Learn instantly what grade Google has given your website
It is important in marketing for attorneys and law firms to understand that Google grades every website with a 0-10 score it calls PageRank (named after Larry Page, Google’s co-founder). Most attorney websites have scores of 0-4. A few make it to 5. You have to be a NY Times or Amazon to obtain a 9.
Your website’s grade is one of the critical factors in its Google page position. If your site has a PageRank of 1 and your top web competitor has a PageRank of 3, your competitor’s site will likely appear above yours for many searches.
Learn your grade instantly
To learn what score Google has assigned to your website, go to http://www.prchecker.info/check_page_rank.phpand type in your website’s address. For example, when I type in www.JamesAttorneyMarketing.com I learn that it has a PageRank of 5.
You can of course use this same handy tool to learn the scores of your key competitors. Simply type in their web addresses one at a time. Their scores compared to yours tell you how large a gap you need to overcome.
How to improve your grade
Inbound links with appropriate anchor text from relevant websites are what count for PageRank. A percentage of your inbound links should come from sites with higher PageRanks than yours and contain keyworded anchor text (the words that are highlighted and linked to your site).
Optimizing Your Website for Bing
It’s no secret that Google is the search engine powerhouse. In fact, marketing research has determined that Google claims nearly 70% of the Internet searches completed within the United States. However, Microsoft’s search engine Bing continues to hold its own—it claims roughly 8% of the search pie. Nearly 10% of all search engine traffic is nothing to scoff at, and all the more reason for lawyer websites to be tailored for Bing in addition to Google. Consider the following optimization tips that may help your firm increase its Bing SEO efforts.
1. Implement some Google best practices
Some of the same practices and processes that work for Google SEO relate to Bing SEO as well. For example, optimizing URLs and domain names and garnering a number of high-quality backlinks from outside sources will boost website SEO on any of the top search engines. In addition, strategically placing keywords throughout your lawyer website is essential no matter which search engine your law firm is focusing on. To best optimize your law firm’s webpage, be sure to naturally incorporate keyword phrases in article headlines and subheads, within the first and last 50-word sections on the website or blog page, and occasionally bold keywords throughout the page.
2. Focus on social media
Bing emphasizes the role that social media plays on search engine optimization. Basically, the greater the number of followers your lawyer website accrues and the more content sharing the Bing bots notice, the higher your webpage can rank on search results.
3. Structure your webpage to appeal to Bing’s bots
Page structure is hugely influential upon the SEO performance of your website. When optimizing your website for Bing, use “strong” tags to highlight keywords in body text, avoid featuring important text content in images (Bing’s bots have trouble reading text featured in images, scripts, and Flash), and utilize header tags to structure content intuitively.
Also, it’s best to steer clear of hidden text and links. Bing views these elements as “spammer” behavior and can penalize your lawyer website for it.
4. Narrow down the best keywords
Brainstorm possible keywords and keyword phrases, and don’t hesitate to use tools like Microsoft Advertising Intelligence to pare down keyword lists and predict the performance of chosen phrases.
5. Create high-quality, engaging content
This rule of thumb applies to all search engines, but it’s worth mentioning that Bing definitely rewards websites that regularly push engaging and well-written content. This means ensuring that articles and website text are original (no plagiarism or borrowing from other sites!), free of errors, and compelling enough to promote sharing on social media and outside websites.
Weekly SEO Trend: Search Engine Alternatives
The SEO community pays special attention to everything Google does almost to the complete exclusion of all other search engines. This is because Google consistently accounts for around 65 per cent of all Web searches every year.
However, this position may be changing. You may expect that the challenge to Google’s supremacy arises from the search engine’s traditional rivals, Bing and Yahoo. However, this is not the case. New applications, not traditionally thought of as search engines are starting to crowd the search engine space and they are winning market share from Google.
This roundup looks at alternative search engines for you to consider as marketing outlets for your law practice. The reports in this roundup come from Search Engine Watch, Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Roundtable and Search Engine Land.
This Search Engine Watch article highlights the fight back that is currently being implemented by traditional directories like Yellow Pages. Way back when, people would automatically reach for the telephone directory to find goods or services, but then the Internet came along. Recent trends towards local searches have played into the hands of the directory companies who have placed their databases online. In this article you will see that the directories are winning market share from Google in paid advertising, so consider paying for feature placements for your law firm in local searches on directories rather than on Google.
The headline of this Search Engine Watch article plainly identifies a new direction for Pinterest as a contender in the search engine world. Pinterest is classified as a “curation tool.” This means that people make collections of sites and pictures that interest them and then invite people to look at their collection. This is a rather odd pursuit that is difficult to fit legal services into. However, the endeavor will pay off, because Pinterest is on the rise.
This is an article in Search Engine Journal on the same subject that you just read about in Search Engine Watch. Reading another article on the same development at Pinterest may seem like a waste of time. However, there does seem to be a lot of interest in the SEO news world in what Pinterest is doing at the moment and so doubling up your time on this topic may help you focus on how you can use it to market your law firm.
I’m sure you’re sick of hearing about Pinterest by now. However, look at this article about the company, which also comes from Search Engine Journal. The site has “Place Pins,” which look remarkably similar to Google Local’s search methods on Google Maps. As you are more likely to get clients from your law office’s locale, you need to find a way to get your place pinned just in case Pinterest ends up trouncing Google in the local search market.
Like Pinterest (sorry to mention it again), Instagram is a big online marketing platform you have probably never heard of. However, with 200 million accounts, most of which are in the USA, this is site you need to get to know. As the title of this piece suggests, you may benefit from tailoring some of your law firm’s marketing towards Instagram. This article gives a good 101 on the site.
This article in Search Engine Roundtable explains that things are not going to well for marketers who focus their strategy on Facebook. Reading this, you will probably start to realize why so many people have started to switch their marketing from Facebook to Instagram. If your law firm’s marketing is heavily invested in Facebook, maybe you should now take a look at Instagram as an alternative outlet.
The past month has seen a slew of algorithm updates from Google. If you decided to tweak your law firm’s site to account for these changes, or if you decided to put up an entirely new site, you need to track what benefits those changes brought you. SEO testing is a complicated process and involves the knowledge of a whole range of tools. An army of SEO specialists make a living testing websites for SEO enhancements, so you may just want to commission a study of your new site’s positioning in search engines.
This Search Engine Journal report is written by an SEO consultant who makes a living tracking the changed performance of redesigned websites. This is a long and involved article, so you will need to dedicate some time to it.
If you don’t want to pay for analysis of your law firm’s site, but just want to do it yourself, you can follow the steps that Sergio Aicardi explains in this article. He uses Google Analytics and tells you what metrics to look out for and how to judge whether your redesign was worth the money.
This is another good article for those with little SEO knowledge who want to test the performance of their firm’s website. The topic of this piece is how to estimate goals of traffic visiting your new site. In short, it is a way to benchmark the performance of your new site in attracting Web surfers through search engines. The article features a guide on how to use Google Webmaster Tools.
The key goal of SEO is to get your website high in search engine results pages. This is the first of two articles listed in this roundup that explain how recent developments have changed the behavior of search engine users. Smartphones have smaller screens than desktops or laptops and it seems this factor has influenced the likelihood of people clicking on an entry further down the page. The top spot is even more important to get the attention of mobile users.
This article seems to contradict the mobile search studies, above. It discusses another recent study into where people look on Google’s results pages. It found that back in 2005, there was a Golden Triangle at the top of the page where most people focused their attention, but now that behavior has changed. People are now likely to scan further down the page. An explanation for this contradiction between the two studies is that people are resistant to advertising. Now Google puts paid entries at the top of search results and flags them with the word “Ad.” Probably people are scanning a little lower to filter out the paid entries.
This article appears on Search Engine Watch, but is entirely based on a survey conducted by Moz (link in the article). Most lawyers work as sole practitioners or in small partnerships and get all of their business from their neighborhood; so, success in local search is really important. The Moz study examines what factors on a website will get a high ranking on search engine results pages for local searches.
SEO Trends: SEO Skills
As a lawyer, you are probably very confident about your skills in the legal profession. However, if you are trying to run your own website, you may worry that your SEO skills are not up to scratch. In fact, you may know so little that you don’t even know what skills you lack. Don’t worry. Even SEO experts get those feelings sometimes. There is always the worry that others know things that you don’t. However, this week’s SEO news roundup focuses on what skills you need for search engine optimization, and how to acquire them. This review includes articles from Search Engine Journal, the Moz Blog and Search Engine Watch.
In this article, SEO guru Neil Patel admits that he sometimes worries that he doesn’t know enough about SEO. He then runs down eighteen categories of knowledge that he believes every SEO practitioner should master. The list just covers general categories of optimization, but if you worry that you don’t even know which areas you should be skilled in, this is a useful checklist to help you brush up your skills to manage your law firm’s website.
Social media knowledge was at number 17 on Patel’s list. This area of digital marketing is a key area for law firms and so read this article to zoom in on more specific skills needed to ace social media marketing. Use of social media will help establish key lawyers in your practice by giving them credibility and encouraging familiarity.
Although you shouldn’t be expected to write your own programs and web pages for your law firm’s site, a little knowledge of HTML will enable you to fix little glitches on your site and insert links without having to call out an expensive consultant. Learning a bit about programming will also help you understand the degrees of complexity involved in the topic and help you better negotiate when getting prices for coding.
If you identified knowledge gaps when reading through Patel’s list, then maybe you need to look for some SEO training courses. Rather than splurging your law firm’s profits on specialist on-site courses, you could benefit from this guide to free SEO training.
How much do you know about local SEO? If the answer is “nothing,” you may find this checklist, presented in the form of a quiz a useful tool. Local SEO is really important for most legal practices, because small law firms get all of their clients from their immediate neighborhood. This article contains a list of links to resources on local SEO once you have taken the quiz and discovered what you know and don’t know about this important topic.
SEO Trends: SEO Tools
t is a common mistake to let pride in your work cloud your judgment. You probably worked hard to get your law firm’s website up and running and you are probably pretty pleased with it.
However, if the site isn’t attracting visitors, there is something wrong with it. You may find it difficult to see anything that could be changed. This is because you don’t know what to look for. The only way to assess your own site with objectivity is to use SEO tools. Search Engine Land, Search Engine Journaland Search Engine Watch have some great tips on SEO tools this week, along with examples of how to use them. Here’s a rundown of some tools you could use to improve the rankings of your law firm’s website.
Most of the best utilities for analyzing your website are online tools and a lot of them are free. Google provides a number of different tools. Google Trends won’t analyze your law firm’s site, but it gives live data on what subjects are important. You can narrow the results to show what searchers are looking for in your local area. This tool can give you ideas on topics for blog posts and also help you target your law firm’s specializations to the practice areas that seem to be in particular demand.
One of the most important analytical tools that website owners use is called Google Webmaster Tools. This tool offers in-depth analysis of SEO factors on your site. You need to link your site to the tool before you can use it. Google has renamed the tool to “Search Console.” However, everyone still calls it Google Webmaster Tools, as does the author of this article. Search Console is included in this list of tools you can use to check the SEO qualities of your law firm’s site. Other tools demonstrated in this article are Screaming Frog, Xenu Link Sleuth, Copyscape, Pingdom and Google Analytics.
The main aim of SEO is to get your website a high ranking for specific keywords. Therefore, getting Google to log your law firm’s site for the keywords that potential clients are likely to search for is of primary importance. This article explains tools that you can use to find the right keywords for your new website. The first port of call in this journey is the Google AdWords Keyword Planner, which is another free tool from Google. Other tools illustrated in this guide are SEMRush and Term Explorer.
All the writing on your law firm’s website, even the “Hello and welcome” message on your homepage, is called “content.” This article explains how to gear your law firm’s content so that it contains all the important keywords you need to rank for and engages visitors long enough that you get a ranking boost from the amount of time they spend on each page. The first tool this article visits is the Google AdWords Keyword Planner that was explained in the previous article. You can get ideas for topics to write about on your site from Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator and see which articles are doing well right now (both yours and that of your rivals) through BuzzSumo and Impactana. The article suggests using Grammarly to check the grammar in your new articles and explains WordPress SEO, which would be of use to those of you using WordPress. Sendible and BuzzBundle can help you promote your site on social media and in comments and reviews.
This article outlines methods for market testing your law firm’s site to see which versions appeal more to the general public. This is a case study of how one site owner tested different text on a button on his site that encouraged people to access a free trial. The study includes the use of Optimizely and VWO SEO tools.
This is a long list of tools you could try out to improve the performance of your law firm’s website. Most of them have free versions. Each entry in the list has a link through to the website of the tool’s provider. The article divides tools into three categories: analysis tools, link prospecting/acquisition and performance measurement. Majestic, Open Site Explorer, SEMRush, Screaming Frog and Google Analytics are probably the most widely used of the tools in this list.
One way to get to the top of search engine results pages is to undermine the rankings of your competitors. This methodology is called “black hat SEO,” or “negative SEO.” How do you find out if someone is using dirty tricks against your law firm’s website? This article outlines ways to detect what is going wrong with your rankings and identify a negative SEO campaign that someone has launched against you.
This article is a useful tutorial on how to use Google Analytics. This is a free tool, but you can nly access stats on a website that you can prove you own. So, if you do not have the primary responsibility for your law firm’s website, you would need to get your practice’s webmaster to set up the account for you.
Neil Patel runs his own SEO consultancy. In this Search Engine Journal article, he passes on some tips about the tools he rates. He has been a little bit cheeky, putting his own website, Quick Sprout, at the top of the list. However, each entry contains a link through to the tool in question, so check through them to see if any will help you with your law firm’s website.
If you use Google AdWords to advertize your law firm, this Search Engine Watch article should be of interest to you. Like many tools, Google AdWords has lots of features and it is difficult for new users to get to know all the tweaks that bring the most benefit from the system. The article includes screen shots of the important sections of the tool as each is discussed so you should know where to look in order to follow the article’s advice.
If you want to get out of your office and leave the law behind for a few days, you could profitably spend your away time getting up to speed on your digital marketing strategy. Conferences, expos and seminars are a great way to take time out from your day to day workload and really go in-depth on SEO strategies.
The first benefit of attending these conferences is that you are not physically available, so you won’t be constantly dragged back to your caseload, interrupting your stream of thought on your Web strategy. A secondary benefit is that conferences are organized at many different locations around the country and even abroad. You get a nice little tax-deductable trip to Hawaii out of the research, as well as contacts and insights.
These events range in themes and styles from sales expos to intense training courses. Have a look at the different formats of meetings and see whether one might be worth the trip. In this week’s round up, you will be directed to Search Engine Watch, Search Engine Land and Search Engine Journal.
A number of the SEO news sites are closely linked with conference and training seminar organizations. In fact, in many cases they seem to be corporate stablemates. In this article, Search Engine Watch plugs a forthcoming one-day conference in Atlanta, which is run under the banner of Search Engine Strategies. SES run a rolling program of conferences across the country throughout the year. However, they have been on a hiatus recently and they are relaunching their format with this July conference. SES brings in keynote speakers, who act more like guest lecturers on a one day course. Another brand of conferences that Search Engine Watch promotes heavily is called ClickZ and you can see a list of upcoming events in the rightmost column of the Search Engine Watch Home page.
The main rival to Search Engine Watch and their SES/ClickZ friends is Search Engine Land with its affiliation to the SMX brand of expos. Search Marketing Expo runs exhibitions and conferences all over the world at regular periods throughout the year and you can see a list of their forthcoming events in the right-most column of the Search Engine Land Home page.
Search Engine Journal doesn’t seem to have its own brand of conferences to plug. However, you can see the importance of these events to the industry by that fact that SEJ has three stories on its front page based around conferences. The first of these is a bumper roundup of events in the pipeline. Not all of these are directly related to digital marketing and you will struggle to find a conference specifically aimed at websites for lawyers. However, if you read through the list, you might find something that could benefit your law firm’s digital marketing strategy.
SEJ uses SEO conferences to pin down key players and interview them on video. This interview, conducted by Murray Newlands at Marketo’s Marketing National Summit is a typical example. Even if you are not interested in what the interviewee, Mike Berger, has to say, it is worth taking a look at the video in this article to get an idea of the atmosphere at these events.
This article from SEJ illustrates the third method the site uses to draw content from conferences. This is a summary of a talk at the SMS Summit 2014. This is an example of how you can learn from conferences without even attending them. So if you can’t take time away from your caseload, you can pick through the articles that sites like Search Engine Journal produce by sending their writers as attendees.
Google does not pre-announce changes to its ranking algorithm. The company dominates the search market and sudden changes in methods can ruin businesses. Thus, a large part of the SEO news media is concerned with reading between the lines of whatever any Google official says. Unfortunately, Google’s official announcements are not always good advice to follow. So this week, the SEO trends analysis looks at what Google is saying at the moment.
Some of these whispers may turn into major events in the future, others may turn out to be major mistakes.
This story from Search Engine Land is an example of how it is not always a good idea to rely on everything that Google says. This confuses the general advice of following Google’s opinion to the letter when managing your law firm’s website. In August, Google announced that those sites that used https secure connections would get a rankings boost. Over the following few weeks, analysts detected that this boost was negligible. One company that leapt over to https got a serious downgrade in its rankings. Therefore, it is necessary to listen to what Google says, but then what analysts and news sites say about what Google says.
This article is based on a clever way of detecting what Google is doing without waiting to listen to what Google says. A news site has noticed a new patent filed by Google that shows it will start to pay attention to what’s on TV in a local area and adjust rankings accordingly. It is difficult to see how this will influence law firm websites, but it is certainly a factor to look out for when monitoring Google’s announcements.
Google has started showing its own answers at the top of search engines. Sometimes this comes in the form of a snippet taken from another website and sometimes it is Google’s own content, like a quick How To, or conversions of units of measure. This move will have huge ramifications for information websites because searchers will no longer bother to look at the sites listed in the results pages. Now Google says that it does not always need to attribute its sources of information. This may well have legal ramifications in the future.
Google says it is going to replace Google Maps with My Maps. Google’s mapping structure is central to its local search strategy and so it is vital to check out My Maps to make sure your law firm’s location info has been copied over from Google Maps.
In another article this week, Google says it is getting rid of Panoramio and integrating it as a photo feature in Google Maps. It will also include public photos of a location that are posted on Google +. In another story Google says it has just added on coverage of 20 new countries to Google Maps. So, between this, and the news about My Maps, Google seems to be contradicting itself. Why is it investing so much in Google Maps if it is going to replace it with My Maps. Why not just focus new developments on My Maps? It seems that the switch over to My Maps may be a long way off, so it is best to make sure that your law firms location is registered on both mapping systems.
Search engine insiders, like the rest of the human race, have been slow to recover from the holidays. This means that vital news has been thin on the ground for the first half of January 2014.
However, the third full week of the year has seen the industry spring back from the post-celebration climb down so coverage of new topics has sprung to life. In this roundup you will read about Google’s first major announcement of the year and the industry’s reaction to it.
Attorneys, do you have a mobile website? Have you experienced difficulty getting Google to notice your smartphone-specific law content? This big announcement from Google is one to read through. Googlebot-Mobile is being phased out over the next 3 to 4 weeks to make way for a new crawler that is more sympathetic to smartphone content. If you found your smartphone pages ignored in the past this is because the Googlebot-Mobile strategy discarded content-rich mobile content, assuming that these were handset and service-provider features rather than third-party content. Lawyers, get your Technical Services team to read through this one – it is a tech-heavy article.
While your tech team crunches through the Google announcement on Googlebot-Mobile changes, you can find a more human-readable explanation over at Search Engine Watch. This article, published on January 24, puts the latest update into the context of Google’s ongoing effort to improve mobile accessibility and if your firm’s website caters to smartphone access you will need to keep abreast of these changes.
Search Engine Journal produced an interesting news item on the 24th that illustrates how urgent Google’s adaptation to mobile technology really is. Research from Movable Ink shows that more marketing emails are read on smartphones and tablets (combined) than on desktops. Bear these trends in mind when designing email campaigns to your law firm’s clients.
Although Search Engine Land covers the Googlebot-Mobile change, they have another article that will be of more interest to your law firm’s website designers. This article covers an analysis of rich media content, such as images, on top ranking pages.
In their only post of the year so far, Google’s Inside Search covers a new feature of their search results pages. This article, dated January 22, explains that a snippet giving info on each SERP entry will appear in an overlay box when the user hovers the mouse pointer over that entry. Make sure you know where Google gets the snippet for your law firm’s pages and get it in shape.
Google’s algorithm supremo took to his own blog to drop a bombshell on the industry on the 20th. Matt Cutts fired off a few rounds to show that he is gunning for guest bloggers. This revelation should have caused an SEOer stampede back to the drawing board, but the SEO news sites don’t seem to have noticed the fatwa. Strategists take note: reassess any blogs your partners and lawyers may have contributed to.
If you like conferences and love London, then you are in luck. The search engine and social media marketing conference will be taking place at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, across the yard from Big Ben from 10th to the 13 February. Twitter’s UK Managing Director, Bruce Daisley will be headlining the “converged media” shin-dig.
If you can’t make it to the UK for February, then make sure you know the way to San Jose. The Search Marketing Expo (SMX) will be rolling into town on March 10th for four days of boot camps and summits. Book your place before February 1st to earn a discount.
If you need help with SEO for your attorney website, contact us to see how we can help you.