Whenever we take on a new client (aka – a law firm), one of the first things we do is take note of their website’s existing content to see what’s working—and more importantly, to see what isn’t. Similar to other marketing niches, legal content writing has its own trials to overcome not only in maintaining a steady user base but also in writing creative content that draws in new audiences as well.
Performing a search inquiry is a lot like casting out a line in the middle of the ocean. You never know if a promising nibble will come in seconds, or if you’ll spend an entire day staring longingly into a sea of irrelevant or unhelpful results.
As a content writer, I spend most of my time navigating these waters with the hope of finding the biggest catches for our clients. I then use these results to craft lures which will help draw eager fishermen to our clients’ ports instead of those belonging to their local competition.
(Okay, enough of the fishing jargon. I promise I have a point, though!)
One successful method of maintaining and expanding your audience of potential clients and cases (which I discussed in greater detail in my last blog post) is to present useful information in a helpful, creative and direct manner. If something is meant to be helpful, it should also be palatable to your readers.
The exact science to Google’s algorithm, though largely unknown, is largely influenced by the relevancy of a content piece and how users interact with it. What’s important to realize is that if people like your content, Google will like your content too. With this in mind, how can you best create content to engage and encourage readers while still remaining true to SEO best practices?
Keywords, Problem Solving, and Troubleshooting
In simplest terms, a piece that has been optimized to appear in a certain word or phrase searches will rank far better than one that has not been optimized. However, while stuffing keywords into a content piece was enough to increase your rankings, this is no longer the case. Now, keywords must be incorporated naturally into a piece to reflect what (and more importantly, how) people are searching for.
Understanding what your audience is searching for (such as, “what do I do after a car accident?” or “how do I hire a medical malpractice lawyer?”) is critical to optimizing content that addresses the root of their problems quickly, informatively and in a way that encourages them to turn to you for their needs—and coming up with creative ways to answer their questions in the process.
Thanks to the convenience of the digital age, the next big thing is a click (or a tap) away. The same goes for content—if it is too long, too confusing or even if it simply doesn’t look good to a user, there’s a strong chance they’ll exit out and venture elsewhere. This is particularly true if the user is attempting to troubleshoot, where there is a desire to find the exact answer to their problem as quickly as possible.
To cater to “skimmers” (while also maintaining quality for more thorough readers), consider using infographics to convey the major points of a content piece quickly and effectively. If the information is pertinent, perhaps they will visit your site again to read more later. Even better, they may come back another time to seek answers for another question they have.
In either case, presenting a “TL; DR” (Too Long; Didn’t Read) summary of your piece can be a major boon to a lengthier piece that might otherwise struggle to generate traffic.
Facts, Figures, and Data
As the saying goes, there’s strength in numbers. In fact, using numerical data to support the argument and heart of your content shows that you are not only creative in substantiating your claims but that you are passionate enough about your cause to show that you have done your homework. This will build respect between yourself and your readers, and you may find a regular audience eagerly waiting to share your posts once you have proven to be a trustworthy source of information.
However, there is a fine line between citing your sources and boring your reader with raw statistics. Consider finding the most pertinent statistics and including only those in your content; when combined with an infographic, you can present a plethora of data catering to even the briefest of skimmers!
Pictures can speak volumes more than even the best-written paragraphs. They offer the chance to enrich your reader and break up the monotony of text walls, creating a much more aesthetically pleasing appearance. This improves the overall user experience and helps to keep your website visitors on the page longer, thereby heling to increase rankings.
In addition, images themselves can be optimized using an ALT tag in order to display alternative text if an image cannot load or be located properly, or be read to those using a screen reader. By providing alternative text alongside an image, search engines will be able to crawl and index your content much easier no matter how many images may be present.
The Human Element
Lastly—and perhaps most importantly—your content should show a more human approach to questions and answers. Content that is presented in a way that allows normal people (i.e. not legal industry professionals) to read it and understand the main points clearly will have a lasting impression and will encourage readers to return to your website. Always remember that your potential clients are typically not lawyers, so don’t speak to them like they are.
In order to stand out from the rest of the pack, showing that you are able to produce strong, creative and unique content is a must. Readers tend to organize themselves around those who respond directly to their questions in a way that they understand and respect—meaning that a properly optimized piece could be the deciding factor between your services and those of a competitor.
By catering to a broader audience and providing the answers they seek, you’ll find your nets fuller as your rankings start to rise like the tide.