Practice Development for Expert Witnesses
Beryl Vaughan, Consultant
Nationwide

Email go@forensicexpertpro.com or Call (415) 302-9589

Glossary

Marketing and Practice Management: Know the Lingo

By Beryl Vaughan

Glossary

Marketing and Practice Management: Know the Lingo

By Beryl Vaughan

You’ll hear some of these terms and may not understand. No judgment.

→ SEO ( Search Engine Optimization )

Techniques to improve your ranking in a Google search.

SEO is “Seach Engine Optimization.” SEO is using SEO techniques to improve the ranking of your website on a Google search page. Medical-Legal SEO is quite different than, say, e-commerce. The rarity of profession-centric search terms, and rarity of content on the site must dovetail to  “rank” higher than others in your field.  Learn more at Is Google God?

Google’s “rules” are an algorithm. Google’s algorithms are updated routinely and so secretive that SEO experts do a lot of guessing.

If a client searches “forensic mental health expert” what will they see?  How about “expert in neurosurgery?”

In the past, SEO relied on keywords (stuffing pages with the words you think people are using to find you.)

Google now dings you for this.

Full-on SEO experts are expensive and don’t often deliver in niche practices because it’s a small world with unique relevance. Also, medical-legal work relies on hard science (see Daubert) and SEO is focused on sales industries.

The single most important element to rank well with Google is how long your website has been online. Only 4% of sites newer than 2 years appear in the early pages of results (according to one source.)

Therefore, “young sites” are at a disadvantage that time will improve. That doesn’t mean your newish site (or site name) can’t be found, only that it may have to take a  number in line after less relevant sites.

→ SERP ( Search Engine Results Pages )

Where your site appears in the results. Page 1 or page 10,000. SEO can improve the SERP.

SERP stands for “Search Engine Results Pages.” This is what you analyze to see if your SEO is working.

If your SEO isn’t working, your SERP reveals how far “down” the list on the Google results page you are appearing in a search using targeted terms.

I searched for “expert witness marketing” and my site appears on page 2. That is fine because only one competitor appears among people who are not truly my competitors. 

→ “UI” User Interface

How users interact with your site.

UI means “User Interface.” This is the relationship between your website and how visitors interact with it.

““The goal of user interface design is to produce a user interface which makes it easy (self-explanatory), efficient, and enjoyable (user-friendly) to operate a machine in the way which produces the desired result. This generally means that the operator needs to provide minimal input to achieve the desired output, and also that the machine minimizes undesired outputs to the human.” (Wikipedia)

When UI is effective, users travel through your website, hopefully delighted by the ease of interacting with your site.

UI website Design focuses on solid navigation: links, menu, content-related introduction and reference on other pages of the site, even clicking on a phone # that results in your phone # being dialled (on cell.) 

UI brings together concepts from interaction design, visual design, and information architecture.”  Usability.gov.

UI and UX (User Experience) are closely tied and overlap in some cases.

→ “UX” User Experience

Does the user enjoy your site? Despise your site? Or simply become bored?

UX is “User Experience.”  the user’s experience on your site includes proper UI.

The UX is how you feel about the site when you get there. Good UX produces:

  • Engagement. People enjoy traversing your site. It is relevant and attractive, even delightful.
  • Interaction. For example, the user reads an article, spending enough time to show they are absorbing what is discussed.
  • Continued Interaction. After reading one page, they pursue more content, reading more articles or content. They visit your About page, Contact page or click on an email interface.

This is accompished with good UI and UX.

You may have a website and the UI and U X is “broken.” Things don’t work, people “bounce” onto the page then leave quickly, they click on things and they don’t work, in short, the site is malfunctioning.

This is fixable. I discuss website repair and website audits elsewhere on this site. This is an expert’s interaction with your site looking at UI and UX as if they are your potential client to determine if the experience is working or where it needs fixing. In my experience, existing websites usually need UI and UX fixes.

Of note is that website design and UI shifts with time as CSS Coding evolves and the expectations of users evolve. For example, the use of mobile devices means the site must be easy to use on a cell phone. 

Your SERP will go down if your site isn’t “mobile responsive.” Google has made it a priority that sites that work with a mobile world rank higher than those that don’t.

→ Data-Mining and Analytics

Scientific research and data-mining are essentially the same:

Information-gathering informs findings and, ultimately, decisions. 

“Data-Mining” is the process by which information is acquired and calculated. It can be a good witch or a bad witch.

Here’s how it works: data-mining software will crawl the web accumulating publicly available info, which is then populated into a listing for the doctor.  Common sources are the NPI database, Doximity (a base source for other sites) and sites with high SEO and the information they provide about you. Hospital listings are more likely to come up under your name than, say, your private practice.  

For example, you may have a listing on Vitals.com that you didn’t make yourself. That is because Vitals.com data mines the internet for doctors and “fills in the blanks” with what it finds. It may not be accurate but it can be repaired.

Good Witch.  Analytics is also a data-gathering term. “Data” is a neutral word. We will use data to determine if your user is having a good UI and UX on your website, for example. We don’t sell the information; it is for internal purposes only.

The most well-known data-mining tool for the website owner is Google Analytics. GA applies metrics that track the performance of your website: how many people are visiting your site and what they do once they get there.  Google Analytics is a free Google feature.  A code is provided to you by the Analytics site. You then place the code on your website.  Later you can visit your Google Analytics dashboard and learn more about who visited your site and how they moved through the content you wrote.

I also rely on several other analytics services, both free and paid, to learn which visitors are to be taken seriously and which not.

One data mining site tells me how long the person spent on a page. Another records the user’s actual behavior on the site (maintaining strict confidentiality and without gathering personal information about the user.)

As a matter of SEO techniques I use on clients’ websites, data-mining provides me with invaluable information that I can use to improve the site. This way the next user has a better experience.

→ Website “Hosting” “Domain Registration,” “Platform.”

Websites are the result of the interface between software and what the viewer sees.

That software requires an unveiling (or de-vailing), if you will, that enables it to be viewed.

The platform and host, together, make this possible.

Domain Registration. The domain is the website name “ERdoctor.com,” “medical-legal.com,” “mdexpertwitness.com.” To determine if a domain is available, many sites have a tool where you type in what you want and they tell you if that name is available. If it is, you can pay a nominal fee to reserve it for yourself.

As long as you pay the annual registrar’s fee, that domain is unavailable to anyone else. The cost is about $15/year but your name and address become public if you don’t purchase a $20-30 annual service to hide your personal information and instead use a third party domain registrar. Otherwise, ownership of a domain is not confidential. See public databases ICANN and WHOIS.

Website Hosting. Once your domain name is registered, and you’re ready to build a website, it must be “hosted.” A website hosting service is used. The site host

“offers the facilities required for them [a website] to create and maintain a site and makes it accessible on the World Wide Web. “

–Wikipedia

Hosting services can be good or awful.

Customer support separates the wheat from the chaff. GoDaddy, for example, is not as responsive to questions, or flexible about negotiating fees as, for example, Siteground. GoDaddy will also leave you languishing on chat or on the phone for a loooong time to get service. Siteground answers support chats almost immediately and will stay with you as long as you need. there are hundreds of hosting services.

Website Platform. A Platform is the interface software on which the site is built. WordPress.org is free and the most widely used platform for a business website. DIY platforms, like Wix or Squarespace are not as flexible as WordPress and have worse SEO. They are better suited to personal websites, rather than business sites. 

My

Domain is forensicexpertpro.com,

Hosted with Siteground, and

Platform is WordPress.org (not .com).*

→ Adwords

Google Adwords is an “advertising” service from Google.

The method is an auction.

You select a search phrase and bid to appear in the Ads section of a Google results page.

It is ethical to advertise if the message is honest and appropriate, delivered with integrity.

Adwords. Do a Google search and you will likely see, at the top of the page, a few entries with “Ad” in a box. It means the business paid Google to run a crafted message in the Ad position.

Prices are established by auction.

Common words are the most expensive.

Luckily, your practice isn’t common. A search for “Forensic Psychiatry” or “Expert Witness in [fill in your medical specialty]” might produce your ad at $4.00 or $6.00 or whatever is the winning bid. You pay this amount every time your ad appears AND someone clicks on it.

Keep a close eye on the costs by checking your Adwords account routinely. One expert ran up $5,000 in Adwords and had no idea, insult to injury: no results.

Attorneys are looking for sage advisors, not toll-free numbers.

Google often offers a credit for a trial. It can be $150-500. Whatever they offer, I recommend you try Adwords. Choose to bid on those words an attorney would use for someone of your area of expertise, and carefully selected for your practice and target client.

→ Customer Service

“Client Supportive” or “Customer Service” is NOT the same as the concept “the Customer is Always Right.”

Regarding your medical-legal opinions, the customer (attorney) and you may not agree about your findings. Your job is to produce unbiased opinions regardless of whether the attorney likes the result or not. The “Customer” may not be happy about it; that is irrelevant to an expert witness.

However, the administrative end of your relationship with the attorney can follow a Customer Service model: Invoicing, responding to emails, case management can support the ease by which the attorney’s staff works with you.

Customer service is not the usual model for expert witnesses, though most experts are professional and treat their clients with respect and a desire to be helpful in all but their opinions.

* Caveat: Siteground is not paying for any reference in this article.

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