How to Develop an Effective Law Firm SEO Action Plan for 2017 [WEBINAR]

What used to work in SEO just a few years ago won’t work today.12-must-do-action-steps.png Learn how to make this year your most profitable ever by getting consistent leads from SEO and positioning your firm as thought leaders.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017 – 3:00pm EST

Join John McDougall from McDougall Interactive and Nicole Minnis, Esq. from The National Law Review for a free 60-minute digital marketing webinar, where you will learn:

  • Step-by-step actions you should take in the next 12 months to substantially increase your revenues.
  • Powerful strategies that are based on the 10,000 keyword study from Searchmetrics, including the latest Google ranking factors including Content, Social Signals, Technical Factors, Backlinks, User Signals, and User Experience
  • Highlights from the Orbit Media study of 1,000 bloggers and what they do to stand out.

Some examples of cutting-edge topics we’ll be discussing (this is way more than just “add keywords” and “add more content”):

  • Why click-through-rate, time-on-site, and bounce rate are more important than ever
  • Why merely having keywords in your meta tags and copy is not nearly enough
  • How the length of your content can affect your search rankings
  • How video and podcasts can enhance your thought leadership and improve your mobile user experience and search rankings at the same time
  • Why links are still significant, especially deep links to inner pages
  • The extremely high correlation between social signals and ranking position
  • How your website load time can directly affect your search rankings, especially on mobile devices

Click here to register now.

This webinar will leave you with 12 must-do action steps for success, based on data from industry leaders, as well as a list of ridiculously great tools you can use to speed up your process and spy on competitors.

In today’s hyper-competitive legal SEO landscape, your either need to do SEO deeply or don’t waste time doing it at all.

How to Develop an Effective Law Firm SEO Action Plan for 2017 [WEBINAR]

What used to work in SEO just a few years ago won’t work today.12-must-do-action-steps.png Learn how to make this year your most profitable ever by getting consistent leads from SEO and positioning your firm as thought leaders.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017 – 3:00pm EST

Join John McDougall from McDougall Interactive and Nicole Minnis, Esq. from The National Law Review for a free 60-minute digital marketing webinar, where you will learn:

  • Step-by-step actions you should take in the next 12 months to substantially increase your revenues.
  • Powerful strategies that are based on the 10,000 keyword study from Searchmetrics, including the latest Google ranking factors including Content, Social Signals, Technical Factors, Backlinks, User Signals, and User Experience
  • Highlights from the Orbit Media study of 1,000 bloggers and what they do to stand out.

Some examples of cutting-edge topics we’ll be discussing (this is way more than just “add keywords” and “add more content”):

  • Why click-through-rate, time-on-site, and bounce rate are more important than ever
  • Why merely having keywords in your meta tags and copy is not nearly enough
  • How the length of your content can affect your search rankings
  • How video and podcasts can enhance your thought leadership and improve your mobile user experience and search rankings at the same time
  • Why links are still significant, especially deep links to inner pages
  • The extremely high correlation between social signals and ranking position
  • How your website load time can directly affect your search rankings, especially on mobile devices

Click here to register now.

This webinar will leave you with 12 must-do action steps for success, based on data from industry leaders, as well as a list of ridiculously great tools you can use to speed up your process and spy on competitors.

In today’s hyper-competitive legal SEO landscape, your either need to do SEO deeply or don’t waste time doing it at all.

 

Best Times to Post on Social Media [SLIDESHOW]

Bad timing can kill a business, a relationship and, sometimes, a social media post.

Digital marketing intelligence firm TrackMaven has broken down the research on the best times to post on the major social networks as well as the best times to post to your blog and send that marketing email and distributed it via SlideShare.

You can download this slide show and keep it on your desktop or laptop to refer to when you’re scheduling your posts.  Picking the right times is no guarantee that your posts will go viral, but posting at the right times to get maximum potential viewership for what you have to say is just smart marketing.

ARTICLE BY

OF

Bad Precedent: Lawyer Censured for Buying Google Keywords for Other Lawyers and Law Firms

Fishman Marketing logo

I thoroughly disagree with this anti-competitive, anti-consumer censure. It’s bad precedent.

Google Keywords

I was the defense’s law firm marketing/social media expert witness in Habush vs. Cannon & Dunphy on this very issue (although the lawsuit was filed under a Wisconsin state “invasion of privacy” statute).

This is common practice online.  When you Google “Avis,” a sponsored link for Hertz shows up in the margin.  The user isn’t deceived and everyone gets more information and more choices, which is good for consumers.  It’s a strategy that helps smaller firms with smaller marketing budgets compete against big-name, big-budget firms.

This keyword-bidding strategy is certainly aggressive, but it shouldn’t be considered unethical or unprofessional; it’s simply an issue of taste, which is subjective.  We shouldn’t legislate taste.

 

Article by:

Ross Fishman

Of:

Fishman Marketing, Inc.

3 Ways for Law Firms to Advance Their Brands In a Post-Recession Environment

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The post-recession state of professional services branding is like living in a bland, empty room. Wherever we look, we see reduced brand activity and sameness. Once creative and compelling, professional service brands (via websites, advertising and other channels) now seem less visible. Sadly, it appears to us that both the quality and quantity of firm branding efforts are regressing.

Are past failed efforts to blame? Is the stumbling economy a disincentive to act? Or is it the pendulum swing to business development, the tremendous pressure on CMOs to drive revenue? Has anyone else noticed the fall off in brand awareness and memorability? Do we still believe brand is critical to creating preference?

Good questions, we thought. So we polled CMOs and CEOs at law, accounting and consulting firms around the world for their opinions. Respondents included leaders of local, regional, national and international firms with an average size of 382 professionals (full survey results at http://www.greenfieldbelser.com/research-page/brand-regression#).

Questions, answers and insights

Here, we’ve summarized four of the most important findings, including the questions asked, the answers received and the top line takeaways.

1. Brand Health. We asked how important is brand to the success of your firm, how helpful is your brand in achieving that success, and is your brand understood by key audiences?

  • 95% of CMOs and 92% of CEOs/managing partners believe their brand is moderately or extremely important to success
  • But only 26% find their brand “very helpful”
  • On understanding, only 21% replied that their brands were well or perfectly understood by prospects.

The takeaway? Yikes! How can something perceived to be so important yield such poor scores in helpfulness and understanding? In live presentations of these findings, some of our CMO friends suggest that the answer lies in the degree of difficulty of executing branding efforts properly in any professional services firm.

One respondent shared this comment, “These days if you wish to undertake any sort of brand exercise, it must be titled ‘Strategic Positioning Initiative’ to avoid the factious response that sometimes arrives as talk turns to brand.”

Whatever you call it, our view is that pioneering brand efforts among professional service firms have given way to safer, less expensive efforts that suffer from unoriginality and are easy to ignore. Conventional wisdom suggests that in times of recession it’s better to tighten the belt and cut marketing and branding expenditures to focus on sales. However, when firms stop investing in the brand and marketing, they have fewer opportunities to sell. Healthy firms require strong commitment to both brand/marketing and business development—they go hand in hand.

2. Brand Distinction. Is your brand promise—the value proposition—unique? Is your brand expression (look, feel and voice) unique? Do you consider your brand to be innovative?

  • Only 20%say their brands are “very” or “extremely innovative.”
  • 66% respond that their promise of value is “marginally” or “moderately unique.”
  • 54% say their brand identity or expression is “marginally” or “moderately unique.”

The takeaway? Unicorns and innovative brands are as rare as hens’ teeth. Again, responding CMOs and CEOs believe brands are important to success but say uniqueness is hard to come by in the professional services space. Perhaps this relates to the fact that lawyers and law firms typically follow precedent (and one another). Meanwhile, marketers toil in the business of  awareness building and differentiation.

That’s the rub. The most innovative firms and best marketers have the courage to take risks, break with convention, and inspire interest in the brand among their audience.

3. Brand Quality. How do you rate the quality of your firm’s brand communication tools (things like websites, advertising, content marketing, etc.)?

On a scale of 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent) CEOs and CMOs graded their own efforts:

  • they gave websites a mean rating of 3.6 on the five point scale
  • core identity (logo and such) scored 3.5
  •  proposal and pitch materials were 3.5
  • videos, 3.1
  • thought leadership and content marketing, 2.8
  • advertising, 2.8
  • social media, 2.5

The takeaway? On average, brand communications quality is, well, average. Given the Type-A personalities in leading professional services firms—those accustomed to performing at the head of their class and fields—the low scores might be hard to figure. But the effect of the economy sheds light on the tough grading. During the great recession, we saw marketing attention focused heavily on business development. And why wouldn’t we? During that time, sales were hard to come by as firms hunkered down among bleak predictions. We saw marketing communication investment devalued and more do-it-yourself branding within firms. Yes, that led to savings, but at what cost to quality, awareness, memorability and preference for firms?

Previous research shows that professional services firm clients and prospects have preconceived and immediate feelings about the quality of a firm solely based on the quality of brand communications. This, in turn, can have a noticeable impact on opportunities and on revenue.

4. Brand channels and investments. Which communication channels are most important and where do the greatest investments go?

  • 85% believe firm websites are the most important channel; 92% say it is the greatest area of investment.
  • 67% rate proposals and pitch material as the second most important channel; but only 30% say it is an area of greatest investment.
  • 59% say substantive alerts, speaking and thought leadership are very important; 32% indicate investments here are highest.
  • 35% viewed firm and practice advertising as most important; 45% reported it as an area of greatest investment.

The takeaway? Tuning the channels for the clearest return is a challenge. Website investment matches its perceived importance (shocker) but other communications are either overfunded or underfunded relative to perceived importance. Major events are viewed as much less important but still command a disproportionate financial commitment (boondoggle, anyone?). Pitch materials are not getting the love CMOs and CEOs feel they deserve and blue sky thought leadership is short-changed, as well.

What to do about brand progression?

While our study and data does not prove that branding in the business-to-business services sector has regressed following the recession, it does confirm that there is significant room for improvement for professional services firms.

Firms can advance their branding by considering these three tips:

1. Increase investments in marketing and business development simultaneously:We should start by mentioning that, increasing investments does not always demand higher dollar figure. It could (and often should) be a reallocation of funds from unimportant or ineffective programs to the ones that have the most impact. Think of it as finding couch money; the dollars and cents may be rattling around your firm, but you  need to collect them from underneath the cushions and spend them wisely. This often requires doing less and doing it better.

2. Have the courage to do memorable, engaging and high quality brand communications. The great ad man, David Ogilvy, said, “You can’t bore people into buying your product or service.” Firms need to take greater creative risks in order to achieve differentiation. For those of you who see branding as lipstick or worse, take the words of another “counsel.” Andy Warhol commented, “I may be superficial, but I’m deeply superficial.”

3. Demand that the investments made in marketing and business development yield measurable results:   When better branding initiatives are carried out, leads increase and create an improved conversion ratio.   Our study looked at brand tracking and found that the bottom line is that few in the professional services have the patience or budgets to do tracking research well(link to the study is below).

For brand skeptics, keep this in mind—following the U.S. Stock Market crash of 1987, Nike tripled its marketing spend and emerged from the recession with profits nine times higher than before the recession started. Yes, we know Nike is not a legal, accounting or consulting firm, but they are great at executing groundbreaking marketing plans—.And you have to admit a 9x increase in profits is a compelling argument to “just do it.”

Article by:

Of:

Greenfield/Belser Ltd.

Google Sticks a Fork in Guest Blogging for SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

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Last month, Google’s Matt Cutts, who heads up the search engine giant’s webspam team, wrote this on the Google Webmaster blog:

So stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy. In general I wouldn’t recommend accepting a guest blog post unless you are willing to vouch for someone personally or know them well. Likewise, I wouldn’t recommend relying on guest posting, guest blogging sites, or guest blogging SEO as a link building strategy.

So should you halt your guest blogging efforts?  Well, in a word, no.  Because SEO is not the only reason you guest blog – either on other blogs, or hosting guests on your own blog.  Which is why Cutts later updated his original post to say this:

Google SEO Search Engine Optimization

It seems like most people are getting the spirit of what I was trying to say, but I’ll add a bit more context. I’m not trying to throw the baby out with the bath water. There are still many good reasons to do some guest blogging (exposure, branding, increased reach, community, etc.). Those reasons existed way before Google and they’ll continue into the future.

Guest blogging used to be ONE way to develop quality links back to your own website or blog. Unfortunately, those trying to game the system with low quality content have made it – as Cutts says – a spammy practice.  Those that use guest blogging as their sole source of link building will now be out of luck and may even be penalized.

But I would still recommend guest blogging as a way for attorneys to spread their authority to other audiences that may not have otherwise been engaged by your own blog or website.  It can also still be a great way for you to improve the visibility of your firm and, when shared on social media, can help your SEO efforts from that standpoint.

As this blog post and other recent developments at Google demonstrate, you can’t go wrong when it comes to SEO if you pay attention to these 3 things:

1.  Designing a website that provides users with a superb experience – from the way they navigate the site to the information they find there.

2.  Developing high quality, relevant content for your area of practice that people want to read to help them solve the problems they would hire you for, populated with relevant keywords.

3.  Being an active participant on social media networks that your prospects and clients frequent, sharing all that great content you’ve developed for your website and your blog and engaging online with your target market.

Article by:

Stephen Fairley

Of:

The Rainmaker Institute

How Lawyers Can Leverage LinkedIn to Build Their Practice, Part 2 of 2

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Continuing from our previous post, here are 5 more tips for leveraging LinkedIn to build your client and referral base:

5Include All Your Web Links. You can add up to three links to your firm’s websites. There are default settings, but these are also customizable. So instead of www.TheRainmakerInstitute.com, I customized it to say “law firm marketing experts”, but it still links to my website. This is another place where you should use your keywords like: “Scottsdale bankruptcy attorney” or “Chicago divorce lawyer” and link it to your website, blog or even your Facebook fan page.

6. Make Your Profile Public. Remember, it’s called “social media” for a reason—you need to be social. Be sure to make your LinkedIn profile “public”, which means all the information you put in it is available to search engines to make it easier for people to find and connect with you.

7. Don’t Use The Same Copy For Your Summary As Your Bio. The summary is not a place to talk about all the things you have done in your life. This is the place to position yourself as the go-to attorney in your particular practice area and geographical region.

8. Use LinkedIn Groups. LinkedIn Groups can be a very effective way to increase your visibility among niche audiences, like your target market. It takes a little while to get used to how this works. I recommend you start by ‘listening’ before diving in. There are some places you should start with, such as alumni groups and groups in the industry segments you follow. We run several LinkedIn groups you can join for free including: Phoenix Arizona Attorneys, Personal Injury Attorney Network and the Rainmaker Law Firm Marketing Group. Simply log into your LinkedIn account and search under groups. Once you understand how groups work, start your own focusing on your target market or potential referral sources (like CPAs, financial advisors or business brokers).

9Add LinkedIn To Your Email Signature. Most attorneys put their contact information in their email signature; add a link to your LinkedIn account. Here’s mine: http://Rainmaker.MyLinkInvitation.com. I would welcome the opportunity to connect with you on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn Logo

As soon as you start networking with LinkedIn, you increase your chances of reaching new clients and referral partners. However, be prepared, and be willing to work at it. This is not something you can “set and forget”.

If you’re not into social media or can’t make the commitment to put in the time and effort to network in several sites at the same time, this is the ONE social media site you should focus on. You may not see it at first, but with the combined use of the strategies and tips I have shared here, you will start to see your online network mature over time, leading to more prospects and referral partner relationships.

To read Part One – Click Here

Article by:

Stephen Fairley

Of:

The Rainmaker Institute