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New Design Alert: Hart, McLaughlin & Eldridge

We are excited to announce the launch of a new website design for Hart McLaughlin & Eldridge!

Overall, the site’s new style reflects the efficiency and the professionalism of this experienced Chicago legal team. Our designers focused on sharp lines with minimal clutter on each page, conveying a formal sense of simplicity and directness. The clean presentation of information, coupled with the crisp lines and the lack of distracting features, should inspire site visitors with confidence. We have found that frustrating or confusing website designs can discourage potential clients from ever contacting the business in question. Our goal with this site’s structure was to create a simple, easy online experience that can flow smoothly into a call or an email to this skilled legal team.

Stylistic Features

The homepage of the new design features rotating images of Chicago in the background. Our attorney’s targeted clientele will most likely recognize Millennium Park and the Buckingham Fountain. The first thing site visitors will see on the homepage is the assertive, reassuring directive “Start with the end game.” Scrolling down the page reveals what the end game is: “Results.” New site visitors will be heartened by the sense that this legal team already has a history of favorable outcomes for their clients.
The other main pages on the site—”Legal Team,” “Practice Areas,” “Accomplishments,” and “Contact Us,” are all tidy and structured. The Legal Team page presents uniform black-and-white photos of the firm’s employees. The consistency of the photos conveys a sense of respectability and attention to detail.
When it comes to simple ease of access, our “Practice Areas” page presents the legal firm’s various fields in neat, direct rectangular boxes. A quick scan can familiarize a viewer with many of their practice areas. The fact that the attorneys handle such a wide variety of cases should impart the idea that this is an experienced team with a wide array of skills.

Contact Us

We are certainly proud of this new design and excited to offer it to a respected client! If you are interested in learning more about how we fit our website design to our customers’ business needs, feel free to contact us at (512) 806-7955.


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.

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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


Changes to Google Analytics: Universal Analytics

seo for attorneys

Universal Analytics has been in Beta for quite some time now, but it has finally received the call up to replace Classic Analytics. Universal Analytics allows for more robust tracking and gives more insight regarding user interaction on a given website. There are plenty of changes and updates that are worth mentioning, but one of the biggest changes is the addition of the User ID.

While anonymous in nature, the User ID will allow us to track a particular user’s activity on-site and follow this individual across multiple domains, devices, and sessions. When a user visits one of our sites, they’ll be assigned an ID that will be unique to them and can be referenced if the user returns to the site or visits another one of our domains. This will shed more light on the transaction habits of a user before they convert on one of our clients’ sites, and answer a slew of questions that are important to making decisions for our marketing efforts, ie. Are individuals more likely to convert after a first visit, or does it take repeat visits before a user takes action? If people are more likely to convert on a second or third visit, how long does it typically take for the visitor to return to the site, and what sources are they coming from?

When you start to get a better idea of how people interact with your site, and get the full picture of how someone came to the decision to reach out to you or purchase your product, the choices you make on an advertising and marketing front come with a better foundation and hopefully, a greater likelihood of success. The addition of the User ID to Universal Analytics is a welcomed piece of data that should help us gain a clearer picture of how users interact with our websites, and of course, how we can help our clients successfully market their services.

If you have questions about using Google Analytics to improve your website or marketing efforts, contact us today at (512) 806-7955.

Andrew Cox  April 7th, 2014 – Posted by Andrew Cox to Google Analytics.

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


Social Media Tools: Ways to Improve your Social Media Marketing

There are a variety of social media tools that can be used to improve your online presence and ease the process of promoting your business through social media outlets. When it comes to a successful social media marketing strategy, it can be tough for small businesses to stand out amongst the rest. By using a few helpful tools, however, you can increase productivity and engage potential customers through your online marketing efforts. Having used a variety of these tools, I would like to highlight three of my favorites, which I believe can be very beneficial for businesses.

Hootsuite

  • Social media management tool
  • Free, Pro, and Enterprise plans
  • Execute campaigns across multiple social networks from one web-based dashboard
  • Schedule messages ahead of time to create a consistent social media presence on all of your accounts
  • Track brand mentions
  • Analyze social media traffic

Pagemodo

  • Create custom Facebook tabs and cover photos
  • Free, Basic, Pro, and Agency plans
  • A variety of design templates to choose from
  • Types of custom tabs available: Contests, sweepstakes, coupons, contact forms, and product display tabs
  • “Like gate” that helps you gain new followers by requiring visitors to “like” your Facebook page before they can see your customized tabs

Canva

  • Free graphic design tool
  • Search for the best graphics, photos, and fonts, or upload your own, then use the drag and drop tool to create a design with a custom layout or blank page
  • Create designs for Web or print, including social media graphics, blog graphics, presentations, Facebook covers, flyers, posters, invitations, business cards, and more

While there are various online tools available for businesses, finding ones that will allow you to stay ahead of the social media marketing curve is essential. Whether you are a small business owner or a national company with several locations, the tools mentioned above can improve your productivity and boost your social media marketing strategy overall.

If you have questions regarding social media marketing for your business, contact us today at (512) 806-7955.

Shea Benedict  April 7th, 2014 – Posted by to Social Media Marketing.

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


Quarterly SEO Update: What Has Google Changed in 2014 So Far?

lawyer seo news

With the first quarter of 2014 behind us, we wanted to take a quick look at some of the biggest news on the SEO / Google front so far this year.

January:

  • Webmasters speculate that an unconfirmed algorithm update occurred between January 8-10 due to shifts in placement and traffic drops.
  • Google punishes a large French blog network called Buzzea.
  • Google tests a knowledge graph snippet overlay, meaning a snippet pops up when you hover over a search result. (Note: I currently do not see this feature happening, so the test may have already ended)
  • Matt Cutts personally addresses guest blogging on his personal blog. He writes this message “Okay, I’m calling it: if you’re using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop.”
  • Matt Cutts posts a video about not posting to article directory sites such as ezine.com.
  • Google announces a “page layout algorithm improvement,” which could potentially penalize any website that has excessive advertising above the fold.

February:

  • YouTube videos are enlarged in the SERPs. If someone is searching for a specific music video, the results page will show the YouTube video at the top of the page, making it more accessible for the user.

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  • Google punishes a German agency and link schemes.
  • Google updates the “page layout algorithm” for the third time. This was only a refresh and had little impact in the SEO community.
  • The Google Panda update celebrates its third anniversary.
  • Google Analytics rolls out a new user interface to make it cleaner and easier for users to access data.
  • Google’s OneBox answers become more detailed. Google uses knowledge graphs and authoritative websites to answer questions typed into the query box. Below are two examples of how Google answers these queries:

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March:

  • User interface in the Google SERPs has been updated several times over the past few months. Some of the most recent changes include:
    • Google Ads are now labeled “Ad” in a yellow box instead of being highlighted in a light peach color
    • Underlines in each search result have been removed
  • Due to the redesign in the SERPs, the font size for title tags has increased, resulting in a decrease in characters displayed on the page. Moz has released a title tag preview tool that can help webmasters choose the length of their title tags.
  • Google continues its attempt to fight spam by penalizing link networks in Spain, Germany, and Italy.
  • Matt Cutts announces that Google is working on the next generation of Panda updates that will soften the algorithm.

What to Expect for the Summer:

  • Fewer announced updates from Google
  • More user interface changes, especially in the knowledge graphs and Google cards
  • More intuitive answers and results from queries
  • An increase in mobile site optimization

Google has kicked off this year with a whirlwind of changes and will only continue to push more updates in order to improve and evolve into a better and more user-friendly search engine.

If you have questions about Google updates and how they may have impacted your website, call us at (512) 806-7955 for more information.

Nancy Tran  April 1st, 2014 – Posted by to Search.

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


Increases in Mobile Traffic: A Look at the Past 3 Years

Last week, I read an article from a marketer who pointed to a 243% increase in mobile traffic among his clients over the past 2 years. I was a bit shocked by the number… it seemed high. And while traffic can differ industry to industry, and even client to client, for a number of reasons, it prompted me to take a look at analytics among our clients to see what increase, if any, they had experienced. (Note: “Mobile” refers to use on both tablets and mobile phones).

I looked at three client campaigns, each with strong natural first page placements in their respective markets. As a sample, I took numbers from January, April, July, and October to give nice quarterly snapshots over the past 36 months.

While the data does not support a 243% gain in mobile traffic over the past 2 – 3 years, it nevertheless reveals that mobile traffic has, indeed, spiked.

Mobile traffic to our clients’ legal websites ranged between 3%-8% in January 2011. This increased to 25%-30% by January 2014.

legal mobile traffic

So what does this trend mean for your website? First off,  you should be asking yourself the following questions:

  1. Is your website “mobile friendly”?
  2. If not, should you build a responsive website, or just a mobile version of your website?
  3. What does increased mobile traffic mean for your SEO / PPC strategy?

If you’d like to explore any of these questions in more depth, or see some examples of websites we’ve built for our clients, give us a call today at (512) 806-7955.

graham smithFebruary 10th, 2014 – Posted by Graham Smith to Mobile Traffic.

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


3rd Party Reviews In Google Adwords

After 4 months of Beta testing, Google has released Review Extensions to the full population of Adwords advertisers.

Review Extensions will display 3rd party reviews underneath an advertiser’s ad, hopefully lending both security and confidence to the product or service. This should help advertisers a great deal by confirming to users that the product or service in question is reputable and has already been vetted by others. Google has one advertiser who was included in Beta testing who claims they’ve seen a clear 10% increase in click through rates since starting use of review extensions.

ReviewExtensions

One feature that will prove very interesting with this extension is the fact that the review publisher will have a link within the ad itself. If the user clicks the link to the review, the advertiser will not be charged for a click. While this extension will still most likely be a net positive for Adwords customers, it is yet another signal that review sites are gaining more authority in the eyes of Google.

All told, this newest Adwords bell and whistle should have an immediate and real impact on search results, both paid and organic. Keep an eye out for these in the very near future, and take note of the creative ways that advertisers put these to use.

Andrew Cox  October 21, 2013 – Posted by to PPC.

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


Yelp! I Need Somebody

Since the website Yelp (www.yelp.com) was relaunched in February of 2005 with a decided focus on providing user reviews of businesses and professionals, the site has become one of the most frequently visited sites on the web, as people look to the reviews provided by others in their communities before going to a new mechanic, visiting a new doctor, or even eating at a new restaurant. For a while, these reviews had a limited effect, and only seemed to affect the ranking of businesses within Yelp’s internal search engine.

However, since Penguin 2.0 rolled out back in May of this year, we’ve noticed an interesting trend among search results that appears to be increasingly prevalent: the high ranking of directories for many search terms in Google. Directories like Angie’s List, Yelp, and even the Better Business Bureau are showing up on the first page of Google – often in the first and second spots – for extremely competitive keywords. Click here to see an example.

What This Means for You

If you haven’t claimed your business’ Yelp listing, do it now. You could be missing out on valuable opportunities to get your name out in your community and to rank higher for your targeted keywords in Google and on Yelp. Additionally, there does seem to be a correlation between the number of reviews a business has and how strong their rankings are, both inside and outside of Yelp.

Thus, if you have satisfied customers, encourage them to leave you a Yelp review. This seemingly small action could have significant effects on your placement online, making it well-worth the effort.

amy  September 16th, 2013 – Posted by to SEO.

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


Preparing for Penguin 2.0

We have been through 5 major Google algorithm updates in the last 6 years and dozens of minor updates. Google recently stated that “We make over 500 changes to our algorithms a year, so there will always be fluctuations in our rankings in addition to normal crawling and indexing.” Additionally, SEOMoz reports that there have been 76 notable algorithm updates since 2007. Most of the minor updates go largely unnoticed by everyday users of Google and may feel more like typical fluctuations due to the content changes in the index.

Major updates are more like 50 year storms, and during major updates, it’s not uncommon for sites that enjoyed dominant first page positions to drop out of the top 10 pages.

Currently, the industry is buzzing with talk of a major update that Matt Cutts has labeled Penguin 2.0. Given the buzz, we thought we would share our 10 cents on how to handle the next “big one,” whether it happens this week or in 10 weeks:

  1. Cultivate a healthy paranoia. Most in the SEO community know what this means, because in the aftermath of a major update, the chaos and confusion is thick. During this time it’s important to question everything you read. Make sure you ask yourself if the information is coming from a “talking head” who is talking about what happened or from a web master with skin in the game. Be skeptical of statements of fact and leery of predictions. Early statements may very well be true, but to know for certain, tests need to be run to validate and verify them.
  2. Don’t over-react. Let the dust settle before you draw conclusions. It is tempting to be shortsighted and draw knee-jerk conclusions during a major algorithm update, but try not to. Conclusions should be formed, but not in the opening days, or weeks following an update. If past updates are good indicators of what will play out (they may not be), it will take a few months for the SEO community to know what happened and how to proceed.
  3. Be Proactive. Since we know that in the past, the Penguin update generally affects a website based on its backlink profile, it is easy to audit websites routinely to make sure that your site is consistently meeting the quality standards set to keep it from being penalized.
  4. Have an alternative traffic plan in place. The fastest way to replace lost traffic short-term (if your site has lost organic placement) is via Google Adwords and other CPC platforms (Yahoo/Bing, Facebook, LinkedIn). Consider industry directories and industry specific email/phone and lead-generation platforms.
  5. Give it some time, but not an indefinite amount of time. Every time a major update occurs, the SEO community goes into “all hands on deck” mode for months. There is stress, panic, uncertainty, theories, frustration, and resignation. However, about 6 weeks out, the new system begins to be more clear. It’s important for clients to be in communication with vendors during this time, but not daily or even weekly. Every 10-15 business days is about right for the dots to start connecting.
  6. Be willing to adapt. Accepting that what was true yesterday may be false tomorrow is painful. Be data driven, not “hunch” driven. Just because you think Google might have done X, remember that it’s only a theory until you test it multiple times and verify it. This has always been the reality of how Google ranks websites. For whatever reason, though, people have a hard time accepting this fact. It takes humility to accept that Google holds the keys.

Ultimately, when the algorithm is updated, the best course of action is to take a deep breath and evaluate everything that changes. Compare what the sites that were penalized have in common and what the websites that held strong have in common. Take action appropriately and with time, the results will return.

Here is a helpful video from Matt Cutts on Penguin 2.0 and what changes to expect in the coming months.

 

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