Thursday, April 28, 2011

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Continues To Provide Poor ROI For Law Firms

There was a recent study released from User Centric about the overall viewing metrics for people on the search engines. As many continue to rely on our outdated Google Heat Map analysis to determine where a users' eyes go on the search results screen, the data often overlooks where we look for the longest period of time and at what frequency.

Why is this important? There are a number of reasons including:

Running Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Campaigns

If you are running PPC campaigns for your law firm, you are likely paying a very high price to do so without fully understanding the results. Most law firms still can't answer the question as to the effectiveness of a PPC campaign and here is what this analysis shows:
  • The greatest amount of eyes and visibility fall on the top 3 PPC listings
  • Due to the recent changes in the Google SERP displays, the right-side bar has been further marginalized in its effectiveness
  • The top three listings get 5 times the amount of eye time as the right-side bar listings and since the right-side bar typically has more listings to review, your chances of a click drop off immensely
Organic SEO vs PPC Spending - Which Is More Cost Effective?

The debate continues amongst some in the legal community as to where their marketing dollars are better spent. In 2010, 42% of the highest paid PPC terms were for attorneys. Historically, companies would spend 8-9x on paid search over organic yet as we recently learned (once again), Jupiter Research has shown us that 87% of all clicks generated on a results page in Google go to organic and NOT PPC listings. Based on this analysis, I was able to determine that spending on PPC advertising is only 15% as effective as organic SEO spending.

Organic Listings Clearly Get More Eye Time & Visibility

Of all the eye time provided to organic and paid (PPC) listings, 93% (or 14.7 seconds) go to the organic listings. Since a typical Google results screen will have 10 results and even multiple variations of display, here is what you can do to improve your organic listing performance:
  • Make sure your META Description Tags are both highly effective and include a "compelling message" to attract viewers to your website. META descriptions DO NOT effect the search rankings of your website so 100% of their function should be based on reader conversion. You have only a second or two to grab the searcher's attention so make sure your first sentence is your most powerful one.
  • If the search results include a blended Google Places display, make sure that your places listing is fully optimized and most importantly, contains an effective, eye-catching, compelling and differentiating thumbnail image. If everybody has a mugshot of an attorney, differentiate yourself by using strong colors, awards, credentials, etc. Again, the name of the game is to competitively grab the users eyes and compel them to click to your website links.
The provides top search engine optimization consulting services to law firms who want to maximize their new case generation capabilities online. Visit our website today to learn more about how Lawyer SEO can help your firm grow.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Why You Need To Be #1 In Google

Dale Earnhardt was famous for saying that “second place is the first loser” and when it comes to the search engine placement, nothing could be more true. Optify just released some new numbers that make getting to the #1 position in Google all the more important.

Here is a summary of this new study:

- The top 3 positions on page 1 of Google receive 58.4% of the clicks

- The #1 position in Google receives 36.4% of the clicks

- The #2 position in Google receives 12.5% of the clicks

- The #1 position in Google receive as many clicks as positions 2-5 combined

- Head terms in the #1 position had a higher click through rate (32 percent) than long tail terms (25 percent). However, long tail terms had a higher overall Click through rate on Page 1 of Google than head terms (9 percent vs. 4.6 percent).

- #1 position in Google gets 34.35 percent of impressions; #2 position gets 16.96 percent; and third gets 11.42 percent


Since most law firms can’t reach the #1 positions in Google, some will resort to PPC (Pay Per Click) spending instead. So how effective is PPC spending? Well, according to recent studies by Jupiter Research, not very good. Jupiter found that six out of every seven clicks (87%) on the search engine result page are generated by organically listed sites and that 79% of participants either didn’t look at sponsored links at all, or looked at them only after they had gone through the organic results.

So doing the math, PPC advertising only generates around 13% of the clicks on the first page of Google for any given search keyword result. From an ROI perspective, this means that every dollar spent on PPC is only 15% as effective as a dollar spent on organic placement. However, with the recent changes in the Google results pages, I advise that if you are going to do PPC, only bit for the top 3 positions in Google for any given word/phrase or don’t bit at all. Moreover, with the growth of mobile search, I could make a strong argument that being #1 for your PPC terms is a good idea as well.


When it comes to attorney marketing online, I always advise clients to play for the first page on any given subject. If your goal is not to reach the first page (either now or later), don’t play the game. Why? Because 90% of people never look past the first page in Google and we have seen above, people click largely on what they see first – with everybody else coming is as the first loser.

Contact Us Today to learn more about how your law firm can reach the #1 position in Google from the search engine optimization experts at the SEO Consultant Firm.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Cell Phones & Your Privacy

Most people today cannot even fathom living without their smart phones – myself included. Anywhere I go I can now have virtual access and information easier than ever before. Along with the access also comes greater mobility and productivity – all good most cases. But in states like New York, there are consequences as well. For example, using a cell phone while operating a car can cost you a $150 fine and 2 points on your license. But the legal implications can be far worse…


The most popular smart phones on the market today are the Android and the IPhone. Most people who use these devices (the author included) simply love them. Not only can you talk to others, but you can easily browse the web, take pictures, listen to music, record videos and a myriad of other functions. The power of this mobility in filming videos alone is being attributed as one of the main causes of Cisco ditching their once popular flip video cameras.

All seemed to be chugging along well with these smart phones until a recent news report of the IPhones having the ability to track a user’s historical location and storing this data both on the phone and on their computers once it has been synched. Naturally privacy advocates are up in arms about this since the implications of such data had been previously unknown to IPhone users. But this also leads to another issue…


In January 2011, California’s Supreme Court ruled that police could conduct warrantless inspections of a suspect’s cell phone – including all of its data. Wisconsin and Michigan also follow the same procedures and use tools like the Cellebrite UFED device to literally download all information (including deleted messages and content) from a suspect’s phone within a matter of minutes. In short, if you are pulled over and/or are a suspect in any violation, all of your history on your phone can now be downloaded by the police and may be admissible in a court of law. This naturally leads one to wonder that if the IPhone can track and store your physical location for a year, there would be a lot of people who would love to get their hands on that information – including a suspicious spouse, probation officer, parole officer, tax auditor and the like.


There is a positive side to mobile tracking of users as well. In 2009, cell phone tracking technology allowed the South Brunswick police department to track down a three children who became lost on a nature hike in a 113 acre wooded area. Using their cell phone signal and digital mapping, they were able to guide them to safety in 18 minutes – avoiding the costly and traditional forms of search and rescue. 911 calls have also become more effective with cell phone tracking in situations where households continue to shed their land lines in favor of a cell phone only household.


Ironically, the need to add GPS tracking to a user’s cell phone and ultimately track them down was not the result of some evil company but rather the Federal government. In 2001, federal legislation was passed that requires wireless service providers to identify and place phones on their network to within 328 feet of their actual location. Even though people tend to love this feature when they need to get directions from point A to point B, the federal government was the first to mandate it – and for different reasons. But what the federal government didn’t mandate was storing user locational data and allowing police easy access to your mobile history.

As with other forms of social media, the laws governing user privacy as it applies to technology is in many ways largely outdated on both the federal and state levels and it likely to see many changes in the months and years to come. Until then, smart phones users need to become “smart” as to the downsides of what many see as a great new form of information and freedom. In the end, all of us must understand the ultimate cost of this new freedom for as Nietzsche famously stated; “Freedom is the will to be responsible to ourselves.”

About the Author: Dustin Ruge is the owner of the SEO Consultant Firm based in NYC. Dustin provides advanced search engine optimization consulting services (SEO)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Saying Goodbye To Google Tags

Every once in a while Google makes a decision that they end up back tracking on. When it comes to Google reversing a revenue generating initiative, you know it is news...after all Google is famous for their "do no evil" mission statement so good trumps money right??

Google just announced that they are sun setting their Google Tags offering for Place listings as of April 29 of this year. As some of you might recall, Google tags was released in New York in June of last year with a moderately big bang. Tags were a great revenue generating opportunity for Google prior to Google's recent blended search results changes that effectively neutered the whole value proposition of making your Places listing better stand out.

What Google tags once was has now been replaced with the much more effective practice of creating highly visible Google Places image thumbnails instead. It continues to me amazed at the large number of companies with strong Google Places listings that display very ineffective images to better capture the users eyes and improve conversions.

When the history book on Google tags is written, one would have to wonder why Google would create and promote such a new offering only to kill it with its own search results page changes shortly thereafter. This may have come as a surprise to Stevie Wonder but I am still shaking my head on this one...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

NEW CLE Seminar on Social Media & Its Impact to your Practice (April 26 in Philadelphia)

Pennsylvania Association for Justice is offering a NEW CLE Seminar on Social Media & Its Impact to your Practice on April 26 in Philadelphia.

CLE Overview:

The use of social media by your clients and how it affects your case, the use of it by you in your practice and the use of it by potential jurors are some of the biggest issues facing you today. The law is developing. Attend this highly relevant program to learn the pertinent issues, including the ethical implications regarding methods used to access information discovery on social networks about defendants and potential witnesses. You will also learn Social Media Tools and Strategies for law firms.

Course planner, Dennis Feeley esq. has recruited Jon Acklen esq. Greg Spizer esq., Dan Siegel esq. and Dustin Ruge (Lawyer Search Engine Consultant) to speak on this program.

Radisson Plaza-Warwick
17th & Locust Sts.
Philadelphia, PA 19103

9:00 am - 1:30 pm 3 Substantive & 1 Ethics CLE Credit

Click here for more information or to register. Or call the PAJ office at 215 546-6451”