Monthly Archives: May 2010

Local Business Listings on Google Maps for Attorneys

Law Firm Local Search Engine Marketing Google Business ListingsImprove Your Law Firm’s Google Local Business Listings on Google Maps

If your law firm has not claimed a local business listing Google Places then you are missing out on a great marketing tool. Many consider Google’s local business listings to be the “new Yellow Pages” for marketing small businesses. Attorneys can create a business listing that can show up ahead of even the organic listings. Best of all, it doesn’t cost even a penny per click.

A few years ago attorneys were able to optimize the listings with little effort and still see their law firm at the top of categories such as “San Diego Personal Injury Attorney” or “Dallas DUI Lawyer.” Those attorneys quickly realized how profitable those listings were to their practice. As other attorneys created their own profile, remaining at the top became more competitive.

Today, many law firms hire marketing professionals to optimize their Google Places business listing. At Internet LAVA we work hard to keep our attorneys at the top of Google Places, as well as optimizing the local business listings for Bing Maps and Yahoo Local.

Google Places for Law Firms, Attorneys, Lawyers

The Importance of Optimizing Local Business Listings

Optimizing your local business listing on Google Places is increasingly important because many of your clients will search for an attorney on their smart phone such as an iPhone, Droid, Palm or Blackberry. In many of those searches, only the top business listing profiles will show up, while the organic listings can not be found unless the viewer clicks through to the next page.

And yes, in certain practice categories such as criminal defense, immigration law and personal injury, an individual will use the listings on their smart mobile phone in much the same way as they found an attorney from the phone book just a few years ago.

Additionally, many smart phones use GPS systems that can identify the users precise location. The location information is then used by search engine maps to highlight local businesses that are nearby even if the user is on vacation.

The Importance of Reviews on Google Places

Another important part of optimizing your local business listing on Google Places is having a great place for your past clients to post a review of your law firm. Those reviews are then displayed on your local business profile which is key component of the ranking system. Even reviews posted on other websites can be pulled into your Google Places business profile. Google puts great weight on reviews from websites such as Yelp and InsiderPages. Information can also be pulled in from AVVO, YellowPages.com and other websites. Therefore, having an effective online presence is key to seeing your business listing at the top of Google Places.

Our Solutions

In many cases the results we achieve for our clients are immediate. At Internet LAVA, we help attorneys set up and optimize the information on their local business listings for Google Places, as well as Bing Maps and Yahoo! Local:

1. Listing information about your most important practice areas and niche categories;

2. Determining the proper location settings and service areas;

3. Uploading properly tagged photographs of attorneys in your law firm, your office, the lobby, logos, or other branding material that conveys a professional image for your law firm;

4. Uploading properly optimized videos that discuss your key practice areas;

5. Providing information that distinguishes your law firm;

6. Creating other online profiles so that the information can be pulled into your Google Places business listing profile.

If you are interested in finding our more about the services that we provide to busy attorneys, then contact Internet LAVA for a free evaluation to discuss our strategies for helping your law firm dominate the search engines.

Read more about
Local Business Listings on Search Engine Maps and Google Places for Attorneys.

Read more about Google Places for small businesses and how it can help your law firm:

Watch Google’s YouTube Video on Google Places:

Florida Bar Rules for Attorney Websites with Case Results



Florida Bar Rules Website Internet Ads DisclaimerFlorida Bar May Amendment Rule 4-7.6 for Attorney Websites

The Florida Bar will consider an amendment to Rule 4-7.6 (Computer Accessed Communications) of the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar which would allow a lawyer to create an “information upon request zone.” Content in the “information upon request” section of the website would not fall under the requirements of Rule 4-7.6 because the information would be deemed to have been specifically requested by the viewer.

Florida Bar Rules for Internet Websites

Under the current version of Rule 4-7.6 which the Florida Bar will begin to enforce on July 1, 2010, any website that an attorney owns or sponsors may not contain laudatory statements, case results, or testimonials. These amended rule, if it is approved, would give attorneys guidance on how to comply with the rule and still provide important information to potential clients.

Adding case results is particularly important for criminal defense attorneys and personal injury attorneys because potential clients are interested in seeing results that can be verified.

The legislative language of the proposed changes to the Florida Bar rule for any website owned or sponsored by the law firm is provided below:

OFFICIAL NOTICE:

RULE 4-7.6 COMPUTER-ACCESSED COMMUNICATIONS

RULE PROPOSAL TO BE FILED

The Board of Governors of The Florida Bar hereby gives notice of filing with the Supreme Court of Florida, on or about June 1, 2010, a petition to amend rule 4-7.6, Computer-Accessed Communications, of the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar. Rule 1-12.1, Rules Regulating The Florida Bar, governs such matters.

The full text of the proposed amendments is printed below in legislative format using the rule as approved by the Supreme Court of Florida in case number SC08-1181 to be effective on July 1, 2010. A copy of the petition will be available on the Bar’s website (www.flabar.org) and the Court’s website (http://www.flcourts.org) after the petition has been filed. If you do not have internet access, you may request a copy by contacting the The Florida Bar, 651 East Jefferson Street, Tallahassee, Florida, 32399-2300 or calling 850-561-5600, Extension 5751.

Members who desire to comment on these proposed amendments may do so within 30 days of the filing of the Bar’s petition. Comments should be filed directly with the clerk of the Supreme Court of Florida, and a copy must be served on the executive director of The Florida Bar.

RULES REGULATING THE FLORIDA BAR

CHAPTER 4 RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT

SUBCHAPTER 4-7. INFORMATION ABOUT LEGAL SERVICES

RULE 4-7.6 COMPUTER-ACCESSED COMMUNICATIONS

(a) Definition. For purposes of this subchapter, “computer-accessed communications” are defined as information regarding a lawyer’s or law firm’s services that is read, viewed, or heard directly through the use of a computer. Computer-accessed communications include, but are not limited to, Internet presences such as websites, unsolicited electronic mail communications, and information concerning a lawyer’s or law firm’s services that appears on Internet search engine screens and elsewhere.

(b) Internet Presence. All websites accessed via the Internet that are controlled or sponsored by a lawyer or law firm and that contain information concerning the lawyer’s or law firm’s services:

(1)  shall disclose all jurisdictions in which the lawyer or members of the law firm are licensed to practice law;

(2) shall disclose 1 or more bona fide office locations of the lawyer or law firm, in accordance with subdivision (a)(2) of rule 4-7.2; and

(3) are subject to the requirements of rule 4-7.2 except that a portion of such a website will be considered a communication made at the request of a prospective client and therefore exempt from subchapter 4-7 under subdivision (f) of rule 4-7.1 if

(A) the information provided in that portion of the website is truthful and not misleading, either by itself or in the context in which it is given and

(B) that portion of the website is accessible only after the prospective client views a disclaimer page and makes an affirmative acceptance that the viewer has received the following disclaimers:

(i) the type of information that will be accessible;

(ii) that the information has not been reviewed or approved by The Florida Bar;

(iii) if past results are provided:

1. that a prospective client’s facts and circumstances may differ from the matter in which results have been given;

2. whether all results are provided;

3. that the results are not necessarily representative of results obtained by the lawyer; and that every case is different, and each client’s case must be evaluated and handled on its own merits; and

(iv) if testimonials are provided:

1. that a prospective client’s individual facts and circumstances may differ from the matter(s) in which the testimonials are provided;

2. whether testimonials of all clients are provided; and

3. that the testimonials are not necessarily representative of all clients’ experience with the lawyer.

(c) Electronic Mail Communications. A lawyer shall not send, or knowingly permit to be sent, on the lawyer’s behalf or on behalf of the lawyer’s firm or partner, an associate, or any other lawyer affiliated with the lawyer or the lawyer’s firm, an unsolicited electronic mail communication directly or indirectly to a prospective client for the purpose of obtaining professional employment unless:

(1) the requirements of rule 4-7.2 and subdivisions (b)(1), (b)(2)(A), (b)(2)(D), (b)(2)(E), (b)(2)(F), (b)(2)(G), (b)(2)(H), and (b)(2)(I) of rule 4-7.4 are met;

(2) the communication discloses 1 or more bona fide office locations of the lawyer or lawyers who will actually perform the services advertised, in accordance with subdivision (a)(2) of rule 4-7.2; and

(3) the subject line of the communication begins with “LEGAL ADVERTISEMENT.”

(d) Advertisements. All unsolicited computer-accessed communications concerning a lawyer’s or law firm’s services not addressed by other provisions of this rule are subject to the requirements of rule 4-7.2.

Comment

Advances in telecommunications and computer technology allow lawyers to communicate with other lawyers, clients, prospective clients, and others in increasingly quicker and more efficient ways. Regardless of the particular technology used, however, a lawyer’s communications with prospective clients for the purpose of obtaining professional employment must meet standards designed to protect the public from false, deceptive, misleading, or confusing messages about lawyers or the legal system and to encourage the free flow of useful legal-related information to the public.

Lawyer and law firm websites containing information about the lawyer or law firm’s services must comply with the general advertising regulations set forth in rule 4-7.2. However, a lawyer or law firm can create a portion of the website which contains information that can be provided only at the request of a prospective client, and is therefore not subject to the lawyer advertising rules under rule 4-7.1(f) In order to be considered information that is provided at the request of a prospective client, the information must be accessible only after viewing a disclaimer page and making an affirmative acceptance that the viewer has received the disclaimers required by this rule. On the disclaimer page, the viewer must acknowledge receipt of the information before being given access to the portion of the website that contains any information that does not comply with the lawyer advertising rules, such as past results, testimonials, or statements characterizing the quality of legal services. The lawyer should not require that viewers provide information about themselves in order to access the information. Lawyers may use a disclaimer page, a pop-up, or any other technological mechanism as long as the above guidelines are followed, and the above information cannot be accessed without viewing the disclaimer page and making an affirmative acknowledgement of receipt of the disclaimer. The website must be set up in such a way that this information cannot be viewed as a result of a general search engine or site search without displaying the disclaimer and acknowledgement page each time.

All information contained in this portion of the website must be truthful and not misleading, either by itself or in the context in which it is given. See rule 4-7.1(g). If testimonials or past results are provided in this portion of the website, sufficient information about the matter also must be provided to allow the consumer to evaluate the testimonials or results. Testimonials and past results may be included in this portion of the website only with the informed consent of each client to which the matters relate. See rule 4-1.6(a).

Alternatively, a lawyer may provide a section of the website in which a viewer, at the viewer’s option, may provide contact information and make a specific acknowledgement that the viewer would like to receive specific information about the lawyer or law firm. After receipt of the contact information and acknowledgment, the lawyer or law firm may send the viewer information by either e-mail or regular U.S. Mail, as long as the information is truthful and not misleading, either by itself or in the context in which it is given. The lawyer or law firm must provide the same disclaimers to the recipient imposed by this rule.

Unsolicited electronic mail messages from lawyers to prospective clients are functionally comparable to direct mail communications and thus are governed by similar rules. Additionally, communications advertising or promoting a lawyer’s services that are posted on search engine screens or elsewhere by the lawyer, or at the lawyer’s behest, with the hope that they will be seen by prospective clients are simply a form of lawyer advertising and are treated as such by the rules.

Examples of computer-accessed communications other than websites and electronic mail include pop-up advertisements and banner advertisements. As indicated by the rule, such advertisements must comply with rule 4-7.2.

This rule is not triggered merely because someone other than the lawyer gratuitously links to, or comments on, a lawyer’s Internet website.


Building and Improving Websites for Florida Law Firms

At Internet LAVA we work exclusively with attorneys to help them create a dominating internet presence. Because of that focus, we work hard to stay current on the Bar Rules that effect an attorney’s website.

Florida Bar Rules for Attorney Internet Websites – Learn more about possible ways to comply with the Florida Bar Rules for attorney websites, social media, creating the domain name or URL or domain name, and other issues related to website design for attorneys in Florida.

Board of Governors Proposed Amendments to the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar

Website Design for Criminal Defense Attorneys

Criminal Defense Attorney Websites and Internet Marketing

Internet marketing for criminal defense attorneys has become increasingly competitive because attorneys are starting to see the ground shift that has occurred as their ideal clients are turning to the internet to find an attorney. In larger cities, criminal defense attorneys are paying more than $50 a click for the trophy terms such as “Boston DUI Attorney” or “New York City Criminal Lawyers.” Those same attorneys would benefit more from an effective website design with an easy to navigate system to find information deep within the website.

In many competitive markets, even smaller criminal defense law firms with two or three attorneys are paying more than $10,000 a month just on pay-per-click ads. For a fraction of that price those criminal defense attorneys could dramatically improve their websites enough to dominate the search engines for their favorite niche areas.

For a faction of that price, those same attorney could start to dominate the trophy terms most priced by criminal defense attorney. Internet users have become more wary of pay-per-click listings. More and more they are clicking on the top orgainic listings which prove to be powerful and informative websites. Many of your clients may assume that the best criminal defense attorneys have the best criminal defense websites for their location. At least than know that those attorneys are paying attention to provide informative information to their potential clients.

Adding quality content is much more effective than wasting money on pay-per-click. The good news is that you can spend less and get much more with a great content management system that allows to add content to your website. For attorneys willing to spend a few hours each week improving and adding to the content on their website, the return on investment is amazing. Even for those attorneys that just want to hire us to improve their content, a small investment will result in an immediate improvement in search engine rankings and we can do all the work.

Why pay-per-click when you can pay for better content?

Many attorneys are starting to realize that pay-per-click is no longer worth the expense. By investing in the best content management system available, adding content is as easy as sending an e-mail. If you write a memorandum of law on a particular criminal defense topic you can add that information to your website in less than 5 minutes.

Many criminal defense attorneys think that the search engines are a mystery. Really, the search engines are just looking for the most informative content on the same topics that interest your clients when they begin their search for an attorney. Find out how updating and adding content on a regular basis is the best search engine optimization (SEO) strategy.

When creating a website for a criminal defense attorney, the best and most immediate return on investment comes from focusing on these goals:

  1. Creating a easy to navigate website design;
  2. Understanding how to add content to the pages we create for you to target specific areas within the criminal defense field;
  3. Harnessing the power of social media marketing; and
  4. Creating short videos that answer the same questions your clients ask when they first contact you about their case.

See Immediate Results for Niche Criminal Defense Areas of the Law

What are your favorite types of criminal cases? If you’ve had great results in a particular type of case then you have unique insite into how to fight those cases. Why not share that information with your ideal potential clients.

  • Criminal Defense of State Charges;
  • Criminal Defense of Federal Charges;
  • Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or Driving Under the Influence (DUI) including drunk driving and impaired driving;
  • Cannabis Crimes including possession, possession with intent to sell, delivery of marijuana, cultivation or manufacture of marijuana, and defending those accused of operating a grow house;
  • Drug Crimes – possession of a control substance, illegal possession of prescription drugs and drug trafficking;
  • White Collar Crimes – Fraud, Identity Theft, Embezzlement, Mortgage Fraud, Insurance Fraud;
  • Theft Charges – Shoplifting, Petit Theft, Petty Theft, Grand Theft, Grand Larceny, Grand Theft Auto;
  • Criminal Appellate Practices in State or Federal Court;
  • Probation or Parole Violation;
  • Juvenile Criminal Offenses;
  • Traffic Tickets or Citations – Speeding, Suspended or Revoked Driver License, Careless Driving, Aggressive Driving, Hit and Run, Leaving the Scene, Toll Violations;
  • Petitions to seal or expunge a criminal arrest record or clerk’s file;
  • Violent Criminal Offenses such as battery, domestic battery and assault, child abuse, aggravated battery;
  • Sex Crimes such as solicitation, child pornography, sexual battery, and molestation, lewd conduct, failure to report as a sex offender;
  • Weapons Charges for felon in possession or improper exhibition.

Although an entire website could be build around any one of these practice areas for a large city, many attorneys want to pick many or all of the practice areas. For any area you want to target, your website must have the most content that is unique and informative.

Developing Content for a Criminal Defense Attorney’s Website

Let us show you how we create the best, most accurate, most informative content for our criminal defense attorneys’ websites. Consider the type of information that can be added to a page on a topic like “domestic violence battery:”

  1. An introductory paragraph which uses the phrases used more commonly by clients in your jurisdiction to describe that type of charge;
  2. The cities and counties that your law firm wants to target for that particular area of the law;
  3. A general description of the domestic violence statute in your state and the element of the criminal  toffense;
  4. A list of potential collateral consequences that can occur after the arrest – such as the impact on the right to carry a firearm or a possible restraining order;
  5. Possible solutions to the problem such as a plea to reduced charges, a motion to dismiss or suppress, or diversion programs that might be available in that particular jurisdiction;
  6. Potential defenses that relate to each element of the criminal offense;
  7. A general description of the standard jury instructions for that particular criminal offense offense (although the exact wording of the standard jury instructions should never be “cut and paste”);
  8. Recent cases dealing with evidence issues such as the confrontation cause or insufficient evidence;
  9. Pictures related to that criminal charge;
  10. Outbound links related to that other websites that provide information on that charge (for instance a link directly to the statute or jury instructions so your viewer can do additional research and so the search engines see the page as the most informative);
  11. Internal links to other pages within the attorney’s website that are indirectly related to that particular topic (such as a page on sealing a criminal record or restraining orders); and
  12. A closing paragraph that again described the your legal practice, the topic on the page, the jurisdictions in which you practice (including a list of each city, county, and state).

Your current website may only have a few paragraphs on each page and an insufficient number of pages to cover any given topic. At Internet LAVA we take a different approach.

Writing content for an attorney website – read more tips on writing effective content for a criminal defense attorney’s website.

Content management system – find our why our attorneys have a huge advantage over the competition for a faction of the price because of our easy to use content management system that allows the attorney to add additional information continuously over the course of the first year. All of the search engines, including Google actually looks to see how often the page is updated. Adding additional content to a criminal defense website is as easy as hitting the “log in” button, then hitting the “edit” button on a particular page. After typing in a few changes, the attorney then pushes the “save” button and the changes can instantly be viewed on the website.

Our Solutions

Contact the internet marketing experts at Internet LAVA to schedule a free consultation to see more about the websites we have created for criminal defense attorneys. The free consultation will provide you with a wealth of information that will give you an edge over your competition.

Website Design and Marketing for DUI and Drunk Driving Attorneys – Find out about internet marketing strategies for DUI, DWI, drunk driving and impaired driving defense websites.

Marketing Your Law Firm

Internet LAVA Strategies to Market Your Legal Practice Online

Marketing Your Law Firm to Your Ideal Clients

Having a great website allows your law firm to focus on your most profitable niche areas. Internet marketing works like a magnet attacking the specific types of clients that are looking for a lawyer to solve their legal problem. While other attorneys are forced to take any case that comes in the door, you can focus on bringing in your ideal clients.

A great website allows you to quickly become a recognized expert. You can highlight your accomplishments in your favorite niche area. Other organizations will begin to call you for speaking engagements. Your ideal clients will see that you are the best attorney in their area for their particular type of case.

Many attorneys take a shot gun approach on their website listing every possible practice area. The problem is that those attorneys will never show up in the search engines because they do not have enough quality unique content on any particular topic. The better the content on your website, the better you will show up on the search engines. Focus on what you know best.

Click here to read more about:

Marketing your Law Firm’s Niche Practice Areas – Find out now your website can help you focus on their ideal clients and the cases that are most profitable for your law firm.

Criminal Defense Lawyer Internet Marketing – Find out more about the best website design strategies for criminal defense attorneys to effectively market their services.

DUI / DWI Defense Lawyer – Internet Marketing – Learn more about the best website design and internet marketing strategies for DUI and DWI defense websites.

Designing Effective Websites for Attorneys

Lawyer Web Design and SEO

At Internet LAVA, we use the most effective new techniques for designing visually appealing and professional websites. We design the website to inspire your ideal clients to call your office to hire you for their particular case. We understand how an effective “call to action” can mean the difference between receiving that call or having the viewer hit the back button to resume their search on the search engines.

Within the first few seconds of your ideal client viewing your website, they should immediately know:

  • You provide solutions focused on their particular type of legal problem;
  • You provide services in their city or county;
  • Your law firm is recognized for the niche legal problem; and
  • You are easy to reach if they want to call you or schedule an office consultation.

Click this link to visit our main website to learn more about – Effective Website Designs for Law Firms

Top 20 Social Media Marketing for Attorneys

The Importance of Social Media for Lawyers Marketing their Practice Online

Social Media Marketing for Attorneys

Most attorneys cringe when they hear the word social media. They know their employees spend entirely too much time on Facebook. They know their children spend entirely too much time on My Space. They hear other attorneys talking about discussions on LinkedIn or AVVO’s rating system. But these attorneys don’t understand how social media will revolutionize the way their ideal clients find an attorney. They don’t know where to begin so they never take the plunge.

For busy attorneys, we offer a simple solution that will save you both time and frustration. We create your profiles. We show you easy steps to promote the information you are already publishing. Does your firm have a newsletter? Did an attorney in your practice recently write an article or speak at a CLE conference? We help attorneys promote their practice in a professional way without starting from scratch.

With our techniques you can quickly do all of the following:

  • connect with your local ideal clients;
  • improve your online reputation;
  • send a wave of traffic to your law firm’s main website;
  • connect with the legal professionals you already know;
  • meet other legal professions that you wish you knew; and
  • help your law firm’s main website show up higher in the search engines.

Imagine if all of your social medias were already set up. When you post a note on one site it immediately shows up on many of the other profiles. In a matter of minutes you can notify hundreds of people about a speaking engagement, a recent case result, or an important change in the law.

Often, one trusted employee within your law firm can quickly master the easy steps to effectively use social media. As you watch the progress and see the results, many of the other attorneys in the office will come up with additional information that can quickly be added. Before you know it, your law firm becomes part of the conversation on many of the most popular social media websites for your particular niche areas. Even if you are a solo-practitioner, you can quickly see a huge return on your investment with a small investment of your time.

Top Social Media Sites for Attorneys

The Domino Effect – Why Social Media Multiplies Your Efforts and Saves You Time

In order to achieve a dominating presence on the internet for your particular niche markets, your social media profiles must be created, optimized, connected, and socialized in the most popular social media sites. When the social media sites are set up correctly, the information you create will spread like wildfire all over the internet. One message seen in hundreds of places by people searching for a solution to their legal problem.

Consider these two scenarios:

Scenario 1: A lawyer that does not have a social media presence authors an informative article on some legal topic related to his favorite niche area. The article is published on an article marketing website. During the next thirty days approximately 120 views read the article. Not bad, but now consider the second scenario.

Scenario 2: A lawyer with a strong social media presence writes an informative article on some legal topic related to his favorite niche area.

  • The article is published to an article marketing website.
  • A summary of the article is published on the attorney’s website with a link to the original article.
  • A post is created on the law firm’s Facebook page describing the article. That post automatically feeds into the attorney’s Twitter account.
  • The post on the Twitter account automatically goes to the status update on the attorney’s LinkedIn profile.
  • The lawyer posts another short description of the article on the law firm’s blog that links to the website and the original article.
  • The law firm’s blog entry is immediately displayed on hundreds of other sites through the RSS feed.
  • The lawyer “bookmarks” the articles and several of the other links just created on the lawyer’s StumbleUpon and Delicious pages.
  • Many other posts or notes are updated on several of the attorney’s other online profile pages such as MerchantCircle.
  • Each of the law firm’s fans, friends, subscribers and connections, and subscribers are notified about the new article. Several of these people decide to share it with other friends or on their own social media websites by pushing a “like” button.
  • During the next thirty days, the article receives over 2,000 viewers. Additionally, the search engines will start to see that article and the law firm’s main website as an authority on that particular niche area. For years to come the attorney will receive additional traffic from the law firm’s potential and ideal clients. Many of those potential client’s will contact the firm to solve their problem in that particular niche area.

Amazingly, creating that entire rush of traffic to the articles and websites discussing the article took the attorney less than 10 minutes. As a result of those extra few minutes, the article received 16 times the amount of traffic just within the first month.

If you are wondering why so many people are using social media, this discussion should help you understand that social media is not a fad. It is a new way of communicating the same information but with better more effective technologies.

Now do you understand what we mean by “Domino Effect?” The best social media sites are interconnected which means they communicate with each other. By multiplying your efforts you can quickly gain a huge advantage over your competition that does not yet understand how to harness the power of social media. Used effectively, social media will further increase the traffic to your website and improve the overall search rankings of the website.

Want to Learn More

Contact us for a free demonstration. We can show you examples of how social media marketing can provide a huge return on your investment. We have helped other attorneys with little to no internet experience quickly master ways to effectively use social media. Or visit our website at Social Media Tips for Attorneys.

Internet LAVA
Local: (281) 587-0100
Toll Free: 1 (800) 292-LAVA (5282)