What You Should Know About Lawyer SEO Marketing
Law firms can create an extraordinary amount of content, but more doesn’t always mean better. Producing the appropriate online content for your law firm should have a little more thought put into it. Content law firm marketing is being able to create and distribute relevant and quality information to any potential client. You can create different types of content for your law firm such as: blogs, video, social media, email, audio, and images.
What can you do to make good content?
You want to make sure that what you produce is unique, interesting, and something that your followers would want to share. In-depth and insightful material that is also free of errors doesn’t hurt either. Make sure that you are accurate and that you can monitor your content.
Creating good content helps generate traffic.
It establishes credibility and clients prefer to know a company through their content rather than ads, in a similar way that people would prefer to learn about a lawyer through referrals.
It’s important to keep this in mind when you’re creating new content for your law firm. If you don’t have time to generate content, that’s fine, we can help!
Check out a previous blog post on New Content Trends You Should Be Aware Of
Sources: EdgeMedia.com, Marteteer.kapost.com, socialmediachimps.com, contentmarketinginstitute.com, blueglass.coms
Writing Content For Your Website
We write a lot of content for lawyer websites around the nation. Below we share some tips that will help you or your writers do a better job with your website content.
1. Clearly answer questions.
When thinking about topics, you want to begin with answers to questions commonly asked by your clients. Your answers should be written in plain English and directly respond to those questions.
2. Be concise.
You are better off writing several short, rifle-shot articles than one long shotgun piece. Why? You need only 400 words to obtain maximum search engine benefits. Three 400-word pieces can feature three different search phrases, while one 1200-word article is limited to one or two.
Your website should only address personal injury topics. Maybe you also do some Social Security disability work. If so, place that content on a site dedicated to disability. Why? Prospective clients prefer attorneys who specialize.
4. Quantity counts.
If you have an article directly addressing your prospect’s fact pattern, you are more likely to be contacted because the prospective client will (a) find your article on Google and (b) figure you have expertise with his or her issues. So cover a lot of factual situations.
Save the salesmanship for the office visit. Your web content should demonstrate your expertise by teaching prospects what they need to be smart and helpful clients. If you provide educational details not found elsewhere, you will distinguish yourself from the competition.
Lawyer SEO Marketing Webinar: Content is King For Attorney Marketing
In case you missed it, here is a recording of our recent Attorney Marketing Webinar: Content is King for Attorney Marketing.
Lawyer SEO Marketing: how to keyword your web content
You already know that you must regularly add content to your website to maintain and improve its Google page position. Here is an easy way to maximize the attorney search engine optimization effectiveness of the articles you write.
First, the big picture
You should try to add a 300-word or longer article every two weeks – more frequently if you are in a competitive locale or are making the web a key part of your lawyer marketing program, and less often if you draw clients from small towns or rely more heavily on other client sources than on the web.
Your content should be primarily educational and secondarily sales-oriented, much like this email. Your topics should be the ones you want to draw clients from, but don’t lock in your topic choices until you examine keyword popularity, which I explain immediately below.
Keywording made simple
1. Phrase Popularity.
Go to GoogleKeywordTool. Click Google Keyword Tool. Type in a target phrase, e.g., “disability lawyer,” omitting your city for now. You will see the number of monthly Google searches, which in this case is about 33,000. Highlight or note the phrases you are interested in and their search counts.
2. Strength of Competition.
Perform some Google searches using those phrases and the names of the primary cities you cover (e.g. “Sacramento disability lawyer”). Evaluate the strength of the websites that appear on Google page one. If you think your site can beat the competition for that search phrase, place it on your target list. If not, aim at synonyms with lower search volume (e.g., Sacramento Social Security disability lawyer).
Clues: if you see some national directories on page one for your targeted search phrase, you should be able to move your website ahead of those directories. If on the other hand all the websites on page one are professionally created and contain a lot of content, you will likely have a hard time pushing those sites aside on your own.
3. Drafting Technique.
Write one article for each chosen search phrase, placing the target phrase in your headline, in the first or second sentence of the article, and again in the last or second-to-last sentence of the article.
We work differently, but…
More sophisticated keyword research tools are available, and we have access to and experience with them. We also take several additional steps that increase content effectiveness, but the simplified approach above will obtain the lion’s share of the search benefits of article-writing … especially if the websites in your geographic region are not overly competitive.
If you (1) don’t have time to write your own content, (2) prefer to let attorney search engine optimization and legal content experts worry about your website’s page position on Google, or (3) face sophisticated and entrenched web competition, we are available to help.
7 Website Writing Tips for Lawyers
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.
New Content Trends You Should Be Aware Of
If you’re a lawyer who keeps up to date on attorney marketing trends, you’ve probably heard the phrase “content is king” at one point or another. It’s a relatively common saying in the world of search engine optimization. In the past, when law firms thought of content, they likely imagined (or received) dozens of articles and blog posts uploaded to their websites every month, all in an effort to outpace their competitors and keep their sites as fresh as possible.
While adding articles and blogs is still a good thing, it’s no longer the end-game that it used to be. The sheer quantity of articles you have on your website does not translate directly to increased search rankings, as Google’s Matt Cutts has said on more than one occasion. As Google alters its algorithm, it is extremely important to realize that the quality and type of content you post is more valuable than the base quantity of content you have.
Is a Picture Really Worth a Thousand Words?
At the moment, Google is shifting its focus toward an algorithm that behaves more like a human. Gone are the days when the amount of backlinks you had and the number of articles present on your site were the sole determining factors in your search ranking position. These days, new factors like perceived value to users, usability, authorship, and social signals all play a larger role in search algorithms than they did even six months ago, and attorneys need to keep pace with these shifts.
Think of how people interact with content online. Some of them might enjoy reading articles, whereas others gravitate more toward pictures and videos because they aren’t interested in the written word. When users go to Facebook or Twitter, are they more likely to share in-depth analyses of a thousand words or more, or do they tend to share short clips and interesting images? These are questions that Google is asking.
Producing Content Without Writing a Word
Here are 5 great content pieces that you can provide on your website, blog, and social media pages that will attract, retain, and compound viewers.
1. An Image Gallery
Instead of posting words, post pictures. You can post a behind-the-scenes image gallery of your law firm, staff members, office events, community/charity work, etc. You can also post comics, inspirational/nature images, etc. The sky is really the limit when it comes to image posting.
TIP: A lot of folks online are looking for images to use, especially free ones. Offer images that viewers can download for free, in exchange for subscribing to your blog, Liking your Facebook page, or signing up to receive your emails.
2. A Link Round-Up
Gather 10-20 informative and engaging links, and post them to a designated section on your website. These links can be educational and related to legal issues, but they don’t all have to be. In fact, some links should be strictly for entertainment. Linkable content can appeal to a wide audience, and boost SEO; especially if the related link is trending.
3. A Video Gallery
Hosting a gallery of YouTube and Vimeo videos is not only good for SEO, it can generate lots of content in very little time. Google loves video (they own YouTube), and so do viewers, so post entertaining and valuable videos to your website and social networks, and watch your site traffic grow. Just make sure you get permission to use said videos, of course.
TIP: Make sure you also upload videos of your firm. This is excellent for branding.
Infographics, or information graphics, are the legal marketing rage right now, and for good reason. Infographics marry visual data with complex content, and present it in a quick and easily-digestible manner.
If you’ve got a little creativity and some graphics skills, you can create infographics on your own. Or, there are professional legal marketing companies (like us!) that would be happy to do the job for you.
The Impact of Infographics Upon a Law Firm’s Social Media Marketing ROI
You may have heard of the new Internet and social media craze, or perhaps you’ve even seen a few: infographics. Infographics are essentially visual representations of data meant to simplify complex information or processes, and they are appealing for several reasons.
- They condense large amounts of data into bite-sized pieces of digestible information so viewers can rapidly read them.
- They tend to be more attractive and eye-catching than text.
- Viewers can quickly and easily share them across several social media platforms and even via email.
These features may account for the recent rise in infographic popularity. According to Google, the term “infographic” was one of 2012’s most popular keyword searches; the term earned a ranking of 100 out of 100!
The growing popularity of infographics and their ability to spread rapidly across the Internet make them a dream come true in regard to some law firms’ social media marketing strategies. After all, many law firms judge the success of their marketing efforts by ROI, or return on investment. Marketers typically calculate ROI by tabulating the positive feedback gained through marketing efforts, such as increases in website traffic and new customer revenue, and then dividing this sum by the cost of investment.
Social media posts with well-designed infographics can have a significantly higher ROI than typical social media posts that contains only text and images. In fact, data released by one online infographic platform shows that a single infographic can accrue more than two million views and several hundred comments and “likes” on social media pages. Compare this wide reach to a traditional post that may result in a few dozen page views and a handful of shares.
Essentially, utilizing infographics as part of your law firm’s social media marketing strategy can generate more website and social media traffic, reach a huge pool of potential clients, and essentially, result in more bang for each marketing buck. The key to achieving these benefits is creating compelling and east-to-read infographics that viewers want to forward to their social media connections.
This is not always an easy task for busy law firms; research and design can take several hours or days. In addition, almost 13 percent of all infographics produced are business related so there is no guarantee that the resulting infographic would stick out from the competition, even after investing substantial time and manpower into creation.
Therefore, for many law firms, it may be best to consult infographic and data visualization experts. At James Attorney Marketing, we offer custom content and produce info graphics for your law firm’s specialties. Contact us to find out more.
Hosting your own podcast series can generate a lot of content without having to write it out, and it can help you hone your oratory skills—which as an attorney you should be doing anyway. And, if your podcast is a real hit, you may get your recording featured on podcast websites, and/or iTunes. This is equivalent to marketing gold.
Changing Website Optimization Tactics
What this means for attorneys is that lawyer SEO is not the same as it used to be. Focusing only on written articles is still better than doing nothing at all to your site, but it can’t be your only concentration. Don’t optimize your site for Google—optimize it for your human visitors, because Google is interested in how they think and behave.
Combine your articles with infographics, useful videos, slide decks, and anything else that might increase the chance that users will engage with and share your content on a social network. The more viral your content becomes, the more search engines will pick up on the trend and reward you. Additionally, visual content decreases bounce rates and increases time-on-site, both of which benefit a site’s overall stance in Google’s eyes.
In terms of video clips, you can optimize them on YouTube, which is the second largest search engine online. If you can get a video on the first page of Google, odds are great that you will also be successful on YouTube. Everything is interconnected, and diversification is the name of the game.
Walking the Walk
At James Attorney Marketing, we practice what we preach. We’re fond of posting infographics on our blog, for example, and we don’t stop there. Our own optimization clients receive the latest content our team has produced, including videos, slide decks, and additional infographics, plus articles from our legal writers. We want to give our customers the best advantage we can in the competitive online marketplace, and diversifying the content we produce is the fastest and best way to do that.
If you need help with your website’s optimization, you can find some more information about our services here.