Google Suspends My Business Features During COVID-19

Google responded to the COVID-19 outbreak by sending workers home and operating with a limited support team. This temporarily removes certain Google My Business (GMB) features and delays for remaining features are expected.

According to Google, they’re prioritizing “critical health-related businesses and services” to ensure the public has access to important health and safety information amid the evolving COVID-19 situation.

Client Reviews Are Unavailable

New reviews, new review replies, Q&A, and all videos are currently unavailable. Google has given no indication of when these features will return.

While unclear, it’s believed new reviews will be saved and published after Google resumes normal operations. However, with so many reviews getting backlogged, it’s unclear how quickly they will appear.

That being said, now is NOT a good time to ask clients for new reviews. More importantly, asking for a review may not be received well during these difficult times.

Click here to explore our community communication guidelines amid COVID-19.

Log new client information in a reliable place and ask for reviews once Google has made it clear the review process is back to normal.

Business Information

Business information edits are significantly delayed. This includes changes to hours of operation, temporary closures, business descriptions, and attributes.

However, it’s critical that any changes to your operation be reflected in your GBM profile. According to Google, the best way to make these critical edits is via business attributes or posts.

The post functionality, specifically, has been called out by Google as a reliable way to get important information to your clients. Click here for instructions on how to create a post.

Google has also recommended using the COVID-19 post type, which will make the content more noticeable to clients.

Claims, Verifications, New Listings

Claims, verifications and new listings are currently delayed for all non-critical businesses.

Google’s limited support team is manually reviewing new content for health-related businesses and services—it’s unclear how Google plans to prioritize new claims, verifications, and listings for all other businesses.

Frustrated? You’re Not Alone…

If you’re having trouble updating information on GMB, you’re in good company.

Fortunately, there are other ways to get clients the information they need:

  • Add operational changes to your website’s homepage. A pop-up window or top banner will help call attention to important updates.
  • Share operational changes on social media and update business descriptions on these platforms to reflect changes taking place amid COVID-19.
  • Email your client database to help spread the word. Connecting with past clients is also a great way to improve referral business.

While there are certainly challenges your business will face as Google continues to make adjustments, Network Affiliates is here to help.

Connect with our team online or call our office directly at 888-461-1016.

Law Firm Marketing Amid COVID-19

A Message From Your Partners at Network Affiliates

We recognize that with the constantly changing Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, this is an unprecedented time for everyone—it’s also unchartered territory for your business.

As a dedicated partner to you and your law firm, we’re compelled to share our strategic thoughts on navigating the difficult road ahead.

Community Communication Guidance

Make no mistake, COVID-19 will impact every sector and industry. We don’t know what the world will look like following this pandemic, so it’s critical that your business is agile and willing to change with the needs of your community.

Right now, consumers are being bombarded with information on every news station, in their social media feeds and inboxes. It’s important that your communications and messaging emphasize your organization’s integrity without pandering to fear or opportunity.

If you feel compelled to communicate with your audience directly, whether via social media, in an email, or on TV, remember that people need to feel safe right now. You and your firm can help establish that safety by being a community supporter, a source of information, and a trusted brand.

What you say to your community, and how you say it, will impact the community’s perception of your brand well after the crisis is over. Creativity, compassion, and relevancy are important concepts to consider throughout the evolving COVID-19 situation:

  • Creativity—messaging that mimics what competitors are saying is likely to get lost.
  • Compassion—people cope differently with stress and anxiety. Be sensitive to the needs of your community.
  • Relevancy—make sure the right message reaches the right people at the right time.

If you need help communicating the right words to the right people, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Our in-house team includes creative and media experts who will ensure your message hits the mark on TV, social media, email, etc.

Let’s talk about intake, too. Intake communication has never been more important. With calls down as much as 80 percent in some markets, the outcome of each call matters more today than it did just a month ago.

Is your intake team anxious or preoccupied? How might these feelings translate on a call? What’s more, your team may be fielding questions they’re not prepared to answer. How are you helping them prepare?

Your intake team represents your brand on every single call. This is a golden opportunity to improve your intake process. Use this time to listen to your intake calls and mentor your intake team.

The people calling your law firm are undoubtedly worried, and the COVID-19 situation only makes matters worse. Be sensitive to the many ways people are coping with stress by preparing your intake team.

How Can Your Law Firm Make A Difference?

Many of our clients are already active in the community, providing college scholarships, free rides home, youth helmet programs, and much more.

Consider assessing how your law firm plans to utilize funds typically set aside for community outreach. Since we don’t know how long the COVID-19 crisis will last or what the lingering implications will be, think critically about what your community needs today; for example:

  • As schools across the country shut down and move to online learning, some kids don’t have access to a computer or the internet at home. Reach out to your local school district and find out if children in your community need help getting geared up for online learning.
  • In addition to teaching students, public schools provide 22 million children with free or reduced-price lunch. There are several organizations responding to this food crisis including Feeding America and No Kid Hungry. Donations to your local foodbank can also help ensure kids in your community don’t go hungry.
  • Healthcare workers, police, and firefighters are working overtime and local restaurants are struggling. Consider buying frontline workers lunch or dinner from a local restaurant that participates in takeout or delivery options.

Business as usual won’t work right now—not for you, your practice, or your clients. Think about what your law firm planned to do this year in terms of outreach, and ask yourself: is this what my community needs right now?

More importantly, making a difference doesn’t mean a state-wide relief plan. In fact, the biggest difference you can make is how you care for your employees.

For many workers, this may be their first time working from home or adjusting to a virtual office. They may need supplies, hardware, or time to turn a guest room into a productive work space—and a lot of these things cost money. Make sure employees have what they need to do their jobs well at home.

Parents are also facing unique challenges as they juggle child care, home schooling, and round-the-clock family meals. Be flexible with their new schedule and they’ll find unique ways to be productive at home.

Be patient with employees as they make this transition. We don’t know how long social distancing and self-quarantine will be mandated—anticipating for the worst could be the safest bet. If working from home lasts longer than expected, your employees (and your business!) will be prepared.

Sadly, some law firms may face furloughs or employee layoffs, and we know the thought of this keeps you up at night. If you’re worried about taking care of your team, remember that employees can’t collect unemployment benefits unless they’re officially let go. Compelling employees to quit is not recommended, as they will undoubtedly have a difficult time securing new employment during the outbreak.

Doing right by your employees can make all the difference in the world—but if you have the means to do more for your community, think about what would make the biggest impact—this may mean pausing your firm’s annual charity events or programs and returning to them next year.

Digital Spaces Are Exploding

In addition to community outreach, there are alternative ways to reach out to your community. As social lives shift toward digital spaces, there are new opportunities to engage consumers online.

Leverage your brand on digital platforms like YouTube and Facebook.

YouTube, for example, has 2 billion logged-in monthly users and is the second most-preferred platform for watching video on TV screens among those aged 18 to 34. (The only platform that has greater viewership is Netflix and Netflix doesn’t run ads.)

Safety recommendations during COVID-19 may extend social distancing, which means consumers will turn to digital spaces for education, information, and entertainment. Your law firm can meet consumers in these virtual spaces with minimal spending and a large audience footprint.

Facebook is another digital space your law firm should explore right now. Facebook has powerful audience targeting tools that deliver extreme precision with even a modest advertising budget. Plus, Facebook is reporting a surge in usage across the globe due to the ongoing pandemic. 

Use Facebook to test out new practice areas; we’ve seen great success with campaigns focused on nursing home abuse, medical malpractice, large truck accidents, and more.

Facebook advertising doesn’t need to be complicated or even service focused—in fact, a few kind words, an entertaining video, or a charitable announcement can foster community while maintaining brand recognition.

As we suggested in the first section, explore your creativity, be compassionate, and keep it relevant. YouTube and Facebook are great ways to reach out to your community because it’s where your community is right now.  

The Elephant in the Room: Television Advertising

Social distancing and self-quarantine will undoubtedly impact the number of drivers on the road and, subsequently, the number of accident-related calls your office receives. Your biggest competitors, however, (the insurance companies) are ramping up their marketing.

Reports indicate quarantined consumers are using their extra time at home to review insurance policies, and insurance companies are responding by remaining steadfast in their TV advertising.

Now is a critical time to reflect on the creative commercials your law firm is running—if not auto accidents, this may be a good time to showcase other practice areas (e.g., large truck accidents, nursing home neglect/abuse, etc.).

We also encourage you to consider custom messaging that speaks to the COVID-19 situation, specifically. This is a great time to simply offer support to your community by letting them know they can still access quality legal services via phone, email, or virtual meeting.

Many of our clients have already taken advantage of our in-house creative and production capabilities to enhance their TV campaigns with relevant, timely messaging.

From everyone at Network Affiliates, we remain firmly committed to your brand and business as we embark together on the challenges ahead.

Please know that as your strategic media and marketing partner, we will continue to shepherd your investment throughout these trying times.

Stay home. Stay safe. Stay connected.  

Optimize Efficiency to Supercharge a Media Investment

Legal advertisers know that success isn’t always about how much you spend—it’s how effectively you can spend it.

And while media agencies can certainly spend your money, how are you, the attorney, able to ensure you got what you paid for?

Attorneys and law firms can improve the efficacy of a media investment by analyzing the past and improving financial transparency.

If you’re not getting these things from your current agency, what else could you be missing?

The Post-Buy Analysis

Rates have been negotiated with TV stations and sales reps. The inventory has been purchased and the spots have aired or published. Is this the end of your campaign?

Not by a long shot…

To ensure all advertising ran as requested and that you received the rating and impressions you purchased, your agency should provide a comprehensive post-buy analysis.

A post-buy analysis will help you answer questions like:

  • Did you get the ratings you paid for? If not, who’s following up to get no-charge spots or other value-add bonuses to make up for what was missed?
  • How successful was the reach? Understanding audience behavior and demographic data is essential to future media opportunities.
  • How effective was the buy? Ad rates can fluctuate by quarter. Comparing your agency’s estimated cost and the actual spend can help inform future buys. 

At Network Affiliates, we use post-buy analyses to measure the effectiveness of a schedule’s performance after it runs and to hold stations accountable on behalf of our clients.

If your ad campaigns aren’t getting the attention they deserve, you could be overspending or leaving real money on the table.

Billing Transparency

What does your monthly media invoice look like? Do you get affidavits of performance from every station on the buy? Are the totals listed in gross dollars or net?

Not every agency handles billing the same way. Some agencies report net totals, separating agency fees and commissions. While not necessarily inaccurate, this can lead to confusion.

What’s more, some agencies blind bill their clients, an accounting practice that consolidates campaign purchases into one lump sum, which effectively avoids important details like what creative ran, when it ran, and what the agency is charging compared to the buy.

Do you get to see each commercial itemized on a station invoice? Maybe, maybe not.

Transparent billing is the only way to know that your marketing investment is being managed effectively.

At Network Affiliates, your top sheet invoice includes all your media purchases on a monthly basis. This can include your broadcast TV and cable buys, billboard campaigns, radio buys, etc.

Plus, instead of sending checks to a dozen different stations, our administrators manage the entire billing process seamlessly.

Billing transparency is essential to how we run our business. If your current agency isn’t willing to review their billing procedures with you, ask yourself, why?

To learn more about Network Affiliates or to schedule a free competitive market analysis and/or media audit call 888-461-1016 or fill out this quick contact form and we’ll get in touch with you.

Grow Your Marketing Investment with Superior Media Analytics

Of all the ways to collect competitive data, our network of successful attorneys consistently relies on competitive market analyses and media audits to identify valuable information and to make effective budget decisions.

These proven approaches are essential to any legal practice, but especially critical to:

  • Longtime advertisers facing new competition
  • Young attorneys or new law firms looking to break into a market
  • All firms seeking greater Share of Voice (SOV)

But what are market analyses and media audits, exactly? How do you know if your law firm needs one?

What Is a Competitive Market Analysis?

competitive market analysis provides a clear overview of the legal advertising activity happening within a designated market area (DMA) — both yours and your competitors’.

Among other things, a market analysis will reveal:

  • Share of Voice (SOV) for all legal advertisers in a market
  • Market shifts and new entrants to the legal vertical
  • Who the top spenders are
  • How much they spend per month and per year
  • Where they’re placing ads
  • What their creative looks like and what their messaging sounds like

The very fact that this competitive information is available comes as a huge surprise to many lawyers who aren’t familiar with top marketing resources such as Nielsen TV and Audio Ratings, Strata Analytics, and Kantar Media—the world’s largest data, insights, and consulting company.

Each of these marketing resources requires a significant capital investment—one that rarely makes sense for a law firm to make. Thankfully, our client roster enjoys access to these powerful tools via the Network, which includes the expert analysis of a dedicated account manager and a team of experienced media planners and buyers.

If you’re a current advertiser, the “competitive” part of a competitive marketing analysis will also reveal:

  • How much you’re spending relative to competitors
  • How your creative, messaging, and branding differ from competitors
  • Where your advertising overlaps with competitors; and much more

Side note: so far, we’ve only talked about television, but it’s also valuable to perform a competitive market analysis on digital properties (e.g. website, social media, PPC, etc.) to see how your brand compares online. 

What Is a Media Audit?

media audit is a comprehensive analysis of an entire advertising campaign. For example, a media audit might ask:

  • Are there television programs or dayparts that would be a better fit for your strategy (i.e. produce better results)?
  • Are you running spots of different lengths? Is there a better combination of five, 10, 15, 30, and 60-second spots that would improve your reach, frequency, and ROI?
  • Did the station deliver what you paid for? Did the programming deliver the ratings negotiated?

The information discovered in these audits has helped many law firms realize real savings or turn the tide in a competitive market. What’s more, a media audit can be performed again and again to optimize results and increase your return on investment.

Television advertising dollars are finite. A media audit can help you make sure you’re investing each dollar in the most efficient way.

More importantly, there’s an art to media audits, and not everyone approaches them the same way.

Information is your best investment tool in an increasingly competitive legal landscape.

But if you’re doing it right, attorney marketing is about making strategic investment decisions based on data and reliable analysis. You too can grow your marketing investment with superior media analytics.  

Network Affiliates is an attorney marketing agency headquartered in Lakewood, Colorado. For nearly 40 years, we’ve been providing exclusive media partnerships and superior marketing services to elite attorneys around the world.

To learn more about Network Affiliates or to schedule a free competitive market analysis and/or media audit call 888-461-1016 or fill out this quick contact form and we’ll get in touch with you.


Digital vs. Traditional Marketing: What’s Right for Your Practice?

If traditional marketing has performed well for you in the past, why go digital? Or, if you’re already in the digital space, why spend more money on traditional marketing?

Here’s a quick look at both to help you decide.

Traditional Marketing

Traditional marketing (or outbound marketing) has a long history; it’s well-researched, and proven to get a message in front of a large, attentive audience.

Traditional marketing includes virtually all advertising before the internet: TV advertising, direct mail, billboards, print, radio, you name it.

Think of traditional marketing as a large paintbrush: it covers a lot quickly but can lack important detail.

Traditional marketing works. Data shows that television and radio advertising are still top performers. It continues to be a primary source of lead generation for nearly every business in every conceivable industry, and there’s still no better way to build brand recognition.

But in the digital age, can you ignore the efficacy of digital marketing?

Digital Marketing

If traditional marketing is your large brush, digital marketing lets you create fine brush strokes.

Digital marketing can target an audience with near granular precision, taking into account several parameters simultaneously (e.g., age, interest, location, etc.).

Digital marketing includes a range of online approaches: website design, search engine optimization (SEO), written and video content, the list goes on and on.

More importantly, digital marketing allows your practice to nurture relationships with prospective, current, and former patients. And what’s more important than building relationships with the people you serve?

Social media marketing, for example, maximizes the best-known marketing tool: word of mouth. And these days, few things are more trusted than a personal recommendation.

Finally, digital marketing capitalizes on interest, especially, using various tools to drive prospects to your digital doorstep.

However, there are trillions of doors in the digital landscape. But with effective digital marketing, you can be sure the right user gets to the right door at the right time.

Get the Best of Both Worlds

If you’ve already enjoyed success with traditional marketing, don’t abandon what you’re doing for a digital-only plan. Traditional methods work, but you wouldn’t believe how much more effective those efforts can be combined with digital marketing.

And if you’re already in the digital space, why not boost your web traffic and analytics with a TV branding campaign?

Combining traditional with digital guarantees your practice is making the most of its marketing dollars. Working with an experienced legal marketing agency ensures the right combination.

What does your mix look like? Let’s find out! A quick phone call can get the ball rolling today. Call 888-461-1016, or contact Network Affiliates online, and we’ll get in touch with you.


Your Law Firm Doesn’t Need A Mobile App

Since 2008, 2.2 million apps have launched in the Apple App Store and 2.8 million are ready for download on Google Play. There’s an app for everything, so why shouldn’t your law firm jump on the bandwagon?

According to Google developers, the web reaches three times as many mobile users than software applications when they compared the top 1,000 mobile apps to the top 1,000 mobile web properties.

App usage has taught us a lot about the end user, and by combining what we know with technology advancements, businesses don’t have to rely on expensive app development to reach mobile users in an effective and engaging way.

Progressive Web Applications (PWAs)

Progressive web applications combine the reach and familiarity of web properties with the speed and ease-of-use of apps.

Instead of asking a user to download an app, a step that most brands can’t overcome, PWAs are recognized by popular web browsers and deliver a seamless experience that mimics a mobile app.

This includes all the shiny bells and whistles: push notifications, placement on the home screen, and tools that reduce data usage for a speedier, more reliable experience on just about any device.

And here’s the best part: the cost is significantly lower than developing an app.

More on Bells & Whistles

Getting people to download your app shouldn’t be the hard part. The hard part is getting users to engage your brand and purchase your services. PWAs reduce this friction by cutting out the middle man—the app stores.

Web users are often redirected to an app store when they reach a web property on their mobile device. This extra step leads to drop off and user frustration.

PWAs avoid this process by giving the user an app-like experience with no strings attached. Instead, users are prompted to add an optional home screen icon to create a shortcut to the PWA. The icon lives on the user’s home screen and looks exactly like an app icon.

With a progressive web application, users won’t know they’re interacting with a web property. PWAs integrate the latest capabilities of HTML5, the standard used across the web—no special equipment or installs required.

The PWA’s responsive design and compatibilities function across nearly every device, without the need for multiple versions or constantly editing code.

Moreover, when launched from the user’s home screen, the PWA loads instantly, regardless of network connection. This allows the user to engage when and where they want.

Finally, with the addition of push notification, which are credited with enhancing user engagement on apps, web properties can now remind users to check back for updates, promotions, and other relevant news.

Money, Red Tape, & Other Considerations

App development is expensive and limited to users of a particular device. This often means multiple app versions to accommodate iOS and Android operating systems.

Moreover, the bureaucracy of app publishing is slow, involving community guidelines, forms, red tape, and reviews. The review process, specifically, takes place every update or iteration. With PWAs, changes can be made immediately and implemented without delay.

Law firms should think critically about their offerings before spending a lot of money on a branded app. Personal injury, for example, is a need-based service—you won’t find many users eager to download an app that’s only useful in crisis situations. This is contrast to popular apps like Facebook and Amazon, which deliver a want-based service.

That being said, a PWA can enhance your firm’s online experience, even if the user doesn’t add the home screen icon to their phone. With a PWA, the look and functionality of your site can be condensed to fit the expectations of the user, regardless of the device they’re on.

From a legal client’s perspective, this might include quicker access to contact information, service pages, and testimonials.

If you think your law firm needs a branded app to be successful, think again. PWAs can do just about anything an app can do and for much less.

Get more legal marketing news. Follow Network Affiliates on Twitter, or ‘like’ us on Facebook.

Finding Blog Topics In Google Analytics, Webmaster Tools

In a previous post, we took a 30-foot view of content creation for your law firm’s website.

In this piece, we get into the nuts and bolts of finding content ideas from Google Analytics (GA), Search Console (SC) and Google’s own search results.

These methods can be valuable tools for generating content topics based on actual searches your potential clients are doing.

Before you keep reading, we’re assuming you can add code to your website, whether you’re using a content management system (CMS) like WordPress or a hard-coded HTML site.

It’s fine if you don’t know how to add code. Ask your marketing company or webmaster for help.

Once they install Analytics and Search Console on your site, follow the steps below to generate new content topics.

Create A New Google Account (Optional)

We would recommend creating a new Google account for this.

If you’re a one-lawyer show, then having one login for your Gmail, Analytics and Search console is very convenient.

However, if one day you hire an internal marketer or digital marketing company, they will need access (or control) of your Analytics and SC account.

By having an account specifically for GA and SC, you’re not giving other people access to your personal account.  You may want to use it for other business properties, like Facebook and Twitter, as well.

It just depends on whether you want to keep your personal and business accounts separate.

Install Google Analytics (GA)

Google Analytics is a free tool that tracks visitors to your website. There’s a wealth of information available, from the number of page visits to average time spent on your site.

You can also use it to generate content topics. But before you do anything, you need to install the tracking code on your site.

Google makes installation fairly easy.  Head over to Google Analytics, login in with your Google account, and follow the on-screen instructions.

After you’ve entered the required information, you get an analytics tracking code. This code needs to be on every page of your site. Any page without the code won’t be tracked in your GA account.

Example of Google Analytics Tracking Code
An example of Google’s Analytics tracking code.

If your site is hard-coded HTML, then you’ll have to edit every page. Depending on how big your site is, this can be quick or take several hours.

If you’re using a CMS like WordPress, you’ll only have to change one file to install the tracking code. Follow these steps to install GA on your site:

  • Log in to the admin section

wp login screen shot

  • On the left navigation, go to Appearance, then click Editor.

wordpress side navigation

  • In Editor, you should see a list of files on the right. Find and click on header.php.

find header php file

  • Paste the analytics tracking code just before the </head> tag

Paste GA tracking code

  • Click “Update File”

Note: If you don’t see “Editor” under the “Appearance” section, then your WordPress account doesn’t have administrative privileges. You’ll need to contact your webmaster to either update your user level or install the tracking code for you.

Once installed, Google Analytics immediately tracks visitors to your site. Visit the “Real-Time” section in your Google Analytics dashboard.  If you see any activity here, then you’ve installed the code correctly.

Generating Blog Topics From Google Analytics

Google Analytics tracks certain metrics by default. But to generate blog ideas, you have to tell it to track what users search for on your site.

There’s a section in analytics called “Search Terms,” located under the “Behavior” tab on the left.  This is where GA reports on the search phrases users type in your site’s search bar.

Your law firm’s website needs to have a search feature for this to work. If it doesn’t, then you can’t find out what users are searching for. So ask your web developer to add one to your site.

site search bar example
An example of a search bar.

After adding a search bar, we have to set up analytics to track what people are searching for on your site. You’ll need to go into the admin section of Google Analytics to turn this feature on.

There are three different sections: Account, Property, and View.


Click “View” settings and turn “Site search Tracking” on. That brings up a bar where you can enter the query parameter.


To find the query parameter, you need to do a search on your website.  Look at the URL on your site’s search result page.

If you’re using WordPress’ default search, the URL looks something like this:

The query parameter is the word or letter right before the “=”.  In this case, we enter an “s” in the query parameter field and click “Save”.

If done correctly, “website building” would show up in the “Site Search” report in Google analytics.

Quick Recap

Enabling site search in Google Analytics lets users find what they’re looking for quickly and offers ideas for future content topics. To recap how to use Google Analytics for site search tracking, you need to:

  1. Have Google’s analytics tracking code on every single page of your site.
  2. Your site needs a search bar. Without it, you can’t collect search data
  3. In Google Analytics, turn “Site search Tracking” on and don’t forget to enter your site’s query parameter.
  4. Visitors have to use the search feature. If they don’t, then there’s no data to collect.

Some Things To Keep In Mind

Analytics’ default settings track everything. Customer visits, visits from your home or office, spam traffic, and searches you do on your own website.

To counteract this, you’ll need to add filters to your Analytics view to weed out your visits and spam traffic. After applying the filters, you can get a better idea of how people are using your law firm’s site.

Finally, Google’s Site search Tracking only tracks phrases entered into your site’s search bar.  It doesn’t track what users searched in Google, Bing, or any other search engine to get to your site.

Now that we have Google Analytics working, we’re moving to Google’s Search Console (formerly called Webmaster Tools).

Setting up Google Search Console (SC)

Go to Google’s Search Console and sign in with the same Google account you used to for Google Analytics.

Add your website’s URL to your account (as simple as typing the domain in) and verify that you’re the site’s owner.

There are a few different ways to verify your website. You can:

  1. Upload an HTML file to your site’s server
  2. Supply login credentials to your domain’s registration service
  3. Add an HTML tag to the <head> section of your website
  4. Use the Google Analytics Tracking code
  5. Use the Google Tag Manager container snippet

If you logged into Search Console with the same account that controls your Google Analytics, you can use the Google Analytics tracking code for verification.

By using one account for GA and SC, you don’t have to add any additional files to your server or code to your website.

All verification options work the same but require different steps. Option three, for example, asks you to put an HTML tag in the <head> section of your website, just like we did with Google’s analytics tracking code.

After you click “Verify,” Search Console will let you know if it’s successful or if the process has failed.

And Now We Wait For Data

Search Console doesn’t report in real time like Analytics. The most recent data is two days behind, so your dashboard will be empty at first.

Depending on the market you’re in, you may have to wait a week or two before there’s any workable data in SC’s dashboard.

Finding Topic Ideas With Search Console

After the program collects enough data (a week or two’s worth), it’s time to generate some topics.

Go to the “Search Analytics” section under “Search Traffic.” It’s on the navigation stack on the left.

You’ll find the average search ranking, up to 999 search queries, how many impressions your web pages received, the number of clicks, and the click-through rate (CTR) for each page on your site.



There are preset filters you can tinker with to get more specific results. You can filter out desktop or mobile users, isolate traffic from a specific country, identify if users are searching web or image results, and change the reporting date range.

There are a few caveats with date range:

  1. If you just verified your site, you won’t see any information prior to the verification date.
  2. If the site is already verified and you’re using the standard dashboard, your date range will be limited to the previous 90 days.

For our purposes, pick the longest date range available, and isolate traffic from users in the United States.


With those filters applied, re-select “Queries,” and click “No filter.” That should bring up a pop-up on your screen with drop down options.


In the drop-down menu, select “queries containing.”  You’ll be using this to find content ideas. It’s much faster than scrolling through all 999 search queries.

Start filtering queries, looking for ones containing basic questions like who, what, where, when, why and how.

You aren’t limited to questions. You can search for queries that contain your service areas, like car accident, to find potential topics.

If you find some phrases that you haven’t covered on a page or blog before, great. You’ve just found a new topic for your website.

Using “People Also Ask”

We’ve gone through finding blog ideas from Google Analytics and Search Console. But what if you’re pressed for time and need topics now?

You can find content ideas in Google’s search results.

Search for a topic that’s both relevant to your business and potentially interesting to site visitors.  That could be anything like self-driving cars, car insurance, truck accidents, and so on.

Scroll through the results page. You’re looking for a box titled “People Also Ask.”


This box shows additional questions people have searched for on the topic.  But don’t just look at the results, click on some of the questions.  A drop-down will appear, along with more related questions.  It can be content gold mine.

If your results don’t have the “People Also Ask” section, you can find related searches at the bottom of the results page. People are using those search queries, too.

Network Affiliates Can Help

Google Analytics, Search Console, and related searches aren’t the only way to brainstorm topics for your law firm’s website.

You can find ideas from social media, contact forms submissions, questions from prospects, news stories, articles, and so on.

But this process can take some time to complete from start to finish. If you’re a small firm or a solo attorney, time is a hyper-valuable resource.  Even if you maintain a tight production schedule, finding and generating your own content may fall to the side.

And that’s not good for your website. Adding fresh, well written, easily readable content to your page has benefits for your site’s ranking, user experience, and lead generation.

We can take content generation off your plate while you maintain editorial control of topics on your site.

Our digital team finds the phrases people are searching for, create the content, post and optimize it on your site, and then share it for the world to see.

If you have any questions about finding content ideas, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 1-888-461-1016.  You can also submit a form, or reach out on Facebook or Twitter.

Posted in SEO

Content Creation Tips For Your Website

Content is your website’s workhorse. It can motivate visitors to contact your business or quickly send them to your competition.

Creating “great content” is easier said than done. Everyone, ourselves included, would like every blog post, infographic, or video to be a home run. But that’s not how it works in reality.

Some do well. Some are duds. But we’re a digital marketing company. That’s our job – we make content, analyze, and improve it.

But what if you’ve just started your law firm and don’t have the budget for a company like us? Or maybe you’re a marketer tasked with maintaining an attorney’s blog?

Do you know where to start?

That’s what we’re going to answer. Here are some tips you can use to create content topics for your law firm’s blog.

Finding Topics

There’s no “one size fits all” approach to topic generation. You can get ideas from questions your intake specialists have answered, question-based queries you’ve found in Google Search Console or Google Analytics.

You can also scour your site’s form submissions for topic ideas.

Regardless of where ideas come from, there’s no way you can remember all of them. Make a list in either a small notepad or a digital note taker like Google Keep. Jot down the general topic, why you thought it was interesting, and the original source if applicable.

You may not use all of them, and that’s fine. But at the very least, you’ll have some ideas to fall back on when you draw a blank in the future.

Traditional brainstorming works, too. If you have time, get together with other people in your firm to come up with ideas. They’ll bring a different point of views to the table and suggest ideas you may not have thought of.

And if all else fails, there are multiple topic generators available online. This one from Hubspot spits out a few ideas for you.

Generators are helpful, no doubt, but they’re by no means perfect.

Once you have some topic ideas to work with, it’s on to the next step.

Format and Creation

Next: what is the best way to present the information you want to share? Blog post? Podcast? Infographic? Video? Text?

It’s your website. Your content. The format you chose is only limited by time and talent.

Speaking of talent, you’ll need to figure out who’s creating the piece. Perhaps you’ll take it on yourself if you have the time, or you may delegate it to someone in the firm as a collateral duty.

If you don’t have the time or talent, there’s nothing wrong with outsourcing the work to a freelancer or a marketing company.

Cost might be a factor, so shop around to find the best combination of price and quality, but be careful. If you pay five bucks for a blog post, it’s going to read like a five-dollar blog post.

Know Your Audience

When creating content, try to understand the person that’s going to interact with it.

Yes, you can create personas, but that will require more time and resources than you probably have available. And if you’re starting with a new website, a persona will demand a lot of information that you won’t have yet.

Personas work by helping you identify your audience and create content they’ll act on. But personas seem to work better for companies selling a product or service to a specific audience.

But you don’t need personas to understand who your audience is.

As an injury law firm, you know that your audience is:

  • An injured victim or their family member
  • Stressed out about their current situation
  • Looking for help
  • Probably not a lawyer

The best advice is to keep it simple. If you’re writing a service page or blog post like you would a legal brief, you’ll lose a lot of people before delivering your pitch.

Keep your audience’s needs top of mind when writing content for them.

Content Needs a Goal

The content you’re working on needs a purpose. Do you want to generate cases? Do you want to improve interactions on your social properties? Or is it an informative piece, letting site visitors know about important changes in the law?

Your content should have one goal.

By limiting the content’s workload, it’s easier to see if the content was a success or needs adjusting. If it’s successful, you can make an educated guess as to why it was a success and replicate it for the next piece.

If it underperforms, figure out what went wrong and don’t make the same mistake. Or change the current content and see if you get better results. Take notes as you make these adjustments.

There isn’t one “right way” to create a piece of content. Companies like Hubspot and Moz offer helpful tips you can use to get the most out of your effort. But at the end of the day, trial and error work best for a specific audience.

If content generation is new to your law firm, there may be more failures ahead than successes. Don’t give up. It gets easier over time.

Measuring Success

However you define successful content, free tools like Google Analytics, Search Console, Bing Webmaster Tools, Facebook or Twitter Analytics make it easy to measure.

If your firm has a Facebook page or Twitter account, you won’t have to do anything but login and monitor your posts.

Google Analytics, Search Console, and Bing’s Webmaster Tools need to be set up before you use them. All three are free, but someone will need to add a few snippets of code to the backend of your website.

The goal or purpose you gave to the content will determine what analytics data you review. For example, if you wanted a piece to do well on social media, you’d look at data from Facebook and Twitter.

Google Analytics and Search Console show if people spent a lot of time on the page or converted to leads. And Google’s Search Console and Bing’s Webmaster Tools would give you a rough idea of how the piece is performing in search results.

The data you find should inform the changes you make in new content, and it will ultimately drive your success.

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

Odds are your content won’t do as well as you’d hoped. That’s fine. Analyzing content gives you a chance to see what worked and what didn’t.

If you think something worked, replicated it on your next piece to see if you were right. Conversely, if you think something specific caused the content’s failure, make that change and see what happens.

Again, there’s no silver bullet to content creation. It’s a never-ending wheel of content ideation, creation, and publication with each piece (hopefully!) performing better than the last.

If you have questions about content marketing, don’t hesitate to call content professionals for help.

At Network Affiliates, we offer a range of content services that’ll work for your audience and budget while supporting a comprehensive media strategy.

Call us today at 888-461-1016, or let us know you’re interested online and we’ll get in touch with you!

How to Use News & Events to Target Your Local Market

Think your law firm’s blog should be all about the law? Well, you aren’t wrong, but it’s important that your content has a local component too.

Google tailors some search results to a user’s geographic location. Local search marketing has become one of the most important practices in the digital marketing age.

That’s where local news and events come into play. They offer ready-made topics that can attract local traffic.  Here’s why your law firm should blog about local events.

Why Law Firms Should Be Creating Localized Content

Most law firms confine their practice to a single jurisdiction. Even large firms focus on a few key markets.

But lawyers struggle to incorporate local topics into existing content organically because, for the most part, litigators deal with state or federal law — not neighborhood events.

Regardless, it’s possible for law firms to create local content that makes sense within the larger context of their websites. Here’s why it matters:

  • Each month, approximately three billion search queries include local keywords
  • 70 percent of online searchers include local terms when searching for a brick-and-mortar business.
  • 30 percent of Google searches are for local information

Local content can help bring more qualified traffic to your site, increase brand awareness, or build upon your social media presence.  Your local content can be in different formats like:

  • Email blasts
  • YouTube videos
  • Social media posts
  • Guest articles on third-party websites
  • Sponsoring or hosting local events

Blogs are the easiest and most efficient way to incorporate local news and events on your website. They’re timely, allowing you to capitalize on a hot topic, a recent event, or new trend with minimal effort.

Below are four ways to use local news and events to inspire content that targets local topics.

Tip #1: Stay Plugged In

You can’t write about what you don’t know. Keep your finger on the local beat. When you’re plugged into the community, blog topics flow naturally. They’ll come across as more authentic and credible.

Look for relevant news and events in:

  • The local newspaper
  • The evening news
  • Community flyers at local diners and cafés
  • Social media (this might be the easiest way to stay informed)

Tip #2: Focus on the Content

Write in a way that’s natural for the reader and the writer. It means creating content that is informative, worthwhile, of high quality, and pleasant to read.

Google’s algorithms are good at differentiating organic writing from keyword-stuffed garbage. There was a time when one could dupe search engines, but these days, honest and authentic writing wins.

Tip #3: Reference Local Information

Let’s say you’re writing a blog about traumatic brain injuries, and you decide to include some statistics to bolster your content and add credibility.

You search for related statistics and find great information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). All done, right?

Instead of relying on national statistics or citing sources that cover a topic in broad strokes, start your research with credible sources in your state or city.

Transportation departments, health organizations, and local police departments often document local injury statistics. Use this to your advantage—it’s an easy way to add a localized spin to a broad topic—just be sure to credit those sources in your content.

Tip #4: Align Content with Your SEO Strategy

Your goal is to connect local topics to the services you provide. So, don’t turn your blog into a travel and tourism website or glorified classified ads. Once you’ve identified your topics, start thinking creatively about how you can relate them to your practice.

For example, street names could be relevant to blogs about auto accidents at a nearby intersection. A recent case of food poisoning or a high-profile hotel break-in might be a starting point for an article about premises liability.

In addition to creating local content for your blog, you’ll want to make sure that your law firm has claimed its Google My Business page and that its Google Maps listing features accurate contact and location information.

Beyond this, you might consider working with an experienced digital marketing team to ensure you’re doing everything you can to capitalize on local news, events, and relevant topics.

How Will Your Firm Utilize the Network?

Network Affiliates is a team of legal marketing professionals with decades of experience and proven techniques for local search marketing.

Whether you’ve only used our television advertising services in the past or this is your first encounter with our team, drop us a line and learn more about what we can do for you in terms of local search.

Give us a call at 877.709.0633 or contact us online to learn more.

Posted in SEO

Are These Social Networks Worth Your Time?

Snapchat and Instagram are two visual social media platforms with big user bases.

Between 150 and 166 million people use Snapchat every day, while Instagram pulls in numbers north of 500 million.

With so many users, should law firms be marketing on Snapchat and Instagram?

We’re diving into these platforms and explaining how they work, what they do, who uses them, and if they’re worth your firm’s time and money.  Continue reading “Are These Social Networks Worth Your Time?”