Word of mouth (WoM) has gone digital. It’s no longer good enough to hear from one or two people that a movie is good or entertaining. We won’t consider a hotel that doesn’t meet our own health and safety standards. We now rely upon a consensus of reviews before we make our decisions, even if it is something as simple as choosing a movie from our couch.
In 2022, this kind of feedback crowd-sourcing is ubiquitous. From restaurants to law firms, or from pet groomers to industrial cleaning companies, reviews are (or should be) a big part of the marketing strategy for businesses, large or small.
Many business owners feel that their best clients come from word of mouth. And they’re probably right.
If only there was a way to have those sweet, positive, and wildly influential words used to describe their business immortalized in some way so that future prospects and potential clients could hear them–oh wait, there is! It’s called Google reviews. And if you’re not prioritizing Google reviews, you’re setting yourself up to fail.
3 Ways Google Reviews Affect Your Business
Online reviews are the closest thing we have to WoM in the digital realm, and they absolutely matter for your business. Here are three ways Google reviews can impact your online visibility and reputation.
Reviews impact SEO. You read that right. Getting more of them, especially positive ones, improves your digital visibility and conversion rate. That means more clients for you. (Psst: Dealing with a fake or negative review? We’ve got you.)
Google trusts the power of WoM marketing. It factors in the quantity and quality of reviews to evaluate where and when your business should show up in search engine results. Just as customers use online reviews to validate their purchase decisions, Google and other search engines take a similar stance when showing results.
Users and search engines have a similar objective. Google wants to weed through the vast web to deliver the right information, service, or product to you in the fastest way possible, and this aligns with our goals as searchers. In fact, reviews pretty much work as crowd-sourced WoM recommendations.
If you’re already prioritizing Google reviews and reviews from other sites, good for you. If you have a system or process in place already, even better.
However, if you haven’t been able to net enough positive Google review to impact your business, it may be time to consider setting up an automated process to make getting reviews simple, painless, and effective.
GoBeyond SEO works with business owners to implement an automated process to make it easy for customers to write and submit reviews and to give businesses a cringe-free way to ask for them. Find out more by booking a free discovery call with us.
If you haven’t already jumped on the Google My Business bandwagon, now’s the time. Leaving a Google My Business profile unclaimed (psst: even if you’re virtual) is like leaving an entire host of free marketing opportunities on the table and willingly ignoring their existence…and you know better than that.
Keep reading for the top 3 reasons to claim your Google My Business listing.
1. Claim Google My Business Listing for Local SEO
Claiming your Google My Business profile gives you the ability to boost your ranking, free of charge, by instantly making yourself more of an authority in your space. See, Google’s algorithm primarily considers three features: relevance, proximity, and prominence. By claiming your profile, you are essentially sounding an alarm to the algorithm that your listing deserves a higher ranking because of information you’ve provided. Here’s why:
By adding your website to your profile, you are adding backlinks, which builds up your site’s reliability.
You’ve now provided Google with a location, which tells the algorithm when it should come up in more localized searches.
It makes your business more established and well-known in the eyes of Google.
2. Get Found By Potential Clients
As your SEO improves, your business appears earlier in the search ranking, and, as a result, your website traffic increases. Even simply filling out the information in the profile, however, and turning it into your own, enables your business to share necessary content with your potential customers.
By claiming the profile, you are able to put your ideas, via posts and blogs, in front of them. You give your audience a chance to learn about your business, the hours it operates, any pertinent or new information, and how to find out more. The more information your customers consume, the more likely it is the interaction will end in a sale.
3. Use GMB for Reputation Management
Google reviews are all the rage right now, and it makes total sense. The last restaurant you’ve visited, the electrician you’ve hired, the last salon you’ve entered…I would be surprised if you’ve never checked out some reviews before making a decision. 90 percent of people read reviews. 90 percent.
When you claim your Google My Business profile, you become notified when there’s a review. And, as every smart business owner knows, when there’s a review, there needs to be a response. Without claiming the profile, you don’t know when the review comes in, and you leave it unnoticed. As positive reviews build up, more positive reviews come in, and all this leads to more sales for you.
Beyond that, Google My Business recently added a messaging feature. More customer interaction means more engagement and loyalty which, again, means more sales.
How Do I Claim My Business on Google?
So now you’re convinced, but have no idea how to claim your Google My Business listing. Follow this process, and if you run into an issue, don’t hesitate to reach out for help.
Add your business category. If your business shows up after this step, it’s possible that your business has already been added via a third-party. This may require a bit more poking around. If you get stuck, reach out for assistance.
Add your location or indicate that you’re virtual.
Different questions will arise based on your answers. Just fill them out.
Add pictures where you can. When adding your pictures, give them names. Most images are labeled with IMG_123 or something to that effect, which doesn’t help your SEO at all. Label your images with a specific name that lets Google know what you’re about, such as “Best-Dog-Groomer-Charlotte”.
Once you’ve completed and reviewed your details, click “Claim this business.”
It typically takes about 24 hours for your business to show up in the Google listings. You’ll receive an email confirmation that your business listing is active.
Don’t leave your business behind by leaving your profile unattended. Google My Business is a fast and easy way to improve your visibility, engage your audience, and provide a ton of content, and it’s all for free.
Search Console is a free tool from Google designed to help you understand how Google views your website. It provides insights into the health and overall performance of your site on Google.
If you’ve never used Search Console then the description above probably sounds really boring. But don’t worry, it gets more interesting! Search Console is an incredible tool for getting more high quality traffic to your website. And that translates into more sales with less effort.
Google Search Console Tips
In this article we’ll unpack 4 ways you can use Search Console to improve your visibility in Google. And outperform your competitors for high value search terms. And as you already know, the stronger your site performance, the more business flows your way.
1. Page Level Optimization
Search Console can tell you how many organic searches every page on your website received, and how many people clicked through to that page.
This is powerful information! And here’s an easy way to put it to good use.
You know your top pages are already getting lots of love from Google. And when you think about it, it’s a lot easier to boost a page that’s already doing well than it is to boost one that’s way down in the search results. So with just a few minutes of effort you can potentially get your top pages to drive even more traffic to your site.
First, find the keywords that are generating traffic for your high performing page. You can do this by opening the Performance Report and setting the date filter to 3 months.
In the Performance Report select the Pages tab and click on your top performing page.
Next, click the Queries tab. You should see what keywords are driving your results for that page. More often than not, your top 1 or 2 keywords make up the bulk of your search clicks.
Finally, optimize your page around the phrase that is driving the bulk of your results. Since you know what Google thinks your page is a good fit for your keyword, you can slip related phrases into your text. Google can process natural language, so write naturally around your target phrase.
As long as you are careful not to over optimize your content (ie keyword stuff) then you should see significant gains in your search results for your target keyword. Be sure to save a copy of the original text. If you experience a decline in your ranking you can simply revert to your previous copy.
2. Directed Links
Optimizing your best pages around high performing keywords works great. But sometimes your competition is just too strong to beat the easy way. But that doesn’t mean you can’t win.
One of Google’s top ranking signals is backlinks pointing to your website. When someone cites your page as a positive influence on their own work, Google attributes more authority to your content.
Search Console has already given you two key pieces of information. You know exactly what pages are performing well on your website. And you know what keywords are driving the results for that page.
This is gold!
Use this information to build additional backlinks to these high performing pages. Good backlinks can only drive your search results higher. Link building isn’t always easy, but Search Console improves your chances of getting backlinks to the exact pages you want to promote.
In the left side menu select Links. Then in the upper right side of the report click to Export External Links. Now you have a list of companies that are predisposed to support your brand. Send the list to a b2b data company and they’ll prepare a list of names and emails so you can reach out. Thank them for their previous support and see if they’d be open to a guest post or infographic. Since they’ve supported you in the past there’s a good chance they’ll do so again.
When you create your links use variations of your target keyword as the anchor text. This will further reinforce to Google that your page is the best result for that particular query.
3. Optimize Your Paid Campaigns
It’s worth noting that Search Console can be linked to both Google Ads and Analytics to extend the utility of both platforms.
If you are using Google Ads then you are almost certainly using Google’s Keyword Planner to select keywords you want to bid on. But what if there was a better way?
Keyword Planner shows you popular search terms related to your topic. Search Console shows you the ACTUAL phrases people are using to search for your solutions. And that’s SO much better. You can see what phrases potential customers are using. Add those terms to your ‘exact match’ keyword lists. This will reduce your bidding costs, and help you find customers you otherwise would have missed.
4. If It Ain’t Broke… Check Anyway
The easiest way to gain market share from your competitors is to have a website that fully complies with Google’s best practices. After all, the better Google likes what you are doing, the more likely they are to send search traffic your way.
But how do you know what Google actually expects from your website?
Great question! And fortunately it’s one that Google has already answered. In Search Console, on the left side menu you’ll see two important tabs. The first is Experience and the second is Security and Manual Actions.
The Security And Manual Actions tab is exactly what it sounds like. You’ll see if Google has identified any issues that prevent them from sharing your pages in the search results. For example, if they think a link on your page leads to a suspicious page they won’t want to risk searchers having access to that link. And your page or whole site could get blocked.
The Experience tab has three sections – Page Experience, Core Web Vitals, and Mobile Usability.
The Page Experience and Core Web Vitals reports are available to help you improve your website experience for your visitors. The reports summarize how your pages perform in real world visits. For example, are your pages secure or loading quickly. Overall experience is important because if Google believes your website has a poor user experience they’ll deprecate your search ranking. Note that smaller websites don’t have enough visitors to generate enough data for a report to be created. The Mobile Usability tab works for all sites. Google will tell you if there are any issues that need to be fixed for mobile users to have a good experience on your site. This tab is SUPER IMPORTANT because Google has moved to a ‘mobile first’ approach. If your site performs well on small devices then you’ll outperform sites that aren’t as well optimized.
Information Is A Revenue Catalyst
Search Console is valuable because it tells you everything you need to know to improve your search traffic.
You’ll receive insights about what Google thinks about your site. For example, any mobile compatibility issues or security problems. And what pages on your website are indexed, and which are being ignored.
Even better, Search Console provides detailed information about how people are interacting with your site. You can export a list of search terms that are driving visitors to your site. And also see what phrases people are looking for in your niche.
All this information is there to help you make better decisions about your website. The better you apply the lessons Search Console has to offer, the more traffic and subsequent sales you’ll enjoy.
Matthew Murray is the director of Sales Higher, a B2B lead generation firm. Sales Higher grinds through the data so you can focus on landing deals.
Digital.com, a leading independent review website for small business online tools, products, and services, has announced the best SEO (Search Engine Optimization) firms in Charlotte. The top companies were selected based on multiple service lines, size of the firm, industry focus, and customer feedback.
Researchers at Digital.com conducted a 40-hour assessment of over 75 companies across the web. To access the complete list of best SEO firms in Charlotte, please visit https://digital.com/seo-firms/charlotte/.
An appealing website is a great start for establishing an online presence, and the website may even be worth the investment, but the right digital marketing plan can help potential clients find you online.
If you’re going to outsource Digital Marketing (SEO, PPC, Social Media) follow these steps and hire the best company.
1. Know Your Needs Before Choosing an SEO Company
Understanding your needs is the first crucial step. Do you just need SEO or graphic design, social media, and/or paid advertising. Take an audit of your existing online presence, see what’s missing and what you need moving forward. You can’t hire the right company if you don’t know what you need. The right company can make recommendations of course, but in the end it’s up to you. No one knows your business better than you do.
Draft a budget, and be realistic about the services you’ll get. SEO costs can vary so your budget may need to be flexible, but have a good idea on what you want to spend.
2. Use the ‘Two-way Interview’ Approach
In a one-way interview, the potential SEO company will submit a proposal for you to review. It’s hard to learn about a company with this type of approach, and SEO is not a one-size-fits-all approach. The company you’re hiring needs to know specifics about your business as well.
Two-way interviews make the recruitment process more engaging, and help you explore multiple aspects of your marketing operations. Maybe you’ll discover that Google Ads or social media is a better strategy for your type of business. Either way, an in-depth conversations should happen so your money is well spent.
The potential SEO agency should always inquire about your company’s unique selling point (USP). Expect to share the goals of your website, your current means for attracting customers, your CPC, current budget, what’s working, and what’s not. Keeping this information private only makes the agencies job harder. If needed, have them sign an NDA but in my experience I’ve found that the more thorough and open the process is, the faster you can hit the ground running, and start generation positive ROI.
3. Do Your Own Research
As a client you need to be researching SEO companies before hiring them.
At the very least visit the potential agencies website to see if there are clients listed, biographies or addresses listed. The firm shouldn’t be hiding anything from you if it wants to have you as a customer. At the very least you’ll be able to tell what type of business they are i.e a small agency with a few people or a huge organization with a huge sales team. Working with either can have its pros and cons but know what you’re getting into.
4. Verify References
References help determine if a company has an impressive track record, and gives you insights on the types of clients they’ve worked with. Even if you don’t call the references there’s value in asking. Do they push back or are they glad to provide them?
Ask each digital marketing agency for at least three customers you can reach, and ask about the results generated from the SEO and digital marketing efforts.
Use the references to identify the pros & cons of each SEO firm. You’ll learn about quality of work, customer support and many other things you won’t get directly from the agency.
Review sites are a great way to determine an agency’s credibility. Check Google My Business, Yelp and other industry listings for positive & negative reviews. Negative reviews may not be a deal breaker but check and see how the company responded to those reviews. Did they do it in a professional manner?
Check whether the company is listed on BBB. See if the agency’s employees are members of any groups or associations.
The agency should also have a nice website and a solid online presence. Visit the agency’s social media pages to see whether they feature quality content.
6. Request an Audit for Your Site
Any reputable online marketing agency will audit your website and be able to tell you where your short comings are, but it also takes a little homework on your end as well.
If they ask give the agency access to your analytics data and let them know what online resources you’ve used already. Having several candidates perform the audits helps you compare the results and choose the best company for you.
The SEO company should evaluate your website’s rankings in the search engines, and identify what issues may be preventing your website from ranking higher.
Website audits will help determine your businesses relevance on the web. The reports should suggest ways to make your content easier to find, and they should list SEO strategies that suit your budget and needs.
7. Involve Your Team When Making the Final Decision
SEO can help your site draw larger audiences, increase conversion rates and have positive ROI. An SEO company should offer you and your team strategies to make these goals achievable. Depending on what your goals are that will determine who in your company they’ll be working with.
If they’ll be working heavily with the sales team then you’ll want their opinion. Respect their suggestions and use them to guide your final decision.
The Right Digital Marketing
Our company targets businesses like yours looking to use digital marketing services to optimize their online presence. Our digital marketing portfolio includes web design, SEO, PPC and social media marketing.
As an attorney, you’re well aware that the legal market in the digital age is more competitive than ever before.
You’ve created what you thought was a strong website for your Charlotte-based law firm, but your traffic hasn’t increased — and neither has your client volume.
In this post, we’ll tell you why SEO for lawyers is something that your firm can no longer afford to do without.
We’ll also let you know where you can connect with attorney SEO services that will increase your conversions and give you the kind of results your firm deserves.
Poor SEO Will Cost You in the Rankings
One of the biggest reasons why you need to take legal SEO as seriously as your next client’s case, is because it directly affects where your website will land when it comes to the search engine result pages, or SERPs for short. About 75% of online consumers say they never bother to go past the first page of search engine results.
Even if you’ve worked hard to create a website that’s easy to navigate and informative, if it’s not designed with SEO in mind, all of your hard work will be for nothing. Additionally, SEO for law firms is all about outranking your competitors. You want to be certain that your law firm’s website shows up in the SERPs before your biggest competitor’s site does.
But it’s not just about choosing the right keywords and hacking your way to the top of the first page of Google. Remember that a strong SEO strategy is also influenced by your website’s loading speed and design.
It’s obvious that a user won’t bother to spend much time — less than three seconds, to be exact — on a website that’s slow to load. A potential client also won’t think much of a law firm website that’s full of spammy pop-ups, broken links, and aggressive, unprofessional graphics.
You won’t just lose a client — a poorly-designed website also impacts your site’s dwell time. This is the average length of time that a user stays on your site.
Sites with higher dwell times are recognized by Google and other search engines as providing useful, relevant information. So, they rank higher than those that have lower dwell times.
Remember, it’s not just your law firm’s reputation that’s on the line. It’s also about how SEO affects your site’s overall visibility.
The Right SEO Strategy Puts You in Front of Your Target Market
Because the right keywords and link strategies can shorten the time it takes for your target market to find you online, and without a proper legal SEO strategy that target market might not be able to find you online.
There are currently more than 1.5 billion websites on the Internet — and that number is increasing every minute. And while all 1.5 billion of them might not be related to the legal industry, a good portion of them will be.
Keywords, or what people type into search engines to help them find what they’re looking for online, are an essential part of SEO for law firms.
First of all, your keywords should include references to the specific type of legal work that you do. For example, if you specialize in divorce law, you might choose a high-ranking keyword like “divorce attorney” or “hiring a divorce lawyer.”
But something is missing from those keywords — your location. Location-based keywords are the bread and butter of legal SEO. They don’t just help you find people who need your services. They ensure that the people who need your legal services and live within your practice area end up on your website.
Including location-based keywords like “Charlotte NC divorce attorney” or “Divorce attorney Myers Park” will get you exactly the kind of traffic you’re looking for.
SEO Establishes You as an Authority in the Legal Industry
As a legal professional, you’ve spent years earning your degrees, creating your network, and establishing a reputation in the courtroom.
Now, you need to make sure that your SEO strategy is working to effectively translate that reputation and work to the digital world. Superior legal SEO helps you to establish yourself as the go-to legal authority within your niche and service area.
It does this by allowing you to join the digital conversion, whether that conversation is taking place on your blog, your YouTube channel, or even on a third-party site.
Remember that an effective SEO strategy isn’t just about what’s on your website.
It also includes your social media profiles, any guest posts that you write for legal websites and online journals, and even third-party review sites where past clients can discuss their experience with you.
In other words, to get attorney SEO done right, you need seamless integration between all of your different online accounts and presences.
Looking for Professional Guidance on SEO for Lawyers?
We hope that this post has helped you to understand why SEO for lawyers is such an important part of your overall marketing strategy.
Remember that SEO doesn’t just help you to outrank your competitors and show up in front of the right people. It also creates a sense of authority and trust between your firm and your target market.
To get an even better understanding of how not just SEO, but our services can help your law firm to grow, check out our case study.
When you’re ready to put the right kind of legal SEO strategy into place for your firm, reach out to us to chat.
Kristy is an Assistant & Coordinator of Awesome. She has worked extensively in academic administration and brings a varied wealth of knowledge. As a self-starter, she is ready to take on news projects and see them through to completion. Always curious, Kristy is an avid researcher and delights in the challenge of learning new skills.
When Kristy isn’t organizing or researching something, you can find her listening to a true crime podcast, re-watching How I Met Your Mother or The Big Bang Theory and coming up with some crazy shenanigan for her family’s next adventure.
5 INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT KRISTY
Kristy prefers the Harry Potter books over the movies. Her favorite book is The Prisoner of Azkaban and her favorite character is Luna Lovegood. Ravenclaw house. She just started her 8-year-old son on listening to the books.
Kristy has a nail technician license, esthetician license, medical assisting certification, associate degree, and bachelor’s degree. She didn’t get her full cosmetology license because she can barely do her own hair, she shouldn’t be trusted with someone else’s.
She doesn’t know how to gamble but is originally from Las Vegas, Nevada. She moved to Colorado three months before her 21st birthday.
Her high school graduating class consisted of only 20 people.
Kristy loves gift giving. One of her great joys in life is finding the “perfect” gift.