Your law firm’s marketing strategy is well-defined and gets you the kind of clients you want, right?
One essential part of managing a website or blog is ensuring that your content is up to par with Google’s standards. Now, you can go ahead and read the Google Webmaster quality guidelines, but there is a layman’s approach to this as well.
Here are three things to ask yourself before publishing any content online, to make sure that its quality is on par with what Google is looking for:
When Google scans the web to see if a page matches the searcher’s query, they look at the quality of the overall website attached to that content. This means checking to see if the content is found elsewhere on the web or if the content is unique to this site only. If it is duplicate, Google will likely choose a single version to show.
The bots are also looking for valuable content, which typically means that it thoroughly answers the search query and all images or content on the page adds value to the text. You could be a long-time leader in your field but if you’ve got a brand new website and haven’t appeared anywhere else on the internet, Google doesn’t consider you to be much of an expert right away. SEO is a marathon, not a sprint.
Last but not least, you need quality links on your page that lead people to other authoritative and quality websites or other sites linking to your page.
In addition to page quality, search engines are looking to see how your page and site perform. Are the pages able to load quickly? Gyi wrote a great post on this (and more) a while back.
In addition to load speed, search engines look for accessibility and quality of the user experience. To pass this test, all images should have proper alt-tags and headings. A screen reader should be able to ‘read’ the images and understand what the image is made of. If you need more reasons to do this, I’ll refer you to my post on SEO and Accessibility.
Search engines are looking for good content in addition to the page and site quality. This seems like a no-brainer, but your content should be well-written with no spelling errors. You need to reign in overuse of keywords, making sure that your posts and pages are coherent. Saying “best Houston divorce lawyer” 10 times on one page adds no value to your pages, potential clients or your bottom line. It also negates to do the thing Google wants your content to do most, which is to answer the search query.
Bottom line, make sure all page and post content is easy to understand, well-organized and includes links to resources that makes sense and adds to the validity of the page content.
How can you tell if your content is working?
Looking at engagement metrics should give you some indication. Additionally, are your posts getting links, shares, likes or comments? All of the things listed are indicators that your content is doing its job.
If there’s anything important to end this post on, it would be that before you click publish on any posts, pages or websites, you ask yourself one thing: “does this add value for my current or potential clients?” If the answer is no and you realize the post serves only yourself, rethink it and rework it. Your content isn’t there for you, it’s there for your clients.
With that in mind, you may want to think about how you can define your content a little bit differently to help you stand apart from your competitors so it can get you more clients.
Here are 4 ways that can help you stand out in the sea of law firms:
Know your goals, values and clearly define your voice.
Let’s break this down, because your goals, values, and voice all seem like things that should be a non-issue when it comes to your law firm’s content.
What are your law firm’s goals?
Get more clients, right? WRONG. Well, not really wrong, but sort of. “Get more clients” isn’t really a defined goal. How many clients? What type of clients? What kind of cases? If you are going to get more people calling you and signing a retainer or agreement, you want them to be the type of clients you want to work with. There are almost always going to be 1 or 2 bad apples in a bunch, but knowing the kind of clients you want to attract, knowing their needs, and knowing your law firm’s capabilities can go a long way toward cultivating a clientele that works for you.
What are your firm’s values?
This one can really get the eyes rolling, in my experience, but it’s true. There are many law firms that come to mind when I think of defined values. The guy who says he fights for justice against the bad guys and uses a sledgehammer in TV commercials, the non-profit lawyer who spends weekends and evenings attending rallies, and so on. You don’t have to create commercials where you skydive to show that your law firm is the kind of place that is willing to take on risky cases, but it’s actually a pretty fun idea if you ask me. Back to the premise above–defining your law firm’s (and your own) values as a legal service provider will allow you to tailor your content and should help hit a few of the above-mentioned goals, like attracting the kind of clients you want.
What does ‘voice’ even mean?
Whether you’re a solo firm, have multiple lawyers, or hire your marketing efforts to create content, you need to have a voice or feeling to that content that matches the firm goals and values. If you are like the lawyer with the sledgehammer, you’re going to tailor your firm content to lean towards justice. Topics would center around how to get what’s right, how to fight back (legally), and how your firm advocates for their clients. Voice simply means, what kind of message are you trying to get across to potential clients about the kind of person or firm you are?
Try ‘SLOW CONTENT.’
Have you heard of the slow food movement? People are putting more emphasis on seasonal, local foods for a higher price and buying more often, instead of in bulk.
Slow content has the same idea–less stuff, done better. Here’s how to put it into practice:
Instead of throwing out a blog or social media post every day, ask yourself what value this is providing, who your target audience is, and whether you are proud of it before you hit publish.
If you are using outside resources to help you build content, make sure you are hiring people who are experts in legal content or legal marketing. You want anything your law firm puts out to show expertise in your practice area.
Make your headlines stand for themselves. Try this formula that the Content Marketing Institute recommends:
“Use a modified version of Jeff Goin’s formula for catchy headlines: number or trigger word + adjective + topic or audience keyword + benefit. Or use James Scherer’s tip for influencer titles: How (Familiar Brand) Is Doing (Something) to Achieve (Positive Result).”
Make time for bigger and better ideas. Do you set aside 30-60 minutes per day to work on your law firm content? Instead, try setting aside 24 hours one day per week to cultivate one really great post that is more thought out and curated than your past posts. It’s similar to the idea of Deep Work, where Cal Newport discusses methods to double down on your productivity to create more and work better. You probably could have used this book back in law school.
Taking these steps will build more valuable content for your law firm, instead of providing mediocre information for people.
Focus on the user experience.
This harkens back to number one a little bit, but I’ll explain in more detail. User experience typically encompasses six areas that affect three main things: look, feel, and usability.
This is a common practice in the news, where the anchor or news story has the premise in the headline.
You could do the whole TL;DR (too long, didn’t read) thing and write your summary in the first sentence OR you could keep things simple and just write that paragraph or sentence. Less is more, right?
Most topics that law firms are going to write or share about would need to be explained more in depth, but the lead with the lead practice could be your Facebook post with the article link to catch follower’s attention and peak their interest to read the entire article.
One common issue with legal websites is that lawyers try to jam in as many keywords as possible, so their website becomes page after page of meaningless information. Make certain the words on your firm’s website all have a point- and all focus on the user. Lead with what matters and get rid of anything that doesn’t. Google will appreciate it and your potential clients will as well.
Less is more, show your true colors, and make your site FOR your clients. That’s my TL;DR- but I kept it until the end.
I’d love to know if you have any feedback on what sets your firm’s website apart from the competition.
This post was inspired by Rand Fishkin’s Whiteboard Friday post on creating high-quality content.