How To Create Blog Content For Your Law Firm
Law firm blog posts are a great way to get more traffic to your firm’s website.
Imagine you’re at a party.
Someone who knows you’re a lawyer starts asking you questions about a particular issue they’re having, and you’re happy to provide your two cents. As it turns out, they’re pretty impressed with the scope of your knowledge and ask for your business card. Next thing you know, at least three people contact you during the week, referred to you by your partner in conversation.
This is exactly what law firm blogging can do for your website.
Let’s go back to the conversation at the party: what happened is that the “text” of your conversation became categorized in the mind of the listener, improving your law firm’s “credibility score” in their mind.
This is exactly what Google does with written text on the internet, and why blogging is a crucial component to successful SEO for law firms.
What Blogging Is (And What It Isn’t)
“Blogging” may connote the image of someone sitting in their living room, typing a diary-like entry about their favorite restaurants around town, or the best places to walk their dog—in other words, blogging would seem to have nothing to do with business, marketing, or getting clients.
Truth be told, that is how blogging began, but it’s become so much more.
Blogs began as personal websites where people could share their opinions, stories, thoughts, and feelings—weblogs, or blogs for short. But over the years, businesses began to realize that they could use blogging as a tactic for drawing in search traffic. This is true not only for businesses that sell a product, but businesses that sell a service like legal counsel.
In fact, blogging is one of the easiest ways to boost the SEO for your law firm.
Web browsers (read: people who use the internet) place great importance on search engines like Google for locating information—whether it’s the best place for pizza or a local law firm. Google attempts to answer their searches with the most relevant information. It categorizes, sorts, and ranks information by leveraging (a few different things, but among them) written text on websites, which can obviously include blogs.
That said, blogs are some potentially low-hanging fruit in terms of marketing. It’s a super easy way to show Google that your law firm knows what it’s doing—just by writing about what you do in a conversational style. It’s important to remember that blogs need to be readable, because even though Google categorizes web content, the people Google directs to your blog are human. Additionally, Google is actually very good at pinpointing the intent of a user’s search—so you can’t just blog to get Google’s attention; you have to actually create good content.
Of course, if you don’t have the time to do that, you can work with someone who can dedicate themselves to improving the SEO for your law firm, which they’ll do in part through creating content engaging content through blogging.
How To Come Up With Content Topics For Your Law Firm
Marketing gurus will tell you that there are certainly “formulas” you can use to generate viral content. However, going viral is probably not your goal (and by viral, we mean insanely popular, not contagious with an actual illness). Insead, you probably want to boost your visibility in the search engines, and appear credible to visitors who end up on your firm’s website.
Do note that credibility does not have to be dry; remember you are not writing for lawyers.
One way to do this is just by piggybacking on what’s currently hot on the web. You could always look at legal blog examples from the top legal directories online such as Justia, Nolo, and LegalZoom. There is nothing wrong with seeing what topics they’re covering, and then crafting your own spin on the issue.
Another more exciting approach is called Newsjacking. What legal cases are big in the news right now? You most likely already know, as does everyone else. Blog about those cases—although you might consider specifically sticking with your firm’s area of expertise. When you post links to the blog on social media, people will be more likely to click on something that’s exciting and fresh in everyone’s mind.
Another way to choose blog topics is just to authentically write about what you know and care about in the legal field. Write about cases you’ve had in the past year. Write about famous trials in your area of legal practice. Just remember you are not writing for lawyers (yes it’s the second time we’ve said this).
Ironically, if you think too hard about what to write, you probably won’t be able to come up with anything—so when ideas do come to you, write them down; build a running list of topics you can draw from every week. And yes, you should be blogging at least every week. Consistent output is good for SEO and key in running a successful blog.
Once you do pick a topic, you’re still going to have to do a little light semantic engineering in terms of using certain words that are flags to Google.
How To Create Legal Content For The Web
Writing legal content for the web is different than writing it for a client newsletter or a for a print publication. It’s important to reframe your thinking about what the web is in terms of information. You might be tempted to think of the web as a large storehouse of information, like a library. The problem with this analogy is that libraries are static, and the web is not.
It’s better to think of the web as a moving stream of information.
One of the most important things to do in terms of creating legal content for the web is to work with the knowledge that the web is an information stream. There are lots of analytic tools to see what’s working, and what isn’t—some of them in real time, or as close to real time as you can get. Those who cannot swim, will sink under the ever changing search results.
For example, there are tools such as Google Analytics that will allow you to see how long people are spending on your blog pages, how many are clicking through to links, and other relevant stats. Creating successful legal content for the web is—in large part—responding to what works and what doesn’t. Is there a particular blog post where readers spend five to ten minutes on the page? Write more about that, or use that style. Is there another post where the bounce rate (basically how quickly people find the exit) 99% and no one clicks on any links? Sorry…maybe that topic isn’t so engaging.
How To Optimize Content For The Search Engines
Optimizing content for search engines is a mix of light coding, promotion, and content creation, though in recent years it’s become more about content creation than anything else. We’ll cover different strategies for boosting the SEO for your law firm in the following sections as we discuss keywords and link-building.
But if you had to boil it down to one simple sentence, the key to creating optimized content for search engines is just to create excellent content. Google is getting better and better and bringing the most relevant search results directly to browsers. If you write from a genuine place of experience, and your blogs manage to capture your expertise, that will go a long way to optimizing them for the search engines.
However, there are still a few things you can do to give your blog a little more of an SEO boost. Once you’ve picked some topics to blog about, the first thing you’ll want to do is look at what keywords to use.
How to Find Keywords and Where to Use Them
Keywords sound ominously technical, but they’re actually easy to find and work with. Once you’ve nailed down a topic, you can literally just go to Google, type it in, and see what other phrases Google suggests searching for. There are also very user friendly tools like AnswerThePublic that will suggest other keywords and phrases to use. Some of them create visual graphs that are easy to read, while others have complex breakdowns of search volume for each term (basically telling you how popular it is). It’s good to keep things simple and stick with 5-6 keywords or phrases, otherwise you risk bogging down the blogging process.
You’ll want to use keywords in the blog title and headings. For example, if one of your key phrases you want to target is what is probate, you could literally just make that a heading in your blog. Google pays special attention to blog headers, because it’s an easier way for them to categorize information.
You’ll also want to use keywords in the meta description of your blog post. This is a small snippet of information that acts as a summary of the blog, which Google will actually display on the search results. If you don’t proactively write a snippet, it will just display some text from the blog. Engineering your meta description will not only improve the SEO of your post, but it will also make your blog look better on the Google SERPS (search engine results pages). Most platforms (like WordPress) will have a special box in which you can input the meta description without having to put it into the code of the site.
You’ll also want to use keywords throughout the copy of your blog post. Contrary to what you might think, you will not want to stuff your article with keywords. Google has gotten pretty good at what they do, and they do not reward manipulations of the system that take away from readability and authenticity. In fact, many SEO experts believe that a good keyword density is a mere 1-2%, meaning that in a 1,500 word blog article (a good longform length), your keywords should appear around 15-30 times, and no more.
How To Create Internal Links—and Why it Matters
Internal links (from the perspective of the reader of your blog) are words or phrases they can click on which will take them to a different part of your website. This could be another article or a focused landing page to book an appointment. On most web design platforms like WordPress, creating internal links is as easy is hitting a button, copying, and pasting—so creating internal links is not that hard.
But it’s important to know the value of internal links.
Google ranks content on the web by sending out “spiders” to crawl around and scan information. Placing internal links around your website makes it easier to navigate. It helps Google get a better sense of how all the information ties together, which in turn helps express your expertise.
Links also demonstrate relevance and importance. If you have a particularly important piece of content (often called cornerstone content) you will want to place more internal links leading reader to that page, and place them in prominent locations like your homepage. Internal linking is an important aspect of SEO for your law firm, so you will want to work with someone who can help maximize the effect of an internal linking strategy.
Pushing Content Through Social Media
One of the easiest ways to leverage law firm blogging is to post links to your blog posts on social media. This can be as simple as making a post on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn with a link to your blog. If the content is good, people will share it, which only increases the number of clicks over to your website.
However, it’s important to know that social media algorithms have changed (many times) in recent years, and posting something does not necessarily mean lots of people will see it.
Post visibility is based on a complex mix of factors such as what people usually click on or engage with (hence, a good reason to newsjack) and how often you interact with them. To that end, part of SEO for law firms is managing social media channels to foster them as good avenues for building backlinks to your content, which may include interacting with your network (a time consuming task).
A Final Word
Blogging is a huge part of SEO for your law firm. Moreover, blogging does not to be a burdensome process of hunting down hundreds of keywords and spending hours over the scrabble board of your computer. With a handful of keywords, well-placed internal links, and engaging topics, you can turn law firm blogging into a profitable and passive marketing strategy for your law firm, drawing in new clients through the simple method of sharing your expertise on the web.
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