Groundhog Day: Don’t Scare Your Social Security Claimants!

America’s favorite holiday is just around the corner: Groundhog Day. We’re waiting with baited breath to see if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow and predicts six more weeks of winter. In honor of this historic event, it may be time for your firm to review its website and ensure it’s not “scaring” away any potential Social Security disability claimants from choosing to work with your firm instead of staying benefit-less for another long and cold six weeks, or more. From dense content to poor color choices, here are some top pitfalls to investigate and remedy this Groundhog Day.

1. You Use the Same Phrases Over and Over Again

Did you know that a groundhog is also known as a woodchuck? These critters are scientifically known as marmot monax, and are essentially just huge squirrels. So why is it important to know that there’s more than one way to refer to a groundhog? Not everyone across the US uses the same terminology. If you only use the same keyword over and over again online, you may not rank well for more than a single query, and you’ll narrow the results your firm could show up for in search results.

For example, let’s say that you wrote a blog post on Social Security Disability Insurance. You wouldn’t only want to use “Social Security Disability Insurance” in your blog. By varying up your terminology with related keywords like SSDI, SSD, Social Security, disability benefits, etc., you’ll have a higher likelihood for showing up for a variety of searches.

2. Your Site Has Poor Color Contrast

Poor color contrast is Punxsutawney Phil’s worst enemy. If a rogue cloud passes over his nest at the exact moment when he’s attempting to determine if there will be six more weeks of winter, how will he be able to make an accurate prediction?

Color contrast isn’t only important to groundhogs (or woodchucks!). Social Security disability firms need to have high contrast on their websites for the sake of disability claimants. Most SSDI claimants are well over age 45 and may have vision impairments. Having high contrast between the text of your page and an important call to action, such as a “Free Evaluation” form, will help clarify your content and ensure that users don’t leave simply because they can’t see where they should navigate to next.

3. Your Site Is Not Mobile Friendly

2010 was the first year that we could sign up to receive real-time text alerts regarding Punxsutawney Phil and his shadow on Groundhog day. Nearly a decade has passed since this technological marvel, and cell phones are more important than ever. 73% of Americans age 50-64 have a smartphone. If your site isn’t optimized for mobile, you could be losing valuable traffic to competing Social Security firms in your area. Google will penalize law firms that don’t have their content optimized for mobile devices. Mobile outpaces desktop search, so you run the risk of losing more than 50% of your online traffic without a mobile-friendly website.

4. Your Content is Too Dense

The US’s favorite groundhog is known as Punxsutawney Phil, but did you know that his full name is “Punxsutawney Phil, Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators, and Weather Prophet Extraordinary.” It’s a bit of a mouthful and most people haven’t even heard Phil’s full name unless they visit Gobbler’s Knob on February 2nd, or have seen the movie Groundhog Day. Punxsutawney Phil’s name is simply too long to bother with on a regular basis. The came can likely be said for some content on your firm’s website.

Most first time Social Security disability applicants will not need to know the ins and outs of the SSA’s grid rules or the specific Blue Book listing for liver failure. Information like this is often complex and overwhelming for an applicant just beginning the lengthy disability application process. You’ll want to inform claimants and entice them to work with your firm without overwhelming users with unnecessary information. You should also format your text in a user-friendly way by breaking apart paragraphs with images, headers, and bulleted lists.

Think of Phil

Do most people wake up on February 2nd and eagerly rush to their TVs or check their phones to see if the groundhog sees his shadow? No. At the end of the day it’s just a big squirrel waking up. But consider this: if you treat every day like an extraordinary one and put more effort into optimizing your website for Social Security claimants, you may be able to dramatically increase the number of online inquires your firm generates every month. Just like a simple groundhog became a national icon, your firm can transcend the ordinary as well.