Website writing is different. It is not complex or difficult, like search engine optimization, but website writing does require basic SEO knowledge, adherence to a few basic rules, and a master plan:
1. Keyword research.
Unlike other writing, web writing requires the preliminary step of choosing key phrases.
Research keywords using the free Google Keyword Tool. Type in some phrases that you think your prospective clients are using (e.g., DUI lawyer, car accident). Keyword Tool will give you search volume and competition level for the phrases you list, and will separately provide the same information for related phrases.
If you take the time to perform comprehensive research and you create a lengthy (75-100 phrases) spreadsheet of highly and moderately relevant key phrases, you will only have to perform this research every few years.
2. Keyword choice.
Next select a mix of popular direct phrases (injury lawyer), popular indirect phrases (car accident) and less-popular indirect phrases (truck accident injury). Add the city (Houston injury lawyer, Houston car accident, Houston truck accident injury), cities (San Diego injury lawyer, La Jolla injury lawyer, Chula Vista injury lawyer) you want to target.
Generate a starter list of one or two dozen finalized key phrases.
Now create a list of the topics you want to cover. Keep your chosen keywords in mind, but think first and foremost about the questions you are most frequently asked by prospective clients.
Cluster the small questions (and their answers) in one article titled Frequently Asked Questions. This is likely to be the most popular article on your website.
For the rest of your articles, address only one question per article. Once you have your list of topics completed, assign one key phrase to each article. Keep this master list of topics and key phrases in a safe and accessible location. You will want to refer to your list when you next want to work on adding articles and key phrases to your website.
4. Blog posts vs. articles.
Should you cover some of your topics in blog posts? The answer depends upon your diligence and how much time you have available. If you think you can write articles and blog posts, then definitely do both. Blog writing is easier than article writing, and is very SEO friendly.
However, most lawyers find themselves unable to regularly write articles, let alone a blog and articles. We thus recommend that you begin with articles alone. If you find yourself meeting your planned article schedule, then consider adding a blog. Remember, however, that a blog displaying a last entry several months old is worse than having no blog at all. On the other hand, articles are undated so readers cannot tell when you last wrote.
5. Scanners, not readers.
Whether writing an article or blog post, remember that web searchers do not read. They scan. Test after test shows that web searchers quickly scan pages looking for their desired information, then slow down to read. As a result, you should load your articles with visual cues. Liberally use subheads, bullets, and single-sentence paragraphs.
It is also important to skip your introduction and immediately answer the question or fulfill the promise in your headline.
For SEO purposes, your articles need only be 300-500 words in length. The more important consideration, though, is adequate coverage of your topic. The web is loaded with short articles that provide little information. Don’t fill your website with more of the same.
6. Keyword placement.
The rules for using key phrases are simple. Target only one phrase per article. Use that phrase in the headline, first sentence, once or twice in the middle depending on article length, and once in the last paragraph. Use variations of the phrase and plural versions.
Avoid forcing the key phrase into a sentence or headline. Use natural language: Advice from a Dallas DWI Lawyer. Sacramento Disability Attorney John Jones Explains How to Qualify. Suffered a Serious Motorcycle Injury in Boston?
7. Be helpful.
The most important writing advice we can provide you is, “Be as helpful and as detailed as you can in a single-page article.” Web searchers are looking for answers to their legal questions, not which associations you belong to, so limit the space you devote to writing about your qualifications. Instead, demonstrate your expertise by providing detailed responses to common client questions.
A second way to demonstrate your familiarity with the prospect’s legal issue is to describe past cases (with confidential information redacted, of course). Present the basic facts, hurdles encountered, and result. The more cases you describe, the more likely a prospect is to find his or her situation described.