Episode 161 – Google: You Can’t Beat Them, So Join & Align Your Law Firm With ‘Em – Here’s How

Episode 161 – Google: You Can’t Beat Them, So Join & Align Your Law Firm With ‘Em – Here’s How
Google’s goal is to provide a great ‘user experience’ with all its products: YouTube,
Google Search, AdWords, Gmail, Calendar, Maps, and more. The sooner you understand
what Google wants to see from your law firm’s website, online marketing, and SEO, the
more exposure Google will give you and the more clients you’ll attract.


Today, I’m going to talk about what Google wants and why we should care about it. First of all, I’m not a Google employee, I don’t profess to secretly know what Google really wants. I just know what they state publicly and I align our company and the work it does for attorneys with what Google publicly says it wants and I’ve never run into a problem. The two seem to be working, the methodology seems to be working. So, what does Google want and why should you care? First of all, you should care because Google is responsible for about 80% of all search queries. Yahoo, Bing, Ask, all these other search engines combined make up rest of the 20% of search queries. Some say, even less. Google is by far, the most dominant one because they do a really great job of providing search results.

Not only that, in case you didn’t know, Google owns Youtube. Youtube is the world’s second biggest search engine now and is searched billions of times a month, actually billions of times a day. People search videos for all kinds of “How to” situations. How to get out of a DUI? How to file for divorce? How to write up a will that’s unbreakable? Those kinds of things. People search Youtube quite a bit for legal information. Between these two, Google, like I said is the dominant force on the Internet and as everyone has now come to see, people have smartphones in their hands wherever they go. They are playing Pokemon Go and walking off cliffs to their death, walking into traffic. There’s even a term for them called smombies; smartphone zombies. Everyone is on the internet. A lot of marketing has shifted to the internet. Not all of it but a lot.

These are the reasons that you should be paying attention as if you were Zoe Greenspan or Baracki the Fed to Google this persona as staying online. With all that being, what does Google want? What does it publicly say? Before I can even answer that, I am going to give you a unique insight. What Google says it wants supports what it really wants. What it really wants is to provide a good user experience to it’s users. That’s what it calls people that use it’s search, that watch Youtube, that use Gmail and all that stuff. This is Google’s main theme. They want to have a good user experience. They want more business, they want people to say, “Man, their search engine is the best. Gmail is awesome. It filters spam. Youtube, I love it. I can watch anything I want, anytime I want.” That’s what they want. They want people to be in love with their products. They want what they call a good user experience.

Everything they do is geared towards that because that’s how they make their 6$0 billion a year plus. So when you think about your website, your law firm, your online presence and all that you do, do you want to go against Google and create a bad user experience for people by trying to get in their system or you want to go with Google and help Google do it’s job? Because guess what? If you scratch that gigantic back of Google with your little finger or your website then you get them to scratch your back with their gigantic powerful brush, giving you many people coming into your website and calls and business. That’s how it goes. That’s the game. How do you help Google provide a good user experience? Let me give you some examples. Do not have duplicate articles on your website or another websites.

Duplicate means over 50% or 60% of the article is the same. Thesis plagiarized, copied word for word, that kind of thing. You don’t want that on more than one location on the web because that hurts the user experience. It creates clutter, people can see the same stuff in different spots. They don’t want that when they are doing a search, they want unique information. Number 2 is the information you put, don’t stuff it with keywords. Don’t say San Diego Divorce Lawyer, Divorce Lawyer San Diego, If you are facing divorce in San Diego, you need a San Diego Divorce Lawyer for your San Diego Divorce case. Divorce, divorce… Don’t do that in your articles. Use natural speech, natural text and answer questions people have, legal questions. That kind of thing. That’s good content.

That is useful to people searching. You as a Google user yourself undoubtedly, you don’t want to do a search and have the five top websites come up with garbage, do you? No. You don’t want to have unreadable text that makes no sense to you and frustrates you, making you search again. No, you don’t want that. You want that medium sized pair of purple polka dot socks to come up immediately if that’s what you are searching for. You want an attorney that handles high net worth divorce, long term marriage with kids, all that to come up immediately if that’s what you are searching for. You don’t want garbage in your way. Help Google, help yourself and answer many, many legal questions on your site with lots of great articles that speak in layman’s terms. Don’t obfuscate and try to tell people that just come into the office and we’ll let you know.

Sure, make your disclaimer say, “Every case is different. This is not legal advice. This does not create an attorney client relationship.” No problem. Say all that. It’s fine. It keeps you compliant but give people information that they can use. The funny thing is what Google wants and what you should do and what clients actually like, Thank God, happen to be the same thing. If you provide really good useful information on your site and it’s not duplicate, people will tend to look at that, read it or at least skim it, watch a video on it and then call you because you have given them an answer to their question and now they have confidence in the answerer of that question meaning you and your firm. They are more likely to call you. I’ve seen this phenomena many times. The more you tell, the more you sell, remember that old adage. It is true in Law too.

When I compare clients that I work with that say, “Just come into the office, I can’t say any more until you come in”, they tend to retain far less, they tend to get a lot more no shows and lose out to competition and have price problems. The guys and gals that spend twenty or thirty minutes on the phone and telling prospects everything they need to know, giving them a layout of what might happen with their case, the possible defenses, etc. The people that do that, they tend to retain far more often, have very little price problems and they tell me, “My website is really doing great and getting me a lot of business.” This is the division. Which side do you want to be on? This is what you want to do. Have a lot of content, have it be useful, easy to read and answer as many legal questions as possible.

Here is another tip on how to make that a better process. What kinds of legal questions should you answer besides everything because that could be a lot. There are certainly ways to look online and find the top searched terms in your practice area and the top questions you get asked. Think about the top questions that you get asked week in, week out, month in, month out by prospects. If five people a week are asking you about something, chances are 500 people have that problem but just haven’t connected with you and are searching the web for answers to that problem. That’s what you should start with and put on your website. That’s the most frequently asked questions. A couple of reasons for that. First of all, so you can save your breath a little bit by not having to answer this stuff 10,000 times over.

Secondly, you are appealing to the largest number of people that have these valid legal questions. That’s what I would do. Here’s a couple more things that you can do to help position yourself and align yourself with Google’s interests. Mobile search. I’ve seen it firsthand. Last year, our mobile search got up to 30% or 40% of all search. This year and we are getting close to the end of it, actually, but mobile has risen to about 60% of all visitors. So now, mobile beats out laptop and mobile includes tablet but mostly IPhone and android type devices. There is a new shift in thinking and Google has been re-aligning itself to be more mobile friendly if you’ve noticed. Now if you look in a Google search you will see ads at the top of a listing and there is nothing on the “right side” because they are seeing that most people search mobile, so there needs to be no right side.

Phones tend to have a very vertical narrow format, so Google has changed it’s search results to model after that. If Google does it, you should do it too. Last year, it was April 21st to 27th, Google publicly said your website has to be mobile friendly otherwise you are going to get penalized and not rank as well. When you look at your website and you look at how people will interact with it, look at it first on a smartphone and then look at it on a laptop because it forces you in that small space to make difficult choices about what’s above what, what is the flow, what is the first thing people see, what shows up on the screen, what’s off the screen. Do that first and then look at laptop because then otherwise you will be creating your site and designing it in such a way that the user experience and user is more mobile now, will not enjoy it.

They may find it hard to read, you may have grey text on a light grey background, or on a white background, hard to read. You want black text on a white background. If any of your clients are over 40 years old, as you know, your vision suffers a bit especially at 50, 60, and 70. Nothing wrong with that but picture yourself or people you love looking over the top of their glasses at their phones, it’s hard to see because things are so small nowadays. Make sure your website is easy to read and if you are older, that’s actually a bonus because if you can’t read it, your clients are not going to be able to read it. If you have to squint and it’s a hard thing for you to read something on your site, guess what? The best clients that have money tend to be older or they have the same problem and leave your website to go to another one. All this is baked into user experience.

Think about it, work on it with your SEO or web people and make sure that the site looks appealing especially to older eyes that need bigger pictures and clear text. A couple of more things before we beat this to death. Let’s say that someone searches your site and they decide they want to call you or email you. First of all, you know, a call from a prospect is infinitely better than an email with a prospect. A lot of emails are ghosts, they never respond. So you want more calls. The whole point of your website should be to get people to call your number. You want your number to appear at the top of the screen on every single page of your website. If someone has to go look for it, they are lazy, they are not going to. People are so distracted in today’s world with smartphones and Twitter notifications and Facebook and all that stuff, you can lose their attention in half a second. It’s very easy to do.

I’m sure you find yourself fragmented and pulled in a hundred different directions, your customers do too. The more distraction you have, the more of a problem it is. I’ll get into this in a second. As for contacting you, make it easy. Have that phone number appear at the top of the screen and have it stuck there. So no matter where they are on your website. Whether they are at their laptop or on mobile or IPad, whatever it is, your phone number is there. So any time they want to they can see, there’s the number, touch it and call. A couple of things on that. Do not use vanity numbers. 1-800-Call-Bob or 1-800-DUI-Yes. Don’t use those because they don’t work on smartphones. You touch them and they are not going to load up in their dial pads where they can be called.

In the old days, the payphones, remember, the 2 button was ABC, the 3 button was DEF, the 4 button was GHI, now on phones, people don’t know, they don’t care, and they don’t use their mental capacity to translate letters into numbers. Do not have vanity numbers. They will just hurt you. Just have a regular phone number and make sure that when someone touches it, it loads up into the dial screen because if it doesn’t and I have to remember the snippets of a phone number and go to my dial screen and come back on your site and go to my dial screen, guess what? It’s a waste, it’s annoying, it’s frustrating. I might as well just leave and go to another site. You’ll be shocked at how easy it is for someone to give up especially nowadays and just go somewhere else. You have the barest sliver of someone’s attention and that can evaporate in two seconds. I’m mixing metaphors here.

The last thing that we are going to talk about before this gets into a whole one hour lecture is the terms of usability on your site. So I can call you, that’s great, it’s wonderful, your site has nice and clear text and you can navigate it, great. Now, let’s talk about navigation. If I land on the wrong page of your site or a page that doesn’t tell me what I want to know, how easy is it for me to look, click a menu button or see related articles to what I’m looking at and click on those. Or is your navigation in such a way that I’m on an article but I’m trapped there and I have nowhere to go. As I’m researching a particularly legal topic and I’m looking at answers to questions, I’m going to have ancillary questions and questions related to them. Let’s say I am facing a DUI. I may have had a problem with the breath test, so I am looking at that. I’m also looking at driver’s license suspensions, I have a question about that.

Then I look at Jail, I might have questions about that. If I can’t navigate to those other articles or I’m stuck in a dead end of your site, guess what? I’m going to leave and go back to the web and search again somewhere else. Don’t let people do that. Make sure that they can navigate easily and move around and not get stuck in any corners and there are related articles based on what they see so they can pick up on those. This is plenty to have covered. I am actually going to do another one in this series. I’m going to talk specifically about link building because this is such a hotly contested topic and it definitely plays into usability and user experience but for now, that’s it. Hopefully, these tips have helped you to align yourself with almighty Google and to prosper from it instead of fighting it.

This is Richard Jacobs with Speakeasy Authority Marketing. If you need help with your marketing, email me Richard.Jacobs@speakeasymarketinginc.com or call (888) 225-8594. It would help if you would subscribe to this podcast on ITunes and to write a review. It would help us get the message out to more attorneys like you. Thank You.


Richard Jacobs

About Richard Jacobs

My name is Richard Jacobs, and I've discovered quite a bit about the plight of solo practitioners and small, 2-5 attorney firms like yours these past 12 years.

I've come to understand the unique challenges in marketing ethically and effectively that attorneys face because I have:

  • Helped over 180 attorneys author their own practice area book and become the 'implied expert' in their practice area
  • Helped hundreds of attorneys successfully navigate Google's search algorithm changes, growing their websites from 2 potential clients calling a month to 4+ calls per DAY for some clients.
  • Interviewed and promoted over 507 attorneys nationwide, in practice areas such as:
  • DUI / DWI
  • Family Law
  • Criminal Defense
  • Bankruptcy
  • Auto Accidents
  • Social Security Disability
  • Slip & Falls (Premises Liability)
  • Real Estate
  • Estate Planning / Probate
  • Wage and Hour Claims
  • Expungements / Post Conviction Relief

Before you decide to invest in your marketing, it makes sense to first request your complimentary, custom, no obligation video website review.

Richard is the author of 6 books published on Amazon, Kindle and Audible.com

Richard is available for speaking engagements on direct marketing for attorneys and has recently spoken at the following legal conferences:

  • PILMMA (Personal Injury Lawyers Marketing & Management Association)
  • Las Vegas DUI Summit – Private event for DUI attorneys
  • New York Boutique Lawyers Association
  • Perry Marshall & Associates Marketing Academy (Marina Del Rey, CA)
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL)