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

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

How Law Firm’s Can Avoid Google’s Latest Penalty



Update: Google’s Mobile First Penalty may now roll out sometime in 2018.


Hi there, I’m Mike Hart and I’m here tokeep you up to date on all things digital marketing.

If you’ve paid attention to digital marketing news, you’ve seen headlines about Google’s updates and new penalties.

In January, Google rolled out a new penalty targeting sites using intrusive pop-ups on their mobile pages. Unlike other changes,  this one didn’t come with a cute name like panda or hummingbird. This one is called the mobile interstitial penalty.

We talked about it on our blog months ago and we put a link in the description below so you can read the post if you want or you can keep watching this video Dealer’s choice, really.

The penalty targets sites with invasive pop-ups. That can mean a pop up that covers the page’s  content, an ad a user has to close before seeing the page or using a layout where an ad pushes content below the fold. Basically, Google doesn’t want anything getting between users and content. 

This penalty hasn’t affected many sites yet, but Google can put more emphasis on it in the future and like other penalties, if this one hits your site your rankings could suffer or your site could be removed from Google search results.

In a post on Google’s webmaster forum John Mueller, a webmaster trends analyst at Google, said this penalty only affects mobile search results. But Google plans on launching their mobile first index sometime this year, which means your site’s mobile version will play a much larger role deciding where your site shows in search results.

This is all well and good but attorneys don’t normally have ads on their web pages, so what does any of this have to do with the law firms web site?

When Google announced this penalty on their blog they listed what would and would not be penalized. A pop-up chat feature wasn’t listed as an exemption from this penalty and if you’re an attorney, you probably have a chat feature on your site to and if you’re an attorney, you probably have a chat feature on your site to capture more leads.

Clearly, you don’t want to remove chats since it could be capturing leads that don’t want to call your firm or fill out a contact form. But at the same time, you don’t want to get hit by this penalty. So what do you do?

Well, the solution is quite simple. Go to your law firms website on a mobile device. If your chat pop-up blocks the content, then you’ll want to change it.

Since chat is a third party product, let your webmaster, ad agency,  or vendor know that you don’t want it to pop up anymore and ask what the alternative options are. That way you can still have chat on your mobile-friendly pages for conversions and avoid the penalty.

And that’s it. That’s all you have to do to avoid Google’s mobile interstitial penalty. Let us know if you have any questions, comments, concerns, or sarcastic remarks and thanks for watching.

Posted in SEO

The Difference Between Google’s Manual, Algorithmic Penalties

Additional Resources

Here are some additional resources you can visit to learn more about Google’s penalties. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us.

Google’s Webmaster Guidelines

What not to do, straight from the horse’s mouth. You can find out what Google does and doesn’t like. Mostly, though, it’s telling you what you shouldn’t do.

One important thing they list that we didn’t mention is monitoring your site for hacked content. Like a manual penalty, Google will let you know if they find hacked content on your site.

We’ve discovered a hacked site weeks before Google sent us a notification. If your site is small, use a free website crawling tool like Screaming Frog to find any suspicious pages.

Moz’s Google Algorithm Change History

Moz is one of the leading resources in digital marketing. They’ve been keeping track of Google’s algorithm changes since 2000. This is one of the first places we go when we see any concerning dips in Google Analytics.

A lot of updates are “unnamed” because Google stopped confirming major changes to their algorithm in 2016. Still, this is a good starting place.

The (Almost) Complete Guide To Google Penalties (Manual & Algorithmic)

If you’re unfamiliar with any of Google’s penalties, visit this post. It lists and explains both manual and algorithmic changes. It’s an older post, but does a good job of explaining Panda, Penguin and other penalties. Newer penalties, like Google’s Interstitial Penalty released in January aren’t included.

Video Transcript

You’re looking at the analytics for your website and to your horror, you see that organic traffic from google has severely dropped or stopped completely.

In a panic, you check if your site’s still up, if the analytics tracking code is still installed, or if you’ve accidentally blocked search engines from indexing your site.

Everything checks out but you don’t know what the problem is.

If the stop or drop in traffic was sudden, then congratulations, you may have a penalty to deal with.

There are different penalties that can have negative effects on your site. And all of them are either an algorithmic or manual penalty.

Google uses a mathematical equation called an algorithm to rank websites. This algorithm checks your web pages against more than 200 on and off-page factors. How your pages compare with the competition determines your place in search results.

An algorithmic penalty is when google changes or updates their algorithm. And that change could cause a sudden drop in rankings and website traffic.

If you think an algorithm update caused your site’s drop in performance, check the seo or digital marketing blogs for any info on a new update.

If there was one, look into what the update changed and when it was launched. If the launch date is around the time your traffic and rankings dropped, then that update may be your problem.

It’s also a good idea to track recent changes to your website as the change may have triggered a pre-existing algorithmic penalty.

Since there are multiple algorithmic penalties to deal with, you’ll have to spend time researching the problem and finding the solution.

If you can’t find news about an update or you haven’t made any changes to your site, then you may have been hit by a manual penalty.

Your site get’s a manual penalty when it violates google’s webmaster guidelines. These guidelines cover what is and isn’t acceptable behavior regarding your website.

Basically, google doesn’t want you to use specific strategies to game their algorithm to improve your site’s position in search results.

Unlike an algorithmic penalty, google sends a message to your site’s search console account telling you your site was penalized.

You may need additional tools and more time to fix a manual penalty but that depends on what your site is penalized for.

Keep in mind that the negative effects from a penalty, both manual and algorithmic, can affect your site well after the penalty is removed.

That’s why you, someone on your staff, or your marketing agency should be keep up-to-date on rumored google algorithm updates or periodically audit your site’s on and off-page seo strategy.

And that’s it. Those are the differences between google’s two types of penalties. We’ve put links below if you want more info.
And if you have any questions, comments, concerns or sarcastic remarks, leave a comment or reach out to us on facebook, twitter or our website.

And as always, thanks for watching.

Posted in SEO

Why Law Firms Should Focus On Quality Content

Video Transcript

Hey there Network family, I am Emily Frickey and here is our digital topic for the week!


Specifically quality of content vs. quantity of content. The age-old saying still rings true today “quality over quantity.”

Content is still an imperative part of digital marketing strategies. Creating unique, content helps with SEO rankings, user experience and even website conversions.

Because of this, many marketers decided that creating as much content as possible, around a single topic, was the best strategy for ranking number one for key phrases.

However, gone are the days of keyword stuffing, news jacking, and creating dozens of blog posts a week to increase rankings.

Instead, the focus should be on giving users the information they are truly looking for. User experience is always rewarded in the eyes of Google.

Focus on creating great content! Take more time to produce a well-researched piece, than five super quick, short pieces.

While long form content tends to have higher rates of engagement and higher rankings, word count isn’t really a measure for “great content.”

Great content is not bound to a specific word count. Rather, what information do readers want for a specific topic? Is the formatting easy to read regardless of the device they happen to be on? How long do they stay on the page? Do they convert after they are done reading?

Think of your website like a neighborhood. Each piece of content is a specific house in that neighborhood. Well, when you have a dilapidated house in a neighborhood it brings down the overall value of the houses around them and the neighborhood as a whole.

Content is the same. The more pieces of under-performing content on a site, the more that hurts the overall authority and value of your site.

However, if you create great, high performing pieces, you will raise the overall value of the site. In turn, making your site rank higher in search engines.

Again. Everything you do should be with the intent of giving Users the information they are looking for, the way they want to consume it.

Take your great long-format pieces and truncate them into infographics or shorter email blasts. That way, you are disseminating the same content in different mediums for users to decide how they consume.

Whatever you create, make sure it has purpose and is useful to the end user. Always choose quality over quantity. It has the most lasting, and most effective results.

As always, thanks for watching! And if you have any questions about this or marketing in general… Reach out to us here at Network Affiliates!

Posted in SEO

What Law Firms Need To Know About AMP


Hey there! I’m Emily Frickey and I’m here to keep you up to date on all things digital marketing. We get that you’re busy running a business and practicing law but there are a few topics that we think you should be aware of.

Today we are talking about accelerated mobile pages or AMP. AMP is a project from Google and Twitter that lets publishers make very fast mobile pages by using basic website code.

More than 80 percent of online searches start on a mobile device so your site needs to be fast so users get the content they want as fast as possible. If your site is too slow, that user may go back to the search results and hire one of your competitors.

When you’re searching on a mobile device, you may see a little lightning bolt next to some articles on the results page. That’s Google’s symbol for an AMP enabled page. AMP is especially prevalent with news sources. In fact, more than 70 percent of Google News results are amp listings.
AMP example of Tesla News Stories
Before you install AMP on your website, you have to think about the pros and cons. Like the name implies, AMP lets you serve content to mobile users super fast and can improve your site’s impressions, click-through rate and user experience that, in turn, can improve your site’s SEO.

For AMP to work you have to remove elements like contact forms and rotating images meaning there will be fewer data captures and a very simple design. Enabling AMP on your blog is not an automatic way to get to the first page. Other ranking factors still affect where your site shows up in search.

Your site needs click to calls, contact forms and live chat features to capture leads and monitor your site’s performance. Here’s how you can benefit from AMP without sacrificing conversion tracking. Your site should have responsive design so it looks good on any mobile device. Then you or your digital agency can install AMP on your blog pages. The amp blog post gets the user to your site. Then they click through to a responsive page and either call your office or fill out a form.

This combination is a good mobile-first approach to add to your SEO strategy. If you have any questions, comments or sarcastic remarks feel free to reach out to us.

Posted in SEO

Things You Can Do to Improve Your Site’s Rankings

Is your law firm on page 2 of the Google search results? Maybe even further back? Well, you might as well be invisible.

To the overwhelming majority of Google users, the first page is the only page. For that matter, most of them won’t even scroll to the bottom of it.

That’s why getting a top page rank for your law firm is so important. Google search results are the new Yellow Pages, and an increasingly large share of calls and cases are coming directly from search engine traffic.

But getting to the top of Google isn’t a game of luck or chance. There’s a real science to it, and as legal marketing experts, we see ourselves as the scientists.

Specifically, the science is called Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. It’s the process of crafting your website (and its content) to attract visitors from search engines and drive business.

Unfortunately, SEO for law firms isn’t easy. There’s a lot of competition, for one thing, and many of your competitors have been chiseling into the SEO mountain for the better part of a decade.

If you’re a newcomer, it can be hard to wedge your way in. But “hard” isn’t the same thing as “impossible.”

While it’s important to be realistic about how competitive some keywords can be, it’s equally important to be smart and determined. Success comes down to strategy, timing, and mindset.

Below, we’ll share some of our most valuable insights in SEO for lawyers, from long-term content investments to more immediate approaches that can make a meaningful difference sooner than later.

SEO: An All-Important Long-Term Strategy

Organic marketing is the art of enhancing your web presence with excellent, high-quality content that is strategically designed to match the terms users are searching for.

This organic approach is different from paid search (e.g. “Pay-Per-Click advertising”). Both approaches can get you onto page 1. Paid works faster, but it also costs a lot more, and the effect usually only lasts as long as you’re shelling out the money for it. We’ll look more closely at PPC strategies for law firms later in this article.

SEO, meanwhile, takes longer to conquer. Mind you, it isn’t free — you still have to invest in creating honest, high-quality content that both Google and human readers will respond to. That’s much easier said than done, so it’s worth working with experts to achieve.

As an added benefit, the impact of an organic approach can last longer as search engines learn to associate your website with key search terms over time.

Content for a law firm’s SEO strategy can take many forms:

  • Blog articles
  • Practice area webpages
  • White papers
  • Educational videos
  • Social media posts
  • Press releases
  • Infographics
  • Much more

You can ask ten different legal marketing agencies which is their favorite form of organic content and get ten different answers. We believe in a balanced approach.

With any content, what you’re ultimately looking for is engagement and conversion. In other words, you want people to click on your links and share them with friends (engagement), but you also want those people to bring you new cases and even become long-term clients (conversion).

There’s a lot to know about SEO for attorneys, and we’re only scratching the surface in this article. But for now, the most important thing to understand is that organic search is a reliable long-term way to improve your page rank and get off of page 2.

Local SEO Literally Puts You on the Map

As web users are increasingly accessing the internet from their mobile devices, local SEO is becoming more and more important to advertisers. It’s a type of SEO marketing that focuses not only on what people are searching for but also where they’re searching from.

If you use a smartphone or tablet yourself, you’ve probably noticed that your top results tend to be businesses nearby. Law firms are no exception. In fact, local SEO is extra relevant in the legal services industry because your business is inherently local.

The people running legal-related searches within your physical vicinity are exactly the people you want to reach, and it just so happens that there’s now a tool to make that connection directly.

The major players in local SEO include Google, Bing, and  Yelp. Indeed, those services sometimes work from shared databases, so it’s important to target all of them as part of a strategic local search marketing initiative.

The first step in smart local SEO for lawyers is to “claim” every listing that already exists for your firm online. Chances are high that many of these services have already auto-indexed your firm in their databases simply by accessing public records. “Claiming” those entries gives you control over what the public will see when they find them.

From there, you want to add more of these entries — business listing and mini-profiles across a wide network of popular online directories. These profiles will feature your law firm’s name, number, address, important details, photographs, and even calls to action.

All of it matters, and at least in the context of local SEO, more is better. The more relevant listings you have online, the more likely you are to turn up in people’s local searches.

Using Paid Search (PPC) to Compensate for Organic Search in the Short Term

Among the digital approaches to law firm marketing, paid search is usually the most expensive. But as we noted earlier, it’s also the fastest.

In fact, sheer speed to market is the single biggest benefit of using PPC for lawyers.

To run a PPC ad campaign, you will need to use a major service like Google’s AdWords and “bid” for keywords.

Let’s say you want people to find you when they search “Denver personal injury lawyers.” That’s a popular and valuable search term, so you won’t be the only law firm wanting it. Google only displays a limited number of ads within a given set of search results, so you’ll need to compete with those other firms for the space. Ultimately, placement goes to the highest bidders.

Unfortunately, because attorney advertising is so competitive, legal PPC keywords are some of the most expensive out there. But while that might sound dismaying, consider this: it’s expensive because your competitors realize its worth.

Stated differently, PPC works. There’s no faster way to reach those page 1 results, and as we mentioned earlier, that’s the only page that counts.

Network Affiliates: Law Firm SEO Experts

Don’t settle for being a “page 2 law firm” anymore. Start bringing in the business you deserve.

Getting onto that first page means everything, and at Network Affiliates, we’re prepared to get you there. Reach out to our office and ask how we can help improve your page rank. Call 877-461-1016 or contact us online right away.

Posted in SEO

How to Market a Law Firm Series: Organic Digital Marketing

There are lots of questions that pop up when lawyers hear the phrase organic digital marketing. For example:

  • How is organic web traffic different than paid?
  • What are the latest organic strategies in law firm digital marketing?
  • What metrics will help me measure the success of organic efforts?

These are some the very questions that we address daily as we help our legal clients find the right mix and balance of search engine marketing tactics.

Q: How is organic web traffic different than paid?

There are two ways—paid and organic—to get your law firm’s website to appear in the first page of the search results, regardless of which search engine you use. Paid and organic marketing have the same goal: getting potential clients to your site. But the strategy behind them couldn’t be more different.

Paid search is exactly what it sounds like. You, or your law firm’s marketing agency, create ads for keywords with high search volume or high conversion rates, paying only for each click or impression the ad earns. Of course, your law firm’s pay per click campaigns may be  more complicated than that. If you have that do-it-yourself attitude, you can check out this guide to SEM & Paid Search Marketing from Search Engine Land.

Organic search (SEO) is a different process entirely. You’re not bidding on clicks and impressions, which can save a lot of money in the marketing budget. But organic isn’t 100 percent free either. You don’t pay for clicks or impressions, but you do have to invest in meaningful, well-produced content, site design and functionality, and site promotion.

You are paying for results one way or the other.


Q: What does organic digital marketing entail?

You can ask six different SEO experts how to do their job and you’ll get six different answers. That said, there are clear strategies every law firm should employ in order to have a successful organic campaign. Assuming your marketing agency or in-house SEO specialist isn’t using black-hat tactics, these include:

Engaging content

You need content on your properties that resonates well with your potential clients. Content can be anything from a 500-word blog post to a well-crafted infographic or video.

Each piece of content should have a specific purpose—the key to content marketing for lawyers. That’s how you know if it works or it doesn’t. For example, a service page on your site may convert well but perform poorly on your social media pages. Whereas a video, infographic or a piece of interactive content might earn a ton of social shares or backlinks, but convert poorly. Having both scenarios is ideal. There’s one piece of content that directly affects your law firm’s bottom line and another that improves brand awareness.

Creating content at such a high level requires a lot of research, trial and error, and a bit of luck, to be honest. It’s also unique to each market. What works well for a Boston firm may not earn the same results in Tampa or Seattle.

Likewise, “If you build it, they will come” worked great in A Field of Dreams, but it won’t work for your content. You need a promotional component to get your content in front of the right people.

These time-consuming tactics range from sharing it multiple times on your social channels to sending personalized messages to individuals and webmasters. You could add a paid Facebook campaign as well. It’s a high-risk tactic, but if successful, the results are well worth the investment.

Mobile-friendly & local search

In 2015, Google announced that mobile search volume outpaced desktop for the first time. So what does that mean for your website and digital marketing for law firms in general?

It means you ignore mobile devices at your own risk. Google tweaked their ranking algorithm to ding sites that aren’t friendly to mobile users. That first update in 2015 was called “Mobilegeddon,” promising to do just that. Thankfully, there wasn’t a lot of fall out because agencies and webmasters made the necessary changes to websites to avoid the penalty.

It doesn’t matter if your website has a responsive design (adjusts to a user’s screen size) or a standalone mobile site, as long as it’s user friendly. If you don’t know if your site is mobile friendly, you could ask your marketing agency or use Google’s Mobile Friendly Testing tool.

But you’re not done yet. You need to pay local SEO some attention.

The first organic result isn’t what it used to be. The first organic listing used to get the majority of clicks. These days, depending on the search result, that No. 1 position may actually be the eighth link on the page—behind four paid ads and three local listings.

It’s one reason why folks in the SEO marketing industry have moved away from just reporting on keyword rankings to validate their work. Just remember, rankings are still important, but they aren’t the indicators of success that they used to be.

So how do you overcome this change to the results? There are two ways. First, you could start a PPC campaign. But depending on your market and the legal keyword you’re targeting, that can get expensive in a hurry.

The second option is getting your business in that local pack. Like creating content, that’s easier said than done, but there are a few things you can do to improve your chance of getting in.

You’ll want to create or claim a Google My Business profile. (Tip: Always claim a listing if it already exists.) After claiming the profile, you or your representative should confirm the information is correct and add in anything that’s missing. Repeat that process on Bing, Yelp and other local listing platforms.


Q: Can you outline some smart strategies for organic digital marketing?


All law firm marketing strategies should answer one question first: Are your attorneys or law office giving prospective clients (users) what they want?

From the content on your website to the videos and photos you share on  Facebook or Twitter, these are all tools to reach an audience. If you don’t know who your audience is and what they want, then you’re essentially just throwing things against the wall and hoping they stick.

Identify your audience,  give them what they want, and share your content where your audience is. Go to them first, then they’ll start coming to you.

We can get into the weeds about content, backlinks, mobile-friendly designs and so on. But if you’re ignoring the user, then why are you wasting time and money advertising at all?


Q: What are the best metrics & tools for measuring success?

Measuring success for organic strategies requires teamwork between your law firm and advertising agency. At Network Affiliates, we can tell you how many users filled out a form or clicked on a digital ad to call your office, but that’s where our data ends. And unless you’re using a track-line phone number, we have no way of knowing whether those leads turned into clients.

That’s why intake is such important component of marketing plans for lawyers. If your intake specialist is capturing the right information from online leads, then we can compare the information we gather with theirs. It gives us a better idea of how well (or poorly) your site is performing.

Google Analytics is the most important tool to have installed on your website. While it’s far from perfect, it’s one of the better ways to see how people are engaging with your website. You can track how many leads your site generated, where those people came from and how many pages they visited before converting to a lead. Analytics lets you monitor traffic sources from organic and social channels, time on site or page, and a myriad of other metrics.

It is far from perfect. Spam traffic can inflate bounce rates and page visits and improperly set goals can skew your conversion data. Those issues can be fixed with the right configuration or a little bit of foresight.

For social channels, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ have their own reporting dashboards. Those dashboards give you the social information that Google Analytics can’t. You can really dive down to see what resonated with your audience for that respective platform.

That level of reporting and teamwork takes all the guesswork out of calculating your ROI, cost per lead and cost per case. Time consuming? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely.

Let Network Affiliates eliminate the guesswork from your law firm’s digital marketing efforts. Give our organic search pros all call today – (888) 461-1016

Posted in SEO

Local SEO strategy will put your law firm on the map

The goal of all search engine optimization is to get found on the Web easier and more often. That gets you more eyeballs—and ideally more legal clients.

For attorneys, who are typically embedded in their local communities and continue to do much of their business face-to-face, making connections via “local” SEO for law firms is more crucial than ever.

Local SEO is a segment of online search strategy designed to deliver results that are most relevant to a “searcher” based on that person’s current location. Given the rise of mobile phone use, local SEO has become indispensable for brick-and-mortar businesses, but increasingly valuable for professional services as well. It’s obvious why optimizing around geography would be critical for a pizzeria. When someone types in “best pizza restaurants” while driving around town, a pizza joint just around the corner should come up first in Google results. One click and a mobile user could be placing an order for a large pie.

Local SEO can be just as valuable in professional service industries like law. Why? Because people are increasingly doing a majority of researching on all topics, interests and motivations online from small, portable mobile devices that they keep with them at all times. Convenience is key for consumers, but it can also lead to quicker conversions for companies. Let’s say someone was in a car crash. While still in crisis mode that person might start to search for legal representation from the nearest local hospital. You want your law firm of auto accident lawyers to come up first in that victim’s search. It’s instant top-of-mind. That’s what local SEO for attorneys can accomplish.


What’s in a local listing?

A local search marketing campaign is built around creating a variety of business listings online. These are mini profiles on popular sites and directories that will include your law firm’s name, along with a physical address, phone number and other details you deem most relevant to searchers and callers. The big players in the local-listings space currently include Yelp, Google+ Local, Bing Places, Internet Yellow Pages and Yahoo! Local, many of which share data with each other.

In local SEO, more is better. The more relevant listings you have the more visible your attorneys will appear online and the more chances your law firm has of ranking well in local searches—and therefore being found by prospective clients.

The first step in solid local SEO is to make sure you have “claimed” any listing of your business online. While each local business index does this a little differently, the process simply verifies that you are the owner of a valid business and are authorized to maintain its presence on the Web.

The baseline local business listing across all indexes include these criteria:

  1. Business name or DBA
  2. Local phone number that matches your city of location (toll-free, shared and call-tracking numbers won’t work)
  3. Physical street address (no shared addresses or PO boxes) where you can make live contact with clients who want to do business


Common local SEO snags and solutions

Because local SEO is multifaceted and continues to shift like all things related to Google’s changing algorithms and rules, it can be a devious space to navigate alone. That’s why local SEO specialists for law firms are in high demand. While it’s typically not possible to take on local SEO alone, it is still helpful to understand some of the most common pitfalls that occur with this very specific sector of digital marketing.

We’ll categorize some common mistakes, as well as some tips to avoid them, under some big local SEO buckets, including content, “indexability,” citations, Google My Business (GMB) and links.

Clean content

In order for local SEO to work the way you want it to for Google, the content on your website must be scrubbed of all the little errors and issues that search engines don’t like and will penalize you for.


  • Stick to one powerful umbrella website rather than breaking up content into microsites.
  • Use only original content—don’t scrape it from other sites.
  • Make sure content is robust enough and is not duplicated anywhere on the site.
  • Consider unique “city landing pages,” where you can leverage local testimonials, if you offer legal services in different locations.
  • Integrate a blog, videos and images to add the “freshness” that search engines like.
  • Build in location specifications wherever possible: schedules/calendars for different locations; bios of staff in other offices; sponsor/promote events by city region; and create tips-style content specific to your geographic region


“Indexable” optimization

Instituting a solid local SEO strategy does not get your firm out of having a great website. The same SEO best practices still apply in that to be “found” quicker your professional website must be well organized, properly optimized, easily “indexable,” free of errors and work on any device. Overlooking any of these fundamentals will only work against local SEO for attorneys.


  • Make sure you have a complete Contact Us page on your website.
  • Your phone number should be clickable and highly visible throughout the site.
  • A site-wide footer needs to include all of your locations.
  • Your name, address and phone number (NAP) should be perfectly consistent.


Citation consistency

These little nuggets of information—complete or partial references to your name, address, phone number or website online—get a lot of attention, and for good reason. Studies are showing that with citations it’s consistency that matters more than their specific “strength” or volume, so, like content, keep citations clean. To start, ask an authority in local SEO for law firms to show you common aggregators for citations.


  • Build a unique set of citations for every physical office and ensure accuracy of each.
  • Learn acceptable citation abbreviations, for example St. for Street, because they vary by platform.
  • If you have multiple offices, point the website link on each citation to the corresponding website landing page.
  • Once you’ve built citations for biggies like Yelp and Google, move on to local listings like your chamber of commerce, the BBB, or city newspaper.


Dueling duplicates

One of the most detrimental downfalls of good local SEO is ignoring duplicate business listings. Often lawyers don’t even know about dups. But if you don’t catch these copies they can quickly weaken the muscle you’ve built in local SEO.


  • There are plenty of free tools to detect duplicate listings. Just Google it.
  • If it’s dups on Google that are tripping you up, look for cleaning options like the search engine’s Map Maker.
  • For advanced issues with duplicate listings, you’ll need a combination of paid scraper tools and some slick query strings. (Ask a pro.)

Google My Business

Because it is linked to the most powerful search engine on the planet, law firms must be especially cognizant of Google’s own local indexing machine—Google My Business (GMB). Remember, if you are ranking well in Google’s eyes the more likely it is that people will see your site or call your business.



  • Get linked: Local SEO Guide’s recent study of 30,000 businesses across more than 100 SEO factors showed that links (with optimized anchor text for both keyword and city) are the key competitive differentiator in GMB rankings.
  • Having a keyword in your business name will help you rank higher in GMB searches.
  • GMB also seems to like business with a strong showing of owner-verified profiles, online reviews and photos.


If all this information on local search has made you feel anything but grounded, we understand. It’s tricky digital stuff that only gets more sophisticated by the day.

Network Affiliates has always been here for attorneys and will remain at forefront of digital marketing to ensure that our legal clients have the tools they need to succeed. Give us a call to start localizing your SEO strategy: (888) 461-1016

Posted in SEO