Foster Web Marketing Feed http://www.steakoutvt.com/ Foster Web Marketing Feed en-us 2020 Foster Web Marketing, All Rights Reserved, Reproduced with Permission http://www.steakoutvt.com/ Tue, 01 Sep 2020 16:08:34 GMT Foster Web Marketing Feed http://www.steakoutvt.com/images/logoprint.gif http://www.steakoutvt.com/ <![CDATA[World of Marketing 64: Approaching Accounting in a New Way With Frank Lunn]]>To many of us, accounting is all about numbers and analyzing reports. But what if we looked at it as a way to reach our business goals?

Podcast title card with Frank Lunn on the left and Tom Foster on the right.

Many of us just think about accounting as a tool, but we need to understand the purpose behind it. Frank Lunn, president of Kahuna Accounting, said, “Our mission is to really help entrepreneurs utilize accounting as a system.” Frank and Tom talked about how his company helps business owners understand, align, and coordinate what’s important to them, their missions, and their visions.

Frank believes this is a more strategic way to use accounting to plan for the future. Are you using your financial reports to their full potential? Find out how Frank’s lack of interest in accounting led him to take a different approach in the field.

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http://www.steakoutvt.com/library/approaching-accounting-in-a-new-way-with-frank-lunn.cfmwww.steakoutvt.com-133031Fri, 28 Aug 2020 11:23:00 EST
<![CDATA[World of Marketing 63: Why You Need to Start Your Own Podcast With Neal Schaffer]]>Marketing is about experimentation, and you need to take risks and try new things. As new technology emerges, don’t be afraid to test it out and see what works.

Podcast title card with Neal Schaffer on the left and Tom Foster on the right.

Your ultimate goal should be to connect with people on a more personal level. Neal Schaffer, president of PDCA Social, said, “Podcasting creates a different intimate relationship that you don’t get on social media.” Neal and Tom talked about how podcasts are great for networking and influencing.

Neal said a weekly podcast keeps you top of mind, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Are you willing to go beyond your comfort zone to keep your marketing fresh? Find out why Neal thinks now is the time to start your own podcast.]]>
http://www.steakoutvt.com/library/why-you-need-to-start-your-own-podcast-with-neal-schaffer.cfmwww.steakoutvt.com-132975Fri, 21 Aug 2020 10:26:00 EST
<![CDATA[World of Marketing 62: What Google Is Rolling Out Next With Jamie Kelly]]>In a year where everything is constantly changing, Google is giving us a heads up. It’s unusual for the tech company to offer advance notice of upcoming algorithm changes.

Podcast title card with Jamie Kelly on the left and Tom Foster on the right.

This time, however, they’re letting us know what they’ll be looking for and when the changes will go into effect. Jamie Kelly, director of marketing services at FWM, said, “They’ve given us the study guide before the exam, and let us know exactly what we need to do beforehand.” Jamie and Tom talked about Google’s core web vitals update, which won’t happen until 2021, and how it focuses on the more technical side of web development.

Jamie said the new update will focus on user experience and three factors relating to it: page load speed, page interactivity, and page stability. What can you do now to make sure you’re ready when the changes roll out? Find out what Jamie suggests you do to make sure your website doesn’t take a hit in organic rankings and traffic.

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http://www.steakoutvt.com/library/what-google-is-rolling-out-next-with-jamie-kelly.cfmwww.steakoutvt.com-132888Fri, 14 Aug 2020 12:00:00 EST
<![CDATA[World of Marketing 61: Opening Windows for Clients With Scott Alperin]]>As the worldwide pandemic continues, many people are planning for their futures and making sure their affairs are in order. Estate planning has become a focal point.

Podcast title card with Scott Alperin on the left and Tom Foster on the right.

Since in-person events are limited, many are turning to the internet for help and information. Scott Alperin, an estate planning attorney in Virginia, said, “Having a web presence is a great thing because it gets traffic in the door.” Scott and Tom talked about the benefits of website leads, as well as the importance of speaking with potential clients to explain that not every estate plan is one size fits all.

 

Scott said, “Many people say there’s more to this than I originally thought when I first called.” How are you using your marketing to open windows for potential clients? Find out why Scott believes casting a broad net with your marketing allows you to capture leads from more sources.

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http://www.steakoutvt.com/library/opening-windows-for-clients-with-scott-alperin.cfmwww.steakoutvt.com-132757Fri, 07 Aug 2020 12:00:00 EST
<![CDATA[World of Marketing 60: How to Generate Reviews With John Spare]]>When you’re researching a business or a product, what’s one of the first things you do? If you’re like most people, you probably go online and read the reviews.

Podcast title card with John Spare on the left and Tom Foster on the right

There are so many benefits to asking clients to write a review of your business online. John Spare, digital marketing strategist at FWM, said, “Review generation is super important, and it’s not as difficult as some people might think.” John and Tom talked about how critical Google reviews are and how our Reputation Management Tool provides a painless way to gather and manage them.


John said to focus on being in the Local Pack on Google, not ranking on page one. Are you taking full advantage of your Google My Business profile? Find out John’s top tips for asking for reviews and getting more exposure on Google.]]>
http://www.steakoutvt.com/library/how-to-generate-reviews-with-john-spare.cfmwww.steakoutvt.com-132754Fri, 31 Jul 2020 12:00:00 EST
<![CDATA[World of Marketing 59: Connecting on a Personal Level With Kevin McManus]]>Every business owner has a different way of managing their marketing. For some, Google rankings are a top priority, while others choose to focus on other things.

Podcast title card with Kevin McManus on the left and Tom Foster on the right.

Community marketing should matter to everyone. Kevin McManus, a personal injury lawyer and councilman from Kansas City, Missouri, said, “It’s a much more rewarding way to get cases, and the cases are usually better.” Kevin and Tom also talked about time management and delegating tasks to your staff.

Kevin said people want to know who they’re working with, so it’s essential to embed trust clues in your marketing to let potential clients know they can rely on you. Are you connecting with people on a personal level? Find out how Kevin’s marketing and government job have brought substantial cases to his firm.]]>
http://www.steakoutvt.com/library/connecting-on-a-personal-level-with-kevin-mcmanus.cfmwww.steakoutvt.com-132740Tue, 28 Jul 2020 13:32:00 EST
<![CDATA[World of Marketing 58: Unveiling the DSS Training Center With Molly McCormick]]>Anything worth doing is worth doing right. It may take longer than you expected, but when you’re launching a project to help your clients, every second counts.

Title card with Molly McCormick on the left and Tom Foster on the right

The DSS Training Center is ready to launch, and we’re excited to unveil it! Molly McCormick, director of marketing at FWM, said, “The Training Center is meant to be a useful tool for our clients. The goal is to have information for everyone based on how they learn.” Molly and Tom discussed the features of the Training Center as well as how to access and navigate it.

DSS is continually evolving, so the Training Center will be updated regularly with interactive sessions and discussions. Are you getting the most out of DSS? Find out how you can use the Training Center to enhance your marketing.

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http://www.steakoutvt.com/library/unveiling-the-dss-training-center-with-molly-mccormick.cfmwww.steakoutvt.com-132653Mon, 27 Jul 2020 10:25:00 EST
<![CDATA[How do the links on my attorney website affect my Google ranking?]]>

This is a great question! The links on your attorney website definitely affect your Google ranking—but there’s a lot to know about what those links are, what they do for you, and how to use them. 

There are a ton of elements that go into Google’s special sauce for ranking websites, and links are an often-overlooked piece of that puzzle. If you’re at all in doubt, you just have to keep in mind that the original Google “PageRank” algorithm looked almost solely at the way websites linked together—and that’s the foundation for the much more complex algorithms and ranking elements Google uses today! 

In short, we might not always know exactly what goes into Google’s secret ranking algorithms, but we DO know that links matter—and they matter a LOT. 

Getting Started: Three Types of Links That Affect Page Ranking

Since this is a big question that calls for a big answer, let’s get started with a simple breakdown of what we mean by “links.” There are essentially three types of links that you need to think about for your website:

  1. Internal links. These are the links on your website that link to other pages on your website. 
  2. External links. In this context, external links are the links on your website that link to outside websites. 
  3. Backlinks. These are the links to your website that come from other websites. You can’t totally control what sites choose to link to yours, but these kinds of links still have an impact on your rankings!  

How you handle your internal links, backlinks, and external links can make a surprisingly big difference in your rankings—and each type affects the user experience on your attorney website in its own way, too.

So, with the basics out of the way, let’s get to it! Below, let’s break it down further by type of link and talk more about how each type affects your rankings. 

1. What Internal Links Do on Your Attorney Website

Internal links are the links on your website that link to other pages on your website. For example, we might link internally from this FAQ to our attorney SEO services page—just in case this FAQ is motivating you to get on top of your link management! 

Search engine crawlers can learn a lot about your site through your internal links, so it’s an important place to focus your attention if you’re concerned about your rankings. Internal links essentially point search engine crawlers to the rest of the pages on your site for indexing. They help crawlers establish a general structure and theme for the content on your website, and they help readers get to other pages that interest them. If you use relevant keywords as the anchor text for those links, it boosts that understanding even more. 

With truly savvy internal linking, you can direct potential clients and search engine crawlers toward the most important landing pages on your website, as well as maintain a logical flow of traffic through all your individual pages.  

And, if you get a really good link structure going, each internal link on your website that links back to a practice area page will give that practice area page a little more “ranking juice” in Google’s eyes. You’ll also constantly point readers back to top-level, action-oriented pages, which is great for garnering more leads and conversions.  

Building a solid strategy for internal links on your attorney website isn’t easy, though. Some of it is in how your website’s basic navigation is designed and organized. Some of it is in how you use internal links in your blog posts, articles, FAQs, and other pages. 

However, the guiding idea behind the strategy is relatively simple. You just want your internal links to make it as easy as possible for readers and search engines to understand and move through your website.

2. What External Links Do on Your Attorney Website

Unlike your internal links, which link to other areas of your website, an external link is a link to an outside website or page. For example, we might link to this definition of external link from PCMag’s encyclopedia.  

Generally, you don’t want to overwhelm readers with a million links to websites you don’t own. If you already have—or can create—a piece of content that covers it, it’s typically better for you to link internally. However, sometimes someone else really has said it best, and there’s no reason not to send your readers there to check it out. 

A lot of lawyers think that external links will encourage people to leave their law firm’s website or otherwise detract from what their website has to offer. However, there isn’t any real need to worry. Sure, you probably don’t want to link to a competitor’s website or some kind of spammy, sketchy page. But, as long as you choose external links with care and intention, it’s unlikely to harm you at all. In fact, using external links can help you by: 

  • Enhancing the user experience for your readers
  • Encouraging links back to your content
  • Possibly sending more positive ranking signals to Google about the quality of your website and content

But, again, you need to use those external links with purpose. Your main goal with external links is to enrich your readers’ understanding of a topic, issue, or term and improve the experience they have on your website. Any “ranking juice” you might get from doing so is just a bonus! 

We’ll talk even more about this below, but we should also make it clear that you should never try to “game” Google by adding more external links to your site, and you should NEVER buy or sell links. 

It’s also worth mentioning that, for external links, it’s much more important that the anchor text provides some context for the link and accurately describes what people will see if they click through. You don’t really need to worry as much about keywords here as long as the anchor text makes sense. 

Again, everything about using external links well really comes back to providing a great experience for YOUR perfect clients! If you aim for natural, informative links to authoritative outside websites, and if you use them sparingly, it’s tough to go wrong.  

3. What You Should Know About Backlinks From Others to Your Attorney Website

A backlink is a link to your attorney website from another website. For example, when we linked to PCMag in the section above, we gave them a backlink! 

Updates to the Google algorithm over time have placed more importance on the quality of your backlinks. Google’s thinking is essentially that, if other great websites think your website is worth linking to, then it’s probably a quality website that’s worth sending searchers to. So, a great profile of backlinks from authoritative sites can have a positive effect on your rankings. 

There’s nothing new about backlinks—they’ve been around for a long time. You might even remember when the process of obtaining and maintaining the backlinks to your website was called “link building” in marketing speak, but that term is a little out of vogue these days. 

Instead, it’s better to think of it more as “link earning.” And, sometimes, it really does feel like you have to work to earn them!

You have to understand that Google isn’t looking for a certain number of links back to your website. In fact, going after backlinks too aggressively can backfire by actually harming your rankings AND your relationships with outside organizations and entities. You don’t want to engage in link schemes with other sites that are solely for the backlink, and you NEVER want to buy backlinks to your website. Ultimately, Google wants to see a backlink profile full of natural links from quality websites—and using link schemes or cheats clearly violates Google’s quality guidelines.   

So, the real question is, how do you get great backlinks if you don’t control the pages that link to you and you can’t buy or trade links? 

The key to earning great backlinks is really content, especially content that is written for your perfect client. Blog posts, FAQs, articles, and videos capture the attention of other content creators when they are fresh, unique, valuable, and highly relevant to your audience. You really just want to create content and videos that other people WANT to link to! If it’s compelling enough, and if people are seeing it, then those great backlinks will happen naturally. 

If you really want to rev up your backlinks, you can also try just asking for them when it’s appropriate or you have an existing relationship—for example, check out these 9 ways to leverage PR for better backlinks and visibility.  

The other side of the coin, though, is that any website out there can link to yours, and you don’t have much control over which websites do. A lot of lawyers see a bunch of junky websites linking to their pages, and that can wreck their nice, clean backlink profile—even though they had no choice in the matter! 

However, while you can’t control who chooses to link back to your website, you can disavow links that are spammy, unnatural, or otherwise don’t belong there. If you try for great backlinks, and check in regularly to clean up low-quality links, you can build a backlink profile that shows Google that you have real authority.  

Get Better Website Performance by Getting on Top of Your Links 

There is no set number of internal links, external links, or backlinks you should use on your website—and there’s a good reason for that. Instead of asking “how many,” you really should be asking “why.” Is there a reason that link is there? Does it help your perfect client in some way? Does it direct people toward relevant information that clarifies or expands on what they’re already reading? If not, it probably doesn’t need to be there. 

We’ll absolutely admit that getting the links on your attorney website “just right” is another one of those things that’s equal parts art and science—so don’t feel bad if it feels like there’s a bit of a learning curve! It’s worth it. 

A solid linking strategy means that you’re not only giving off “good vibes” for Google, but also for your perfect clients. 

And, of course, links and rankings aren’t the only things you should be thinking about. There are all kinds of ways that websites can be optimized for search engines and search engine users—and you need all those pieces to work together!

Don’t see your question answered here? Need a hand cleaning up your backlink profile or an expert opinion on how well your marketing strategy is working for you? Give the friendly FWM team a call at 888.886.0939, or join us for a legal website analysis that will give you HUGE insight into how to move forward. 

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http://www.steakoutvt.com/faqs/links-and-the-google-ranking-of-your-attorney-website.cfmwww.steakoutvt.com-22679Fri, 24 Jul 2020 12:00:00 EST
<![CDATA[World of Marketing 57: Why Video Makes an Impact With Jim Folliard]]>Technology makes shooting videos easier than ever. Social media and some website videos can be recorded on a smartphone.

Podcast title card with Jim Folliard on left and Tom Foster on right

It’s the fastest and easiest way to get updated information out to your audience. Jim Folliard, owner of Gearshift Studios, said, “Video is like food. You can’t just have the same food on the plate year after year.” Jim and Tom talked about the evolution of videography and how important it is in marketing.

Jim said video production is about storytelling and making your subjects feel comfortable. How are you using video to market your firm? Find out Jim’s tips on how to make your shoots successful.]]>
http://www.steakoutvt.com/library/why-video-makes-an-impact-with-jim-folliard.cfmwww.steakoutvt.com-132644Thu, 23 Jul 2020 12:59:00 EST
<![CDATA[World of Marketing 56: Getting Wacky in Waco With Walter Reaves]]>Cities throughout the United States are usually known for something. It could be for a landmark, a famous person, or a historical event.

There are some towns, though, that are famous for completely different reasons. Walter Reaves, a Waco, Texas criminal defense attorney, said, “Waco seems to attract a lot of crazy criminal stuff.” Walter and Tom discussed some of the wackiness that goes on in the Texas city.

Walter said the TV show “Fixer Upper,” starring Chip and Joanna Gaines, has brought more positive press lately. What makes your city unique? Find out about some of the criminal cases that have put Waco on the map.

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http://www.steakoutvt.com/library/getting-wacky-in-waco-with-walter-reaves.cfmwww.steakoutvt.com-132616Tue, 21 Jul 2020 11:35:00 EST
<![CDATA[How can I get more people to read my attorney website content?]]>A man sits at a desk looking at his laptop.

No matter how good your law firm’s website looks, it is almost useless if visitors aren’t sticking around to read and view what you have to say. So, it’s important to look beyond an attractive design and into something a little deeper. 

The truth is that lots of lawyers have trouble getting people to read the articles, blogs, FAQs, and other posts on their websites. Even if they’re able to attract great traffic to a page, an analysis of their performance data will often show worrying signs, like:

  • People quickly “bounce” away once they’ve landed on a content page. 
  • People don’t dig deeper or visit other pages on your website while they’re there. 
  • People don’t engage with, comment on, or respond to the content you post. 
  • People aren’t motivated to call you or request more information when they’re done. 

If you want to attract more potential clients with your attorney website content and encourage them to read more, your content needs to go a little above and beyond. So, as you write and post new content, make sure you’re ticking all the boxes below. 

1. Optimize Your Content 

People can’t read your attorney website content if they can’t find it! So, if you want to attract more readers to the content you write, you have to optimize that content for search. This is basic stuff for digital marketing—and it’s something that you don’t necessarily have to write a lot of fresh content to accomplish. 

For example, find out how to perform a content audit to get on top of old articles on your website. 

The best practices for search engine optimization (SEO) change all the time. However, at its most basic, the idea is to seed relevant keywords in your content and give search engines all the other signals they need to match related queries to your content. 

In the past, lawyers would “stuff” their content with keywords, often to the point that it was awkward to read or understand. Now, the focus is on incorporating keywords naturally in your content, headlines, page titles, and section headers—and, really, you should stick to one keyword (or a handful of very similar keywords) per page to avoid confusion. 

Don’t sweat it too much, though. If you’re writing truly relevant content, then it’s likely that those keywords will almost put themselves into what you write!   

Of course, SEO is about more than keywords. There are elements of your website’s code that have an impact. How your content pages link together has an impact. Once you start following the thread of content optimization, there can be a lot to unravel.  

So much so that optimizing content often feels more like an art than a science! 

While we could try to cover every single thing you need to know RIGHT NOW to optimize your content to attract, convert, and retain more readers, this is really an area where you want some advice from a current expert. The best blend of keywords and optimization strategies for your law firm is very unique, and it’s also very difficult to determine on your own.  

There’s a lot of bad, outdated advice out there. So, don’t be afraid to get an expert opinion before you do it yourself. A bad optimization strategy can drive away readers and get you in trouble with search engines—exactly the opposite of what you want to accomplish. 

Need a hand getting your on-page optimization just right? Learn more about our SEO services for lawyers

However, it’s not necessarily all about keywords and SEO. There are lots of ways to optimize and promote your content to get it in front of more readers. Have we piqued your interest? Take a few minutes to find out how to promote your website content and drive more traffic.  

2. Create Content Your Potential Clients WANT to Read 

It’s not really about attracting just any reader—you want to attract readers that are also potential clients. So, it only makes sense that your content should be relevant and meaningful to the type of client you’d like to attract. 

This sounds pretty simple, but hear us out before you rush on to the next section. This is where SO MUCH attorney website content goes wrong. 

People use search engines because they want answers and information. When they type something into the search bar, they want the results they see to match their question and give them the substantive answers they need in that moment. 

Google talks a lot about catering to the “micro-moment,” and we think that’s a great focus for your content strategy. What questions are people asking Google just before they hire a lawyer? What answers do people need to make a decision about their legal situations? What kinds of search terms do YOU use when you have a question? Those are the kinds of thoughts that should be guiding your content strategy. 

After all, if you want readers, you have to produce content those readers want to read! And you can’t drown them with jargon—it has to be content they can understand!

If you’re only interested in seeding keywords to “game” readers into clicking onto your site, then you’re playing this game all wrong. You won’t fool anyone with thin content that doesn’t offer any value, and your potential readers will know it the second they visit your page.  

3. Update the Content on Your Attorney Website Regularly

We wager that about half of what makes the internet so great is that it allows access to constantly fresh, constantly updated content. If nothing on the internet had been updated in all the time it’s been in our lives, very few people would have any reason at all to use it in 2020! 

Of course, that’s an extreme example, but freshness does matter. If people visit your website and only see content from a few years ago, they’ll notice—and they’ll wonder if you’re still in business. If people are led astray by outdated answers in your content, they won’t come back the next time they have questions. Instead, they’ll turn to someone that can give them current information.

Even Google, when determining your rankings, looks at how often you add new stuff and update old stuff. So, if you think content can be a “one and done” deal, you’re dead wrong.  

Fresh content gives people a reason to keep coming back to your attorney website and reading your content. It lets them know that you are engaged and care about giving them the answers and information they need. It shows search engines that your website is fresh, and it keeps your content working in harmony with your current campaigns, messages, and services.

In short, keeping your content fresh is all benefit, with no downsides! 

Not sure what “regular” means here? Have questions about how much is really enough? Find out how often you should update your attorney website content.

4. Edit All Content Before You Post

No matter how informative or interesting your content is, it WILL drive away readers if it’s full of misspelled words and formatting errors. 

Poor grammar and bad formatting are things that most users of your law firm’s website will associate with spam, scams, and scummy ads. As a result, readers will tend to trust you less, and they probably won’t put in the time to decipher what you were really trying to say. 

So, don’t sow that seed of doubt with your visitors. Always edit and proofread all the content that’s posted on your website. Look at the live page after you’ve posted it to make sure that everything looks right, every time. If you notice a lot of people bouncing away from what should be a great page, pull it up to look for broken images, confusing grammar, or other little “oopsies” that drive people away.  

If you have a lot of old content on your website that could use a once-over, don’t be afraid to go back and edit or correct it now. Just like we said in the section above, freshness matters—even if it’s just a fresh coat of paint. Find out how to make great content look even better

5. Offer Suggestions for the Next Move

Have you ever run into a great article somewhere online—only to never visit that site again? There are a lot of choices out there, so your piece of great content needs to also be the “hook” that draws readers further into your website and brand.

As you write new content, think of ways that you can link to other content on your site. For example, you might link to a blog post that clarifies a term you’re using. You might suggest some articles for further reading. You might show other recent posts in a sidebar or panel. You might illustrate a topic by linking it to a related video or case result.  

When you can connect each piece of content you write to other relevant content on your site, you keep readers engaged longer. They get more familiar with your brand and personality, and they start building a sense of trust in your authority on legal topics. And, when you make it easy for them, more people will take that step from one-time reader to brand follower. 

While you’re at it, don’t forget to add a “call to action” to every page of content you post. People are often reading content on attorney websites because they have questions about their own legal issues. It’s helpful to the reader—and just good customer service—to let them know how to call you, contact you, or request more information if they liked the content they read. 

This is important because, in the end, it’s not just readers you want—it’s readers that become new cases and clients.  

Not sure what a call to action is or how to use it? Get some answers and find out how to avoid the 4 biggest mistakes lawyers make with calls to action.

Great Content Is the Foundation of an Effective Law Firm Marketing Strategy

Attracting tons of readers to your online content is tough, but it’s really just about giving them what they want and making sure they can find it. And, if you’re successful, you’ll be rewarded with more traffic, more leads, more interest in your brand, and—ideally—more cases and clients for your law firm. 

Fresh, relevant content is the cornerstone of some of the most effective law firm marketing strategies out there. If you ignore it, or if you cut corners, it’s easy to get trampled by competitors that are on top of it. 

Need a hand getting the upper hand over your attorney website content? Reach out to FWM at 888.886.0939 to talk about our law firm content services.

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http://www.steakoutvt.com/faqs/get-more-readers-for-your-attorney-website-content.cfmwww.steakoutvt.com-30029Tue, 21 Jul 2020 07:46:00 EST
<![CDATA[Can I cut and paste content from other sources to my attorney website?]]>Never cut and paste content from other sites to your own

No! This is a huge problem with attorney websites—and with the greater Internet at large! 

There are several big reasons that you should never, ever put duplicate content on your website—either content you find on other websites or content you’re recycling from your own pages. 

We’ll get into both issues below, but let’s start with why you should leave other sources’ content right where you found it. 

NEVER Cut Content From Other Websites and Paste It Into Yours

Consistently producing engaging, original website content—for months and years on end—can be a little overwhelming at times. It’s tempting to find a shortcut, and there’s no lack of legal content on the Web. So, you might think that all that content out there is ripe for the picking.  

However, before you click “cut” and paste someone else’s content to your law firm’s website, here are some reasons to stop RIGHT NOW before you mess up big time:

  • You’re probably stealing. Taking content from other pages is not an ethical move—that content was researched and written by someone else. Plagiarizing isn’t good for business or, we would argue, in general. If you’re found out, you can get in trouble with the people you took it from. You can wreck your reputation with potential clients really fast. It looks TERRIBLE for a lawyer to use another lawyer’s content—or a doctor to use another doctor’s content. It’s just not worth the risk of doing that much damage to your brand and reputation!
  • You are gravely harming your SEO. Google and other search engines can spot duplicate copy from a mile away—and they do not like finding it. Search engines want original content. If you steal someone else’s content to post on your own website, the search engine crawlers will notice that there is more than one copy of the same (or very similar) content out there. It’s usually not an official penalty because search engines can’t determine who owns the content. However, it can still severely impact your search rankings and water down the visibility for both your website and the website you swiped it from. It can also wreak havoc on your backlinks and other authority indicators, creating a “ripple effect” that drags the rest of your site down with it. 
  • You could be passing on bad information. Blindly using content means losing control over what you’re posting. If you create content yourself or hire others, you can be sure that you are providing accurate information to potential clients. You have control over the “voice” of your brand. You have control over what topics you cover. Ultimately, you wouldn’t let a stranger on the Internet run your business, so don’t let them write your content, either. You, your team, and your hired writers should be the only source of YOUR content.  
  • You want to give your readers unique content. The success of your website depends on your ability to stand out from the crowd. If you are using other people’s tired, generic material, then you’re not giving your visitors anything new. People come to your website because they’re looking for information they can trust—and, ultimately, for an attorney they can trust with their sensitive legal issues. Every time you try to pass off the same, boring stuff everyone else is doing, you’ve missed an opportunity to create a buzz and be the trusted authority. 

Having trouble coming up with your own ideas for unique content? Check out these resources to brush up on your skills: 

Of course, if you really run into something unique that you want to share with your visitors, there’s nothing wrong with quoting that content with appropriate attributions, or even sharing the link on social media. Just be sure you’re linking to the original site and author, not claiming it as your own!

NEVER Put Multiple Copies of Your Own Content on Your Website

The content on your website is yours, so you can do what you want with it! Right? This is the other issue we see with cut-and-paste content on websites. 

Although you and your team created the original content, you still need to be careful about how you use and copy it. You can’t really “steal” from yourself, and hopefully, you’ve long ago checked the original content for accuracy. However, the other two issues we talked about above still apply in this case:

  • Your SEO. Everything we said above about this applies here, only it’s even worse because you’ll be diluting the power of both the copy of the content and your own original. It’s even obvious that you did it to yourself. It’s kind of like shooting yourself in the foot—twice. 
  • Your readers. Your visitors will notice if all your blog posts seem to sound the same or cover the same information. It’s a waste of your time and theirs! A better alternative is to combine all that similar content into a big, comprehensive article—or maybe even a series of shorter articles that really hone in on different sub-topics and details. Remember, you always want to aim for content that is helpful to your “perfect clients” and original enough to hold their attention. Writing fewer, higher-quality pieces is always going to be better for your business than stealing content to keep up an unrealistic pace. 

Keep in mind that the content doesn’t even have to be an “exact” match to trigger these issues! So, if you have multiple copies of the same or similar content on your website, it’s time to clean it up. 

Are you feeling so overwhelmed by content production for your website that you’re thinking about stooping low? Don’t make that mistake. FWM’s incredible team of content writers and strategists has you covered. Learn more about our content writing services, or give us a call at 888.886.0939.

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http://www.steakoutvt.com/faqs/can-i-borrow-content-from-other-websites-and-sources.cfmwww.steakoutvt.com-22923Tue, 30 Jun 2020 10:33:00 EST
<![CDATA[World of Marketing 55: Why Design Matters With Gretchen Upright]]>Designing a website isn’t just about making it look pretty. There are many parts to fine-tune to ensure it runs smoothly and converts successfully.

Gretchen and Tom title card for Why Design Matters podcast

You need to make it easy for your visitors to find information and get to know you. Gretchen Upright, chief business development officer at FWM, says, “A confused mind doesn’t buy.” Gretchen and Tom talked about consistent branding, the use of white space, and how content drives design.

Gretchen suggests constantly evaluating your site for what’s working and what’s not. Is your website as effective as it can be? Find out what other tips Gretchen has for building and redesigning your website. 

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http://www.steakoutvt.com/library/why-design-matters-with-gretchen-upright.cfmwww.steakoutvt.com-132353Mon, 29 Jun 2020 10:44:00 EST
<![CDATA[World of Marketing 54: Going Beyond Boring With Tyson Franklin]]>You don’t have to choose whether to be a good business owner or a good doctor. Doing both isn’t just possible; it’s necessary for success.

It all really comes down to the type of leader you are. Tyson Franklin, a former podiatrist who now works as a business mentor and podcaster, says, “Crappy businesses lack leadership.” Tyson talked to Tom about how making your firm positive, fun, and inviting can make all the difference.

Tyson says, “It doesn’t cost a lot to stand out.” What are you doing to differentiate your business? Find out how Tyson helps health professionals take a step back and transform their practices.]]>
http://www.steakoutvt.com/library/going-beyond-boring-with-tyson-franklin.cfmwww.steakoutvt.com-132273Mon, 22 Jun 2020 14:00:00 EST
<![CDATA[World of Marketing 53: Staying Connected Is Key With Simone DeLoach]]>Marketing isn’t about doing just one thing. To have a truly successful strategy, you must learn how to balance a variety of systems and keep them running smoothly.

It’s critical to have a plan and find ways to repurpose and reuse content. Simone DeLoach, marketing director at DeLoach, Hofstra & Cavonis in Florida, said, “It’s not just about getting the client. You have to keep the client.” Simone talked to Tom about all the things the firm does to stay connected to current and former clients.

Simone suggests spreading out your branding and using digital marketing to its fullest. Are your strategies working for you? Find out how Simone helps establish the firm as an authority so clients turn to them, no matter what type of legal issue they’re facing.

 
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http://www.steakoutvt.com/library/staying-connected-is-key-with-simone-deloach.cfmwww.steakoutvt.com-132237Fri, 19 Jun 2020 13:05:00 EST
<![CDATA[World of Marketing 52: Generating Content Ideas With Trent Semler]]>Regularly adding content is the most important thing you can do for your website. It may be challenging, but it’s definitely worth the time you put into it.

Writing may not be your strong suit, but you don’t have to go it alone. Trent Semler, senior digital marketing strategist at FWM, says, “The more bait that you lay, the more that you’ll catch.” Trent talked to Tom about a variety of content generation tools he uses to help his clients come up with ideas for their websites.

Trent suggests looking at everything, figuring out what’s in demand, and what will get you the most traffic. Are you struggling to keep your content fresh? Find out how these tools work and how they can boost your SEO.

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http://www.steakoutvt.com/library/generating-content-ideas-with-trent-semler.cfmwww.steakoutvt.com-132200Mon, 15 Jun 2020 15:14:00 EST
<![CDATA[Everything You Need to Know About Google's May 2020 Core Ranking Algorithm Update]]>

Google began rolling out an update to its core ranking algorithm at the beginning of May, and by all metrics, it looks like a big one. Major updates like this often take several weeks to go fully into effect and can take even longer than that to make themselves truly felt. As the dust is now beginning to settle, we’re here to walk you through what’s changed, who’s affected, and what (if anything) you need to do about it.

The Details of Google’s May 2020 Core Algorithm Update

What’s become clear so far about this update to Google’s core algorithm is that it seems to reinforce what they've been saying they want for quite some time: robust, relevant, and quality content, and a focus on local searches.

Thin Content Took a Beating

Thin content in particular seems to have been significantly de-emphasized in this latest update. This should be no surprise; Google’s been touting the importance of quality content since the Panda update of 2011!

This fact is doubly important for topics that are complex or require the insight of an expert, like legal and medical content. Searchers who are looking for this type of information are seeking detailed, nuanced answers to their questions, and websites that have been merely providing lip-service to topics that warrant an in-depth examination may have seen their visibility plummet over the past month.

Not sure how to turn thin content into something that ranks? How Law Firms and Medical Practices Can Write Exceptional Web Content

Need quick tips on how to craft long-form articles? The Importance of Longer, More Informative Articles

Worried your detailed explanation may go over your reader’s head? How to Effectively Incorporate Jargon and Technical Language into Your Website

Local Search Continues to Drive Google’s Focus

In addition to thin content, Google’s latest algorithm update is doubling down on the importance of local search. Local and “Map Pack” rankings have been shaken up considerably across multiple industries as the search giant continues to find the best way to match searcher intent to the most relevant results.

For any business that deals with the local public, especially professional services such as medical practices and law firms, the importance of local search is hard to understate. Without visibility in local search results, new business is being lost, period.

Whether your local search presence has been affected by this recent change or not, it’s vital that you continue to focus on the two key pillars of local search visibility: review generation and local citation optimization.

Are your citations sending Google mixed messages? Consistency Is the Key to Local Search Visibility

Thinking about short-cutting your way to the top? Think again. The Importance of Generating Reviews Naturally

Looking to stand out from the crowded Map Pack? Incorporate Calls To Action into Your GMB Profile

Have Particular Industries Been Affected by This Update?

While this algorithm update has not targeted any industry specifically (though they’ve been known to do so), the particular focus on local search and content quality—particularly for complex professional industries—means that the legal and medical industries are positioned to potentially be affected significantly.

Any professional site that has been neglecting the need for robust and relevant content, or has been skating by on under-optimized local profiles and reviews may have seen their site visibility and traffic drop as a result of this latest change.

We’re pleased to report that amongst FWM clients and DSS users, the overall effect of this update seems to be positive. Organic traffic and organic conversions on DSS websites are up 15% since the beginning of this rollout.

DSS User traffic trend pre- and post- May 2020 Google algorithm update.

DSS User organic traffic an conversions pre- and post- May 2020 Google algorithm update.

How to Tell If Your Site Has Been Affected

Not sure how you’ve fared? Fortunately, there are a few key tells. Look at these metrics for indicators of your site’s recent performance since the algorithm rollout began on May 4.

A Drop in Leads

A significant drop in leads coming in through your website is one sign that something may have changed. While the global COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically shifted consumer behavior patterns over the past several months, your detailed lead tracking system should be able to tell you if a more recent change is significantly below your expected averages.

Utilize Google Analytics to investigate your leads and conversions from organic sources in particular. If you see a precipitous drop, you may have lost visibility from this update.

Not Tracking Your Leads? How to Classify Leads in DSS

A Drop in Organic Traffic

While you’re in Google Analytics, take a look at your site’s organic traffic from May 4, 2020 to now. Compare that traffic to the time period immediately prior, and also compare it to the same time period last year and the year before.

If you see a significant difference or notice a negative trend, that could be another indicator that your site was negatively affected.

What to Do If You’ve Been Affected

If your site has lost visibility as a result of these algorithm changes, then it’s in your best interest to act quickly to help rectify the problems. You may have an issue with your site content, your local search visibility, or both. Take a look at each to determine whether you have weaknesses that need addressed and take the necessary steps to correct them.

Audit Your Website for Thin Content

We advocate auditing your site content regularly for several reasons, but this type of deep-dive into your site can help you identify thin pages that may be harmful to your organic visibility. Check out our comprehensive guide to performing a website content audit to learn exactly what you need to do.

How Attorney Steve Richardson Reversed a Negative Traffic/Lead Trend With a Content Audit

Focus on Local SEO

As we’ve mentioned, visibility in Google’s local Map Pack hinges on two key components: the quality and quantity of your reviews (on Google and elsewhere), and the accuracy and consistency of your local citations.

If you have bad reviews (or even simply not enough!), or if you’re confusing Google with errors in your firm’s name, address, and other citation information, you will have a difficult time securing the local presence you need to generate new business.

How to Run Review Generation Campaigns through the DSS Reputation Management Tool

How the DSS Listing Sync Pro Tool Can Help With Citation Optimization

Our Marketing Automation Software and SEO Experts Can Help With Recovery

If your leads and traffic have nose-dived in this latest update, recovery is possible. DSS’s robust suite of marketing automation tools is designed specifically with legal and medical practices in mind. It can help you easily and efficiently make changes to your site content, manage your reviews and local citations, build and run email marketing campaigns, monitor traffic and keyword rankings, and more.

If you’re not sure where to begin or want an experienced professional to help guide you through the recovery process, our digital marketing experts are standing by and ready to help.

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http://www.steakoutvt.com/blog/google-algorithm-update-on-may-4-what-you-need-to-know.cfmwww.steakoutvt.com-195624Thu, 11 Jun 2020 11:00:00 EST
<![CDATA[World of Marketing 51: Using GROW to Find Solutions With David Weiman]]>As a business owner, you have to manage a variety of issues on a daily basis. However, if you hire the right people, they’ll do most of the work for you.

You need to give them the freedom to come up with their own solutions and not be afraid to share them with you. Dr. David Weiman, a psychologist and leadership consultant from Pennsylvania, uses the GROW model to encourage alternative solutions thinking. Dave talked to Tom about how using this method leads to faster, more efficient organizations.

Dave tries to make an impact at the highest level he can by coaching executives. Does your team feel empowered to give you their suggestions? Find out how the GROW model works and how it can help your practice.

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http://www.steakoutvt.com/library/using-grow-to-find-solutions-with-david-weiman.cfmwww.steakoutvt.com-132120Mon, 08 Jun 2020 14:30:00 EST
<![CDATA[Create an Outstanding Email Reputation With These DSS CRM Enhancements]]>Your email reputation can make or break your marketing efforts, so it’s critical to have a good one. An email reputation is essentially a score assigned to your email practices. A good score means your emails are getting in front of the right people, and those people are receptive to your message. If you frequently send high-quality emails to a clean list and follow internet service providers (ISP) standards, you should be golden! 

A bad score can result in all of your emails going to the SPAM folders of services like Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, AOL, and many others. A lot of us start with a clean list and a respectable email reputation and assume it will stay that way, but this is most definitely NOT the case. 

The truth is, there are many elements to email delivery and your email reputation. Here are some of the big items that have an impact on your email reputation:

  • List quality: this can have the most significant impact on email reputation; sending to people who have not opted-in or undeliverable email addresses result in a high bounce rate
  • Bounce rate: the number of emails returned as undeliverable
  • Subject lines and content: spammy, click-bait style subject lines and content can be flagged as spam
  • Number of complaints: users reporting your emails as spam

Screen shot of the new DSS email dashboard.

We’re introducing the new DSS Email Dashboard to help you send better emails and improve your email score! Check out these three key ways in which we can help you with a minimal level of effort required on your side (isn’t that the best?). 

  1. Sender’s Score

We have developed a rolling 90 day CRM Sender’s score. This score will allow you to see your current email reputation based on industry-standard metrics and how you stack up against other DSS Clients. We will provide more information about what the score means and how it is calculated, but in short, it will be a rating of 1-100 with 100 being a perfect sender. It will also allow you to see the results of the changes we are making, as well as any adjustments you make to your list and the content and subject lines of emails and newsletters you send.

  1. Email Validation

We will be using a system to pre-qualify the quality and deliverability of addresses currently in your list, as well as those of people who complete contact and other forms on your website. Your contact records will have a status field that may contain many values so you can see what is going on with your list. You’ll also be able to filter your list based on these statuses. After these changes take place, only addresses listed as Deliverable will allow you to send mail to them. You can always remove the statuses, and the system will re-test the address in case something has changed. This process will ensure that people marking your email as SPAM, undeliverable addresses, and SPAM identifying email addresses (Honeypots) will not receive even one email from you as that’s all it takes to impact your ranking with the major email providers negatively.

  1. Emails Coming From Your Domain

Lastly, we will be changing the sender email address that is used in all communication from DSS and the CRM for emails going to your list or people who complete forms on your website. After this change, recipients will receive emails from an address @yourdomain.com, meaning “yourdomain.com” is the domain of your website sending the email. 

All of these changes are being made to protect and enhance your email reputation. If you’re worried that you’ll be sending to a smaller list, don’t be. Your emails will still reach the people they’ve been reaching, and this even gives you a chance to reach MORE people with a better score. 

Please feel free to reach out to our Customer Service team at (888)886-0939 if you have any questions or concerns. It is important to understand that we are NOT deleting any emails from your list. We are just making changes to improve the deliverability and ranking you have with all of the major email providers, which account for about 95% of all emails you send from the CRM.

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http://www.steakoutvt.com/library/dss-crm-and-email-reputation.cfmwww.steakoutvt.com-132092Fri, 05 Jun 2020 11:02:00 EST
<![CDATA[World of Marketing 50: Protecting Your Email Reputation With Toby Crandall]]>Nobody said marketing is easy. But there are tools that can help you along the way.

Email marketing is a critical piece of a successful business strategy. Toby Crandall, chief technology officer at Foster Web Marketing, said, “An email reputation is a lot like your credit score.” Toby and Tom talked about exciting new upgrades to the email dashboard in DSS that will dramatically improve delivery for clients.

Toby said other systems look at addresses after an email is sent, but FWM looks at them upfront before they can actually hurt your reputation. Are your emails being read and getting to the right people? Find out how these DSS changes will improve your email score and open rates.

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http://www.steakoutvt.com/library/protecting-your-email-reputation-with-toby-crandall.cfmwww.steakoutvt.com-132083Thu, 04 Jun 2020 14:26:00 EST
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