Jeff is a former IT professional who practices in estate planning and business law in Oregon. He is both...
In this episode, Jeff Skrysak lists 14 things you can do to improve your SEO profile that don’t cost much money. (They do require a bit of effort, though.)
Jeff is a former IT professional who practices in estate planning and business law in Oregon. He is both an attorney and legal solutions architect, which means he uses his software engineering skills to automate and improve all aspects of a lawyers’s business.
Speaker 1: Welcome to the Lawyerist Podcast with Sam Glover and Aaron Street. Each week, Lawyerist brings you advice and interviews to help you build a more successful law practice in today’s challenging and constantly changing legal market. Now here are Sam and Aaron.
Sam Glover: Hi, I’m Sam Glover.
Aaron Street: I’m Aaron Street and this is episode 139 of the Lawyerist Podcast, part of the Legal Talk Network. Today, we’re talking with Jeff Skrysak who has 14 things you can do to make your website more visible that don’t cost much money.
Sam Glover: Today’s podcast is sponsored by Ruby Receptionists and it’s smart, charming receptionists who are perfect for small firms. Visit callruby.com/lawyerist to get a risk free trial with Ruby.
Aaron Street: Today’s podcast is also sponsored by Clio Legal Practice Management Software. Clio makes running your law firm easier. Try it for free today at clio.com. Sam, on today’s episode, you and Jeff are going to talk about some low cost webs or no cost website improvements, lawyers can consider including a bunch of advice on kind of specific tactics for search engine optimization and rankings improvements and stuff.
Sam Glover: Yeah.
Aaron Street: Rather than jumping in right into kind of the dirt, I’d love to step back a bit and talk about marketing goals. You and I have talked a bit about how too many lawyers think that marketing means being known as Dallas divorce lawyer and that they then spend all of their marketing time and advertising dollars on things like billboards or even search engine optimization and Google ads for Dallas divorce lawyer and that I think that isn’t how a lot of clients find lawyers.
Sam Glover: No.
Aaron Street: That there are different ways lots of lawyers should be thinking about how they do marketing.
Sam Glover: Yeah, my kind of thinking about it is that advertising and marketing yourself as so and so personal injury lawyer whatever, works great if you’re trying to be there when people are shopping for a lawyer, but shopping for a lawyer is the last thing that people do in their process of trying to solve their problems.
Aaron Street: Yeah, I mean if you’d think about, there’s a lot of kind of terminology in the marketing and sales world generally around kind of the customer journey, but the concept is the perfectly applicable to a client journey, which is people start not being aware they have a problem. Then they have some sort of epiphany or realization over time that there’s a problem and then they start trying to figure out what the solution to that problem is. Then they start trying to figure out who and where that problem can be solved and then they start doing buying decisions about trying to find places, trying to figure out prices and features et cetera.
I think so many lawyers jump into a client’s journey near the end of once they’re looking for Dallas divorce lawyer, I want to be the one they find rather than providing advice, content, relationships, networking, online tools, offline tools, teaching et cetera, to move kind of front further forward in that journey where you’re helping people who don’t yet know they have a problem, figure out what their problems might be. You’re helping people who just have a sense they have a problem, figure out what the solutions might be before they’re shopping at all.
Sam Glover: Yeah, I mean in order to get your ahead around search engine marketing, I think it helps to remember that search engines are massive question answering machines and so the people who do well in search engine marketing are people who have the answers or the information that people are looking for before they start looking for the information about who to hire and yeah, move yourself up the client journey. I think thinking about your client’s journey is a great way to start identifying more opportunities. Jeff and I are going to talk a little bit about it in a minute, but I think just changing the way you think about what you’re trying to do with your marketing, not just advertising, but actually being the question and answer person so that people find you before they’re ready to hire can be really helpful.
Aaron Street: If we want to get really deep, I would even go a step further and say it’s even more about the client’s experience, which is every touch point with you should facilitate, reinforcing your brand identity, reputation along the entire client journey, which actually doesn’t end with the shopping for a lawyer.
Sam Glover: Yeah, fair point.
Aaron Street: It then goes into intake and interaction and working on the case and closing the case and whatever follow ups happen after that. Those are all part of the continuous journey and that you want to reinforce your brand and reputation and client expectations consistently throughout that entire path. It’s worth also thinking about the fact that these are all people and so doing robotic marketing around Dallas divorce lawyer, may or may not actually relate to the people who are asking questions of Google.
Sam Glover: Right, yeah. I think it’s worth expanding your idea of the problems that your clients are trying to solve beyond just the legal problem in general and then helping them with those things all the way from the beginning. If you’ve already helped somebody, they’re going to have a much easier time walking into your office and writing you a check in the end, and if you take care of them and make that journey, that experience easy and as effortless as possible throughout, then you’re going to win and that should start with your marketing. With all that in mind as backdrop, here are some concrete tips from Jeff and our conversation about those and I will put the list of tips up on the show notes. Here’s the conversation.
Jeff Skrysak: I’m Jeff Skrysak. I’m an attorney in Oregon and a former IT professional so I get to help clients and law firms automate their processes and improve all aspects of their business, backend and front end.
Sam Glover: Jeff, you’re sort of an alumni by association because Kristin LaMont was on our podcast a while back, talking about the firm and you work with her.
Jeff Skrysak: I do. She was a professor of mine in law school and I took one of her classes and did really well. What she teaches and what she sort of searches for in terms of client service and internal back office work is exactly what I love to do so we connected.
Sam Glover: Cool, and so what is your day to day look like then when you’re, I assume you do some client representation, but when you’re trying to architect legal solutions, I mean how do you approach that?
Jeff Skrysak: Yeah, well, I’ve been working in IT for 15 years before going to law school and so I do at the law firm, what I used to do as an IT professional, which is this, I sit down and I talk with staff, internal staff and I find out what they do. I want to improve their life, improve the processes, not do something different, but look at where the road blocks are in terms of too much time spent on something or their frustrations and see if technology can’t improve it in some way and make it faster, make their life easier whatever it might be. How that comes to play is on a day to day basis, I might automate templates so instead of copy, pasting into a contract, we use software instead that stores client information and it inserts automatically.
Sam Glover: It sounds like so, at your firm, it sounds like you’ve institutionalized the taking time to step back and look at things at a systems level and then make those improvements where many lawyers just never get that kind of a perspective on, they just can’t get away from their day to day work to do that systems level work, but it sounds like that’s basically your job.
Jeff Skrysak: That’s correct. That’s what I do on a day to day basis. I do see clients, but I’m really dedicated to helping us being more efficient and building systems to do that and it’s working out pretty well so far.
Sam Glover: Very cool. Today, we were going to talk about search engine optimization, which we haven’t talked about in the podcast in a while, but we’re going to talk about it from a very nuts and bolts perspective and maybe it’s always probably worth backing up and saying what is search engine optimization, and we’ll probably just call it SEO from here on, so what is SEO and why should lawyers care about it?
Jeff Skrysak: Yeah, SEO is a fancy way of saying we want search engines to find me when someone searches for a certain question or a certain piece of information like keywords. We want them to find us, that search engine to find us and so how you do that is you optimize your website so that it’s more friendly to Google or Bing or whatever search engine you like. It’s going to be cataloged in a sense in that search engine’s database and then found with higher relevance so basically it shoots up to the first page.
Sam Glover: I’ve been thinking about SEO in my own way since, and I’m building websites since SEO was something we used to talk about AltaVista. Back then, it was really about making sure that you had the right meta tags on your page so you’re telling AltaVista this is a page about law and specifically, personal injury law or whatever and obviously, that was really easy to game and the search engines got more sophisticated and so the ways that you started needing to craft your page to help the search engines understand it changed and now it’s a big discipline, but you’re right. It still boils down to helping search engines read your stuff so they can figure out what it’s about so they can show relevant results to visitors.
Jeff Skrysak: Yeah, it’s exactly right and those AltaVista related tips still apply, but they’re almost like a fundamental base line. You have to get way more sophisticated now.
Sam Glover: Well, so the idea today is we wanted to give a collection of tips to lawyers that you can probably do yourself and that you might even be able to do while you’re listening to the podcast and so that you can bring yourself up to a baseline. For those who know about it, our annual websites contest, we’re looking for baseline stuff like if your homepage still is called home, then we’re flagging that as well, you probably haven’t done any work on this. Let’s just start, what’s the first thing that you should probably be looking at on websites?
Jeff Skrysak: Yeah, well, that’s it. You touched on it, the give each page a good relevant title. It shouldn’t be just home. A bad example is Home or Jones Law, or as a better example is Jones Law Construction and Employment Law in Athens, Georgia, because that gives you some kind of context. It’s in Georgia so it applies to me if I’m in Georgia or it doesn’t apply to me if I’m in Florida for example.
Sam Glover: It’s the SEO version of your elevator speech, right? You’re trying to tell Google who you are and what you do in a short sentence, right?
Jeff Skrysak: Correct, yes and this is sort of where people stop short when they come to content as well. When you take this elevator speech carried over, it does meta tags I believe that you referred to.
Sam Glover: Well, yeah.
Jeff Skrysak: If you can edit them [crosstalk 00: 10: 55]
Sam Glover: The meta keywords is no longer a thing, but yeah.
Jeff Skrysak: Yeah, and so the content of the page will then follow that too so when you write the content for the page, don’t just say keywords that are familiar to you such as employment law. The regular person out there doesn’t really understand what that means and so you’re going to flesh that out as you go.
Sam Glover: It’s my understanding that Google in particular has gotten a lot more sophisticated about how it looks at your content on your page when it comes to things like keyword density. It used to be that you could just add up the number of times you said personal injury on the page and call it a day and now my understanding is Google understands both what words mean and that they have synonyms and that there are other words that you’re probably talking about if you’re talking about that thing and so my understanding is that when you, keywords are a fundamental place to start. If you’re not talking about personal injury on a website that’s about personal injury, you’re probably doing it wrong, but you should probably also be using words like accident and insurance and doctor and car, automobile, whatever. It’s going to expect to see those terms around the central keyword. Does that sound right?
Jeff Skrysak: It does sound right and so one of the things that I like to tell people is there’s two competing interests here. There is you, the attorney, and you want people to call you, ultimately call you and become a client. Google has a different interest. It’s related in some sense, but it’s different. Google wants to provide relevant results and answers to questions and so as an attorney, we don’t want to provide free answers so we don’t want to put content out there that has all these words that you just described, right?
Sam Glover: Right.
Jeff Skrysak: We just want to say employment law and then put a phone number and hope they call or a personal injury and hope they call, and so [inaudible 00: 12: 40] is to think about what Google wants. Google wants good content for human beings and so.
Sam Glover: Google wants the same things your potential clients want.
Jeff Skrysak: That’s exactly right.
Sam Glover: Ideally, right?
Jeff Skrysak: Ideally, so some good Google indexing tips for SEO are to write a lot of content so it’s not just a certain number of keywords, but it’s a certain number of sentences and paragraphs. We want to reward people not just for finding you, but for sticking around and reading your page. Google is measuring that now. They’re measuring how long people stay.
Sam Glover: You know one of the things that I think about too is when you’re writing a post or creating a page on your website, when you’re drafting that content, think about what are people coming for and I think a lot of lawyers are under the mistaken impression that most consumers are shopping for lawyers online.
Jeff Skrysak: Correct.
Sam Glover: Right, like I think most lawyers think that, I went to Google to find a divorce lawyer, but while that may be true for some people, I think what’s more likely true is people go turn to Google for answers about things related to the problems that they’re having and so like I’m going to go to, before I start looking for a divorce lawyer, I’m probably going to start looking for advice on how to save my marriage and if you are publishing advice about how to save a marriage, then you’re going to get those people to your website and so I think it’s important to think about like, what are the kinds of problems that or the kinds of answers that my potential clients are going to be using Google to search for and how can I give them those answers so that they already know who I am when they finally realize that a lawyer can help them, or maybe I need to be the one who can tell them that a lawyer can help them.
The internet is not Amazon for law practices. The internet is where people go to find answers and so you need to provide those answers and there’s your idea for all the content that should be on your website.
Jeff Skrysak: Absolutely correct. I don’t want to bring up a source subject for any of us, but I say treat it like a law school essay. The professor doesn’t know what you know. You have to show them what you know so write it.
Sam Glover: Yeah.
Jeff Skrysak: Write out everything. A good example of the Ron Swanson blog article post that I wrote, in the TV show, Ron Swanson pulled out a piece of a paper and it says Last Will and Testament, and he wrote it when he was nine, and he said and then he read it aloud and it had some weird symbols on it and it was hand written and it said, “I give everything I own to the man or animal that kills me.”, and it was just 20 or 30 seconds, but I wrote for pages and pages on it, can a handwritten will be recognized? Was he old enough to actually be able to write a will? Can an animal take property from an estate, especially if it had been the one that killed him or not and things like that.
You get to explore out these avenues just from something that’s funny, but it’s only about 10 to 20 seconds so I say pick a topic. Is it a personal injury thing? Is it a DUI thing? Whatever it is, and then write about it. Just explore all these aspects, tell me about the law, show me what you know because people are searching for answers and Google is going to index that and when they do search to find answers to those questions, they’ll find you.
Sam Glover: I guess it’s also worth sort of reiterating, the only way that people are going to find your law firm website in most cases is by searching for it. There are certainly law firms who’ve done better jobs of building followings on social media and things like that, but for most law firms most of the time, the way people find your website is by searching for it and so this is really what you need to be focused on. Let’s keep moving forward here, so what’s another thing that people can do?
Jeff Skrysak: The other thing is when you create content, put it in a good directory structure, folder structure. Let’s say you have a domain lawfirm.com and you write about contempt of court so if it’s lawfirm.com/familylaw/contemptofcourt, so Google is actually going to be smart enough to know that that’s a family law topic and then it’s contempt of court so it’s pretty quick and easy. Yeah, the thing you can do-
Sam Glover: Yeah, it’s sort of like think about how you organize things in the same way that you would if you were stacking it in folders because that structure of what comes in between the slashes is how Google sort of thinks about it too so it understands that contempt of court Minnesota is a subset of family law on your website.
Jeff Skrysak: Correct, exactly and it’s going to know, yup. The other thing is it’s not just about content Google likes to play fair with others and if you play well with Google, it’ll like you even more, at least that’s the idea because Google doesn’t exactly publish its search engine optimization tips.
Sam Glover: Right.
Jeff Skrysak: If you get a Google Plus account, go out and get one and match it to your website. Tell Google that you’re the owner of it and start to install tags that Google provides you and you can get a little sophisticated. This is a little bit of a more of a medium advanced tip, but you can do it.
Sam Glover: Do you still think that’s true? I mean Google Plus is like a barren wasteland that I think Google is kind of ignoring until it dies.
Jeff Skrysak: It’s true, but you’re not going to use it to get out there like LinkedIn or Facebook. You’re going to use it to sort of have an account with Google and not really use it for a public face.
Sam Glover: They’re just really using it to gather information.
Jeff Skrysak: That’s exactly right. They’re going to use it for analytics and data tracking.
Sam Glover: That goes for Google Maps too, doesn’t it?
Jeff Skrysak: Use the Google Maps to your benefit. There’s a lot of local SEO or local searches and Google’s going to give results to people based on the area that they’re in. They know where people are situated or sitting if it’s a wifi café or at home. They know they’re in Salem, Oregon, for example.
Sam Glover: Got you.
Jeff Skrysak: They’re going to show results and make sure you have a Google Maps present. Find your business and own it. Tell Google that that’s you.
Sam Glover: That’s more for people who might actually be searching for a law firm in, while they’re in a certain area.
Jeff Skrysak: Right, it will and that’s what you want.
Sam Glover: To help with some of this stuff, I know a lot of people, I hope a lot of people are using WordPress for their websites. I think you recommend the Yoast plugin, which is what we use too.
Jeff Skrysak: Yoast SEO, and it’s spelled Y-O-A-S-T. It’s a great plugin. It’ll help you with all these tools. If you install it in your WordPress backend, it’ll sort of lead you and guide you through some of these tips that we’re talking about.
Sam Glover: We recently upgraded to premium, which is really affordable. I can’t, it was like $60 a year something like that and honestly, the additional features are so worthwhile so.
Jeff Skrysak: Yeah.
Sam Glover: We use the free for years and kind of didn’t realize what we were missing out on so my pro tip is just get the premium edition of the plugin. You will be happy you did.
Jeff Skrysak: It’s very good, yeah.
Sam Glover: It does really convenient stuff like every time you delete a post or a page, it asks you if you want to redirect it or if you change the page slug or change the URL, it automatically leaves a redirect for you, which is one of the most, so no broken links and that’s one of the things I see a lot on lawyers websites is they keep moving stuff around, changing names and it breaks things, yeah.
Jeff Skrysak: Right.
Sam Glover: All right, so get a Google Plus account, Maps, link them to your website if you can. I’m looking at our outline here and you say to think about topics of law that are rarely discussed in online articles, which sounds to me like go outside of the typical things, the frequently asked questions that you see on every law firm’s website. How do you do that? How do you think about that?
Jeff Skrysak: I use Google to help me with this so let’s say, someone, a client asks me, if I get married, does that affect my estate plan? I’ll search for that in Google.
Sam Glover: Yeah.
Jeff Skrysak: Google now has this feature where it shows you other questions that people have searched for relevant to that and I use that as a little bit of a trick to look at what other people are searching for and then find those little nuggets that are rare, that might you know, esoteric or something like that and I write on them because they’re related to that topic.
Sam Glover: Yup.
Jeff Skrysak: It’s important for example, but it’s not always discussed.
Sam Glover: You talked about analyzing legal issues from TV shows, for example, which some lawyers do that and I wonder if that is helpful in sort of branding and raising your profile, but I wonder about it in terms of search engine optimization because people aren’t searching for those kinds of legal problems and the kinds of people that come across your post if it goes viral, I mean it sounds awesome to get thousands or hundreds of thousands of hits on a post, but those aren’t clients so I wonder how you think about stuff like that, you know kind of going for publicity seeking posts?
Jeff Skrysak: Well, and this is what’s interesting. Google is a popularity contest. The AI isn’t yet developed well enough to know that the content in your site is really relevant to answer someone’s question so they used to get around that by understanding that the more popular you are, that must mean that you’re really good at it. That’s how Google gauges how “good” your website is and how good you are or how much of an expert you are so if you have more people coming to your site, if you have more other websites linked to your site, then that increases your popularity in the eyes of Google and then you increase your rank in their results.
Sam Glover: Let’s take a quick break to hear from our sponsors and when we come back, I want to talk a little bit more about that link piece and how those votes work. We’ll be right back.
This podcast is supported by Ruby Receptionists. As a matter of fact, Ruby answers our phones at Lawyerist and my firm was a paying Ruby customer before that. Here’s what I love about Ruby. When I’m in the middle of something, I hate to be interrupted so when the phone rings, it annoys me and that often carries over into the conversation I have after I pick up the phone, which is why I’m better off not answering my own phone, instead Ruby answers the phone and if the person on the other end asks for me, a friendly, cheerful receptionist from Ruby calls me and asks if I want them to put the call through. It’s a buffer that gives me a minute to let go of my annoyance and be a better human being during the call. If you want to be a better human being on the phone, give Ruby a try.
Go to callruby.com/lawyerist to signup and Ruby will waive the $95 setup fee. If you aren’t happy with Ruby for any reason, you can get your money back during your first three weeks. I’m pretty sure you’ll stick around, but since there is no risk, you might as well try.
Aaron Street: Imagine what you could do with an extra eight hours per week. You could invest in marketing your firm. You could spend more time helping clients in need or you could catch your daughter’s soccer game. That’s how much time legal professionals save with Clio, the world’s leading practice management software. With Clio tracking time, billing and matter management are fast and easy, giving you more time to focus on what really matters and Clio is a complete practice management platform with plenty of tools and over 50 integrations to help you automate daily tasks such as document generation and court calendaring. See how the right software can make it easier to manage your practice. Try Clio for free today at clio.com.
Sam Glover: Okay, we’re back so you just dropped something that I want to spend a couple of minutes on, but I just, as an introductory concept, but we could spin it out into many podcasts of its own and that’s links. You tell somebody that Google counts the links that come in and potentially it counts the number of shares and likes on Facebook and Twitter and things like that. That’s where everybody who publishes a website start seeing all kinds of spammy comments and request to link and all that kind of stuff. That’s not what we’re talking about, is it?
Jeff Skrysak: We don’t want that and I try to avoid that kind of SEO work where someone just wants you to help them out and trade links or to, you may even pay someone else and they put your links to your site elsewhere. We don’t want to really do that. That’s not something that Google likes either and sort of seen through it. It does work you know if you pay a service to help you with SEO, that’s one other tactics, it’s to get you linked at other websites and actually other prominent websites so it’s not just a link, but if it’s a signed law or somewhere else that’s really a strong presence on the internet and you’re linked on there, you sort of rise with them.
Sam Glover: What I usually say is look to the opportunities to build links within your memberships and communities and things like that so if you’re a member of a club and there’s a list of people who are in that club, maybe you can get a link from that website. If you are an adjunct at the shool, maybe they will link to your firm’s website from your faculty page.
Jeff Skrysak: Right.
Sam Glover: If you do write an article that gets really popular and goes viral, make sure that if other people are writing about it on their websites that they include a link to your page and maybe your homepage as well because those are links that you’ve earned and you should get them.
Jeff Skrysak: I agree, I wholly agree. I think it’s one comes before the other. The one is write good content and then get it links. Sometimes, people who design and make websites will do the reverse. They’ll put something up and with very little text. It looks very pretty and then they want lots of people to link to them, but once people come to the website, future clients, potential clients, other attorneys visit that site, there’s not much to read. There’s not much to sink their teeth into. It should do the reverse.
Sam Glover: Yeah, if you spend a lot of time on something and you’ve built something really valuable that you’re really proud of, that’s not a sales pitch, but is actually valuable stuff, then you’re not going to be afraid to go and pitch it to people and say look, I wrote this thing. I think you might be interested in it because I’ve noticed you’ve been writing about similar things or something like that, and then you can build links deliberately, but without just being a spammy.
Jeff Skrysak: Yeah, and the reverse is true, so one of the other tips and this sounds maybe counterintuitive, but Google likes it when you link to other websites as well. They like that sharing, that network because it is an internet of course, and so the more that you link to other sites that are relevant to the topic you’re discussing in that particular page or post, the more relevant they think you are as well.
Sam Glover: Do you think that’s because Google gets suspicious if you’re never linking out?
Jeff Skrysak: It does, that’s one part of it, yes. They want to also encourage good behaviors so all of these tips if you really think about it, Google trying to encourage good writing, good network, professionalism let’s call it, and not being scammy or slimy, no.
Sam Glover: What about photos?
Jeff Skrysak: Yeah, and that’s the other one so tagging onto that is, photos. We are very visual people and in the marketing world where I did work for a little bit, we learned that people don’t really read so as much as we tell you to put content out there, we like to scan. Website visitors like to scan and one of those things we look for is a photo and Google knows this and they reward you if you put in an appropriate photo on a page or a blog post.
Sam Glover: When you do, make sure you take care of those, the alternative text for that image, right?
Jeff Skrysak: Exactly, otherwise Google doesn’t know yet that that’s a photo of a house that needs repair or a farmer if you deal with agricultural clients because if you don’t tag it with that alt tag or the title tag appropriately, it doesn’t yet know that that’s a photo that’s relevant.
Sam Glover: It’s working on that, but it’s not quite there yet.
Jeff Skrysak: Yeah, it is. They are getting very close.
Sam Glover: We’ve been sort of throwing around words like posts and pages and things. I mean what are we really talking about? How are we telling lawyers to write regularly or to think about their website as sort of a book that they can write and then be finished? What are we talking about? How are we adding all this stuff to websites and how should we be doing it strategically?
Jeff Skrysak: Yeah, well I think first of all, when you write content, make sure it’s not about you all the time. You should have a bio page and it should be a great one and I know lawyers who have a great set of articles and podcasts about this, all of that, but the rest of the content should be about your clients, your potential clients, about the industry that you’re in, about them because when people visit the website, they want to be heard and understood and understand that you understand them. Get a good set of fundamental pages, a page about divorce law or personal injury, a bio about you or your team, your parking directions, things like that, just the basics, contact us. Then I like to use blog posts or posts like if I didn’t have WordPress or even a website. Write about those smaller, little nuggets, those esoteric, those random topics, you name it. What’s it like to visit with a lawyer? What should I bring when I talk to an attorney? What should I wear when I go to court? Those kind of little things that don’t really belong in a full page but are certainly relevant for what people want to know.
Sam Glover: Anything related to current events or sort of analyzing a legal issue or topic, like those sort of things lend themselves I think more to blog posts will then be arranged in reverse chronological order. I think those lend themselves better to blog posts than to pages, because I think a page is something that is sort of the authoritative evergreen last word on this subject that the page is about.
Jeff Skrysak: Correct. It’s like a page is a really good informational tool. It’s like a reference and a post is more of a news item or something that’s more topical.
Sam Glover: These labels are kind of arbitrary but if you use a post to create sort of your everlasting authoritative take on what personal service requires. It doesn’t work quite right because that’s a page that you’re going to want to go back to and keep updated and it should live on a permanent spot on your site and blog posts are usually presented as with the date and the expectation is that they represent the truth as of that date, not that they’ve been updated constantly since then. That’s kind of arbitrary but that’s how we think about them.
Jeff Skrysak: Yeah, it’s exactly right, but you also touched on something important, which is your pages should be something you would look at every once in a while and make sure they’re up to date. Don’t just write it and let it sit for six years.
Sam Glover: I guess and maybe this is about when I’m afraid listeners had started tuning out because it all sounds like too much work.
Jeff Skrysak: It does, yeah.
Sam Glover: What I like to say is yeah, there’s some work. It’s more work than you’re doing now probably but less than you’re worried it might be and I think the trick is just block aside some time. It could be an hour a week or a couple hours a month when you sit and look at your website or when you spend time writing. Don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself. If what you want to do is sit down and tweak and update pages and expand pages, just try and make things 1% better every time you do that, and you will. You’ll eventually get there.
Jeff Skrysak: Yeah, I like that advice. People should realize that it’s not like you’re going to press with a physical document. You can update it and correct it. It’s live so it’s a little bit easier and less stressful in that regard.
Sam Glover: Which is one of the problems of just hiring a web development company and then if you don’t know how to log in to your WordPress website or whatever you use, that’s a problem. You need to, you can’t always be going to somebody else to do this. If you see a typo, you should be able to just log in and fix it and you should be able to create new posts and pages even if you let somebody else review them before you publish them. Get control over it and even if you let somebody else do the design, you can put yourself in charge of some of the content.
Jeff Skrysak: It’s really good. By doing that, there’s more of a benefit because people are attracted to you for who you are. You attract certain types of clients and your competitors ought to know you attract other types, and if your website’s pink or blue or if you use certain words, your personality’s going to show through and you want that because ultimately, when they do call you, you’re going to have an easier time convincing them to become a client.
Sam Glover: Last thing on the checklist here is use headings. This is near and dear to my heart because I love styles.
Jeff Skrysak: Yeah, same here. Don’t just write. Let’s say you do actually take our advice. You write a good amount of content. Don’t just let it go for page after page. Put in headings, subheadings so that when somebody does scan your site, that human beings can, that they can find the content but more importantly, Google and Bing and other search engines will index these headings and use them and sort of store them in their database and allow people to search on them as keywords for example.
Sam Glover: The heading is not bold-facing the text and making it bigger.
Jeff Skrysak: Right, correct.
Sam Glover: A heading means using that dropdown that you’ve always ignored in Microsoft Office that says Heading 2, except you’re doing it on your website, which has the same dropdown but don’t ignore it. Use headings.
Jeff Skrysak: Correct.
Sam Glover: Call it Heading 2 is where they start. The Heading 1 should be the title of the page but Heading 2 should be what you’re using for your headings and the body of your post and actually use that.
Jeff Skrysak: Again, it’s Google trying to foster good design and it’s something that takes a little bit of savvy but it’s not hard, just like you said. Just find that little dropdown.
Sam Glover: Think about the user experience again, right? Lawyers sometimes write for their websites the way they write for courts. It probably isn’t good for courts either but you’re kind of disrespecting your user there. You’ve got somebody who is coming for answers or information with a limited amount of time and the most important part of any page is the title, followed by the first sentence of the page, the first words that somebody read and that first sentence is really your only chance to get somebody to stay on the page and read more and then I think the headings are the next most important. Not all of that content that you spend so much time on, not the body of it but let somebody skim the page and get the idea from the heading so I usually try to write the introductory paragraph and the headings first after the title and then the rest is I want it to be great information and I want to reward people who dig in and read it but realistically, most people are going to check the title, skim the first couple of sentences and then look at the headings and they’re going to use those pieces to make a decision about whether or not to try and dig in and read the rest so those have to be spot on.
Jeff Skrysak: It’s exactly right, and so you’re going to help that person find the content that they really care about but the other thing you’re going to do is you’re going to wow them in a sense by showing them that you wrote about so much more, your knowledge about the topic is more than they realized and in the future, a year or two later, they’ll call on you because you are in their mind an expert on that topic.
Sam Glover: Yeah, and the wall of text, you see that and you’re like, “I don’t have time for that.”
Jeff Skrysak: You’re out. Your eyes gloss over, you can’t find those words you’re looking for. That’s write.
Sam Glover: There’s a, I can’t remember what the exact number is but the last I saw, you have something like 10 seconds to make an impression on somebody and they will decide whether to stay on your page and read more or click a link or go, and most people click the back button within five or 10 seconds. If you’ve buried your point on page three of your dissertation, you’ve got no chance.
Jeff Skrysak: Yeah, it’s very true and if you have somebody sit on your website on a page or a post and read it for 30 seconds, a minute, that’s an eternity in the world of the internet.
Sam Glover: Absolutely. Well Jeff, thank you and I hope we can put this together in a checklist and include it with the show notes.
Jeff Skrysak: Definitely. I’ll work it out.
Sam Glover: Fantastic. Thank you for being on the show and folks, if you’ve got SEO questions, dig in to Lawyers Archives. There’s a lot there and we’re working on organizing it but you can go down the rabbit hole there and Jeff, I hope you’ll agree with me that moz.com is probably the next place to go for sort of a good solid geeks introduction to SEO. Is that right?
Jeff Skrysak: 100%, I totally agree with you.
Sam Glover: Well thanks so much for being on the show today, Jeff.
Jeff Skrysak: Thanks so much, Sam.
Speaker 1: Make sure to catch next week’s episode of the Lawyerist podcast by subscribing to the show on your favorite podcast app and please leave a rating to help other people find our show. You can find the notes for today’s episode on lawyerist.com/podcast.
The views expressed by the participants are their own and are not endorsed by Legal Talk Network. Nothing said in this podcast is legal advice for you.
The Lawyerist Podcast is a weekly show about lawyering and law practice hosted by Sam Glover and Aaron Street.
Jonathan Hawkins gives his tips on how to transition out of your practice, whether you are squashed by an anvil out of the blue...
Annie Grace explains how to think about your relationship with alcohol and why moderation is harder than just drinking or not drinking.
Marshall Lichty talks about being a lawyer with ADHD.
Stephanie Everrett talks with Lawyerist Lab member Jennifer Longtin about the strategy they developed to help Jennifer take charge of her firm finances.
Nathan Hightower discusses Culture Index and why too much distance between your core traits and the behaviors required to do your job well might...
Daniel Pink discusses the science of timing and productivity, the subject of his latest book, When, and also compensation and motivation, the subject of...