Category Archives: SEO

Should Lawyers Buy .law Domains?

If you are considering a website or a blog to showcase your legal services and expertise, there are many different Top Level Domains (TLD) to choose from:

  • .com
  • .gov
  • .org
  • .law

This article will examine whether lawyers should buy .law domain and briefly review a few methods to succeed online.

What are Top Level Domains (TLD)?

Without going too in depth about the concept of domain names, here’s a simplified version of what domain names are.

Domain names are the important piece of information that provides a readable internet address of your website. The ending of the domain name is what is known as a Top Level Domain with the most common being .com, .org, and .net.

Overall, there are more than 1000 TLDs available.

Is There Any Significance In Having A .law Domain Name?

Having a TLD can be useful in marketing, search engines, and website optimization. When you consider the most common TLDs like .com, .edu, and .gov, these are recognizable, popular, and rank well courtesy of their authority.

They is some speculation that having these TLDs do not provide measurable proof that you will get ranked higher (such as with .edu and .gov domains).

Also, according to Matt Cutts, new TLDs, like .law, might not receive a boost in the search rankings. Your .law domain will not be treated much differently than other domain names already available.

“Sorry, but that’s just not true, and as an engineer in the search quality team at Google, I feel the need to debunk this misconception. Google has a lot of experience in returning relevant web pages, regardless of the top-level domain (TLD). Google will attempt to rank new TLDs appropriately, but I don’t expect a new TLD to get any kind of initial preference over .com, and I wouldn’t bet on that happening in the long-term either. If you want to register an entirely new TLD for other reasons, that’s your choice, but you shouldn’t register a TLD in the mistaken belief that you’ll get some sort of boost in search engine rankings.”

While Google may not rank a .law domain higher, from a personal point of view, there is significant value to be considered.

What Are The Benefits Of A .law Domain Name?

From a branding point of view, having a .law domain allows you to position yourself as a professional and a figure of authority.

Anyone who registers a new .law domain, must provide a phone number from the licensing of your agency or firm.

Having to go through this additional step during the registration process creates a trust factor for those searching for you.

Buying a .law domain name will provide an additional layer of credibility courtesy of the verification process required.

This is a summary of some the benefits you’ll receive when you buy a .law domain:

  • Brandable & Authority. Using this TLD allows you to create a strong and memorable brand. A .law domain can be descriptive and capture the core of your practice. When deciding on your domain name, consider using your own name, area of practice, or your target market.
    • Examples:law, NewYorkCity.law, StultzandBrinks.law, jones.law
  • Verified & Trusted. When you register your .law domain, you become verified and trusted by those seeking your services online. Only qualified lawyers can apply for this domain. Once approved, you will have a branded and trustworthy domain surrounding your legal profession.
  • Competitive & Professional. Your new .law domain will stand out amongst others. The .law is exclusive to lawyers and provides a distinct and official finish to your online presence.

If You Already Have Another Domain Name, Should You Transfer To A .law Domain?

As mentioned before, there may not be any considerable boost to your rankings in the search engines. If you already using a domain and it is working well, you may not want to transfer your website to the .law domain.

Consider .law as an investment in your practice but only if you don’t have a domain name already. When you transfer a website over to a new domain, you may lose traffic and potential clients.

Getting a new .law domain is an ideal choice for those starting a new website.

Aside From A .law Domain, How Can Lawyers Succeed Online?

A domain name is only one of many factors to consider when putting your law practice online.

One of the most critical areas of getting noticed and finding new clients comes from the content you provide.

Here’s a few things you may want to keep in mind:

  • Offer meaningful, relevant and original content. Most search engines approve of original content. However, they should be written in a way that’s natural and connects with your target audience.
  • Create backlinks on authority sites. When you have published quality content, try to get your site linked with .edu or .gov sites as these have authority. Read law firm SEO Tips hereNote: Never buy backlinks — you could be penalized.

As an authority on the web and a professional of law, you have a responsibility to provide quality content that is relevant and informative to your visitors.

This update from John Mueller on Google’s Webmaster Central makes it clear that content is crucial and the domain name is not given “artificial advantage in search.”

So, Should Lawyers Buy A .law Domain?

Getting a .law domain could be the strategic edge you need to have a competitive advantage online.

However, while a TLD like .law adds a professional touch your online service, providing good content that follows Google’s recommended practices will be much more powerful.

If you are preparing to settle on a .law domain name, remember to incorporate this into your website development:

  1. Publish high quality, original content on your site
  2. Provide relevant content to your potential clients and targeted audience
  3. Avoid SEO practices that could penalize your website (i.e. keyword stuffing, purchasing links, or other Google violations)

Achieving this will lead you to an authority site on the internet especially if you’re considering starting a blog.

SEO For Attorneys

Attorney Search Engine Optimization (SEO) requires strategic planning, careful techniques and smart tactics to attract more prospective clients to your law firm.

If you’re unfamiliar if SEO, this is the standard practice of configuring both on-site and off-site elements of your website. The purpose of SEO for lawyers is to push their website to the first page of search engines (e.g. Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.). This is important.

In this article, you will get some insights on SEO for attorneys while learning a few skills to improve your website and increasing the likelihood of finding more customers online.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT ATTORNEY SEO

Before revealing some methods you can use to improve your website’s SEO, you should know a few things about the nature of search engines.

First, Google dominates the search engine industry. There are somewhere between 60 to 80% of searchers using their service. However, when it comes to SEO for lawyers, other search engines like Yahoo and Bing should be considered as prospective clients can be found there too.

Next, getting your law firm’s website ranked is both vital and challenging. Research on Google’s search results has discovered that about 91.5% of searchers make their choices based on what they find on the first page. Take a look at the remainder of the pages:

  • Page 2: 8%
  • Page 3: 1%
  • Page 4: 4%

There are paid methods of getting your website to the front page, (i.e. PPC lawyer campaigns), however to save on spending SEO allows you to drive more organic visitors to your website.

Did you know? Depending on your niche, industry and the keywords your web pages rank for, organic listings can receive up to 90% of clicks.

SEO FOR ATTORNEY: WHAT TO DO

 There is a critical thing to know about SEO for attorneys. Marketing online for lawyers and law firms must abide by the rules and regulations detailed by the state bar associations.

Careful considerations must be made when representing your law firm online. Performing ethical SEO will allow you to rank on the first page of search engines without any penalties. Here’s a few things you can do.

Lawyer SEO Keyword Research

Keyword research is always the foundation for any SEO strategy. You can optimize your website by focusing on keywords that have purchasing intentions. This means that you should use specific words people are searching for which will lead to them sign up for your services.

You will find that these search terms and phrases will have a high volume compared to others.

Also, slight variations in phrases can lead to a significant difference in the volume of traffic and click you receive. For example, if someone was searching for “NYC divorce attorney” they are likely to receive more searches than for “NYC divorce attorney.” The term “lawyer” tends to be used more frequently than “attorney.”

You can use Google’s keyword planner to get a basic understanding of which keywords are being used and which ones you should add to your website.

Here are some tips to guide your keyword research for effective attorney SEO:

  1. Make a list of terms related to your practice area (i.e. divorce lawyer, Family divorce lawyers, etc.)
  2. Compare multiple variations of your keyword phrases to find what people are actually searching for.
  3. Focus on high search volume keywords with moderate competition.
  4. Also, consider low competition keywords that can be easily targeted.
  5. Dedicate pages using phrases and terms that are related to your main keyword phrase (i.e. divorce lawyers in NYC, NYC divorce lawyers, etc.)
  6. Research the keywords your competitors are using and ranking for, then make better content that ranks higher.

Local SEO for Attorneys

Most law firms are operating from a single community which makes targeting prospective clients very competitive. In order to get your website noticed, local lawyer SEO allows you to target your website toward particular demographics in your area.

Here’s a few ways to improve your local attorney SEO:

  1. Sign up for Google My Business profile.
  2. Sign up for Bing Business Listings.
  3. Sign up for Yext and get your website listed on hundreds of local websites.
  4. Sign up for AVVO.
  5. Create a location specific page (i.e. Divorce Lawyer in NYC) using specific terms that get your page ranked.

Attorney SEO: Schema Markup

Schema markup is HTML code which makes the content on your website easily understood by machines. Schema’s are important as they allow search engines to figure out the real meaning behind the content being displayed on your website.

There is a dedicated set of schema you can apply to your website that lets search engines understand that your website is related to a law firm of legal profession.

You can apply this schema markup to content like:

  • Addresses
  • Attorney Biographies
  • Attorney Names
  • Client Reviews
  • Emails
  • Phone Numbers

Using schema is a great way to get your site to stand out in the search engines. When you use schema markup, your website will have additional visible features such as star ratings, business logo, and contact info.

SEO Attorney Strategy: Link Building

In 2016, Google announced that links were one of the major factors that influence how a page is ranked in the searches. To get your push your rankings toward the first page, you will have to dedicate a significant amount of time building links from other websites. However, not all links are the same.

You need to get your lawyer website on high ranking websites. For lawyers, these are websites like AVVO, Lawyers.com, Justia, Super Lawyers. Getting your website linked on these sites will add authority and can likely boost your rankings in the search engines.

Keep in mind, it takes more than one or two links to start seeing some changes. Getting quality backlinks is a tiresome and exhaustive effort. When building backlinks to your law firm, be sure not to put your links on too many bad sites. You don’t want your site to be penalize for unethical backlink marketing.

Summary of SEO For Attorneys

SEO for attorneys is a necessity in order to get your law firm or legal service to stand out in the search engines.

Start with researching the right keywords for your website. Once you have those, build pages and posts around those keywords. On a deeper level, add schema markup to help search engines understand what your website is all about. And finally, make as many high quality backlinks as possible.

The Biggest Mistakes Lawyers Make With Advertisements

Lawyers depend on advertisements to build an awareness of their legal services and attract new clients to their firm. While traditional methods are still in use, online marketing (via Facebook Ads and Google Adwords) are becoming the common trend for advertising.

If you’re considering to use advertisements for your law firm, here are some of the biggest mistakes lawyers make and what you can do to avoid them.

Unfocused Marketing Campaigns

You may have a large budget to spend on marketing your law firm, but if you don’t have a focal point you’ll be spending your money on nothing. You can create a generic “contact for a free consultation” marketing message and take anything that comes in the door.

Or, you can segment your marketing message and target the specific legal services you offer. Invest your time and money creating marketing messages related to the specific cases your law firm handles.

Once you concentrate your marketing efforts you can find the right prospects for your firm.

Poorly Written Content

The content you publish on your website is a representation of you and your law firm. The internet is filled with spammy websites and people know when they’re being sold to.

Your content should be informative, error-free, and relatable to the people you think will read it.

Also, to improve the effectiveness of your content, add logical and emotional reasons to hire you. People are searching for someone who can truly help them with their problems.

Use your content to tell people you understand what they are dealing with and that your legal services are here to help.

Asking For Too Much

Your advertising efforts may be effective and delivering high traffic to your website. However, you may find that no one is contacting you for more information or to start a consultation.

If you’re asking prospective clients too much information in your contact boxes, many prospects are likely to turn away. People are constantly concerned about their privacy and with the rise of identity theft, there is a hesitancy to sharing personal information online.

Nonetheless, lawyers require some information to begin evaluating their case and being able to respond to it. Only ask for as much as you need and after receiving their contact information you can begin to ask the questions needed to get their case started.

Complex Web Design

There’s nothing more frustrating for a visitor to a website than a complex and confusing web design. This is known as your bounce rate, which is the number of visitors that come to your website then leave right away.

When you’re putting your legal services online, consider your visitors. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the most useful information my visitors need?
  • Does my law firm web design have a clear call to action (i.e. call for a free consultation)?
  • Is my contact information easy to access or will a visitor have difficulty finding it?
  • Does my website invite visitors to join my social?
  • Would adding a pop-up lead capture improve my conversions from visitors to clients?

If you’re struggling to come up with an effective web design for your law firm, consider these best law firm websites from 2017.

Also, if you have analytics set up on your website (i.e. to monitor where visitors are coming from and where they are frequently visiting) find your best content and feature them in the sidebar of your content pages.

Spending Your Entire Marketing Budget

Whether you’re using Facebook Ads or Google Adwords, you have complete control over the duration and style of your marketing campaign. If you spend your entire budget without testing different ideas, you may end up with a lower return than you hoped for.

Start by setting your budget low and creating a series of tests to see which messages make the most impact on your target audience. The analytics offered in Facebook Ads and your Google account can help you determine which campaign is effective and could use more of your marketing budget.

Incongruent Landing Pages

In the world of advertising, having a congruent message is crucial. You’re marketing message and your landing pages should live up to the promise you’re making.

Advertising something like, “Steps to take after getting in a car accident,” then sending them to a landing page with a promotion to your service may not deliver the best results.

The purpose of proving valuable content online is to establish yourself as an authority in law as well as trustworthy.

Use your landing pages to capture leads in exchange for content that people are looking for.

Not Focused On Converting Visitors

You can spend thousands of dollars on advertising to get traffic to your website. However, if your website is not developed to turn those visitors into clients, you’ll be wasting your marketing budget.

The purpose of any website, especially a lawyer’s website, is to convert visitors into clients. There are many ways to do this. You can send visitors clicking on your Facebook Ads to a landing page requesting their email in exchange for valuable content.

Or, perhaps the most effective method of converting traffic, is by adding live chat to your website. Having the ability to communicate with visitors while they are live on your site allows you to address any questions they may have and arrange a consultation immediately.

The alternative would be to hope they find your contact page and send you an inquiry.

Not Having A Unique Selling Point

Having a distinct call to action is an important feature for any lawyer’s website. In addition to that, your website should have a unique selling point which differentiates your legal services from others online.

What makes you different from other law firms? How can you help more than other law firms with the same legal services?

Having case studies and client referrals on your homepage are one way of showcasing your legal abilities to prospective clients. However, you should take a moment and ask yourself what can you offer that differentiates you from your competitors.

Now that you know some of the mistakes lawyers are making with their advertisements, you may want to review advertising regulations from the State Bar.

SEO Secrets for Lawyers

If your law firm has a website, you may want to have an understanding of SEO. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and this helps your website get placed on the first page of search engines.

SEO for lawyers requires techniques, strategies, and sometimes coding to get your website ranked and capable of bringing prospective clients to your law firm.

Getting on the first page of any search engine (like Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.) provides your law firm with significant benefits. You can reduce the costs of ad spending by creating an SEO focused lawyer website that allows search engines to provide you with organic traffic.

This article reveals some SEO secrets specifically for lawyers.

Onsite SEO for Lawyers

If you’re don’t understand computer coding, at the very minimum you should try to grasp the concept of onsite SEO.

In order for search engines to do their job and showcase your website in their search results, you have to give them detailed information on your website.

In your articles and web pages, there are elements known as title tags, headers, meta descriptions, and URLs. Having a solid foundation in onsite SEO will deliver successful results in the other parts of SEO found here.

When it comes to your titles to articles, best practice suggests to keep them up to 70 words in length. Anything longer and they won’t b displayed in the search results.

For the meta description, use between 150 to 160 words.

Another important feature of SEO is including a keyword. This keyword is used as a primary identifier of the page or article. Use this keyword in the title, meta description, and URL.

Your article or page should also include the keyword in a readable and non-intrusive manner. Using a keyword too often, known as keyword stuffing, can actually have a negative effect on your site’s SEO.

For lawyers, keeping your keywords and content relevant to your readers while including the appropriate title tags and meta-descriptions will be of benefit to your search engine rankings.

Schema Markup for Lawyers

Since you may be busy with clients and other aspects of legal work, SEO on your website may not be within your scope to perform.

If you intend to outsource SEO to an expert, something you may want to be aware of is Schema Markup for Attorneys. Although this may not have a significant impact from an SEO standpoint, the added coding involved provides more informative results for people using a search engine.

Schema Markup allows you to add more details to your meta-descriptions which can be displayed in the search engines. From business hours to special events, these details will be coded in a way that engines can recognize and input in the results.

For more information, please see schema markup for attorneys to understand which markups to include on your website.

Local SEO for Lawyers

Local SEO is an effective strategy to get your law firm’s website noticed by those searching in your area. There are a variety of ways you can apply local SEO to your website.

To get started, add your website to business directories (i.e. Yelp, Foursquare, Yellowbook, Google My Business, Bing Places for Business, and more).

Once you have placed your website on these directories, especially those connected to search engines like Google and Bing, when a prospective client makes a search in New York…

… your law firm is in a better position of being ranked and discovered.

Here are some statistics about local searches from Business2Community and SearchEngineLand:

  • 46% of Google searches are local
  • 50% of mobile searchers look for local business information (i.e. address or phone number)
  • 96% of all PC owners perform local searches

If you haven’t done so already, register your law firm’s location in Google maps and other mapping engines. Whenever a prospective client performs a search in your area, your law firm will pop up.

Link Building for Lawyers

Link building can be time-consuming, however, if done correctly, it can lead to a lot of traffic to your website and inquiries for a consultation.

There are all kinds of links you can have, the most important being links placed on another website that directs to yours.

These links can be in the form of text, images, or other pieces of HTML that include a hyperlink (i.e. “href” attribute) for your website or a specific page.

Getting your links out there can be as simple as providing quality content that people share and include in their own articles, new pieces, and blogs.

If you have a partnership with other lawyers, considering exchanging their links on your website with your links on their website.

Other ways to build strong backlinks to your website include:

  • Writing guest posts on other blogs and lawyer websites
  • Adding your link to online resource pages
  • Commenting on forums / online communities
  • Writing responses on Quora
  • Posting on Reddit
  • Set up a Wikipedia page for your law firm

These are just a few suggestions. Backlink building requires strategy and careful planning. If you use tactics such as hacking other’s websites to inject backlinks, hiding text on your page which cannot be read by visitors but found by search engines you may be negatively impacted by search engines.

Search engines use sophisticated ways to scan the internet and gather information about your website. It knows who has links to your website and where your website is linking out.

NoFollow vs. DoFollow Links

One thing you should keep in mind is that there are different kinds of links: follow vs. no follow.

Nofollow links are those that do not give you any boost in the search engines. They simply send traffic from that website to your website. That’s it.

DoFollow links are those that give you a boost in the search engines. These links are telling search engines to rank the site.

This reason this exists is to prevent spamming, however from a lawyer’s SEO point of view, you may want to know what kind of backlink you are building and whether that will provide a benefit to your search engines results.