Wednesday, January 26, 2011

SEO Link Building Through Active Content

The following are excerpts from a great article recently posted on the Search Engine Journal entitled: SEO Is A Writer's Profession Now:

  • Ten years ago, if you wanted to achieve success in online business, you had to learn some technical the main things you need for good SEO are content and quality links. If you are a good writer, you can produce both with great success.
  • The best way to succeed here is to choose a niche that appeals to your heart. If you are genuinely interested in your subject, the writing will flow naturally, and you will never run out of new articlesite, blog, emails and for off-site promotion as well. ideas. And you will need a lot of articles – for your
  • When you have your great content ready, you want someone to come and see it. For that purpose, you need to get inbound links to your website. You need them both for direct traffic and improved search engine rankings....Today, search engines are getting smarter and distinguish different kinds of links and their relative value. So the low hanging fruit like link exchange or second-tier directories will not help you much in terms of ranking. You need high-quality links from relevant pages. And here, you need your writing skills again. The best link building methods are all about writing:
  • Guest blogging. Write a guest post for one of the popular blogs in your industry. If they accept it, you can negotiate a link back to your website. It will be placed on a highly targeted, permanent page, and have your desired anchor text. It is in the blog owner’s best interest to optimize and promote every post on their blog, so your investment is safe there, unlike some obscure “resources” section with hundreds of loosely related listings. You can see an example of a guest post in front of you right now, providing a top-quality link and excellent publicity for me.
  • Social networking. Promote your site and your new articles on social services like Facebook and Twitter. Add your pages to social bookmarking sites like Digg. Again, you need to write compelling headlines and summaries for each of these, otherwise no-one will pay attention.
  • Article marketing. This is an older technique, but it is still one of the most effective ones. Submit some of your articles to article directories in exchange for back links. Again, your writing pays back in high-quality targeted links.
How Does ALL Of This Apply To Attorney Marketing?

1.) If you are practicing in a field of law you are "passionate" about, the ideas and thoughts should come relatively easily. A blog is the easiest and best place to publish your content for others to read.

2.) Make sure to fully optimize your blog and integrate them to your social media properties like Facebook and Twitter so you create and maximum reach and visibility for your content.

3.) Article Marketing is NOT difficult and can be done by either contacting other similar practice area blogs in other states (remember, most attorneys are licensed by state so they typically won't threaten your business in other states they work in and visa versa) or by published on free content syndication sites such as:
  • (4M Visits/mo)
  • (8M Visits/mo)
  • (12M Visits/mo)
4.) Make sure the linking from your blogs and other syndicated content back to your website/s are textual, relevant, and include at least 25% of these links to your respective practice area pages (deep links).

5.) If you have other web properties (Videos, Facebook Pages, etc.) that you want better visibility for in the search engines, make sure to deep link to them as well. The best way to do this is to create a master link sheet of all of your pages and properties that includes the relative keywords or phrases for each. When you start creating links from you content, use this worksheet as a guide for places you can link to.

Contact Us today if you would like to learn more about law firm search engine optimization and how it can benefit your practice online.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Maximizing Website Conversions For Search Engines

Many people still get confused when it comes to website conversions and how to fully understand how it relates to good SEO practices. When it comes to website search engine optimization and conversations, I often use the following analogy as to how it relates to purchasing a book:

Most people in the book publishing (internet marketing) industry know that most people (browsers) DO judge a book (website) by its cover. With the thousands upon thousands of different book (website) choices, studies have shown that people typically take around 10-20 seconds to decide to purchase a book or re-shelf it. Book covers (websites) must first be sold to the bookstore (search engines) and then to the reader (browser).

As a result, a great deal of research by publishers (SEO experts) goes into what should be on the spine (Title Tag), front cover (META Description Tag) and the back cover (Home page) of the book (website).

When people look for information on the web, they commonly start by using search engines like Google (bookstore) and conduct a search. The results then display primary results on the page that contain:

Title Tags (Book Spine): In Google, this is first line of each web page result displayed in a maximum of 69 characters (including spaces). Title tags serve two purposes: 1.) They sell your web page to the search engines (bookstores) for placement and 2.) They tell browsers (readers) what your web page (book) is all about in a very short piece of real estate. Search engines do this due to a very limited lack of real estate and so do bookstores – it’s all about maximum results in very limited space.

META Descriptions (Front Book Cover): In Google, this is the second line of each web page results displayed with a maximum of 156 characters (including spaces). Unlike Title tags, the META Description has only one purpose: sell the website (book) to the reader. The Title Tag (Spine) get’s your initial attention while the META Description (Front Book cover) allows the reader to see a little more detail. Sometimes bookstore owners (search engines) will further promote the sale of certain books (websites) by displaying the front cover (adding more website results pages, links, and Places listings) out to help better promote the book (website). Search engines commonly do this for more highly trafficked and/or relevant websites for your search.

Web page Result (Book Back Cover): This is the first website page that the user will see when they click on the website link. Depending on the search, this may be the home page or a sub-page on a website. Studies have shown that most people will decide whether to continue reading the site or navigate away (re-shelf the book) in less than a second. To publishers, the back cover is what “sells the book” and the same applies to websites. Looking across all industries, a website conversion rate of 1% is considered to be good, less is bad and more is great.

How to best sell your website (book) to your potential customers (readers):

Create title tags that match your targeted search and use you keywords displayed prominently from left to right. Start by researching the most commonly used and relevant keywords and phrases and create a title tag for each page of your website. Much like a book title, this is THE MOST IMPORTANT aspect of selling your website (book) to both the search engines (book store) and browser (reader) so make sure this process is well thought out and executed. Although Title tags can be longer than 69 charters in length (Bing: 65, Yahoo: 72), it is good practice to list the most important words and phrases from left to right with the least important spilling over to the right if needed.

Create META Description tags that build on the title tag and help sell the website (book) to the browser (reader). The added length of 156 characters In Google (Bing: 150, Yahoo: 161) allows you to sell each website page with more detailed information about the web page (book) and create a call to action to the browser (reader). Unlike a book cover, most website owners DO NOT physically see the META description tag on their website pages so this is commonly one of the most overlooked aspects of good search engine optimization and conversion. Often times when no META description is present on a web page, the search engine will pull content from other segments of your site to substitute them – many times to your detriment. A good website designer and/or SEO consultant can easily see these in your website’s source code.

Create web pages that are: competitively superior, relevant to the search, and contain a clear call to action and conversion. Here are more details on each:

- Competitively superior web pages are simply web page designs that look better than your competition. In order to see how your stack up, click on the other 9 results on the targeted search results page and ask others which sites are most visually appealing to them.

- Relevant to the search are website pages that are most relevant to what the browser is looking for. For example, if I did a search on a fall from a defective ladder – which web page would be the best result for my search: a web page on construction accidents or a page on defective ladder falls? Naturally, the more targeted the page and page content, the better chances you have to match the search.

- Clear Call to Action is simply a way to most effectively encourage browsers on your web page to best journey through your site. This starts with defining a goal for your site – what do you want users to do when they arrive on your site? Do you want them to buy a product, download a promo or contact you via phone or email? Once defined, you need to maximize each path so users can clearly and most effectively get to your goals. It is also important to note that depending on the industry, the average time on site for a user ranges from 1-3 minutes so it is a good idea to create prominent, clear, and easy-to-find calls to action from each page of your website.

As you can see, the parallels between selling a book and selling a website are not far off – especially since most of us have purchased a book before. Even as the old saying goes that “you shouldn’t read a book by its cover,” the reality is that this is how people buy books and how they choose websites as well.

If any of these website conversion aspects seem complicated for you, don’t worry – most people do not do repairs on their automobiles either. A good SEO consultant will be able to help guide you through these fixes/processes and help your website run like a champ.

Visit if you would like to learn more about web search engine optimization.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Google's Long Awaited Page Rank Toolbar Update

Google assigns a Page Rank to every web page on the web from a scale of 0-10 (with 10 being the highest). Most good law firm websites will typically have a Page Rank between 2 to 4 - with 4 being a Maginot line that very few law firm websites ever reach or cross. Many people involved with law firm search engine optimization commonly use Page Rankings as one of the key measurements of how websites stack up.

So Why Is Page Rank Important For Law Firms?

Page Rank is literally a grade that Google provides web pages based largely on the quantity and quality of the links each page receives. Notice how I said web pages and not websites – there is a difference. Since most people get the majority of their inbound links into the home page of their website so they naturally assume that this Page Rank (which is commonly the highest for the site) is for their entire website – which it is not. Even though the home page is the anchor of your website and links to your subpages, its Page Rank is only important in so far as the link value it is providing your subpages. If you find a website with high Page Ranking subpages, this is typically the result of a process called deep-linking whereby links go directly to the sub-pages of the website and not the homepage.

The Google Page Rank Tool Bar

So how can you track the Page Rank of your web pages? Simple: download the Google tool bar for your internet browser. When downloaded, you will see a green horizontal status bar that when you hover over it, it will display the Page Rank for that corresponding page. The problem with the Google Tool bar however is that even though Google will internally update these page ranks on a daily basis, the Google Tool bar will commonly get updated much less frequently.

The History of Google Toll Bar Updates

Looking at past updates to the Google tool bar, we can see that system-wide updates were commonly made around every 3 months (give or take). Here are the last reported updates:

  • April 2010
  • December 2009
  • October 2009
  • May 2009
  • December 2008
  • September 2008

Anybody see a problem here? Based on my calculations, Google is now 6 months overdue (9 months since their last update) in updating their tool bar! Since Page Rank as reflected in their tool bar are important measurements in determining such things as: link page-source value, inbound linking impacts on pages, authority of domains, etc. In short, Google’s recent lack of tool bar updates are not providing website owners with the critical measurements that they need to gauge their progress relative to other websites.

Why Google Has Not Been Keeping Up With Their Page Rank Tool Bar Updates

Why Google has been neglecting their updates to their own toolbar is anyone’s guess. Personally, it is my opinion that Google’s recent “summer of change” as well as increasing competition for social media giants like Facebook is causing Google to shift their priorities and ignore some of their core services. Google’s famous motto has always been to “do no evil” but they have left many to wonder with all the recent sweeping changes over the past year that the devil may be in the details. Why Google continues to “do no evil”, many of us are waiting for them to start updating their Page Rank toolbar so they can do the same for us. It might also help why they are at it to have live bodies to help provide support requests for their “paying” Google Places customers…but I devilishly digress.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Dustin Ruge Will Be Speaking At The Essex County Bar Assoc. On Law Firm Social Media Marketing

Effective Social Media and Blogging for Law Firms

We are pleased to present a continuing legal education program* on Social Media Forums and why blogging is the quickest way to gain visibility online and manage your firm’s image on line and in the virtual marketplace. A panel of experts will discuss in detail, how social media, facebook page optimization and blogs are important tools for growing your practice, improving your law firm internet marketing, managing your image and ensuring that the proper and accurate information regarding you, your experience and your practice are available online. In today’s Internet savvy environment, understanding how to reach more people and build a credible reputation online is increasingly important for law firm marketing. Dynamic content and participation in forums will allow you to showcase your expertise and will attract more clients.

Join us
January 19, 2011
Essex County Historic Courthouse
470 Martin Luther King Blvd Room B01
Newark NJ 07102

Yale Hauptman, Esq., Hauptman Law Firm, Livingston NJ
Dustin Ruge, SEO Consultant, New York, NY. Dustin has his own SEO consulting firm.

Registrants will receive a FREE AUDIT of their current website and a light breakfast.

Please register via email at or online at and click on the event on January 19, 2011 on the calendar page by January 17, 2011.

The Essex County Bar Foundation
Essex County Historic Courthouse
470 Martin Luther King Jr #B01
Newark, NJ 07102

* This program has been tentatively approved by the Board on Continuing Legal Education of the Supreme Court of New Jersey for 1.5 credit hours. CLE credit applications for 1 CLE credit are pending in NY and PA.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Big Property Tax Increases Coming To NYC

Below are some pretty eye opening property tax increases coming to NYC in 2011. If you are a property owner and would like to appeal my property tax assessment, please contact Brandt Steinberg & Lewis for

WSJ: Co-op and condo owners will pay sharply higher property taxes next year, under a preliminary assessment roll released Friday by the Bloomberg administration. The city attributed the tax increases, due to take effect in July, to higher market values placed on apartment buildings by tax assessors.

Tax collections are expected to rise by 7.5% for co-op owners, and 9.6% for condo owners across the city, according to a summary report released by the Department of Finance.

Owners of single-family homes would pay 2.8% more.

Taxes on rental buildings, often passed along to tenants, will also increase significantly, the report said—by 9% for rent-regulated apartments and by 8.1% for unregulated apartments.

This translates into an average tax increase of $384 for co-ops, $490 for condos, and $107 for single-family home owners. In Manhattan, the tax bill will go up an average of $594 to $9,351 for co-ops and by $970 to $11,348 for condos.

The new assessments are not final. Taxpayers can ask the Department of Finance to make corrections, and can appeal new assessments to the city Tax Commission. The deadline for appeals is March 15 for owners of one- to three-family homes, and March 1 for others.

Under state law, valuations of co-ops and condos are calculated as if they were similar rental buildings, though they are entitled to co-op and condo abatements, usually 17.5%.

Tax collections on office buildings were due to rise by 7.25%, according to the report. In total, city revenue was expected to rise by $900 million under the new assessments, Mr. Stone said.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

ABA Journal Releases New Top 100 Blogs

For the forth time, the ABA Journal has a newly released list of their favorite legal blogs. This year's list is broken down into categories that include: Court Watch, Torts, Labor, Law Biz, News, Law Prof, Criminal Justice, IMHO, Niche, IP Law, For Fun, and Legal Tech.

If you have an existing blog or would like to start a new one, these are very active legal blogs with a large audience and well worth the look.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mobile Browsing Trends and Law Firm Search

I increasingly get questions involving how mobile browsing is affecting attorney searches online. At last week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, many industry experts are pointing to the mass proliferation of smart phones as the “death of the PC” by 2013 – when mobile computing is expected to surpass PC’s in total use

Looking at the numbers provided by Gartner, by 2013 there’s expected to be 1.82 Billion smart phones in use compared to 1.78 billion PC’s. What further complicates this number is that Forrester Research is predicting 82 Million Americans will be using tablets by 2015 – a number not included in either of the two buckets. Now that is a lot of mobile computing!

Looking further into the numbers, we also find that 59% of Americans accessed the internet on their mobile phones last year – which works out to roughly 180 Million Americans in 2010…a 25% increase from the previous year. All of this would seem pretty impressive until you realize that over 300 Million Chinese did the same thing. Now you can see what Google can’t ignore the Chinese market despite their problems with censorship.

Android Is the Fastest Growing Mobile Operating System

Many people assume that the explosion of mobile browsing focuses mainly on the use of Apple applications. As the chart shows, this was initially correct only a half a year ago but as you can see, Google has been catching up rapidly with the increasing adoption of their Android operating system. With Apple’s the recent announcement of adding Verizon as a carrier of their IPAD (it’s about time folks!) I expect to see some uptick here but again…but the trend is undeniable and favors Google.

So what if you don’t have an Android phone but have a website? How do you know how your websites looks and operates in the Android interface? If you are curious, you can download an Android interface for your PC (if you still have a PC that is) to view your website and others in the same interface as you would see it on your phone. Pretty cool tool but requires a few steps to fully install.

What Visitors Are Searching For Through Mobile Smart Phones

In looking through my current customer’s websites, I am not seeing a particularly high number of mobile searches that exceed 5% of their overall traffic…yet. But the trend is undeniable and therefore it is important to consider the following:

  • Mobile visitors currently tend to conduct more intentional searches when online. In short, they often know what they are looking for such as phone numbers, addresses, maps, and attorney profiles - so make sure that each are easy to find and access on the mobile views of your website.
  • Mobile devices provide much less real estate to display data so the more cluttered your website in a mobile view, the more difficult it will be for people to find your site useful for their search.
  • If you have a graphics heavy website, you may want to consider adding a new mobile web version of your website for mobile users to see when they come to your site. In the example provided here, you can see a much more scaled down, useful and easy to use version of this law firm’s website.
  • If you currently run PPC, the top two positions in Google play just as prominent of a role in mobile search as they now do with the recently changes involving Google Places displays.

The bottom line when considering improvements to the mobile browsing experience of your website is to start by thinking like your potential clients do. I have had numerous attorneys tell me that when their clients found them online through a mobile smart phone, often times it was from a hospital or the scene of an accident or crime. Keeping this in mind, try to think about what is most important and useful for your potential clients when they are in these situations so you know how best to compete for these type of searches and potential clients. If you do plan on providing a mobile site view, it is also important to a prominent link from that view back to your main website in case they need to see more details and information.

Visit our website on law firm website optimization if you would like to learn more about how to better advertise your law firm online.

Monday, January 10, 2011

42% of 2010's Top 50 Highest Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Terms For Attorneys

The following list contains the top 50 PPC keywords in terms of cost for 2010. These costs are what advertisers pay on a per click basis when somebody clicks on their ads in Google (which is the highest cost search engine).

As I had previously written about with the record high attorney PPC spending in NYC, PPC spending is an an all time high and with the recent changes in the Google SERP's, competing for the top 3 positions has become even more critical when Google Places maps are displayed.

A couple of notes:

- 21 of the top 50 terms are attorney or legal related search terms
- 5 of the top 10 terms involved Mesothelioma
- 7 of the top 50 terms involved DUI / DWI
- The highest Attorney PPC's by geography are: San Diego (3), Phoenix (2), Los Angeles (2). Pennsylvania (2), Boston, Austin, New York, Chicago, California, Arizona, Sacramento, and Philadelphia.

Here is the list in order of most expensive terms:
  1. Mesothelioma Lawyers San Diego 51.47
  2. Secured Loan Calculator 51.35
  3. Structured Settlement Investments 50.45
  4. Endowment Selling
  5. Purchase Structured Settlements 53.48
  6. Mesothelioma lawyers
  7. Mesothelioma Patients 50.23
  8. Mesothelioma attorney san diego 50.07
  9. Austin Texas dwi lawyers 50.03
  10. New York Mesothelioma Lawyers 50.01
  11. Phoenix dui lawyers 50.01
  12. Secured Loans 50.01
  13. Insurance Auto 50.00
  14. Phoenix dui attorney 50.00
  15. car free insurance online quote 50.00
  16. students debt consolidation loans 49.96
  17. Pennsylvania mesothelioma lawyers 49.87
  18. data recovery Denver 49.71
  19. adverse credit remortgages 49.56
  20. bad credit remortgages 49.47
  21. data recovery service los angeles 49.37
  22. Consolidating Students Loan 49.30
  23. Students Loan Consolidation Rates 49.17
  24. Boston dui lawyers 49.02
  25. memphis car insurance 48.86
  26. conference calling companies 48.64
  27. Student Consolidation Loans 48.15
  28. free quote for car insurance 48.11
  29. irs tax lawyers 48.08
  30. nj auto insurance 48.08
  31. dui san diego 48.01
  32. Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney 48.00
  33. Consolidating Private Student Loans 47.96
  34. Personal Injury Lawyer Chicago 47.83
  35. Personal Injury Attorney Pennsylvania 47.82
  36. Auto Insurance 47.81
  37. Lemon Law California 47.63
  38. Students loan consolidation interest rates 47.59
  39. Los Angeles Criminal Attorney 47.59
  40. Arizona dui Attorney 47.45
  41. Consolidation Student Loan 47.44
  42. Structured Settlement Buyers 47.31
  43. sell structured Insurance settlements 46.53
  44. College Loan Consolidation 46.49
  45. dui attorney sacramento 46.48
  46. car insurance quotes 46.47
  47. Philadelphia personal injury lawyers 46.37
  48. remortgaging 46.20
  49. irs tax attorney 46.19
  50. Consolidation Student Loan 46.18
If you would like to learn more about law firm internet marketing, please contact us today to learn how we can help you grow your practice online...