What are 404 Errors and How to Fix Them?

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Today is the day that you are facing one of the most common and terrifying things on the web: 404 errors. But no worries, you’ve come to the right place. 

Although the 404 error may sound harmless, this type of message is not only annoying but can also impede your SEO efforts or cause problems for your users. Besides impacting the user experience negatively and increasing bounce rates, they could be a huge factor for Google on rankings if your page is not satisfying user’s search intent, hence, your rankings may drop.

1. What Are 404 Errors?

A 404 error is produced when a page not found by your server gets requested.

Let’s say that you go to a restaurant and you are craving a big cheesy burger. First, you ask the waiter for the burger, then, he goes to the kitchen to place the order, but after a few minutes he comes back and tells you that they don’t have burgers at the moment.

Whenever you click a link to see the content of a page or file, you are sending the request to the server (in this case the server is the waiter) to find that page and show it to you (bring your burger). The way a server responds is through an HTTP response status code. When the server responds with a 404 error like “404 Page Not Found” or “Sorry, page not found.”  means that the page could not be located, it doesn’t exist or is broken, and the user sees an empty response instead of expected content. This can happen on search engines too, when a webpage has been removed from their index, so it no longer appears in search results.

I bet you would leave the restaurant and go to another one since they don’t have the dish you want. The same happens on the internet when your URL doesn’t meet users’ expectations from the very beginning, users leave your page and go to another one. This, as you might know, harms your SEO efforts and is also bad for Google’s eyes.

 

2. When Does a 404 Error Happen?

A 404 error can occur for various reasons when the server cannot find the requested content. The most common reasons for these errors are:

1. Incorrect or misspelled URLs

This is the most common cause of 404 errors and may be due to various reasons. The most common reason is that the URL of the site was mistyped, or there is a problem with the link. Sometimes these errors can be solved by simply resubmitting the URL or clicking on an alternative link.

2. File or directory not found

Another reason for this error is that a file was removed from your server, moved to another location, or broken into multiple pieces, so it cannot be found anymore. This could happen for various reasons, like when your host deletes it, when you change domains or if you move content around yourself.

The types of files that can result in a 404 include:

  • Images
  • Videos
  • Audios
  • Files
  • Directories
  • Web pages

3. File permission issues

The problem with file permissions may occur in different ways, such as when a user tries to edit something, and the folder permissions are changed, so he can’t access it anymore. This error usually occurs after a reboot and is usually resolved by simply rebooting.

4. Server errors

This error can be due to many factors like network configuration issues, flooding, and server overload. These problems are often solved by restarting the server, changing your hosting provider, and updating your software packages.

 

3. Why 404 Errors Are Bad

A 404 error can impact your SEO results or user experience if you do not control it. Search engines often penalize this error because users cannot find the content, which is not very user-friendly. Another problem with 404 errors is that if you do not fix them immediately, visitors will see the message repeatedly and get impatient very quickly. If you have a website with a lot of traffic, this can be problematic for your site since visitors may abandon it if they cannot find what they expect to see.

 

4. How To Find 404 Error

Luckily, there are many different ways to find a 404 error, so you would have to read the help pages on your website, but there are also some simple steps that will help you quickly determine if it’s an error or not. The most common ways to find a 404 error are:

1. Google Analytics

Using Google Analytics, first, you have to go to All Pages in the Site Content section under the Behavior menu.

Find 404 error in GA

 

Then, click “Page Title” in the Primary Dimension located right below the graph.

Find 404 errors using GA

 

In that section, click Advanced next to the search bar, and you are going to search on every page title for “Page not found” which usually is the message for pages with a 404 error. Then, click apply.

Find 404 errors using GA

Analytics will show you a report of pages with the error text in their title and their session metrics.

Find 404 errors using GA

 

After clicking the “Page not found” text, you will see a list of all the broken URL’s on your website.

Find 404 errors using GA

 

2. Google Search Console

If you use Google Search Console, you can also find errors here. Go to the Coverage section located in the dashboard on the left, and then you will find a tab called “Excluded” which lists all the errors that are not visible on your page.

Find 404 errors using GSC

 

In the Details section, click “Not Found (404)”.

Find 404 errors using GSC

 

It will open a report of all the affected pages and their URLs at the bottom.

Find 404 errors using GSC

Find 404 errors using GSC

This is an excellent way to find errors not sent to Google by your server or SEO software.

 

3. SEO Software

If you have the budget, you can use the help of SEO audits from tools like ahrefs or semrush. These are particularly useful to find errors, warnings, and undesirable HTTP response status codes like 4XXs on a weekly/monthly basis.

For example, in Ahrefs, the first thing you need to do is login into the platform. Click Site Audit and choose the project you want to audit.

Find 404 errors using ahrefs

 

Then, click on the most recent crawl.

Find 404 errors using ahrefs

 

This is going to show you an overview of your site’s health. In the top issues section, click “404 page” and click the “View affected URLs” button.

finding 404 errors on ahrefs

 

Finally, you are going to see a list of results of all the URLs that responded with a 404 error. The advantage of using SEO Software is the details obtained from the crawls. For example, Ahrefs has a “first found at” column that mentions the URL linking to the one with the error.

Find 404 errors using ahrefs

 

The truth is that dead pages or broken links result in a poor user experience. In the next section, you will find ways to solve these issues.

 

5. How To Fix a 404 Error on Your Site

There are many ways to fix a 404 error, and you will always have to check the error pages of your server or website. However, there are some general problems that you can solve so you can correct a 404 error. These general guidelines will help you in resolving these errors:

1.Redirect the page

This is the most basic solution to a 404 error and will take care of most of these problems. If you realize that your page has been permanently removed, you can redirect anyone who goes to the page to a new one with a 301 redirect. This is usually the easiest method and requires no more effort than that.

2. Restore deleted pages

Sometimes, pages are permanently deleted, and you cannot redirect them, so what you can do is restore them. You can do this manually or automatically by using a script to restore the page when someone tries to access it. These scripts can be automated, so they will constantly monitor the folder where the page is stored, and if it’s deleted, it will restore it automatically.

3. Fix broken links

If you have pages with broken links, they can become 404 errors. This problem can occur when you move or delete a file, and the link to it is still active, but the resource has been removed or moved. If this happens, you should fix the broken links on your site manually so that everyone who accesses your site will not be confronted with a 404 error.

As you could see, you are most likely to find more 404 errors for the rest of your virtual life, the difference is that now you know where are they coming from and how to fix them. These errors may harm your website if you do not resolve them on time since visitors quickly become impatient when they cannot find what they are looking for. These errors should be prevented and resolved as soon as possible.

Here’s why your SEO provider MUST be transparent

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Most negative experiences business owners have with SEO fall into some variation of the two following scenarios:

Scenario A:

Month 1 SEO Service: You pay your bill, no results
Month 2 SEO Service: You pay your bill, no results
Month 3 SEO Service: You pay your bill, no results

Scenario B:

Month 1 SEO Service: You pay your bill, fantastic results!
Month 2 SEO Service: You pay your bill, rankings down, but still further along than you expected!
Month 3 SEO Service: You pay your bill, can’t find your site anywhere on the first 10 pages of Google

Totally unacceptable right? Agreed.

The SEO Company from Scenario A is probably doing solid work but because he has nothing to show you for 90 days of work, there’s no perceived value on your end.

SEO Company from Scenario B is looking for a quick pay day and just want’s to get you short term results, your future reputation with Google be damned.

Though some attorneys might reason that at least you “got something” out of Scenario B, I would argue that odds are you’re probably in much worse shape long term than you are in Scenario A. But that’s not the point of this article. What we’re going to discuss in this article is what led to these scenarios.

The Problem With Most SEO Companies

The problem with both of the above SEO companies is that they are either taking too much of a long term or short term approach and they are secretive about their process. They don’t want to share with you the tasks they’ve completed or the links they’ve built because either they haven’t done what they should or they’re scared. Scared of you picking their work apart, scared of you firing them and doing it yourself or worse, giving their super secret formula for success to a competitor.

Because of this most SEO providers operate with zero transparency which is why when I meet with a potential client who has an SEO company they usually say something along the lines of  “I don’t know what my SEO company is doing but the results are bad/good/just ok”.

And that’s where a lack of transparency is a very bad thing.

I’ll be first to tell you that no one can guarantee SEO results, particularly in competitive areas. But what your SEO company should be able to provide you at any time whether you’re dominating your search market or have zero online visibility is some form of deliverable outside of “results” that shows that your investment in SEO (aka your company’s future) is going toward important work. I’m not talking about keyword ranking reports or even web traffic analytics. I am talking about things that show me you’re actually putting in the hard necessary work to help my business in the short and long term. Some examples of what I would call deliverables your SEO should be providing are:

  • Links that have been built
  • Links that have been attempted attempted but not successful
  • Content created
  • Sites you’ve marketed this content to
  • Written analysis of your web site’s performance
  • Milestones to measure success along the path to internet dominance

These are just a few SEO tasks but what I can tell you with near certainty is that if you do these basic things month in and month out, you will eventually rank in most competitive Local SEO niches. And that is why it’s so important that you know, that along with kw rankings and organic traffic increases, if you’re SEO company is doing these things. To borrow a football analogy (I’m known for those btw), this is the blocking and tackling of SEO. It’s tedious, it’s time consuming. Nobody wants to do it. Everyone wants to score touchdowns (rankings) or get interceptions (conversions) but without blocking and tackling you have no chance of winning the game. None.

How Elite is Transparent

We have two applications that allow us to track almost every single thing we do for our clients; TeamWork and RavenTools.

TeamWork is a project management app that shows all the scheduled tasks for every client we have. Outside of one off tasks here or there, everything we do for our clients on a monthly basis is documented in TeamWork and they have access to it with their own login.

RavenTools, on the other hand is the best application I have worked with (and I’ve worked with them all) for tracking link building efforts. So if a client want’s to know what links have been built, we simply run a report in Raven Tools (which creates a tidy little responsive HTML report) and there they have it.

What this level of transparency creates is trust in us from our clients who see us working hard for their business. On months when organic rankings/traffic/conversions are not where we want them to be or where our clients expects them to be, it helps us immensely to justify their investment in our service. Don’t get me wrong, nobody is more disappointed when a campaign isn’t performing but the benefit here is that because we aren’t beholden to JUST rankings, we don’t have to (and won’t) take short cuts to them, which means we don’t take unnecessary risks of getting our clients penalized.

On top of that that our process has proven itself over and over again across a wide array of competitive markets  and ultimately what we are asking our clients to believe in. Our process and our ability to execute that process on their behalf.

Is your legal SEO company cheating on you?

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One thing we learned very early on in our business, is that for clients in large cities who are in a competitive legal area of practice (and let’s face it, there are very few that aren’t competitive), it’s very difficult to get 1st page rankings. You need to do everything correctly from building the correct link profile, to the proper on page optimization and a steady flow of high quality content and even then there’s no guarantee of a desired result.

And there’s nothing more frustrating for us or our clients when results are elusive, particularly when a campaign is just getting started.

Because of this, we made the decision when we started our business to never work with competing attorneys.

You see, when we did our personal injury lawyer analysis across the top US markets (which we have written about quite a few times), one thing that became evident was despite the fact that all the “big” legal seo companies worked with multiple clients in almost every city in the 19 markets we observed, not a single SEO provider had 2 clients in the top 10. Let that sink in. NOT A SINGLE MARKETING COMPANY COULD GET 2 DIFFERENT CLIENTS 1ST PAGE GOOGLE RESULTS IN THE SAME CITY.

Why does that matter?

Because if you’re say, the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th or even 6th worst performing Personal Injury client for Findlaw in Los Angeles, you have next to no shot of being on page 1 for your biggest term if you’re solely relying on Findlaw to get you there. Which means your ability to get cases is going to be severely handicapped by your choice of SEO vendors.

Does this mean it’s impossible for Findlaw, Scorpion or Justia to get two clients to page 1 of Google for “Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer” or any other competitive term? No, it’s certainly not impossible. But after scouring over 800 personal injury web sites in 19 cities, we can confidently say it’s HIGHLY unlikely.

But what if you’re working with one of those guys and you’re currently getting fantastic results you ask? Being completely honest, I probably wouldn’t make a change. I’m a big believer that if any partner/vendor is getting me good results, I don’t tinker. I would leave well enough alone until I had a reason to be concerned.

If you’re one of the unlucky attorneys who’s stuck in an SEO quagmire of sorts with one of those guys and they also happen to working a competitor who’s ahead of you, I would jump ship immediately.

You see when one of our clients campaigns is struggling, we will do a lot of things beyond our typical process to accelerate results. Things like spend more time building links or doing link outreach, writing more content, marketing content more aggressively. All of these items require a tremendous amount of time, emotional energy and focus and the result is we usually gain a competitive advantage (most of the time through a link) for our clients in this process. But that competitive advantage is wiped out if we share that link among two clients in the same area. For us not only is that unacceptable, but that’s also unethical.

Put simply, there’s no way we (or any legal SEO firm) can possibly deliver A++ service to competing attorneys.

While our competition doesn’t agree with this sentiment, it’s one of the few policies we have that’s non negotiable.

SEO Isn’t Just About Results Anymore

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A friend and client of mine, Dustin, forwarded an email he got the other day with the note: Hey I think I’m going to fire you and hire these guys!!:

Dear Sir/Madam,

 I would very much like to help your web page achieve first page rankings. Our is happy to produce #1 results for your highest most desirable keyword guaranteed! For $199 we will produce:

20 article submissions
200 backlinks crea…

Thankfully, for my client and for most people these emails are a punch line along the same lines of the Nigerian prince seeking your help with his fortune. The impact however, that a such cookie cutter approach to SEO has had on Google’s search results is not so funny. In just about every competitive local search you are sure to find businesses achieving 1st page rankings despite using firms like the one to build their links. How do I know? Consider for example a competitor for one of our clients who’s an attorney (we will not mention by name). When we look at his back link profile in Moz.com’s Open Site Explorer, here’s what we see:

Open this image and what you will see is essentially the end result of using an SEO company that takes a cookie cutter approach to link building. This lawyer’s link profile is a collection of links that are not relevant or ‘earned’ in any way. There are no quality links. Quality links are what Google is looking for to establish how credible your web site is, and subsequently how high to rank you for your key words.

But here’s the crazy part in this story: this lawyer, who’s SEO company was using these shoddy tactics, was outranking my client! What a joke right? I had to have multiple conversations with my client to reassure him we were on the right path and tell him that were no short cuts we could take to achieve faster results. Of course every time I said this, I had this competitor, who’s presence on the first page for literally every result completely undermined my professional opinion.

So a couple of months went by and we continued with our local seo strategy for our client and then out of the blue I get this email from my client:

[competing law firm] got nailed by Google this week according to our competitor report.  Looks like what they were doing caught up to them.  Good call!

Now, I try to not take pleasure when something bad happens but quite frankly, it was encouraging to see row after row of this in the column for our competitor’s key word rankings on Google:

This is what your keyword report looks like when you’ve been penalized by Google.

More importantly it was nice to see Google actually penalize the tactics that they have been warning SEOs about for some time now.

Now this lawyer (all of this he is probably ignorant about), faces the uphill battle of trying to get his site out from Google’s dog house after enjoying months, possibly years in the warm sunny 1st page rankings.

So what’s the key takeaway here?

Because of how Google is cracking down on web spam, scalable SEO tactics and the web sites that employ them, even getting first page rankings (like our competitor in this example) is no longer the holy grail of for small businesses.

Rather, the end goal is prolonged success online and the only way that can be achieved with is with a solid strategy consisting of quality, relevant links and content that actually appeals to human beings. That’s the only way to ensure long term success online. Especially in competitive industries like the legal field.

Attorney SEO: Are You Making These 5 Common Mistakes?

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Are you an attorney? Do you work for a law firm in some other capacity?

If you answered yes to either question, you may be fully or partially responsible for creating and carrying out a comprehensive marketing strategy.

Law firm marketing encompasses a variety of tasks and responsibilities. For example, there is no replacement for a high quality, high converting website. Along with this, most law firms are dedicating resources to social media and content marketing.

At some point – sooner rather than later – you need to turn your attention to search engine optimization (SEO). As scary as this sounds, the right approach will put you on track to generating more organic search engine traffic than ever before.

Before we go any further, let’s take a look at a basic definition of SEO (as shared by Search Engine Land):

“SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” It is the process of getting traffic from the “free,” “organic,” “editorial” or “natural” search results on search engines.”

While the definition is easy to understand, the act of pushing your website to the top of the search engines is easier said than done.

Are Mistakes Holding You Back?

You can have the best looking website in the legal industry. You can spend thousands of dollars on marketing related tasks every month. Even then, it only takes one SEO mistake to hold you back from reaching your goals.

Here are five of the most common SEO mistakes made by attorneys (and other legal professionals):

Spammy Link Building

Do you remember the days when every link was a good link? It didn’t matter where it came from, as long as it was pointing back to your site.

Those days are long gone, with search engines, such as Google, placing importance on the quality and relevancy of each link.

Quantity over quality no longer works. Instead, it’s better to have one high quality link than 100 spammy links.

Let’s put it this way: if you have too many low quality links pointing to your site, it will have a negative impact on your search engine rankings.

Not Optimizing for the Right Keywords

Attorney SEO is all about optimizing your website for the right keywords.

For example, a lawyer in Chicago will want to optimize his or her website for primary keywords such as:

  • Chicago attorney
  • Chicago lawyer

However, it’s just as important to focus on more specific keywords. An example of this would be:

  • Chicago personal injury attorney
  • Chicago, Illinois bankruptcy lawyer

Not only is it easier to rank for long tail keywords, due to less competition, but these are more likely to attract an audience that is most interested in your services.

Low Quality Content

Go back in time 10 years and high quality content wasn’t something that most attorneys (among others) were spending money on. Instead, they realized that any content, regardless of the quality, would work in their favor (especially if it was packed full of the right keywords).

In today’s world, low quality content does nothing for a website. Not only will it harm your search engine rankings, but it doesn’t give visitors the confidence they need to contact your law firm.

If you don’t have the time or skill to create high quality content, hire a professional writer to manage this task on your behalf. You’ll pay more upfront, but the end result will be more traffic and conversions.

Ignoring On Page SEO

Many attorneys make the mistake of devoting all their resources to off page SEO, such as building links from high quality, relevant websites. While it’s important to keep a beat on this, don’t do so to the point of overlooking the importance of on page SEO.

Even you do nothing else in regards to on page SEO, you should always remember these tips:

  • Every page of your website should have a unique title.
  • Every page of your website should have a unique meta description.
  • Every page of your website should have unique, high quality content.
  • Keyword stuffing is a thing of the past.

It goes without saying that there is more to on page SEO than these basic tips. That being said, this is a good place to start.

Ignoring Key Metrics

How are you tracking search engine traffic?

If you don’t have a program in place for doing so, such as Google Analytics, you’re missing out on a boatload of data.

With the help of Google Analytics, you can answer questions such as:

  • What are your top traffic sources?
  • What are your top pages?
  • How many people are visiting your website?
  • What are people doing when they visit your website?

And that is just the start. Even if you don’t understand every piece of data, it’s good to have a tool in place for tracking traffic.

Conclusion

As an attorney, there’s no denying that you have many tasks on your plate. Even so, if you want to grow your practice in the future, it’s imperative to focus on search engine optimization.

The right SEO strategy will help your website generate more search engine traffic. As a result, you’re in better position to convert these people into paying clients.

Many of your competitors are making a variety of SEO mistakes, such as those detailed above. By avoiding these same mistakes in the future, you’ll put your website in position to receive more search engine traffic – and that’s exactly what you want!

How Your Law Firm’s Website Design Affects SEO

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Your website design has a directly impact on search results. If you’re familiar with the term “SEO,” then you’re probably also familiar with the term “keyword.” Keywords are major components of SEO for lawyers, but they are not the only ones.

If your law firm website design is poor, keywords might not help you rank higher on relevant Google searches at all. User experience and website design are more important to Google now than ever before. Their focus has shifted from catchy phrases to valuable and usable websites.

But how exactly does an attorney website design affect SEO? We’ll let you know below.

User Experience is Key

You might think even if your website is objectively bad, getting click-throughs will help your search engine ranking regardless. In fact, user experience can have a huge impact on your SEO.

But, this isn’t exactly the case. Google keeps track of something called “bounce rate” that can negatively affect your ranking on Google searches. Bounce rate essentially means that users clicked on your website, but then immediately clicked the back button upon seeing it.

As you might guess, websites with high bounce rates (i.e. ones where searchers routinely press the back button upon encountering the site) are rated low by Google. This certainly incentivizes you to create a lawyer website design that immediately appeals to potential clients.

Additionally, Google records how long someone stays on your website to influence their page rankings. The longer someone stays on your website, the better it is for your SEO. In order to ensure that people stick around for a while and avoid hitting the back button, your website needs to:

  • Be navigable
  • Have good content
  • Look professional
  • Provide value
  • Offer good info (but not too much)
  • Avoid broken pages

It’s also important to sort of guide your visitors to the pages and information you want them to see. Obviously, the first page they encounter (often the homepage) should immediately draw their attention.

But any subsequent pages should be easy to get to and should also provide valuable information. Having a blog and routinely updating it is also going to improve clickthrough rates and time on site.

As it turns out, a well-designed website isn’t just for show anymore.

Keep up with Coding

In addition to the look and function of the site, it’s also important to optimize coding for SEO. Yes, Google cares about coding too.

Not all HTML code is created equal, and if Google can’t decipher the code, then it may penalize the website. But, there are a few easy things you can do to improve your law firm website design with coding.

Title tags, 55-word descriptions for each page on a website, can go a long way. They let search engines know what the page is all about so that they can include it in any relevant queries.

Heading tags are also important for two reasons: search engines use them to contextualize the content and readers use them to find the specific content they want.

That being said, updating the code isn’t easy especially if you have barriers in the way. Content Management Systems (CMS) really open up your legal website design capabilities, because they give you the power to update:

Without a good CMS, you may be hamstrung. A CMS can continually keep visitors interested and engaged in your content. It also means that your website will look and feel exactly how you want it to at any given moment.

Don’t Neglect Responsiveness

Mobile devices make up a key share of searches, and if your website isn’t designed with mobile in mind, then you could be losing out on visitors. A responsive website design for attorneys is valuable because it means that your page will be viewable from virtually any device.

But, it’s also important for basic SEO reasons. Google has now started penalizing websites that don’t have a mobile-friendly, responsive design.

So, even if your website is technically stellar on a desktop, it may still be docked by Google if you neglected a responsive design. Responsive design can drastically improve your bounce rate and time on site metrics as well.

In the end, website design for law firms is not something you should take lightly. It can play a major role in SEO and help you get the visitors and, eventually, clients you need.

Is your website impacting your SEO for the better? Let us evaluate your website for free and recommend how to increase your search ranking. A few tweaks can lead to big returns. Give us a call today.

8 Must Have Image-Based Call-To-Action Plugins for WordPress

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Your call-to-action (“CTA”) is the most important piece of information you can have on your website. It tells your visitors what to do and entices them to become a client (or at least an email subscriber). Of course, people do have short attention spans so you need a call-to-action that stands out. That is where image-based calls-to-action work best.

Gone are the days of the “click here” call-to-action buttons. You now need stunning visuals to get people’s attention and let them know why they should do business with you. Visual content has become a staple of content marketing and as such an image-based CTA has become the norm.

When working with WordPress, you are in luck. There are numerous plugins available that create great visual calls-to-action. Here is the list of our favorites.

1. Click To Tweet

Click To Tweet is a plugin that allows you to create content that readers can tweet with a simple click. Instead of tweeting the title of a post, you can create quotes and other information from your article for people to tweet.

click-to-tweet

Click To Tweet boxes can be added anywhere in the content. You can set them up with hashtags and your Twitter user profile so that one click gets your content shared.

2. Popup – WP Popup

Many people frown when I mention the term “popup.” However, popups are some of the most effective CTAs out there. Popup – WP Popup allows you to create popups with unlimited links, timed popups, and exit popups.

popup-wp-popup

This is one of the best plugins to use for generating popups on your site. Use this to increase conversions such as email subscribers.

3. Hello Bar

Hello Bar is a small CTA image at the top of each page of your website. It is hidden in a way that does not upset people who hate popups, yet still visible enough to create a call-to-action that entices people to click.

hello-bar-screenshot

You can see from the screenshot that it is inconspicuous but still displays a call-to-action that most people will see and likely click. The idea here is to help convert people without throwing a popup in their face.

4. Scroll Triggered Boxes

Scroll Triggered Boxes allows you to slide boxes (or fade in and out) in front of your readers. You can program them to appear at any point including a specific time on a page or when scrolled to a selected point on a page. You can also customize each message on each page so your CTA does not have to be so general.

scroll-boxes-gif

This is the plugin you want to use if you like the conversion rate of popups and have the time to create custom messages for different areas of your website.

5. WordPress Calls to Action

WordPress Calls to Action is an all in one solution for those looking to gather leads, send them to landing pages, and convert them, all at the same time. It allows you to build an email list, drive people to specific areas of your website, and ultimately convert them. It also allows for A/B testing of landing pages so you know what is converting and what is not.

For attorneys, this plugin is recommended when you want to sell a book you have written or collect information for class action lawsuits. You can use a single page to describe a specific case and have people sign up if they feel they qualify as a member of that class. Or, you can simply generate leads to sell a book or build your email subscriber base.

6. Social Warfare Social Sharing Buttons

If you have a blog, you must have social sharing buttons. People are not going to share your content unless it is easy to do so and the easiest way is to click a call-to-action. There are numerous plugins you can use, but the most popular and best we found is from Social Warfare.

social-warfare-plugin

You can see that social buttons are generated at the top of your posts. You can also get the premium version of the plugin which scrolls the sharing buttons at the bottom while readers scroll. This allows them to share at any point while reading the content.

7. SumoMe Image Sharer

SumoMe Image Sharer is similar to Social Warfare, but it focuses on images as opposed to posts. It displays a Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook symbol on your images so people can click and share the images while writing what they want in the post. This is for the social media user that is more sophisticated and likes to put their own words to images they share.

sumome-screenshot

SumoMe Image Sharer is an app within the SumoMe plugin so if you do not already have the full plugin you will want to download it first. Good news is SumoMe has many more apps you can add on that will help with your conversion rates optimization.

8. Opt-In Content Locker

Already have an email subscription service where you collect and send emails? Then this plugin is for you. WordPress Opt-In Content Locker allows integration of various email services to allow you to collect email addresses.

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This plugin integrates with companies such as MailChimp, iContact, GetResponse, MyMail, Sendy, and Campaign Monitor to name a few. If you are already creating opt-in forms with these services, then Opt-In Content Locker will allow you to integrate them directly into your WordPress site.

Summing it Up

Regardless of the plugins you choose, keep in mind that visual calls-to-action lead to more conversions than simple text CTAs. You do not need to include all of these plugins, but including some will lead to increased leads and ultimately customers. Play with various combinations of these plugins until you find the right ones that work best for you.

First Steps to Building a Strong Online Presence for Your Law Firm

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For your law firm to grow and thrive, clients need to be able to find you. At one time, that meant simply listing your firm in the phone book and possibly even paying for an ad. However, the Internet has changed the way consumers look for information. With so much competition for online search rankings, it’s important that firms find a way to stand out.

Today’s businesses use social media and online content to capture the attention of search algorithms. Here are a few things you can do to make sure customers searching for an attorney can find you.

Think Local

According to Google, local searches are growing 50 percent faster than mobile searches as customers use a variety of devices to find information relevant to them. This is especially important for law firms, which often spend the vast majority of their time catering to a local clientele. To reach out to someone nearby who has recently been involved in an injury-related car accident, for instance, a firm will need to be recognized as being local to that customer, as well as handling personal injury cases.

One of the most important things you can do is to set up your Google My Business profile, which will provide an overview of your information during searches, and show your business information in the map:

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This will also put you on Google’s map, another feature that will help local customers find you. You should make sure your page has the name, address, and phone number for each of your firm’s offices. If you cover a specific area of town that might be called up in Google searches, be sure to mention that somewhere in your content. Your “About Us” page could specify that you “serve the areas of” and list various communities nearby by the name locals call it rather than the city names the postal service uses.

Set Up Social

It’s important to know the difference between various social media platforms and which ones are most likely to attract your target customers. For many law firms, Facebook is the ideal place to reach out to local customers, since so many adult consumers focus the majority of their social media time on that platform. Start by setting up a page and ensuring it has all of the information customers need to contact you.

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Invite your own clients and colleagues to like your page and consider boosting a few posts to expand your reach in the first few months.

Once your page has established followers, regularly post and interact with those who comment. Your followers will begin to see your page as a place where they can get useful tips and advice. Join local community groups and chime in when someone has a legal-related question. Soon you’ll find that local people recognize you as a vital part of the community. Try to avoid constantly requesting that people contact you for more information on their cases, since this will be seen as self-serving and spammy.

Establish Thought Leadership

Law firms are in the enviable position of having information consumers want. This gives them an edge online, since their advice can dominate search rankings. If you haven’t already, set up a blog on your firm’s website where you regularly cover topics of interest to potential clients. Link those posts on your various social media feeds to create content that your followers will find useful. In addition, regularly link other insightful articles related to your specialty area. This will give your followers a reason to keep coming back, especially if the content can help them with their own legal battles.

Guest blogging is a great way to boost your online presence. Search for posting opportunities that allow you to link to your own law firm within the content, even if it’s only in your bio. Google rewards sites that are linked on external sites, so the end result will be an improved search ranking. You’ll also be introduced to the audience for the blog where you’re posting, increasing recognition of you as an authority in your field.

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By building a strong online presence, your law firm can ensure that when nearby customers seek legal representation, your firm will be among the first they find. The key is to maintain active social media pages while also working on ways to remain prominent in search rankings. Use analytics to regularly evaluate results and determine which efforts are working to avoid wasting time.

5 Mistakes SEOs Make That You Can (And Should) Avoid

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There are lots of aspects of SEO you have to take into account. On and off page optimization have to be considered. But just because you address every area of your SEO campaign doesn’t mean that you’re doing everything right. The chances are you are making mistakes. This guide is going to go into five of the major mistakes SEOs make that can be easily avoided.

Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing used to be the act of filling your article with every single variation of a keyword in a bid to let Google know that you exist. This is rare to see today, but keyword stuffing takes another form. Even adding four or five keywords to an article can come under this definition.

Google believes that you shouldn’t have more than one or two keywords. The semantics will naturally follow along afterwards as you write naturally. Concentrate on writing naturally around a subject and the keywords will come.

Title Tags

Having too many or too few title tags comes under the same category as keyword stuffing. Search engines will read from left to right, and they will only really take into account the first three or four words. If you don’t have these three or four words, Google will essentially make a guess. Too many and you’re wasting your time.

Meta Description

Your meta description can turn into one big mistake. First of all, if you don’t have one at all Google will just take the first few lines of your page, which may not be relevant or engaging. Alternatively, you may stuff it with keywords, which will lead to you being penalized by the Google machine.

But do meta descriptions really matter?

Meta descriptions have the potential to be powerful for the human eye, even if Google doesn’t place much emphasis on them any longer. They are your chance to engage people and to insert a call to action. Studies have shown that they still increase the number of clicks you can get.

Anchoring Text

Many SEOs fail to rank high because they don’t have the right anchor text. When you are hyperlinking posts on your page, you can fall into the trap of having irrelevant anchor text. This may be because you’re trying to stuff a link into a post where it has no business.

Work on anchor text through trying to match the title of the page you are linking to as closely as possible. This will help you to keep that positive ranking.

Alt Tags

Alt tags may seem like a small part of SEO, but they actually have a huge influence on ranking. Whenever an image doesn’t load, an alt tag will leave a little description telling the person what the image was of. From Google’s point of view, an alt tag tells them what an image actually is. Their bots are unable to process JPEG and other image types.

Make sure your alt tag is simple and straight to the point. What is the picture of?

Conclusion – Review Your SEO Arrangements

Every so often, you should go out of your way to review your SEO arrangements. You aren’t necessarily doing anything wrong, but you may not be maximizing the resources you have at your disposal.

Google changes its algorithms all the time, so it makes sense to act to make sure that you are still doing your very best to maintain a high ranking. Your SEO arrangements are important, so call in an independent SEO firm to manage it, or brush up on the main trends in SEO right now.

 

7 Things Every Content Marketer Should Know About SEO

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Search engine optimization (SEO) is an important part of any content marketing campaign, yet there are many misconceptions about the practice. The days of keyword stuffing are long in the past, but search algorithms still use keywords as a basis for rankings. For professionals launching a content marketing campaign, it’s important to understand how keywords factor in today’s environment.

Although algorithms constantly shift, there are a few basic things that every business should know while creating websites, blog posts, and articles. Here are a few of the most important things every content marketer should know about SEO.

Quality Content Wins

Search engines win when customers are happy with the results of their searches. Realizing this, algorithms now reward high-quality content over pages with sparse, poorly-written text. It’s important to invest time in producing information consumers will want to read if you hope to win out over the competition in searches. If you post a video, include a translation on the same page and focus your video content on topics that are likely to attract people looking for your products or services.

Keyword Research Is Crucial

Before you post the first word of text on your site, it’s important to know which keywords you should use. There are several free keyword planning tools that will tell you the best phrases and words to work into your copy. A law firm promoting its personal injury law services, for instance, could enter those words into a planning tool and see that consumers most often search for “personal injury lawyer” and “personal injury attorney.”

Links Build Authority

Businesses focus most of their SEO efforts on their own pages, but 75 percent of search engine ranking is determined by outside content. When someone links to your page, algorithms see that as adding authority to that site and boosts its visibility. Spend time guest blogging and writing content for online publications, including a link in your bio with each post. When you upload content to your own page, link to other items within your site.

Mobile Is Here to Stay

More than half of all Google searches are now conducted via mobile devices. This means your site must be optimized for mobile, but it also affects the way customers search. Location-based searches are growing in importance, especially if your company is one that is likely to attract someone who is looking for businesses nearby. Use geo-location-based keywords to ensure that your page comes up first whenever a customer searches for you in a particular region.

Think Long-Tail Keywords

Search rankings are based on the way customer searches, which can often be in a long, disjointed series of words. “Kitchen cabinets white new” or “SUV black 4-wheel drive,” for instance. With long-tail keywords, businesses can anticipate how customers will look for the products or services they sell and deliver keywords that match. This also helps businesses utilizing paid search marketing, since they’ll pay less for more specific keywords that don’t have as much competition.

Customers Come First

Search engines spend so much effort customizing each user experience, it’s difficult for marketers keep up. But businesses that focus on making each customer interaction with their sites as pleasant as possible tend to do better in search rankings. As Google and Bing continue to refine the search experience to match a customer’s location, device, and personal search histories, it will become more important than ever that brands tailor content to their ideal audience.

Results Take Time

Experienced marketers know that real marketing efforts yield slow results. This is especially true of content marketing campaigns, since many businesses have stiff competition within their industries. Marketers should plan a long-term strategy and continue to work at it, expecting to gradually see positive results. By monitoring analytics and seeing how many click-throughs they’re getting, brands can tweak their campaign to be even more effective.

Although the search landscape is constantly changing, marketers who use winning SEO tactics will create content that consistently ranks well. With high-quality content and the right keywords, a business can outrank the competition, reaching new customers who will then click over to learn more about its offerings. While results take time, ongoing content creation can be something as simple as a blog that offers customers actionable information they can use.

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