Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Who s Filing for Bankruptcy? Demographic Statistics | Filing

Who s Filing for Bankruptcy? Demographic Statistics | Filing: "Who s Going Bankrupt? If you re divorced, unemployed, old or just flat broke, then you re probably going to file for bankruptcy."

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Art of Keyword Development

One of the most critical, fundamental and effective (when done right) aspects of any SEO effort is the keyword research necessary prior to writing your content. Unfortunately, it's also a time consuming task that most people don't know how to do properly.
Too often lawyers, and anyone else marketing themselves online, focus on a handful of highly competitive keywords and nothing else. It's not there fault; I've seen some of the "keyword analysis" provided by legal marketing companies like FindLaw. To say that it wasn't very good is an understatement of English Mastiffian proportions. It consisted of a few head terms like car accident, auto accident and truck accident, followed by a list of "tail" terms like attorney, lawyers and law firms, then finally regional terms. The idea was that all you had to do was mix up the head and tail terms, sprinkle in the regional terms and viola: Your keyword list.
The results look something like this:
California Truck Accident Lawyer
San Francisco Car Accident Attorney
Sacramento Auto Accident Law Firms
Great. Now write some crummy content, stuff these keywords in the title, and watch the leads come flying in!

You have to be kidding me.

The fact that lawyers pay for this "keyword research" makes me cringe. First of all, trying to rank for all these regional keywords is a waste of time. Unless you have a serious, long-term, very well funded SEO effort, it's just not going to happen. Furthermore, local search is evolving rapidly, and search algorithms are treating regional search terms much differently than "normal" search terms. It's not about matching up title tags anymore.

A Primer on Keyword Development

To develop a great keyword list, and in turn, effective web content, you have to be able to find a breadth of contextually related keywords (or more specifically, search terms). Think about the English language as a map. Every word is connected to hundreds or thousands of other words. Instead of just picking five, ten, or twenty highly competitive keywords, focus on finding the thousands of keywords that are one step removed from the keywords that every other lawyer is stuffing in their title tags.
An interesting tool that I use a lot when beginning a new keyword library, is Googles "wonder wheel". Here is a good video on how it works. It's a great way to get started getting out the the same old keyword "rut".

Applying What You've Found

Once you've found some keywords that merit a page of content, begin by creating an outline of what you think would be a helpful, informative page for someone searching for the term(s) you've selected. In this outline, try to naturally include your search term in the title and subtitles of your outline.
Once you're happy with your outline, FORGET ABOUT THE KEYWORDS, and begin writing. We've all seen what a keyword stuffed page reads like. It's terrible. If you're going to bother writing content to generate consumer traffic, you should have something that impresses them once they find it right? The body of your content should serve the sole purpose of getting your idea across effectively, not just more keyword fluff. As long as your target keyword is in your title and subtitles, you're set. More to come in another post.

Ruf ruf

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Effective Lawyer Content Marketing

When it comes to distributing legal content online, lawyers have a variety of options ranging from article syndication sites like and, how-to sites like ehow, legal oriented sites like Avvo and, or blog platforms. Which of these provides the most effective distribution?

Defining "Effectiveness" of Content Distribution

How do you measure effectiveness of content distribution? Is it page views, unique visitors, SEO valued links or leads? It's all of these, but ultimately, the goal for lawyers is to get new people to find and see the value of their legal practice, and make contact.
In order to provide value, the distribution platform an attorney chooses to use has to drive traffic to the published content. To do that, the content pages must get linked to from other relevant pages, get crawled by the major search engines, and get ranked for relevant keywords. Alternatively, the platform itself can deliver visitors from it's existing traffic base by providing an easy way for them to browse or search for content.

Measuring the Performance of Content Marketing

Having access to page view and lead data is critical for any content marketing effort. Without it, there is no way to make decisions about what and where to publish. Whichever platform you use, make sure you have direct access to traffic and lead data.

Links and SEO Value

The other benefit of publishing content online, is the links from that page will provide SEO value to your profile page or website. For this reason, having your legal content published on multiple websites is best, in order to maximize the "global link popularity" of you profile page or website.

The Network Delivers on all These Aspects

Law Firms has proven to be one of the most effective means of content marketing for lawyers, and now that more sites, like US Immigration Lawyers, Personal Injury Lawyer, Employment Lawfirms and Auto Accident Lawyers, have been opened up to subscribers, it just got more interesting and more effective. Having content across multiple sites can deliver enormous value for attorneys looking to increase their business.
One attorney, Rodney Mesriani, has taken full advantage of this platform, with many pages published across several, relevant sites. Some examples:
Employment Lawfirms: Severance packages
Personal Injury Lawyer: Amusement Park Injury Claims
Auto Accident Lawyers: Liability in Multiple Vehicle Accidents
Law Firms: Common Workplace Issues
So far this month, his articles have received, 1,875 page views! More importantly, his effort has increased his business. One example of this starts with the amusement park injury article listed above. About a half hour after the page went up, the following inquiry was sent to Mr. Mesriani's inbox from his profile page:
"my son was on a ride at six flags (kong) and broke his back he was out of school for 3 months as a 10th grader. we had to pay for toutoring and online coarses to keep him with good grades. $6000 later and his back is still giving him problems. They never called to even see how he was doing. What can we do?"
There is no better example of how effective content marketing can grow a law firms business. This person was searching for help, found the page relevant to her legal problem, and clicked to contact the author. That's effective content marketing.

Ruf ruf

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Great Content Starts with the Title

When writing content for the web, the first place to start is with the title. This is the single most heavily weighed on page aspect of SEO. Google and other search engines rely on the title as a big part of determining what the page is about, so it's important to think about your title from the perspective of a search engine. Better yet, when determining a title, think about the types of keywords for which you'd like to see your page show up.

Keep Your Title Short and to the Point

When choosing a title, try to keep it short, and include only those keywords you really want to go after. Better yet, use a phrase that you would expect someone to punch in to find what you're writing. As an example, if you want to write something on Why your Should Hire a Lawyer to Help with Foreclosure, think about how someone would use those terms in a search engine. They might search for "how to stop foreclosure", or "foreclosure help". It's actually pretty unlikely that that the term lawyer would appear in the most common search phrases, so incorporate those search term in the title. You can write something like, "How a Lawyer can Help Stop Foreclosure", or "Get Help from a Lawyer to Stop a Foreclosure". Alternatively, you can use a colon to help target an exact keyword phrase; "How to Stop Foreclosure: Get Foreclosure Help from a Lawyer".

Don't Forget Your H2 Titles

After you've got your title, make a quick outline of your article or guide. Use that to structure the flow of your article, and make sure you have subtitles (H2 and H3 titles) that are directly related to your page title. In the above example, your subtitles might be something like, "Negotiating with Your lender", "Legal Options to Prevent Foreclosure", "Bankruptcy and Foreclosure" and so on. The sub titles are another thing that major search engines will use as a guide to determine the relevancy of a page to a given search term. Subtitles also function as a great way to organize the content on the page and make it easier to digest for a researching consumer. One of the biggest mistakes we see lawyers make when writing content for the web is to write a long, unbroken string of text. While the content might be great, a webpage with nothing but long paragraphs can appear intimidating and "unfriendly" to many people. Web pages should be well organized an "scannable" so that people can find information quickly.

If You're an Experthub Contributor, We've Got Some Ideas for You

The SEO team at Experthub recently did some keyword research, as well as researching the keyword strength and page rank of pages on the Experthub Legal Network, and created a list of titles that would make for great legal guides, and have an excellent shot at getting indexed quickly, and generating more traffic to your profile. Take a look at our Wanted Page, and see if there is anything that you'd be interested in writing.
As always, these pages will get some SEO massaging and back-links from related, ranked pages to make sure they get indexed and ranked quickly, and get you more visitors to your profile page.

Ruf ruf

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

SEO is Easy

Just not for you.

I've overheard so many lawyers talking about spending thousands of dollars to pay some SEO firm to get their website ranked in google. Most lawyers don't even know what that means. Do you have to pay to be included in Googles search results? No. Will Google find your site and include it in it's search results if you don't do anything? Probably, unless there is absolutely no way for Googles spiders to find it. As long as there is one link on a page that is being crawled, your site will be indexed and included in the results page for relevant keywords.

What SEO is Not

All too many times I've heard lawyers explaining how, thanks to some SEO consultant, they're the #1 result for their firms name. This is not what SEO is all about. Showing up on page one when someone searches for your firm is just Google doing what it's supposed to do; Show people what they're looking for. Plus, if the search traffic coming to your site is composed of people looking for you, whats the point? Obviously they want to talk to YOU, or hire YOU already, so what purpose does your site serve other than to give them your number?

Real SEO Delivers New Traffic

The real purpose of SEO is to drive new people to your website that otherwise would never know your name. This consists of (1) designing an SEO friendly site, (2) publishing quality content and (3) promoting your site by getting good, relevant, inbound links from other websites. The first two steps are the relatively easy part. The hard part (and the thing that really gets Google interested in your content) is getting good quality, relevant sites to put up links to your content, with good anchor text.

Why SEO is Easy for Experthub and Hard for You

One of the things that Experthub does extremely well is get our lawyers' contributed content indexed, and ranked highly in Google for relevant search terms quickly. For example, this article on medical malpractice law in Maine ranks in the third spot for that term after only a month. The reason is all the lawyers on Experthubs network enjoy free SEO services in the form of optimization of, and inbound linking to, all their contributed content. This is that hard third part of SEO mentioned above. Owning an entire network of legal sites makes it easy to promote new web pages and get them noticed by Google quickly.
I overheard one attorney who was actually upset because he had spent a lot of money paying an SEO consultant to get him to the top of Google for his very specialized type of legal practice. After publishing a legal guide on about the subject, his site was actually pushed down to the second spot, and the top spot was taken by his contributed article published on our network. After realizing that he now owned the top two spots, he wasn't so upset.

Moral of This Story

If you're a part of Experthub, take some time to publish quality legal guides and enjoy getting even more traffic at no cost.

Ruf ruf

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Coffee is for Closers

How many lawyers subscribe to law firm marketing services expecting clients to show up with wallets open?
One of the interesting things we hear from clients is that even though they're getting plenty of leads through their network subscription, they're not getting much actual business because other lawyers are beating them to the punch or "stealing their leads".

To Compete Against other Law Firms you Have to be able to Close

It's no different from other types of advertising in any other industry. Clients are not going to show up with wallets open asking for your help (well, ok, not ALL of them will). They're going to shop around, talk to different attorneys, consider their budget, feel out lawyers personalities, qualifications, etc.
If you're not making an effort to sell yourself, and show a potential client that you're their best option, another lawyer will.
Here's an interesting blog about selling your services to clients through a "consultative approach". Aside from all the "rainmaker" comments, it's a good read.
Not all lawyers are good at selling, but making an effort to, at the very least, talk to potential clients about their problem and offer some typical solutions used in previous cases is an easy way to develop some trust with your leads.

Meow meow

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Optimize Your Online Marketing Spend with Offline Biz Dev

I overheard a phone conversation with an attorney who's taken a good approach to purchasing a large number of leads, even though many were not the type of case he prefers.
Often times, the complaint many lawyers will have with the results of their online marketing spend is they receive a large number of consumer inquiries regarding cases that they are not interested in pursuing.
One remedy is to focus your spend in such a way that you're only purchasing the types of leads you want. The problem is, when it comes to marketing anything online, the more constraints you put on your traffic, the more expensive it will be per lead.
Back to the phone call. This attorney was purchasing a large quantity of leads, even though many of the calls an online inquiries he was receiving were of little interest to him. But what he found, was that they were of interest to many of his colleagues.

Online Marketing Meets Old Fashioned Business Development

Every lawyer knows that a big part of an attorneys job, whether a solo practice or (even especially) at a large firm is business development. It's one of the things that's probably not taught in law school, but should be part of the curriculum.
In order to stay in business, a firm has to generate new clients. One of the ways attorneys or law firms do this is biz dev with other firms. Developing relationships with other practices, and throwing business both ways is a great way to maintain a steady flow of business.
If you're purchasing media online and developing business, why not refer those cases you don't want to another firm that does? Keeping up a varied circle of attorney "acquaintances", and sending business their way once in a while, is a sure fire way to convert unwanted leads into new business later down the road.
Don't forget to ask for referrals in return. Just a simple question, "if you ever get a case "x", thats my specialty", after referring some business to an attorney is all it takes. Keep tabs on the fruit of your relationships. If you find that some attorneys take your business and never return the favor, keep track of that and adjust accordingly.
By actively working offline and online to generate new business, you can maximize your ROI with very little time spent marketing yourself.

Ruf ruf