Great content should drive traffic and attract visitors to your law firm website. Content is king is an essay Bill Gates wrote in 1996, predicting content would become central to the success of websites. But what exactly is great content and how can you make content king (or queen) on your law firm website site?
In short, you’ll want to create high quality content that attracts, educates, and entertains your audience, keeping them on your website as they read your expert articles on how to deal with their legal issues.
Your website content is foundational to establishing your expertise and authority and building trust with potential clients. As a lawyer, you sell your legal knowledge and experience to people to help them through confusing and difficult matters that they can’t resolve themselves. Legal knowledge is becoming more accessible to everyone, and we’re happy about that. Legal knowledge should be accessible to everyone. But this also means that your potential clients are researching their legal issues before even hiring an attorney. Where they can find the answers to their legal problems should be on your website in the quality content you create.
Is Content Writing Different For Legal Websites?
Not really. The biggest difference is in subject matter. Though whatever you write about, there are a few things you should keep in mind to make your content stand out: develop client personas and write with them in mind, have a clearly defined voice and tone, and connect with your audience.
Your content should know its audience and their needs, be targeted towards that audience through your use of keyword strategies and client personas, be helpful, and be easy to understand. It should only focus on one topic at a time to be clear, concise, and not convoluted. Seek to educate (and maybe entertain) in your content, but not to sell. Your content should also start to build trust and establish your firm as an authority in your areas of practice.
Building trust and authority first comes from having a reputable brand and website, but also by not writing like a lawyer. Writing and speaking in legalese can be off-putting. People want an attorney they can connect with, who will understand their position, and who explains things so the other person can understand.
You also shouldn’t limit your content to articles or blog posts. Content is more than just words. It can also be downloads, infographics, videos, or live streams. Plus, having a face and voice to put to a name helps you build trust with potential clients before you even meet them.
Potential clients are researching their legal issues before reaching out to an attorney. They’re also researching you and your firm before contacting you. Make your website’s content a resource for potential clients that answers their questions and addresses their specific concerns in a comprehensive but not complex way. Being that expert that can provide knowledge and guidance helps connects you to your audience and starts cultivating a relationship with those potential clients, making it more likely those potential clients will reach out to you and not a competitor.
Having content that is useful and educational for your potential clients isn’t enough. You’ll have to know how to get that content in front of your target audience by understanding and using SEO and other traffic-generating tactics.
How Does SEO Play a Role in Legal Content Writing
Generally, search engine optimization (SEO), is how to optimize your webpages to improve its visibility in search results on search engines for organic search. SEO is what helps get your website in front of your ideal client more quickly.
A study in 2014 suggested that 64% of all web traffic comes from organic search, compared to 6% from paid search (like PPC), 12% from direct, and 15% from other sources. Of that 65%, Google accounts for more than 90% of global organic search traffic. So it’s important to at least know the basics of SEO.
Keywords are what your potential clients will be searching for. You’ll want to conduct keyword research to know exactly what those words are. You can use tools like Google Keyword Tool, Keyword Discovery, Bing Keyword Research, and Google Analytics to start with your research. Most of the time, your keywords will come in the form of long-tail keywords, like “Estate Planning Attorney Sheboygan Wisconsin.”
Metadata includes information like your title tag, your meta descriptions, and image alt descriptions. The title tag is the title of your webpage, the meta description is a summary or tidbit of information about the webpage, like below:
The alt description is the text descriptions of images that helps search engines (and people with visual disabilities) understand what is going on in a picture.
Link building is where you have links to pages on your website either within your website, internal link building, or on other websites, external link building. An easy way to build links externally is to list yourself on legal directories and by claiming your Google Business profile.
Writing for Keywords, Images, and Technical Tactics
But you should strive to write in a way that is good for your audience and search engines to read. This means having a website that is fast, easy-to-use, easy-to-navigate, mobile friendly, and has your contact information on display. Once you have a well designed website, it’s time to develop content to populate it.
As you write content, you should strive to have at least 500 words per post with titles and keywords related to the types of keywords your client personas are looking for. For example, if you’re writing about how to establish a living trust, “Living Trust” could be a keyword, but a Google search shows that “Living Trust” has over 1,300,000,000 results.
That’s over a billion results. However, simply changing the keyword to “Living Trust Ann Arbor Michigan” lowers the results to just 7,480,000.
So you could have your article be titled, “How to Establish a Living Trust in Ann Arbor, Michigan” with the long-tail keyword “Living Trust Ann Arbor Michigan”
Long-tail keywords are more likely what your potential clients are searching for on Google. Long-tail keywords are more specific and more relevant to what your audience is searching for, so your content should be focused on optimizing for those.
You should try to include your keywords in your titles, metadata, headings, and URL, as well as in your webpage’s copy, but be mindful not to “keyword stuff,” which is overusing your keyword. Your keywords should be used naturally in your web page.
Including images on your website is another great way to help improve your SEO. Not only does it make your web pages more visually appealing to readers, but you can also add alt text, which is a description that tells search engines what the image is about and also improves accessibility for people with impaired vision using screen readers. For a great talk about accessibility for your law firm website, check out Podcast Episode 202: Accessible Justice with Haben Girma.
Start creating content that points to other content on your website. This is called internal link building, and is a way to get visitors to go to other pages on your website and provide more useful information to other relevant topics. External link building is having other websites link to your site. You can do this by listing your business on legal directories or by writing guest posts on other legal websites or blogs.
Publish consistently. Once a week is a good start to help build your SEO. While regularly producing content is a great way to engage with and build an audience, you shouldn’t publish for the sake of producing content. Be thoughtful in what you publish and focus on quality not quantity. Thinking about your long term message, short term announcements, or on-going offerings is an excellent way to fill up an editorial calendar. Writing a new post every week that is true to you and not pushy can slow people down. Coming up with ideas for emails, blog posts, and social media will take some thought. There are several credible sources to help if you ever feel like you’re running out of ideas, but if you’re in touch with your prospective clients and the other things they’re finding for their solutions you should be able to come up with lots of additional content over time from tips, to case studies, to law updates, to new ways to think about their problems, etc.
All your content should provide keyword rich information that is helpful and also establishes your authority while drawing in organic search engine results by following SEO best practices. Showcase your expertise by answering questions and sharing information on relevant topics to your practice area.
Call-to-Action and Increasing Engagement
Once you have people reading your content, you’ll want to encourage them to do something to engage with you. A call-to-action, or CTA, encourages people to take a certain action. Your CTAs are a way to increase engagement with your audience and bring your potential client a step closer to hiring you as their attorney. They’re usually placed at the end of a post, but they can be placed anywhere in your marketing.
A CTA should help guide your audience what to do next after finishing reading your article or watching your video. A CTA could be to contact you, visit another page on your website, download something, sign-up for an event, or register for a free consultation.
High-quality content addresses and resolves an issue your client persona is having. It is concise and clear, focusing on one topic at a time and uses long-tail keywords to promote that topic on search engines. Your content should also encourage visitors to engage with your website by linking to related content or through a CTA.
Effective content marketing is a long-term strategy and should be focused on building a strong relationship with your target audience by giving them high-quality, helpful, and relevant content on a consistent basis, establishing your trust and authority in their eyes, then getting them to engage with you through your call-to-action strategy.
A complete content marketing strategy can be a complex machine, but it always starts with great content that provides value to your audience. For them, and for Google, content is king (or queen).
Originally published April 5, 2010. Updated and republished June 27, 2019.