Bird Droppings: Voice Search Technology…and More!

Welcome to another edition of “Bird Droppings.” A simple list highlighting recent articles relevant to legal marketing in order to help bring you up to speed with what’s been happening in the industry over the past few weeks! Make sure to check out our upcoming events at the end of the list!

Industry Articles:

Turn your videos and webinars into major link magnets.

Google expands the “menu” option in GMB beyond just restaurants. Add your menu of services today!

Campaigns without keywords are the future!

If you weren’t already posting to GMB, you should now.

Trying to locate your law firm’s Google My Business CID number to keep track of merged or removed listings? Joy Hawkins from Sterling Sky explains how.

With significant changes in local search, contributor Wesley Young provides tips in order to keep your local business in the SERPS.

AdWords has FINALLY implemented notes within their dashboard! Just like Google Analytics annotations, you can now call out significant changes over time.

Google is cleaning up some reviews and is no longer counting reviews from “A Google User” in their totals.

How voice search technology is reshaping SEO in 2018.

Industry Tools:

May 2018 Adobe XD updates.

Upcoming Events:

2018 PILMMA Summit – Sept 12 | St Louis, MO

Local Business Marketing Summit – Sept 19 | Free Online Event

Wistia Releases New Video Player, Vulcan V2

Video is a valuable tool that helps you connect with your viewers. Vulcan V2, Wistia’s new video player, is smaller and faster than their previous video player. The only issue is that videos can add a lot of weight to your site and slow it down. If your visitors experience slow page speed, they are more likely to leave your website. With the release of Vulcan V2, it shows that Wistia cares about the importance of website performance more than others.

Vulcan V2 is half the size of their previous player and is a quarter of the size of YouTube’s. Not only did they create a smaller player but also added a bunch of optimizations in order to increase page load time. Wistia claims that they are seeing pages with Vulcan V2 load 10% faster on average than pages with their last video player, Vulcan.

To learn more about Vulcan V2 or what Wistia has been up to, check out their video on their blog regarding Vulcan V2.

Bird Droppings: “Business Description” Returns to Google My Business…and More!

Welcome to another edition of “Bird Droppings.” A simple list highlighting recent articles relevant to legal marketing. Find a variety of links that we have gathered to bring you up to speed with what’s been happening in the industry over the past few weeks!

Industry Articles:

Law firm in Louisville, Kentucky who incentivized people to review the business see all but one review disappear.

A guide to writing irresistible calls to action.

Google now showing answers without any additional search results for some queries.

Notes are coming to AdWords.

After nearly 2 years, editable business descriptions are again part of your law firm’s Google My Business page. Colan Nielsen show’s how to set them up and the guidelines for doing so!

Sites that follow mobile-first indexing best practices will be migrating over now.

Tools in the Industry

Jitbit.com tool “SSL-Check” crawls site for pages that aren’t secure.

February 2018 Adobe XD Updates

Upcoming Events:

Practice 360° | A Day for Lawyers & Law Firms Presented by the D.C. Bar – April 23 | Washington DC

10 Things You Should Be Doing vs 10 Things You Must Stop Doing – May 18 Seattle, WA

Bird Droppings: Google Q&A…and More!

Welcome to another edition of “Bird Droppings.” A simple list highlighting recent articles relevant to legal marketing. Find a variety of links that we have gathered to bring you up to speed with what’s been happening in the industry over the past few weeks!

SEO Articles:

Multi-lingual firms – make sure Google can understand what language your pages are in, all the way down to the image alt attributes.

As more and more users utilize the Google Questions feature of GMB, you may be wondering how and when you can act on mis-information about your law firm.

Looking to take advantage of this new Google My Business feature? Columnist and local SEO expert Joy Hawkins explains everything you need to know about Google Q&A!

Google adds Q&A Notification options to GMB.

WordPress releases maintenance update to 4.9.3 and fixes 34 bugs from previous version.

Beginning July 2018, the popular internet browser Google Chrome will mark all HTTP sites as “Not secure.” Google continues to move toward a more secure web by encouraging sites to adopt HTTPS encryption. 

WordPress’ new maintenance release fixes a bug in 4.9.3, which will cause sites that support automatic background updates to fail to update automatically.

Is AMP trying to become Snapchat? These “interactive stories” look familiar…

Google removes “view image” button from search.

Upcoming Events:

Marketing in the Age of Assistance

Legal Connect with Mockingbird & Google – Austin, TX

Practice 360° | A Day for Lawyers & Law Firms Presented by the D.C. Bar

Bird Droppings: Video Added to Google My Business…and More!

Welcome to another edition of “Bird Droppings.” A simple list highlighting recent articles relevant to legal marketing. We’ve assembled a variety of links to bring you up to speed with what’s been happening in the industry over the past few weeks!

SEO Articles:

Rebecca Sentance from Search Engine Watch explains why linkless mentions are the future of link-building.

The option to add video to Google My Business is now live!

Protect your advertising investment by removing click fraud in the Google display network.

Google AdWords will no longer support Review Extensions starting mid Jan 2018.

Starting in July 2018 Google will use mobile speed as a ranking factor for mobile searches.

WordPress released a security and maintenance update to 4.9.2. A vulnerability and a handful of bugs were fixed and you can read more about it here.

11 Methods SEOs can help businesses turn out good links

Local SEO expert, Miriam Ellis, shares over 25 FREE tools to help local SEOs.

Case Study: How proximity impacts law firm rankings in Google’s local pack.

Marcus Miller explains how to make the most of your website redesign and ensure and improve your existing search engine rankings and traffic.

Legal Related Links:

Ford is being sued by truck owners claiming diesel engines were rigged.

Misc Links:

CEO Mark Zuckerberg changes Facebook’s goal to help you have more meaningful social interactions by sacrificing public content, news outlets, total time spent and ads you see.

Upcoming Events:

Legal Connect with Google – Austin

Legal Marketing Brain Trust Event

Bird Droppings : Stop Googling Yourself! Google provides another reason to embrace mobile users. Legal Connect with Google and Mockingbird.

Welcome to another edition of “Bird Droppings”. A simple list providing links to recent articles relevant to legal marketing. Using the Bird-droppings Slack channel in our office, we have provided another list of helpful links to get you through the holidays.

SEO Articles:

As 2017 comes to a close, Joy Hawkins provides a list of all the changes she’s tracked along with some things that are to come.

Celebrities can use Posts on Google to answer questions with video that are served up in search results (on mobile). Is this going to be expanded to Local Businesses too?

Bryson Meunier explains why we should care about Voice Search

Mockingbird’s Jason Arango explains why you should Stop Googling Yourself

Google announces a new web-based version of it’s SEO Starter Guide

Google officially extends search results snippets to a max of 320 characters

The High Cost of Thinking Your Local Search Visibility is Free

Early Christmas present from Google: Google now showing 12 months of data in Google Search Console!

(Comparison) The 12 Google My Business Bookings Feature Partners

Update! Google makes 14 Changes to the Review Guidelines

Key Findings from the 2017 Local Search Industry Survey

Is your new year resolution to clean up your tagging and track your campaigns effectively in Google analytics? Annie Cushing helps you learn from other people’s mistakes.

Legal related links:

Another reason from Google on why your law firm must embrace mobile users and create a great experience on smaller devices that is technically sound.

Misc Links:

Man makes his backyard shed the top rated restaurant on TripAdvisor

Recent and Upcoming Events:

Legal connect with Google – Austin

1st Amendment Rights & Blogging with Bruce Johnson

9 Things You Should Know About Local SEO

 

Simple and Consistent Web Design

There are many elements that web designers need to take into consideration in order to generate “good” design, however two important characteristics of good design are simplicity and consistency.

All too often I find websites that are too busy. Websites with bright colors, multiple videos, images, and walls of text. Websites without these elements would be dull, however there is a right and wrong way to use these elements. The information your visitors are looking for will be difficult to find if your website is cluttered. If certain elements don’t help tell your story, you should remove them.

Simple design doesn’t mean boring, it just means that it’s clean and easy to use. Use the minimum amount of text necessary in order to get your point across. All the images on the website should be relevant. Images should always help explain content. They should make your visitors feel as though they are in the right place for the information they are looking for.

Making the site design consistent is also crucial. Make sure that the menus, headings, text and all design elements look and work the same way throughout your site. If you have a particular design element, try to reuse it throughout the website.

Simple design allows your visitors to access the information they are looking for quickly. Consistency in web design allows your visitors to understand how to navigate throughout your website easily. No matter how amazing the images are or how trendy the theme might be, users will not stick around on your site if it is too complicated and busy.

 

Authentic Images Are Worth It

Business Man Shaking Hands

We have all seen one of these photos. The man in a suit with the perfect smile doing “business things” in front of a blurry background. Stock photos are all over the internet. Many are high quality, but they often lack personality. Images can help humanize your brand. Instead of using images of freakishly good-looking young professionals in business suits, hire a photographer and block out an hour to take some group shots around the office. If money is tight and you have a digital camera, go the DIY route (just do some research on correct lighting as that will make a huge difference).

Don’t refrain from using an image of yourself or images of your team. Not only will it make your website more personable, there’s a good chance it will help your conversions. Marketingexperiments.com ran a case study on a consumer credit counseling service’s home page. The experiment ran a stock photo of a woman with a headset against a photo of the company’s actual founder. When the photo of the company’s founder was displayed, visitors were 35 percent more inclined to sign up for a free consultation.

If you have no choice but to use a stock photo, make sure it is high quality and relevant to the message you are trying to convey. Just because you like a photo, doesn’t mean you should use it. Make sure the image isn’t used too often or (more importantly) by any of your competitors. If you are using Google Chrome, right click on the image that you are considering and select “Search Google for Image.” This will bring up all locations and websites where that specific image is being used.

Google Reverse Image Search

No matter what your budget or time constraints may be, keep in mind that your customers want to relate and connect with you and your team. If there is any way to incorporate your own style over a stock image, you will stand out in the crowd.

Optimizing Images for Search: The Basics

Images are important. They can improve SEO as well as break up text and help make your website or blog post aesthetically pleasing. However, large uncompressed images can slow your page speed and impact your ranking factor. With the majority of people using their mobile devices for web browsing rather than desktop pc’s or laptops, making sure that your images are optimized is vital. Follow these steps and you will be on your way to becoming an image optimizing machine.

Finding The Right Image

Whether it is the header image for your website, a featured image for your blog post or a product image for your web store, make sure that you are using an image that reflects what you are trying to accomplish. There are many great resources that provide free stock images however it is best if you can supply your own images or have professional images taken. Original images will always be better than stock images, but if you do not have the resources to take your own photos, free stock images will work as long as they are high-quality and not too tacky. A couple website that I frequent are:

There are plenty of other stock image sites, however make sure that you can legally use them and whether or not you need to provide attribution.

Choosing The Correct File Format

Whether you are using Adobe Photoshop, Affinity Photo, or any of the other photo editing programs available, you will need to figure out which filetype will be the best for your image. This could be confusing considering how many file options are available. In this post I will be going over two popular file formats, JPEG and PNG.

  • JPEG: This is one of the most common image file types on the internet. JPEGs do not support transparency within images like PNGs do. JPEGs keep file sizes small and is pretty much supported universally.
  • PNG: Unlike JPEG, PNGs support transparency and possess a better color range. On the downside, file sizes are larger than a JPEG.

Unless you need transparency, JPEG should be your first choice when deciding file format.

Correctly Naming Your Image

Using a proper file name for you image is important because you want Google and other search engines to know what the image is about. For example, let’s say that you took a photo of a sunset at the beach in Hawaii using your own digital camera. When you upload that photo to your computer, you might have seen something like DSC1234.jpg as the file name. When looking at the image, you can instantly tell that it’s a picture of a sunset at the beach. Unfortunately this isn’t the case for Google. Instead you want Google to see that the image is sunset-hawaii-beach.jpg.

Optimizing Your Image For Web

When posting an image on the web, your main goal is to decrease the file size as much as possible without losing too much quality. With websites like compressjpeg.com and compresspng.com this process is incredibly simple. Simply upload your image to the site and it will do everything for you. After the image has been compressed, you can make further changes to the image when you hover over the image and click on “settings” (shown below).

Once you’re happy with the changes you have made, simply download the image and you are ready to go!

If you have access to Photoshop and want an in-depth “hands-on” approach, you can read about compression and how to compress images in Photoshop here.

What Alt Text Is and Why You Need It

Alt text is the text that search engines use to understand what the image is. When we look at a picture of a sunset at a beach, we understand what is going on in the picture. At this time, search engines cannot recognize images unless you include alt text. If you are uploading your image to WordPress, all you need to do is update the alt text option within the edit image options. Another way to include alt text is simply through html. For example:

<img src=”sunset-hawaii-beach.jpg” alt=”Sunset Hawaii Beach” />

Done!

It’s that simple. By following the steps previously outlined, you will have images that look great and load quickly.