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For attorneys, social media can be one of the most ambiguous areas of marketing. While Facebook can be a great platform to increase visibility for your law firm and engage with the local community, it can also be a source of frustration. How will you increase your following? What type of content should you post? Should you engage in both organic content and paid ads on Facebook? How does Facebook fit with your firm’s broader digital marketing strategy? How will you measure success?
Effective Facebook marketing requires time, effort, and expertise. However, some tips will help boost the results of your social media strategy. Whether you need to re-think your content or increase Facebook followers, we’ve rounded up 10 quick wins that will help your firm achieve social media success.
Optimize your Content
1. Re-share relevant content.
The truth is – most people don’t seek out law firms to follow on Facebook. To attract and retain followers, your content must be relevant, engaging, and useful (or humorous, if that’s part of your brand). One of the biggest mistakes we see law firms make on Facebook is a lack of content diversity. If you only post your law firm’s blog articles, for example, your content can become boring. Many attorneys operate under the guise that Facebook content must be generated solely from your firm.
One easy way to diversify your content is simply sharing related content from other pages. This may be from a local news outlet, legal industry page, or another organization. For example, a personal injury attorney may want to share content from a local bicycle safety organization in the summer.
When you share content from other Facebook pages, don’t simply click “Share” and be done with it. Make sure to write a sentence or two offering your point-of-view or an explanation about why this content would be relevant to your followers.
2. Ensure your “About” section is complete and accurate.
This is one of the most basic, yet often overlooked, aspects of Facebook marketing for attorneys. The “About” section of your page should offer as much detail as you can provide about your law firm. Take time to write a compelling, informative description of your business, detailing your areas of practice and what makes you unique.
In addition to your firm’s description, it’s important to fill in as many pieces of information as you can, including a link to your website, social media handles, and any relevant awards. Most importantly, make sure your business type and products are accurately labeled, as this helps to categorize your business properly and increase your chances to be displayed in a Facebook search result.
3. Set up Facebook Locations for all law firm offices.
If you have multiple offices locations, it’s important to reflect that on your Facebook page. There is a distinction between a Facebook Page and a Facebook Location, and your law firm needs to be correctly set up in order to make it easier for potential clients to find your business.
Your main Facebook should be set up as a Facebook Page. This is where you’ll post content and engage with followers. For your other locations, you will want to set up a Facebook Location. It may be the case that this is already created, in which case you will need to claim the business and merge it with your business page. To check if your law firm office location is already on Facebook, simply search your business name on the site.
If you need to set up a new Location page, you can also easily add, remove, and manage this through the Facebook Locations tool.
For example, Starbucks uses a main brand page. From a desktop computer, you can click on Locations on the left navigation to view their Facebook Locations pages. Each location page has the address, hours of operation, link to their local store webpage, and reviews. If you have multiple law firm offices, your pages should look similar.
This is also important for your law firm’s reputation management. If you do not claim and manage your business information on Facebook, other users can add photos, leave reviews, or post content. When you own your Locations, you have more control over the content. You can choose to turn off comments on Location pages or automatically re-share content from your main brand page.
4. Check your competitors’ ads.
With law firm marketing, it’s always helpful to develop an understanding of what competitors are doing to stay ahead. Facebook’s Ad Library provides an opportunity to do so. Through the ad library, you can view all ads from Facebook pages.
This tool has endless options. There may be a few law firms in your area that seem to always have new cases. Using this tool can help you understand if paid social media is part of their strategy. You may also want to view ads from successful firms in your practice area in another city, as it can serve as a thought-starter if you’re considering running Facebook ads.
While you will not have information about performance, understanding the types of ads being run by local attorneys, especially your competitors, will help you make decisions about your own firm’s paid social media.
5. Respond to messages.
Don’t neglect your law firm’s direct messages. Potential and existing clients may use Facebook messenger to get in touch with your law firm, so being responsive is a crucial element of your overall client experience. When someone views your firm’s Facebook page, your responsiveness to messages is displayed. If you’re not responsive to messages, potential clients may get the impression that you lack proper customer service and communication skills.
One option to consider is Instant Replies. These are automatic replies that are sent as a Page’s first response to new messages. If you’re using Instant Replies, make sure to craft a message that is clear, concise, and honest. For example, do not state that someone will respond within a few hours if you cannot keep that promise.
It’s also best to avoid making communication more difficult. For example, if someone asks a question via Facebook messenger, avoid using your Instant Reply to request that people email or call your law firm. If Facebook Messenger is someone’s preferred means to get in touch, try to meet their needs without asking to open a different line of communication.
Grow Your Following
6. Include a link in your e-mail signature.
This is another simple, yet often underutilized strategy. If you’re looking to increase your law firm’s social media presence, look for opportunities to include links to your Facebook page where it makes sense. An email signature is one great place to do so.
7. Ask for reviews and respond to them!
Increasing the number of client reviews should be one of your law firm’s biggest marketing priorities. Many attorneys we work with are surprised at how willing their clients are to leave reviews if you simply ask for them. On Facebook, the reviews system was updated in 2018 to Facebook Recommendations, which is meant to give a more comprehensive view of how businesses are rated by their customers or clients.
While Google reviews may be the first thing you focus on, don’t neglect Facebook. Potential clients of your law firm may be checking your page to read reviews. Your Facebook recommendations will be aggregated to determine your rating, which is displayed to anyone viewing your page as a star-rating.
We’re often asked about negative reviews. One negative review isn’t going to significantly hinder your firm’s marketing efforts, unless it’s the only one. This is why we always recommend consistently soliciting reviews from satisfied clients. Whether the reviews you receive are positive or negative, respond to each one. This also shows potential clients that you are engaged and take client satisfaction seriously. There are circumstances in which reviews can be removed, such as reviews left by people who are not clients of your firm.
8. Follow local businesses with similar interests.
Establishing relationships with local businesses can lead to mutually beneficial outcomes, and the same is true for social media. Follow local businesses in your area and regularly engage with their content. This can be through sharing, liking, or commenting on their posts.
If your law firm is involved in local events, make sure there is a dedicated Facebook event and that your firm name is represented. For example, if you sponsor a local 5k, you can ask the organizer to include your firm in the description of the event and tag your Facebook page.
9. Use the scheduling feature.
For mid to large-sized law firms, it’s often not the attorneys posting directly to Facebook. It’s usually a marketing professional or agency. Much like being an attorney, managing a social media page can be a demanding and time-consuming job.
Make sure your social media managers are set up for success by looking for process efficiencies. Facebook has a post scheduling feature, which can streamline your content process and eliminate work on weekends and evenings. We have found that it’s best to establish an editorial calendar at least a week in advance.
There are also many tools available to schedule posts and streamline social media content creation. Hootsuite is our favorite at Postali.
10. Re-purpose content marketing for Facebook.
Each social media platform is unique, and we don’t advise copying and pasting content from one platform to another without a strategy behind it. However, think about your firm’s overall marketing efforts and look for ways to use existing content that you can tweak for Facebook. This saves time and amplifies your content strategy.
If you regularly update your law firm’s blog, make sure you link to your blog from Facebook. If your law firm welcomes a new attorney, you can create a Facebook post so that your followers can get to know them. If you send out a newsletter, look for parts of it that could be re-shared with your Facebook followers.
Do You Need Help With Your Law Firm’s Facebook? Contact Postali Today
We hope these tips sparked some new ideas that will boost the results of your Facebook marketing strategy. If you’d like to discuss your firm’s social media presence and how it fits your marketing efforts, reach out to Postali today at (800) 667-3612, or through the online form.
If you’re an attorney, achieving high rankings within Google’s organic results is one of the best ways to drive traffic to your website and ultimately, bring new business to your law firm.
You may have taken some time in between client meetings to Google keywords related to your business to see how you stack up to the competition. You see that you’re on page one, and think you’re doing pretty well. But if you only ever check your rankings on a desktop, you’re missing an important part of the story.
We often see that lawyers can overlook the importance of mobile. In order to excel at attorney SEO, you must focus your law firm’s digital marketing efforts on optimizing for mobile devices. That means creating content that is both informative and useful, but that reads well on a small screen. It means mobile-friendly website design. It also means understanding how your organic listings appear on Google’s mobile search results.
In late May, Google began rolling out changes to the way their mobile search results appear. There were two major changes:
Black Ad Labels
Favicons for Organic Results
Black Ad Labels
Most Google search results are comprised of both paid and organic listings. Paid placements have always been marked as such, but Google often tests new ways to display how ads appear. In their most recent update, paid search ads appear with a black ad label.
Favicons for Organic Listings
Scroll to the organic listings, and you’ll notice the second update: favicons. Favicons are the small icons that now appear next to the URL on organic listings.
During testing, Google claimed that the favicons make it easier for users to scroll through organic results more quickly.
Along with the update, Google released favicon guidelines. If your website’s favicon violates guidelines, Google will simply remove it from search results. If you see your law firm website in search results and you either do not have a favicon, or it’s not correct, you can have your website developer update your law firm’s favicon.
What Does This Mean for My Law Firm’s SEO Strategy?
Google is often subject to scrutiny over the ethics of how clearly they mark the paid ad results.
Over the years, we have seen organic search results lose real estate to paid ads, and paid ad labels become less distinguishable. Most SEOs agree that the new ad label blurs the lines between paid and organic results, and that the average user may not understand the difference.
For attorneys, this can be especially frustrating. Paid search campaigns can be expensive in the legal industry, and it may not be feasible for a smaller firm with a limited marketing budget.
While we understand and share this frustration, we know from experience that changes in Google’s ad labeling rarely has significant effects on organic performance.
Will This Impact My Law Firm’s Paid Search?
It’s possible, but we suspect it’s unlikely to cause any significant changes. One popular opinion is that some users do not trust paid search results and opt to click through to organic results that seemingly have earned their Google placement, rather than paying for it. If the distinction between ads and organic listings becomes less clear, it’s possible that more users will click on ads unknowingly.
Should I Be Worried?
At Postali, we have been managing attorney PPC and SEO campaigns for years, and have seen countless changes to mobile search result layouts. In general, we have found that they don’t cause significant changes to a law firm’s SEO or paid search strategy.
Whether it’s done in the best interest of users or not, Google is constantly changing the way mobile search results appear, and oftentimes will test new ad labels. Reacting to every update simply isn’t a productive use of your time. If your law firm focuses on running effective PPC campaigns and white hat SEO, your strategies should stand the test of time and be fairly agnostic to Google’s layout changes.
If you do see that click-through rates on organic listings are declining due to layout changes, it’s possible to offset with more emphasis on local SEO, improving your organic rankings, or identifying content gaps within your law firm’s website.
What Should I Keep an Eye Out For?
While we don’t recommend being overly reactive to Google’s mobile layout changes, it is important to keep a pulse on how it may be affecting your results. You should be looking at SEO and PPC data at least monthly, but after algorithm updates or mobile layout changes, it’s best to do weekly checks on your key performance indicators (KPIs).
It’s important to remember that the impact of the layout to your firm’s business depends largely on the percentage of traffic your website receives from mobile and desktop. For most practice areas, your mobile traffic may be around 50-60% of total website traffic. If your website receives a higher percentage of traffic on desktop, you’re less likely to see any notable shifts in performance from the mobile SERP (search engine results page) update.
To understand impacts to your organic search performance, your law firm’s marketing team or agency should monitor Google Search Console for shifts in click-through-rate on mobile devices. While it can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint correlation vs. causation, this is a good starting point.
Reach Out To Postali to Learn More
While it’s critical to keep up with Google’s tests and changes, it should not deter from the core pillars of your strategy. If you focus on attracting the right people to your law firm’s website, providing them with relevant and useful content and encouraging them to contact your firm, your digital marketing strategy will be poised for success.
To learn more about Google’s new mobile layout and how it might affect your law firm’s website, call Postali at (800) 667-3612, or reach out through the online form.
When it comes to establishing an online presence for your law firm, there are few things more important than your content strategy. Yet so many lawyers get this wrong.
Despite its importance, we find that many attorneys underestimate the time and level of skill needed to execute a full content marketing strategy. If you can hire an inexpensive freelance writer to create content for your law firm website, shouldn’t that be enough? You know your firm better than anyone else. Couldn’t you just write your content yourself?
The answer to both questions is no. In this post, we’ll cover the top three myths we hear the most, and how you can improve your legal content marketing efforts.
Myth #1: Content Development and Content Marketing Are the Same Thing.
One of the biggest mistakes we see attorneys make is thinking that law firm content development and content marketing mean the same thing. In fact, we hear these terms used interchangeably even by so-called digital marketing experts.
Content development and content marketing are not the same, and this point is extremely important to understand.
Content development is the creation of content – and this is one piece of the puzzle. Content marketing is comprised of the strategy, development, and promotion of your law firm’s content.
What does that mean, exactly? In order to be successful, your law firm website needs unique content. If you hire a freelance writer and ask them to craft an attorney biography and a handful of pages about your practice areas, you’ll fail to see measurable results from your efforts.
What is your law firm’s unique voice? Who are your competitors, and how do they handle their content strategy? How will you compel your website visitors to pick up the phone and call your law firm? How will your content work with your web design to create a seamless experience for users? How will it look on mobile devices? What pages do you need on your website, and how often do you need to post to your legal blog?
These are all questions that must be answered during the content development stage. Before any content is produced, it’s important that your firm develops a strategic plan to set your content up for success. This takes time, thorough competitive research, and expertise in legal SEO best practices.
So, you develop your plan, create the content, and publish it on your blog or website. The truth is – that’s just the beginning.
Content marketing is not simply creating content. Rather, it’s the practice of promoting your content to create awareness. What other organizations or companies may find your content useful? How can you best promote it on social media? Are there relevant local news outlets or legal industry blogs that you can work with?
Content development is one element of a content marketing strategy. If you simply create content and stop your work there, you’re producing content, but you’re not marketing it. To be successful, you have to do both.
Myth #2: Content Refers to Written Website Content and Blog Articles On Your Law Firm Website.
This is partially true. However, what many lawyers don’t realize is that the definition of content is quite broad. In fact, many successful content marketing efforts for lawyers involve newer forms of content.
Your content can refer to your website homepage or a blog article. It also can be a video, an infographic, or your social media content. Any materials your law firm produces can be considered content, and it’s important to diversify your efforts.
The second piece of this myth is that your content must live on your own social media pages or your website. If you only consider your owned digital properties when you create your content strategy, you’re missing a key component.
Your law firm content could be a contribution to a legal industry publication. It may be a legal opinion you publish in a local magazine (print or digital). It could be an interview you do for a news station that is also shared on YouTube. Even client testimonials and reviews can be part of your content strategy.
As a law firm, you should strive to create content that is worth sharing. It must be compelling. In the legal industry, it takes a lot of creativity, but it’s possible. The key is understanding that content can take many forms, and the more engaging and interesting your content is, the easier it will be to market.
Myth #3: If You Create Great Content, People Will Organically Find It.
How many non-lawyers do you know that subscribe to a law firm’s blog? Do you know many people who actively seek out law firms to follow on social media? It’s unlikely. The truth is that no matter how compelling your content is, it’s unlikely that many people will naturally stumble on it unless it ranks very well in organic search (which can take months).
We often hear recommendations like, “if you focus on creating great content, people will find it.” But you shouldn’t count on this. Most law firms still need to put effort into getting their content in front of people who would find it most useful.
This takes work. It takes consistent research and outreach efforts. If you wait until after your content is produced to consider how you will market it, it’s too late. You should approach every content marketing effort with a strategy of how you plan to maximize its visibility.
What Does Content Marketing Do for My Law Firm’s Business?
How do you justify putting the necessary effort into content marketing? Many lawyers fail to understand the business benefit, so it doesn’t get the investment it deserves.
Let’s use an example to illustrate how content marketing can amplify your law firm’s digital marketing efforts. You are a personal injury law firm and would like to increase awareness that you have the best class action lawyers in your city. You may decide to ensure you have a page on your website about class action lawsuits. To complement it, you also publish a blog article about recent product recalls, many of which happen to be car seats and toys for children.
A content marketer would approach this differently. They may suggest that you create an infographic about product recalls that parents should be aware of, or maybe even a short video. They would also think about local groups that would benefit from knowing this information, such as local schools or publications geared toward parents.
They reach out to these organizations to share your infographic, and it’s very successful. You become known as the best class action lawyers in your city, which translates into more business for your firm. The buzz created also helps your SEO ranking, and you claim the #1 spot in Google for class action lawyers in your city.
Do You Have Questions About Content? Contact Us Today
When done right, consistent content marketing efforts can generate new cases for your firm. It takes time, creativity, and experience marketing content in the legal industry. If you’d like to discuss your firm’s strategy, call Postali today at (800) 667-3612, or reach out online.
It’s hard to ignore the growing importance of online marketing for law firms. You hear about it at continuing legal education (CLE) events, you read about it on the legal blogs you follow, and your inbox is full of emails from marketing companies offering services to help your firm increase its online presence.
While there are countless ways to market your law practice to potential clients, being found in Google search results is arguably the most important. When someone has a need, Google is often the first place they go. If your law firm shows up for relevant search terms, it has the potential to bring significant new business to your firm.
At Postali, we see firsthand how search engine optimization (SEO) and paid search can be extremely effective ways to market legal services and grow a law firm’s bottom line. In this blog post, we’ll break down the different types of search marketing for attorneys, and how to evaluate what will work best for your firm.
What’s The Difference Between Paid Search and SEO?
When you perform a Google search, there are two types of results you will receive: paid and organic. A paid search ad, also referred to as pay-per-click (PPC), is a listing that appears at the top of the search results page, usually noted by the word “Ad” in a small box. Below the ads, the organic search results are listed.
While they occupy the same space, the truth is there are very different processes for each type of search result. The key difference is the cost model. As the name suggests, paid search results require you to pay Google and bid for keywords. Organic search requires no payment to Google, and the results are displayed based on a proprietary algorithm with over 200 factors. Increasing your presence in organic search results requires work to align your website strategy with Google’s best practices.
The other key difference is the time in which it takes to show results. With an effective attorney paid search campaign, your law firm will start seeing results very quickly. An SEO strategy will take longer to display results. For a brand new law firm website or a website that has not previously focused on SEO, it may take up to a year to have measurable results.
SEO and PPC advertising also require different skill sets and knowledge bases. While many marketers specialize in both, there are also many who don’t. If you’re considering using a marketing agency for your law firm, it’s important to understand their experience in both SEO and PPC. Don’t assume that every digital marketing company or consultant will be skilled in both.
Should I Invest in PPC, SEO, or Both?
At Postali, we work with many law firms that invest in both PPC and organic search. Other firms choose to focus on one area. It’s critical that you understand each channel, the associated costs, and expected outcomes before making a decision. More importantly, you must consider your firm’s unique goals and how best to achieve them.
When attorneys ask us where to focus their efforts, it often takes several conversations before we can recommend the right strategy. When it comes to paid search and attorney SEO, there is no universal solution.
What works for one law firm may not necessarily work for another. Your optimal marketing strategy is largely dependent on your goals, location, practice area(s), and market competitiveness.
Lastly, it’s important to keep in mind that your marketing strategy can (and should) evolve. If you make wise marketing decisions at the onset, you will set your firm up to continually grow and improve your efforts as your revenues grow with it.
Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re weighing your search marketing options:
SEO + Paid Search for Maximum Exposure
Your law firm’s digital marketing will be at its most effective if you employ a mix of PPC and organic search. This means your law firm will often be displayed twice in search results, increasing your real estate and the likelihood that someone searching Google will click through to your website or call your office.
At Postali, we see that client leads generated through paid search and organic search both improve when the two tactics work together. This is marketing at its best. If you increase the impressions your law firm has, your firm name becomes more memorable and recognizable.
If your marketing budget that allows for it, focusing on both PPC and SEO will bring the most new business to your law firm. However, if your budget simply does not allow for investing in both, you will need to carefully consider how to spend the marketing budget you do have.
Depending on your practice area and the competitive landscape, there will be a minimum investment that your law firm needs to make in each channel to see business results. While using paid search and organic search together typically is the most effective, one common mistake we see attorneys make is under-investing in both channels.
Be realistic about what you can spend. Rather than split your marketing budget in order to focus on both paid search and SEO, in most cases, it’s better to focus on one area first to ensure that you have the appropriate effort level behind it.
Paid Search for Fast Results
When evaluating between SEO and paid search for a law firm, we always ask attorneys how quickly they need to see results. If you cannot afford to wait several months for your digital marketing to bring new cases to your firm, paid search is a better investment than SEO, as it generates results quickly.
Legal services are one of the most expensive industries for paid search. If you invest in the channel, it takes careful planning and continuous analysis to ensure your money is being spent wisely. It’s extremely important that whoever is running your campaign is experienced in working with law firms and creating campaigns that maximize your visibility without overspending. A carefully crafted paid search campaign can be the difference-maker in creating a profitable strategy that sets your firm up for business growth.
Paid search will make your phone ring, but the most important component to generating new business is your firm’s intake process. Before beginning a PPC campaign, it’s critical that your intake process is effective to translate the calls into clients of your firm.
SEO for Long Term Success
If your law firm has clients from other sources like word-of-mouth or direct mail marketing, SEO is often the best way to bring new cases to your firm at a cost that’s lower than most other marketing tactics. While it may take months for your website to begin appearing on page one of Google, the business benefit once it does is hard to match. This is great for law firms who can sustain their business while SEO efforts ramp up over several months.
It’s important for lawyers to have a traditional website SEO strategy as well as a local SEO strategy. Local SEO will increase your law firm’s presence in Google’s map pack, which is the list of about three local businesses that often appears when you search for terms that include your city or state.
While you don’t pay a fee to Google, it is important that you find a skilled SEO agency or consultant to perform the work. Attorney SEO is complex, and your strategy should include thorough competitive analysis, website content optimization, link building, technical SEO work, and reporting. With organic search, there are no quick and easy wins that will shoot you to the top of Google results. It takes time, effort, and expertise.
Still Have Questions About SEO vs. Paid Search? Contact Us Today
Optimizing your law firm’s website to appear in Google search results, whether it’s paid or organic, is extremely important to the growth of your firm. It allows you to put your business in front of people who are actively searching for the services you provide.
What Impact Will This Have on Your SEO Strategy Starting June 3rd?
For the first time ever, Google has pre-announced an upcoming update to its algorithm. In a June 2 tweet, Google’s search liaison Danny Sullivan wrote,
Tomorrow, we are releasing a broad core algorithm update, as we do several times per year. It is called the June 2019 Core Update. Our guidance about such updates remains as we’ve covered before. Please see this tweet for more about that:https://t.co/tmfQkhdjPL
Aptly named the “June 2019 Core Update,” Google gets out in front of those yearning to be the first to name the update. See the crudely named Medic and Florida 2 updates.
This announcement is noteworthy for two reasons. It marks the first time Google has pre-announced an algorithm update and Google is actually talking about it.
Google updates its algorithm hundreds of times annually, but significant updates like this are only made a few times a year. In the past, Google has taken quite a bit of pushback from SEOs for even acknowledging that large-scale updates have occurred. It’s refreshing that Google is more transparent this time.
SEO Impact From Recent Broad Core Updates
The most notable recent broad core update to Google’s algorithm occurred in early August 2018. It was quickly called the Medic Update due to the perception that the update primarily impacted websites in the medical field.
While the Medic Update impacted the medical field, it also heavily impacted other websites that Google considers Your Money or Your Life (YMYL), which includes legal websites.
More recently, another broad core algorithm update happened around March 12, 2019. Some in the SEO industry speculated this was a rollback of the Medic Update. However, there isn’t much evidence that supports this theory.
How to Know if Your Website Has Been Impacted by Google’s June 2019 Core Update
There are a number of ways to decipher if your site was affected by the recent update, including:
Leads Are Up or Down
At Postali, we track all of our clients’ leads in Google Analytics. Anytime someone calls, submits a contact form, or uses the live chat, we can see it in Google Analytics. (Note: we can’t see personal details). If leads have significantly changed, it may be a sign that the update impacted your law firm’s website.
Organic Traffic from Google is Up or Down
There are a few ways to check if your traffic from Google is up or down. Google Analytics and Google Search Console will give you insight into how Google views your website. Google Search Console shows how your website shows up in Google’s search results, whereas Google Analytics shows what users do once they get to your website. One thing to keep in mind is that Google Search Console data is delayed by a few days.
Seeing organic traffic go up or down for a few days is common, and not necessarily an indication your law firm’s website has been impacted.
Keyword Rankings Significantly Move Up or Down
It’s very common for keyword rankings to fluctuate. However, seeing large scale fluctuations right after an update is one of the quickest ways to know if your site has been impacted.
How Long Does a Google Core Update Take to Roll Out?
Google rolls out core updates in stages. In an October 2018 tweet, Google said, “With any broad core update, the full rollout time might be over the course of a week or longer.” While the update begins on June 3, 2019, your law firm may not know if it’s been impacted for a week or more.
Was Your Law Firm’s SEO Impacted by the June 3 Google Core Update?
At Postali, we are always keeping an eye on developments within the SEO industry. If the recent Google algorithm update impacted your website, contact us today so we can help your law firm get back on track and start getting more leads. Call us today at (800) 667-3612 to get started.
Dan Foland is the SEO Director at Postali, a marketing agency that helps law firms find new clients. He is also a Google My Business Silver Product Expert, as well as a Local Search Expert at the Local Search Forum.
The landscape of SEO is always changing. New technologies and algorithm updates keep SEO professionals on their toes. If your law firm has not actively focused on organic search optimization for a year, chances are your rankings and performance have suffered because of it.
In 2019, voice search continues to be a trend to watch.
Voice search refers to the use of an AI assistant technology to answer a question or provide information. When you use Siri to read your text messages or ask your Google Home or Alexa for weather updates, you are performing a voice search.
For businesses, this has many implications. It means that the way people are searching for services is changing. When a client is on their way to your office for an appointment, they may ask a digital assistant to give directions. If someone is searching for legal services, they may ask their smart home device for the top law offices in their city.
You could spend days reading articles about how your law firm can optimize for voice search. How should you structure your content? How can you better understand how your firm’s website is performing in voice search? How do Google Homes and Alexa devices differ in the way they receive information?
The truth is; optimizing for voice search boils down to one simple concept, the same concept that applies to every other principle for creating a successful attorney SEO strategy. Think about your potential clients’ needs and create content that helps answer a question or solve a problem. If you do this well, your law firm will be positioned for success with voice search optimization.
Think about the differences in how we use traditional desktop search versus voice search. With the former, you may type something like “dui lawyer dallas tx” into your search bar. With voice search, you’d likely form a natural language question such as, “hey Google, who are the best DUI lawyers in Dallas?” This means your content strategy needs to adapt to reflect the change in behavior.
Whether it’s voice search or traditional SEO, you should always consider your law firm’s potential clients’ needs and ensure your website content strategy matches.
Keyword research can help identify those common themes and questions. You will also want to ensure you have a local SEO strategy in place for all of your firm’s office locations, as this is often how Google devices retrieve answers about local businesses.
Consider the following questions:
Does your law firm’s website have content that addresses common questions and concerns related to your practice area(s)?
Do you focus on helpful, unique content written in natural language that is easy for potential clients to understand?
Do you test different content formats, such as FAQ-style content or bulleted lists to understand what your website users engage with?
Do you have optimized business listings in Google My Business, with accurate address information?
Does your local SEO strategy involve ensuring your business detailed are correct and optimized on popular directory sites like Yelp?
Are you using schema markup on your web pages?
If you answered yes to these questions, your law firm website should perform well in voice search results. If not, consider incorporating voice search best practices into your law firm’s digital marketing plan. To learn more about doing so, contact Postali today at (800) 667-3612.
When you hear about the voice of a brand, you might think of a memorable catchphrase, a company’s core values, or a witty back-and-forth on their Twitter account. The truth is, however, that a strong brand identity envelops every part of a customer’s experience – and tells relevant stories potential consumers can connect to. In terms of storytelling for attorneys, you need to take a potential client’s feelings into account. What legal issues are they facing? What are they hoping to get out of visiting your firm’s website and how will you reach them?
Defining your law firm’s brand begins with a robust content strategy and writing schedule. Your content should exhibit your firm’s experience, industry-specific knowledge, level of client service, and ability to obtain desired results. This is accomplished with well researched static content, combined with fresh pages/blog posts that tell your client’s story. With a site that speaks to potential clients directly, you are showing them the difference between you and your competitors, and why you are the right attorney for them.
At Postali, we help attorneys develop their voice, so it can be shared through their overall marketing strategy.
Tell Your Clients’ Stories
When writing the content for your website, it’s important to remember that potential clients want to know as quickly as possible if you’re the right fit for them. Instead of pages filled with long sections of text and dense statutes, consider using a second-person point of view that address their immediate concerns. This inserts the potential client into the content right away because if they are invested in the content, they may invest in you. For example, if you’re writing a blog about car accident FAQs, you might consider beginning with:
“Following a car crash, your mind will be moving a mile a minute, and several questions are probably circling through your head. ‘Am I injured,’ ‘how are my passengers,’ ‘what sort of damage did this collision do to my car,’ and ‘will I need to miss work’ are just a few concerns you’re working through while dealing with the immediate aftermath of a crash. Instead of letting these anxieties fester, reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney who has experience dealing with these types of accidents. A lawyer at our firm will deal with the paperwork, phone calls, and insurance companies while you focus on the most important thing – your health and recovery.”
When a client visits your firm’s website, they’re interested in several pieces of information: whether or not you can help them, what they might have to deal with if they pursue a case, and other issues relevant to their needs. The main thread here is that they’re looking for content that speaks to them, that tells their story. By writing pages and blogs that focus on a client’s needs and thought processes during any given legal matter, you’re creating a voice for your firm that says, “we are here for YOU, and ready to help.”
Stand Out in a Saturated Market
There are numerous law firms and attorneys that practice the same type of law that you do – perhaps even in your geographic area. In such a competitive market, how can your website and its content stand out? By telling a story, rather than focusing on repeated use of keywords, and dense legalese many readers won’t understand.
When you engage in storytelling through your law firm content, you’re showing potential clients that you’re different. One way Lawyerist suggests doing this is on the practice areas section (or page) of your site. While some firms might list their practice areas in bullet point format, it might be useful to add a personal twist to this content. Why do you and your team enjoy practicing a specific area of law? Perhaps a family member or loved one was seriously injured in a personal injury accident, and you saw how they struggled with navigating life after their crash – and this motivated you to make the process easier for injury victims like them.
When you add a personal touch to your content – albeit even a brief one – you set yourself apart from your competitors.
Lawyers as Storytellers
From initial case consultations, to mediations, to trial, lawyers tell stories every day. To do this effectively, you should understand your clients’ needs, relate to the potential penalties they are facing, or how they might move on following a personal injury accident. You are already working to convince prosecutors, judges, juries, insurance companies, and other parties to secure the best possible outcome in any given case. Your website’s content should be an extension of that effort, and reflect what you bring to the table.
Storytelling Tips for Your Law Firm Content
Here are some things to consider when writing content for your law firm’s website:
Tell your client’s story first – it’s vital to understand their problem(s), but to keep the focus on them as a person.
Mention your credentials/experience, but don’t let that overshadow how you can help a client.
Strike a balance between professional and approachable with your tone.
Make sure the most important information is listed first.
Contact Postali Today for Help with Your Law Firm Content
Storytelling is a skill many attorneys possess, but rarely use when it comes to their own marketing strategies. For more information on how to use this tool in your website content, reach out to Postali today. Call us today at (800) 667-3612, or reach out online to see how we can help.
At Postali, our roots are in attorney direct mail marketing. Even as the importance of digital marketing increases, direct mail continues to be an effective way to bring new cases to law firms. For many attorneys, direct mail campaigns are a crucial piece of new client acquisition.
We also talk to many lawyers who are skeptical of direct mail, and rightfully so. We often hear the following, “I’ve tried direct mail before and it didn’t work.” Some have even tried it multiple times, with each campaign failing to generate new business.
The truth is that the difference between a direct mail campaign that delivers results and one that doesn’t is often in the details. Attorney direct mail is equal parts art and science. While it’s important to have a compelling message, the logistics of your campaign are just as important.
Potential Problems with Your Direct Mail Campaign
If you’ve tried direct mail marketing for your law firm and are still waiting for your phone to ring, it’s likely because you’re making one of the following mistakes:
1. You’re too slow.
With direct mail, timing is everything. This is especially true for traffic offenses and DUI letters, as people are often trying to deal with those legal matters quickly. People also have instant access to online research, so it’s important that your letters are in mailboxes very quickly after the offense occurs, so that your law firm can be part of the consideration set.
2. You’re fast, but inaccurate.
Maybe your letters are timely, but you could be sacrificing accuracy for speed. Without accurate address verification, you’re likely cutting into your campaign’s ROI by creating more return mail. Even if your letter makes it into the mailbox, if the name is incorrect or the offense isn’t accurate, your letter will end up in the trash can just as quickly as it was delivered.
Many attorneys believe that creating a more general letter will lessen the chances of having inaccurate information. If you simply leave out the first name and don’t include details about the offense, then you don’t risk being inaccurate.
While this is true, it also will make your letter less effective. If a direct mail letter feels personalized, it sends a message that your law firm is detail-oriented, which is a quality that many defendants will find appealing. A general letter that could be for anybody will fail to impress your mail recipients.
3. You actually don’t know if it’s working or not.
When attorneys tell us that their direct mail efforts aren’t working, we’ll often ask what data they have on their campaigns. How do they know it’s not working? How many calls have they received? We’re always surprised at how often the answer is, “I don’t know.”
If done correctly, direct mail is one of the easiest attorney advertising tactics to measure. At Postali, we set up detailed call-tracking so that the attorneys we work with always know exactly how many calls are resulting from their mailings.
Not to mention – if you aren’t measuring your direct mail, you don’t have any data to help you optimize and continuously improve your strategy.
4. It’s just not the right marketing channel.
Direct Mail has some inherent limitations, and we have to be honest when assessing the efficacy of a campaign. Specifically, mail can only be delivered so fast, and you have no control over how many other attorneys are sending letters. It may be the case that your mailings are timely and accurate, but your potential for success depends largely on how competitive your target markets are. If you are mailing for DUI in an area where access to data is very easy, it may be the case that your mailings are arriving in mailboxes along with dozens of other attorneys’ letters.
Many attorneys will continue with direct mail campaigns that receive a very low response rate and break-even ROI because it keeps the firm capacity full. But there are more cost-effective ways to market your law practice. Sometimes seeking a less-competitive geographic market can make a big difference in your campaign’s success. Other times, direct mail may not be the best investment for your firm.
Do You Need Help With Direct Mail Marketing? Contact Postali Today
Are you frustrated with your law firm’s lack of results from direct mail? Perhaps you’ve never tried it and are unsure where to start. For questions and concerns regarding your direct mail campaign, call Postali today at (800) 667-3612. We’d love to talk.
WordPress functions as a content management system for many law firms. In fact, approximately 33 percent of all websites use it, per data provided by Kinsta. On December 6, 2018, WordPress released Version 5.0, which included the implementation of Gutenberg. This is a block-based editor that may change the way we manage content.
Changes Inputting Content with Gutenberg
Before Gutenberg, WordPress utilized a classic editor that required HTML codes for items such as images. It was straightforward, but very rudimentary. Gutenberg, on the other hand, is much more intricate and allows users more functionality. Post and page building has become dynamic and immersive.
In Gutenberg, you create blocks for specific types of content, layouts, formatting, and more. You can select the type of block you want to input, and move it around on the post or page fluidly. No longer do you have to cut and paste long sections, losing strings of code along the way.
Saving Reusable Blocks with Gutenberg
Another function of Gutenberg is that you can save reusable blocks of text, pictures, and more for future use. This may make sections such as calls to action, testimonials, awards, and results easier to input throughout your website. Although developers can input code that makes these elements a standard section on your pages and posts, Gutenberg allows anyone to input information that can be quickly accessible to users without using code.
Utilizing Gutenberg vs. Classic Editor
Pages and posts that were input before WordPress 5.0 can still get edited in Gutenberg. Their content will be accessible in blocks for editing and movement. However, if you prefer the classic editor, you can still use that as well. A classic editor plugin is available. You’ll still be inputting code and manually moving things as you did before. It can be difficult to maneuver around the classic editor once you become familiar with the fluidity of Gutenberg.
Gutenberg Brings Welcome Change for Dynamic Content
Law firms hoping to create landing pages and blog posts with dynamic content welcome the change that comes with Gutenberg. You can now create rich content with slideshows, background images, and responsive capabilities – all without bringing in a developer to create code for pages. With a little practice, a content professional can create optimal pages with user-centered functions.
Gutenberg Allows Law Firms to Excel at Content Marketing
Gutenberg allows anyone to take control of a web post or page and create dynamic content that is user-friendly. One of the main goals with content marketing is to keep the reader on the page. Now you can create elements such as slideshows, images, and more that will increase interest and prevent the reader from bouncing.
Content professionals no longer have to have in-depth coding knowledge, and developers aren’t needed to add a simple image to a post or page. Instead, a specific block can be selected in Gutenberg to upload an image.
Although the outcome of Gutenberg is similar to that of the classic editor, the function is very different. This can allow a layperson to create more interesting content. With more capabilities, your content can expand beyond a short blog with a logo. Instead, content professionals and people from your firm can create interactive content that guides the reader to contact your firm.
Content Marketing with Gutenberg Through Postali
Postali works to educate law firms about the content marketing process as we create a dynamic website that engages your potential clients. We have extensive web development and design teams that have worked with our content department through the transition from classic editor to Gutenberg. WordPress 5.0 is now being used on some of our newer sites. We will continue to stay up-to-date on the developments in content marketing for law firms. Call us today at (800) 667-3612 or use our online form to learn more.
As an attorney, you’re likely receiving pitches from SEO companies making bold promises to help your firm achieve top rankings in Google. The problem is – they’re so full of SEO jargon that it can be difficult to understand what they’re really promising.
While there are several red flags to be cognizant of when you talk to a legal marketing agency, our best advice to attorneys is to develop an understanding of common SEO terminology so that you can make more informed decisions about where to spend your law firm’s marketing dollars.
In this post, we’ll break down a commonly used and often misunderstood metric: domain authority.
It’s likely that you’ve seen this phrase (or similar phrases: domain rank, trust flow, citation flow, etc.), and have been told that you need to increase yours. You may have also received a sales pitch where you pay for links of a certain domain authority (which you should never agree to.)
So, is it true that you need to work on your law firm’s domain authority? The answer isn’t a simple “yes” or “no.”
What Exactly is Domain Authority Anyway?
Domain authority (DA) is a metric developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank based on the quantity and quality of links pointing to that website. A new website will start with a domain authority of 1, and that number will grow as the website acquires more links. Last month, Moz announced that they will update domain authority to make it “a better, more trustworthy metric than ever before” by updating the algorithms behind the metric.
While Moz’s domain authority has become one of the most commonly-used link metrics, other tools have their own calculated metric. For example, aHrefs (another popular SEO tool), has developed its own scoring system to evaluate a website’s overall link authority.
It’s important to understand that domain authority is not part of Google’s algorithm. Google’s algorithm is comprised of over 200 factors, and they do not use a single “authority” metric. If you achieve a certain domain authority, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will suddenly see higher rankings.
Rather, domain authority it a predictive metric that indicates how likely your website is to rank in Google’s organic search results. It’s a well-calculated estimate, but it’s important to remember that it is an estimate. Many SEOs believe it’s a distraction, as people get too caught up in chasing a number, and don’t focus enough on developing their SEO strategy.
At Postali, we agree that chasing a number isn’t the best approach. However, we also believe that when used properly, domain authority can be a helpful tool to use as part of your SEO strategy.
Why Does This Matter for My Law Firm’s SEO?
Simply put, links are one of the most important ranking factors. Google’s algorithm evaluates the websites that are linking to your firm’s website. If your content is being linked to from highly reputable websites, this signals to Google that your content is valuable, and gives them a vote of confidence that may result in your website appearing higher in search results.
The links from other websites that point to your firm’s website are considered your backlink profile. The stronger your backlink profile is, the more likely you are to perform well in organic search. It follows that your law firm would want to continuously improve its domain authority.
The concept of strengthening a backlink profile leads many SEOs to engage in spammy practices (known as “black hat” SEO) to gain more backlinks. We see this frequently with law firm websites that try to take advantage of the system to gain higher rankings.
Domain authority and other link metrics are designed to reflect Google’s policy on links, which is that quality matters more than quantity. Having a high number of links from low-quality websites will not help your SEO, and in fact, can even harm your rankings.
Moz and other link analysis tools will gauge the quality of the websites in your backlink profile in order to determine your authority. A law firm website with 100 links from directories or spammy sites will have a lower authority than a law firm with 50 links from relevant, high-quality websites such as a legal publication, local news story, or bar association website.
It’s common for marketing companies to try to sell backlinks. For example, you may receive an email that for a certain amount of money, a company will acquire 10 backlinks from websites with a domain authority of 50+. Sounds like a great deal, right?
Wrong. Paid linkbuilding violates Google’s guidelines and can result in a penalty. The best approach to linkbuilding for law firms is to focus on content development that will naturally earn links from reputable and relevant websites. You should also focus on tactics to build your law firm’s reputation, such as being a source for reporters who are writing news stories about relevant legal topics. They’ll often link to your website if you’re a source in the article.
How Should I Use Domain Authority?
Because of the importance of links, marketers may try to convince you that achieving a particular domain authority will lead your law firm to success. This isn’t always the case. Domain authority should be used directionally to help inform SEO decisions for your law firm.
Achieving a particular domain authority should not be a goal of your SEO strategy. Rather, focus your goals on more tangible KPIs such as website traffic, ranking, and calls to your firm’s office. Domain authority is best when it’s used as a tool to help create a linkbuilding strategy that will help you reach those goals. We recommend using domain authority (or another reputable website authority metric) for the following:
1. Competitive Intelligence
Many attorneys will ask us what a “good” domain authority is. The truth is that this is relative. When we work with a new law firm, often one of the first tasks we perform is to assess the competitors. What law firm websites are ranking well for your target keywords?
You can view the domain authority for any website with Chrome’s MozBar extension, so it’s important to understand what your competitors’ DA is. This will give a benchmark for where you need to be to compete in your market. Again, it’s important to keep in mind that links are one of many of Google’s ranking factors. However, it would be difficult to outrank your competitors if your domain authority is 10, and the average score for local competitors is 60.
2. Evaluating Your Firm’s Website
A new website starts with a domain authority of 1. If you are engaging in ethical SEO practices, you should expect your domain authority to grow over time. This should be gradual.
We recommend keeping an eye on your backlink profile and all associated metrics monthly. You should not see sudden spikes or dips (unless the metric itself is being re-calculated.) A law firm SEO strategy is poised for long-term success when your domain authority is consistently growing, and you’re avoiding unethical practices.
3. Assessing Link Opportunities
You can also use domain authority to gauge how beneficial a link from any website would be for your law firm. For example, let’s assume you are featured in an online article from your state bar association and they include a link to your website. You don’t need a metric to help you understand that it’s a beneficial link to have, as it’s a very relevant source.
But let’s say you’re a personal injury attorney and a parenting blogger reaches out about collaborating on content about child safety. You can view the blog’s domain authority and backlink profile to help assess whether or not this is an opportunity worth pursuing.
Keep in mind that several factors are important when evaluating link opportunities for your firm’s website. Trust your intuition, but use domain authority and other link metrics to help guide you. If you’re a law firm, a link from a high domain authority website that sells shoes is not likely to benefit your SEO. While the website may have a high domain authority, it’s not relevant to your business. On the other hand, if a local blogger’s website doesn’t have a high domain authority, it may still be beneficial to work with them if they have a local audience that you want to reach with your law firm’s message.
Contact Postali Today with Your Questions
Understanding domain authority and how to use it is a crucial component of your law firm’s SEO strategy. If you’re interested in learning more, reach out to Postali. Call us at (800) 667-3612, or send us a message through the online form to learn more about how we can help.