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Striking Distance Keywords and How to Improve Them

What is a “striking distance keyword”? A striking distance keyword is phrase we use here at Sundown Marketing to describe a keyword that is not quite at the top of a Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP) yet, but with a little time and attention could rise to the top of Page 1.  In other words, it is a keyword that is within “striking distance” of the top of Page 1 of Google. Most of the time we focus on keywords that are in Position 8-12 (bottom of Page 1 or the top of Page 2), but sometimes we look even further down the list of a Google search. We work to find keywords that are competitive keywords, that we feel could rank better and could significantly increase exposure for our clients.

This is the natural train of thought that an SEO technician would take after watching keyword performance go up and down for a few months. The question is: “Can I impact a client’s website performance for a keyword by focusing on that keyword on the website?”

So, for example, we want our client’s website to rank highly for “personal injury attorney” and their site is currently ranking in the 18th position (bottom of Page 2) for personal injury attorney. Armed with that information, we would work on the site to “beef it up” for SEO factors for the keyword we are trying to rank for.

Methods

Until recently, we would begin this task by using Google Search Console. Search Console tells you what pages are ranking for what keywords and in what position they rank.

To use Google Search Console, you would simply log into your dashboard and select Performance. From there you can see all the Queries that your site ranks for and by clicking on the Pages tab you can see the page that it ranks for.

search-engine-console-dashboard

We recently discovered another way to more effectively accomplish this task. After reading an article written by search guru Neil Patel, we found a way to get even better data which includes the search volume for all of the keywords your website ranks for. This data is better because you can then use the search volume to target the keywords with the highest search volume and ranking highly for these keywords will have an even higher impact to your website performance.

semrush-dashboard

At Sundown Marketing we use SEMRush for our SEO management. With SEMRush you can enter the domain you want to analyze to create a report containing website performance. From this report you can select Top Organic Keywords. Your results will be a list of your ranking keywords, along with each keyword’s search volume. From here you can sort by Volume, so that the high-volume keywords are listed at the top of your list. Search volume tells you whether or not it is worth the effort to try and improve the ranking of a certain keyword. As an example, if the volume is only 10 searches per month, then it might be wiser to move on to the next keyword.

Here is an example of a Keyword search for one of our clients:

organic-search-positions

Once you have chosen a keyword to focus on, you must decide how to improve your website for that particular keyword. The first step is to determine what page is ranking for the keyword so you know where to focus your efforts. Once you have that information, you can analyze the page by reviewing this data:

  • Is the keyword in the title tag?
  • Is the keyword in the H1 tag?
  • Is the keyword in the meta description?
  • Is the keyword in the schema tags and the image alt tags?
  • Can you add more content about the keyword?
  • Can you add more images that are optimized for the keyword?

Most of the time you will find an area where you can improve the condition of a page on your website for a particular keyword. Perhaps a blog only has 200 words, which would suggest you bolster the content with keyword focused content. Perhaps a page has great content, keyword specific titles and meta data and quality backlinks, but no schema. In that case you may want to consider adding schema or additional optimized images. When adding additional optimized images, make sure you add them below the fold, so they don’t add significant load time to the page. In essence, go through and make the changes that make the most sense for your website.

Results

Usually the results can be seen within a month, but some changes make take longer. In the case of one of our clients, we focused on two keyword phrases:

  • “Statute of Limitations for filing a personal injury claim in Alabama” (very long tail keyword)
  • “what conditions automatically qualify you for disability”

Four days after doing some basic optimization on two pages we found that the first keyword phrase didn’t see any improvement, but in the case of the second keyword phrase, and after only optimizing the image on the page, we saw a slight increase in the position of the website for “what conditions automatically qualify you for disability” (from 18 to 17)

keyword-improvement

This is a good way to not only optimize for keywords, but also know which keywords are likely going to bring in enough traffic to make it worth your time.

If you would like a website analysis by our SEO team, please call Sundown Marketing at (800) 649-1749 or via our website contact form for a free initial consultation!

What is the purpose of your website? Is it simply your online business card? There to impress those who intentionally visit just to check out your firm. Or, is it supposed to function as an online lead generator? A part of a larger internet marketing program designed to guide prospective clients to fill out a contact form or pick up the phone and call you.

In this Whiteboard Wednesday, Rob Rosasco, our resident internet marketing authority, discusses steps you can take to improve the power of your website.

Video Transcription

Hello and welcome to Sundown Legal Marketing’s Whiteboard Wednesday. Today on Whiteboard Wednesday we’re going to talk websites, most specifically, we’re going to talk about your website, what can be done to improve its conversion rate and what we can do in order to turn your Web site into a client generating machine. Now, your website can serve a number of different purposes.

A Website Can Serve Many Purposes

Number one, it could just simply be your online business card, a way to convey firm name, firm address and firm phone number to any website visitor.

Number two, it could serve as your online branding tool.

And number three, and most importantly, it could serve as your online lead or client generation resource. Now, in reviewing your website, you need to ask yourself these three questions.

Ask Yourself These Three Questions

  • Number one, is your website getting any traffic? Is anyone visiting your website?
  • Number two, is your website creating leads?
  • And, number three, is your website converting those leads, or website visitors, into actual clients?

Now, if your website is getting traffic, what can be done to improve that conversion ratio or the ratio between website visitors and actual clients? Well, we’re going to cover these eleven items in just a minute to discuss that. But if your websites not getting any traffic, that’s a completely separate conversation, which we’ll cover in a later Whiteboard Wednesday. That is an SEO conversation.

11 Steps To Attracting The Right Target Audience To Your Law Firm Website

So let’s talk about these eleven items. Things we can do to make sure that we’re attracting the right target audience to your website so that we convert website visitors into clients.

  1. Number one, consistently adding content. Google has made it quite clear that in order to rank well and convert, you need to add good quality, robust content on a consistent basis.
  2. Number two build quality back links. A back link is nothing more than a connection or a link between your website and another website. You need to build links or connections from your website to other high quality legal websites.
  3. Number three, and probably the most important element in this entire list is you need to add video to your website. Video is the single most important conversion tool on this list.
  4. Number four, make sure that your website is mobile ready. Several years ago, we reached a tipping point where more searches are done on mobile devices than on desktop devices. If your website was not designed and was not built for mobile use, that needs to happen today.
  5. Number five, utilize keywords throughout your website. Keyword usage is important because both Google and a website visitor need to know exactly what you do. And it’s those keywords that convey that message. But if you overuse keywords, that can be even more detrimental than not using keywords at all. So make sure that you work with a professional in authoring or drafting the content on your website.
  6. Number six, tell your story on your home page. Most website visitors land on your home page. That’s the first exposure they have to your content. If you don’t catch their attention in the first, second or two, they’re going to bounce off your website and go to another. You need to make sure that you tell a good quality story on your home page to capture their attention.
  7. Number seven, utilize paid advertising. We’ve all heard good stories, bad stories, negative stories, positive stories about paid advertising. Paid advertising needs to be a component in any internet marketing program and can truly help with conversions.
  8. Number eight, review and track analytics. Google Analytics is the single most important tracking tool when it comes to the health of your website. You need to make sure that you’re tracking or the company that you work with is tracking your Google Analytics so you can readily determine the health of your website.
  9. Number nine, check page speed. We all know that if we go to a website, it takes 5, 10, 15 seconds to load. We immediately bounce off that website and go to another. If your website does not load quickly, website visitors are not going to stay on your website. You need to make sure that you check your page speed on a regular basis.
  10. Number 10, work with a professional web designer. There are plenty of options out there for design, website design and website build. You need to make sure that you work with a professional so that your Web site not only looks good, but the back end is built for a good quality user experience. Very important when it comes to conversions.
  11. And finally, client reviews. We’re all consumers. If we’re looking for a business, if we’re looking for a new pizza place or if we’re looking for any type of local business, we’re going to go check out the reviews to see what other clients have said about that business. The same holds true for law firms. As a potential consumer, we want to know what type of experience have other consumers had with this business. And again, it is true for law firms as well.

Well, you need to consider these eleven items and implement these eleven items if you want to improve conversions. So thank you for joining us for this Whiteboard Wednesday. We look forward to talking with you for the next Whiteboard Wednesday.

A website is just a piece of an overall law firm internet marketing program. In fact, it is probably the most important piece, as it serves as the hub or foundation of your internet marketing program. A website could serve a number of different purposes:

  1. Online business card – Displaying a professional image for the firm across the internet
  2. Brand sharing – A tool to “get the word out” and develop familiarity with the firm in the community
  3. Online lead generation resource – A tool to drive potential clients to the firm

The first step any law firm should take when reviewing their online presence is to complete a review of their website, and this should start with three questions:

  1. Is your website getting any traffic or visitors?
  2. Is your website creating leads?
  3. Is your website converting those leads into clients?

If your website is getting traffic or visitors, but the phone isn’t ringing or the calls you get aren’t good quality calls, then improvements need to be made to your website to improve conversions.

If your website isn’t getting any traffic, then you have a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) problem, which is a topic for a later article.

Improving Website Conversions

Improving your website’s ability to convert visitors into potential clients is a complicated undertaking. Building conversion elements into a new website presents a best-case scenario, but most of the elements we will discuss today can be integrated into an existing website.

The overall appearance of your website is a good place to begin when reviewing your website’s effectiveness. A carefully planned, well-structured, professional website is a must if you expect your website to convert. A website visitor (aka potential client) must be convinced that your law firm is capable of handling their legal issue. 

Once you have an attractive, professional website, you need to consider these 11 elements to help improve conversions:

  1. Consistently Add Content to Your Website – Google has made it clear that in order to rank well, a website must have authoritative and relevant content that is regularly updated. When you think about it, this makes a great deal of sense. Google’s mission is to provide the best results possible to their clients, web searchers, when they perform a search. In Google’s world, “best results” are measured by the quality and relevance of the content on your website.
  2. Build Links – Create a detailed, well thought-out link building strategy. Along with content creation, building links from your website to high domain authority, relevant websites, is one of the most impactful SEO tactics you can employ.  
  3. Add Video – Google’s acquisition of YouTube several years ago signaled their commitment to video and the trend since that acquisition has been a consistent increase in video consumption on the web. HubSpot recently released a report showing that the average person watches 1.5 hours of video per day and 6 out of 10 people prefer online video platforms to live TV.
  4. Make Sure Your Website is Mobile Ready – Over 65% of web searches performed on Google are done on a mobile device. Google recently announced that they are transitioning to a “mobile first” index, meaning that Google is more concerned about the appearance and effectiveness of the mobile version of your website than the desktop version.
  5.  Utilize Keywords Throughout Your Website – In order to convince Google, and inevitably a website visitor, that you are worthy of hiring, you must first share with them what you do. This is done by creating good quality content written with keywords that describe what you do and how well you do it. But you must be careful not to overuse keywords or else you risk a Google penalty.
  6.  Tell a Story on Your Homepage – Everyone loves a good story. Face it, there are a lot of good lawyers and quality law firms that do what you do. What separates you from your competitors? Why should a website visitor consider hiring you? Offer answers to these questions in the form of a story on your homepage. You probably tell this story several times a day to potential clients and other attorneys, put it into words and strategically utilize it on your homepage.
  7. Utilize Paid Advertising – Combining paid advertising with your organic SEO program will improve your conversion rate.
  8. Review and Track Your Google Analytics Data – Reviewing and tracking your Google analytics data will help you gain an understanding of how your website is performing. It will tell you who is visiting your website, where those visitors are from, how they arrived at your website, how long they were on your site, etc. This data is the foundation for your conversion upgrade, as it provides you with a snapshot of the current health of your website, but more importantly, it helps you track the performance of the changes you make to your website.
  9. Check Page Speed – The time it takes to load a page from your website could mean the difference between a website visitor contacting you or moving on to a competitor’s website. Also, page load time is an important element in Google’s page rank algorithm.
  10. Work with a Professional Web Designer – Just about anyone can build a website today. There are number of quality website building platforms on the market, but in order to have a professional website with all the necessary conversion elements, you really have to work with a professional web designer.
  11. Increase Client Reviews – It wasn’t that long ago that “word of mouth” was the only way to uncover details about a law firm’s reputation. Today, there are countless websites devoted exclusively to client reviews. And, everyone reads reviews. It is imperative that you have an assortment of positive reviews about your firm. Good reviews can mean the difference between a client and a disinterested website visitor.

In summary, it is important to develop a comprehensive internet marketing plan and focus on conversions. Any one of these items may have a minor positive impact on your ranking and conversions, but integrating most or all of these elements will most certainly improve conversions and increase the number of phone calls your firm receives.

Sundown Legal Marketing specializes in helping law firms review their current internet footprint, developing a comprehensive internet marketing plan and implementing every aspect of that plan. Contact us today for a free website evaluation and a no obligation assessment of your internet marketing plan. Call us today at (800) 864-1764 or online at Sundown Marketing.

It wasn’t that long ago that internet marketing success was solely based on a few things:

  1. A website with a lot keyword content crammed into every page
  2. Tons of links to other websites that may or may not be relevant, but received a lot of traffic

Today, success in internet marketing is impacted by a great number of factors and involves a lot of moving parts.  With all of the changes that Google has made to their algorithm (Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird) over the last few years, the path to internet marketing success starts with two simple factors:

  1. Creating relevant and authoritative content
  2. Delivering relevant and authoritative content to potential customers/clients

Creating relevant and authoritative content allows a website owner to convey subject matter expertise.  Consumers utilize the internet to find information and, dependent upon their needs, will work diligently to find a website/business that can provide them with the expert answers that they need.  Subject matter expertise provides a consumer with a sense of security, allowing them to comfortably make a decision to buy, not to buy, act or do nothing at all.  With those thoughts in mind, it is easy to understand why Google now demands that websites provide their customers with good, quality content.

The second point above, delivering relevant and authoritative content is just as important as creating the content in the first place.  Without a mechanism to deliver the content, no one will ever see it.  Here is a list of some of the most important tools for delivering content:

  1. A website
  2. A blog
  3. Social Media

The first tool for delivering content is always a website.  A website is typically the first stop a consumer makes when searching for information online.  A good website will have a number of good qualities (good color palette, uncluttered, call to action, etc.), but the single most important quality will be great content.

Another tool for delivering content is a blog.  A blog allows an author to convey timely subject matter expertise.  A business should blog as often as they can and dependent upon their area of expertise, 2-4 times monthly should fit the bill.

Lastly, utilizing social media as a content delivery mechanism is becoming more and more important and businesses who effectively utilize social media are recognizing the benefits.  Social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest to name a few) allows a business to connect with the community.  A community which is made up of potential customers/clients.

Each of the elements above are important on their own, but become incredibly valuable when they are part of a holistic approach to internet marketing.  Bringing consumers to a website from a link on a well written blog, driving potential clients to a blog through postings on social media or pushing potential customers to social media profiles from well displayed icons on a website.  Tying all of these elements together, as a part of a well thought out, well planned internet marketing program is the only way to succeed online today.

So…… you’ve invested all this money into a brand new website, Search Engine Optimization, local search, Pay Per Click and all manner of things that are supposed to increase your caseload. You’ve seen the traffic reports and they look great, but your phone still isn’t ringing.

Well, you’re not alone. That is the concern, by far, that most law firms have with their internet marketing program. Let’s be honest, if your investment paid 10 times what it cost you would probably be satisfied. In fact, you would probably be satisfied with 3-5 times your investment.  And, there are a lot of law firms that would like to just stop losing money on their internet marketing program.

That is what I would like to discuss with you today. After 14 years of listening to law firms discuss their internet marketing programs, examining the highs and lows, I have come up with a few tips that could really help.  Here are the Top 5 simple steps you can make to your website that will get you more cases.

Step #5 – Make your website inviting and colorful

Appearance means a lot. When you look at someone getting out of a $40,000 car your first instinct is to assume the person is successful and intelligent, unless they are wearing a valet uniform, of course.  On the flip side, the most successful person you may ever meet could exit a fixer upper (which could simply be a restoration project of their first car) and you would assume that was all they could afford and were probably not successful.

It is human nature to be attracted to people or things that make us feel better about ourselves and success is one of those factors.  Your website should look successful. Use high quality pictures, graphics that depict your practice areas and success stories, right on the home page.

Step #4 – Don’t be afraid to advertise your success

Potential clients are going to be attracted to your success, so show it. Talk about the types of cases your firm has one and make it easy for them to find them.  Instead of mentioning a lot of midsize verdicts and settlements, combine them together to say “Our firm has successfully negotiated more than 20 Million dollars for our client’s in the past 5 years. Let us see what we can do for you.”  That statement alone may drive more phone calls.  Potential clients want to hire a winner.

Step #3 – Display your contact information prominently on your home page

Your Firm phone number, Live Chat, e-mail addresses must be up front and obvious on your website. They’re interested in talking to you, so why make it hard. They most likely had to work hard to find your website in the first place, so make it easy for them to contact you. They want to communicate with someone and the more quickly that someone is you, the better!

Step #2 – Have a good marketing message

Your marketing message is critical and must be on the top half of the home page.  An example of a good message is – We help Accident Victims. Period.” Or “Big Firm Resources, Small Firm Approach to Our Clients.  People want to know who you are and what you are about. Remember, you have less than 4 seconds to get their attention and encourage them to read on. So, be bold!

Step #1 – Have a live chat program

This could end up being the most important thing you could do, especially since you can actually do it today. Changes to your website can sometimes take a while.

People don’t visit law firm websites because they are looking to learn about the law. People visit law firm websites because they have a problem and it is probably one of the most stressful times in their lives.

You may not know it, but law firms and attorneys themselves, can be very intimidating to the general public. Your education, your success and your “don’t back down” attitude can make even the most polished individuals a little nervous, when they are feeling vulnerable.

A phone call can be a scary thought. That is where live chat programs have taken law firm marketing to the next level. Some studies claim that live chats can increase your intakes by 40% or more.  We recently completed a study of the top 1000 websites for the top marketing law firms around the country and 87% of those firms employed a live chat tool.

This, in itself, should be validation enough that it is working. Even firms with money to burn, so to speak, don’t want to waste it and are always looking for that extra edge over their competition. You should too.

The reason this option is appealing is its anonymity, its convenience and the instant response. And, considering more and more law firm searches are being done via mobile devices, it makes sense.

I don’t know what 40% more potential conversations could do for your firm, but most attorneys tell me, it’s worth it.  And, your most successful peers are doing it, so don’t get left behind.

There are lots of chat programs to choose from, so it’s important to find the one that’s right for your firm and your attorneys.

If you would like to know more about our live chat program, LegalChatnow and how it could increase your business, call or email us today; (251)513-0543 or dm@legalchatnow.com or just visit our website, www.legalchatnow.com.

If you have questions or comments about this article, click here to chat with us live.

Our program utilizes live chat and text messaging to maximize the potential for website visitor interaction. Call us or chat with us today.

We are the experts, so you don’t have to be.