Top in Google Search Results: Another Self-Check of My Blogging Results in the Search Engines -- My Blog Posts are Doing Very Well

Today, I did another "spot check" of how my personal blog posts are performing in various search engines, Google as well as Yahoo and Ask.com. (I didn't bother with Bing, maybe I'll go back and check Bing later.  I don't like Bing, it's a personal thing.)

I was pleasantly surprised to find that my blog posts are doing very, very well in search results.  I'm very happy, truth be told:  many of these posts were written pre-Panda much less Penguin and Hummingbird.

Why are my posts so successful in grabbing and holding the top search result spots in searches numbering in the millions?

I've got posts written 7 or 8 years ago that are holding in the top results on the first page of searches with literally millions of results provided.  That's wonderful, and I'm proud of this accomplishment.

Now, what am I doing?  I'm not posting daily - heck, on my fiction blog I'm rarely posting at all.  I'm not buying keywords and I'm not researching SEO for hours here.

Here's what I believe:  I think I'm getting these results because I have always written with the reader in mind and how they will be searching for the information (not how Google will organize it).

Bottom line, my consistency in top Google search results is, in my humble opinion, because I have always written with the idea of sharing information with my reader.  I ponder who my reader is -- and what they will be putting into that Google search bar to find the information that I have for them.  The readers of my simplicity blog are not the same as the readers of my lawyer-writer blog, for example.

Google wants to help the reader and the top results will be those sites (articles, posts) with content that best serves the query entered by that person.  Experts now opine that writers of web content wanting to get top results in the Google search engine should be pondering "topics" in queries instead of keywords.  

Which sorta goes with my attitude on web writing since I first started back in 2004: my goal is helping people with what I'm placing on the web, and I'm thinking about who these people are and how to reach them.  I'm not targeting Google, I'm targeting the people who I want to read my work.  

Focusing efforts on helping the reader instead of cracking Google's algorithms works.  

Attached below and viewable in Scribd is  my December 2013 Spot Check.  The Attachment with screenshots of the search engine results themselves as supporting documentation is also available on my Scribd page.

Granted, not all of my posts are number one with a bullet in every search engine query.  However, a lot of them are -- and given my track record on word count and my past posting schedule, I'm really happy with what I've found today -- particularly after Google's big change regarding keyword SEO.

A few examples from today's Spot Check:

Yahoo Query: should you use legalzoom rocketlawyer 
EverydaySimplicity has the 1st entry of 11 entries on the 1st page (total results for this search = 591,000) for a post written on August 9, 2008 (my post is 5 years, 4 months old)

Google Query: win flea war with salt 
EverydaySimplicity has the 1st entry of 10 entries on the 1st page (total results for this search = 58,600,000) for a post written on June 20, 2012 (my post is 1 year, 6 months old)

Google Query: admitting tweets as evidence 
RebaKennedyLawyerWriter has the 1st entry of 10 entries on the 1st page (total results for this search = 4,660,000) for a post written on February 28, 2011 (my post is 2 years, 10 months old)

Google Query: lonely at the keyboard 
RebaKennedyLawyerWriter has the 10th entry of 10 entries on the 1st page (total results for this search = 7,600,000) for a post written on November 9, 2007 (my post is 6 years, 1 month old

Google Query: elements of thriller vs mystery 
RebeccaKennedy has the 10th entry of 10 entries on the 1st page (total results for this search = 4,140,000) for a post written on November 24, 2006 (my post is 7 years, 1 month old)

Google Query: Texas child protective services workers arrested 
BackseatLawyer has the 5th entry of 10 entries on the 1st page (total results for this search = 2,000,000) for a post written on September 30, 2013 (my post is 4 months old)

Here is my full Spot Check:


Google In Depth Articles Feature: Why Not Create a Corresponding In-Depth Articles Section on Your Law Firm Web Site? (Please?)

Have you seen how some of your search results in Google Search include "in-depth articles" now?  (I've posted about this new subset of search results already, go here for details on what Google is doing with "in depth articles" in the results it provides.)

Above:  example of Google Search Results "In-depth articles" 

Well, over at the Unofficial Google Blog yesterday, there was news about a further development with Google's "in depth articles" selection.  Now, if you click on the "in-depth articles" section, you'll get even more of these longer pieces to read and review.

Read that post, "More In-Depth Articles in Google Search," here.

My Suggestion:  Build a Law Firm In-Depth Article Section on the Firm Web Site

Here's what I'm pondering right now -- I think that law firms should be considering this new Google Search categorization as a great opportunity for them to use some of their longer word count stuff -- articles, maybe even briefing or memoranda  -- here.

Lawyers have lots of writing that is too long for a blog post and too cumbersome for a web site page -- but it's work that is quality and worth the read.

Why not create a section on the law firm web site entitled "Long Articles" or "In Depth Articles" and place a few of these longer works online?  Perhaps next to the FAQ page?  or the Publications section?

Two considerations right off the bat:
1.  copyright -- if the item has been published already, say in the local Bar's trade magazine or in a Law Journal somewhere, then you may need to get permission from that publisher to publish the article online on your firm's site;  and
2.  coding -- the publication itself will need to be coded for Google with the appropriate code to alert Google that an in-depth article exists on this portion of the firm's site.

Why do this?

I think that lawyers who do this may see their longer writings hitting the coveted first page of Google Search Results in the "In Depth Article" section if they follow my suggestions here.  That's their benefit.

The bigger benefit is providing this writing -- the research and the analysis -- to readers who can benefit from work that may well be gathering dust in credenza drawers or setting on thumb drives right now.

Could this include briefing filed of record, saying winning appellate briefs?  I think that would be great to have online, especially in instances where there's a hurdle to get access to the public record filing (sure, I'm thinking PACER).

Yes, I'm a geek that reads the briefs, not just the opinions.  Just typing that makes me realize I may need to get out more, think I'll hit the publish button now and go take the dogs for a walk.  Sigh.


Web Writing Tip: Never Write Directly in Your Blog Platform Because You May Lose Your Blog Post - and What to Do if This Happens

Sure, it’s faster and pretty darn easy to write your blog post directly into your platform, whether it’s WordPress or Blogger. It’s faster to get the post done and published and out on the web — and it’s so much easier to insert hyperlinks this way.

I get it. I wrote directly into the little box on the screen for Blogger or WordPress for several years.

Until I was happily writing away, inserted a link or two, and hit the publish button only to have the platform crash. Crash, as in lost.

Everything was gone. The content, the links, the image.

Irritating, obviously. So I heaved a heavy sigh, and rewrote the darn thing. (Google History helped here.) It wasn’t as much fun this time, I didn’t write with as much zip, but the re-creation was not that difficult.

I made sure I saved the stuff a couple of times, to be on the safe side. No worries. I hit publish.

Everything disappeared from the screen. I saw the dreaded “404” error message.

So, I made a phone call to the designer ….

And learned this lesson that I would like to share with you.

Never, and I mean NEVER, write directly into the blogging platform.

Write your blog post in Word, Google Docs, or Scrivener; collect your hyperlinks; get your image ready to go, and then open WordPress or Blogger.

Here are some things I do to make this smoother since, yes, it’s not as fast and speedy to create your post in one place and then transfer it into the platform as it is to do everything in one spot.

1. I write everything into a content draft so I can “select all” and easily drop everything into the blogging platform. I use Scrivener for this, although many of my clients use Word to write their stuff. This is an easier thing to accomplish with WordPress than Blogger for Scrivener pastes — in Blogger, I have to take the time to insert paragraph breaks, etc., and I have to make sure that I’m inserting into “html” and not the “compose” block or things are even more hopper-jawed. It’s a pain, but not enough to make me stop using Scrivener.

2. Links are important in blog posts. I insert hyperlinks into my content as I go because I’ve found that it’s easier to remember what phrase you want to use with the link when the hyperlink is closer to the chosen text than if all your links are listed in a group at the end of your document (or bookmarked or tagged in Pocket, etc.). My practice is to insert the hyperlink immediately below the paragraph I’ve written, and if there are two links, then I insert them in the order they’ll appear in the content.

3. It also helps me to write the title and place it into the top of the content. Not as the title of the Word document or the Scrivener file, but as the first sentence of the post’s content.

4. As soon as I cut (or copy) from Scrivener and paste my entire block of content into the platform, I save it. No categories, no tags, I just save the inserted content immediately.

5. AFTER I save the post in the platform, I take the title I’ve written from the top of the content block and insert it into the title bar. Why? WordPress has given me problems a time or two with crashing when things are placed into the title bar. This way, if there’s a crash, hopefully that content is safely saved. I save again now.

6. Then I edit the post title’s file name (for example, see that little spot in WordPress right below where the title appears) because the platform will save something without a good description like “834” - and unless you change it, that’s what will appear in the hyperlink for your blog post.


Hyperlinks Now Required in Briefs Filed Before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

This is cool.   A new procedural rule becomes effective in December 2013, and now attorneys filing briefs before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit must include hyperlinks in their citations.

New Fifth Circuit Rule 28.2.2 states:

28.2.2 Record References. Every assertion in briefs regarding matter in the record must be supported by a reference to the page number of the original record, whether in paper or electronic form, where the matter is found, using the record citation form as directed by the Clerk of Court.


For multiple record cases, parties will cite “ROA” followed by a period, followed by the Fifth Circuit appellate case number of the record they reference, followed by a period, followed by the page of the record. For example, “ROA.13-12345.123.”

In single record cases, parties cite the short citation form, “ROA,” followed by a period, followed by the page number. For example, “ROA.123.”


RebelMouse Review: What is RebelMouse, Anyway? Is RebelMouse Worth My Time - or Yours?

A notice hit my Gmail inbox today: BisnarChase, a California personal injury law firm, has joined RebelMouse.

Now, I recall joining RebelMouse, too, several months ago. And I’ve never gone back to the RebelMouse since then.

RebelMouse is a Social Media Aggregator.
 However, this notice made me think I might want to give RebelMouse another looksie, so today I went over to RebelMouse and looked at my RebelMouse page.

This afternoon, I added my Pinterest feed to RebelMouse as well as my LinkedIn feed. (I had originally added only Google+ and Twitter). I added my blog feeds, too.

What does this mean? RebelMouse Collects Your Social Media Stuff

It means that when you go to my page on RebelMouse, you will see a nice display of all the things that I’ve added recently on all these sites: my pins, my tweets, my G+ posts, my LinkedIn updates.

Which seems like a nice thing to have all in one place, I suppose. I get why it's being described as a "social aggregator."

Yes, I can go to other RebelMouse pages and see what someone else (or something else - like HuffPo) is posting on these various social media pages - but will I?

Posting on RebelMouse - It's a blog, too?

RebelMouse also offers the opportunity to post on RebelMouse. So I did. And I shared that RebelMouse post on Google+ using the RebelMouse share feature.

However, I’m not sure what I’m suppose to get from RebelMouse. It’s easier for me to post on Google+ and have that post automatically appear on RebelMouse than vice versa (I had to enter new text for the shared post to G+ from RebelMouse).

Also, there’s not an option to share to LinkedIn from RebelMouse, a decided disadvantage but understandable given LinkedIn’s reclusiveness, social-media wise.

Will I return to RebelMouse?  That’s a big question.  I'm not tempted to do this; there is no siren's song akin to Pinterest.

I’m going to play around with RebelMouse for a couple of days or so. However, I’m not breathless with anticipation of a Great New Find here.

Maybe I’ll learn more this week to change my mind. I’ll keep you posted.

Here’s what RebelMouse explains about itself:
RebelMouse organizes your social presence into a beautiful, dynamic and social site -- in seconds. It's based on the idea that people are proud of what they share on social networks, but are starting to feel embarrassed about their websites. RebelMouse is your social front page and automatically updates as you post on social networks as well as when you blog directly on your site.


New York Attorney General Investigation Into Fake Online Reviews (Like Yelp): "Operation Clean Turf" Clamps Down on 19 Companies For Fake Online Reviews

Back in September 2013, the New York Attorney General announced the results of a year-long investigation into fake online reviews, resulting in 19 different companies being nabbed by the New York prosecutor and fined over $300,000.00.

False advertising online via fake reviews?  It's called "astroturfing."

According to the New York AG, false advertising where an SEO company or other business pays someone money for preparing or disseminating a false or deceptive review that may be reasonably assumed to be a neutral, third-party review is a form of "astroturfing."

New York State Attorney General
Eric T. Schneiderman
From the press release:

  • Besides using their own employees to write and post the reviews, the companies hired freelance writers from as far away as the Philippines, Bangladesh and Eastern Europe for $1 to $10 per review.  One SEO company required that freelancers have an established Yelp account, more than 3 months old, with more than 15 reviews (at least half unfiltered), and 10 Yelp "friends," as an attempt to avoid Yelp's advanced review filter. ,,, 
  • Attorney General Schneiderman's office also discovered solicitations on sites such as Craigslist.com, Freelancer.com and oDesk.com to hire people to write fake reviews.  ....
  • The OAG has entered into Assurances of Discontinuance with 19 companies, with penalties ranging from $2500 to just under $100,000.  The practice of preparing or disseminating a false or deceptive review that a reasonable consumer would believe to be a neutral, third-party review is a form of false advertising known as "astroturfing."  Astroturfing is false and deceptive, and it violates, inter alia, New York Executive Law § 63(12), and New York General Business Law §§ 349 and 350.

What does Yelp have to say about it?
"More than 100 million visitors come to Yelp each month, making it critical that Yelp protect the integrity of its content," said Aaron Schur, Yelp's Senior Litigation Counsel. "We take many steps to do this, including the use of automated filtering software, leveraging our vast user community for tips about suspicious content, undercover sting operations, legal action, and cooperation with law enforcement. We applaud NY Attorney General Schneiderman for his willingness to tackle the issue of illegal fake reviews head on, and for his success in shutting down these operators. We look forward to continuing to cooperate with the New York Attorney General's office and any other interested law enforcement office or regulator to protect consumers and business owners from efforts to mislead."

Who got caught for "astroturfing" by the New York Attorney General in September?

Here is the list of 19 companies identified in the news release describing "Operation Clean Turf":

  1. A&E Wig Fashions, Inc. d/b/a A&E and NYS Surgery Center 
  2. A.H. Dental P.C. d/b/a Platinum Dental 
  3. Body Laser Spa Inc. 
  4. The Block Group, LLC, d/b/a Laser Cosmetica and LC MedSpa, LLC 
  5. Bread and Butter NY, LLC d/b/a La Pomme Nightclub and Events Space 
  6. Envision MT Corp. 
  7. iSEOiSEO 
  8. Medical Message Clinic and HerballYours.com 
  9. Metamorphosis Day Spa, Inc. 
  10. Outer Beauty, P.C., Lite Touch Plastic Surgery, P.C., Staten Island Special Surgery, P.C., Sans Pareil Surgical, PLLC
  11. Stillwater Media Group 
  12. Swan Media Group, Inc. and Scores Media Group, LLC 
  13. US Coachways Limousine, Inc. and US Coachways, Inc. 
  14. Utilities International, Inc. d/b/a Main Street Host 
  15. The Web Empire, LLC 
  16. Webtools, LLC and Webtools Internet Solutions Ltd. 
  17. West Village Teeth Whitening Service, LLC; Magic Smile, Inc., aka Magic Smile 
  18. XVIO, Inc. 
  19. Zamdel, Inc. d/b/a eBoxed  


How Does Your Blog Look on a Tablet or Smartphone? Look Here (and Here's Why It's Important).

Traditional blog platforms (think WordPress, Blogger) were designed for desktops and laptops -- not for smartphones and tablets.  Which means that your blog may look strange and hard to read on your IPhone or IPad (or other phone or tablet device) unless you've taken steps to accommodate these new smaller-screen devices.

How can you find out how your blog appears to readers using a smartphone or tablet?  

The easiest way to check is to grab a smartphone or tablet and go to your blog's home page.  Is it hard to read -- are you seeing more of the left sidebar than the posts themselves?

Other ways to check:  go to websites like TestiPhone.com or iPhone tester to see how things look on a smartphone's small screen.

If the blog looks wonky, call your webmaster and get this fixed.

For most blogging platforms, it's an easy fix.  Wordpress has a plugin that solves the problem; Blogger does it automatically.  (Blogger also provides its own preview for how Blogger blogs look on these smaller screen devices.)

Why should you care what device is used to read your blog?

Don't get overwhelmed.  The biggest hurdle here is taking the time to check the blog's appearance on various tablets and smartphones; changing things to accommodate the smaller screen is simple to do.  

It's an important task to undertake as soon as you can, though:  it's estimated that more readers are going to be reading blog posts on smartphones and tablets than desktops and laptops very soon (think weeks or months), so getting your blog adapted for those smaller screens is a priority.

BOTTOM LINE?  A hard to read blog post on a smartphone may remain an unread blog post -- and your time and effort in creating those blog posts deserves better, so make it easy for the smartphone reader to pull up and read what you've written.

For more, check out Forbes' article, " Smartphones, Tablets, Tab-Phones Edging PCs Off The Shelf?" and Econsultancy's take on things in "Smartphones and tablets: five key differences."

Even more? Read this piece written back in 2011 on Wikipedia, where Wikipedians are pondering where most of their readers are reading Wikipedia articles then (2011) and where those readers are going to be reading Wikipedia articles in the future.