When an attorney decides to invest in marketing, hundreds of questions come to mind. Most lawyers have little to no marketing experience, and don’t know where to begin looking for real answers. It can be overwhelming for some, but we can help get you caught up. We’re answering some of the most frequently asked questions we hear about digital marketing for lawyers, including everything from websites and SEO to online advertising.
Your Law Firm’s Website
Can I keep using my current website?
In our experience, if your current website is built on WordPress, you can probably continue using it. 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’ve witnessed the benefits it provides for law firms’ online presence firsthand. 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 more user friendly without harming your website’s speed. If your website is NOT on WordPress, it may be time to upgrade.
Do I really need a new website?
We hear this question from attorneys who have just 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 dissected and repaired, which can take as many hours and as much money as it would to build a new site, or even 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 directs users to it 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. You want the best experience for your clients, and a website that loads quickly is the first step in leaving this good impression.
How do I find out what my website’s speed is?
First, it’s important to know that your website’s speed can <href=”/2019/11/20/how-much-money-are-you-losing-due-to-slow-website-speed/”>directly impact your search engine rankings. Yes, Google uses your website’s speed as a ranking factor. Close to half of all online traffic is mobile – and Google has switched to favor mobile versions of webpages when indexing websites, or making your website discoverable on google.com.
If a user goes to your website and it loads too slowly, they are likely to leave and 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 along with recommendations on how to boost your score at no cost!
Your SEO Campaigns
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 directs traffic to your website – but most of these campaigns are one-way campaigns (marketer to user) that limit the information your potential customers see. In 2021 however, people are accustomed to the abundance of information on the internet and reverse the marketer-to-user roles by extensively researching 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. Some internet users subconsciously skip over the ads in Google and cut straight to the real, or organic, results. 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. 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. In short, ranking in maps means that the user will see your law firm’s listing before they even see the organic search results.
Another benefit of Local SEO is that users can see your firm’s 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 Google My Business (GMB) profile. The Search Engine Guys have an in-depth guide on how to optimize GMB for law firms available for free here.
Your PPC Campaigns
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.
Your Local Service Ads
How do I get “Google Guarantee” Certified?
One of the newest forms of connecting with potential clients online is through Google’s Local Service Ads. Much like Google’s map results, Local Service Ads (LSAs) allow your law firm to appear higher up in the Google results page, even higher than Google Ads placements. These placements are truly local and will only appear for users searching in your area. LSAs show your law firm’s name, your photo, review rating, city, phone number, and hours of operation. Instead of paying for every click, you only pay a flat fee if a user actually contacts you directly through the LSA via click-to-call or a contact form.
Getting the green “Google Guaranteed” check mark can be a lengthy process since Google requires you to undergo verification. This includes a business background check as well as verifying your firm’s licensing and insurance coverage. The verification process will make your firm stand out from the competition with a green check mark badge next to your firm’s name when it appears in a Google search.
Having an optimized Google My Business listing and having multiple positive reviews will help the entire LSA process. It is crucial to have a solid intake process set up beforehand to ensure that every lead is answered, since you are paying for each lead. Read our free in-depth guide to Local Service Ads to get more details on getting your Google Guaranteed badge.
Your Law Firm’s Branding
Can I afford TV advertising?
TV advertising campaigns have made the digital switch and are now executed on video streaming platforms like Hulu, AT&T TV, YouTube TV, SlingTV, and many more. For those unfamiliar, these services are essentially 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 cost and are shown on predetermined networks and time slots to anyone and everyone watching. Though traditional TV can reach hundreds of thousands of viewers, it lacks the advanced targeting options offered by OTT platforms. New data-collection technologies are able to provide these OTT platforms with information 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 television advertising.
How can I leverage social media?
Social Media is the best way to engage with people on the internet, especially during a pandemic that encourages social distancing and staying home. 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, LinkedIn and even Tik Tok have advertising platforms for your law firm so you can put your 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 audiences. 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 social media campaign for your law firm yet? You may be surprised at how quickly you can start generating business online.
Call The Search Engine Guys at (512) 394-7234 or contact us online to get started today.
Written in partnership with Trial School.