When it comes to digital marketing, you are faced with two main choices- SEO and PPC. SEO uses organic techniques to raise your firm’s ranking in search engines. By using these methods, your firm appears in more standard, local, and mobile searches. PPC is a paid marketing method that presents your ad during relevant searches and charges by the click. Both of thee marketing strategies have proven results that are higher than any other marketing tactic. But, which is right for our law firm? Will PPC or SEO make the bigger difference in traffic and conversions? Consider these pros and cons before finalizing your campaign strategy to maximize its effectiveness.
Among the many advantages of SEO, maybe the most notable is that it is inherently free. While you may pay a fee for professional management, SEO in itself is free of charge. In fact, it’s simply a way of better communicating with Google to produce higher rankings in search engine results. SEO marketing is also completely trackable and adjustable. With many traditional marketing tactics, it can be difficult to accurately assess effectiveness. SEO analytics provide accurate, easy to interpret metrics that help to identify the effectiveness of each aspect of your campaign.
Although SEO is known as a top marketing strategy, maximum results take time. Google must index your information before it can appear in SERPs. New websites can take up to a year to fully optimize, showing few results in the meantime. SEO is also an ever-changing method of marketing. This tactic depends on the search patterns of the general public, which change daily. In order to be effective, your SEO efforts must be continuously evaluated and revised.
While SEO efforts take time, the effects of PPC are immediate. Once you begin your campaign, your ads appear in relevant search results. These ads are also easily trackable with accurate analytics tools and trackers. With fully customizable budgets, audiences, and ad types, these campaigns provide an outstanding return. Don’t like the progress of a particular campaign? Change it or cancel it altogether with revision, start/stop, and budget revision abilities throughout the campaign.
PPC campaigns offer law firms incredible benefits at an affordable cost. However, they can become quite expensive very quickly if not monitored or capped properly. Because PPC ads are so customizable, they must be created, monitored, and adjusted on a regular basis to be effective. These types of campaigns also require thorough research on audience, competition, and more to ensure maximum results. Because PPC ads can fluctuate so greatly, a professional marketer is recommended to get your ad seen through correct keywords, placement, and more.
All in all, SEO and PPC are both top advertising choices for any law firm. They each offer measurable analytics, adjustable details, and affordability. In fact, when used in unison, no other style of advertising can come close to producing better results. The Nolen Walker team of advertising experts can create both PPC and SEO plans for your law firm that get real results you can see. We work with you to establish a plan the works for your law firm and deliver lawyer SEO and PPC advertising that boosts your website traffic, conversion rate, and marketing ROI. Call our professionals at 866-356-8198 to get started on your digital attorney PPC or SEO marketing plan today.
When it comes to online marketing, nothing gets results like great search engine optimization. Google and other search engines use your lawyer SEO techniques to index your website’s information and present it on relevant SERPs. There are multiple techniques that go into an effective comprehensive SEO plan, from keyword usage to schema coding. However, many websites lack key SEO elements that can maximize their efforts. Ensure your law firm’s website hits these major factors for optimal SEO results.
Google My Business
Your Google My Business account is free to set up and helps communicate important information to Google bots. It also helps with local, mobile, and map searches. Your Google My Business Account also helps Google bots decipher your services, products, and firm information like hours of operation and contact information. Google My Business also allows you to add photos of your firm, staff, and even graphics such as logos or infographics.
Structured data is a type of coding language that organizes information for easier and quicker indexing by Google bots. This allows your website to appear in more relevant searches and higher in search rankings Schema markup is one type of structured data that uses tagging to label each piece of microdata so that Google can easily decipher the topic and details. Schema markupcan also be seen as secondary link options on your Google search listing such as phone number, map view, or other related pages. Structured data can also increase your chances of appearing in a featured snippet, a block of featured information found at the top of search results.
While most know that a main heading or H1 is needed, few consider the use of subheadings or H2s and H3s. These headings are indexed by Google to identify the topic of the following content. The use of H2s and H3s along with keywords can help your information be indexed accurately and quickly, above those sites that aren’t using this technique. These headings can be used to break up related information under main headings and can help your make yo9ur page easier to follow, leading to a better user experience.
Alt Image Text
While images are crucial for a great user experience, they can do so much more. While Google has not devised a way to index images, it can index the information surrounding the image. The image name and caption are both important elements to complete for SEO purposes. But oftentimes, the alt image text is left incomplete. This snippet of text appears when the image cannot load due to minimal computer capabilities or when the computer is set up for the blind or vision impaired. While alt image text is very useful in situations like these, it also contributes to your SEO efforts. Since the alt image text defines the image, Google bots are able to index the information, leading to better lawyer SEO results for your page.
URL and Page Structure
Each page on your site has a URL, or a specific internet address where the content can be found. The URL is a crucial resource for not just SEO but also for ease of navigation and identification. Using a short, clear URL helps Google identify the content of each of your pages. It also lays out a clear organization of your lawyer website’s pages and order so your viewers can easily find the information they are searching for.
The structure of your website is crucial for easy navigation and clear information location. Your law firm’s website pages should be structured beginning with general topics as top-level pages. For example, for a family law website, top-level pages may consist of “Divorce representation” or “Child Custody Representation”. Child pages should follow top-level pages, and offer more specific information on each general topic. The “Divorce Representation” page could have child pages such as “Contested Divorce”, or “Divorce With Untraceable Parties”. This way, your viewers can easily locate the exact information they are looking for. These pages could go even further with a third level for pages like “Divorcing and Incarcerated Party”.
With the Mobilegeddon Update, Mobile -Friendly Design is More Important Than Ever.
Since the Mobilegedon update performed by Google in 2015, websites that are not mobile-friendly are immediately ranked lower than sites that offer mobile-friendly pages. While there are multiple methods of making your site mobile-friendly, the most effective is a responsive design. This method uses commands in the coding itself to adjust your information to whatever type of screen used to view it. This allows your content to be viewed completely without the need for zooming or screen adjustment.
Your Lawyer SEO Experts
When it comes to online marketing, your lawyer SEO techniques must be better and more in-depth than your competition in order to achieve the coveted top Google spots. The Nolen Walker team can help you have more complete lawyer SEO to help you get more website traffic and conversions. Call us today at 866-356-8198.
For lawyers, blogging is a tricky subject. The law clearly outlines and what attorneys are allowed to do on public posts, and these actions are heavily monitored. Because lawyers are prohibited from giving legal advice on public forums, the subject matter can seem limited and dull. However, there are still plenty of topics that lawyers can delve into that are interesting, relevant, and informational. To keep your attorney blogging interesting and engaging, consider these ideas:
Generally, the public likes to hear from subject matter experts. If there is an occurrence or event in your area such as a law change, a high profile case, or another interesting happening, deliver an interview from an expert. This presents interesting details, new points of view, and even exclusive glimpses, in some cases, that your audience won’t find elsewhere.
New Law Breakdowns and Explanations
New laws in any area can make people feel nervous and unsettled. “What if there’s information we don’t know?”, “When will the law take effect?”, and, “How does this law affect my loved ones?” are all questions that tend to surface when a new law passes. Help put your audience at ease while distributing useful, interesting content to your viewers.
Common Legal Mistakes or Myths
Many times, people get into trouble not through a purposeful act, but through an accidental offense. Use popular misconceptions, facts about statutes of limitations, or even uncommon laws that are still in effect. These subjects will hold the viewers’ interest while presenting new information, which will likely lead to a return visitor.
Use Comment and Post Boards
When you see a legal question on a platform such as Quora or Avvo, the person who posted it is most likely not the only one who wants to know. Use questions found on chat platforms to form a blog post. Answer the main question and present possible follow-up problems, alternative solutions, or other factual tidbits that the audience can’t find on other posts.
Hot Topics in Your Niche
Use common conundrums within your niche in attorney blogging to provide general information to the public. These topics can be general or they can deal with specific problems that a person might find themselves addressing. Either should be explained in detail along with possible outcomes, hurdles, and pitfalls. Some topics may include:
Pros and Cons of Filing for Bankruptcy
Dealing With a DUI
Child Custody and Your Options
What You Should Know Before Starting a Business
WordPress Offers an Easy to Use Platform for Blog Creation.
The Legal Blogging Experts
Attorney blogging can be difficult, but it can also be a prosperous endeavor, creating link opportunities, expanding your client base, and showcasing your expertise. However, blogging is time-consuming and stressful in any business, especially in the legal industry. When you need professional blogging for your attorney website, call the Nolen Walker experts to help. We provide relevant subject matter to your audience that is interesting, engaging, and helpful. Along with your attorney blogging services, our experts can provide professional SEO, PPC, and web design services that get your law firm noticed and ahead of the game. Call us today at 866-356-8198 to learn how we can help your law firm reach new levels of success.
Because SEO is a reactive industry its “principles” are based largely on confirmation bias and groupthink. Sure, Google gives us some guidelines to follow and occasionally releases a public statement but for the most part, SEO is a guessing game. Somewhere along the line the phrase content is king became part of every digital marketer’s rallying cry. The problem is not in the statement itself but rather in how it is perceived and subsequently applied to digital marketing. Many in the industry equate content with word count. Let’s perform a search for what day is it and analyze where sites rank relative to word count.
Now we’ll use the Bulk Word Counter from SEO Review Tools to measure the precise word counts of each first page result.
No conclusions can be drawn from a single search query but this one at least demonstrates a challenge to the conventional wisdoms of the content is king legion. Out of 9 first page results, the top result is 7th in word count and 6th in corrected word count. The corrected count is merely an estimate of words on the page that aren’t filler. Like Kennedy prior to the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961, SEO experts have failed to acknowledge cases like these because no one else is talking about them and bringing them up in meetings. But what you’re about to learn is that we’re not refuting the importance of content for rankings.
Content is Dynamic
When most people think of content they think about words. But why? Searching for the most contextual definition of content revealed that it is defined by Merriam Webster Dictionary as the principle substance (such as written matter, illustrations, or music) offered by a website. Some might point to the inclusion of written matter within the list of examples to validate their pre-existing bias but the reality is that the need for multiple examples is proof against that ideology. Illustrations and music can be considered content as well, and that is mostly the point. Consider these few notes:
1.) The “written word” may refer to everything from a single word to millions of them
2.) If illustrations and music are considered content, video is presumably content as well
Since SEO as an industry is for profit, salesmanship is inherently present within its marketplace. When you then consider the fact that SEO is a form of marketing it is subject to the same talking points as those used by snake oil salesman and used car dealers. But when SEO is not being used as a marketing chip it can actually lead us to tangible measurements that define trends without an agenda. Users searching for what day is it for example don’t care about word count. What do they care about? They care about what day it is. What the date is. And if it has any significance. Yes, it’s that simple.
Does Word Count… Count?
How would we know? Google makes the rules and they’re invisible. The only thing we can do as analysts is to test the information we have. The best way to do this is by conducting research experiments. As an SEO firm who has noticed discrepancies between the claims of our competitors and the tangible results on our screens, we decided to test a long held hypothesis that word count doesn’t always translate to results. This singular case demonstrates word count doesn’t mean everything but it does not refute the importance of content. Most importantly, it raises questions that others can then pursue answers to.
Will Google Rank This Page?
This page is 741 words long. Will Google rank it? If you’ve arrived at this page there’s a decent chance that it has ranked for one or more keywords. There’s also a chance that you’ve reached this blog post indirectly. Perhaps you’ve entered from a different web page on this site (most likely the homepage) and then clicked on this post in the blog section. Regardless of who you are and how you got here we would like to thank you for reading this through its duration. We decided not to make this post thousands of words because we know that your attention span simply isn’t that long. And why would it be when there’s lots else to do on the internet then sift through 40 pages about SEO theories?. Still, Google rewarding word count for the sake of it seems unlikely.
What you are about to learn could change the course of your online marketing presence. It’s one simple trick to get more Google Reviews for your small business. Some might call it a hack but it’s perfectly legitimate and white-hat. That’s why it’s so valuable to know. We are giving this trick away for free so that small business owners around the United States can compete on Google Maps, especially in the Local 3 Pack. As you may know, a presence on the Local 3 Pack is critical to local lead generation. While more than just the quantity of reviews influence Google Maps rankings, they remain one of the foremost and sought after components to a Local SEO strategy.
The Free Advice Review Generator
We had a client who fielded a significant number of daily in which people were asking for help with a service that he did not specifically provide, but was closely related to his niche. Instead of telling them he couldn’t help, he pointed them to a service he knew of that could. Aside from providing free advice to several people per day, he gained nothing out of it for his business. After consulting with Add Positions, we urged him to ask nicely for a review after providing said advice. We stressed that asking and demanding are separate things. We told him not to pressure the caller into leaving a review, but to present it as “if you don’t mind.” You are not asking them to write anything unethical. All they have to write is that you helped them find the proper services. After implementing Add Positions’ strategy, this client saw there reviews surge quickly. They now dominate Google Maps for their industry. It wasn’t the extra reviews alone that did the job, but they were a central component. If you are a small business who fields calls for advice, you too can take advantage of this cutting-edge review generation technique. Follow these rules:
Don’t Apply Pressure
Keep it Ethical
The benefits of utilizing this trick is not only short-term but long-term as well. Besides getting the feedback in a form of a Google Review, you also increase the probability of that same person recalling you when they need the precise service you provide. You’ve established something known as brand recall. When you form a personal connection with an individual, they recall your brand when problems arise that you can assist with. So the free advice hack is not just about a single review or even multiple ones, it’s about growing your brand incrementally. It’s about leveraging part of your marketing appeal into increasing its output. All good for SEO.
Other Online Review Generation Tactics
The other review tactic that can be used effectively is asking your clients in person. There’s something about the personal face to face interaction that lends itself to a higher probability of reviews. Following up with texts and emails is more effective after that personal interaction takes place. People are busy, so they want the process to be as convenient as possible. You can make it so with a business card that has directions on how to leave the review. You can also invest in a website reviews widget so that they can leave the review directly from your website, and don’t have to find your Google profile (although it isn’t hard to find). People would rather binge watch Netflix than leave you a review, and that won’t change anytime soon. But if they feel you did a great job and then saw you take the initiative to ask in person, they just might take the 5 minutes and leave the feedback. Even 3 out every 10 clients can do wonders for you SEO.
Ask In Person
Remind Via Email & Text
Website Reviews Widget Integration
There’s other review tactics you’ll find online but many of them are what are known as black-hat. It means they are unethical and violate Google’s guidelines. Furthermore they can cause manual penalties issued by Google and completely destroy your online presence. Recovering from this won’t be easy, as your brand will now be tarnished in the eyes of Google. If a tactic mentions anything about financially incentivizing the client to provide feedback, you should move far away from it, and quickly. There’s also platforms where you can buy reviews in bulk. These are spam reviews, and it’s plainly obvious by the tone and voice of the feedback. If you’ve ever read reviews on Amazon that seem fake, it’s because they are. Amazon cracked down on that and now only accepts legitimate reviews. Google is even more strict in their reviews policy, so don’t expect to get away with anything unethical.
Streamline The Process With Righteous Reviews
Add Positions clients get a complimentary bonus widget known as Righteous Reviews. It is a native plugin, developed right here at AP, that integrates Google and Facebook reviews directly on your company website. We know that some consumers have a hard time locating the profiles on which they are asked to leave a review. Righteous Reviews eliminates this uncertainty by having it all done through your main website. This way, when you provide clients with a business card and ask for a review, all they’ll have to do is navigate to your website, which should of course be listed on your card, and click on Review Us. Using this widget, you can expect to see a more consistent flow of reviews streaming into your Google and Facebook profiles, as long as you’re getting clients regularly, and following the protocol of asking them in person. Benefits of Righteous Reviews include:
Convenience: Make the process simpler for consumers
Integration: Keep everything organized on one place, your company website
Volume: Encourage a greater amount of reviews towards your system
Add Positions does everything possible to give our clients the slight advantage required to improve rankings. Most times, it is attention to detail that swings a website from the top 5 to the top 3 and so on. The foundation of your website still rests on design, SEO, and mobile usability, but your online presence as a while expands beyond just your website. That’s why Righteous Reviews is so valuable. It takes one of your greatest digital assets (your website) and integrates it with perhaps your 2nd and 3rd greatest assets (your Google My Business & Facebook pages). As these entities feed off one another, each enhancement to any of them, is an enhancement to all of them. This mutually beneficial relationship between your website and profiles creates the robust online presence that Google prioritizes when ranking companies.
Most would argue that content is the lifeblood of the SEO industry. Although its most frequently attributed to Google themselves, the origin of the phrase content is king can actually be traced back to Bill Gates in 1996. Google has certainly echoed the sentiment though, seeing that their Steps to a Google-friendly site explicitly states that high quality content on your pages, especially your home page, is the single most important thing you can do. So we definitely get it… content is of extraordinary importance when attempting to rank your business online. But we also know better than to think that content as a standalone service will move the needle at all.
Because of Google’s affinity for quality content, many small business owners look for services that will provide content only. Similarly, some marketing firms promote content as a standalone service. In each case, the service will fail to deliver what the client really wants, which is search visibility. It’s prudent to trust a professional’s judgement when investing in marketing, but skepticism is certainly understandable in the SEO world. A legitimate SEO company will tell you that content on its own will not be enough to change the fortunes of your web presence. Here’s what else you need to be successful online in 2019.
Design & Coding
What’s content without design? It’s HTML text with a default font. Nobody cares to read through these types of pages. In fact, try to find a result on Google page one that is text by itself. Sure, content can mean more than text, but can you find one example of a poorly designed website that ranks on the first page of Google? The reality of content is that it’s only as valuable as its presentation. This is especially true in our increasingly mobile society. If a smartphone user cannot consume content on their iPhone device, what good is it to them? It could be written by a scholar and enhanced with high resolution images, but if it doesn’t fit within a mobile design that is simple to navigate, it will not matter one bit. In summary, here’s how design supports content:
There’s several different forms of content that exist on the internet today. One of the most appealing ones is blog posts. Yes, Google states that home page content is most important, but research conducted by 3rd parties indicates that blog post quality, length, and frequency, can combine for a major influence on organic search position. Blog posts are a more informal way for users to consume content than a traditional page. Since many blogs are written as topical and instructional, their clicks and engagement rates are much higher. They can also serve as something known as evergreen content. These are posts that people consider a resource to go back to over and again. They often earn links from external websites which increases the page’s authority. In summary, blogging supports content through:
As You Can See, This Very Post is Published an Internal Blog Using The WordPress CMS. And By Reading it You Become Part of Its Engagement and Ultimate Success
What good is a book that nobody reads? The same logic can be applied to content published online. If nobody sees it, it becomes the sound of a tree falling in an empty forest. The chicken or the egg argument seems to immerse itself into the content visibility discussion every time. The idea from Google and others is that great content will get seen because it will earn links naturally and people will organically come into contact with the most premium writing. Sounds great, but it’s hard to prove whether or not this is accurate. Brands with more resources and more inbound links pointing to their domain, are going to get their content seen more, even if it’s inferior. Sure, writing great blog posts can help you earn links, but you still must pursue exposure on your own. Ways to do this include NAP citations, guest posts, and blogger outreach. In summary, links supports content through:
Google My Business & Reviews
The best kind of content is user-generated content, and that’s exactly what consumers provide when they published feedback on Google, Facebook, Yelp, or elsewhere. Google My Business Is the premier brand platform for small businesses. It’s the module that appears when a user performs a branded search of your company name. It’s also one of the most trusted sources for legitimate reviews, if not the most trusted. A company without a GMB page or without Google reviews, has little chance of improving search visibility, even with the greatest content ever written appearing on their website. That’s the harsh reality of the SEO world. If you run a business, you must act like one online. In summary, reviews support content through:
The most highly populated channels of content are social media platforms. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, or YouTube, they are all brought together for a common cause, content sharing. The content you think of on your website might not be exactly like the content you think of on Facebook or Twitter. But the fact remains, it is all content. Some of it is user-generated (like with reviews) and some is published and syndicated by brands and organizations like your own (yes, even small ones). Think about YouTube as one of the central hubs of content. There is no more appealing content than video which is confirmed by the platforms usage statistics. Thinking about these social channels as opportunities to syndicate content of your own, puts you on the right track to understanding how content works in 2019, and why it relies on other platforms aside from a text editor. In summary, social media supports content through:
Another misnomer about content is that it can be a one time deal. No, you can’t write a website full of content and then ignore the site for the rest of its tenure. Google favors websites that deliver fresh content regularly. So how do you do that? By utilizing some of the concepts discussed throughout this post. Blogging is a great way to publish regular content on your site. WordPress supports internal blogging, which means each new post is published under your primary domain name. This helps funnel all traffic to a central domain. Another idea to think about is review generation. User-generated content is about as valuable as it gets, so you should pursue reviews from satisfied customers (ethically, of course). But most of all, ongoing work is required on your website. You can’t pay for content, and then tell the marketer to go away. To succeed and sustain success, content marketing and management is an ongoing process. In summary, ongoing work supports content through:
For SEO experts, the saying ‘content is king” normally references text and images, but videos are actually the most engaging form of content available on the web. In fact, users watch over a billion hours of YouTube video per day. So it stands to reason why YouTube should be an essential part of every SEO strategy. After all, videos can be integrated on all kinds of SEO-friendly platforms, from your business website to your Instagram & Facebook brand pages. Even more intriguing is the direct affiliation between Google as a search engine, and YouTube videos as content. Performing search queries you’ll notice that YouTube videos often appear towards the top of search results. That means users will be exposed to video content without ever visiting YouTube directly. See the search results below for the query “bridal shop SEO”
At Add Positions, making a video for the subject bridal shop SEO and uploading it to YouTube allowed us to secure the first spot on the video carousel for this term. As a small business owner, you too can take advantage of what YouTube has to offer from an SEO perspective. Depending on the industry to which you belong, certain keywords will produce video results on the top of the corresponding SERP. Like with other forms of SEO, the more competitive a keyword is, the more difficult it will be to rank on the video carousel. There’s certain techniques we recommend which allowed us to secure the ranking you see above, and which can translate to almost any niche. Through organic ranking, YouTube videos can also serve as a marketing funnel. Read through the rest of this blog post to find ways to improve SEO through YouTube video content.
Optimize Your YouTube Video
When you upload a video to YouTube, you have several areas through which to optimize it. The title is the most important. You want to include your primary keyword within the video title and can also add a secondary keyword. Next you’ll want to move to the description and provide a detailed summary of what the video entails. It’s also another opportunity to place your keyword for YouTube & Google to see. As you can see from our description, we also placed a link to the corresponding web page, on which this particular video is embedded. Finally, you’ll want to add tags which should again include your primary keyword as well as synonyms and LSI keywords.
Videos on YouTube should avoid the same SEO pitfalls as traditional web content. Refrain from stuffing your title, description, or tags with keywords. Use them once and only once within each section. When writing your description, write it with the user in mind. Videos that are topical are far more likely to be consumed by relevant users, meaning they’ll watch the entire clip, and not exit it from it immediately. Make sure you video is set to public under “Visibility” on YouTube’s studio creator. If you follow each of these steps, you have a good chance to show up on the carousel for organic searches on Google. Keep in mind that keyword competition is critical.
Embed Your YouTube Video
There’s several channels where you can simply embed the YouTube video onto the page (WordPress being the most common). In other cases you can just post the link, but will want to make sure it displays properly after publication. For your main website, the first option is best which is to embed it within the page or blog post itself. To get the embed code for your video, you must navigate to the video and click on the button that says share. From there you will see several options including Embed, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Blogger, & Reddit. You will want to choose Embed, which will then prompt a screen that provides the necessary code.
Copy the code from the embed screen and paste it within the WordPress page where you want the video to display. Now when users navigate to that page, they will see the video embedded within the content. You can select modifications that alter how your video is displayed once embedded. For example, you can choose to start the video at a certain timestamp and hide player controls, etc. The video’s SEO should align with the SEO for the page. For example, it would be nice for the H1 or H2 of the page to match the main keyword from the video, so that Google sees both entities as connected and relevant to one another. Try to establish that relevance.
Distribute Your YouTube Video
Most platforms allow you to link your YouTube video directly on the page. Facebook and Twitter, for example, allow for YouTube videos to be linked and integrated within posts and tweets. Instagram is a different story and require their videos to be 60 seconds or less. You’ll have to upload the video natively to Instagram, meaning the file itself will be uploaded, rather than simply linking or embedding the YouTube video link. To accomplish this you must know how to edit videos and trim them in a marketable fashion that highlights the most appealing 60 seconds. Add Positions provides this service. Videos should be distributed on these platforms:
Facebook: Supports YouTube integration but also offers native video upload
Instagram: Requires native video upload that is less than 60 seconds
LinkedIn: See Facebook
Twitter: See LinkedIn
It’s not a bad idea to create different versions of the video for each platform, meaning Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram, all have unique variations. As we noted, Instagram does not allow for embedding YouTube clips. Even if you tried to post the link within your image caption, it would not be clickable, and thus be rendered virtually useless. If you need assistance with recording, editing, and posting videos on YouTube and other platforms, we provide a service that empowers you to do all of these things. We’ll even include your video content within our SEO services for your company. Like all content, video can be a major part of search rankings. For YouTube SEO services, call Add Positions today at 866-356-8198.
Let’s discuss a topic that most every small business has interest in, which is how to improve Google search rankings. In 2019, the most effective way to generate business leads is through Google search. The business websites that rank the highest will acquire the most customers and so the goal of every company should be to pursue the top position. It’s important to be realistic however, since a number of factors determine whether or not a website will rank well. Add Positions is a digital marketing company that specializes in SEO for contractors. Below are 10 ways to improve Google search rankings for contractors in 2019 and beyond.
1) Google My Business
Let’s be very clear about something, Google My Business has replaced traditional websites as the central hub of online marketing visibility. Consumers who have a pre-existing awareness of your brand, searching for its name on Google will no longer prompt them to go directly to your website. Instead, they will see what is known as your Google Homepage, which is a full spectrum profile of your business throughout the SERP, mostly stemming from your GMB profile. The better optimized GMB profiles will produce the most ideal Google homepages. A GMB profile should be:
Accurate: Display the correct NAP information
Branded: Show your company logo, and business description, with a verified address
Optimized: Refined for search with proper categories, hours of operation, etc.
Updated: Regularly used for Google posts and consumer notifications
Customer reviews are the modern day word of mouth. The difference is that today, word of mouth travels at the speed of your local WiFi connection. Both good and bad news travels fast, especially when it comes to contractors and their services. If we’re being honest with ourselves, bad news travels fastest. That’s why contractors should combat negativity by making it as convenient as possible for satisfied customers to leave reviews. This can be done through a website-integrated reviews widget, and by asking the customer in person upon service completion. It also helps to provide a business card with review platform links: Consider this:
Ask in Person: Request a review after service completion
Business Card: Provide business card with review platform links
Website Reviews Widget: Install a reviews widget like Righteous Reviews
3) Content Quality
There’s a saying in the SEO industry; content is king. The validity of this statement is questionable, but one thing isn’t; that content is extremely important to ranking well online. Google’s algorithms have gotten better at deciphering high quality content from its low quality counterpart. Google has even released quality guidelines for the public to review. There general principles follow the rule of common sense. For example, they state webmasters should make pages primarily for users and not search engines. They urge content creators to pose the question to themselves; does this content help my users? Here’s what defines quality content:
Engagement: How engaged readers are
Uniqueness: How original the content is
Value: How relevant and helpful the content is
4) LSI: Keyword Synonyms
The days of creating a standalone page for the sole purpose of ranking for a keyword are long gone. Today, Google purportedly determines the legitimacy of content by its usage of LSI keywords. For those who are not familiar with latent semantic indexing, the simplest way to describe it is synonym diversity. Instead of using the term tree trimming service 10 times within your content, you would use it only once, and then use synonyms to support that primary keyword. You might use the term arborist, tree treatment, and things like it. You can also use tools like lsigraph.com to help you identify LSI keywords for your target phrase. Focus on:
Diversity: Language is better when it’s not redundant, but instead diverse
Relevancy: A synonym implies the fundamental meaning of the term or phrase is similar
Synonyms: Words have many different variations and explanations, which you should use
5) Schema Code
Schema.org is a programming language that helps Google parcel data. In layman’s terms, schema helps Google better interpret your website and web pages, and subsequently market it to its users in a mutually beneficial manner. The goal of Google is to provide the most relevant results to its users, and the goal of contractors is to acquire the most relevant search traffic which has a greater chance to convert. Schema markup helps each party achieve their goal. Because it is a programming language involving microdata, professional assistance is strongly advised. Proper use of schema can enhance SERP results through the following:
NAP Information: SERP extensions showing name, address, and phone number
Review Snippets: SERP extensions showing aggregate 5 star review ratings
Service Pages: SERP extensions showing links for individual service pages
6) Social Signals
Some might think posting on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter is redundant. But it’s not a fruitless effort when you consider the idea of social signals. MOZ has listed social signals as one of their local ranking factors and it’d be foolish to ignore such a strong phenomenon in the internet sphere of influence. Since Google clearly favors brands, having signals originating from major platforms with high usage and activity can only help your overall SEO. While its precise influence on organic ranking is undetermined, there’s circumstantial incentive to pursue social media activity on the following platforms:
7) Location Data
To excel online as a contractor, you must have a verified location. We touched on this briefly in the Google My Business section, but we’d like to further stress the importance of location verification for contractors. As a professional contractor you likely service multiple towns and cities, especially if your main location is outside of a major metropolitan area. The bad news is that the days of purchasing a virtual office have been eliminated. Google cracked down on this tactic as a way of prioritizing geographical legitimacy. It can be frustrating for a contractor who resides in a small town, but you have to find ways to work around it. At the very least, you must do the following:
Analyze: Research where your largest client base is, and your current distance from them
Optimize: Show identical location data on your website, GMB page, and elsewhere
Verify: Ensure address verification on Google My Business
We noted the importance of content quality, but stopping there is not enough. The frequency of content production is also important. Yes, the quality must continue to maintain its standards, but you must have processes in place to continue publishing content. One of the best processes for that is blogging. Blog posts are a great way to keep fresh pages circulating on your website. This is especially true with WordPress-based websites, which count blog posts as actual pages on your domain, to be indexed by Google accordingly. The habit of blogging shows Google that your site is NOT static, and that it continues to produce relevant pages. Blog posts should be:
Consistent: Follow a fixed schedule, and publish posts at least once per month
Quality: Maintain the standard of quality outlined previously
Relevant: Relate (at least loosely) to the subject matter of your main website
An underrated content medium is video. You can use video in a variety of ways. For instance, you can chop up video content and syndicate it through social media, websites, and extract the audio for podcast distribution. Google views videos in a positive light. This makes sense when considering the popularity of YouTube, and the amount of time the average American spends watching videos from that platform on a daily basis. Add Positions believes strongly in video content, as you can see by our embedded YouTube episode towards the top of this blog post. You as a contractor can also improve SEO with video content, with these methods:
Distribution: Uploading videos to YouTube and other channels
Production: Recording and editing videos, or having someone do it on your behalf
Syndication: Circulating video content through websites and social media channels
10) Domain Authority
MOZ has a metric known as DA or domain authority which measures the perceived trust of a website. It’s calculation is largely based on inbound links, both quality and quantity. Websites of a certain age, are more likely to have higher DA’s than brand new websites. The DA scale is 1-100 but at Add Positions, we’ve found that local contractors can do quite well by reaching the mid 20’s. In competitive markets, clients with DA’s 15 or below, are going to have a difficult time showing up for keywords on page one of Google, based on our extensive research. Some of the best ways to build DA are:
Content Marketing: Producing blog posts and syndicating them on social media
Inbound Linking: Earning links from external domains, but ones that a relevant to your industry
Tenure: Being around for a long time, which tends to help you earn trust organically
11) Design & Coding (Bonus)
One method of improving search ranking that cannot be overlooked is web design & coding. What happens behind the scenes can make just as much of a difference as what the user sees on their device screen. Google crawls and indexes websites using technology, and it’s far easier to crawl a cleanly coded website than one that is clunky and obtrusive. Furthermore, designs that are unique (non-templates) encourage Google crawler-bots to perceive them more favorably. Many contractors are under the false impression that their existing site is custom, when in fact, it is a $60 WordPress template that might look original, but has identical coding to other themes. Additional ranking factors that relate to design & coding include:
Search Ranking Help for Contractors
Add Positions works with contractors (and other industries) to create custom WordPress websites that are fully optimized for search engines. Our 250+ client base can vouch for our attention to detail and execution of best practice optimization. Not only will we design a unique website for your business, but we will implement all of the SEO strategies mentioned in this blog post. It’s important to understand that each of these components works better in concert, rather than as an exclusive entity. In other words, a website alone is not enough, nor is content alone, or SEO alone.
Every business has different goals and aspirations, but one thing most every contractor has in common, is a desire for lead generation. The goal of Google optimization is lead acquisition. Anyone who says something different might have ulterior motives. Add Positions helps contractors reach their goal of lead generation by pursuing every channel available online. As a group of 15 digital marketing experts, each with a unique skill set, we can attend to the details that separates excellent websites from mediocre ones. Call 866-356-8198 today!
Everyone is trying to get into the top 3 Google Maps rankings, and for good reason. Listings within the local 3 pack appear directly on SERPs for relevant keywords, making them as good as a number one organic result, if not better. When businesses are losing out on quality leads, it’s usually because they aren’t showing up on Google Maps. There’s also often a correlation between traditional organic ranking, and Maps ranking. In these cases, they ask the question outright, why don’t I show up on Google Maps? Factors influencing your lack of presence include:
Time / Tenure
Yes, Google considers each of these factors when deciding where to rank a particular Map listing. Although they don’t explicitly outline their factors, research and studies suggest that the factors mentioned above are the most important. As a digital marketing company that has been working with clients for 8 years, we can confirm that these are in fact the primary considerations. Of course, SEO is always evolving, so Google may decide tomorrow to give more weight to a certain factor, or to delegitimize another. We’re constantly evaluating best practices.
Time / Tenure
Like is the case with domain age, time and tenure are a strong consideration for Google Maps listings. Older websites rank better in organic (generally) and older Maps listings follow suit. So how long you’ve had your Google My Business and Maps profile online will be part of the formula. So even if you have more reviews than an older listing, their tenure may indicate greater value, depending on the circumstances. If you don’t currently have a Google Maps listing, the time to create and optimize one is today. You should start the tenure clock ASAP.
While it’s a misnomer that reviews are the only factor, they are certainly a strong one. When all things are equal, the listing with more reviews will almost always win out. Furthermore, the more reviews generated, the more people will click through your Maps listing, and the more customers you will convert. But this post in particular is about showing up on Maps in the first place. And make no mistake, review generation can help you achieve that goal. You can generate more reviews by integrating a website reviews widget and programming email & text reminders to customers after completing services. Try to avoid getting too many reviews in a short period of time. Google will think they’re fake, and might even take them down.
The coding of your website shows direct correlation to your Maps placement. It helps Google parcel the data, and interpret your location information, website category, etc. Much of the things that are most influential in digital marketing occur behind the scenes. Remember, Google uses bots to crawl the contents of your website, and everything produced on a SERP is programmatic and algorithmic. We’ve found that clean coding with schema markup helps our clients rank on Google Maps, particularly in the local 3 pack — the most sought after Maps placement on the web.
Google only knows you offer a particular service, if your website has a page of content for it. In other words, you might assume that you’d show up for a certain keyword because it’s obviously associated with your industry. But that’s not how this works. Google must be able to see that a page on that topic exists on your website, in order to credit you with the term on a Google Maps listing. This is especially true when competitors in your field are producing pages of content for each and every service they offer. Of course Google would give them credit for that over someone who fails to produce those pages themselves.
Even social media is a factor for Google Maps rankings. Activity on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram send out signals to Google that your brand is visible in multiple outlets. These are all considered web properties, and they help build brand diversity, something Google strongly values when determining any kind of ranking, from Maps to traditional organic. For this reason, optimized profiles on the social media channels mentioned should be part of every strategy to rank on Google Maps.
Google wants to see reviews from more than just their own platform; Google My Business. There’s many other platforms that exist on the web, and each of them send signals that your brand is relevant. Think about Yelp, which at one time was considered the most popular source of reviews on the internet. Others to think about include Facebook, BBB, Angie’s List, HomeAdvisor, etc. The more reputable sources you can generate reviews, the better chance you have to rank in the local 3 pack. The good news is that most companies we deal with find it easier to get reviews from non-Google sources, and often already have many of them.
DA is a metric developed by MOZ to estimate Google’s trust in a domain. While it should not be too heavily weighted, it is something to pay attention to nonetheless. Google is smarter than MOZ of course. Google knows its algorithm better than anybody else, so a 3rd party metric could be rendered obsolete at any moment. With all that being said, inbound links, which are the driving force behind DA, are still a factor in Google Maps rankings. After all, a link is essentially a vote of confidence from one domain to another. The more votes you receive (from trustworthy sources), the more trust you earn.
Stagnation is a quick way to lower your Maps ranking, which means it should be avoided at all costs. You need regular work on your website and Google My Business profile to stay relevant. That means regular Google posts as well as ongoing website work like blog posts, page updates, and coding fixes, is imperative to sustain relevance in your market. Google pays mind to each of these things and it will be reflected through fluctuations in your Maps rankings.
Like other forms of SEO, Google Maps rankings are a relative concept. If you are the only business of your kind in a particular geographic area, you may well show up on Maps by default. This assumes of course that you at least have an active My Business profile and Maps listing. Conversely, if you are in a highly competitive market, you might be doing all the things mentioned in this article, and still not appearing in the top 3. In cases like these, only relentlessness and consistency will help you eventually surpass those entrenched ahead of you.
As a top digital marketing company, Add Positions is asked one question more frequently than any other. “How can I get more Google Reviews?”
Our services are tailored to small businesses, so you can imagine why prospective clients would ask this highly relevant question.
One thing is for certain, Google Reviews are a valuable digital currency for small business owners. Whether reviews are coming from repeat customers or first-timers, their endorsement counts just the same.
85% of consumers trust reviews as much as a personal recommendation
With this in mind, it’s safe to say that word of mouth still exists, and holds weight, but that it now travels at the speed of your nearest Wifi connection. Because Google is central hub of digital information, a review on this platform is the most coveted piece of user-generated content
5 Steps to Google Reviews Success
Ask in person
The most organic way to build reviews is to ask in person after completing your service. This might not be you personally, but someone who works for you. The key to generating the review is to be sincere and ask the satisfied customer to provide feedback online. You can provide them with a informational 3×5 business card that instructs them how to provide the review online. If you are an Add Positions client, you’ll have a review button on the website, which makes the process simpler for your customers to follow.
Common sense is underrated. And while Google has prohibited the practice of review gating, which is manipulative software that discourages bad reviews and encourages good ones, being selective about who you ask is perfectly legitimate. If you served a customer who behaved rudely and belittled you verbally, just use your common sense and don’t ask them for a review or give them the 3×5 business card that explains how to do so. They might leave one anyway, but there’s no reason to encourage it.
Text & Email
Asking in person is often step one of a longer process. While people appreciate the sincerity of your request, and often agree to leave the requested review, actually doing it is another story. They sometimes forget to do it once you leave, or simply put it out of their mind while they are binging a Neflix series or playing World of Warcraft. It doesn’t mean they refuse to help you, it just means their priorities place a higher value on activities other than leaving a review. In cases like these (which if being honest is most of them) the customer needs a friendly reminder.
This is where text and email comes into play. After leaving your job you should have gathered your customers phone number and email address. Using an automated system like Righteous Reviews (included in your Add Positions plan) the customer will receive a text and email reminder that has a convenient direct link to the review platform. So let’s say they are busy watching Netflix and get a text on their phone reminding them to leave the feedback. They say “Fine”, click the link, and leave a 5 star review. Remember; fine, click, 5 star.
Follow Up Phone Call
So let’s say you asked in person, sent the text and email reminders, and still don’t receive the review. Someone in your office can place a follow up phone call to remind them one final time. If they still don’t leave a review after the second reminder, it’s best to move on to the next customer. At a certain point it begins to get annoying, and the person might flip a switch and leave you a 1 star review. So remember, this will be their second and final reminder.
You should once again exercise common sense with these follow up calls. If the person seems like they are a recommendation away from exploding and cussing you out, just move on. However if the person was nice and behaved appropriately throughout the previous parts of this process, this reminder could be the one that finally gets the review published on Google which becomes user generated content for your online brand.
“Free Advice” Reviews
Looking for a tip that could get you hundreds of additional reviews without cheating? Well Add Positions has it and it’s called “Free Advice” reviews. If you are the type of business that fields calls about services you don’t provide or for informational purposes only, you can ask for a review for helping the person find what they are looking for. For example, an HVAC contractor might get asked a really basic question about repairing an AC. If you give the advice, you can then ask the person to leave you a review saying you gave advice, even though they aren’t paying.
An example we can give from first hand experience comes from a client we had who fielded calls related to his industry, but not something that his services handled. He is a very nice person, so he pointed them to the proper service that could help them solve their problem. He took our advice and started asking for reviews, and earned hundreds of additional reviews within weeks. Not only does this help you generate more Google reviews, but it makes the person remember you the next time they need your services. You’ve now established a rapport that can payoff long-term.
Hire a Marketing Company
The final way to generate more reviews on Google is by hiring a marketing company. We spoke about Add Positions’ marketing plan and how it includes tools like Righteous Reviews which will help you earn more Google feedback. This widget is integrated onto your company website and will automate the text/email reminders spoken of above. Aside from these tools, organic SEO in of itself will help you get more testimonials from the simple process of getting more leads and customers.
Add Positions is a top digital marketing company serving small businesses throughout the entire United States of America. We handle everything from organic SEO to paid advertising campaigns. We are hopeful you’ve found this podcast and corresponding blog post to be informative and will utilize it in your daily practice to get more reviews from Google. All of these recommendations are intended to be white hat, and to not cross any ethical lines.