19 out of 20 people use search engines when looking for legal advice. So when your law firm ranks high in the search engines, you don’t need to find clients – they’ll find you.

The issue, however, is that ranking your site at the top of the search engines is not necessarily easy. There are many law firms out there is trying to rank their sites above yours, and this competition makes things tough.

However, there is a way to overcome this, and it all comes down to understanding and using the right organic search optimization strategies.

Let’s begin.

Understanding How People Search Google

When looking to improve your search engine rankings, a reference is typically being made to improving your rankings for certain keywords. Most law firms appreciate this concept, but end up with a poor selection of keywords because they don’t have a good sense of how people actually use search engines.

This often leads to them trying to rank for keywords that are too high in competition, whilst also making it so that they’re ignoring massive segments of their potential target market.

In doing so, many law firms experience little-to-no results when it comes to implementing an SEO plan. As a result many law firms end up writing off SEO as something that doesn’t work – when this couldn’t be further from the truth.

When you understand how people use Google, it becomes a lot easier to identify keywords that will be easy to rank for, of which will also provide a large a return on investment. Understanding this concept is critical if you want to achieve long term SEO success.

People searching Google typically search with three forms of ‘intent’ when it comes to legal matters–

  • Informational
  • Commercial investigation
  • Buyer

Those using informational keywords, are often looking for content that they can use to help them with a current legal situation/question. They’re not necessarily looking to bring a lawyer on board right now. They just want some background knowledge on a certain topic.

Such people might type the following into Google –

  • ‘How to handle wrongful termination’
  • ‘How to value a personal injury’
  • ‘Impact of new California employment legislation’

Commercial investigation keywords relate to situations wherein people are comparing law firms/lawyers. In most cases, people using these keywords are trying to figure out how each of the local lawyers stack up against each other.

Such individuals might type in –

  • Best Startup lawyers in Houston
  • Houston Divorce Lawyers Reviews

Buyer keywords are inputted by people who are looking for help right now. These individuals are in a situation where they’re ready to become a client.  These keywords typically produce the greatest ROI – but can also be the most competitive.

Examples include –

  • Work with Houston Lawyer
  • Contact Houston Lawyer
  • Criminal Lawyers in Houston
  • Personal injury lawyer houston

If you want to build a long term SEO strategy, you’ll want to focus on all three forms of intent. Though it can be tempting to focus on just ‘Buyer’ keywords, doing so can hurt your ability to rank in the long term.

In most cases, the best way to rank for keywords, no matter their intent, is with the help of relevant content – something we’re going to explore next.

Facing challenges with your digital marketing? Click here to get our solutions to common problems faced by law firms.

How Content Turns Website Visitors into Law Firm Clients

Before we cover creating content, it’s important to emphasize the importance of playing the long game with SEO.

A lot of law firms think that ‘Informational’ keywords are not worth their time. After all, such keywords don’t look as though they’re being typed in by someone who has a ‘burning desire’ to work with a lawyer right now. Such keywords can, therefore, have a lower perceived value.

However, taking such an approach can lead to you adopting an SEO strategy that isn’t going to be beneficial in the long term, especially when you consider that informational keywords can turn readers into clients – but just not in the way you might think.

To help emphasize the importance of playing the long game and why you should rank for Informational keywords, let’s quickly explore how ‘informational’ content turns readers into clients –

  1. Someone will type in an Informational keyword to learn more about a certain legal issue.
  1. They’ll read your content and begin to appreciate that you’re an expert on the matter. They’ll also begin to appreciate that your firm understands how to get the best results when it comes to this kind of legal issue. This helps to builds trust and credibility.

From this point, one of two things can happen – 

  1. If it’s an immediate problem that they’re dealing with, they’ll reach out and ask for help. Your content shows that you know what you’re doing and hence they’ll feel comfortable seeking your assistance.
  1. If they don’t need help right now, they’ll keep you in mind. Because you’ve proven yourself with informative content, they’ll reach out the next time they have a legal issue that needs immediate attention.

When you account for the above, it’s easy to see why Informational keywords are integral to a solid organic SEO plan and why Informational keywords are, in fact, worth your time. If you don’t take the long term approach and fail to create informational content, you’re going to be limiting the SEO potential of your law firm’s website, thereby producing poor results in the process.

Improve Your Law Firm’s Ranking Using Content

When it comes to creating content, for the most part, your main focus should be to create content that helps you to rank for informational keywords. Doing so will produce the greatest returns in the long run. There is also generally less competition for informational keywords.

If you want to rank for informational keywords, you’ll want to create how-to content.

The kind of how-to content you create is going to depend on the kind of law that your firm deals with. For instance, if you deal primarily with criminal law, then you might create content titled –

  • 19 Things Your Criminal Defense Lawyer Wishes You Knew
  • What to Expect When Visiting a Loved One in Jail
  • Search and Seizure of Motor Vehicles
  • Flowchart of a Journey Through the Criminal Justice System
  • Collateral Consequences of a Guilty Plea

You need to think about all of the how-to terms that people will type into Google, when looking for advice and guidance on the issues that your law firm deals with. You then need to create content based on those terms.

For most lawyers, this is a relatively easy process, as you no doubt know your specialty well.

If you’re struggling, however, consider jotting down some of the questions that keep cropping up when you’re talking to clients for the first time. These questions serve as perfect starting points for how-to content, of which will help you rank for Informational keywords.

However, if you’re still finding it difficult to come up with informational keyword/topics ideas, you can use the Google Keyword Tool to help you.

When it comes to using the Google Keyword tool to aid the creation of ‘Informational content’ here’s the general process –

  1. Use the Google Keyword tool to uncover relevant ‘Informational keywords’ of which are related to the kind of law your firm deals with
  1. Create detailed ‘how-to’ content based on the keywords returned

So, in more detail, here’s how you can use the Google Keyword tool to come up with keyword ideas.

First head over to https://adwords.google.com/KeywordPlanner.

Once there, enter in the ‘type’ of legal issue you want your content to cover followed by ‘legal advice.’ For the sake of this article, the example of ‘identity fraud legal advice’ will be used.

Once done, click on ‘Get ideas.’

You’ll then be presented with two sections – ‘Ad group ideas’ and ‘Keyword ideas.’

It’s best to stick to the suggestions provided in ‘Ad group ideas.’ That’s because this section organizes the keywords into ‘topics,’ making it easier to guide your content efforts.

As you can see in the image below, several topics/keywords have been presented within the ‘Ad group ideas’ section.

It’s also worth mentioning that ‘Search volume’ data has also been presented, letting you know which topics are more in demand.

For most law firms, however, this part doesn’t really matter.

That’s because even if there are only a few searches being performed for a certain keyword/topics, these keywords still have the potential to draw in profitable clients. You’ll also want to ignore the Competition section as this refers to paid advertising.

In any case, each of the Ad groups highlighted provide a good starting point for someone who wants to create informational content based on identity fraud for their law firm’s website.

If you click on each of these topics, you’re provided with some keywords which help clarify the questions that people have in relation to a certain topic. For example, when clicking on the Ad Group titled ‘Report Identity,’ the following keywords are shown –

All of this information can then be used to formulate content ideas. For instance, based on the above, the following pieces of content could be created –

  • What to Do After You’ve Been Hurt by Identity Fraud
  • The Steps you Need to Go Through to Report Identity Fraud

Alternatively, you can create an extremely detailed piece that aims to answer each of the questions highlighted by the keywords shown above.

So that’s how you can use the Google Keyword Tool to figure out what topics you should be focusing on when it comes to creating content that will help you rank for Informational keywords.

Using the Google Keyword tool, the person in charge of a law firm’s marketing can go from having no idea as to the kind content that they should create, to having a clear evidence-based sense of what they should focus on creating.

Go into as Much Detail as Possible

There are two benefits to creating long form content.

The first is that long form content does a better job at demonstrating expertise and credibility.

If the content is long form, it demonstrates that you know what you’re talking about and people who want help right now will feel comfortable seeking out your guidance.

Secondly, long form content will lead to better SEO results.

Long form content generally ranks in the search engines better than short content.

The chart below is based on one million Google Search results.

Source

Lastly, your content will also receive more shares if it is detailed.

This is because people will find it so informative, that they’ll happily promote it for you.

All of the above ultimately leads to increased exposure for your law firm and hence increased profits.

Conclusion

If you want to get the best results, you’ll want to use a multi-faceted approach. Properly-keyworded content is an important foundational step, but it is only one of several steps that should be taken to improve your site’s rankings.

We can help you identify:

  1. What else your site needs to improve its Google page position (we use the very-costly Brightedge software to identify fixes needed and keywords to pursue)
  1. Easy steps you can take yourself to improve your conversion rate
  1. Software additions that will generate more calls from prospects
  1. Technology that will simplify your life

You can begin the identification and improvement process by answering the 6 multiple-choice questions on our marketing audit questionnaire.