When a law firm reaches a point where they need marketing, hundreds of questions come to mind. Many lawyers have no prior marketing experience or even know where to begin looking for answers. It can be overwhelming for some, but The Search Engine Guys are here to help. We’re listing some of the most frequently asked questions we hear about the major disciplines of digital marketing for lawyers including Websites, SEO, PPC, Social Media, and OTT.
Can I keep my old/current website?
If your current website is built on WordPress, there is a chance you may be able to continue using it in your digital marketing strategy. WordPress is the foundation of every TSEG website build and we highly recommend using this platform to ensure your website can be as optimized as possible. Not only is this an industry standard, but we believe it can have plenty of benefits for your law firm’s online presence. The capability of creating a beautiful, custom website comes from how flexible of a platform WordPress has become. The customization here exceeds limits that other content management systems like Wix and Weebly offer – meaning your website won’t look like a clone of your competitors’ websites that use these systems. Additionally, having your website on WordPress makes managing your content and implementing SEO easier while keeping your website speed fast.
Do I really need a new website?
We hear this question from attorneys who have recently paid a lot of money for a website build with another company. It can be upsetting to hear that your investment in another company’s website needs to be cut short – but it is extremely important to know the drawbacks of having your website built by a company that focuses on the front-end (what the user sees) while neglecting the organization and structure in the back-end (what the developer sees). Though you may have found a “steal” of a price for your website, this inevitably requires the site to be repaired, which can take as many hours and as much money as it would to build a new site, or build the site from scratch. We recommend building a new website when your law firm is ready to start SEO, PPC, or any online advertising that leads users to your website to ensure that your conversion process will not be hindered by past mistakes. Lastly, you want to be certain that your web build is FAST – which is typically not the case when an attorney brings along their old website.
How do I find out what my website’s speed is?
First, it’s important to know that your website’s speed can directly impact your search engine rankings. Yes, Google uses your website’s speed as a ranking factor. Close to 50% of all online traffic is mobile – and Google has switched to favor mobile versions of webpages when indexing your website, or adding your website to be discoverable on google.com. If a user goes to your website and it loads too slow, they are likely to leave get the information they want elsewhere. Google’s search engine algorithm favors websites that load quickly and keep the user engaged for longer periods of time, as it is a sign of “good” content that gives users what they are looking for. To promote an overall better user experience, Google provides a tool to measure website speed called PageSpeed Insights. This tool scores your website when you click the “Analyze” button to show your current speed. Your average site speed over the past month will be scored against similar websites (according to Google) to show you whether your site has fast, average, or slow loading times. There is plenty of other data included in the report you can sift through to learn more about your website. There are other, more accurate, ways to find your site speed – but we won’t go into details about those. If you want a full site speed audit – feel free to contact The Search Engine Guys and we will get your speed for free along with recommendations on how to boost your score.
Is SEO really necessary for success?
Short answer: YES. In recent years, the topic of SEO has been pushed to the background of digital marketing – but do NOT make the mistake of assuming its importance has dwindled. As previously mentioned, every digital marketing campaign leads to your website – but most of these are one-way campaigns that limit the information potential customers see. In 2020 however, people are accustomed to the abundance of information on the internet and reverse the roles by doing extensive research when deciding which law firm to hire; they are no longer limited to the information law firms selectively choose to advertise. Search engines, like Google, are the tools used to seek out this information. Your law firm’s search rankings not only give users access to all the information on your website, but they also provide key information like your location and customer reviews. Unfortunately, some internet users develop a subconscious filter Having a strong organic presence in search engines drastically increases the chances a user picks your law firm over others that no longer include SEO in their marketing strategies.
Why is Local SEO different than regular SEO?
Regular, or organic SEO gets your law firm’s website to rank in Google’s search results page. Optimizations done on your website increase your chances of ranking higher for your target keywords such as “personal injury lawyer.” Your placements here will be among the blue colored text links in the search results page while Local SEO gets your law firm to appear in the Google Maps section of the results page. The main difference is that Local SEO uses the geographical location of your law firm as a ranking factor. One of the main benefits of ranking in the maps section, or the “local map pack” is that these results are found right above the organic results when you search on Google; so when users search for your target keywords + a geographical modifier, like “personal injury lawyer New York,” your law firm’s website could potentially have a placement in maps AND a placement in the organic results. Ranking in maps means that the user will see your law firm before they even see the organic search results. Another benefit of Local SEO is that users can see your physical location immediately which may influence their decision to hire you if it is convenient for them. When users click on your map result, they can also see reviews that past clients have publicly posted about their experience and results after hiring your law firm. Nowadays, people consider public reviews as personal recommendations before making a purchase, making these reviews a modern take on word-of-mouth advertising. Optimizations that help you rank higher in maps are not done on your website, but instead they are done on your law firm’s GMB (Google My Business) profile. The Search Engine Guys have an in-depth guide on how to optimize GMB for law firms available for free here. If your law firm is in need of more reviews, we can help with that too – get in contact with us today to get started!
What do I get out of PPC campaigns?
PPC, or Pay-Per-Click, campaigns can help you get high placements in Google’s results page for a price. PPC, or Google Ads, placements are at the top of the results page, above the maps and organic results. This top placement typically has three text ads that appear based on the user’s searched keywords or geographical location. Though these ads are considered premium placements because of the cost associated with them, there are strategies to optimize a PPC campaign so that you lower your cost while reaching the same number of users. When combined with a good SEO and Local SEO campaign, PPC can help your law firm be listed in the Google search results page three different times. When fighting for this page’s real estate, having a plan for all three types of campaigns is the best way to win. If you want to know what a PPC campaign can do for you, or if you want to make sure your PPC strategy is fully optimized, contact us to start a conversation and have all your questions answered.
Can I afford OTT advertising?
OTT advertising campaigns are executed on video streaming platforms like Hulu, YouTube TV, SlingTV, and more. For those unfamiliar, these services are the same as cable or satellite TV except the programming is broadcasted through the internet (read more about OTT here). One of the most common misconceptions about OTT advertising is that it is just as costly and just as much of a hit or miss as traditional TV advertising. This is not true. Ads that run on traditional TV have a high price and are shown on predetermined networks and times to everyone and anyone watching. Though this mass-scale media will likely reach hundreds of thousands of viewers, it lacks the advanced targeting options offered by OTT platforms. Newer technologies are able to provide these OTT platforms with data about individual viewers such as their demographics, interests, and behavior. This data collection is then used by the platform’s algorithms to determine the most opportune moment to show your law firm’s ad to a viewer. Since the viewer is able to tune into a program any time they want, your ad will be shown when they are most attentively watching their television, computer, or smartphone. The viewer is also more likely to be interested in your ad because their profile has data that matches your perfect target audience. This hyper-focused targeting ensures your ad is only shown when the circumstances point to a higher conversion or retention rate based on what your ad’s objective is, instead of showing the ad to every single person tuned in. As a result, your ad is more likely to generate a lead for your law firm as well as reduce your ad spend compared to traditional tv advertising. Curious to see what OTT can do for you? Contact us today to learn more.
What can I get out of using social media?
Social Media is the best way to engage with people on the internet. However, for an average user, it can be mundane to follow a law firm because of the serious and sensitive nature of the field. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn offer advertising platforms for your law firm to put its name where people are spending their free time every day, whether they follow your account or not. Just like OTT, social media platforms collect data on every user that is then used to help advertisers reach their target audience. Demographic data such as income, zip code, education level, and age can all help your ads be shown to the right people. Combined with geographical data, law firms are able to replicate a local traditional billboard, print, or television ad campaign at a fraction of the cost. Have you ran a branded campaign for your law firm yet? You may be surprised at how quickly you can generate legal leads. Start your first campaign with The Search Engine Guys by clicking here.
Lawyer advertising trends shifted away from billboards, print, radio, and television ads a very long time ago. Although law firms continue to include these mediums in their marketing strategies, it should be clear that nowadays marketing budgets are increasingly invested in digital advertising more than older, traditional methods. In fact, 2019 is on track to be the first year where digital ads will reign as king over offline ads. But this isn’t news. Online ad spend has been increasing for years now and law firm marketing has already adapted to advertising on the internet. Banner ads, Google ads and Facebook ads probably make up a large portion of your marketing spend right now; but have you taken a moment to wonder if you’re really getting the most out of your ad dollars?
Though online ads are the way to go; advertising on the internet isn’t enough. The internet is a huge space, with seemingly infinite content. You have to know where your potential clients are spending their time to break through to them. “In an information-rich world, the wealth of information means a dearth of something else: a scarcity of whatever it is that information consumes. What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients.” This theory by social scientist, Herbert A. Simon, perfectly captures the problem that marketing in the legal industry is facing.
Are you capturing the right attention? And are you capturing enough of it? These questions should be driving the development of your marketing strategy. If this is the first time you’ve asked yourself these questions – allow us to shed some light on your next campaign.
The above graphic is a great representation of how people spend their time online. The trend is that social media is consuming more and more attention. Apps like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn are among the biggest platforms where people spend close to two hours a day, on average, browsing content. Perhaps more importantly, users tend to share content with their friends and followers which can cause certain images or videos to go viral. This is the modern iteration of word-of-mouth marketing, and the thrill of discovering viral content continues to bring users back to these social platforms in search for more. Spending time on social media therefore extends past the core function of socializing online with friends and family to a broader avenue for entertainment where brands, and law firms, can capitalize by advertising their message to thousands or even millions of people.
Again, your current marketing budget is probably already invested into some of these social ad platforms. So how do you know whether you’re doing it in the most efficient manner? The answer is data. One thing The Search Engine Guys has claimed since the start is that we are a data-driven firm. The way we approach social media ads and manage campaigns that produce results is by running ads on as many platforms as we can within our client’s budget. Casting a wide digital net to start off a major campaign gives you the opportunity to collect data on the ads we run. Running split tests with different creatives, ad copy, and media types returns information about the audience that the ad was served to that can help refine the ad’s set up and consequently its future performance. A small budget on various social ad platforms may not generate leads immediately, but the data that comes back is valuable nonetheless. Week after week, we monitor an ad’s performance and make any necessary adjustments to better serve the ad to an audience that is more likely to engage and ultimately convert into a case for your law firm. Take a look at some more data about today’s social media giants from online measurement company, SimilarWeb, below.
Going after mass tort cases has never been easier. Running a multi-platform campaign on social media ad networks can increase your case volume with the smallest cost-per-acquisition numbers you can achieve online. Whether you’re trying to maximize your cases with a definitive budget, or if you’re pursuing a mass tort with massive return and a limitless budget: multiplatform is the way to go. Some example numbers are below. We invite you to contact TSEG today to talk about your law firm’s objectives and how to best leverage social media advertising.
When a new mass tort lawsuit emerges, lawyers and marketers know that it’s time to act… and your next step can make you millions!
To get the most leads signed up in a cost-effective manner it is EXTREMELY important to be one of the fastest to market. However, being fast isn’t enough. Casting a wide net across various channels on the internet is proving to be the best way to improve your mass tort advertising. Here is the issue: if you are a digital marketing firm like ours, but you only work in one platform (like Facebook for example), you will only push facebook to your potential clients whether it has the best cost per acquisition or not. I have to ask you, how is this best for you? Simply put, it is not. You must spread your initial investment onto multiple platforms and then MEASURE! You will then see which platform has the best cost per acquisition. Sure, there are times Facebook is the winner. However, there are times when Google paid search is the winner, there are times when HULU is the winner, etc etc. Therefore, as a lawyer, don’t be swayed to put all of your eggs in one basket. Be smart, spread your investment dollars around the first few months and then hone in on the best result for you!
At TSEG, we manage lead-gen ad campaigns on different platforms such as Google Ads, Facebook, and Hulu Ads (plus many more). We deliver multiple messages to the potential client base and measure the return-data. All data that comes back from an ad is useful even if it doesn’t result in a lead. Once we analyze this data we will discover which ad copy, which creative and which platform works the best. This is the WINNING combination for you. Once this is obtained, we lever your dollars in the best way for you to achieve the best outcome for your firm. This data-driven practice helps us deliver ½ to ⅓ the lead generation costs of our competitors. Guess what? This is not a new practice for us. Since our inception, “data-driven” isn’t a buzzword, that is how we operate. This is the driving factor that lead The Search Engine Guys to be named one of the top 200 privately held companies in the US by Inc. magazine and this process propelled Ngage to the most dominant Chat platform in the attorney market.
The short answer is no. Since we start off with a wide net – we only use a small budget to get started on a particular channel. This initial budget is to start figuring out what works and what doesn’t work. From there we improve on a weekly basis and then increase budgets.
Some mass tort law firms have the ultimate goal to get as many cases as possible, without a budget limit. In these circumstances, the client may not care if the case acquisition cost may not be the driving force behind the decision. If this is the case for your firm, multi-platform is still the way to go as you need to generate as many cases as possible.
Below is a glimpse at some of our recent mass tort campaign numbers. These campaigns are running (or ran) on more than two platforms and have detailed strategies on each one.
One of the largest influencing factors on gaining local visibility on Google is the verification and optimization of your Google My Business listing. When people search for a lawyer near them they’re usually looking to hire someone, so it’s important the information about your business that shows up on Google is as accurate and optimized as possible.
GMB is a free tool that allows you to manage your business information and lets you connect with customers across Google Search and Maps. GMB listings allow you to:
These functions allow you to exert some control over what appears when potential clients search for your firm.
If you are interested in boosting your local online presence, Google My Business is a great place to start. According to Search Engine RoundTable, Google has reported that 46% of all searches have local intent. If someone is looking to hire a lawyer, they may do a search for a “personal injury lawyer near me” or “Austin car accident attorney.” Focusing your efforts on the free-to-use Google My Business platform will not only allow potential customers to find your business online, but it will ensure that the information they see is correct.
In addition, Moz’s list of local search ranking factors shows Google My Business as one of the top-ranking factors in local map search and in local organic search.
Create a Google My Business Listing
There are several ways to verify your GMB listing. Here are the different options:
For this verification option, you will want to make sure your address is listed correctly. You can add a contact name that the postcard will be addressed to. The postcard will be mailed to the business location and will typically arrive within 5 days. Once you receive the postcard, log back into your Google My Business account and select “Verify now”. In the code field, enter the five-digit verification code that is listed on your postcard and click “Submit”.
If you don’t receive the postcard, you can request a new code by signing into GMB and clicking the “Request another code” button.
Some businesses are able to verify their location by phone. If you are eligible, you will see the option when you start the verification process. Make sure the phone number is correct before you verify the listing. You will be given a code through an automated message. Enter the code into your GMB dashboard.
Some businesses are able to verify their location by email. If you’re eligible, you will see the option when you start the verification process. Make sure the email is correct before you verify the listing. You will need to sign in to the email address that the verification was sent to and click the verification button in the email from GMB.
If you have already verified your business using the Google Search Console, you may be eligible for instant verification under the same email address. All you need to do is sign into GMB with the same email that you used to verify your business in Google Search Console. If you are eligible, you will see the notification for instant verification. If you don’t, it means that the category for your business isn’t eligible at this time.
If you have more than 10 locations for the same business, you may be eligible for bulk verification. To do this, sign in to your GMB account, select one of your locations and click “Get verified”. You will then click “Chain” and fill out the verification form with your business name country where you operate, all contact names who will be using the GMB account, phone number, business manager email (someone at the business who can verify you’re a representative of that business), and the email address of your Google Account Manager. You will submit this verification form and it can take up to a week for it to be reviewed and processed by Google.
Once you have verified your business listing, you will need to optimize it by filling it out completely.
One thing to note is that anyone can suggest an edit to your business listing, even your competitors. When a searcher clicks on your business listing, there will be a “Suggest an edit” button. This will allow them to not only suggest edits to your listing, but the changes can actually be made live without you being notified. It is very important that you sign in to your GMB dashboard on a regular basis to ensure no one has made any unwanted changes.
Here are the different areas of the profile that you should fill out:
Make sure your business name is consistent with how it listed on your website and across all online directories.
Make sure the Primary Category is as specific as possible.You can list additional categories that apply under the primary category. For instance, if you are a personal injury lawyer, you will want to put Personal Injury Attorney as the primary category. You can list Law Firm, Lawyer, Legal Services, etc under it.
Make sure your address is correct. If you are in a suite, you can include the suite number on the Address 2 line. If you are located in the same building as other attorneys, this can help differentiate your law firm from the rest.
Enter your business hours, including special hours for holidays, to let potential customers know when they can reach you and when they can visit your location.
Your primary number should be a local business number. You can add a toll-free number as a secondary phone number.
TIP: If you are using a tracking number for your GMB listing, make sure it has a local area code and is listed as the primary number. You will list your actual office phone number as the second number so that Google can still crawl it and see that it is consistent with the phone number on your website and other online directories.
Enter the URL for your business website.
TIP: If you have a multi-location business, you can enter the location page on your website if one exists. You will want to send visitors to the most relevant page on the site for each specific location.
Enter a full list of services your company provides. This will tell Google and anyone who sees the listing what your business does.
GMB allows 750 characters in the business description, but only 250 characters will show up when someone views your business listing in the Knowledge Panel.
TIP: Because of this, you will want to make sure that you put the most important information at the top. This would include priority keywords and your city. Make sure to follow these business description guidelines provided by Google.
Add the opening date so that searchers know how long you have been in business.
One thing you don’t want to forget to do is to add photos and videos to your GMB listing. It will make the listing more engaging and will allow the searcher to learn more about your business. According to Google, businesses that have photos on their listing see 35% more clicks to their website. There are various types of photos you can add such as your logo, cover photo, interior and exterior photos, team photos, and more.
Photos should be at least 720 pixels wide by 720 pixels high and JPG or PNG files. Videos can be up to 30 seconds long, up to a 100 MB file size, and a resolution of 720p or higher. Videos should be taken at the business location, include people who work at the business, or directly pertain to the business.
Google Posts are social media posts that show up in the Knowledge Panel when someone searches for your business. You can take advantage of making the post more engaging by adding a photo, call-to-action, and a link to your website. Google Posts are live for 7 days and then you must post a new one. This is a great way to stand out from your competitors, drive traffic to your website, and inform potential customers of company events, special promos, events, and additional information about your business.
Questions & Answers is a great feature on GMB that allows people to ask questions about your business that you can answer.
If you want to be proactive, you can create a list of frequently asked questions with the appropriate answers. Keep in mind that anyone can answer the questions posted by users about your business. You will want to make sure you closely monitor new questions that are posted and answer them as quickly as possible. If someone else answers a question and it isn’t accurate, you can reach out to the Google My Business support forums.
Online reviews are extremely important and can help you stand out from your competitors. They appear on your business listing, so it is vital that you are continuously working towards getting a larger number of positive reviews. In addition to obtaining reviews, it’s important to reply to all of your reviews. Not only does this show appreciation for the customer who left the review, but it also shows others that you are actively engaging with your listing and influences others to leave a review.
Online reviews have been known to impact local search rankings, click-through-rates, and consumer trust levels. In a study conducted by BrightLocal, they found the following key statistics:
On Google My Business, you can control how your business information is displayed on Google and Google Maps, so don’t miss out on this free business tool in order to gain more local visibility. Remember that Google is always looking at the business owner engagement and the engagement of searchers on your GMB listing, so it is important to continually interact with it.
Shea Benedict. President of Operations, The Search Engine Guys (A Division of Cloud 8 Sixteen, Inc.)
The Search Engine Guys is a leader in the Digital Marketing Space for the past 12 years.
When building out the marketing strategy for your law firm or small business, you might ask yourself if it’s worth taking the time to build out business citations and add firm to niche, relevant directories. Directory and listings management is tedious, time consuming, and can cost money. However, these listings are extremely important to maintain and build in order to get your site to rank in search engines and ultimately drive leads.
When we talk about online directories and listings, we’re talking about the many local listing websites that you might or might not be familiar with. These online directories display your business information, logo and (most of the time) link to your websites. Every online directory is different, but this is all that is normally included in a typical local listing:
There are two types of listings we are interested in: Local Citations and Niche Directories.
You probably know the names of the big local citation sites. (Yelp, YellowPages, MapQuest, Foursquare, Bing For Business, Google My Business etc.) But you are probably not familiar with the hundreds of other local business directories on the internet. (Yalwa, USCity.net, Soleo etc.) Why would you want to be on a bunch of directories that most people have never heard of? I will discuss in depth later, but in short, the more your consistent business information is listed on the web, the more trustworthy you look to the major search engines. More trust = higher rankings.
Adding your small business to directory sites that are only for businesses in your niche is also incredibly important. This is because links from these sites increases your site’s relevancy. More on relevancy later.
Every niche has its own directories. For example, Avvo, Lawyers.com, and Findlaw are some of the major directories that an attorney should be on. Angie’s List and Houzz are directories that a home improvement company or contractor would want to be listed on. Just like general local citations, there are hundreds of smaller niche citation websites that you can be added to.
A lot of businesses and business owners who have created listings in the past are all probably skeptical of them for one reason, they don’t bring in a ton of referral business. Some bring in more than others, but in large part, you are not going to be getting dozens of leads each month from these directories. So if they aren’t directly bringing in business, why should I take the time to get listed everywhere? At TSEG, we build out local business profiles to do the following:
Most of these directories send links to your website and they, for the most part, are very authoritative sites. Directories and local listings are an easy way to build up a business’s backlink profile, especially for a small business that has little to no online presence. Even though search engines don’t value these links as highly as those from a news website or authoritative blog, your backlink profile needs to be diverse, and these links do just that.
Niche Directories go a step further because they are not only adding authority to your site but they are also adding in relevancy. For an attorney site, a link from Lawyers.com is much more valuable than a link from a home improvement site because it is more relevant. Google and the other search engines look at the types of sites that are linking to you in order to decide how to rank you.
Majestic has an online tool where you can check the category of your incoming links. (Majestic is a paid online SEO tool, but there is a free trial if you want to try out on your site.) This is an example of the backlink profile for one of our attorney websites:
Over 93% of his incoming links are “Law” related. This is an impressive relevance percentage and should cause no confusion for Google as to what kind of keywords they should be showing for. Having a variety of other types of sites linking to you is good and natural, however, the majority of your links should be relevant to your niche.
Link building is one of the most difficult tasks when it comes to SEO, but directory links are very straightforward to build and you can do it in bulk if you have the correct online listing management tool.
Having a consistent business profile across the internet is very important for local Google Maps rankings. If you are struggling to get into the maps, but your site is ranking highly otherwise, you might want to audit your business information for consistency across all of your listings. If you would like to check your business information, we invite you to use our free tool.
Having a consistent online business profile sends good, what we call, “local signals” to Google. This means Google is confident that you are where you say you are. Google and other search engines will avoid ranking your listing in the highest map placements if they aren’t sure you are actually located there.
Having control of these online listings additionally gives you the preparation needed in case any of your business information changes. If your business changes it’s closing time, you want that to be reflected across the web. A customer showing up to your place of business after it has closed can hurt your reputation.
Earlier, we discussed that many business owners have not put much effort into expensive online directories because a lot of them don’t drive leads. However, the top niche directories and local listing sites can generate leads for your business.
If you are wondering which directories you should join to generate more leads, simply search your keyword into a search engine.
For the search “Dallas personal injury lawyer”, four of the top seven organic results are attorney directories (Super Lawyers, Justia, FindLaw and Avvo) and another one is a general directory for businesses (Expertise). If you are wanting your business to “cut” the line and be visible on the first page, then you should probably add yourself to these directories.
Now, to be listed at the top of those individual directories is a different story. Most of those sites make you pay for a “premium placement” or “top spot.” Prices vary, but this is not cheap. In my mind this falls more in the category of paid search, not SEO, since the results are not permanent.
Regardless, being on these directories increases your visibility, especially if you are a business that is having trouble showing up in the Search Engine Results.
This is the smallest benefit of these directories for SEO, however, it does not make it insignificant.
The first step to building out directories is figuring out which directories you are already on. The tool linked above can help with that.
Then it’s just about finding all of the sites you want to be added to and manually adding yourself. There are also citation services where you can get listed in many places at once.
The easiest approach to setting up directories, though, is to have your digital marketing team help you out. They likely already have a list of sites they can add you to, as well as the tools needed to manage all of these listings.
Many local listings are free. Yelp, YP.com, and Google My Business are all free. The directories that cost money are most likely going to be your premium niche directories. The costs vary for all of them and many require you to be in contact with a rep that can get you a quote. Some directories will charge you monthly and others require you to pay the year upfront. This is an important factor to keep in mind when setting up directories and budgeting.
The short answer is yes. Every location you want to appear map rankings should be added to every directory you can. For the paid directories, this will most likely be an extra cost, but it depends on the site.
If you are not worried about local SEO, then you may not want to set up profiles for your extra locations on the paid directories. There is a law of diminishing returns for links from the same domain. The extra links from a site are probably not worth the cost if you are not worried about local rankings.
First, you want to decide on a yearly budget for directories. Every company is different. A good rule is you should be spending at least as much as your competitors are. Once you have a budget, you need to prioritize the directories. A number of factors can go into this, including:
Your digital marketing team should be able to audit the value of each directory that you use and recommend which directories you should leverage with your budget.
TSEG can help you with your listings management needs, including:
This is just part of how TSEG can help your small business. To learn more about our SEO and Web design services, contact our team.
Getting an online review from one of your law firm’s clients can make all of your hard work feel like it was worth it. Getting detailed, thoughtful testimonials for others to see is top tier word-of-mouth advertising since the review will stay up on your profile forever.
But what are potential clients really looking for in your reviews? Thanks to a recent study featured by Search Engine Land and conducted by Womply, we now have insights and correlations from over 200,000 small business’ reviews and revenues to help answer this question.
The results of the study support claims that a 5-star rating can actually turn away online customers for a few reasons. Firstly, a perfect star rating can be achieved with very few reviews. A low number of reviews and a high rating indicates a new and less established business. Internet users are also aware of cheap seo tricks out there that involve buying fake reviews to give a business a false appearance of being more established.
More interestingly, the study finds that the “sweet spot” for online reviews is 3.5 to 4.5 stars. This range is where the 200,000 small business analyzed were earning the most revenue. Womply goes as far as encouraging the use of negative reviews to achieve a healthy mix of review scores. To be more exact, businesses with 15-30% negative comments earned more revenue than the study’s average. Think about that ratio the next time a negative review blesses your profile.
However, the range from 3 to 4.5 star ratings is where 80% of business are, and when similar scores are seen across the board, online shoppers will likely use other criteria as a basis for comparison. Increasing your law firm’s Local SEO is a great starting-point, but having a strategic, data-driven approach to all of your digital marketing gives you the competitive advantage on all fronts.
Are you an aggressive law firm? Do you want to dominate your market? We may be available in yours. Schedule a call to talk about how TSEG can help your law firm grow.
by Ryne Goertz
Unless I receive a direct referral from a happy client, most of the prospective clients I discuss digital marketing strategies with are also talking to other potential digital companies, as they are looking for the perfect fit to help their business reach peak performance. During these conversations, it always seems like marketing companies are pulling the prospect in different directions, “You need to be only doing Pay-per-Click”, “You need a new website”, “For this type of campaign, you should really be focusing on Facebook Ads”, etc. So who is right? Who is wrong? How do you differentiate between all of the different website and digital agencies when you are being pulled in so many directions? How do you know you’re making the right move?
Here are four key factors you should be asking your website company about that can best help determine where you are on the map and how to achieve business goals:
In the past year, Google has updated its algorithm to start penalizing websites for how fast (or slow) they load or function on mobile devices. This can be a driving force in mobile rankings as well as help overall Google Ad Quality Scores. Google has a developers tool called Page Speed Insights. Plug in your website url in its entirety to get an accurate reading. For ex: Plug in “https://www.williamskherkher.com/” not just “www.williamskherkher.com”. If your website isn’t where you want it to be, ask your current company to look into the issues raised by the Page Speed Insights tool and make the necessary changes.
Your PPC campaign can get expensive really quickly. Before you agree to an SEO company telling you to spend “X” amount, have them send you over a PPC forecast showing the amount of money it would take to be competitive. Google Ad’s forecasting tool allows companies to plug in your geographic area and search terms to determine a budget for the campaign. Based on Google’s historical data, they can predict cost, impressions, clicks, click-through-rate, cost-per-click, and how many conversions you can expect. Cost per click varies greatly per market, so it’s smart to know where your ad dollars are going and how you are allocating among keywords related to your business.
These two are tools that can help you see the activity of visitors on your website. They create what is called a “heatmap” that tracks how far down visitors are going on your page as well as where they are clicking. If your website is having trouble converting visitors, this tool could find the problem. These two are both great, however, don’t keep them on your site for long periods of time as they can tend to slow down your website speed, but one month’s worth of data could help you in the long run.
One of the things I hear the most from attorneys is that while they may be getting traffic to their site, the leads that they are getting may not be the types of cases they want to bring on. You should be tracking your leads that are coming through your site and listening to the calls or reading the contact forms/live chat transcripts (if you use one). How were they referred to your site? Are they quality leads? With these programs, you can track the keywords that were searched before the visitor landed on your page and called you. If you are repeatedly showing up for terms and getting calls that you don’t want, you should communicate that to your marketing company so they can adjust keywords and campaign strategy accordingly.
All in all, there are many different platforms that are available that can help you make an educated decision before even calling a potential marketing company. If a marketing company is just throwing out a number for you to spend without providing screen-shots of the problem and detail on their strategy to enhance your business’s performance, that is a red flag and something you should consider when choosing your digital agency. Choose an agency that knows your business, your goals, and is willing to share insight on how they will be managing your campaign. Transparency creates comfort in knowing that you are in good hands.
We love AdBlock.
If it weren’t for AdBlock, we would have to face all of those annoying, pop-up, pop-under, spammy, and obnoxious ads.
Figure 1: Remember these?
Surfing the web with ads blocked can feel like a real-life cheat code – you get away with something that you aren’t supposed to… as a consumer.
But as marketers, we must understand the impact that ad blocking software has on our work – especially when the software is literally intended to kill our digital campaigns.
Just to make sure we’re on the same page, let’s analyze how these ad blocking extensions came to be installed on nearly a quarter of global online users.
Figure 2: Ad Blocker study results from IAB
As you surf the web, you take part in an exchange with the sites you visit: their content in exchange for your payment. However, the payment is not with currency but rather with your attention, view, impression, click, etc. of the ads shown on the site.
Whether you like it or not, this ad revenue is how a large portion of websites make money. Without it, they can’t cover costs to keep the website running and keep bringing you the content you want.
Since Day 1, ad blocking software is so highly sought after because it helps alleviate symptoms arising from core internet problems.
If you’ve seen a pop-up instruct you to pay for the removal of a computer virus – then you fully understand why the concept of ad blocking software is so appealing.
In fact, 64% of people agree that ads are annoying and support the idea of ad blocking software.
On top of that, 79% of ad-blocking software users agree that their browsing experience improved with it.
These two stats make it clear that browser extensions AdBlock Plus and AdBlock have made a significant impact in the history of internet advertising, but what exactly is their impact today? And more importantly, what is their impact on your digital marketing campaigns?
Paid ads on Google are largely unaffected because Google is a member of the Acceptable Ads program. Most users unknowingly opt into this program when installing an ad blocker. But what is it?
Acceptable Ads, defined by AdBlock Plus (ABP), are “respectful, don’t interfere with content, and are clearly labeled with the word ‘advertisement’ or its equivalent.” They also follow standards set forth by the Coalition for Better Ads, a group formed by leading international trade associations and companies involved in online media.
By default, AdBlock & ABP allow the whitelisted ads to show. To disable this feature, you have to manually go into the settings and uncheck the box next to it. Or (if you don’t exit out of the welcome page as soon as you see the donation part) you’ll see that ABP actually tells you about the whitelist and even provides a link to the settings page. (See “Figure 4” below.)
“The Acceptable Ads Committee (board that controls the program) gives advertisers, such as Google, a pass to show their ads – for a fee, of course. With these gatekeepers in place, advertisers must create ads that fall in line with standards produced by the expectations of online users.”
For users that do disable the whitelist, their Google experience will be free of all search and display ads.
A Google search, with ad blocking switched to “ON” will undergo these changes: (drag slider to compare)
Check out how different websites on the display network look with
1) no ads,
2) acceptable ads, and
3) all ads.
I counted 26 ads – but ABP’s number is a whopping 78.
As a result of the Acceptable Ads whitelist, Google ads in the search and display networks remain unblocked. Not only must a user install an extension, but they also have to change additional settings. ABP cleverly adds the Acceptable Ads notice below the donation box on their welcome page (highlighted in green below). By the time users get to the donation box, they’re already opening a tab to test out the ad blocker on YouTube.
YouTube Ads are really just Google Ads run on the YouTube.com domain. The effects are similar to those observed with display ad campaigns. YouTube ads have banners that appear over the video player and in the sidebar above the queue of next videos. You can see how different the view is with and without AdBlock below.
Video ads are also blocked on YouTube. With AdBlock enabled, a user on YouTube avoids seeing all ads for an uninterrupted experience.
On Facebook, the “acceptable” type of ads begin to appear more subtly. Adblockers are able to block most ads that are seen outside of the main timeline. Within the timeline, you still see ads in the form of sponsored posts. They will be presented in a more organic manner, but it is still a paid placement. Using standard settings, ABP will not block all ads on Facebook.
However, customizing advanced settings gives the user the option to block all ads, including acceptable ads. Remarketing campaigns using the Facebook pixel also suffer. The advanced settings can be configured to prevent the user’s browser from being tracked by the pixel code on your website or landing page. This is alarming because anyone willing to take the time to adjust settings can essentially become invisible on the internet (in terms of advertising). This ghost-user browses the web with ads blocked, and browser tracking tools thwarted.
Luckily, ABP by default will allow acceptable ads to pass through their filters. See the difference for yourself:
Your rankings are unlikely to fall victim to ad blockers, but your SEO campaign can still suffer.
An ad blocking extension can prevent your site’s Google Analytics from tracking users correctly, similar to the way they block the Facebook Pixel. With Google Analytics, we can see valuable data from a client’s website to draw insights from. This data helps us develop and implement changes to an SEO campaign. So when a visitor using ad block also blocks Analytics, we lose data about their on-site behavior such as how much time they spend on a webpage, which links they click on, and what websites they come from. This data is automatically processed daily and is a crucial factor of any good SEO strategy.
In short, ad blockers might be causing you to plan out your SEO campaign with inaccurate numbers.
Hulu is impacted when streamed on a web browser. Like many other subscription services, Hulu’s website is able to detect ad blockers and combats it by directly requesting the user to enable ads on their site. The screenshot below shows the message that appears over the video player when the user would normally be shown an advertisement.
To take it a step further, Hulu forces the anti-adblock message to display on screen for thirty seconds, the same time a typical commercial would be shown. There is even a link to a guide in Hulu’s Help Center instructing users how to stop blocking ads on their site. The guide is even split into sections to show specific instructions for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.
Users that persist with ad blockers skew reach and impression numbers from Hulu because the ad-blocking user is counted as a viewer of the programming even though they were not served any advertisements. This means that your ad campaign may be using inaccurate projected figures in its strategy.
However, this is typically not a negative occurrence. If a significant portion of your campaign’s reach was never exposed to your ad, Hulu’s ad algorithm can make up for the lapse with repeat exposures. You might be paying a higher rate for less reach, but if you exclude ad blockers when measuring the performance of your campaign, metrics like cost per view, cost per click, and conversion rate will reflect more accurate, higher quality results.
While users are able to avoid watching ads on Hulu, they still have to wait through pauses in their streaming, which could encourage them to enable ads. At this point the user must choose between sitting through empty gaps or watching ads.
Figure 4: Hulu raising an eyebrow
Ad Block is an obstacle that must be addressed when planning out any digital marketing campaign for your law firm or small business. Whether a user is on a search engine, social media website, or television streaming service, these internet browser extensions intend to stop your online advertising. With the population of users increasing every day, it is crucial that you understand the impact ad blocking software has on your ad spend and more importantly your law firm or business’ growth. If you are concerned your marketing/advertising is suffering because of ad blockers, fill out a form or give us a call at (512) 394-7234. We’ll be more than happy to discuss how we can best optimize your campaigns.
These special ads appear above paid search ads, maps, and organic results. For example, if you search for Plumbers in Austin, you will see these results:
These Local Service Ads appear above the Pay per Click Ads, map listings, and organic listings.
The other unique feature of these ads is their fee structure. Advertisers who are using Local Service Ads pay per call received, rather than for each click.
As with all digital marketing, you will want to track the results of your Local Service Advertising closely to make sure you are spending your marketing dollars wisely. We are in communication with Google to see when they will be available in your market.
What I would love to accomplish is a better experience for both lawyers and vendors at all legal conferences.
We spend a lot of money to be at these conferences, from the high cost to attend, building booths, giveaways, sending salespeople and entertaining our prospective clients. That being said, we probably put too much pressure on our salespeople to obtain new business. This results in our salespeople being too darn pushy and a bit slimy at times. This results in attorneys hiding from the “dreaded” exhibit hall.
Here is the solution in my not so humble opinion. We (vendors) have a lot of expertise and knowledge that can help attorneys grow their practices. Therefore, we need to become trusted advisors, not just another salesperson. In my company, we have many clients that have known us for years before coming on board and I think the biggest contributor to this is the fact that we preach to our team to be AUTHENTIC. You don’t have to “sell” but just be your normal self. Take your time to educate the attorneys and create a TRUE relationship. How do you create great relationships—pretty easy… Give more than you receive. Give attorneys helpful advice that they can implement before they give your company a dime. Be committed to growing the attorneys business, not your own. We have a very long term view when it comes to partnering up with a firm. If we are not selected now, that is okay because it probably means someone OVERSOLD the attorney in the past. These attorneys come back over time, albeit a bit jaded.
Okay, we really gave it to the vendors and now it is your turn ;-).
Have you ever found yourself looking at the competition with a hint of jealousy of their success? Have you ever wondered how they get all these great ideas? Or how they are so knowledgeable about marketing/operations etc…Well, one of the reasons could be that these attorneys BRAVE the exhibit hall and take the time to speak with almost everyone. I truly believe that if you don’t spend the time to chat with these folks you are doing yourself a HUGE DISSERVICE. We live in our respective spaces as you live in the legal world. It is virtually impossible for you to stay up with all the latest and greatest digital marketing trends, video marketing trends, what is the best CRM, etc. I have been in this field for 20 years and know most of the vendors personally, and there is a TON of knowledge in the “hall” that can help you grow your business. Take the time to go meet with them, learn about what they offer and gain insights to help your firm. Don’t feel pressure to sign up and if the vendor is pressuring you, it is probably not a good fit. On the other hand, do not be afraid to take a RISK on an idea that you think might work because you have been burned in the past. If a person had a terrible experience with a lawyer, would you recommend against lawyers in the future? Just like anything, there are good vendors and bad vendors, your job is to find the best company for you your firm.