SEO Content Strategy for Law Firms: Achieve Compounding Returns
Building a content strategy backed by data is the secret weapon to outranking your competitors on Google, getting more traction on social media, and getting more calls from your website.
SEO for personal injury lawyers is one of the most competitive industries to rank in. Unlike with most professional services, the value of a lead could be in the tens of thousands to the millions. Firms that understand the importance of ranking high on Google to get those leads to invest a ton into their website’s SEO efforts.
Couple that with the fact that there’s no shortage of injury firms and attorneys in the country, and you have the basic ingredients for a cutthroat marketing environment.
A well-defined and data-driven content strategy from the start is critical to getting your firm results.
This article will cover why SEO content strategy matters for law firms and going beyond just SEO.
What is SEO Content Strategy?
SEO and Content are two components of marketing strategy which is itself a component of business strategy. When you harmonize SEO and Content Marketing together to support the goals of your business, that’s an SEO Content Strategy.
To fully understand how SEO and content support one another, let’s break each of them down so we’re all on the same page.
The primary focus of search engine optimization (SEO) is to get the pages on your website ranking higher in the search results. SEO is a large umbrella that can be broadly broken down into two key areas:
There are dozens of ways to optimize a website for search, but you’ll get the most effort from focusing on the following:
- Crawlability: How search engines are able to find, read, and index your website.
- Search Intent & Content Quality: How your page’s content answers the question the searcher is looking for on Google and if your content has the hallmarks of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (EAT).
- Authority: How many other trusted places on the web cite/reference your content as a resource (these are like votes of confidence from third parties).
- Pagespeed/Web Core Vitals: How fast your page loads and what the experience of it is like for site visitors.
- Mobile Friendliness/Responsiveness: How your website renders and is used on mobile devices.
Things like crawlability, pagespeed, and mobile-friendliness are what you can think of as hard skills (technical), whereas search intent, content quality, and authority are like soft skills (creative and empathetic).
SEO strategy is how you prioritize and act on these areas of SEO to meet your business goals.
Content strategy is a subset of business strategy and consists of identifying constraints (i.e. the things that are limiting your firm from growing), ways to alleviate them with content, and the plan to actually do so.
It is all of the moving parts including not only what content you will create, but how it will convert visitors, and how you will get it in front of your target audience—called distribution.
Content and SEO go hand in hand. You create content on your website to build trust with visitors and get them to take some desired action as a result (e.g. submitting a contact form for a free consultation or calling your office) and SEO to bring those visitors there in the first place.
Because merely having content on your site won’t guarantee anyone sees it.
As such, you shouldn’t think of them as separate things but rather two components of the business strategy that overlap and work together. That overlap is the essence of SEO Content Strategy.
To get started, you have to identify what kind of content will help you reach your goals. Then you have to get it created, published, and optimized to rank on search engines for things that would bring qualified visitors to your website.
A qualified visitor could mean different things depending on your goals. If you’re trying to build brand awareness, a qualified visitor might be anyone in your service area who could need your services one day or need them right now. If you’re trying to sign cases immediately, a qualified visitor would be someone that’s been injured and has a case worth signing (e.g. do they have medical bills from serious injuries).
To get the most value from SEO, you’ll want to create content that uniquely addresses the needs of the searcher.
Picking the right content types and angles is important here.
Content types that perform well on Google include things like:
- Long-form informational blog posts
- Resource directories
- Informational videos
- Service pages
If your goal is to get more bottom-of-funnel leads from your website, your focus should be on creating specific service pages optimized for both Google search and conversions. If your goal is to attract more traffic (visitors) to your website, which eventually means getting more cases, your focus should be on creating content that adds value to a potential client’s search intent.
For example, you can focus on creating content in the form of long-form blog posts and case studies that answer questions like how to navigate the aftermath of an accident or injury.
Playing the Long Game
Following a consistent SEO content strategy has the potential to bring significant results with enough patience. SEO isn’t something you’ll see the impact of overnight (if you want that, you’re better off with advertising), but it can deliver compounding results over time.
Content optimized for search engines can bring many hundreds of thousands of visitors per month to your site, some percentage of which can convert into clients with cases worth millions of dollars.
How Long is Long?
Why does SEO take so long though?
Technical considerations notwithstanding, it is in Google’s best interest to ensure only the best content ranks high enough that it will get clicked on by searchers. If anyone could just game the ranking algorithm, they would and the quality of the results would greatly diminish. The result of which would be catastrophic for Google’s business model.
People use Google because they trust that it will give them the answers they’re looking for. If they stopped, Google’s massive $150 billion dollar per year revenue stream from Google Ads would disappear.
Google won’t let that happen.
As such, their algorithm is very sophisticated and leverages not only natural language processing and machine learning to help assess content quality, but also the democratic nature of the internet and the votes of trust people cast when they cite or reference one website by linking to it.
Creating high-quality unique content takes enough time in and of itself. Coupled with the often slow process of acquiring links from other websites, you have a perfect recipe for a process that can be described as anything but quick.
If you develop a comprehensive content strategy for SEO, you’ll have no shortage of topic ideas to create content for either. So the best thing you can do to set yourself up for success in the long run is to diligently and consistently create and publish unique content on your website that’s optimized for users and search engines while simultaneously allocating future resources to keep that content fresh, up to date, and optimized.
That’s how momentum gets built.
Want to see what long-term dedication to SEO looks like? Let’s look at websites like Nolo, DrugWatch, and Dolman Sibley.
NOLO is an online legal dictionary that’s a wholly-owned subsidiary of Internet Brands (MH Sub I, LLC). Internet Brands is the same company that owns and operates Avvo, Lawyers.com, AllLaw, Ngage Live Chat, Captorra, Total Attorneys, Martindale-Avvo, and Martindale-Hubbell.
Collectively, each of these supports one another and helps Internet Brands dominate search engines.
NOLO is one of their consumer-facing products focused on answering questions for the general public. You can see graphs of NOLO’s organic traffic growth over time from 2011 to the present day. There are peaks and valleys, but like the stock market, over a long enough time period, the return on investment is massive.
Imagine getting well over 4.5 million visitors per month to your website. People searching for things like auto accident lawsuit, how to get a police report for a car accident, car accident lawsuit, or slip and fall accidents.
These are all keywords NOLO ranks #1 for (in fact, Nolo ranks in position 1 for over 20,000 keywords).
That wasn’t something Nolo accomplished overnight.
Drugwatch is another great example of a brand that has stuck with SEO and content marketing. Drugwatch isn’t a law firm itself, but it is backed by two firms that specialize in mass tort litigation. These two firms saw the value to be gained from investing in SEO for a website that is an arms-length distance from their firm— which is working fantastically for them.
While they don’t get nearly as much traffic as NOLO (and its combined sister companies), 1.1 million visitors per month isn’t something to take for granted. Especially when you consider that DrugWatch is in the Mass Torts space and ranks #1 for things like zantac recall, hernia mesh lawsuit, mirena birth control lawsuit.
NOLO, Drugwatch, Avvo, AllLaw, and several other big legal websites are making a killing from SEO by keeping distance between themselves and their content. This works so well because people are more likely to trust a brand that doesn’t look like a standard business (e.g. a law firm). These companies get millions of visitors per month and profit from selling those leads (and chat software like Ngage) to law firms like yours or funneling the leads to themselves indirectly, as is the case with Drugwatch.
So what about the little guy? The local attorney who wants to have their own brand and be the face of things? Will SEO and content work for them as well or should they keep throwing their budget away on advertising?
Dolman Law Group
SDG is a law firm primarily based out of Florida but with offices in 4 other states. While they’re not a single brick and mortar, they are still the face and essence of the brand online. They rank in the top 3 nationally for nearly 2000 keywords and get well over 100,000 visitors per month to their website.
And these number one rankings aren’t anything superfluous either. They rank #1 nationally for things like tbi lawyer, how to sue a doctor, damage to brainstem, and many more.
If your firm invests in SEO and content marketing over a long enough period of time, it can get these sorts of results too.
How You Can Get Started
Investing in SEO and content is like investing in a 401K, the best time to start is yesterday. The next best time to start is today. If you’ve tried SEO in the past and didn’t see results, ask yourself if you really gave it the time needed for it to reach its potential. If not, it’s still not too late to start.
If you want to do it on your own, start by reading our SEO for Lawyers Guide. If you want to focus on running your practice and winning cases and have someone else handle SEO and content marketing, get a hold of us and we can see if we’re a good fit.