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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.
Law firm leaders who are eager to use the latest technologies to attract new clients have by and large turned to Internet-based marketing. In order to understand whether or not their online efforts are producing real results, leaders use a variety of Google Analytics tools. Among the most powerful of these tools is the Link Analysis Report, which evaluates whether link-building strategies are helping a firm meet its marketing goals.
The Link Analysis Report is designed to help marketers understand whether or not their link-building efforts are effective in drawing new traffic to a website. An immigration attorney in St Petersburg might team up with other immigrant-centric websites to build a link network. To decide whether or not such efforts are worthwhile, the attorney can create a custom Link Analysis Report. This report will provide information about whether given sites are driving a high number of referrals to the attorney’s individual website.
Law firm leaders who run a Link Analysis Report will be provided with seven separate columns of information. This report includes information regarding the link source, landing page, total number of visits, goal completions, bounces, number of pages visited and the number of new visits. When evaluating the information on this report, remember to pay careful attention to linking patterns.
It’s essential to understand both if a given site is driving traffic and the particular content on that site that is driving traffic. For instance, firm leaders might find that video and audio content are driving more traffic than written content. They should then prioritize building links with sites that offer rich audio and visual content to visitors. The next blog in this series will explore the Pay Per Click (PPC) Keywords Report, which can often shed light on the effectiveness of broader linking strategies.
Content marketing programs may seem easy to track and analyze. After all, the main goal of content marketing is simply to attract as many views, reads or downloads as possible for a given piece of content. The emphasis on overall consumption is why going viral is a goal of so many business leaders. While measuring basic factors like consumption is important, it’s also essential to look at other indicators of a content marketing program’s success.
All firm leaders know that lead generation is a key sales strategy. Generating leads is a key means of attracting new clients. In the past, lead generation was accomplished by traditional marketing methods such as print, radio and billboard advertising. Call centers and telemarketers could also be employed to generate leads.
Today, lead generation is largely conducted online and is supported by content marketing programs. If a Fresno car accident attorney wants to measure the success of a podcast about the steps to take immediately after an accident, he will likely first look to overall consumption statistics. After gathering this basic data, the attorney should continue his analysis so that he understands how many people who viewed the video also filled out an online request form or subscribed to a blog or email list.
Tracking the success of a content marketing program in terms of lead generation will allow a firm leader to calculate the ROI of that program. When tracking lead generation, it’s important to remember that not all leads will follow a simple content-to-conversion path. Some website visitors may call an office after seeing an engaging video instead of filling out an online form. It’s important to ask new clients how they were referred to a firm in order to understand the many ways in which a content marketing strategy has worked towards new lead generation.
The Search Engine Optimization (SEO) field seems intricate due to dynamic search engine algorithms and the fact that millions of websites are vying for the top few positions on an given search engine results page (SERP) at any given time. Even with the complexities surrounding SEO, there are a few techniques that legal professionals can almost effortlessly apply to their websites to attain a higher SERP rank.
The following techniques are simple and can be applied to the website of law firm or solo practitioner in an hour or less, and they follow Google’s recommendations for designing sites that conform to organic search standards.
Boost website speed performance
Sites that routinely rank high on the SERP tend to be optimized for speed. A fast web hosting company is important in this regard, but a caching plugin, which uses stored data to generate a readily accessible website, can also improve speed. Popular Web publishing platforms like WordPress call up many resources to display a single page; caching plugins further accelerate the process.
Make images search-friendly
Google and other major search engines have a lot riding on image search. Web traffic from image search results has increased significantly over the last few years and it is likely to continue growing, especially as social networks like Pinterest and Instagram continue to grow. It is imperative, then, that legal professionals optimize pictures on their websites in order to benefit from this growth trend.
The most important step in optimizing images is to use keywords as file names. If, for example, a Glendale truck accidents attorney uploads a portrait to his or her website and the file name is comprised of simple letters or numbers, the image will not rank high on the SERP. That picture, however, can easily be renamed to include the attorney’s name and the keywords “Glendale” and “lawyer.” Just make sure image titles are relevant to the photo and the subject nature of the page
Fix broken links
Links that go nowhere tend to be punished with low SERP rank. Fixing broken links is a simple matter of searching for an online tool to detect them, followed by corrective action and replacement.
Google has recently released a Disavow Links Tool that provides website owners with a way to ignore links from certain sites. The development of this tool stemmed primarily from the negative effects that many websites suffered in the wake of Google’s Penguin Update earlier in 2012. Here are some details about the tool and what it can do for your firm’s website.
According to an article on SearchEngineLand.com, Google’s newest tool works by first creating a text file using the Disavow Links Tool and listing your URL. You then list the domains that contain links to your site that you want Google to ignore. Typically, these will be low quality or irrelevant links that are hurting your SEO efforts. If a Charles County workers comp lawyer had paid for thousands of poor links months or years ago to boost their rankings, he could use this tool to ensure that Google ignores them when determining his website’s page ranking.
After you have created your file, you will then submit it to Google. Its effects will not be instantaneous — it can take anywhere up to a few weeks for your submission to be put into action. Once it does, any unwanted links that you listed will be disavowed when determining your website’s ranking in Google’s search results.
While law firms with high-ranking websites and quality links have no real need for this tool, you can benefit from it if certain links have resulted in lower rankings and reduced traffic. If you used any black hat SEO techniques in the past, like paying for links or having spam links created, you should consider using this tool. Also, if you suspect that competitors may have purposely created bad links that point back to your site, this tool can be beneficial.
Assuming the Disavow Links Tool does what it’s intended to do, this should help you firm’s website climb the rankings and pull in more organic traffic.
In previous videos, the SEO in 30 Days series taught law firm professionals how to develop a marketing plan, do keyword research, write content, map out a site, and do internal and external link building. This consists of most of the work you need to do to make a quality site for popular consumption. However, there are a few final touches that will help take a solid, search optimized site to the next level:
These three techniques have the ability to improve any site’s dynamism and enable it to bring in even more additional visitors. They have been used by law firms like Leviness, Tolzman and Hamilton and have been met with great success.
On Days 27 and 28, you learn how to add video to your site. This SEO in 30 Days video provides tips on how best to shoot your short clip as well as how to upload, title, tag and embed it in a central location on your website. Video content gives your site a multimedia appeal that often helps it out in the search rankings. If the video itself is popular and touches upon your audience’s interests, it can spread through social media channels as a form of viral marketing for your firm.
On Day 29, you learn how to implement social media strategies for your firm. The video provides helpful suggestions for how to get started. It focuses on the networking aspects of social media and building relationships with potential clients by providing useful, regularly updated content. This can be done through blogs, profile sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, or micro-blogging services like Twitter. The video goes into detail about how to get followers and network contacts and what sorts of content will be most effective.
Finally, the video discusses PPC advertising for the 30th day. It explains PPC advertising in clear language and takes you step by step through the process of developing and releasing your own PPC ad campaign. It talks about how PPC enables greater outreach to potential clients and how to leverage programs like Google AdWords to improve your site’s SEO.
For more information on each of these subject matters, read through the text version of our SEO in 30 Days series. It offers free advice for legal professionals seeking to improve their website’s profitability. Additionally, it breaks down the complexities of modern web design into processes that even the busiest attorney can find time to do.
The second-to-last video in the SEO in 30 Days series details site mapping and link building — two very important elements of any search optimization solution. The previous videos went through the process of planning, keyword organization and content creation. By now, you should have the bones and muscle of your law firm’s website. The work is only half done, however, and days 16 through 26 involve some heavy lifting on the design front as well as all-important networking to acquire links.
The text and video versions of the SEO in 30 Days series both do a good job of stating the importance of link building. In essence, the link building process consists of linking to other established websites and getting them to link to you. This underscores the fact that the Internet is, in part, a popularity contest. If other high-ranking sites link to you, search engine algorithms will rank you higher for it. Whether your firm employs truck accident lawyers or bankruptcy lawyers, linking to sites that match your audience and keywords will improve your position in the ranking.
Internal link building is also an important part of what is known as site mapping. Once you have your content, organizing the navigation structure and user experience is not only important for improving the quality and value of your Web service — good internal linking can help to improve your site’s visibility in search engine rankings.
The two main goals in Days 16 through 26 are internal link building and external link building. You develop internal link building solutions by following the instructions for days 16 through 21, using SEO techniques like sitemaps and ALT tags. This is very useful for you to determine how to use hypertext links in the content you created on days 10 through 15 as well as how to structure your site’s sidebars and topbars. You will be optimizing both search engine readability and human navigability.
Days 22 through 26 consist of the all-important task of link building. There are many different techniques you need to use to build links, including asking other webmasters, posting links on blogs or message boards, offering to guest post content or creating other relationships with established and up-and-coming sites in your legal field.
With this penultimate video, the SEO in 30 Days series continues to impress with step-by-step solutions to improve web visibility. Try out these techniques today on your law firm’s website!
If you’ve gotten through the first nine days of the SEO in 30 Days series, you may be wondering when you can start actually putting your site together. Previously, the work has been all about planning, first setting a Web marketing plan in motion and then making an organized list of keywords to incorporate and distinguish yourself from the online competition. The next six days will consist of the nuts and bolts of building a website.
The Law Offices of Gary P. Field has used these techniques to great success. As a lawyer working for yourself or with a firm, you can do so too. The SEO in 30 Days series offers step-by-step explanations for comprehensive SEO practices, enabling you to put together your own website to get high levels of targeted Web traffic.
The overall focus of days 10 through 15 is on choosing a domain name, content creation and meta tags. This will be the meat of your site’s SEO solution and will be founded upon the work you’ve done with keyword research and marketing plans.
Day 10 consists of choosing your domain name. The video goes over important details for how to make your name memorable and contain your keyword. Certain hints, such as not to use hyphens, are shared as is the use of domain name tools to see if certain names are available.
Days 11 and 12 consist of mapping the website’s content structure. The purpose of the work being done on days 11 and 12 is to match keywords to the site’s structure, and various techniques for doing so are analyzed in detail. You can make thumbnails, site maps and other design elements, or you can use Web design programs described in the video.
Days 13 through 15 consist of actually writing the content on your site. With a proper foundation in keywords and audience research, you will produce written content that draws viewers to your site and keeps them interested in your firm. The video also details how to include meta tags, an important part of any SEO campaign.
Whether you have a New York City criminal defense law firm or a probate firm down in Florida without much time, you can benefit from the SEO in 30 Days video series. Watch it today and learn how to take your firm’s Web presence into high gear, or read through the full text series for an in-depth outline of how to structure your SEO campaign!