Bad law firm website content is a disease for your website. If you’re not reading the content on your website regularly, then you might be surprised by what others are finding there.
As legal content writers, we take pride in our craft. We know attorneys and law firms count on our creative ability to present legal information that is well-written and appeals to potential clients. Before publishing, our content goes through several edits because we want to make sure it fits well with the culture and practice of each client.
But some content creation sources are not such conscious editors and it results in the publication of some really bad legal content.
We don’t mean bad because of legal inaccuracies – although it can happen. We mean bad, as in, the words being strung together literally do not make sense. We mean content so bad that law firms may well be sending business away as people attempt to make sense of what they are reading.
How We Know the Content is Bad
We read it. We read a lot of it.
Before we write content, we research every topic. Our inquiries often retrieve articles from law firm websites. Naturally, we appreciate well-written material. Conversely, we are not very impressed with nonsensical, keyword-stuffed content that sounds like it’s coming from a robot.
Legal content that leaves potential clients scratching their heads is not doing the job it needs to do and may actually be discrediting an otherwise very capable law practice.
Just How Bad is Bad?
Well, bad is pretty bad. Lawyers want people to trust them with their lives and livelihoods. Competence is a big deal. First impressions are important. Poorly written content is one way to distinguish a law firm from its competitors – and not in a good way.
The following are actual samples of published content from law firm websites.
From the website of a South Carolina personal injury attorney:
- “The classification of wrongful death cases as personal injury lawsuits means that wrongful death cases must have died by the personal injury statute of limitations.”
From the website of a Georgia personal injury attorney:
- “During brake testing or mostly known as brake checking, you slam on your brakes sharply while driving along with another vehicle so that the unsuspecting car will slam on their brakes as well or swerve out of the way so that you will not cause an accident.”
From the website of a Montana criminal defense attorney:
- “Criminal defense lawyer additionally offers personal sort of assistance by giving the respondent to realise the potential results and by assisting the litigant to manage the fears and frustration that might be coming forth because of being faced with the criminal justice framework.”
That’s some pretty bad content.
We assume most law firms have professional standards higher than the content on their websites may lead people to believe. People are looking for lawyers because they have problems they cannot solve on their own. They need to feel comfortable with the professionals they are entrusting with their lives. Clear explanations are what they are looking for.
How do People Pick an Attorney or Law Firm?
Prospective clients are often visiting a law firm’s website to further investigate a recommended attorney. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to clients selecting the right attorney or law firm to work with. However, studies that have been done on the subject all suggest a general two-step process involving some combination of the following:
- Asking trusted advisors, family, or friends for referrals and recommendations
- Using online information to compare and contrast the suggested options
Content matters. Great content might not win a law firm every potential client, but it keeps them in the fight. Comparatively bad content makes it easy to eliminate at least one option among so many offering similar services.
The Pressure on Law Firms to Consistently Post Content
By now, most law firms understand the importance of having their content rank high in search results. And they know it requires doing what will achieve and maintain the highest rankings. Consistently posting informative, timely, fresh content is a must to persuade Google that a law firm is the best answer to a search query.
So, where does all the content come from? Content creation is going to cost a law firm money whether the content is created in-house or outsourced to a content creation agency. And while it may seem like an expense to those who have to write the checks, paying for well-written and edited content is really more like an investment in the future of the law firm.
Good content does not depreciate after it is posted. It can actually appreciate in ranking value over time as it is read, shared, and linked to. When Google detects positive connections to the content, it becomes more trusted and will rank higher as an authoritative source.
Why AI is Not the Easy Solution to Your Legal Content Writing Needs
In the digital advertising age, it’s all about the content. What wins is great content and lots of it. Writing great content can take time. And extra time is something many lawyers never seem to have enough of. One proffered time and money-saving solution for creating legal content is an artificial intelligence (AI) content creation tool.
AI content creation tools are typically subscription services. The programs need human input and then are able to create articles of a specified length on specific topics. Many offer templates to help create certain types of content. Some even allow a user to select the tone for the communication.
But AI content creation has some limitations making it better suited to assist human content creation rather than replace it. AI makes bad law firm website content – humans make readable content that you need.
The Pros and Cons of Using AI to Create Legal Content
For persons who need to write content and are lacking inspiration, AI can be very helpful because it can access all available information about a topic. However, AI cannot generate new ideas. AI cannot give opinions. AI cannot add anything original to content. For these reasons, Google considers AI-generated content to be spam.
AI content creation works best on established subjects that are not controversial and not very likely to change. The less well-established the data is on a particular topic, the more likely AI will generate inconsistencies and inaccuracies. It also cannot distinguish the appropriateness of a particular term within the context of how it’s being used, which may convey a different meaning than intended.
An overuse of AI-generated content also detracts from user experience by serving up generic data that does not satisfy a novel search query. There is no value added and no information gained by selecting one piece of content over another. ‘Information gain’ is a measure of the difference in quality between the information provided by two pieces of similar content.
What does Google think about information gain? Recently, Google was given the okay to use information gain as a ranking factor. Google wants to be able to distinguish content on the basis of the value of the information presented. A higher information gain score will go to content that has unique information about a subject because it will be deemed more valuable to the user.
So while AI may provide assistance to get content creation started, it cannot generate the kind of information gain that will make the content uniquely valuable in search results and may even violate Google Search Essentials spam policy by being ‘spammy automatically-generated content.’
Freelance Content Writers and Bad Content
Freelance platforms can be a place where law firms turn to find legal content writers. But it can take a lot of sifting and sorting to find a competent, reliable freelance writer who can produce quality content in publish-ready condition.
The claimed skills and experience of freelance writers are not verified by the platforms, and reviews can be misleading. Legal content that needs heavy editing or may not even be used as written can require a renewed search for a qualified writer – costing a law firm more time and probably more money for uncertain results. If you don’t want bad law firm website content, you need to seek out writers who have years of experience producing legal content that converts readers into clients.
How to Make Sure Legal Content is Good
Hire a reputable legal content writing agency you can rely on to produce timely, accurate, unique content that is well-edited and publish-ready.
Or if you choose to have content produced some other way, be sure to review it or have somebody review it before it gets published. It’s best if the person reviewing the content understands SEO, the legal concepts being discussed, and how to write for the potential clients a law firm wants to attract.
Even if a law firm is paying someone to edit its content, it is still a good idea for a firm principal to periodically read some of the firm’s content to make sure it is representative of the image the firm wants to convey.
How do You go From Bad Law Firm Website Content to Good?
Our motives are mostly pure. We write legal content. We think it should be good. We think law firms should want their content to be good too. We’re here to help law firms get more clients, which means getting rid of your bad law firm website content.
Content is a big part of law firm marketing. Your content may be the first introduction someone has to your law firm. You want that introduction to let the reader know you understand their problem and can provide the solution they need. You want them to feel comfort in knowing they can trust you to help them resolve their situation.
At Blue Seven Content, we know bad content on law firm websites can mean the loss of potential clients. Our content is written to give attorneys and law firms the best chances of attracting the clients that need their services. Want good content? Call Blue 7.
Written by Mari Gaines – Legal Content Writer