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Lawyers, How Will Google’s Latest Mobile Ranking Signal Affect Your Rankings?

Yesterday, Google announced two upcoming changes to mobile search results that can affect your rankings. The first change will be removing the mobile label and the second will be adding a signal that looks for intrusive pop-ups. As you know Google’s job is to deliver and present content with the best possible user experience. If you recall last year, Google sent us all into a frenzy to make sure our websites were mobile friendly, remember? And two years ago they added a mobile-friendly label that would show in the search results like this one:   Well, we’ve seen major changes since then, and a lot of webmasters made a pretty penny making the change for you. In this new update, Google is removing the mobile-friendly label from results but will keep the mobile friendly testing tool and, more importantly, it will remain a ranking signal. The second change has Google looking for mobile results where the content is not hidden by intrusive chats or pop-ups. I can understand why – it’s annoying when I click on a mobile search result and I’m presented an ad or chat when all I want is the content I searched for. Do you feel Read more…

HTTPS Encryption Will Help Your SEO Strategy and Security

At We Do Web Content, we’ve been advising our clients to secure their websites by switching to HTTPS to build trust, security, and increase rankings. Search Engine Journal recently posted a great article showing some top brands using HTTPS and how it can be helpful for your law firm or small business website. So is HTTPS worth it? Let’s take a look at the basics and benefits of this web protocol. What is HTTPS? HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. It is a type of web encryption protocol that facilitates the transfer of data from the website server to your browser when you click a link or type in a URL. The biggest difference between the common HTTP and HTTPS is the secure part. Data transferred through HTTPS is more secure than HTTP sites, especially when it comes to credit card information and passwords. HTTPS and Security HTTPS is mostly known for being an industry standard for websites handling sensitive data and monetary transactions. Your internet banking and shopping sites have been using HTTPS for years to secure your transactions. Of course, no single security protocol can prevent all types of vulnerabilities, but HTTPS makes websites harder to access. Read more…

The Copy Corner: What is the difference between e.g. and i.e.?

You’ve probably come across e.g. and i.e. in other peoples’ writing and you might even use them yourself. But do you know what those acronyms stand for and, most importantly, when to use them? Contrary to what a lot of people believe, they are not synonyms. There is a correct time to use each of them. What does e.g. mean? E.g., or exempli gratia, is Latin for “for the sake of example.” Writers use it to include examples. For example: Birth injuries can come in many forms, e.g., cerebral palsy, caput succedaneum, brachial palsy, fractures. You may be eligible to recover compensation for your economic damages, e.g., medical bills, lost wages, cost of home renovations, etc. What does i.e. mean? I.e., or id est, is Latin for, “that is.” Writers use it to explain more complicated terms or concepts. For example: Caput succedaneum, i.e., swelling of a newborn scalp, may occur after the head sustains continued pressure during delivery. To have an eligible claim, you must prove your case by a “preponderance of the evidence, i.e., more than 50 percent of your evidence must prove your case. How to Remember When to Use E.g. and I.e. Remembering the difference between Read more…

The Copy Corner: Why You Should Avoid Adverbs

Stephen King once wrote, “I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs, and I will shout it from the rooftops.” The truth is, you usually don’t need them to convey your message. What are adverbs and why are they so bad? An adverb modifies a verb, adjective, or other adverb (e.g., ran quickly, slept soundly, jumped excitedly, etc.). They aren’t necessarily bad. But adverbs, like exclamation points, are a crutch some people use in an attempt to make their writing more interesting. However, just like exclamation points, you should use them sparingly. As Grammar Girl notes, they can be redundant or just simply misplaced. These redundancies or misplacements can confuse, distract, or annoy your reader. Redundancies Consider the following sentence: “The boy ran excitedly to the mailbox.” By telling readers that the boy ran to the mailbox, they can surmise that he was excited to get to the mailbox. Including the adverb quickly is therefore redundant. To avoid using an adverb in this case, you can either remove the adverb (“The boy ran to the mailbox.”) or replace the verb with a more descriptive one (e.g., “The boy sprinted to the mailbox.”). But be careful with the latter Read more…

The Copy Corner: Are you using good sources?

It’s true what they say. You can’t trust everything you read on the Internet. Even if it comes from what you think is a reputable source. Don’t Trust Everything You might be sitting there right now thinking, “But I get my information from academic studies! From .orgs! Those are reputable!” You’re right, for the most part. But… Everything is Not as It Seems Every day I come across a source that gives me pause and I have to vet. You’d think a .org would be reputable, right? Not always. Depending on the organization, you could be looking at information that is: Not always factual (I’ve seen .orgs that look legitimate only to find out that they are sites masquerading as something else. If the person or organization writing the content isn’t an expert on the subject, you can’t be sure that the information is 100% factual.) Skewed (depending on the organization, the information may be one-sided) Search the organization; you may find that it has certain leanings that would motivate it to only post certain information. Studies Don’t Always Show the Whole Truth I always thought a study had to be valid. I was wrong. Some organizations try to buy Read more…

The Copy Corner: What is plagiarism really?

A lot of the people think of plagiarism as copying another writer’s work and not giving her credit for it. However, plagiarism has many heads. So what is plagiarism exactly? Plagiarism is many different things. Yes, it is taking credit for someone else’s words, but it is also taking credit for that person’s ideas, style of writing, and sentence structure. Consider the following rewrites; are they plagiarism? Inadequate Paraphrasing Original: “Having had some time at my disposal when in London, I had visited the British Museum, and made search among the books and maps in the library regarding Transylvania…” (Bram Stoker’s Dracula) Rewrite: Because I had some free time when I was in London, I visited the British Museum and searched through the library books for mentions of Transylvania. If you answered yes, you are correct. While I did rewrite the sentence in my own words, the sentence structure is still very similar. This is known as inadequate paraphrasing. Lack of Quotations Even if you cite the author but don’t put his work in quotes, you may be plagiarizing. Acceptable: Stephen King once said, “Fiction is a lie. And good fiction is the truth inside the lie.” Unacceptable: Stephen King Read more…

The Copy Corner: Do you really have to follow all grammar rules?

There are a lot of grammar rules out there. Whether you have to follow all of them is subjective. The way I see it: you should follow the ones that are actually rules. So which ones do I have to follow? Apostrophes You should always follow the rule about using apostrophes only to indicate possession and create contractions. You should generally not use them to make a word plural; however, some writers do use them to pluralize lowercase letters to avoid confusion (e.g., dot your i’s and cross your t’s). Also, even though it seems counterintuitive, do not use an apostrophe to denote possession when using pronouns (e.g., its not it’s, his not his’, etc.) Quotation Marks Quotation marks are for quotes; the titles of short works, chapters, etc.; and nicknames. You shouldn’t use them for emphasis or people will think you have no idea what you’re talking about. For example, if you see the following, what do you think? “Quality” legal advice “Fresh” fish This probably makes you question the quality of the legal advice or the freshness of the fish. Use italics or bold for emphasis. Which ones can I ignore? Even as an editor, I ignore some Read more…

The Copy Corner: Tips for Getting Over Writer’s Block

We’ve all been there, regardless of whether you’re writing a paper for class or writing the next great American novel. We’ve all gotten writer’s block and it’s really hard to get past. Fortunately, our experience has given us a few tried and true ways to get over it. Take a Break It’s easy to get burnt out staring at the same thing all day. No matter how hard you try, everything is going to run together and you’ll end up reading or writing the same sentence 10 times and getting nowhere. Take your mind off of it by finding something else to do for a while. Here are a few ideas: Take a walk around your office or go for a jog around the neighborhood. Maybe that jog will get those creative juices flowing. You never know, maybe all you needed was a little vitamin D to get over that block. If so, consider taking your work outside. Read a chapter in that new book you’ve been meaning to start. Knock out a couple of things on your to-do list. Eat lunch — away from your desk. Watch an episode of your favorite show. Just don’t get too into it Read more…

Google Symptom Checker Another “Clue” to Google’s Ultimate Goal

A few weeks ago, Google revealed it was revamping its mobile app to provide more accurate (and less scary) information to users Googling their medical symptoms.  It’s an attempt to combat the unchecked hyperbole that might mislead searchers. Ask yourself if this sounds familiar. You Google a few common symptoms to see if they’re anything to worry about. Then you fall down a rabbit hole. Two hours later, you’re convinced you have some obscure disease last diagnosed 10 years ago on a remote island halfway across the globe. Here’s how Google puts it: “After 20 minutes digging through health forums, chances are you’re overwhelmed by all the complicated medical terms and breaking out in a sweat—whether that’s related to the headache or the overdose of info is unclear!” The new symptom checker will call upon the health conditions it finds in web results, and then check them against the information it collected from medical doctors for the Knowledge Graph. Why should you care, even if you don’t own a medical website? Google Isn’t a Campus Bulletin Board It’s further evidence of Google’s end-all-be-all goal of providing users the best search experience. Google is an information machine. Like any company, it’s Read more…

The Copy Corner: How AP’s New Stylebook is Changing Grammar Rules

If you’ve read more than one of these Copy Corners, you’ll realize that grammar changes quite often. However, it is only quite recently that media organizations decided to run with those changes. Let’s go over a few of the more recent changes: In 2011, the Associated Press announced that it would be changing e-mail to email in its style guide. As of December 2015, The Washington Post changed its style guide to allow use of they as a singular, gender-neutral pronoun. On June 1 of this year, the Associated Press released a new copy of its Stylebook which no longer capitalizes internet or web. So why do these changes matter? These changes may seem small, and individually they are. But all of this together demonstrates how grammar and common usage changes, and reveals an adaptation to these changes by some of the biggest news organizations in the country. For example, it might be cumbersome to write, “Your doctor should do whatever he or she deems necessary to protect you from harm.”  In reality, most people would instead say or write, “Your doctor should do whatever they deem necessary to protect you from harm.” The adaptation by the Washington Post to Read more…