Five Top Tips to Make Your Webpages Show Up In Searches

In recent years, creating successful web pages has become an increasingly complicated art that involves a multitude of considerations.

SEO

A decade ago SEO was the only game in town, and it was easier to anticipate searches that would land up on your page by using key words and exact name titles. Although we have lived with search engine optimization (SEO) for some time, that’s not to say all small business owners are comfortable with it. Many hand it over to an Internet company that does its “magic” in a mysterious place with little accountability about what’s going on. SEO can be like the Hans Christian Andersen fairytale The Emperor’s New Clothes. Your SEO provider may tell you he or she has dressed up your website to attract all visitors but in reality, it’s naked. You probably won’t even realize.

While SEO was once the entire focus of an internet marketing strategy it’s now just an important plank. There are a plethora of new mediums and platforms that we ignore at our peril. But it’s still important to know the secret to a successful web page.

A survey by Moz in 2015 gives some valuable insight about the kinds of pages that will help your SEO. Moz says it surveyed the “opinions of dozens of the world’s brightest search marketers” and ran correlation studies to better understand the workings of the search engine algorithms.  Moz asked the opinions of more than150 leading search marketers who provided expert opinions on over 90 ranking factors.

As well as picking the brains of search experts, the team at Moz, led by Dr. Matthew Peters, ran a wide-ranging correlation study to determine which features of websites and pages are linked to higher search rankings. Moz partnered with a number of organizations including SimilarWebDomainTools, and Ahrefs.

In the world of SEO there are no hard and fast answers but the survey shows the characteristics of web pages that rank higher with the search engines, and most crucially Google, which has updated its algorithms frequently over the last three years. The top five are as follows.

The most important characteristics of successful web pages.

1 Domain Level Link Features

Improving domain level link features is the top way of ensuring your site ranks higher. You should focus on your link profile by getting more links from other well-linked-to pages. Quality links to your site are worth their weight in SEO gold. Consider getting links from local business organizations like chambers of commerce. The importance of links to your site may seem counterintuitive. It doesn’t seem very fair that you may have the highest quality site but a competitor is receiving a better ranking because of the number of authoritative links to his site.

 

Google is focused on returning results from sites that are a leading authority in their market. It’s looking for sites that have proved to be a great resource for people who are seeking answers within your industry.  For that reason it’s important that the sites linking to your are relevant to your industry and not spammy.

 

2 Page Level Link Features

Talking about page-level link features is a technical way of saying you should aim to get high quality links aimed at a single page of your website. According to the 150 experts who were surveyed, good links to your page is rated 8 out of 10 in terms of importance by Google. The search engine also looks at how popular each page of your site is and gives it a ranking. You can improve page level link features by getting links to your site from important bodies or publications such as blogs in your industry. Directories at a local level and sites such as Wikipedia are also important.

 

3 Page Level Key Words and Content Based Features

 

This is the third most important feature and it received a 7.8 out of 10 from the experts. Google is very discerning about content these days. A successful page should target a single, narrow topic. The primary key words should appear in the page’s URL. Google prefers content that’s broken up into headings and you can bold or italics for some key words. Primary key words should appear at least a couple of times in the body and you should use ALT tags for illustrations. See this article about adding alternative text to illustrations on WordPress.

 

4 Page Level Key Word Agnostic Features

 

This one is a bit of a mouthful. It’s nothing to do with religion, rather everything on the page that’s not related to key words. You should make sure your content is functional and easy to read and the right length. I’d suggest at least 500 words for a blog post and 800 words for a web page. Make sure your content is unique to your page and not duplicate. Programs such as Copyscape or Grammarly can scan your pages for duplicate content.

 

5 Engagement and Traffic Query Data

 

It’s important to get visitors involved in your website and to keep them engaged rather than having them bounce quickly off again.

 

There are a number of ways to keep visitors stimulating and engaged and it’s important to consider the appearance of your pages. Today very few people will want to plow through intense, text-rich copy that’s not broken up. If a lot of people are hitting the back button on your pages, it will increase the “bounce rate” which is an indicator that your page is not interesting enough. Some ways to improve engagement include:

  • Encourage visitors to get involved with comments or feedback. Ask questions.
  • Use visually-pleasing informational images, charts, graphs and infographics
  • Use engaging video and embed it in pages and graphics.
  • Link to “related pages” below the primary page content
  • Utilize interactive elements on the page
  • Use interesting images that complement text rather than stock photos.

These are the top five ways of improving the performance of your web pages. There’s no magic bullet, it’s fast-changing and there’s no guarantee your pages will appear on the front page of Google. You should be wary of anyone who tells you they will.

Interested in our page writing service? Email Veritaslegalmedia@hotmail.com.

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February 10, 2016 · 12:20

Why Talcum Powder is Killing Women

Many of the pills and medical devices that have proved deadly are prescribed for serious medical conditions.

But on occasions, we see products that have been linked to harmful side effects that seem to be innocuous. A good case in point is talcum powder. Although talc has been used for more than four decades by women, concerns that it has caused cancer in women have led to a spate of recent lawsuits.

babypowder

Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson was the subject of two class-action lawsuits filed last year.  They claim talcum powder products were responsible for giving women ovarian cancer. The products in question are Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower.

Class action lawsuits were filed in the courts a year after South Dakota resident Deane Berg won her legal claim that Johnson & Johnson was negligent because it failed to warn her that three decades of using Baby Powder put her at greater risk of developing ovarian cancer. Berg was diagnosed with cancer in 2006.

The lawsuits raise the concern that J&J is failing to warn women about the dangers of its talc-based powders. It’s not the first time that this manufacturer has been sued. Johnson & Johnson is currently involved in litigation over FLQ antibiotics. It’s a very common accusation levelled at the pharmaceutical industry where big profits often take precedence over the safety of the people who use their products.

The first cancer trial to be held at a state court is scheduled to start in Feb. 2016, in the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis, Mo. A jury will hear claims brought by Jacqueline Fox, a 61-year-old woman who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer two years ago. Ovarian cancer is a very serious condition and the victim is reported to have undergone many surgeries as well as chemotherapy. She used Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower for female hygiene for more than 35 years and claimed that the company’s failure to warn caused her condition.

A number of medical studies in recent years have suggested the long-term use of talc-based powders by women as a hygiene product is associated with ovarian cancer.

Recently an influential study pooling the results of eight research papers involving almost 2,000 women found an increased danger of between 20 percent and 30 percent for ovarian cancer in women who used talc for “intimate personal hygiene.”

Notwithstanding the mounting evidence of a link between talc and this extremely serious cancer which is associated with the genital use of talcum powder, the manufacturers of this product have consistently failed to warn consumers of the potential dangers.

Lawyers across the United States are reviewing potential lawsuits from women who believe they were made ill by talcum powder. I fully expect to see an increase in lawsuits related to this issue in coming years.

Johnson & Johnson is no stranger to lawsuits. The pharmaceutical giant has faced a class action claim for millions of dollars over its transvaginal mesh products. More than 70,000 mesh-insert cases against a wide range of manufacturers have been consolidated in Charleston in West Virginia. Others have been filed in state courts across the country.

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Facebook as Medium for Serving Divorce Papers

Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have made the change from being time wasting distractions influential media in recent years. fb-logo But social media has not been considered in the past as a means of serving divorce papers – until now. The comments of a judge in a case in New York has raised the possibility of “divorce by Facebook,” CNN reports.

Ellanora Arthur Baidoo from Brooklyn has been trying to divorce her husband for several years, according to her attorney. However, lawyers were unsuccessful in tracking down Victor Sena Blood-Dzraku to serve him the papers. Baidoo was able to reach her husband by phone but he informed her he has no fixed address and no place of work, court documents stated. “He has also refused to make himself available to be served,” the document said.

The report said Baidoo had exhausted other ways of serving the papers on her husband so she filed an application asking for “service by alternate means,” in this case, via social media. Comments made by Justice Matthew Cooper in this case suggest social media may become an acceptable way of serving divorce papers in the future. The judge said the “advent and ascendency of social media,” means sites like Facebook and Twitter are the “next frontier” as “forums through which a summons can be delivered.”

There are still a number of potential issues before Facebook becomes an established part of the divorce process. Before Cooper agreed to the use of Facebook, Baidoo had to prove the Facebook account she intended to use belonged to her husband, and that he consistently logged on to the account and would see the summons. The CNN report said Baidoo’s marriage to Blood-Dzraku started to fail shortly after they were married in 2009 because her husband refused to participate in a Ghanaian wedding ceremony that would include both their families. The couple never lived together.

Lawyers acting for Baidoo have contacted Blood-Dzraku twice on Facebook, according to reports, but he has not responded. Social media has transformed the way we live our lives and interact with each other so it’s natural that it may end up playing a greater part in a wide range of legal proceedings at some point in the future. There are many obstacles and difficulties that are experienced in break-ups and divorces which is why it’s still important to hire an experienced divorce lawyer.

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Ten Top Tips for An Effective Law Firm Blog

Lawyers tend to be fastidious people. They would not be successful in what they do without a keen attention to detail. Appearance is also important to attorneys. When you show up in court, you want to look your best. How can a judge or jury respect your expert opinion, if you don’t respect your own wardrobe?

In saying that many law firms fail to take the same approach to their websites. I still find websites out there that are the equivalent of 1974 in fashion sense. They are wearing facial hair and flairs and look dated. Of course, in terms of web technology you don’t need to look like 1974 to be dated. Looking like 2008 will do the trick.

I’m still struck by the number of lawyers I meet who are not putting new content on their websites. They may have paid a company such as FindLaw a large sum of money to develop their website two years ago and it’s now just out there gathering dust. And they are wondering why the leads are falling off.

blogger

Many lawyers are suspicious about blogging and the addition of new content to their website. Attorneys are busy people who have little time to blog and when they do they can make the mistake of writing the kind of ‘insider’ content that would interest other lawyers like themselves, but be of little interest to potential clients or the general public. They may also be suspicious of hiring writers and researchers to help them, even though it’s a lot quicker and easier for them to review content and make additions than to write it from scratch. There are many reasons why your law firm or any other small business will benefit from regularly posted blog content.

A law firm blog is one of the most effective and cost effective ways to promote your business. If it’s done right it can drive traffic to your website at a fraction of the cost of a pay-per-click campaign, it can increase your client base and establish you as an authority in your field. Occasionally, blogs can have a direct result. In any given year a small number of blogs I write about auto accidents, have led directly to sign ups from people who have searched for the name or the name of a family member. The same can be true with crime blogs.

Here are 10 tips for an effective law firm blog.

1 Write your Blog to Meet your Customer’s Needs. You may be very happy about the fact you have just received an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell, but your potential clients won’t. Not only have they probably never heard of Martindale Hubbell but they are more interested in finding out how long their bankruptcy proceedings will take, whether they are eligible for workers’ compensation, whether they will lose their home in their divorce or whether they can make a claim against a trucking company for their injuries.

2 Answer the Question. If your potential client wants to know how long he has to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in North Carolina, write a blog titled ‘How Long Do I Have to Bring a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in North Carolina?’ However, you should vary up the FAQs. The more you have out there on your website, the more likely you will get an exact match with a potential client’s question. If he or she likes your answer, you are more likely to get a call.

3 Be Local. There are a number of outsourced cookie-cutter writing services there that will deliver generic blogs for you. Some of them may be written by services in places such as India which will deliver vanity phrases and links that can harm your website. A few years ago, it was easier to get onto the first page of a Google search by stuffing your content with phrases such as “Atlanta personal injury lawyer.” Today a series of complex algorithm changes means Google will penalize this kind of writing. You need to be writing about real issues and events in your local community in the way your community newspaper would have done in years gone by. It will resonate with the local people you want to get as clients as well as the search engines. If you are supporting a charity or doing community work, blog it.

4 Develop a Blogging Style. You should develop a consist form of writing that’s not overly formal. A blog is the human face of your business and you may develop a fan base among people who know you. If you are hiring a writer, he or she should get to know you and your style and write accordingly. Throttle back on the sales pitch. I usually find a subtle call to action at the foot of a blog will suffice for the sales pitch.

5 Be Substantial. A word count of about 400 will help your blog to be found online. If it’s longer than this, you should consider breaking it up into categories.

6 Post Regularly. It stands to reason that the more content you have out there, the more likely potential clients will find your blogs. There’s not a lot of consensus about how often you should blog but you should post blogs regularly because if you are creating a steady stream of writing and it stops, it will look as if you are out of date or don’t care about your online appearance. Aim for at least one blog a week but two or three is better.

7 Use Visuals. It’s an increasingly visual age so why are we still inundating people with blocks of text? As a former newspaper reporter, I’m painfully aware of how the younger generation gets its media in a different way than we used to. Many people in the younger generation will watch the video of a news story rather than reading the text. So embed a video in your blog. There’s nothing wrong with a video of the attorney saying almost the same thing as he is saying in the blog. And use original photographs and illustrations too. There are also a number of infographic services that can give you a different kind of blog.

8 Plan your Content. Consider planning content six months or even a year ahead. This will allow you to blog for seasonal trends or events and to ensure you don’t run out of ideas.

9 Share. Putting your blog on your website is just the first step. This is useful and unique content that can also go on social media as well as blogs for legal directories to get your name out there. Make sure you have sharing buttons under your content and use a service such as HootSuite to send out content to a number of social media sites.

10. Monitor performance. Sites such as Google Analytics will allow you to check on which blog posts and terms are the most popular. This can guide you on what sort of blogs you should be writing in the future. You can also get an idea of the popularity of your content if it is shared on sites such as Facebook by the number of likes it receives.

Contact Veritas Legal Media at veritaslegalmedia@hotmail.com

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Fatal Accidents Double At West Virginia’s Fracking Sites

The boom in natural gas in West Virginia has brought prosperity to some previously deprived parts of the state. However, as the industry booms more workers are paying the ultimate price by losing the lives on the job, according to new figures.

Statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics found 13 workers in the state’s oil and gas industry died during the five-year period from 2008 to 2012. The figure is alarming because it’s more than double the number of workers who lost their lives during the previous five-year period from 2004 to 2008 when five workers died, according to the bureau.

fracking

The Charleston Gazette reported the rise in worker deaths comes at a time when natural gas production in West Virginia has also more than doubled. The increase in deaths coincides with a rush to tap into the Marcellus Shale reserves. Oil and gas extraction activities also more than doubled in that time, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

West Virginia is not alone in paying for the increase in production in lives. Other states that are playing their part in America’s energy boom such as Texas, North Dakota and Pennsylvania have seen increases in worker fatalities, according to the Houston Chronicle.

As a West Virginia injury lawyer I find this trend troubling. It suggests these industries are not putting adequate resources into protecting their workers. The Chronicle reported a decline in deaths in just one state, Wyoming, the only one of eight major states to tap into the energy boom to have “engaged in a sustained state-sponsored effort to reduce workplace fatalities.”

The figures have sparked calls to the Obama administration to launch an initiative to prevent major industry disasters and to address safety problems in the fast-growing oil and gas business.

As well as deaths in the oil and gas industry, worker injuries occur regularly. Last year a fire at an Antero Resource’s natural gas drilling site in Doddridge County, West Virginia injured eight workers.

The Charleston Gazette reported the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is considering expanding its “process safety management,” or PSM, rule, which requires employers to anticipate potential accident scenarios and take steps to avoid such incidents before they occur. OSHA is considering eliminating the PSM rule exemptions for oil and gas drilling and servicing, and for production facilities.

In a letter to OSHA, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board argued that the exemptions for oil and gas industry sites should be eliminated from the PSM rule.

The CSB said its own review discovered 1,285 incidents oil and gas installations between 2009 and February 2014 that resulted in injuries to workers, deaths, evacuation, damage of more than $500,000 to the facilities or “acute environmental damage.”

A separate report suggests the arrival of oil and gas extraction (known as fracking) industries, increase fatalities on roads around sites.

An analysis of traffic deaths and census data in six drilling states found in some places, “fatalities have more than quadrupled since 2004 — a period when most American roads have become much safer even as the population has grown,” stated Associated Press.

Oil and gas extraction has brought increased prosperity to parts of West Virginia but at a high price. The workers in these industries do a valiant job but clearly face danger on a regular basis.

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Gay and Lesbian Immigration Issues in the Wake of Landmark Ruling

In June, 2013, the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in the landmark case of United States vs. Windsor, which barred gay couples from the federal benefits attached to marriage. After the ruling, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano made it clear her immigration agents would start accepting marriage-based visa applications from same-sex couples.

Napolitano stated in a press release “that all married couples are treated fairly and equally in the administration of our immigration laws.”

Janet Napolitano

The Eligibility of Lesbian and Gay Couples for Green Cards

The most significant change in the wake of the June, 2013, ruling is the eligibility of those in a lesbian or gay marriages for green cards on behalf of foreign national spouses.

DOMA had meant numerous same-sex couples were forced to live outside of the U.S., or separately from their partners, due to its denial of federal immigration benefits to same-sex couples.

The new ruling means gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual foreign nationals will now be eligible for the immigration benefits that others have received, provided they were married in a country or state that performs same-sex marriages. Currently, 17 U.S. states and the District of Columbia recognize same sex marriages. Unions and partnerships are allowed in Colorado.

The law is still developing in this fast-moving field but it should also include the recognition of step-child and step-parents relationships for same sex couples as well as deportation defenses and visa petitions for immigrants and non-immigrants.

Businesses

The Department of State will now recognize same-sex relationships and issue the appropriate visa classifications for people in same-sex relationships. This means the same-sex partner of an individual with an employment-based visa can receive a visitor B Visa and be able to join their partner.

Asylum Issues

There has been plenty of publicity about Russia’s controversial anti-gay laws, but the sad reality is members of the GLBT community are persecuted across the world. If you are in the U.S. and you face possible prosecution due to homosexuality in your home country, you may be able to claim asylum.

To obtain asylum you must be present in the U.S. in the first place. See the information about asylum provided by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

You must demonstrate a history of past persecution and a have well founded grounds to show you face future persecution. Members of the GLBT community fall into a particular social group that allows them to apply for asylum or withholding of removal.

However, the laws of your home country are relevant. If you are from a nation that has liberal laws towards homosexuality, you are less likely to gain asylum than if you are from a country that has strict laws against homosexuality such as parts of the Middle East and Africa.

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Affluenza and Why Being Rich May Get You Out of Jail Time After a DWI

Sixteen-year-old Ethan Couch, drove a pickup truck pickup at up to 70 mph drunk. He caused a crash that killed four pedestrians who were standing at the roadside.

In a case that has made national headlines, a judge sentenced him to 10 years’ probation. The reason? He came from a rich family.

Ethan

That’s not a totally accurate summary but it’s the way the case has played out in the media. The judge sentenced Couch after hearing a psychologist called by the defense, arguing he suffers from “affluenza,” a condition in which children from rich families behave irresponsibly due to a sense of entitlement.

Before the sentencing the psychologist, Dick G. Miller, testified that the teen’s life could be salvaged with a couple of years of treatment and no contact with his parents.

Miller explained Couch’s parents gave him “freedoms no young person should have.” He called the teen a product of “affluenza,” a condition whereby his family felt that wealth bought privilege and there was no rational link between his behavior and its consequences.

According to the Star Telegram, Miller testified that the teen was never disciplined, and enjoyed freedoms “no young person should have,” including the freedom to drive since the age of 13.

“The teen never learned to say that you’re sorry if you hurt someone. If you hurt someone, you sent him money.”

Local station KHOU reported that Miller told the hearing Couch’s family “felt that wealth bought privilege and there was no rational link between behavior and consequences.” The defense argued that Couch’s parents were as much to for the crime as their son, and that Couch’s life could be turned around if he cut off all contact with them for a one- to two-year period of intense psychological treatment.

The story has led to much discussion about so-called “affluenza.” In a subsequent story Associated Press quoted experts who said “affluenza,” should not be a criminal defense. The term was first used in the late 1990s by Jessie O’Neill when she wrote the book “The Golden Ghetto: The Psychology of Affluence.”

Dr. Gary Buffone, a Jacksonville, Fla., psychologist it has since been used to describe a condition in which children — usually from richer families — feel a sense of entitlement, are irresponsible, make excuses fort their bad behavior, and occasionally “dabble in drugs and alcohol.” He said the term was never intended to be used as a defense in a criminal trial or to justify such behavior.

The case has led to something of a perception that although you may not be able to get away with murder if you are rich, you can get away with intoxication manslaughter – the charge in this case.

Eric Boyles, who lost a wife and daughter in the crash, said told CNN: “There are absolutely no consequences for what occurred that day. The primary message has to absolutely be that money and privilege can’t buy justice in this country.”

However “affluenza”, is less about being rich than about the consequences of a dissolute lifestyle that money may have contributed to. Couch appears to have grown up in an argument dominated household where parenting was poor.  The judge likely factored in factors such as rehabilitation and restitution, when sentencing Couch. The sentence may be as much about not punishing a teen for the inadequacies of his parents as it is about wealth.

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