Virtually every page on an attorney’s site is designed to fulfill a specific purpose. Content marketing for lawyers is not just written for the sake of telling people about the firm or about the service, but rather, should be crafted to drive people to perform specific actions (like getting the information they need for their legal situation) and ultimately hiring an attorney.
Good content is built as much as it’s written. Content archetypes are used for constructing information in order to accomplish a specific goal (e.g., ranking well in search, converting a visitor to a client, achieving shareability, etc).
There are two basic law firm content archetypes: practice area pages (which are effectively sales pages) and blogs (which are used to gain links and build top-of-mind awareness/social media engagement).
These are, effectively, the sales pages for a law firm; these bottom-of-the-funnel pages are where prospective clients are converting (i.e., hiring an attorney).
Blog content has long been a staple of successful search engine optimization campaigns. For attorney SEO campaigns, blog posts serve as “top of the funnel” content. That is, the visitors that it attracts to your site are those who are in a discovery mode.
Here are some tips for running an effective law blog:
When looking for examples of topics, here are some good resources:
As Hubspot recently highlighted, content development in SEO is moving towards a new framework, what they call the “topic cluster model.” Essentially, one primary page acts as the lynchpin for the rest of your site’s related content: a single page is connected to multiple smaller, more specific pages, which feed authority back that singular primary “pillar page.”
In the legal vertical, practice area pages are ideal targets to act as pillar pages.
As webmasters continue to add thousands upon thousands of new pages to the web each hour, it’s essential that Google have a way to assess and categorize relevant topics. The pillar/cluster model assists in this from an architectural standpoint, treating all of those smaller pages as arrows pointing back to the pillar. Attorneys can benefit from using a similar methodology with their content.
Here’s an example of the pillar/cluster model for the topic “car accidents.”
Google’s algorithm can measure many things, but it can’t track is the smile on a reader’s face. Consequently, there is no easy way to measure if a given piece of content is adequately answering a user’s intent. One element that Google does measure is the amount of time that a user remains on the site (known as dwell time).
One method of increasing dwell time is to naturally write longer content. Because it takes longer to read, your average dwell time is going to reliably increase. In that same capacity, it’s also why many individuals recommend video content.
The other benefit of long-form content is that you organically include related phrases and synonyms, which gives you the opportunity to rank for additional keywords.
Last, but not least, longer content is performing better in search. Brian Dean released a study in 2016 that showed the average first page search results was 1890 words (from a sample size of over one million queries).
Recently, we performed a data-study reviewing the top 112,000 ranking personal injury law firms; we found that the average word count of first-page results now exceeds 3000 words. Every day, the index becomes larger, so it’s more important than ever to create high-quality, long-form content that answers consumer intent.
Your mom always told you to eat a healthy breakfast and start your day off right. Similarly, Google suggests that you focus content on qualities that they abbreviate as E-A-T: Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. Put simply, Google wants content from credible sources and emphasizes those three elements as being fundamental to credible content.
Here are best practices to make your content E-A-T-worthy:
Essentially, Google is asking you to treat your on-site content the same way your teachers in high school and professors in college taught you to write research papers: say what you mean, but back it up with independent sources.
Ultimately, Google wants consumers to view them as a trustworthy source of information. To that end, they may serve content written by an attorney (who is inherently authoritative) rather than commentary from a blog (which may have been written by anyone) when fulfilling a user’s search query for legal information. It’s incumbent on you, when writing content, to show your bona fides, as it were, and demonstrate that authority.
While SEO’s growth potential is typically more gradual, its value compounds. PPC and sponsored directories can drive more immediate traffic, but their value added is somewhat temporary and subject to continued payment. Search engine optimization is an investment and PPC is a cost, the same way that a healthy diet is an investment vs. the cost of plastic surgery.