Search engines determine the success of law firm websites by deciding how many clients and potential clients they refer to the site. Earlier this year, Google started penalizing sites that push out spam content and rewarding sites that publish original content. For years, marketers focused on keyword and link building to drive SEO and dominate…
Law firm marketing, like all professional services marketing, is in the midst of a digital revolution. Traditional techniques for generating leads, cultivating prospects, and making connections are becoming less and less effective. Today, many law firms are being found and vetted online. Technology, your potential client’s immediate expectations, and changing demographics are driving professional services to the center of the online marketing environment. Customers expect to be educated by searching brands (and yes, your law firm is a ‘brand’) and services that match their needs. If your brand or content is nowhere to be found, your competitor will show up instead. A growing number of firms are finding success with content marketing and promoting it through social media. Those refusing to notice the change will find themselves at a disadvantage.
Content marketing (also referred to as education marketing) is the means of attracting clients and leading them to your company instead of paying to reach them. It is the process of creating content that customers and clients want or need can be published or shared in any media format. Your law firm can create compelling and relevant messages by using a few basic guidelines in developing your own approach.
Lately, there’s been a bunch of noise about dangers of “ghostwritten” legal blogs. Apparently, no one is safe and practicing attorneys are supposed to stop focusing on their practice to take time out to write informational, educational blog posts, engage on social media, and otherwise not bill out for their time. After weeks of reading about this, particularly rants by an individual who profits from having attorneys ‘write’ their own blogs, I decided to share my own thoughts on this matter, as both an attorney and the founder of a company who writes legal content on behalf of lawyers.
Argument #1 – Bad Content
If you are a regular reader of our blog, or follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn or Facebook or Google+, you know just how important Google+ and Google Authorship is for lawyers looking to increase their online presence. One of the perks of Google Authorship is the avatar (i.e. your headshot) that shows up next to links associated with your Google account, which means instant facial recognition, increased search engine rankings, more clicks, and on and on… But if you have Googled yourself lately, you may have noticed that your Google+ photo (and other identifying information) has disappeared from the search results.
So what’s happening? Read on to learn how to regain your powerful online presence.
If you’re a lawyer interested in or involved in building your law firm’s online presence, you have probably heard something about Panda, Penquin, and/or any of the other recent Google algorithm updates. For most of us, these updates are good news. They promote quality content over quantity, and reward bloggers who have taken the time to write accurate, thoughtful content — on a regular basis (as always, consistency is key).
A few years ago, anyone could throw low-quality, keyword-rich (and ethically dubious) content on his website/blog and see an increase in page rank for weeks! No such luck today. Every major search engine’s focus has moved sharply away from short, overly-optimized content, and has moved toward longer, more comprehensive and in-depth articles.
But at the end of the day, all we really want to know is how to secure that premium placement on page 1 of a Google search. How does Google determine which content is high quality (and should therefore rank highly), and which isn’t? Keep reading for 4 on-page strategies every blogging lawyer should utilize to ensure Google recognizes the value of your content.
For lawyers who are interested in capitalizing on the fact that prospective clients use the internet to find an attorney, search engine optimization, or SEO, is key. The goal of search engine optimization is to get your website to the top of the search engines for your target keywords; a process that takes time, a savvy understanding of what really works, and a consistent effort.
Among those efforts is content marketing optimization, or CMO. CMO is the practice of creating fresh, relevant content for search engines to pick up (generally through the use of a blog). SEO and CMO go hand-in-hand. If your web marketing team tells you otherwise, be very wary.
Read on for 4 tips to capitalize on your CMO and increase your SEO.
These days, if you want to be competitive online, and relevant offline, content is king. If you follow our blog, you know that we say that a lot over here, and not only because we offer legal blogging services, but because it’s a fact. According to Matt Cutts, Google’s head of webspam, “we try to…
Once upon a time, search engine optimization (SEO) was about stuffing web pages with key words and hiding links. Lawyers and other businesses flourished, bringing in tons of business through a few quick online searches.
Unfortunately, those days are over. Google has caught on to these ‘tactics’ and penalized (ab)users by dropping them off the top of search results. These days, securing page 1 search engine placement takes, in part, a refined and strategic approach centered on fresh, original content that provides value to visitors. Is your legal blog in line with this new way of online business development?
Is Content Quality that Important?
Yes, the quality of the content that your legal blog provides is crucial to your blog ability to drive new traffic to your website! Creating content for today’s SEO world means for more than traditional SEO practices (like on-page keyword optimization or link building).
Websites that offer visitors valuable content on a regular basis are going to be looked upon more favorably by Google, and will, in turn, appear higher in the search rankings.
We’ve been saying it for a while and the statistics are in: Content marketing is one of the most effective ways for a law firm to differentiate itself online these days. With the sheer number of lawyers ‘blogging’ (some of the stuff we read should not qualify as such), it is more important than ever that included in your law firm’s business development plan is a content marketing strategy. By this we mean the production of quality, unique content (or blog posts) that the search engines and your potential audience (new clients, media, etc…) will adore.
A few interesting stats about legal blogging:
- 90% of consumers find custom [legal] content useful
- Companies that blog drive 55% more traffic to their website (all the more reason to be sure the content you are putting out is relevant to your practice areas. You want quality leads.)
- 62% of businesses outsource their content marketing (lawyers: make sure that whomever is writing your content is intimately familiar with your state bar’s rules)
- 58% of consumers trust editorial content (is your legal marketing team publishing your articles in the top legal periodicals?)
- Social media and blogs reach 8 out of 10 Internet users
- Interesting content is one of the top 3 reasons people follow businesses (such as your law firm) on social media
With legal blogging for business development all the rage, it’s important for lawyers to remember that the goal of the blog is twofold: educate (the public) and encourage (new clients to call). Many lawyers, and those who write content on their behalf, are so concerned about ‘building content’ or/and ‘increasing SEO’ that they dismiss quality — in both the content and the on-page search engine optimization.
Content quality cannot be overlooked for obvious reasons (namely, your State Bar, which frowns upon inaccurate or misleading content). Quality on-page optimization is one of the easiest ways to rank for keywords in search engines. Of course, we do not suggest that you law firm sacrifices readability and appearance for the sake of optimization, as this will affect your potential client’s experience and if they aren’t encouraged to call you after reading your blog, what’s the point of blogging? Or paying someone else to do it?
Read on for the top 10 factors that your law firm should consider when writing content and constructing an optimized layout for your legal blog.