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Lawyers make up just one percent of the population of the United States, but they maintain a full six percent of the blogs.  Having a search engine marketing/SEM blog has brought in new business for over half of solo practitioners and small firms that try it.  So how can you get on board?  Search engine marketing with blogs means more than just making sure you have the right keyword count in your articles.  If you want to get the most out of SEM blogs for lawyers, you'll need the right tips.  Here are five to get you started.

SEM Blog Tip #1: Make Your Headlines Count

While making your law blog entries creative is a great idea, you may be surprised to find that it's usually in your best interest to make your headlines more straightforward.  When SEM blogs are indexed by Google and other search engines, the headline is what they take the most notice of.  A headline that doesn't include the keyword phrases you're search engine optimizing for won't lead nearly as many people to your SEM blog.

Try coming up with punchy but descriptive headlines for SEM blogs that give a great idea of what's to come.  Numbered lists are sometimes a great way to come up with a good headline.  “7 Ideas For Keeping Your Divorce Amicable” could be a workable headline for a divorce attorney, and “What's Next in Mobile Marketing for Lawyers?  6 Possibilities” would be a great headline for an SEM blog focusing on marketing topics.

SEM Blog Tip #2: Don't Ignore Social Media

Most web users today share content of some type or another with social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.  While LinkedIn has gotten the most attention from lawyers with SEM blogs, you can no longer afford to leave Facebook and Twitter out of your web marketing strategy.

Facebook, the single most popular social media platform in the United States and the world, is a great place to share SEM blog entries or video blogging.  You don't have to stop there, though.  Ask your Facebook fans some open-ended questions.  If you're already maintaining SEM blogs, ask your Facebook friends or fans to give you more blogging ideas or ask questions about the law for you to answer in blog form.

Twitter is a little harder for some attorneys to learn to use for their SEM blogs, but its number of users has doubled for two years in a row and may double once again this year.  That means you're going to need to get used to Twitter's 140 character limit, and link your most mobile-friendly SEM blog entries with a short headline as “tweets.”  Why mobile friendly?  Twitter users are notoriously early adopters of technology, and more of them access the web with mobile devices than users of other mainstream social media sites. 

SEM Blog Tip #3: Open the Floor For Comments

Most SEM blogs have a comments section by default, but some attorneys decide to close comments in order to maintain more control over their blog.  This is a huge mistake: comments are one of the places where you can really set your SEM blog apart from the competition.  An active comments section will generate more links back to your blog entries and will engage your readers more.

If someone asks a question in your comments section, you may want to answer it with another comment, or you may want to shake it up by making a whole new blog entry about the question.  Making a new blog entry is an especially good idea if you've heard the same question repeated by several different people over the last few weeks, months or years.

When comments are particularly interesting, or if a good discussion has started in your comment section, you may want to link the comments instead of your entry using social media sites.  SEM blogs that can show an active, intelligent comments section are more likely to be seen as authoritative.

SEM Blog Tip #4: Moderate Your Comment Section

Not all comments on SEM blogs are helpful to discussion.  You should set up notifications about new blog comments, and make sure that any comments made on your SEM blog appear to be relevant.  Too often, otherwise good SEM blogs end up littered with spam comments from other websites trying to piggyback on your hard work and get an extra inbound link.

Delete right away any comments that appear to be littering your SEM blog with keyword spam.  SEM blogs with a great deal of this comment spam may be caught by Google's spam filters and find their search engine results pages declining fast.

The same can be said for any comments on SEM blogs that are clearly “trolling”: made just to get a rise out of you.  Comments that involve extensive name-calling or clearly deliberate misinterpretations of the law (especially very strange ones) are likely to be made by people who just want to make trouble for your SEM blog.  It's usually best to ignore and delete these comments rather than giving the commenters the satisfaction of your angry reply.

Please note: this doesn't mean that you should immediately delete a comment if it disagrees with your article.  Disagreement and discussion can actually be good for your SEM blog, as long as you keep it civil and try to inform and educate.  Deleting any comment that you think isn't positive enough will make other people much less likely to comment or discuss your articles.

SEM Blog Tip #6: Check Your ROI

The point of SEM blogs is to generate buzz and get more clients working with your law firm.  Even if you're having a blast writing SEM blog entries, you need to verify that what you're doing has actually been effective.

Using analytics tools is important so that you can see exactly where your web traffic is coming from and how much of it is attributable to your SEM blog.  If you're seeing certain topics or keywords that keep bringing clients in and generating conversions, you may want to keep your blog focused on those topics or keywords.  If something isn't working, analytics lets you know so that you don't keep making the same mistakes over and over.

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