How to Make Your Lawyer Website Photos Stand out from the Crowd
Peruse enough lawyer website photos and you’ll probably notice a few common elements: desks, law books, rigid postures, and strained smiles. These photographs, while professional, don’t tend to resonate with viewers or jump off the page, nor do they exude an approachable vibe that prompts viewers to reach out.
Your photo is undoubtedly important to you; perhaps it appears on your website, business card, newsletter, or even billboards or commercials. Often, your photo is the first thing potential clients will notice, and it may influence them even more so than your actual marketing materials.
Forget taking just another standard placeholder photo that belongs to the old school of law photographs. If you’ve had a professional portrait taken at a studio or hired a photographer to come in and shoot for you, then you probably don’t need to worry about what I’m about to cover. However, for you DIY (do-it-yourself) attorneys out there who want to experiment with photography on your own time with a friend or loved one, you may be interested in these quick pointers.These suggestions will help you snap lawyer website and LinkedIn photos that stand out from the crowd.
Project the right attitude
Set up photos that represent your firm’s distinctive attitude and atmosphere. For instance, a patent law firm that prides itself on its originality and fresh approach to law may want to take website photos that have plenty of color and liveliness—colorful business wear, bright background screens, genuine smiles, and taller body shots.
On the other hand, a more somber criminal defense law firm may want to go with head shots (rather than fuller body shots) and a palette that relies more heavily on black and white for a more formal look.
Consider the photo’s ultimate home
One of the most important elements to consider before taking any photos is where they will ultimately be housed. LinkedIn photos, for example, have one ideal size and resolution range while bio photographs to be featured on your website have another.
If you’re looking to snap a captivating LinkedIn photograph, you’ll want to focus on taking a clear head shot photograph—something close up, clean, and high-res even at small thumbnail size. (It’s worth mentioning that LinkedIn prevents users from placing logos in place of head shot photos, so avoid the temptation.) You have a bit more wiggle room with attorney website photos since you can design your bio page around your images or vice versa.
There are a few things to consider no matter whether the ultimate location of your photo is LinkedIn or your attorney page:
- Size: What size should the photographs be to match the layout of your page, or to fit LinkedIn’s size standards?
- Resolution: Think high-resolution for more clarity
- Color: Does your photo match your bio page’s look or the tone of LinkedIn text, or does it stick out like a sore thumb?
- Angle: LinkedIn head shots should be straight on for clarity but feel free to experiment with various angles for more dynamic photographs on your website
Personalize the blank space
Aside from the photo itself, the space underneath each photo on your attorney website provides even more personalization opportunities. Think about using some of it to share interesting facts about your attorney team or notable awards that could establish credibility. For example, “Katie Smith: Proud supporter of the ABC Law School soccer team and former indefatigable goalie,” or “Joseph Jones: Awarded Legal Times’ Top 100 three years running.”
Inside or outside? Office or walkway? Standing in front of a library of law books or in a more relaxed setting? The choices are nearly endless. You can take great photos in nearly any setting, but think about what that setting will be conveying to potential clients. Your photo will reinforce a certain image, so be sure it is one you are comfortable with.
2. Background. I’ve seen hundreds of attorney photos, and therefore hundreds of backgrounds: bookcases of legal material, picturesque paintings of wildlife, office doors, trees, lakes, and everything in between. Regardless of where you set up your equipment, analyze the elements in the frame before you shoot. You don’t want background elements that are so busy as to overwhelm the subject (you), but plain, colorless backgrounds aren’t much better. Try to find the middle ground and work with what you have. Even a simple, geometric background element can be visually pleasing. The example below was shot in a hotel room, so don’t think you need to find someplace exotic just to get a decent photo.
While you can do all kinds of crazy, artsy things with framing, it may be best to stick with simplicity for your official law firm marketing photo. Stand in front of the background elements so you are fully in focus and the background is slightly blurred (you can accomplish this with the proper aperture settings on your camera). In the example below, the attorney is several feet in front of the background elements and centered in the middle of the frame. The large tree branch up above does not look like it is growing out of his head. Be sure to avoid framing yourself near any elements that will intersect with you in awkward ways.
This choice will be largely dependent upon your background. If you’re shooting against a dark background, try not to wear overwhelmingly dark colors, and vice versa. You want to stand out and make prospective clients notice you, so choose clothes with colors that complement your surroundings.
Do you want to give the impression that you will battle for your clients? That you aren’t intimidated by opposing counsel? Try standing with your arms crossed at a slight angle (in general, you don’t want to stand with your entire body facing directly toward the camera). On the other hand, if you want to appear kind and compassionate, eager to listen to clients’ problems, stand in a more relaxed pose. Your body language goes a long way to inform potential clients what you are like as an attorney and a person.
We’re Toughening Up Security On Client Websites
If you are a website client with Optimized Attorney, nine times out of ten this means your site is built in an application called WordPress. You may or may not know this, but earlier this month a DDoS(distributed denial-of-service) attack that uses a massive amount of computers from all over the Internet began hitting more than 90,000IP (Internet Protocol) addresses that run the WordPress application.
The culprits behind the attack are still unknown at this time due to them using “spoofed” IP addresses preventing them from being traced. It is assumed that these networks of hackers are on a global level and using many computers that are already infected unbeknownst to the owner/user. The attack uses a “brute force” login attempt that hits the admin panel over and over again, eventually bringing the entire server down if the password is not “guessed.” By default, WordPress uses ‘admin’ as the username. In most cases, this user name is rarely changed so it is already putting the hacker’s one step ahead in knowing the user name to the admin panel.
Many hosting providers, including Optimized Attorney were targeted in this attack due to having so many of our hosted websites running on WordPress. While our passwords were not compromised, one of our servers did receive some down time as we worked frantically to protect our client sites. To counter these attacks, we have implemented the following security measures:
- Installed Captcha on all forms, login areas and any other field that inserts any type of data into a database.
- We have gone through hundreds of client sites and changed any user name that was using the default ‘admin’ to something custom.
- We have also changed all the administrator passwords to make them even more secure than before using letters, numbers, special characters and anything else we can use to keep enemies guessing.
- Nightly backups of everything. This includes the WordPress database that houses all of the website content like pages and posts, as well as backing up every file in your web directory such as images, PDFs, etc.
Unfortunately, this will not be the end of these kind of attacks and that just comes with the territory of being out publicly on the Internet/World Wide Web. By implementing the above changes, we have taken a leap forward in monitoring for these assaults in the future and preventing them immediately.
A Primer on Mobile Websites for Attorneys
We are going to dive a little further into the topic and visually show you how it can help potential clients choose your law firm.
With smartphone sales now more prominent than desktop computer sales, and mobile devices used in 50 percent of local searches, you should be asking yourself, “Why don’t I have a mobile website?”
The difference between a mobile website and a traditional desktop website:
A mobile website is designed to fit your mobile device’s screen resolution and offer quick and easily-accessible information to the user. While a full site might include lots of content, images, and extra features, your mobile legal website should be straight-forward and to the point.
Mobile sites should offer the user the following key features:
- An easy way to contact the office (click to call, click to email functions)
- An easy way to find the office (click for directions)
- Basic information about your law firm (about us, practice areas)
- Why your firm is better than the competition (testimonials, success stories)
Should my entire site be mobile-friendly?
The answer depends on your goals. If you want to convert more people, your entire site doesn’t necessarily have to be designed for mobile. If you’re hoping for some clicks to call or email your office, this can be done by designing just a few pages that include clickable buttons. Attorneys usually do not need to include all of their pages in the mobile version of their website.
However, if your goal is to supply information on mobile devices, your best bet may be to make all pages compatible with mobile, otherwise, users may be redirected to your mobile homepage instead of the page they were actually looking for.
Can I optimize my mobile pages?
Can I put a contact form on my mobile site?
Can I link to my social media profiles?
Why A Mobile Website Is Necessary
With the growth of smartphones and tablets this day in age, it is impossible to continue to ignore the need for a mobile friendly website. Google recently stated that there will be one mobile device for every person on earth by 2015. They also mentioned that there will be more smartphones browsing the internet than an actual personal computer (PC) at this time.
Your Competition Will Succeed if You Don’t Have One.
Having a website that is not mobile friendly will not only frustrate and annoy your potential clients, but it will also sway them to your competition. In the last year alone, studies have shown mobile visitors to Law Firm specific websites have gone up 101% and are expected to rise an additional 10% in 2014 and over 25% by 2015.
Mobile Websites Are Easier to Use.
A mobile site will not only load faster than a desktop version but also formats itself to be considerably easier to read, more user friendly and can also offer a “Click-to-call” function. Click-to-call is when a potential client (or anyone trying to call your law firm) simply taps your phone number on their device and is immediately connected by phone to your law office.
Mobile Friendly Websites Rank Better.
Did you know that mobile friendly websites receive higher search engine rankings? If having a site optimized for mobile devices to improve your rankings isn’t enough of a reason, then we don’t know what is. Your clients are mobile, so why shouldn’t you be? They may not always be at their desk using their computer, but their mobile device is with them at all times giving them the ability to browse your site from the couch, the kitchen table, in bed or wherever else WiFi/cell coverage may be available.
It’s unwise to expect prospective clients to read tiny type on their smartphones, scroll side to side to finish reading a sentence, and search high and low for a telephone number. We create a mobile-friendly website to function alongside your existing website. For more information on mobile websites, visit here.
5 Things Your Mobile Website Should Include
Mobile users are becoming the fastest growing segment of Internet users across the globe; over 1.2 billion people now access the web from their mobile devices. If users can’t access your website from a smartphone or tablet, you’re missing out on huge lawyer marketing opportunities and potential client leads.
Mobile websites need to both market your firm while accommodating users on-the-go. Here are 5 things your mobile website needs to make this happen.
1. Provide Easy Navigation
Mobile websites need to provide a simple and clear navigation so they’re easy to use and fast to upload. Mobile browsers rely on mobile network providers (which can run slow), so keep the number of pages to a minimum.
Also, provide dropdown menus and pre-populated fields for data entry. This helps minimize the difficulty users can face when typing text into a smaller screen.
2. Provide Mobile-Friendly Content
Mobile users are typically looking for a few key pieces of information: directions to your firm, a click-to-call phone number, or quick content that can be accessed instantly; e.g. a video, podcast, etc.
A mobile website isn’t intended to be a duplicate of your main site, so remove unnecessary large images and heavy bandwidth content. Mobile users don’t usually have interest in reading lengthy case information, attorney CV’s, or PDFs of press releases on their phone.
Tip: Make sure you are providing videos on your website(s), as online video accounts for 50% of all mobile traffic, and mobile viewers are 3X as likely to view a video as laptop or desktop users.
3. Maximize Screen Display
Smartphones and tablets have a limited screen space, so use a fluid layout for your mobile design with % widths that expand and stretch to a user’s browser setting. Also, most mobile users navigate their screen with their fingertips, so provide large graphic buttons that are easy to touch and click; above 40 pixels is best.
4. Don’t Use Flash
iPhones don’t support Flash, and according to Apple, they never will. Since iPhones make up about 41% of smartphone usage, a significant portion of potential clients may not be able to view your mobile site if you use it. In addition, Galaxy SIII doesn’t use Flash anymore, and most new Androids don’t support it.
5. Use Mobile Redirects
Make sure to put site redirects in place that will detect when a visitor is using a mobile device. Once your redirects are set, any mobile user who types in your web address or clicks on a contact link will be sent directly to your firm’s mobile site.
How Does Your Mobile Site Perform?
Many legal SEO experts developed their own methods for analyzing data on site visits and to research the links that point to rival sites. Over the years, these manual and spreadsheet-based methods have evolved into research software.
Even the big corporations are in on the act with Google offering many of the definitive SEO tools for free. The SEO tools market is reaching critical mass. Now, even small firms employ automated methods for their digital marketing. If you haven’t tried any of the SEO tools for your lawyer website, now might be a good time to give some a whirl.
Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Land, and Search Engine Watch all have useful coverage of SEO tools this week.
All of this article offers useful information on some of the latest technological trends in web development. However, it is the section on the Mobile Friendly Test facility that gets this article included in this week’s SEO Trends report. It is vitally important that you check how your law lawyer website looks on devices other than your own. Your site may look great when you access it from your laptop, but you also need to check how it looks from a mobile device. You can access this tool either through the Google Search Console or through Google Webmaster Tools. The big advantage of this tool is it shows you what Google thinks of your lawyer website in terms of mobile-friendliness as well as showing you how your site looks on a smartphone – which is useful if you don’t actually own one.
The nub of the marketing functions explained in this article cover the “retargeting” actions that you might like to implement in order to keep your law firm’s name at the forefront of your potential customers’ minds. The idea here is to maintain contact with people who visited your lawyer website but didn’t actually book an appointment. You can be sure that those people are looking for the services that you provide and you need to convince them to choose you. This article explains three tools that can be used for creating newsletters and keeping in touch with potential and current customers. As with any category of tools, there are different levels of service on offer and this is illustrated by a rundown of the features of three systems. Remember, if you don’t have much time to dedicate to attorney marketing, a feature-rich package can actually take more time to set up and maintain the absolute basic marketing automation package.
Google’s Keyword Planner is a very powerful free tool that many SEO implementers use even if they have no intention of paying for advertising with Google’s AdWords. The tool will show you how many searches were performed on any given key term. Well, at least it used to. As with any really useful tool that seems too good to be free, it seems that it actually was, and Google noticed that. They have just made it a little less useful by reporting the number of searches as a range of values, such as 100 to 1,000, rather than giving the actual number. This article explains a new technique you can use to get more accurate numbers out of the Keyword Planner. This involves employing a forecasting facility that is built into the Keyword Planner site.
If your law firm’s website has been running for a few years, the chances are that it may have been through a redesign, with changes in the directory structure of the server files, which should have been accompanied by redirects. If you didn’t set up any redirects when you moved a page or renamed part of your site’s menu structure, there are probably hundreds of backlinks pointing to your site that are now dead. This is lost rankings and you need to fix that. Find out how to trace what the pages on your site used to look like with this useful tool.
Adding useful extensions to your chrome browser can offer great law firm SEO functionality. Here are five extensions to try for your law firm’s SEO effort. There might be one or two factors that you should consider before you make these installations permanent. If you have a centralized applications server for your practice with a standard workstation set up, then you would need to make these tools active on every desktop in the office. Another factor that you should consider before adding extensions to Chrome is their effect on the speed of your actions on Web pages. If an extension slows down data entry, or makes pages impossibly slow to load, consider dropping it from your set up.
Does Your Law Firm Need a Mobile App?
As the world increasingly goes mobile, law firms are becoming aware of the importance of mobile marketing. Mobile apps are hot marketing tools for many different types of business, so it makes sense to find out whether or not your law firm would benefit by providing them.
First, the pros. Mobile apps carry perceived value. They can republish quality content from your blog and website, and provide interactive checklists, forms, etc. For instance, an injury law firm can offer an app that allows users to record details and take photos of a personal injury accident, and then submit this information to the firm for review.
With the perks mobile apps can offer clients, does your firm need to provide one? In short, probably not.Providing mobile-friendly attorney websites with responsive design outweighs the benefits of a mobile app for law firms, and here’s why.
A Mobile Website is More User-Friendly
A well-designed mobile website can offer much of the same functionality, if not more, than a mobile app. Interactive forms, content portals, photo uploading, and other tools that can be featured on an app are usually more accessible on a mobile website based on bandwidth, user permissions, etc.
Clients Need To Know About You To Use Your App
Potential clients need to know about you before they’ll download your app. This means that your firm has to reach out to clients first through other forms of marketing, including a traditional website, mobile website, blog, and social media pages—all of which can provide everything that an app can.
Developing An App is Not Cheap
The cost to develop an app can range from $2,000 to $250,000, depending on how many bells and whistles you want your app to provide. In addition, Apple and Android platforms have different app development requirements—which means unless you create two versions of the same app, your audience will be limited on either side.
The frequency of how often apps on your smartphone or tablet need updating should clue you in to something. Apps need constant maintenance. Every time Apple or Android makes changes to their mobile operating systems, your law firm’s app will be affected—and you’ll have to test it to make sure it functions properly. No matter how busy your law firm is, you likely won’t have the time or patience for this.
SEO Trends: Panicking Through Mobilegeddon
The April 21 release of Google’s new mobile-friendliness algorithm is historic because it was the first algorithm change that the search engine pre-announced. Usually, Google doesn’t even tell anyone of algorithm changes even after they have been released and SEO analysts have to guess what changed. Google has a habit of adjusting its algorithms after they go live and so don’t place too much value on your rankings during the first week of Google’s mobile-friendly new world order. Next week’s SEO Trends article will pay attention to the analysis of what happened. This week, you will read what SEO experts offer as their last minute tips before Mobilegeddon. The articles in this week’s trends review appear at Search Engine Roundtable, Search Engine Watch, Search Engine Journal and Search Engine Land.
The SEO world has been on the edge of its seats over Mobilegeddon since February when Google announced the algorithm’s forthcoming release. Hopefully, you should have your law firm’s website’s mobile version up and running by now. This article explains how Google’s past changes crippled a lot of Web-based businesses and also alerts to the fact that Google will penalize businesses that don’t have mobile-friendly versions of their sites.
This Search Engine Journal article contains the interesting insight that the mobile-friendliness re-ordering of rankings will not alter the position or order of the “local pack” on Google’s search results pages. The local pack is five businesses nearby to the searcher’s location or that are located in a place that was specifically named in the search term. This shows that getting into that local pack is vitally important for any law firm – the local pack members will not be down-ranked even if they don’t have mobile versions of their sites.
On the day before the birth of a mobile-friendly Google, Search Engine Land ran through all the questions it imagined website owners might have about the changes. Take a read through these answers to see whether your law firm’s site has the all-clear.
This article explains a nifty trick on how to work out what Google’s Web crawler, or “Googlebot,” will pick up from your law firm’s site. Although the guide gets a bit technical at some points, it is richly illustrated with screenshots, so you shouldn’t have any trouble working through the exercise.
Search Engine Roundtable is probably the most technically-oriented of all the SEO news sites. If you manage your law firm’s website, you will benefit from a regular visit to this site. One example of a very handy article to read is this one that explains how you can fast track Google’s recognition and indexing of your new mobile-friendly pages.
While everyone’s attention is held by Google’s new mobile algorithm, it seems that Bing, Google’s Microsoft-owned rival, is plotting something similar. You may need to make further adjustment to the mobile version of your law firm’s website if Bing makes similar changes to its ranking algorithm. Stay tuned for more developments.
Mobile Marketing Revamp
In last week’s SEO Trends report we explained that Google has brought out a new version of its mobile friendliness assessment tool. The release of this revamped tool seems to be part of a suite of changes Google is now releasing in its mobile search capabilities. You probably thought all the effort you made last April to get your law firm’s site a mobile version was about all the work you would need to invest on the topic of mobile. However, a little more than a year later, Google has returned to the topic, and so should you.
Of all the SEO news sites, Search Engine Watch has paid the most attention to recent changes in mobile capabilities, so we have a lot of references to that publication this week. We also have some articles from Search Engine Land that we think you should read.
It seems that Google rewrote its mobile-friendliness algorithm and ran it just over a week ago. However, this algorithm doesn’t just enhance the rankings of mobile pages, it can downgrade the rankings of all the pages on a site. In fact, as this article explains, the downside effects on standard Web pages are more notable that the enhancements made to some mobile pages. If your law firm’s Google rankings seem to have taken a sudden hit recently, this algorithm update may be the reason why.
If you find that your law firm’s mobile version of its website hasn’t resulted in any more customers you could also be in the category of businesses that recently got a general ranking downgrade from the recent algorithm update. This article explains steps you can take to get more value out of your mobile pages investment. It seems that AMP is a big influencing factor on the recent algorithm change, so that is an area you will need to investigate further. This report explains that users in the USA don’t make as many purchases on their smartphones as in emerging economies. This shouldn’t worry you too much, because your site is all about getting follow-through visits into your offices.
The end of this article is of interest on the topic of getting people to follow through a search with a visit to your law firm. This is an “online-to-offline” metric, which Google is now striving to define. If they can manage it, this figure would be of great value to law firms because none of you expect to complete your business with clients entirely over the Internet. Another encouraging figure in this report is that local search on mobile is growing 50 percent faster than general searches on smart phones. This is a key factor for law firms, because you get almost all of your customers from your local area.
After reading the two articles above, you might conclude that it could be better for your law firm to focus all your effort on your mobile pages and treat your Web pages as supplementary. That is, change your Web-strategy so that you design the mobile pages first, and then generate a computer-friendly version from that. If that is the way you end up going, this article has some suggestions on how you can go about creating your mobile-first page designs.
After launching a new version of its mobile-friendliness testing tool, Google went on to launch updates of a range of its products to enhance their services to mobile pages. This article summarizes all of those changes. The bid adjustment changes explained in point 3 of this report are better explained in the Search Engine Land article Google AdWords to break up tablet & desktop and enable a mobile base bid. These changes haven’t actually been implemented yet, so there is nothing you can do about this for the time being. There is, however, work you need to do in Google’s Search Console. You can now tie together different sites into one “property set.” This means if you have different addresses for your mobile and Web versions, you can get them treated as one. You can read more about these changes in the article Tie your web, and mobile properties together in Search Console, plus three more recent changes.
FAQs: Google’s “Mobile-First” Index and its Impact on SEO
82% of smartphone users utilize a search engine when looking for a local business, according to Google. Similarly, Search Engine Land reports that between 2011 and 2015, “near me” queries (such as “medical malpractice attorney near me”) on search engines increased 34 times, with mobile constituting most of those searches. It’s obvious—mobile is changing the way people search and buy online.
In response, Google is experimenting with a “mobile-first” index for their search engine algorithm, which prioritizes the mobile version of a website over the desktop version for the first time in the algorithm’s history. This is a major shift in the world of search engine optimization (SEO) that affects all law firms, large and small.
Find out more about Google’s mobile-first index and the impacts it will have on attorney SEO, so you can avoid being beat out by competitors on search engine results pages.
What is the purpose of Google’s “mobile-first” index?
In the past, Google rated a law firm’s website based on its desktop version. Basically, Google spiders crawled a legal website as a desktop user to determine where it should rank against other sites based on a few hundred attorney SEO factors, such as:
- Keyword in the title tag
- Frequency of content updates
- Citations (a mention of the law firm from another location on the internet—this could include just the law firm’s name, address, and phone number, or a link to the website as well)
- Page load speed
In the past, although many law firms possessed both desktop and mobile websites to appeal to different viewers, Google continued to prioritize desktop versions due to a large number of desktop users.
However, the number of mobile users has steadily risen year after year, eating away at desktop’s majority. In comScore’s 2016 US Cross-Platform Future in Focus, the company reported that mobile encompassed 65% of all digital media time—nearly double desktop’s 35% digital share.
Noticing this trend, Google has started experimenting with making their algorithm look at mobile versions of websites first, before desktop (hence the term “mobile-first”), and provide search results based on that analysis.
What does this mean for legal websites?
While Google is just starting to experiment with this system, the company has already admitted that this is the first step of many; according to a statement released on Google’s Webmaster Central Blog, the company will “continue to carefully experiment over the coming months on a small scale and ramp up this change when we’re confident that we have a great user experience.”
Therefore, legal practices should expect more of the same from Google and start prioritizing their mobile website experience and local SEO strategy. Below are a few tips to do just that.
What can my law firm do to stay competitive in the mobile-first search world?
- Develop a responsive mobile website identical to your desktop one
If your law firm has not developed a responsive, mobile-friendly website, that is the first order of business. This not only ensures that your legal practice provides a user-friendly experience for the massive audience of mobile users out there (which can increase conversion rates and result in more clients), but also that your law firm is not penalized by Google’s algorithm in the near future, resulting in damaged attorney SEO.
Work with an experienced legal website design company to create a dynamic mobile website that shares the same content as your desktop website. In the past, a criminal defense attorney could have a comprehensive desktop site that featured blog articles galore, while his mobile page featured little to no content and basically acted as a filler, backup site to the desktop one.
Going that route today may drop your Google ranking if the algorithm only crawls your half-baked mobile site. Prepare for the future: make your mobile and desktop sites nearly identical (aside from necessary design functionality changes) in order to rank well no matter which site the Google spider crawls.
- Utilize Google Search Console
Google Search Console provides a gold mine of information about your website, such as the number of people who are visiting your law firm’s website, and which pages on your site are the most and least popular.
Search Console also shows you how Google views your site, which can be incredibly helpful when assessing and improving your mobile website. Assuming your law firm has already added and verified your mobile site in Search Console, the next step is to use the “Fetch and Render” tool to preview your site as the Googlebot (be sure to Fetch and Render as “mobile: smartphone”).
Assess where improvements need to be made (for instance, where is Google having trouble rendering images?), and then tinker and Fetch and Render until your mobile site is perfect.
- Balance design and SEO
Don’t get so caught up in website design and functionality that you forget about attorney SEO elements. Your law firm could have the most beautiful, responsive mobile site, but that alone won’t bring in business—you have got to rank high on search engine results pages to drive website traffic.
Therefore, focus on improving your website to provide a great user experience, and then move on to prioritizing local SEO best practices such as building a comprehensive Google My Business page. To request a free guide about Google Local SEO and how to land into Google’s coveted 3-pack, fill out the simple information form on this page.
Don’t let competitors outrank you on Google.
Learn more about how Google Local SEO can increase your website visibility for more leads!
Why An Attorney Website is Still Your Top Marketing Tool
There is no doubt that both Facebook and Twitter are great ways to connect with clients and boost your business; however you still need a website to make yourself stand out.
Both networks are free to sign up, so what distinguishes you from the millions of other businesses that have a Facebook or Twitter account? While it is necessary to be on social media networks now, the web changes every day, so who knows when Facebook and Twitter will run its course. If that seems impossible, just look at MySpace. The only place on the web you can call your own is your website. Having a website gives you not only credibility but an online presence and identity that will help build a larger client base.
No character limit
With Twitter you are limited to 160 characters per tweet. How much can you really say in 160 characters? With your own website the possibilities are endless and you can have as much content as you like. The idea is to integrate your social media and website together as one. Tweet a quick synopsis of your latest article or blog post and then provide a link where future clients can get more information, and in turn drive more traffic to your website.
Gather client information and keep them informed
With Facebook and Twitter, you have no way of gathering a user’s information to keep them informed on updates to your website and law firm. You are banking on them to read their Facebook and Twitter feeds. What if they don’t? With your website you can setup a subscription form so they can be notified directly by email or phone – in addition to finding out exactly what their needs as a client are.
As noted above, anyone can setup a Facebook or Twitter account, so how would future clients know how legitimate you really are? With testimonials from your previous clients on your own website, prospective clients can see other reviews and thoughts of your business practice.
Maximizing Your Mobile Marketing Funnel
The marketing funnel is a classic concept of marketing. It involves finding your market, letting them know you exist, explaining your suitability to their needs, convincing them to try you out, and getting them to commit. Digital marketing is a useful channel for applying these tasks. Mobile marketing just offers another outlet for your marketing funnel efforts. Search Engine Optimization and particularly mobile SEO should aim at helping you define your target market and getting their attention. The way you present your law firm on your site is your chance to explain your suitability and convincing the potential client to try you out. New features available to mobile sites, such as click to call, aid in getting people to call you and come in for an initial consultation so you can convert interest into sales.
This week’s SEO Trends report looks at features of mobile digital marketing that assist the marketing funnel. Search Engine Watch, Search Engine Journal, and Search Engine Land all have features on this topic this week.
If you are new to mobile SEO, you will find this easy-to-use guide a goldmine of information. The basic level of mobile marketing involves getting your website mobile-friendly. Following on from getting your presentation right, you also need to get signals into your marketing strategy though social media and local search indicators, such as maps and review sites. Mobile SEO is very closely linked to local SEO and you should aim to include both methodologies in your law firm’s marketing strategy.
As explained above, local SEO and mobile SEO go hand in hand. This report explains the application of local SEO in much more detail than the previous article’s overview. As you are much more likely to get your clients from your immediate neighborhood than from other states, integrating local search signals into your law firm’s digital marketing strategy makes sense. Now that more than 50 per cent of searches are performed from mobile devices, getting mobile SEO into your core digital marketing plan has become essential.
One of the action points covered in the first article detailed in this report covered testing your site. This article covers the methodology of using Google’s mobile-friendliness testing tool. Using tools such as this one is particularly important if you get your website programming done by a consultancy. It is also important just to go through every page on your law firm’s site yourself before it goes live. Testing a private version of a site before it goes live can avoid costly errors that might damage your firm if they are released to the public.
The lack of space on the screen of a mobile device has caused website designers to seek space-saving visual signals. A growing standard to resolve space issues is to use the “hamburger” icon to tuck away the menu. Rather than having a strap along the top of a Web page showing the menu, this three-line symbol, pioneered by Google on the Chrome browser, is available for users to click on so they can see the navigation menu. Do people know what they mean? Is your website design hiding away all the supplementary pages of your law firm’s site by using the hamburger icon? This article explains the menu representation you can use on your site to make the hamburger icon easier to use.
The last stage in the marketing funnel is conversion. Most lawyers expect to complete this task in a face-to-face meeting, so, the furthest your website can take your potential customers along the funnel is getting the website visitor to call your office. This final step is a lot easier to facilitate on mobile sites than on regular websites, because of the click-to-call button. The beauty of the click-to-call button is that you don’t even need your own website to host it. The button can be placed in ads on other sites, and can even be integrated into your entry on Google’s results pages, if you have a paid entry. This article explains about collecting data to see which instance of a button got you most revenue. Don’t lose track of leads once they pick up the phone includes a link to a downloadable report, which explains the concept of call tracking in more detail.
Google Mobile Update
The first SEO Trends post of March 2015 at Optimized Attorney was based on the theme of “mobile-friendliness.” This was because Google announced it would be releasing an update to its ranking algorithm that will enhance the positions of mobile-friendly sites on its results pages. That change is slated for April 21, but already some clues about the nature of those changes are starting to emerge, so this week’s SEO Trends review returns to the topic. Most of the articles mentioned in this roundup come from Search Engine Roundtable – which tends to write for a technical audience. Other articles containing tips on the algorithm update appear in Search Engine Watch andSearch Engine Journal.
This is probably the most technical of all the items in this week’s article list … and it is a list that is more technical than usual. So, if you do not have any involvement with writing your law firm’s Web pages and you have no technical knowledge of programming at all, you would be better off passing this article on to whoever actually writes your site. This is a list of tips from Google’s own techies explaining the techniques and methodologies that should be incorporated into your firm’s website, otherwise, it might not get indexed by the Googlebots or it might not get ranked,
Still with Search Engine Roundtable, and still very technical. Unfortunately, these articles are essential reading for anyone involved with creating a mobile-friendly version of a website, so, as with the previous article, if you don’t write the pages for your law firm’s website, get whoever does to read this article. When you come to test your new mobile site you have two Google utilities at your disposal. However, Barry Schwartz reports that the test results that are produced by the Google mobile friendly testing tool and Google Webmaster Tools mobile usability report produce different results. Google’s advice is to trust the mobile friendly testing tool’s output.
Barry Schwartz chased up the issues his mobile testing raised and interviewed more Google techies about the problems. This report is the result of that discussion. The key point of this article is that the Google mobile friendly test will mark your law firm’s pages once they pass the test. When the Googlebot recrawls the page it will add a “mobile friendly” label to that pages entry in Google’s results pages. If you see this label when you search for your site in Google then you will benefit from a rankings boost, come the April 21 update. Remember as well that the mobile friendly criteria apply to each page of your site.
Search Engine Journal reported on a second set of tips on writing mobile-friendly sites that emerged from Google this week. SEJ writes in a more human-readable style than Search Engine Roundtable. None the less, if you are directly responsible for writing your law firm’s website, pass this article on to whoever is.
This is Search Engine Journal’s second article this week about the update. Here you will read some answers on more general questions about the update than the specifically technical advice given in the previous article. One puzzle, however, is that the Google techies in the Search Engine Roundtable interview were very clear that the ranking test for mobile friendliness will apply to each individual page and not the site overall. In this article, Google states that a SITE will be judged either as mobile friendly or not and there is no grading from one state to the other. Just to be sure you had better ensure that every page on your law firm’s site qualifies as mobile friendly.
This is an article you can read by yourself – you won’t need you law firm’s programmer to interpret it for you. It explains the wider context of the importance of mobile access. This is not a move that Google dreamt up alone. Consumer behavior was the driving force behind Google’s update and many different businesses are feeding into movement.
More Movement in Mobile
Google put a lot of work into its ranking algorithm for mobile searchers last year. Everyone with a presence on the Web had to match that drive with developments in their own websites to create mobile-friendly versions. Google seemed to have turned to other issues, but now have returned to more refinements in its services to searchers with smart phones. So, the SEO community is back on the subject of mobile search.
Google’s advanced mobile pages (AMP) concept has been on the cards for some time, and now it seems it is going live. We have mentioned AMP here before at SEO Trends, but now the topic has become so hot, it should be at the top of every legal firm’s to-do list. This week we look at Search Engine Roundtable, Search Engine Watch and Search Engine Journal to find out what you should be doing right now to get your law firm’s website ready for the changes.
Google actually has a few changes to its mobile-related search rankings on the cards. AMP is a major part of that, so here’s an explanation of what is going on. As the opener of this article explains, mobile users split websites into two categories – the quick and the dead. Your law firm’s website should be particularly fast if you do emergency work and cater to people looking for immediate representation in police precincts. After all the time and money you sank into your law firm’s site last year for mobile-friendliness, their new AMP tub thumping might seem like a real pain in the budget. However, given the impatience of mobile users, Google is actually doing you a big favor with its AMP service, so you need to make the most of it.
Here is some news from the techie-friendly Search Engine Roundtable, which you might not understand. Hopefully, the changes that they report won’t actually have any effect on your law firm’s rankings. Despite the fact that it probably isn’t worth your time to research this topic and it probably won’t have an impact on your site, it is better to check just in case. Fortunately, this article has a very easy-to-follow explanation on how to check whether your site will be affected. It probably won’t.
If you do detect a problem with the new representation of your law firm’s site when you follow the instructions in the Search Engine Roundtable article, check out this post on the topic from Search Engine Journal. SEJ is easier to understand for non-technical people. However, ironically, their explanations on how to test your site for the new regime are harder to follow than those posted on Search Engine Roundtable.
More movements in mobile search, as reported here by Search Engine Journal. Google is going to update its ranking algorithm to give a bigger boost to mobile-friendly pages – bigger than the one they got when mobile-friendliness was first introduced last year. This update will occur in May. Again, the Search Engine Roundtable take on this story is harder to understand, but has a link through to a testing app, which will tell you whether or not your law firm’s site will be affected by these changes.
Having gone through the great mobile-friendliness adoption battle last year for your law firm’s site, you might be interested to find out the experiences of other businesses on the Web. Reports on Mobilegeddon fell flat after the big day on April 21 last year and there were very few follow up stories on the event. Now some are coming through, and this article is one example.
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