions about how this update may have affected your website or business in the search results, please contact us today at (512) 806-7955.

Nancy Tran  August 4th, 2014 – Posted by to Search.

To contact the author, emails can be sent to: ntran@thesearchengineguys.com


TSEG at AAJ

The Search Engine Guys will be in attendance for the American Association for Justice Annual Conference in Baltimore, Maryland on July 26th through July 30th. Say hello to Koby Ackie our Director of Business Development. Koby’s been involved in SEO non stop for the past 6-7 years, so if you have general questions about SEO, or specific questions about your website and how you are doing (or for that matter, questions on any number of topics related to online legal marketing)…find Koby and demand answers!


Google Launches Google My Business

local seo for lawyers

Yesterday, Google announced the launch of Google My Business. After years of trying to upgrade Places and merge it with Plus, Google has finally released a brand new platform that encompasses all of Google’s business tools, making it easier to manage your local business listings. While this doesn’t change much for our current Google+ pages, the new My Business interface provides clearer instructions on how to fill out, verify, and update a listing. With this rollout, it’s exciting to see that Google is proactively trying to solve the confusion between Places and Plus by creating a unified dashboard that makes life easier for small- to medium-sized businesses.

June 12th, 2014 – Posted by to Social Media Marketing.

To contact the author, emails can be sent to: sbenedict@thesearchengineguys.com

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