ForensicExpertPro Practice Development for Expert WitnessesBeryl Vaughan, Consultant | Nationwide + California HQ

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Glossary

Marketing and Practice Management

By Beryl Vaughan

→ SEO ( Search Engine Optimization )

SEO is “Seach Engine Optimization,” meaning techniques to improve the ranking of your website on a Google search page. When a potential client is looking for someone like you, SEO is tricky. The right combination of rarity of 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?

Because Google holds its techniques close to the chest, SEO often relies on educated guesses and educated speculation. If a client searches “forensic mental health expert” what will they see?  Google often changes the rules it develops to determine ranking. This is called an algorithm.  In the past, SEO mostly 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 usually expensive and can’t always (or ever) deliver. It’s a hard science. 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. More on  Is Google God? and Breakable Rules.

→ SERP ( Search Engine Results Pages )

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.

→ Cross-Platform

UX is “user experience.”  When I refer to website “repair” I am considering changes to a website so it provides a better experience for your visitors (UX.)  Website Wins and Fails goes into more detail about how good and bad UX impacts your client. A few quick examples, websites designed before large monitors became commonplace, or designed with a defunct coding language html, produce an awkward layout and visual artifacts. Some sites are simply “broken.”

The “Email me” button doesn’t work, internal links (references within your site that, when clicked, should go to another page on your site) don’t actually take you there. Visitors that find a site frustrating will “bounce” out and move on to the next expert.  Revitalizing content on your website is more engaging than a static site because people who’ve been there before are finding something new.

→ “UI” User Interface

“User Interface (UI) Design focuses on anticipating what users might need to do and ensuring that the interface has elements that are easy to access, understand, anduse to facilitate those actions. UI brings together concepts from interaction design, visual design, and information architecture.”  Usability.gov.

How’s ForensicExpertPro.com doing?  You’re the user, do you find the site plays well with others?  If my UI is working, you can see what you’re reading? Does the menu work?  Let me know what you think.  Email me at go@forensicexpertpro.com or use my contact form.

“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)

→ “UX” User Experience

UX is “user experience.”  When I refer to website “repair” I am considering changes to a website so it provides a better experience for your visitors (UX.)  Website Wins and Fails goes into more detail about how good and bad UX impacts your client. A few quick examples, websites designed before large monitors became commonplace, or designed with a defunct coding language html, produce an awkward layout and visual artifacts.

Some sites are simply “broken.” The “Email me” button doesn’t work, internal links (references within your site that, when clicked, should go to another page on your site) don’t actually take you there. Visitors that find a site frustrating will “bounce” out and move on to the next expert.  Revitalizing content on your website is more engaging than a static site because people who’ve been there before are finding something new.

→ Data-Mining and Analytics

“Data-Mining” is accomplished with a gamut of available methods for gathering and analyzing data. Services like Vitals.com may have a listing for you which you did not set up or authorize.  Here’s how it works: data-mining software will crawl the web accumulating info which is then populated into a website listing for the doctor.  Her or his name, address, and any other publicly available data is then dropped into a premade template that shows that information.  Licensing, NPI database info–any public database is a potential source.  One service drops a doctor’s information into a template that always begins “Dr….is an esteemed…” If you aren’t particularly esteemed, or you’re admired and likeable but esteemed is a bit lofty, the result is a little embarrassing. In another venue, Facebook showed us the dark side of data-mining. Our every behavior became a source of profit. Post about a new car you like? Car ads will appear on your page, and so forth. AND the car manufacturer will learn your age, geographic location and other information you provided at the time you signed up for your Facebook page. That’s the dark side of data-mining. There’s a useful, not malicious version.

Data-mining is most often associated with large scale consumer sales, but as a verb it applies to any research, including post-graduate studies. Yes, you are a data-miner!

Analytics is also a data-gathering term. The most well-known online is Google Analytics, 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 rely on several analytics services, both free and paid, to learn which visitors are to be taken seriously and which not. Someone who views more than one page for at least 5 minutes is more likely to be reading what you have to say. That’s the most desirable visitor. Just like any science, data is essential to make informed decisions.  For a creepy chill, check out the Digital Analytics Association Digital Analytics 2016 Industry Compensation Report at https://www.digitalanalyticsassociation.org/compensation.  I note the report ends with “Our special thank you to Google for underwriting this important initiative!”  Hmmm…..

→ Adwords

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”  might produce your add at about $4.00 per instance. Forensic marketing is less than $2.00. The cost can add up–it’s definitely a return on investment consideration. One expert ran up $5,000 in Adwords with little benefit.  Attorneys are looking for sage advisors, not toll-free numbers for PI lawyers. I recommend a trial, using words carefully selected for your practice and target client and a test run with a budget cap to see if Adwords will be effective for you.

→ Client Supportive

Customer service is not the usual model for expert witnesses, though most are professional and treat their clients with respect and a desire to be helpful.  Your opinions are objective and independent of “helpfulness.”  That said, attorneys don’t do things the same way you do. You can reach across the aisle or not. Guess which establishes client goodwill? Here’s an example: attorneys have internal methods to track expenses and pass along charges to their own clients. They may prefer your invoice include their internal case number, perhaps the name of their client and the caption–or prefer it once you offer to do so. It’s not that hard once you automate it into your billing software. Ideally, you take on the “burden” of responsibility to keep your client supported, not the other way around. See Speaking “Lawyer” for more on this.
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