Friday, December 17, 2010

Facebook Grows To 3rd In Marketing Importance

A recent study was released by Constant Contact that shows that small business marketers now place Facebook marketing as their third highest priority - behind only website and email marketing respectively.

Many attorneys commonly as me how exactly they can utilize Facebook to better support their practice. These question commonly include:

1.) Isn't Facebook a social networking site?
2.) Does my law firm need a facebook page or personal pages for my attorneys?
3.) What are the advantages of having a Facebook page for marketing purposes?

Here are my responses to each:

Isn't Facebook a social networking site?

RESPONSE: Yes, not only is it a social networking site but it now has in excess of 500 Million + active users - many of which are potential clients of your law firm. There is an old saying in marketing that you need to "fish were the fish are." Your clients and potential clients are increasing on Facebook and you now have the ability to get your practice right in front of them while they are...on Facebook.
Does my law firm need a Facebook page or personal pages for my attorneys?

RESPONSE: Yes, ideally you need both but only if you can provide useful information related to both. If you can create "useful" information for others to read about your firm, you need a Facebook page for your firm. If you can create "useful" content for others to read about your attorneys, you need a Facebook page for your attorneys. The key here is making information USEFUL so others will want to read it.

What are the advantages of having a Facebook page for marketing purposes?

RESPONSE: The advantages of having Facebook pages are two fold:

1.) If you have a blog, your blog posts can be automatically populated to your Facebook pages for others to read. Why is this important? Because if you have a blog, most users will have to visit your blog in order to read your content. Conversely, if you have a Facebook page connected to your blog, then every user on Facebook who has indicated that they "like" your page will see your news on their Facebook home page. Better yet, if they like your content and then comment on it in Facebook, then their friends will see this as well - potentially leading more users to your Facebook page.

2.) Facebook pages are indexed in the search engines like Google in very similar manner as a website is. A good Facebook SEO consultant will be able to help improve the visibility of your Facebook pages and even allow them to compete for the top positions of targeted searches with your pages. A perfect example of this is to type in "law firm website design new york city" into Google and look at the top two results - one of which is one of my own Facebook Pages.

If you want to learn more about Facebook Search Engine Optimization tactics and how they can help your law firm, visit our website today at the SEO Consultant Firm

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Survey: Only 1 in 6 Americans Between 18 and 34 Have A Will

Interesting survey results listed below about the lack of estate planning by the majority of adults in the United States...

EAGAN, Minn., Dec. 1, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- The majority of Americans don't have a will, according to a new survey by, the most popular legal information website. Fifty-five percent of American adults have not written a will, giving them little control or input into issues such as what will happen to their assets and any minor children after they die.

A will is a basic component of estate planning. Among other things, it specifies how your assets will be distributed after you pass away, and who will receive them. Without a will, the laws of the state and the decisions of a probate court may determine how your estate is distributed, who will care for your children if they are minors, and so forth.

The situation is particularly prevalent among younger people. Only one in six people between the ages of 18 and 34 have a will for estate planning. As people get older, they are more likely to have a will. The majority of people 55 and older have a will. The survey findings that the majority of Americans lack a will have been remarkably consistent since began measuring the prevalence of wills in 2001. Read more here...

Attorney Website Marketing

Monday, November 22, 2010

Update On Google Places and Law Firm Search

We are now a few weeks past Google’s release of their new integrated organic and places search results pages and now we have some historical, although brief data to work off of. When looking at the results pages, it has become abundantly clear that search engine optimization (SEO) has shifted dramatically in a very short time.

People continue to ask me why Google has made such a drastic change and my response is simple: to make more money. Google knows that 92% of all businesses in the United States serve a radius of only 50 miles from where they are located – most law firms are no different. With the new release, Google now looks at your location and behavior online and includes a greater number of local based results for you to see. As yellow pages continue to decline and more people turn to the web for local searches, local businesses will be more compelled to compete online and pay more for paid advertising.

So how have the new changes impacted law firm search results?

Some law firms that were once #1 for organic results for a particular search can now find themselves near the bottom of the page – below those listings with Places appended to them. Conversely, those firms that relied on highly optimized Places listings now find themselves struggling for visibility without an equally optimized website. All this of course depends on the search and how the results are displayed. Here are three examples:

Head Term Search Results

A head term search result is simply a more commonly searched keyword or phrase in Google. An example of this is “New York City Personal Injury Attorney” - which also happens to be the highest pay-per-click ad to run in Google for NYC. For these results, we see ten results on the first page – 7 of which have a Google Places ad appended to them.

Second Tier Terms

Second tier terms are simply search terms that are less commonly used than Head Terms but are still repeated. An example of this would be “New York City Bus Accident Attorney” – A far less searched term in volume than a typical header term but still garners a relatively high pay-per-click cost in Google for NYC. In this display, three Places listings are independently displayed at the top of the organic results followed by 10 organic results

Long Tail Terms

Long Tail search terms are those terms that are rarely repeated in search volume. An example of this would be “New York City Crane Accident Attorney.” Due to the relative infrequency of these types of accidents, there is less competition for these or organically and in paid adverting. As a result, there are no Places listings on this search results page in Google and no map. There is however videos displayed in this search result which indicates that good video optimization can better support your results here.

What Can Law Firms Learn From This?

There are a number of conclusions law firms can derive from all of these changes in Google:

  • If you don’t have an optimized website for your practice, you need to get one now. The Google algorithm rewards length of stay online and the longer you wait, the more it will take to eventually catch up to your competition
  • Both websites and your Google Places listings must be fully optimized. It is relatively easy for an attorney to claim their local listing but very few know how to fully optimize these properly and build citations for better performance. Moreover, most website developers don’t understand this either so you are best to work with an SEO consultant who can help you.
  • Google Places Optimization should take into consideration what search terms you are targeting and how they will be displayed in the new Google search results. For example, there is no point in optimizing a Google Places listing for long tail terms if they do not display in the search results. Moreover, Head terms should also be weighed based on your level of competition for these as well.
  • Local results are not limited to just your Google Places listings. This also includes how you use your local information on websites, directories, videos, images, inbound links, and other web properties. It is important to make sure that they are all consistent, localized and ultimately sends the same signals to the search engines.
Contact Us Today to learn more about lawyer website search engine optimization.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Facebook Dominates With 25% Of All US Page Views In November

New statistics out today from Experian Hitwise show Facebook’s continued spread into the average US internet user’s daily activities online.

Hitwise says Facebook received nearly 25% of all US page views for the week that ended on November 13, 2010 (last week). Comparatively, a year ago at this time, Facebook generated 16.7% of all US page views.

Google, as the image above shows, got about 5.3% of all page views last week in the US — good enough for third place behind Facebook and YouTube. A year ago, Google ranked second behind Facebook alone.

Hitwise also says Facebook hosted about 10% of all US internet visits last week, with Google second at 7%.

Source: Search Engine Land

Thursday, November 18, 2010

AG: White Collar Crimes Taking Higher Priority

According to the AP, Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday told a Congressional panel that fighting white collar crimes is “a real priority,” even if it bumps up against another urgent mission, combating terrorism.

Holder told the bipartisan Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission that the FBI is investigating 2,800 mortgage fraud cases, up 400 percent from five years ago, and that he hopes to have 50 new FBI agents and 155 new attorneys working financial-crimes cases in the coming year.

If you are a white collar criminal defense attorney, it is a good time to start marketing online to better capture these new cases.

Contact us today if you would like to learn more about how to market your criminal defense practice online.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

How To Optimize Your Attorney Videos

83% of US internet users watch online videos and with little wonder - videos have become the most powerful medium of influence on the web today. Attorneys who utilize videos on the web can benefit in the following areas:

- Higher new client conversions on your website

- Expanded presence on video search engines like YouTube

- Additional results on search engine results pages

I am often asked why certain videos are displayed prominently in the search engines while others do not. Much like law firm website search engine optimization, videos also require an active and strategic SEO strategy to achieve the highest and best results online.

Please visit out our website to learn more about video search engine optimization

Friday, November 5, 2010

Pay Per Click Advertising Bids For Attorneys At An All Time High in New York City

2010 has seen record levels of Pay Per Click (PPC) spending in New York City for the top PPC positions. Even though only 20-30% of all user clicks end up going to PPC ads, attorneys continue to spend record amounts of money paying for these positions. The most common reason why some law firms continue to pay for PPC is due to a lack of performance of their existing website in the natural (or organic) search results. Since most attorneys do not have a sound search engine optimization strategy in place today, around 88% of all spending tends to go to PPC while only 10% goes to SEO. Despite this number, the attorneys with the highest organic research results tend to also have the highest ROI for their internet spending dollars.
Here is a list of many of the most common PPC ads being run in New York City today and their relative costs to compete for the top positions:
New York City Personal Injury Attorney: $31.35 per click
New York Medical Malpractice Lawyer: $30.25 per click
New York DWI Attorney: $27.37 per click
Investment Fraud Lawyers: $26.22 per click
New York Personal Injury Lawyer: $25.76 per click
New York Injury Lawyer: $25.40 per click
New York Car Accident Lawyer: $24.40 per click
New York Criminal Defense Lawyer: $23.96 per click
Tax Fraud Attorney: $22.09 per click
Construction Accident Attorney: $20.76 per click
New York Slip and Fall Attorney: $20.69 per click
New York Bankruptcy Attorney: $18.29 per click
White Collar Crime Lawyer: $16.12 per click
New York Divorce Attorney: $13.56 per click
Police Brutality Lawyer: $12.10 per click
Business Lawyer New York: $9.47 per click
Manhattan Real Estate Lawyer: $7.97 per click
New York Immigration Lawyers: $7.51 per click
Securities Fraud Attorney New York: $7.01 per click
Social Security Disability Lawyers: $7.75 per click
New York Probate Attorney: $5.85 per click
Real Estate Attorney New York City: $5.67 per click
*Note: These amounts fluctuate on a regular basis so these are only estimates based on the time of publication.
As discussed previously with the new changes to Google Places, the top 3 PPC positions in Google just became more prominent and arguably will become more competitive as well. Why? Most attorney PPC advertising takes place around common searches in local areas where Google Places (or maps) displays are present. Since Google has now moved their maps display in place of top PPC advertising on the right hand side of the screen, users will be stressed to see PPC ads below it – especially since the map now floats over these ads as you scroll down the screen to view them.
What does all of this mean to attorneys doing PPC?
- The top positions (located just above the organic results) just became more prominent and will likely become more expensive.
- - If you cannot pay for these top three positions in PPC, you should seriously consider finding secondary key words and terms that are more affordable for you. A good attorney SEO consultant will be able to help you with this.
- - If you have a website now that is not displaying high organically, you may want to reconsider your sending online for better organic results. On average, the ROI on this type of spending far outweighs PPC spending and gives you many more opportunities to capture more long-tail searches as well. Since 40-50% of attorney searches are non-repeatable, you will never be able to predict roughly half of the potential searches you could receive by forgoing good organic results for PPC.
- - Calculate your web spending ROI. Ask attorneys in the top PPC positions what they are paying for these clicks on a monthly basis and compare that with what the top organic position firms are paying for the same searches. Then ask them the new case value on average that each of them have received. I do this frequently with my clients and the differential is almost always significantly weighed in favor of organic results law firm.
- - Other forms of PPC advertising are becoming more cost effective alternatives. For example, Facebook now allows you to advertising to people by demographics (instead of keywords) and due to the lower level of competition for these advertising dollars, these may be a more cost effective alternative for your practice. With 500 million plus users, Facebook follows the old saying in marketing that you should fish were the fish are…and they are increasing on Facebook.
To learn more about law firm search engine optimization, please visit our website and see how we can help you create the highest value online marketing strategies for your law firm.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Using Citation Building For Better Google Places Optimization

With the recent changes in Google, local businesses and services are struggling to find ways in which to further optimize their Google Places Listings for better performance. One of the questions I often receive about Places optimization is why do certain listings getting listed higher than others (independent of their organic website search listings). With the recent changes in Google however, it is no longer a question that includes two different types of search results – both are now intertwine.

In the past, Google Places listings would be displayed is a separate display from the organic results. Now the places listings are added to the organic listings – further promoting the importance of good organic search results and fundamentally changing the ways these listings are displayed.

By now, most people realize that they need to claim their Google Places listing and fully optimize it for better results. But now that other competing businesses are increasingly doing the same thing, the competitive real estate for these listings is rapidly diminishing. That is where citation building can help.

What Are Citations?

The goal of Google is to provide the most relevant and accurate search results to their users. Along with their organic search results, they also need to provide Google Places listings that are the most legitimate and relevant. In order to do this, Google goes beyond their initial claiming validation process and looks for other sources that help validate these listings. These third party sources, commonly referred to as citations, include other local listing sources such as Yahoo, Yelp, Bing, Best of the Web, Localeze, etc. In looking at these citation sources, Google ultimately wants to see your information listed the same on all of these sources – including your website and of course Google Places.

How Can I Build Citations?

1.) Makes sure to claim and optimize ALL of your local listings from the major listing sources on the web. The two best places to do this are by going to to see where you are currently listed and to claim and optimize all of these sources. Second, you should create an account and listing in Why Localeze? Because they send their complied list of local businesses to the search engines on a weekly basis.

2.) Make sure your company name and address is consistent throughout all of your listings. If your business name on Yelp is different than that of Google, it could work against you so make sure they are the same everywhere.

3.) Make sure to claim your existing Google Places listing first. In most cases, existing and unclaimed Google Places listings are there based on citations from other sources which work to your advantage. By deleting these existing listings and starting over, you are actually putting yourself at a competitive disadvantage in more competitive markets.

4.) Remove duplicate Google Places listings based on listings claimed with the same phone numbers, addresses or both. It is ok to have multiple listings based on phone numbers and addresses that are unique to each location but each should be treated separately and not allowed to potentially compete with each other which may cause Google to suspend your listings.

These optimization processes are not something that the average novice user can successfully master and definitely have their downsides when done incorrectly. Unless you have experience with these processes, I would advise that you contact a good search engine optimization consultant to handle this process for you.

Monday, November 1, 2010

What Attorneys Need To Know About The New Google Places Release

The summer of change for Google hit full throttle last week with their latest changes to their search results pages. First came Google’s May Day Release this summer followed by the introduction of Google Instant in September. But they saved the biggest change for last with the release last week of their integrated Places search results pages.

What Happened With Google Places Search?

For those of us who use Google (everybody please raise your hands), you know that Google displays a maps or local listing on their search results pages for many of the more popular local searches. Prior to last week, this included a separate map display and up to seven local business listings prominently at the top of the organic search results. With the new changes, the map has been shifted to the right-side of the screen and replaces the top 3 paid listings on the right-hand side of the screen. Places markers along with address, phone details and photos are now added to the end of the organic search results listings.

What Is The Significance Of Local Search?

Local search is one of the fastest growing categories online and Google now claims that 20% of their search queries are local in nature. Furthering this is the rapid growth in mobile search where Google now claims that over 100 million people conduct maps searches from their mobile devices each month. By 2013, mobile device searches are expected to exceed PC based searches. But Google makes money off the their paid advertising and when local online advertising is expected to grow at 18% compared to only 11% for all online advertising by 2011, it is little mystery why Google is looking to profit from it.

The Impacts On Attorney Searches

Up until this point, many attorneys have been able to create visibility and generate new cases from either high organic search results, a prominent listing in a Google Places listing, or both. Attorneys who performed well in the organic search results would often complain how the maps display would be stacked above the results page. Alternatively, there were attorneys who focused on optimizing their Google Places listing to try to create visibility for the more common targeted searches. With the new changes to the Google Results Page, it is no longer an either or proposition. The law firms who will benefit from these changes are those attorneys that optimize for both. Furthermore, if your firm does Pay Per Click advertising, it has also become clear that the top three listings (immediately above the organic search results) just become a whole lot more significant in visibility – be prepared to pay more for these prime positions.

Why Every Law Firm Needs To Do Now

1.) 1.) Fully optimize your website and web resources such as pictures, videos, blogs, facebook, social media, etc.

2.) Claim and optimize your Google local listing. This includes everything from keyword optimization, citation building, video and images, tags, etc.

3.) 3.) As previously discussed, encourage Google Places reviews to help build authority for your listing and increase conversions.

4.) 4.) Remove duplicate Google Places listings that commonly share the same address, phone, etc. These can impact your Places performance and ultimately get all of your listings flagged and even banned from Google.

5.) 5.) Readjust your PPC adverting and try to shoot for the top 3 positions in those searches that include a map display. If you can’t afford it, simply look for other terms that you can.

It used to be relatively easy for attorneys to claim and optimize Google Places Listings but for most, it is better to leave it to the pros now. Due to advanced options, increasing competition, and years of abuses and recent clamp downs by Google, Google Places SEO should be left to a professional. In short, unless you can fully optimize your website, you will have the same challenges with Google Place listings either now or in the very near future.

Contact us today to learn more about Google Places Optimization and how we can put a strategy together for your law firm to successfully grow online.