Practice Development for Expert Witnesses
Beryl Vaughan, Consultant

Email or Call (415) 302-9589


Marketing and Practice Management: Know the Lingo

By Beryl Vaughan


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 )

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. I again refer you to 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.

→ “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.”

How’s 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 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 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  I note the report ends with “Our special thank you to Google for underwriting this important initiative!”  Hmmm…..

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

Domain Registration. The domain is the website name “,” “,” “” A registration service provides a search tool to see what’s available and what’s not.

Once you find a name that hasn’t been taken by someone else, you register it.

Registration reserves it just for you. 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 service to hide it and instead show contact info as the registrar and not you. 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. “


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. Siteground answers support chats almost immediately and will stay with you as long as you need.

Website Platform. A Platform is the software used to create the website. Examples of Platforms are WordPress (the most widely used for a business website,) Wix (mostly personal websites) or Squarespace (a module based DIY site with rigid design options that are easy to use but look like all the others.)


Domain is,

Hosted with Siteground, and

Platform is (not .com).*

→ 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 ad at about $4.00 per instance the word was searched.

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 of $100/month for a trial. Try it. Use words an attorney would use and carefully selected for your practice and target client.

→ Client Supportive

“Client Supportive” is NOT the same as Customer Service.

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. 

Helpful vs. Objective. 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. The aisle being the administrative element of your practice.

Goodwill. Guess which establishes client goodwill?

Examples. Attorneys have internal methods to track expenses and pass along charges to their own clients. They may prefer your invoice to 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.

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

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