2 million new blog posts are uploaded to the internet every day, according to MarketingProfs. Contently reports that 300 hours of video flood online every minute. With this deafening storm of content, many attorneys wonder how to reach the right prospects and convert them into clients.
The answer is search engine optimization marketing, or SEO. It’s no longer just for websites but for every piece of content that your law firm produces as well. Start with these 12 SEO best practices that can help your content rank higher, and connect with more business in the months and years to come.
SEO Best Practices: Keywords
1. Use the Primary Keyword in the Article Title and Headline, Near the Front
Including your carefully chosen keyword helps to explain to search engine bots what your attorney marketing content is about and increases the chances of you ranking for the topic at hand, while placing it near the front helps to catch readers’ attention. You can also include secondary keywords in the headline when appropriate but don’t force it.
2. Limit Titles to 70 Characters
Anything above 70 characters is cut off with ellipses on search engine results pages (SERPs) and becomes less appealing on social media sites.
3. Optimize Meta Descriptions
A meta description is the short summary of an article or website that is displayed on SERPs.
Example of a meta description for a webpage
Well-written meta descriptions can improve clickthrough rates by demonstrating the page’s value to readers. From an SEO standpoint, they can indicate to search engines that your articles provide valuable insight about a specific topic.
Include your primary and secondary keywords in the meta description alongside action words, like “learn what to do if you are arrested for DUI.” (Just keep in mind not to overstuff keywords into your meta description, which can hurt your clickthrough rate). Then, pare the description down to 160 characters—anything beyond that is cut off with ellipses, like article titles.
4. Include Keywords in URLs As Well
Create URLs that are descriptive and easy to search for, such as lawfirmwebsite.com/blog/is-chapter-11-bankruptcy-right-for-me.
5. Sprinkle Keyword Phrases Throughout Content
Keyword stuffing is a no-no that will get your law firm penalized by search engines, but feel free to organically include your primary keyword at least two times throughout body content.
Also, keep in mind that while your primary keywords should absolutely make an appearance, other similar keywords should have their time in the sun as well—naturally include variations of your primary and secondary keywords in order to capitalize on partial keyword matches.
6. Use Formatting to Your Advantage
Try highlighting keywords by using bold, italics, and underlining when appropriate. Search engines pick up on these formatting tweaks, which could help your content rank higher.
7. Include Anchor Text With the Proper Keywords
Anchor text is the clickable text in a hyperlink, which is typically underlined and in blue font. Use anchor text strategically to internally link to content for specific topics. For instance, let’s say that your law firm’s marketing team writes two blog articles: one about the most common types of field sobriety tests and one specifically about the horizontal gaze nystagmus test.
You could link from the field sobriety test article to the other with the term “horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN),” and from the horizontal gaze nystagmus test to the field sobriety test article using the term “field sobriety tests.”
Just be sure to regularly go through and check that all links still work properly so your attorney marketing content isn’t promoting broken links. This is not only frustrating to readers but also harmful to SEO.
SEO Best Practices: Images
8. Describe Images Fully
Search engines can’t “read” images; they only know what you tell them, namely, how you describe them in alt tags. Be descriptive—explain exactly what the image involves and try to include your keyword, such as “man in handcuffs arrested for DUI.”
SEO Best Practices: Usefulness, Readability, Shareability
9. Provide More Value Than Anyone Else
Rather than just producing the same old content as everyone else in your space, ask how you can provide twice as much value as the next law firm through your content. As long as you spend time and effort promoting it, a smaller amount of incredible content will result in much greater ROI than a large collection of mediocre attorney marketing materials.
For instance, Backlinko’s Brian Dean doubled his website traffic in just two weeks using one massive, well-developed guide that beat everything else out there. You can do the same for your law firm if you aggressively focus on providing exponentially more value than the next legal practice.
Tip: Don’t have time to create incredible content? Take advantage of the James Legal CRM library of well-designed content, and then save time by sending materials to prospects automatically.
10. Make It Easy to Share
Include share buttons right from your blog article, infographic, email—whatever kind of content you’re creating. In addition, shorten URLs while keeping them descriptive.
11. Avoid Copied Text
Search engines penalize duplicate content. Be sure to rephrase content rather than copying and pasting it, such as when summarizing the conclusions of one blog article in another post.
Bonus: Learn how to create content for every stage of the marketing funnel, so you never have to worry about writing the same old thing.
12. Think About Mobile Users
A good portion—maybe even a majority—of your users will be viewing your law firm’s content on their smartphones or tablets. Make sure that all attorney marketing content can be viewed and engaged with via mobile:
- Create a responsive law firm website
- Design emails with buttons that are easy to push with fingertips
- Use images that are appealing even on tiny screens
- Break written content such as blog articles into smaller chunks
Then, test until you’re confident that mobile users will enjoy their experience.