You need a law firm SEO strategy – you just don’t know it. If you’re an attorney or law firm that wants (needs) a steady stream of quality clients, you can’t afford to ignore the vast client potential available on the web. It’s where more people go to find answers to the problems they are trying to solve. The trick is to get your services in front of the users who are looking. And that requires search engine optimization (SEO).
Pleasing Google bots is the goal of SEO. When the bots like what they see in content, it equals positive ranking factors. Positive ranking factors tell Google to rank the content higher in the search engine results pages (SERP). The higher content is ranked in search engine results, the better the chances it will be seen by the people you want as clients.
Statistics show that most people will make their selection from the results that appear on the first page of Google search results. According to Smart Insights, 77% of user clicks go to the top five organic (non-paid) search results. Needless to say, there is fierce competition to gain one of those coveted five spots for whatever keywords are targeted.
Law firms that create content optimized for search engines greatly improve their chances of getting their name and their services in front of potential clients. But that’s only half the battle. After getting the click, the content needs to keep users on the site to show Google that the content is good stuff and should be shown to more people.
Copywriting is how you hook someone’s attention with your legal content and keep them interested in learning more. The best content conveys empathy for the problem and instills confidence that the law firm can provide the most satisfactory solution.
What is Law Firm SEO?
Law firm SEO is mostly about content. It’s about content written in such a way that search engine bots know that the content is a top source for the information that people are searching for. It’s about content that is an authoritative and trusted source of information others are willing to share.
What law firm SEO is not about is prioritizing SEO over the quality of the content or the user experience. Google may actually penalize content that violates their quality guidelines by trying to manipulate the algorithm or deceive users in some way.
Good law firm SEO is striking a balance between optimizing for search engines and providing valuable and engaging content for users.
Technical SEO – Law Firm Website Mechanics
It’s important to mention that well optimized, superbly engaging content may not perform well in search engines or with users if a site’s pages do not load quickly. Page load time is a ranking factor that Google considers. And page load time is definitely a factor that a person attempting to access a website considers.
Moreover, pages need to load quickly in a format compatible with mobile device users. There are nearly 100,000 Google searches every second. About 60% of the search volume is on mobile devices, and the numbers continue to grow. Mobile users also have the highest bounce rate, which speaks to the need to make sure mobile users will have a good experience on a law firm’s website. Google offers a free mobile-friendly test where you can input your website URL for an evaluation.
Legal Copywriting Incorporates SEO
Think of SEO as a crucial component of digital legal copywriting. Once SEO does its job of getting a law firm’s content in front of a searching audience, copywriting connects the words to the reader and gets them to take that critical next step toward becoming a client. When content appeals to a user, Google takes that as a favorable sign which boosts the chances of higher rankings.
After Google ranks a site, it further evaluates how well it’s done based on user actions. One of the metrics that Google uses to evaluate how well it was able to match content to a search query is the click-through rate (CTR) of searchers to a law firm’s website. The more often people click through to a law firm’s website, the more Google learns to trust that site as a credible source of information.
Google also monitors how long a user remains on a page after clicking through – referred to as a user’s dwell time. The more time a user spends on a website, the more favorably Google views the site.
15 Tips to Improve the Reach and Engagement of Legal Content
Legal content writers integrate SEO into copywriting. The content must be able to appeal to two different audiences and must find the right balance to attract both. Good legal copywriting will have that magical combination of getting your content in front of the people you want to reach and then convincing those people to pick up the phone or fill out your contact form.
The following tips will help law firms improve their content marketing.
- Plan your content – Make sure you include information users might want or need to know, answers to questions that users would likely ask, and why your law firm is the best choice to solve the user’s problem.
- Don’t be afraid to be specific – Content that provides detailed answers to narrowly focused questions can rank high for users with a very specific search query.
- Use a keyword research tool to learn what terms people are searching for that relate to your practice areas and the popularity of particular keywords.
- See what your competition is doing. Search the keywords you want to rank for and see what others are doing that you may be able to learn from and improve upon.
- Don’t overuse keywords or risk offending Google for keyword stuffing and detracting from the user experience. A general rule of thumb is to limit what’s known as keyword density to 2% of the content. A quick way to measure keyword density is to divide the number of times a keyword is used by the total word count of the piece.
- Link to one or two credible outside sources such as a statute, a relevant news article, statistics compiled by a legitimate agency, or a scientific or educational study.
- Use internal links strategically. It helps keep people on your site and shows Google you have good content. Google interprets internal links as pointing to important pages. You can make Google recognize particular pages as important by having more internal links to them.
- Keep the paragraphs short. Walls of text are a reason to bounce. Try paragraphs of three, four, or five sentences.
- Make the information easy to consume. Use bullet points and lists. Get to the point. Don’t use more words than necessary or useful.
- Use familiar language and avoid using legal terminology that isn’t widely understood.
- Be consistent with style, terminology, and facts throughout all content. If you decide to refer to your potential clients as ‘survivors’ rather than ‘victims’, make sure all of the relevant content uses the same terminology. When similar facts are used in different content, make sure that you’re not providing inconsistent information.
- Write with empathy so that the content is more likely to connect with the user and keep them engaged. Have you ever been where your clients are when they come to you? Do you know someone who has? How can you let users know that you understand what they need and can help? Do you have something personal you can share? This might be a line or two in the opening paragraph or a bit at the end as part of your call to action.
- Don’t be afraid of writing longer content. If the content is well written and provides accurate and useful information, people find it a better resource and are more likely to share it. Google takes this as a good sign. 1,000 words per piece are starting to become the minimum for legal content. Pieces 1,500 to 2,000 words can work really well for in-depth discussions of practice areas and other relevant legal topics.
- Update older content – especially foundational content. Updating content tells Google that something is new, and Google likes fresh content. It also gives you a chance to review keywords for continued relevance, test links to make sure they are still accurate, and update any firm information or modify an out-of-date call to action. Updating older content can serve the same purpose as creating new content while also saving precious time and keeping your website current.
- Make your metadata work for you. Metadata is input when content is uploaded to the web and is what people see in their search results pages in the form of a title tag and a meta description. The title tag is the first line of a result and should be informative and concise. Meta descriptions appear under the title tag and provide a little more detail about the content. Metadata should summarize the content and include keywords to help both search engines and users understand what the content is about. Good metadata is the hook that gets the click.
What You Have to Keep in Mind About Law Firm SEO
Law firm SEO is an ongoing and long-term marketing strategy. It’s about building goodwill with users who are then more likely to become clients when in need of your services. And it is a must for law firms that are looking to stand out and continue to grow their businesses in an ever more competitive online marketplace.
Writing legal content that gets seen and converts users to clients is part science and part art.
The people who are handling the digital marketing efforts for a law firm really need to know what they are doing, which requires having the time to dedicate to learning about it and becoming good at it.
There are only so many hours in a day, and if you would rather not try to find an extra one or two to spend figuring out how to create amazing legal content, Blue Seven Content can help with that.
At Blue Seven, we specialize in creating well-researched, authoritative, original legal content that is optimized to achieve the best results for our clients. Many of our legal content writers have JDs or experience working in the legal profession. We can write any type of content for a law firm website, including:
- Landing pages
- Practice area pages
- Blog posts
- FAQ pages
- Attorney bios or ‘about us’ pages
Written by Mari Gaines, JD – Legal Content Writer