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SEO for Law Firms – How to Choose the Right Agency

The search engine optimization profession is brand new, highly un-regulated and wrought with sham companies that make promises and don’t deliver.  It’s also a highly technical practice so lawyers don’t always know the difference between genuine professionals and fly-by-night agencies with smooth-talking sales professionals.  If you’re looking for someone to help market your site in search, here are some tips on choosing the right agency.   Ask for a Referral A sure-fire way to have a good experience with an SEO is to use one that a colleague, friend or family member has had a good experience with.  This way you can get an un-varnished look at what that professional was able to do, the results they achieved and the trusted opinion of your close contacts. Get References (and follow up on them) You should always interview a few companies before going with one and part of that process should include asking for references.  Get the names of 2 -3 or more other law firms or businesses that the SEO has done business with and call them up (with permission of course).  Be specific in your questions about references as well.  Don’t just ask for who the law firms are that the SEO has done work for but what they were supposed to/able to accomplish for them.  That way you’ll have something to talk about and verify if the person is honest. If the person doesn’t have a lot of references or none at all, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing but proceed with caution.  Depending on how critical the work you need done is to your business, you...

Lawyer Infographics as Link Bait

Sometimes link building is about getting people to naturally link to your content.  In a previous post on link building tactics , we touched on the concept of building an infographic as link bait but we didn’t really elaborate on a strategy to do that.  This post is all about how to make an infographic and use it to get links to your website. The Concept The idea here is pretty straight forward.  People like to share visual things like videos and images.  They are inclined to share media that are entertaining or (in the case of infographics) useful information that is easy to digest. You can take data that is otherwise bland and boring and turn it into an appealing infographic that your clients or other followers will find useful.  The link building comes in when you provide them a mechanism for sharing it on their own web properties (which we’ll get to in a moment). Creating Your Infographic There are two ways to go about this.  You can either make an inforgraphic yourself (not impossible and easier than you might think) or you can have someone make one for you.  There’s no shame in hiring out the work just keep in mind that it will cost more. If you plan on doing the work yourself you can use one of the many services out there that help regular users build appealing infographics for a nominal fee (and sometimes for free).  Here’s a brief list of services you could try: •Vizualize •Infogr.am •Pictochart •Easel.ey •Google Developer Make sure you have some data or other information that will be useful...

Evaluating Lawyer SEO Services: A Checklist

Interviewing companies to do SEO work can be a tedious process for attorneys.  What questions do you ask?  How can you always remember to ask the same questions of different companies?  We’ve developed a checklist you can use when interviewing potential search marketing and optimization professionals. Does the company have a portfolio of work? References are great but check if your potential SEO firm or freelancer has some real results.  Ask for some sites they’ve optimized and what the goals were for those clients.  It’s even better if they have it written down somewhere on the web.  Check to see if they were really able to do what they claimed they did. Have you gotten more than one opinion? There are multiple schools of thought when it comes to SEO just like there are different approaches to medicine or legal representation.  Just because one person or company has an opinion about your site doesn’t mean that is the final word.  Get an analysis or an opinion from a few professionals before you make a choice on who to go with. What is their value proposition? What is the first thing an SEO firm is promising (either in their marketing or when they call to talk with you)?  Is their first focus on driving up traffic and rankings?  Are they talking about this as if that is the goal of their activities in search?  Obviously this is the first part of the equation but lawyers also need the phone ringing or new business contacting them in some way.  The businesses that are focusing on conversions are the ones to listen...

The Tools I Use: A Resource Page for Attorneys

It’s difficult to recommend a tool if you’ve never used it before.  I use a variety of tools on a daily basis to do my work and I’d like to share them as resources for attorney’s looking for similar solutions in their own SEO work.  If you’re looking for software in any of the following categories, these tools come with my highest recommendation. Hosting WPEngine If you are going to be using WordPress WPengine is a great hosting company to go with.  They understand the platform and work with it every day.  It also works out well if you want to have multiple WordPress installations on the same hosting account (but under different domains).  For example if you have law offices in different states or even in different regions of the same state you could have a domain that represents each location. BlueHost Another great service is Blue Host (full disclosure, I’m a Blue Host affiliate).  I wouldn’t promote something however if I didn’t think it was any good.  The thing with web hosts is that you don’t really find out that they aren’t good for current web development technologies until after you’ve signed up. Blue Host is great no matter what your plans are.  The prices are extremely reasonable and the whole process is very painless.  Also, if you want to install WordPress their backend interface for point and click installation is about the easiest to use I’ve ever seen.   SEO Tools Ahrefs Ahrefs is a backlink analysis tool on steroids.  If you want to get scientific about your backlink building activities, this is an excellent web-based...

Reputation Management Tips for Lawyers

With the amount of people using search to look for local businesses, your online reputation is sometimes the only reputation that matters.  If you’ve found that your reputation needs some attention because of negative reviews, comments or publications; the best way to counter those is to drown them in positive information. Rank Other Directories Depending on where the original negative review is, you can try and push it down in the SERPs by getting other directories or websites where you have a profile to rank higher.  You do that by remaining active and populating them with information. You can also build links to those profiles, forums, and sites from your own website.  The key here is to be as active as possible posting multiple times per week.  Get your name out there and any other information that may also be in the negative review such as your law firm name, your practice area, etc. If you have positive reviews on other sites, build links to those and if possible generate content on them.  Fill out profiles on those sites completely. Push Out a Press Release Popular press release sites generally have a leg up in search.  You can publish a press release about your firm and get it to rank well in an effort to push down any negative reviews or comments.  For example PRWeb is an authoritative press release website that can get content syndicated quickly. Press release sites can still be effective however be careful how much time you invest.  In mid-2014, there were reports that many of these sites (typically the lower-quality ones) were hit by a...

Performance Considerations for Attorneys When Moving to SSL

Attorneys moving their site to HTTPS need to consider the performance impact that the change will have.  After all, it’s not like you are just flipping a switch to have a different URL displayed.  There are a lot of things going on behind the scenes when it comes to serving secure pages.  There are also other important considerations to investigate so your site continues to function the way it did on http. How HTTPS Works It helps to know what is happening behind the scenes with a secure connection vs a non-secure connection on the web.  Regardless of whether there is an encrypted connection or not, all browsers request information  from servers based on the code that is written for a website.     This information could be images, JavaScript files, style sheets, and other data or instructions needed to make a web page visible to a user.  When a request is made over a secure connection there are some additional steps that need to happen. While steps can vary, the basic process that happens is: • A “handshake” scenario takes place in which the server verifies the website is who it says it is and vis versa • The site and the server agree on an encryption method through which information can be exchanged • The site and the server agree on what keys will be used for the algorithm These steps are extremely complicated and a lot can go wrong in the process causing a web page not to render.  When things do go well, all of these interactions need to happen in just a second or...