Websites, Social Media, SEO and Google’s Search Engine Algorithm
How should a law firm’s website be designed? How much of your budget should go to making your site the best looking lawyer website in town vs. how much should go to paying for advertising? Should your resources be focused on social media platforms such as Facebook, Google Plus and Twitter? How do all of these things come together to get the free leads that come with being the number one lawyer website on Google, Bing and Yahoo?
Let’s Begin With the Law Website
How should the website be designed?
The website you see is very different than the website that Google will see. You will see text, pictures, videos and possibly hear sounds. Google will see code. Your website’s users and your potential clients must be presented with content that is appealing to their needs. At the same time it is very important that content presentation is coded correctly, using best practices to get great search engine rankings. If the code creating your website presentation does not satisfy the needs of search engines, it may not ever be seen by users, or it may increase advertising costs using the most popular pay-per-click (PPC) platforms such as Google Adwords.
What should the site look like?
When it comes to developing a website there are certain tactics and strategies that work well with some law practices and fail miserably with others. We have worked with attorneys all around the United States for many years and we have seen hundreds of websites developed using thousands of different “looks.” We can now give our clients a very educated guess of what will work the best, taking advantage of our extensive study. Educated as engineers who love statistical analysis, we have learned to shape our sites for different lawyers based on their field of practice, location and other targeted demographics. We have also learned that contrary to what others may say, it is sometimes best to have numerous websites focusing on specific areas of law or specific keywords.
Throughout the years we have found that our services can be the most effective for bankruptcy, criminal, family, immigration and personal injury lawyers. Attorneys who work with estates, wills and contract law can also obtain clients using online marketing. Immigration and personal injury attorneys can be separated into two distinctive categories. There are some who focus on a local area, while others may look for nationwide, massive class action suits. Depending on the type of cases that a law firm is looking for, the website may need to provide a vast amount of information that the site user is looking for, while making sure not to scare them off with an obnoxious call to action. For other cases the most obnoxious “call to action” can be a gold mine.
The Call to Action for a Lawyer’s Website
Should your site have an immediate pop-up screaming “FILL OUT THIS FORM?” Will a subtle form in your sites sidebar be more effective and less intrusive. Will potential clients first look for valuable information before making a decision? Are you looking for wealthy or intelligent clients? Are you looking for clients who have been involved in a car crash and want to get paid NOW! These, and hundreds of other factors come into play when designing your website. Every demographic is different too, so there is always going to be tweaking and testing.
Next we will go over factors that make it impossible to ever completely settle on a single website design.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
If you have researched online marketing at all they you have surely come across the term SEO. SEO is the abbreviation for “Search Engine Optimization” which is what we use to get our clients websites ranking high on Google’s free organic search results. There are thousands of factors that come together when a search engine decides who will rank #1, but the factors come down to two distinct categories. There are on-site and there are off-site factors. The content on your website and the code that is used to present that content are on-site factors. Links coming to you website, social media, directory listings and other marketing techniques that may effect the results, but are not actually part of your website are off-site factors. Let’s briefly discuss the two very important on-site and off-site SEO categories.
On-Site Website SEO Strategies
To improve local SEO your website should use keywords that specifically target the geographic region your law firm practices in. For instance, if you are a family lawyer in Jacksonville, include “Jacksonville family law” and variations in your title, H1 tags, and article/ page content. You can even create pages on your website for areas surrounding your law firm where you would expect clients to come from. Your website should include meta tags that humans never see, but search engines and even social media will use this information when they present your site.
Internal links are links that direct users to other pages on your website using descriptive anchor text. As an example. You may have a page on your website that is describing what happens to property during a bankruptcy. In that page you may decide to use the term, Jacksonville bankruptcy lawyers, which is what your website is actually focused on. You can link to your homepage using that line as anchor text. Google likes to see internal links and perfecting them is a science all on it’s own.
When you write an article, news publication, blog or a new page on your website it is a good idea to use reputable sources and to provide a link to those sources. This builds trust with your users and most importantly, Google loves it.
Your Attorney Oriented Content
Content is king. You will hear that over and over because it is true. Page content needs to be 100% original and it needs to be exhaustive. It is much better to write an article or blog once a week with one to two thousand words than to blog once a day with 250 words. Your content needs to be properly structured and keywords that you are trying to target need to be used in title, description, and heading tags. You can also include keywords in image alt tags. Videos can help Google choose your site over the competitors too.
Off-Site SEO for Attorneys
Link building is still very important. Google does not place as much importance on this factor as it did in the past, but it definitely still plays it’s part. It can also drive tremendous amounts of traffic to your site from your targeted audience. Great places to look for links are on local news resources. Perhaps you can call a journalist and discuss options. Maybe you can talk to other attorneys who do not practice in your field to provide guest blog posts. Link building is hard work, but it pays off.
Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Lawyer.com, Yelp, YP, blah, blah, blah
These are just a few of millions. Adding your site to search engines, directories and most importantly local directories is vital for success. There is a science to this. Make sure that the address you use, the phone number and the business name match across them all.
Attorney Websites R Us
For many years we worked exclusively with attorneys. We now work with all kinds of industries, but when we started JaxBeachWebsites.com, all we marketed to was lawyers and law firms. Why? It is simple. The amount of money that attorneys can profit using websites and online marketing is astounding. Law firms all over the nation have gone from just getting started to being the largest in their area by taking advantage of internet advertising and marketing.
Getting to Number One on Google
We know things that others will not fully understand about search engine marketing for attorneys. Some of our sites have obtained top positions for the most competitive keywords in the nation only to figure out that it was a complete waste of time and the only people coming to the site was other attorneys. Internet users today are much more savvy than when the internet first started.
We can help you get placements that will create profits for your company. Give us a call and we will be happy to discuss the options we have for attorneys and law firms. Our clients are our best sales force. Let us put you in touch with tmem.