In his post You Say Law Firm, I Say Lawyer, Mark Sprague provides some key insights into understanding how prospective legal consumers use the Internet to find legal professionals online:
Consumer search behavior can be different depending upon how they start their search.
User intent can be significantly different, depending upon which of the two keyword phrases they use.
In his analysis, Mark contrasts two top level legal services search phrases. While his numbers related to search volume vary fairly significantly from data with which I am familiar, his conclusions are sound:
- Depending upon the keyword phrase you are targeting—user intent, term usage and topics differ. These differences can be exploited in your website ad copy and PPC campaigns.
- If you are actively recruiting new legal talent, than law firm is the keyword phrase to target.
- Consumers favor the term attorney over lawyer. You should use both, but attorney should be the dominant term in your web page copy.
- If you are looking to have people find your company by name, you should favor the phraselaw firm in page copy and PPC campaigns.
- If you or your firm is best known by the type of law you practice, than the lawyer dataset is more valuable to you.
- Understanding the legal search behavior by category allows you to develop custom landing pages to target specific user intent. Users are more apt to stay at your website if their first impression is an exact match for their intent /search phrase.
There is a lot of information to be gleaned from Mark's analysis. I will not attempt to distill everything out but, there are a couple of key observations worth reiterating.
Understanding how user intent depends on various search phrases is critical to increasing targeted traffic and conversions. While I agree that the term "attorney" reflects more volume than other similar top-level legal terms, I have also seen large variations depending on geographical location, as well as, practice area.
While you may want to give phrases like "attorney" primacy on your web pages and blog posts, I suggest that you do not omit other top-level legal terms in your content. As a general proposition, including "attorney", "lawyer, and "law firm" in various page titles is advisable.
Strategic investments in information architecture are critical to success online. However, strategic investments don't need to be expensive. There are many web technologies available for site architecture that are free, or very low cost. Modest investments can go a long way toward increasing your success in search engines.
Committing to developing and publicizing high-quality content on a scheduled basis is probably one of the absolute most important components to a successful law firm web strategy. Set it and forget it simply doesn't work online. Top search positions come from publishing high-quality content.
Thanks again to Mark Sprague for providing this analysis.
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