Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Florida Supreme Court Rules on Website Advertising

The Florida Supreme Court has taken the position that lawyers’ websites must comply with all Bar advertising regulations, except the requirement that they be submitted to the Bar for review.

The Florida Bar News reports that lawyer Web sites may not:
  • Make statements that characterize the quality of legal services being offered
  • Provide information regarding past results
  • Include testimonials
Read about Florida's ruling on website advertising.

Read the Court's Revised Opinion of November 19, 2009.

Attorney Bio Page Search Engine Tips

Optimize your lawyer bio page for search engines with these five simple steps.

1. When describing yourself, include a geographic reference to the city, state or region where you practice.

If you work in a large metropolitan area, include local counties or other jurisdictions. A Chicago area attorney, for example, might want to mention the five "collar" counties (Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, etc.), while a New York lawyer should specifiy the relevant boroughs.

2. Use highly ranked Google keywords to describe your practice.

You can identify the best keywords by using the free Google AdWords keyword tool.
Here are a few samples of how you should describe yourself in your lawyer bio page:
- Chicago Zoning Attorney (name here)
- Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer (name here)
- Miami Family Lawyer (name here)
- New York Trademark attorney (name here)

3. Anticipate the use of snyonyms. Of course the most common example is lawyer and attorney; use both in your bio. A person in need of a divorce may look for a "divorce lawyer," or a "family law attorney," while a car accident victim might search for a "accident attorney," or an "injury lawyer."

Spending a few minutes to include the right keyword descriptors in your bio can add up to real dollars by attracting additional qualified prospects to your attorney bio page.

4. Describe the audience you serve. You can help prospects determine if you are the right attorney for them - and eliminate useless inquiries - by stating your ideal client base. If your practice focuses on healthcare professionals and hospitals, say so. If high net worth families are your target audience, describe this in your bio page and on your website. Dont' be afraid to limit your practice.

5. List your speeches and articles, and include links where possible. This serves several purposes. While not exactly an endorsement, your participation with respected legal and industry organizations demonstrates your leadership capabilities. Ideally, you can also generate some in-bound links to your bio page to strengthen your Google page rank. Finally, readers will gain an understanding of where you practice geographically and the depth of your expertise by the topics you address.

IN CLOSING, have you updated your attorney bio page recently? Now is a good time. Take a look back at the year to see if you need to add missing events, or future speaking engagements. A current photo is also recommended.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Put your Attorney Bio Page to the Google Test

Lawyers looking for new clients should check their bio pages to make sure they pass the Google test.

What is the Google test, you might ask?

It's simple. Just search for your own legal services on Google and see what comes up. If you show up on the first search engine results page (SERP), that's great. If not, there's work to be done.

You can get first page Google search engine visibility in one of three ways:

1. Your name can come up in the free search results. If it does, congratulations. You've either worked very hard at this (probably by investing in search engine optimization) or you have a very specialized field. First page placement can be hard to achieve, particularly for personal injury attorneys in large cities where the competition is fierce.

2. Google Maps can display your law firm. This is free and available by listing your site here with Google Maps.

3. Start a Google Adwords online advertising campaign and pay to place a text ad on the first page of the search engine results. This is an auction system, so placement varies with competition and bid price. See http://adwords.google.com.

Tomorrow we'll talk about how to write search engine-optimized content for your bio page.