Search Engine Optimization

How To Get Your Law Firm Optimized On Google Maps

Learn Why your Law Firm Should be on Google Maps

Obtaining the most traffic on your law firm website is of utmost importance when building a solid clientele.

With the increase in mobile use, businesses are consistently using new tactics to increase their client base and increase their ranking on Google. Optimizing your brand on Google Maps is another way to boost your rankings and get more visitors to see what your attorneys have to offer.

 

What exactly is Google Maps?

Google Maps is another means for users to locate your law firm online. Not only are your location and directions shown to the viewer, but also your website link and other important business information such as hours of operation and phone number.

 

Before we look at how to implement Google Maps, let’s look at a few statistics to show the importance of mobile optimization as a whole:

This study also reports that as of January 2014:

  • Ninety percent of adult Americans own some type of cellular phone
  • Thirty-two percent of adult Americans own some type of e-reader device
  • Forty-two percent of adult Americans own a tablet device

 

Now that you are familiar with the necessity for website optimization, follow the steps below to optimize your Google Maps listing:

 

Google +

Get a Google + listing for your law firm. You will have to create an account, but it is simple and well worth the few minutes that it takes to set it up.

Once your listing details have been completed, you will be required to verify your business. This is done by Google sending a postcard to the address listed on your account with a code that is entered online.

Verification can also be done over the phone in a much timelier fashion.

 

 

Google + Local Page

The next thing you want to do is completely fill out the pertinent information about your law firm.

You will need to include the address, phone number, hours of operation, website address, and a thorough description. This is crucial to your listing.

  • A Google study reports that seventy percent of searchers utilize the click to call feature on their smart phone after finding the website online.
  • If no phone number is linked with their search result, forty-seven percent of mobile users will look for another brand.

 

Logo and Images

Your logo makes your brand recognizable. This is very important to include in your listing.

Another way to let viewers get a feel for your law firm, is include images of your attorneys, office space, and building. It is very simple to upload the images and makes the listing stand out from the rest.

 

Maintenance

Once your listing has been created and published, be sure to bookmark it and visit it regularly to see if any changes need to be made.

All information needs to be current, such as hours of operation and phone numbers. Descriptions may need to be updated if attorneys are added to the firm or if there are any other important changes.

 

 

Add Content

Adding interesting content to your Google + page will gain followers and possibly new clients.

Infographics and other images are quick and easy to post and will more likely be shared than just a text update. Include information about the type of cases your firm deals with to further establish your brand and gain followers.

Infographics can be easily designed by using Canva, or you can hire a professional to handle it for you.

 

 

Conclusion

With the expansive use of smartphones and the popularity of Google Maps, it is extremely important to be visible and up to date.

Ensure that your images and details are enticing, so when the next searcher finds your listing on Google Maps, your law firm is the one they choose.

The Benefits of a Mobile-Responsive Website

It Makes Sense For Law Firms To Have Mobile-Friendly Websites

A law firm’s website will not be fully beneficial, unless it incorporates responsive web design.

The ability to access website content through mobile phones, tablets and computers, will ultimately increase the number of potential clients for your law firm. Users need to be able to view the elements of the website easily and in an organized fashion, no matter what device they are using.

By incorporating responsive web design, visitors will find your website to be pleasant and user friendly.

 

Statistics On Mobile Use

Here are some recent statistics on mobile internet usage

Below are some additional interesting facts from the same source:

  • In 2014, smart phone use increased by 45 percent.
  • Mobile data traffic globally increased by 69 percent in 2014.
  • In 2014, 497 million mobile devices and connections were added.

 

Taking into consideration the statistics above, it is only obvious that your site must be mobile friendly to accommodate the vast amount of traffic it can potentially receive.

 

Having a Mobile Friendly Website will…

Increase your Google Rankings

As stated on their blog in April 21, 2015, Google began it’s mobile update.

If a search for a mobile friendly website has been linked to a mobile device, Google will now increase it’s rankings. On the other hand, if the website that was searched for is not mobile friendly, it will be penalized.

Of course there are other considerations when your site is ranked by Google, but increasing your ranking by becoming a responsive website will only help get you closer to the top of the search.

We all know the closer to the top the website is, the more traffic it will receive and hopefully more clients as well.

You can learn more about the percentage of traffic the top 3 websites usually get vs. the rest of the search results page.

 

“You’re Looking Good”…

You don’t want your website to turn away potential users…do you?

When a website is not mobile friendly and is viewed on a tablet or smart phone, it will often be difficult to navigate. Text will generally be too small for users to easily read and images may not load properly or may not appear in the right location.

Also, when sites are not responsive, the layout will often be compromised, giving a choppy and unprofessional look.

On the contrary, when a site is mobile friendly, the pages are ordered in an easy to read fashion, while keeping the original theme of the website. The different pages can be easily swiped on tablets and phones and images are re-sized to fit the screen of any device.

 

Increase Your Website Conversion Rates

When a visitor to a website has difficulty accessing the desired content and is not able to navigate the different elements of the site, they will generally become frustrated and look for another website to help them find what they are looking for.

If the information can be easily accessed, conversion rates are much higher. Users can contact you through the site or read about the services you offer. You have just gained a potential client while the next guy did not.

Don’t lose clients simply because your site is not responsive.

 

Conclusion

Obviously, the mobile market will continue to grow and it will be necessary for all websites to become fully responsive in the future.

Don’t give your potential clients a headache when they visit your site for answers or to contact your office. Let their first interaction with your firm be a smooth and positive experience.

If you want to increase your Google rankings and conversions, and ensure that your website is mobile friendly, consider hiring a professional design team to assist you. Alleviate the stress and time of trying to figure it all out on your own.

Leave it to the experts and let your law firm reap the benefits of a responsive website.

 

For further reading, be sure to check out: When Should You Have Someone Else Manage Your Website? and 8 Tips That Will Make Working With A Web Designer A Breeze.

When Should You Have Someone Else Manage Your Website?

As an attorney, your days are consumed with litigations, phone calls and paperwork. Finding the time to maintain your website may be nearly impossible.

In addition to the time it takes to maintain your website on your own, there is also a learning curve as how to keep up the site. You will need to research the various content you want to include on your site and how to apply it.

If you are not familiar with website development and maintenance, expect many cases of trial and error to absorb many hours of time. If you are not trained, it can be very frustrating to dedicate time to your computer after a long day in the office or courtroom.

For a website to draw traffic and present a professional image, it must be continuously updated with fresh content and interesting features. The goal is to draw potential clients back to your site so that they become familiar with your practice and ultimately hire your services.

Eliminate the stress of taking on another task and consider hiring a quality website maintenance provider to your agenda.

Consider the following maintenance tasks and the time it would take you to learn and implement how to include each one on your attorney business site:

Increase Your Google Ranking

If you want potential clients to find your website, you need to rank high in the Google search engine.

There are many techniques and tricks to raising your ranking, but do you have the time and expertise to actually make it work? This is where hiring an experienced website maintenance company comes in handy.

Experts in SEO (Site Engine Optimization) can get your firm listed higher; increasing the flow of traffic and high end clients.

Entrepreneur Magazine reports that the scope of SEO is changing, and now incorporate branding, social media integration and marketing of content, which take time to learn and put into action.

Get a Free SEO report from LuckyFish Media

Adding New Images or Graphics

Web developers have resources to find the perfect graphics and images for your website.

If you were to take on this task yourself, you would be spending a lot of time searching for the stock images you need and possibly incurring the extra cost of using them on your site.

Adding New Pages

If you add or remove an attorney from your firm, you will want to adjust that information on your website as soon as possible. You may also decide to include a FAQ page or other content you develop.

Easily add pages as needed to your website by sending the information to your maintenance expert. You will have your content up in no time, without any added frustration or time expense.

Technical Support

Glitches in the system happen to everyone at one point or another. Do you have the knowledge and patience to fix website errors quickly and efficiently?

If your schedule is tight, the last thing you need to worry about is spending hours trying to figure out why your page is showing errors and not functioning properly. Not only will you lose visitors, but it will cause a lot of personal stress as well.

Relinquish the burden of technical issues and hand it over to a professional who can fix the problem in a timely manner. Your nerves will thank you.

Conclusion

As you can see, the benefits of having access to a web developer for all of your website needs is a must. Relieve yourself from the stress and pressure to fix problems and make necessary updates.

Dedicate your time to your practicing law and leave the technical issues up to someone else.

For more information on incorporating a web designer to manage your website, read: 8 Tips That Will Make Working With A Web Designer A Breeze and Website Disaster Recovery Plan: Do You Have One?

11 Website Terms Every Attorney Should Know

There is no better way for law firms to attract potential clients, than to have a quality website.

A recent Nielson survey reported that, three out of four Americans use the internet to search for an attorney.

Individual practices and large legal offices will each benefit from having a responsive and easily navigated website. To find out more on how a website can benefit your legal practice, check out: 3 Things You Get From A Business Website.

 

Attorneys who are involved with their own website need to be familiar with the following important terms in order to get the full potential out of their website:

 

  1. Domain Name

 A domain name is the network of a particular website address, which identify certain web pages within the site.

 

  1. IP Address

An IP (Internet Protocol) Address identifies each computer that is connected with the internet with a unique number. Similar to that of a physical mailing address, this number allows exact pinpointing of location so the remote computers can instantly communicate with one another.

 

  1. Web Hosting

Website hosting is the place where all the files for your site are stored and maintained. This is how your site is accessed when a user types in your website address (URL).

 

  1. Server

A simple explanation of a server is a computer that delivers web pages. When a website address is typed into the browser, the server is what connects to the site and sends it to the computer.

 

  1. Traffic

Website traffic is calculated by the number of visitors and pages viewed on your site.

 

  1. Session vs Hits

A session is referred to a visit to your website by a particular IP address. If a user visits your website more than once, each time is recorded as a session. This is one way that website traffic can be calculated.

A hit is counted for each file that is downloaded from the website server, such as images and files. For instance, if your home page features five images and a text file, then your site would receive six hits.

 

  1. Hyperlink

To easily link a website, web page or image to another location, a hyperlink is created. It is a highlighted word or phrase that is easily recognized and can be clicked on to go to the new location in the internet or within your own website.

 

  1. Mobile Ready

With the increased use of mobile devices, web pages need to be user friendly and load quickly in an organized format on phones and tablets.

When websites are mobile ready, they will have a clean, simple layout that can be easily accessed so the user can receive all of the benefits of a standard page that is viewed on a laptop or PC.

 

  1. Meta Tag

One of the leading ways that search engines rank websites is with the use of meta tags.

Keywords, page/image descriptions and content are very important to include in the meta tag portion to rank higher in the search results.

 

  1. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

SEO is a combination of methods and procedures that will drive more traffic to your website. This will increase your ranking in the major search engines.

A list of excellent SEO tips can be found here: 3 of the Best Search Engine Optimization Tips for 2015.

 

  1. Favicon

A favicon is the small image that you see next to the URL in the search bar from many websites.Many attorney websites use their logo as their favicon. Including one on your website will aid in building your brand.

 

Conclusion

Be sure to keep track of the fluctuations in your visitor traffic. Are there certain posts or pages that draw more attention than others?

Look at other successful attorney websites for ideas to determine how you can improve your format and content to better represent you and your services.

Contact us today to set up a free consultation to create a responsive and productive website that will receive quality traffic and increase your client base.

I use WordPress to Build Websites (And You Should Too)

Why I Love WordPress

If you are thinking about creating a website, I can’t recommend using WordPress highly enough.

Here’s why I love WordPress and you should too!

Understandable

The absolute best thing about WordPress is the simple and understandable platform for users. The site builder interface is perfectly suited for novices, yet offers advanced options for those with an interest or need for more developed solutions.

WordPress makes it easy to get started with a website or blog. Anyone with basic computer and internet skills can do it. WordPress offers thousands of theme options, intuitive building blocks, and an open source platform so you can host with whichever company you want.

Easy SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an absolute must for any successful website. Entrepreneurs, blogging fanatics, and established business men and women are all equally subject to the algorithms created by search engines. These algorithms dictate which sites are shown first for certain search terms and phrases.

WordPress has several built-in features, and many more plug-ins (more on that next), to make SEO easy. Tagging pages and images is just the start!

For more details on the best and worst modern SEO practices, read my last post titled The Small Business Owners Quick Guide to SEO in 2015.”

Lots of Plug-Ins

Plug-ins are little software extensions to make special features happen on your website. This is where it gets really fun to play with WordPress.

Since WordPress is an open source site builder, many developers have made thousands of plug-ins to do just about anything you want. Interactive calendars, games, form submissions, advanced SEO, appointment setters, and social media plug-ins exist to make your site impressive and drive results.

Responsive and Mobile Friendly

WordPress has always been open to the newest technologies, changes in SEO, and modern graphic styles. That openness has resulted in embracing smartphone, tablet, and other mobile internet users by offering the ability to create responsive and mobile friendly designs.

Learn more about the benefits of including a responsive or mobile site>>

Established and Progressive Business

WordPress is an established business with 10+ years experience offering innovative website builders for consumers. Their long history of success is a good sign for anyone who wants to be sure they’re working with the best.

I have been personally familiar with the company for many years and can attest to their creativity and customer support. WordPress is also constantly checking for ways to improve their offerings while maintaining the best security — they really seem to have your best interest in mind!

Customer Support

WordPress takes customer support very seriously — a characteristic that should be standard with every web company, but is surprisingly difficult to find. WordPress reaches out to their customers in a variety of useful ways including email support, live chat, forums, a tutorial page, and a helpful how-to blog with tips.

Trust me when I say that not all site builders offer easy assistance. Many do not respond to emails or provide limited user guidance. This has never been the case with WordPress and I anticipate this company will remain at the top of their game for many years to come.

Multi-Functional

Lastly, but of profound importance, WordPress is designed for use in both blogs and websites. Competitor site building platforms typically offer one or the other, or a combination that is lacking in performance.

With WordPress you’ll get a highly function website, blog, or both — depending on your goals. Start with a blog and add a website later. Or start with a website and add the blog later. Whatever you choose, you can be assured that with WordPress the results will be stunning!

Do you need professional assistance updating your WordPress site? Get in touch with me to find out how I can improve the security and style of your site for as little as $65 per month!

3 of the Best Search Engine Optimization Tips for 2015

The Small Business Owners Quick Guide To SEO in 2015

Small business owners with a new or existing website are likely aware of the need for proper Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to enhance their marketing efforts. That being said, being aware of a need and knowing how to implement a solution are not always the same.

Use this handy small business quick guide to get started on SEO best practices and learn a few things to avoid. This is by no means an extensive look into Search Engine Optimization and how to implement it. If you are looking for a deeper resource into SEO and internet marketing, please take a look at my eBook, “Today’s Marketing Cookbook” available on Amazon.

Best Practices for Business SEO in 2015

Best practices for SEO are regularly changing as search engine designers continually create more intuitive algorithms and advanced operations. Here are some of the best practices for business SEO for 2015:

  • Engaging and Valuable Content

    — Long gone are the days of repetitive keywords and “stuffed” content. Today’s search engines can distinguish the difference between valuable content and that which was written simply to weigh heavier on certain search terms. More important than the search engines, however, is the fact that real customers have always been able to tell the difference. Content that is useful and provides meaningful engagement with your products and services is, and always has been, superlative.

  • User-Friendly Navigation

    Search engines are also now able to determine if a site is user-friendly or not. Basically, does the site promote simple navigation, good design, and regular content updates? If so, then it will be deemed as user-friendly by both search engines and humans alike.

  • Mobile or Responsive Website

    If your site is showing up in mobile search results, you’ll want to be sure it meets the most recent demands for SEO success. Read more specifics about choosing to include a mobile or responsive site in my latest blog post.

Some of these best practices are further explained in my post “How to Keep Your Website Fresh.

Essentially, the best thing any small business owner can do on their website is to connect with the target audience.

 

Just like building a relationship in-person, connecting with your customers takes time, effort, and commitment.

 

Worst Practices for Business SEO

There are many outdated websites touting certain SEO practices. Here are the worst contenders if you want to design a poor SEO site:

  • Bad Link Building Practices

    First, let me clarify that links pointing to your website are not bad. The intentional practice of link building is what is not acceptable. Link building was hugely popular for years as search engines placed value on the number of links across the internet which pointed to a particular website. In efforts to increase the number of links, many sneaky behind-the-scenes tactics were created to place these links anywhere and everywhere.

    For a better application of link building, small business owners should instead focus on providing valuable content. As users share this content with others, it will create natural inbound links. If you want to learn the right way to start building links, I recommend this article “Guide to Link Building” by Moz

  • Keyword Stuffing

    — This is also a practice left over from decades past. In those early days, search engines counted the frequency and density of certain keywords on a website to determine its ranking value. Today, search engines are much more advanced and in fact demote sites which have purposefully stuffed excessive keyword usage into their content. Let keywords flow naturally in your content.

  • Lack of Image Descriptions

    — Image descriptions and “Alt” text are the primary way a search engine can “read” the picture. If you don’t tell search engines what this image represents (i.e. a picture of a “cat holding a candy cane”) then this image will add little value to your SEO intentions. Instead, always provide alt text and descriptions for your images. This not only improves your SEO game, but is more ADA friendly

The list of what NOT to do could honestly be triple or quadruple the length of what I’ve provided here. However, by keeping the right objective — your customers — as the guiding principle of SEO habits, you won’t go wrong.

Have you found this small business SEO quick guide helpful? Share with your social network!

If you prefer to have a professional handle the SEO of your business website, please drop me a line. My SEO services can provide your company with the experience and understanding needed for the best digital marketing practices!

Mobile Website Vs. Responsive Design: Pros And Cons

Is Your Website Mobile Friendly? (According to Google, It Better Be)

Mobile websites, responsive websites, standard websites… what’s the difference? And which one is best for your business’s online marketing plan?

Pros and Cons

For Those Who Already Have a Mobile Website…

Do you already have a dedicated mobile site associated with your business? Have you ever tried to experience its accessibility across multiple platforms?  Take a peek at the various results using this free mobile website emulator from Screenfly to compare how it looks on various mobile devices. Just type the your website in and use the tools at the top to view your site on different platforms. For instance, here is what my site looks like on an Apple iPhone 6

What you discover on the emulator tool may surprise you. If it appears that your mobile site needs updating, then now is the time. In February, Google announced a major overhaul to their mobile rankings system. April 21, 2015 was the deadline to achieve the best results. Beginning on that date, websites without a user-friendly mobile site were demoted in Google’s mobile search ranking. However, it’s never too late to implement good design practices.

Essentially, this update means you need a mobile site that is easy to use, simple, and quick to load. Of course, that is also the logical type of site any business would want to present, so it only makes sense that Google is promoting such ideas.

You May be Asking Yourself, Do I Need a Mobile Website?

Some SEO analysts have written many articles touting the benefits of a mobile site. But is it really necessary? For some industries, it is an inevitable part of their digital marketing strategy. For others, it may be less of a need…for now.

Think about these things as you decide if you will include a separate mobile website in your marketing plan:

  • How many visitors currently access your site via mobile technology?
  • In what ways are your competitors implementing mobile sites?
  • Are there any existing marketing studies for your industry outlining the need for a mobile site?

If you find that only a very small portion of visitors are accessing your site via mobile, then a mobile site may not be the best place to spend your efforts at this time. Alternatively, if you find that 25% or more visitors are mobile users, then it may be time to invest in a well-designed mobile site or a responsive site redesign.

The Case for a Responsive Website

Responsive websites are those that automatically adjust visual and textual elements to fit the user’s viewing screen. Responsive sites work well across multiple platforms including many sizes of desktop and laptop computers, as well as smartphones and tablets.

Using responsive website design allows businesses to leverage consumers no matter what technology they choose to use. In this way, a responsive website is more budget-friendly (business owners get all-in-one site instead of two separate sites with double the fees), user-friendly, and sustainable for the long term growth of your enterprise. Also, the recent Google update will recognize responsive sites as well as dedicated mobile sites using the m.domainname.com addresses.

Reworking an existing design to become responsive requires an experienced coder with considerable knowledge on the matter. Cheap responsive sites are everywhere, and can be easily spotted by those using certain devices for which the site was not well planned. Alternatively, a custom responsive website will help you achieve maximum results as users across all devices will view pleasing results when accessing your site.

Based on the evidence, it seems best to choose a responsive design above a mobile website, if a choice must be made. However, if you already have a nicely modeled dedicated mobile site and user-friendly standard site that is achieving top results, great!

Once you’ve decided the type of website you’re going to create, you’ll need to include some important elements in order to retain visitors. You can read more about retaining visitors in my earlier blog post “3 Easy Tips for Captivating Your Website Visitors” for a brief tutorial!