Author archives: Danny Hobrock

Oxford Comma Makes the News: Lawsuit Hinges on Comma Usage (Or Lack Thereof)

“For want of a comma, we have this case.” That was the first line of Circuit Judge David J. Barron’s opinion on a case hinging upon the use – or lack thereof – of a comma. That’s right: The Oxford comma is at the center of a $10 million overtime lawsuit in Maine. More specifically, the class action case, O’Connor v. Oakhurst Dairy, involves a class of truck drivers who argue that because of how a state statute is written, they are not among a group of workers exempt from overtime wages. The statute lacks an Oxford comma when listing workers who do not get overtime, leading to the confusion and subsequent lawsuit. For those who don’t know, the Oxford comma (sometimes called the serial comma) is the comma after the second to last item in a list of three or more items. It goes before the “and” or “or” that precedes the final item in the list. For example: I bought milk, bananas, and bread. The comma after “bananas” is the Oxford comma. Here’s how Maine Revised Statutes §664(3) lists workers not entitled to overtime: The overtime provision of this section does not apply to: F. The canning, processing, Read more…

SEO Ranking Factors in 2017

  Are you focusing on the right things to boost your website’s position in the search rankings? Constants like on-page SEO, user experience, and your backlink profile still play big roles. But the introduction of RankBrain, growth of voice search, and the ubiquitousness of mobile search add important elements to an effective SEO strategy. So, what matters this year? Here’s a list of some of the most important SEO ranking factors for 2017: Meta Tags On-Page SEO Keyword Relevance & Intent Mobile Friendliness Backlink Profile Robots Directive, Crawl Efficiency & Search Indexation Site Speed Broken Links Content Efficiency Image Optimization Local Citation and Tagging Language Markup HTTP Status Codes Near Ranking Opportunities       Meta Tags Meta tags refer to code that describe the content on a web page. But you don’t see meta tags on the web page itself. Some of the most important meta tags for SEO are: Title tag: This is the title of your page as far as the search engine is concerned, but it doesn’t appear on the web page itself. It appears at the top of the browser and may appear in the search results as the title of the page. Meta description: 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…

Infographic: Happy Be Kind to Lawyers Day 2016!

  April 12, 2016 is Be Kind to Lawyers Day! If you know a lawyer, work with lawyers, or if you hired a lawyer to represent you, take a moment today to thank them. Moreover, if you’re a lawyer yourself, we hope you’ll take a moment today to reflect on the journey you took to get where you are and all of the rewards that the legal field can bring. Also, make sure you check out our infographic celebrating the work and dedication lawyers demonstrate every day. It reviews the path lawyers take to become lawyers in the first place, tells a few uplifting stories from the legal field, and shares some tips for celebrating Be Kind to Lawyers Day. Self-described non-lawyer Steve Hughes created Be Kind to Lawyers Day as a way to honor and celebrate lawyers. His thinking was that if we have holidays to celebrate things like ice cream and bubble wrap, why not take a day to recognize lawyers too? We agree. Lawyers work hard and help us through major moments in our lives. They deserve recognition from their friends, family, co-workers, and clients. Check out www.bekindtolawyers.com for more of Steve’s story. If you would like Read more…

How Lawyers Can Create Videos That People Find and Watch (and That Convert!)

  A good video series can do a lot for a law firm. It can: Reach people in search and social media. Help with branding and awareness in the community. Improve perceptions of the firm’s authenticity, competence, and helpfulness. Drive people to the firm’s website. Help convert viewers into clients. But if you are interested in creating videos, make sure you do it right. Incorporate your videos as part of your overall content strategy. Do some research and planning before you throw money at a video campaign for YouTube and/or your website. It’ll help make sure the money you spend on creating the videos goes farther. What should my law firm videos be about? Most lawyers realize that writing content for a website requires good keyword and topic research. So too does creating videos. Rather than producing videos about topics you think your visitors want or need to know, research what they’re searching for. Then create videos around those topics. Google shuttered the YouTube Keyword Tool last year. It now recommends the Display Planner in AdWords. You could also use Google Trends and YouTube Trends to see what people are searching for, which could lead you to news stories related Read more…

3 Questions That Will Help You Create Authentic, Quality Website Content

I get sick of overused phrases and clichés. As a sports fan, it makes my skin crawl to hear things like, “That’s why they play the game,” or “They can beat you in a variety of ways,” or “You have to take it one game at a time.” So excuse me if I trot out one of the most tired clichés in all of content marketing – Content is king! Most people would probably nod in agreement, if not roll their eyes at hearing it again. But, hey, a lot of people forgot it, and some still forget it. That’s led to a lot of website content that is either boring, purposeless, or just misses the mark, or some combination of those. Content marketing is all about driving (good) traffic and converting it. And while a lot of people have tried to scheme ways they think can beat the Google algorithms to drive traffic, if they’re not driving users to authentic, quality content, it’s all for naught. (And seriously, why are we trying to outsmart people who write search algorithms for a living? Just create better website content and do other “best practices” things like ensure your website is easy Read more…

Moz Says Clean Up Thin and Duplicate Website Content…And We Agree!

  Just a few days ago, we commented on a recent “Whiteboard Friday” on the Moz Blog that discussed on-page SEO. Today, we again find ourselves cheering on Rand Fishkin’s latest “Whiteboard Friday” on thin and duplicate website content.   In it, Rand recommends cleaning up your website’s thin and duplicate content that has little to no engagement. He calls this “cruft.”   Why is cleaning your content important? Because Google, upon seeing this “cruft,” may not only hurt the rankings for these low-quality pages, but the rankings of all pages on the website, including your very best pages. So all that work you put into those all-star pages is essentially lost because of those poor-performing pages. Rand also points to an analysis performed after a recent Google algorithm update that found that sites that benefited from the update had better engagement than those that did not benefit. So that poor engagement on your website’s thin or duplicate content could be hurting your entire site. Finally, thin and duplicate pages just take up space on your website. Google might waste time crawling these pages and may not crawl your good pages as frequently as it otherwise would. And then there’s Read more…

Avoid “Word Crimes” By Hiring a Professional Content Company

Weird Al Yankovic’s latest single, “Word Crimes,” will be a hit among writers, editors, English teachers, and Internet users who make a habit of pointing out the poor grammar of other message board users. It humorously highlights common grammar mistakes that, in addition to leading to online mockery, might ruin the professional tone an individual was hoping to convey on his website. “Word Crimes” parodies Robin Thicke’s hit song, “Blurred Lines,” adding a grammar lesson to the catchy beat, along with Weird Al’s usual humor. Here are some memorable lines. You should know when It’s “less” or it’s “fewer” If you can count it, it’s “fewer”. If you can’t count it, it’s “less”. For example, apples can be counted.  So one would write, “There are fewer apples in my basket than in yours.” But it is impossible to count water.  So it would be written, “There is less water in my glass than in yours.” If a word cannot be made plural, use “less”. There is no plural for “time,” so one would write, “I had less time to complete this assignment.” Say you got an “I,” “T” Followed by apostrophe, “s” Now what does that mean? You would not Read more…