SEO During a Pandemic Webinar: Your Questions Answered
COVID-19 has affected online behavior. What, how and when legal consumers search has been impacted as well. Our panel of legal SEO professionals answered questions during our live SEO During a Pandemic webinar and discussed how lawyers can take advantage of these changes.

 

Here are additional questions that were asked but that we were unable to answer due to time constraints.

 

QUESTIONS (click for answers)

  1. A few panelists experienced Covid-19 being rejected by Google Adwords. Some have said their ads with Covid-19 have been removed. Any thoughts on this? Another indicated it may be a “sensitive topic” for Google?
  2. Does a Google My Business Post help search engine optimization for organic listings?
  3. Is this a good time for a firm to expand its advertising?
  4. I just started my practice and have a webpage but when I Google my name my firm website doesn’t come up. How can I get my website to show up in a Google search?
  5. Based on your experience, how much impact does loading speed have on SEO?
  6. I am a Marketing Director that constantly encourages our attorneys to write blog posts, Q&A’s and film quick videos – the major push back that I get is that “we don’t want to give away info for free.” How do you combat that question?
  7. Are you seeing a lot of firms developing a specific COVID practice area? For instance helping small businesses with SBA loans and employment issues etc. And related to this – Would there be any benefit to creating a subsite specific to this situation with information similar to the GMB recommendations and then more detailed on services that are relevant to COVID-19?
  8. Can I use names of competitors as keywords in Google Ads?
  9. How do we make ourselves come up first for questions to Alexa or Siri, etc. for the best “family/estates/criminal, etc.” firm/lawyer?
  10. How do you get backlinks?
  11. How do we advertise family law and will drafting without appearing insensitive?
  12. We’ve seen big decrease in organic traffic since mid March… keeping our Facebook and Google Ads going has helped keep traffic coming in. What are you seeing for the trend of loss organic traffic in COVID era? And a related question: “What about terms related to estate planning, power of attorney, wills & trusts?”
  13. Can video content also be considered duplicate if you add it to your to website and to Facebook?
  14. Some SEO service providers charge a lot of money for their work. Is it worth it? Or can we get the same benefit doing it ourselves?
  15. I’m updating my website which already brings me some work organically. What are ways to increase SEO other than blogs? Can you talk about SEO basics?
  16. Does Google still use the Meta Tag for Keywords? Is it still important on every page of my website?
  17. Someone suggested posting blogs 4 times a day. Is there a recommendation for the bare minimum to have a successful blog?
  18. If I’m redesigning my website, what are the things I need to be most careful about to not kill my SEO juice?
  19. My monthly report from my Web Designer indicated a bounce rate of .11. Is this number unreasonably low?
  20. Would you recommend starting a YouTube channel as part of our online presence? We are a family law firm.
  21. How effective are videos in increasing SEO and what’s the perfect length?
  22. Where do we find trending terms on Google? Should we be concerned about Bing search terms?
  23. Can video content also be considered duplicate if you add to website and facebook?
  24. When I Google my firm it comes up as “permanently closed,” which is incorrect. Any suggestions?
  25. Does it help to put links in our blogs?
  26. Would there be any benefit to creating a subsite specific to the pandemic with information similar to the Google My Business (GMB) recommendations and then more detailed on services that are relevant to COVID-19?
  27. Google reviews are now being enabled again but haven’t seen them role out for Attorneys yet, at least in CA. Have you seen this enabled anywhere else yet? Including FAQs?
  28. What’s “schema” content on web page?
  29. Are you suggesting updating a 2010 blog post to make it 2020 (changing a word if no change is needed)?
  30. Are there good websites where we can submit articles which would increase our website SEO, assuming we link to our website?
  31. What is the best way to make videos for a website? Do people use iPhones, video production companies, etc.? (And, where do you recommend posting them to engage traffic? i.e YouTube, website, etc.)
  32. Is there any particular website builder (WordPress, Wix, etc.) that may be better for SEO? Like better for site speed, for example.
  33. How do we get the phones ringing again? The reality is people are not “out and about” and thus there are few new calls right now for PI cases.
ANSWERS

1. A few panelists experienced Covid-19 being rejected by Google Adwords. Some have said their ads with Covid-19 have been removed. Any thoughts on this? Another indicated it may be a “sensitive topic” for Google?

Please find the answer at this blog post: Why Google Is Rejecting Ads That Mention ‘Coronavirus’ or ‘COVID-19’

2. Does a Google My Business Post help search engine optimizaton for organic listings?

Google My Business posts do not directly help search engine optimization efforts. The posts are not indexed. They can however appear as a Post Mention on your GMB listing in the local pack results.

3. Is this a good time for a firm to expand its advertising?

As competitors have decided to reduce or discontinue their ad spending, it has opened up more opportunity for firms to enter the marketplace. This is especially seen in PPC.

4. I just started my practice and have a webpage but when I Google my name my firm website doesn’t come up. How can I get my website to show up in a Google search?

The simplest way to check if pages of your site are indexed is by doing a site:domain.com search in Google. We also recommend using Google Search Console and checking the Coverage section for any issues such as “Crawled – currently not indexed” or “Discovered – currently not indexed.” You can manually request indexing of these pages in Search Console by clicking on the Request Indexing button.

5. Based on your experience, how much impact does loading speed have on SEO?

Starting July 1, 2019 Google moved sites to mobile-first indexing, meaning that Google will predominantly use the mobile version of your site in determining its indexing and the site’s ranking performance. Google will notify site owners through Search Console when their site has been migrated to mobile-first indexing. Slow page load times (especially on mobile devices) do not enhance the user experience, which in turn do not enhance the search results which Google provides to its users. Use tools like Google Pagespeed Insights to test your page speed and check the various recommendations they provide. The better experience you can provide, they better opportunity you have to appear in the search results.

6. I am a Marketing Director that constantly encourages our attorneys to write blog posts, Q&A’s and film quick videos – the major push back that I get is that “we don’t want to give away info for free.” How do you combat that question?

That is a common way of thinking in all industries. but there are a few ways to think about it. You can let them know you need to give people something in order to get something. Most people will reciprocate when you help them with an issue they are having. They will want to return the favor. Case in point, being this is the legal industry, there is only so much a person can do for themselves. Whether the reason is because its time consuming or they just don’t have the legal expertise, they most likely will need a lawyer’s help. By helping them with at least part of their issue they will realize they need an attorney to complete the rest of the work. If you’re the one that just helped them get started solving their problem, who do you think they will hire to perform the rest of the work?

7. Are you seeing a lot of firms developing a specific COVID practice area. For instance helping small businesses with SBA loans and employment issues etc. And related to this – Would there be any benefit to creating a subsite specific to this situation with information similar to the GMB recommendations and then more detailed on services that are relevant to COVID-19?

We see more firms discussing issues (blogging) related to their areas of practice in response to COVID questions rather than expanding or creating new subsites about COVID areas of practice unrelated to their existing areas of practice.

8. Can I use names of competitors as keywords in Google Ads?

Yes you can use as keywords. The only restriction is you cannot use the competitor’s name in your ad copy.

9. How do we make ourselves come up first for questions to Alexa or Siri, etc. for the best “family/estates/criminal, etc.” firm/lawyer?

Ranking for the best attorney phrase would be extremely difficult. It would require strong SEO, domain authority and content on your website. You would be better served if you target long tail phrases potential clients use when searching for answers such as, “How can a family lawyer help me?” Creating and optimizing your website for topics such as these will convert better in the long run.

10. How do you get backlinks?

You can get backlinks by actively creating them from local profiles, creating social media profiles and posts or by creating content that people want to link to.

11. How do we advertise family law and will drafting without appearing insensitive?

During this pandemic people have numerous questions regarding family law (e.g. child custody, child support/alimony payments for those who have lost income). It is best to answer these questions and how you can assist.

12. We’ve seen big decrease in organic traffic since mid March… keeping our Facebook and Google Ads going has helped keep traffic coming in. What are you seeing for the trend of loss organic traffic in COVID era? And a related question: “What about terms related to estate planning, power of attorney, wills & trusts?”

It really all depends on your areas of practice. Personal Injury and Criminal Defense saw sharp declines in organic traffic, whereas Unemployment, Child Custody, Estate Planning, Immigration, Divorce, Social Security & Disability saw increases. REF: SEO during a pandemic: A Live Q&A

13. Can video content also be considered duplicate if you add it to your to website and to Facebook?

Videos posted on multiple websites are not considered duplicate content.

14. Some SEO service providers charge a lot of money for their work. Is it worth it? Or can we get the same benefit doing it ourselves?

For more information on our SEO services to see if it is the right fit, check out: Search Engine Optimization services

15. I’m updating my website which already brings me some work organically. What are ways to increase SEO other than blogs? Can you talk about SEO basics?

SEO basics would include onsite elements such as optimizing your existing content’s H1’s, H2’s, and meta tags. Make sure you select the right keywords for the relevant pages and work them into the content.

16. Does Google still use the Meta Tag for Keywords? Is it still important on every page of my website?

Google has not been using the keywords in meta tag for web ranking since September 2009.

17. Someone suggested posting blogs 4 times a day. Is there a recomendation for the bare minimum to have a successful blog?

There are really no hard and fast rules for blog frequency. For a law blog a minimum of once a month is good, but if you are really trying to increase engagement with readers I would suggest once a week or even once per day. Consistency is the key. Your readers will come back if they know you are posting something new every day or week.

18. If I’m redesigning my website, what are the things I need to be most careful about to not kill my SEO juice?

Checking that your website’s URLs don’t change, all your current content is transferred including title tags, indexation status, and make sure your new website is programmed properly so that it will not hurt your site speed.

19. My monthly report from my Web Designer indicated a bounce rate of .11. Is this number unreasonably low?

Yes, that is extremely low. There are a number of things that could be causing an issue from, duplicate code and events firing, to use of iframes on your website. The easiest issue to diagnosis would be to make sure you do not have duplicate analytics codes on the web site and reinstall the Google Analytics code to make sure its not broken.

20. Would you recommend starting a YouTube channel as part of our online pressence? We are a family law firm.

Yes. YouTube is essentially its own search engine and users perform a ton of searches for content daily. While Youtube is very competitive right now, it’s one of those websites any active law firm needs to have an account on. Not only for your videos to be seen, but it’s also a great place to host your videos so that you can add them to your own website.

21. How effective are videos in increasing SEO and what’s the perfect length?

Videos indirectly help your SEO efforts in a number of ways. First, engaging videos can increase a user’s time on site, which is a factor in ranking. Secondly, they provide content for your website, and if you add a transcription of your video, you add yet another piece of website content. Lastly videos can help make emotional connections with users thereby helping to convert users. While there is no “perfect” length, because of attention spans – 3-4 mins should be adequate. I recommend long enough to answer a question or get your point across.

22. Where do we find trending terms on Google? Should we be concerned about Bing search terms?

First you should check Google Trends if the topic/keyword you are looking for has shown a rise/fall in search traffic. Plus Google has the auto-complete in the search bar that gives other keywords. You should also review the “Searches related to” that appear on the bottom of the search results page for additional keyword ideas. You can use the Bing Keyword Research tool for keyword ideas on Bing (requires an account to sign in).

23. Can video content also be considered duplicate if you add to website and facebook?

Videos posted on multiple websites are technically not considered duplicate content. Google uses their algorithm to determine which page (whether in this example that be your site or Facebook) in determining which video to show in the search results. This is to make sure that Google does not show your video multiple times (once from your site, once from Facebook) in the search results.

24. When I Google my firm it comes up as “permanently closed,” which is incorrect. Any suggestions?

In priority order: 1) If you are the owner of the Google My Business (GMB) listing you should see in your locations listing a link “Reopen location” next to your closed listing. Click the link and follow the prompts to reopen your location. 2) If your Google My Business (GMB) listing is not claimed, we highly recommend you claim it. Please be advised that the verification process can take longer than usual due to reductions in Google staff. The quickest way is if there is a phone option to verify, otherwise you will need to verify by a postcard mailed to your location. 3) If you do not have access to the GMB listing (e.g. the listing is claimed but you do not know by whom), you should request ownership of the listing. Please refer to: Request ownership of a Business Profile on the process. 4) Search for your listing in Maps and then click on Suggest an edit. From there click Remove this place (I know, counterintuitive), and then click Reopen in the Reopen this place pop-up box. Please be advised that this request is “crowd-sourced” and will be reviewed by Google local guides and may or may not be published, therefore this is the lowest in priority in rectifying your issue.

25. Does it help to put links in our blogs?

You only want to add a link to another resource when the page that you are linking to provides additional content and value to the end user.

26. Would there be any benefit to creating a subsite specific to the pandemic with information similar to the Google My Business (GMB) recommendations and then more detailed on services that are relevant to COVID-19?

You should always add a page with frequently asked questions you get from clients in regards to your firm. How are you supporting new and existing clients, how can they contact you, what methods of communication you use, updates on the courts and their cases, etc.

27. Google reviews are now being enabled again but haven’t seen them role out for Attorneys yet, at least in CA. Have you seen this enabled anywhere else yet? Including FAQs?

Google turned off the ability to get new reviews on March 20, 2020. On April 9, 2020 Google turned on the ability to get new reviews, but this is not fully rolled out for all businesses. As of April 30, 2020 we have yet to see new reviews show for our legal clients.

28. What’s “schema” content on web page?

Schema is a markup language that helps search engines understand what your website content is about.

29. Are you suggesting updating a 2010 blog post to make it 2020 (changing a word if no change is needed)?

I would suggest updating any outdated information such as stats from 2010 or if terminology has changed over the years. If you do keyword research, you can update your blog titles or onpage elements.

30. Are there good websites where we can submit articles which would increase our website SEO, assuming we link to our website?

Take advantage of social media channels like Linkedin and Facebook. Each allows you to create quick posts, but Linkedin also allows you to create an article, which essentially makes it a blogging platform. Staying in the legal vertical, websites like Lawyers.com, Lexblog and Rocket Lawyers allow you write blog posts.

31. What is the best way to make videos for a website? Do people use iPhones, video production companies, etc.? (And, where do you recommend posting them to engage traffic? i.e YouTube, website, etc.)

The equipment you use depends on your budget. If you have the budget, invest in a quality camera, if not, iPhones are capable of shooting very good quality videos. With everyone at home now video engagement is through the roof. Upload your videos to YouTube, Facebook, Linkedin, etc. All of these platforms have engaged users ready to interact with your content.

32. Is there any particular website builder (WordPress, Wix, etc.) that may be better for SEO? Like better for site speed, for example.

I recommend WordPress because of its features, scalability, speed, its SEO friendliness and best of all it’s free.

33. What can a solo personal injury lawyer do to get exposure online during COVID 19? How do we get the phones ringing again? The reality is people are not “out and about” and thus there are few new calls right now for PI cases.

Without knowing what you have done already, make sure to update your onsite SEO and claim your business listings if you have not. While calls may be slow at the moment preparing for the future is important. People start researching their problems by searching online for answers. Creating content about topics potential clients are having, and answering the what, why, how questions they have is important. If you see something that happens in the news that would help your potential clients, you can write about it and add your spin to it. Help them understand their problem and take action.