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One of the big ideas being discussed and implemented in the world of search engines is the notion of authorship. Specifically, how can authors be rewarded for their experience and knowledge through the search algorithms? The notion comes as Google and Bing are in a race to provide the most useful results. Since people find that they get more value out of trustworthy documents, search engines can provide this all-important sense of trust by attaching search results to authors.
While Google was the first to start talking about authorship, Bing has taken it on in a very big way. Some analysts predict that its implementation of authorship is more robust and bolder than that of the big G. That said, at this stage in the game, it is still difficult to tell.
When a registered author writes an article that appears in a search result, users can mouse over that result to pull up a sidebar detailing that author’s other works. Known as the “Social sidebar,” this can help writers get more viewers for their Web content.
In order to be listed as registered authors, content providers must have an established presence in their field, regularly update their websites and stay current with what’s going on in the world. For instance, debt defense lawyers in Houston should update their site and social media channels with news related to debt cases in and around their area. However, those who wish to be authors must register with Bing; there is not yet an automated process for author approval.
Your firm may receive an additional boost from Bing’s search algorithms if you register to be an author with a focus on your practice areas. However, because the authorship models are still rather young, it may be too early to tell exactly what impact it will have. Search is becoming more and more social, and most analysts predict that this trend will continue. By jumping on the social and authorship bandwagon now, you might be able to get a leg up on the competition.
A few years ago, using long-tail keywords for search rankings and PPC campaigns was quite popular. Although this practice has waned somewhat, it’s beginning to see a resurgence and can be highly effective for law firms. If you have gotten out of the long-tail keyword game, there are quite a few reasons to get back in.
Long-tail keywords are much more specific than short-tail keywords. For this reason, you can expect to have considerably less competition when trying to rank in search engines or get a top position in a PPC campaign. Although there are usually less searches, you can capitalize on the searches that your keywords get and often dominate the competition.
Since the content that law firms create is often highly specific and focuses on a narrow area of law, long-tail keywords can be used to your advantage. There is also the geographical element because most legal clients are looking for an attorney in their local city or town. That’s why a Milwaukee serious accident attorney should create blog posts that discuss their specific area of expertise, incorporating “Milwaukee” as a keyword to drive more traffic to their website.
When compared to broader, short-tail keywords, using long-tail keyword phrases tends to match people with highly relevant search and PPC results. This is because the more keywords a person enters, the more specific the search phrase is and the more specific their results will be. When potential clients find your content via a long-tail search phrase, it’s likely that they have a genuine interest. Consequently, you can expect a higher conversion rate than you would with short-tail keywords, which means you can generate leads more effectively. If you are running a PPC campaign, this can equal a higher return on your investment.
With a growing percent of the market share of Internet searches in the United States, search engine Bing is committed to improving the user experience for both searchers and webmasters. Legal professionals interested in the online marketing and the search engine optimization of their websites should be pleased to hear of Bing’s newest updates to Webmaster Tools.
Geolocation and computer security are at the heart of the changes Bing is making. These two new features, which were announced in late April, aim to help webmasters make their websites friendlier to the Bing search algorithm, thus increasing the likelihood their sites will rank on search engine result (SERP) pages. Whether you are an adoption lawyer in Bountiful, UT or a New York City criminal defense attorney, this is very good news for you!
Bing has added a new tool designed to detect and help fight the spread of malware across the Internet. This tool can be found in the Reports & Data section of Bing Webmaster Tools. Bing users are already notified when their search results include sites that appear to be infected by malware; the same goes for webmasters.
However, the new malware tool takes things one step further. It adds specific information about Bing’s findings and provides a method to request an immediate crawl and scan once the issue has been resolved. This is very useful since websites flagged with malware tend to quickly lose their search ranking.
Bing’s new Geo-Targeting feature can be accessed from the Configure my Site section. Bing allows legal professionals to add important geographical information to individual webpages rather than to their entire websites. This means that a law firm with multiple offices can create separate Web pages for each location within the same domain. The geographic targeting can be set separately with Bing’s Geo-Targeting.
The ability to specify geolocation on individual pages is unique to Bing; this is a feature that Google only makes available at the domain level.
Benchmarking consists of making a set of milestones for an advertising campaign. It is arguably the most essential part of tracking the success of your SEM campaigns, as without a set of benchmarks, you will not even be able to talk about whether you’ve succeeded or failed. Success is defined by benchmarks.
There are two types of benchmarks — internal and external. Internal benchmarks consist of measuring success against previous results. If you receive 25 percent more click-throughs from organic search this month than last month, your SEM campaign is succeeding from the standpoint of an internal benchmark.
Conversely, external benchmarks consist of measuring success against the market. If you receive 25 percent more click-throughs but your industry grew by 50 percent, then you have actually failed from the standpoint of an external benchmark.
On one hand, external benchmarking helps you get out of the erroneous belief that you exist in a vacuum. It can help your business become more competitive if you realize that you aren’t growing fast enough and that other firms in your field are taking your customers. External benchmarking is also arguably more objective, as it is measured against something outside the purview of your company.
That said, external benchmarking can cause you to forget the fundamentals of running your company. If you spend too much time chasing competitors, you run the risk of overlooking investing in important marketing and service infrastructures. Internal benchmarks are more predictable from year to year. Most analysts recommend a a mix of internal and external benchmarks.
Success is defined in relation to benchmarks. But who sets the benchmarks? As the business owner, it is your job to define success and to perform to that level. You need to gauge success in a way that meets your operational goals.
Do you want to become the pre-eminent resource for information about Social Security Disability in Charleston? Do you want to keep pace with the market? Do you want to focus on fundamentals and worry about growth and market share later? The answer to these questions will not only help you determine whether to use internal or external benchmarks; they will help you choose the specific benchmarks to measure your firm by.
Using external benchmarks to define your firm’s success can encourage you to redouble your efforts to improve your company’s SEM standing in the face of competition, which can be important if you are in a competitive legal environment such as New York City, Washington, D.C. or Los Angeles. They are an excellent tool to use if you want to push yourself to bring your law firm’s operations and online reach to the next level.
AdWords has long been a favorite analytics tool for legal marketers to use to determine the best keywords for PPC advertising and organic search content. Google recently updated the search terms report provided by AdWords to enable marketers to find groups of common search terms related to their particular field.
This update will prove to be invaluable and save lawyers a lot of time doing search term research. For instance, catastrophic injury lawyers can search for all the terms related to the phrase “wrongful death” and see how people are using that term as part of a larger keyword phrase. As most legal marketers know, longer search terms are becoming more widely used to target increasingly savvy Web searchers.
This search term filter can also be used for seasonal advertising and content creation. For instance, taxes are going to be different for the 2013 year than for the 2012 year. As tax time approaches both this year and next year, tax lawyers can look up search terms like “2012 taxes” to see the specific questions people have on that topic. They can then target their advertising campaign to coincide with those questions around the tax filing deadline.
This new feature may prove to be a useful inspirational tool for lawyers wondering what to write about in their next blog post. It helps legal professionals find out the specific personal injury queries for which people are trying to find information on Google. By tailoring the next blog post to meet the needs of searchers, your post will get more traffic and rank higher on SERP pages, exposing your blog to a larger audience of potential clients.
If you haven’t yet looked at the new search term filter feature on Google’s AdWords, give it a try today!
One of the most important questions when undertaking an SEO campaign — or indeed any marketing campaign — for your law firm is to define success. This is done through what are known as KPIs, or key performance indicators. You will need to define your KPIs and set up analytics tools to track how well your SEO campaign is going.
By far the most common key performance indicator, especially for lawyers and legal marketers, is the position that your site ranks for targeted keywords in Google and other search engines. Your goal is to get on the first page of the SERPs (search engine results pages). This determines if potential customers see your name come up first when they type in a keyword phrase like “Tennessee estate planning attorney.”
However, for competitive keywords, it can take some time for you to break into the top SERPs. There are some indicators along the way to determine if your SEO campaign is in a healthy position to rank highly as it grows. These include:
In other words, if people are finding you from a variety of sources, seeing that your content is relevant enough to become a client, and coming back after using your services one or more times, congratulations! Your SEO campaign is going well.
In particular, inbound links can be an important KPI when waiting to improve your ranking for competitive keyword phrases. Measuring the amount of search traffic can also be useful, as visitors may use variations of your keywords to find your site. While these KPI metrics aren’t quite as precise as measuring the SERP ranking you have with your desired keywords, it can do in a pinch if you’re waiting for your listing to move.
The Content Marketing Institute recently released an article with a helpful metaphor for two competing types of marketing. The article compares content marketing and SEO practices with buying a car or home and pay-per-click (PPC) practices with leasing a car or renting a home.
In the debate between buying and leasing marketing materials, content marketing consists of producing engaging blog posts, articles on other sites or other content to draw customers in and convince them that you are an expert in your field. On the other hand, PPC advertising consists of purchasing advertising space and paying each time someone uses it to get to your website.
When you use content marketing, you invest in the full content as well as its location or locations. As a business law attorney in Tulsa, you might, for instance, produce content about the legal implications of mergers or buyouts as part of your online marketing activity. You make a large up-front investment but don’t have to pay for it again. When you purchase PPC advertising, you are leasing space for your content. You pay significantly less for each customer to view your site, but you have to pay each time.
When you buy, you create value for yourself that you can use again and again. The same page on your blog may generate new visitors on a regular basis. Once you’ve created that content marketing, you can use it as many times as you like. The main downside is that you have to invest the time and/or money in creating it. Another potential downside is that you have to invest in the webspace; when you make use of PPC, you can spread your content to a wide variety of sites across the Web.
While it may seem that buying is always better, there are instances where PPC can be more effective. Because you don’t have to pay as much and because you are partially paying for the wider range of locations offered by PPC providers, you may be able to reach a wider audience. Similar to how you can often afford a better car on a temporary basis if you lease rather than purchase outright, you might get better results temporarily from PPC. However, if you are planning a long-term marketing campaign, content marketing is generally better.
Experts recommend that you use both content marketing and PPC in your marketing efforts. Depending on your personal views toward buying and leasing, you might prefer one style over the other and focus more on that.
Google Analytics provides a variety of high-powered tools to law firm leaders who want to evaluate the effectiveness of their online marketing campaigns. One of the most powerful of these tools in the Browser Report, which helps firm leaders understand how potential clients are interacting with their websites based on the browser that they are using. While browser analytics can seem simple and straightforward, they can reveal major problems with a firm’s Internet-based marketing campaigns.
It’s easy to overlook the importance of the Browser Report when working in Google Analytics. However, it’s essential that firm leaders know what platforms potential clients are using to access their websites and how these platforms affect client conversion rates. The Browser Report provides information about visits, bounce rates, exit percentages and revenues broken down by browser type. The report also contains information about browser window size, allowing firm leaders to get a better idea of how much of their site visitors are actually seeing.
Understanding how to analyze the results of the Browser Report is essential. For example, an injury lawyer who uses this report might find that the majority of his visitors use Internet Explorer. He will need to carefully scrutinize exit and bounce rates to determine whether or not these visitors are having a positive experience on his site. A high bounce or exit rate might indicate that the site needs to be modified in order to convert more visitors into clients.
One of the key aims of the Browser Report is to help marketers improve the end-user experience of a website. Firm leaders should review the Browser Report in conjunction with other Google Analytics reports. In order to correct browser-based issues, it may be necessary to adjust linking strategies, social media marketing tactics and overall website design.