Jacquie Coombe* Law firm marketing and law firm client acquisition strategies continues to change – evolve, if you wish – but it continues to present challenges for any law firm wanting to boost its online presence as Google continue to make changes that will continue into 2023.
What should you be doing to ensure your blog posts rank the way you want them to – and how should you be obtaining links to your law firm to get the very best legal marketing effects?
So let’s understand some key things about the Google updates that can be detrimental to your law firm website so far as law firm marketing, law firm digital marketing and legal marketing is concerned.
We tend to panic, or react in a way that is more impulsive is likely to lead you in the wrong direction.
The fact is that as Google’s algorithm alters, you will find you simply cannot react to every change Google makes.
If you are unaware of what actually has changed – then don’t do anything.
You are simply not going to know everything that has happened. The search engines can wind up all over the place as people react and move and – yes, panic!
They work from fear and uncertainty.
So don’t do it.
However, some changes do require change. There are some things any lawyer seeking to lift their online visibility needs to do.
You don’t want to be making sudden, erratic moves. Instead, stay on course and even if you lose some traffic from some algorithm update you can still survive successfully.
When there is an update, remain calm.
Second, let some time pass to let things settle so you can read what has happened.
Google Search Console can let you see what you are ranking for, what the issues on your website might be, and where opportunities may be.
Remember too that when Google talks about changes and updates they are making then we make a lot of changes that may not be necessary to change.
What is Google trying to do overall? Think about them and what you should be doing to ensure your law firm marketing is being done properly.
How NOT To Get Hit by Algorithm Updates
The dying ‘keyword’ rule. Semantic SEO is something that is more important.
It is copy-and-paste ‘writing’ that is essentially providing the same content to people who may be looking for much more.
Look, here at LawFuel we get multiple requests for articles to be posted on matters like, for instance, ‘the best auto accident lawyer’. Now, the fact is, we seldom publish such material because – well, why?
Who cares that there is some promotional post about ‘the best auto accident lawyer in Miami, or Milwaukee?
And when such articles rank, how will they help anyone actually seeking a lawyer who is a good auto accident lawyer?
Use Google Search Console
We provided some top law firm marketing tips such as the use of headings, title tags and other law firm SEO requirements in this article on law firm marketing.
There are a number of quick fixes to boost your ranking that we outlined there, including having a fast upload for web pages, but checking the Google Search console is one of the keys to monitoring your website’s performance.
The Google search console is a powerful tool to let you analyze your law firm website to see which terms your site ranks for – and also which terms it no longer ranks for.
If you look at the terms and the rankings on the GSC you can pick up so many signals about your site and what you can or should do to improve your law firm rankings.
Second, don’t second-guess Google.
When you’re looking for changes that Google are announcing we often find that when the change is implemented, it doesn’t actually make a massive difference.
The real issue with Google changes is when they don’t say anything and we get hit.
What is important here – and will remain important in 2023 and beyond – is what Google wants overall.
They publish tons of material about what is good content, bad content, duplicate content, and so forth.
It is worth reading and understanding what they are looking for rather than panicking over ‘updates’ and threatened changes.
1. Semantic SEO & Keyword Focus Is Key in 2023
Google’s technology is now far better at finding out what search queries and search intent really are.
It is not just ‘keywords’ that matter – it is the intent behind the use of those words. In other words, what is the searcher really looking for when they type in ‘best bankruptcy law advice’ or ‘what does a lease termination mean?’.
It is not just the keywords ‘bankruptcy law’ or ‘lease termination’ themselves that matter, it is the intent of the searcher when entering those phrases.
Multiple blog posts can answer the same question in the same way to get a good keyword ranking. They will often use other peoples’ blog post for their own post.
Just using a keyword-based approach in content is not relevant any longer.
Articles that were once on Page 1 all said basically the same thing but using the same keywords once worked. But that is changing. Rapidly.
Don’t copy and paste the ‘same’ material. Users want multiple perspectives on some point and then they want other pieces of content that provide different answers to those queries.
So we need to present our content properly. Don’t over-optimize your content, instead, try and help the user – not just rank on Google.
Do the keyword research, but in a way that is people-to-people.
Take multiple queries that people are asking and group them together as a major resource. They will often be longer, but not necessarily.
2. Know Your Target Audience
Knowing your audience is the key to achieving ranking success so far as client acquisition is concerned.
You need to be very aware of who you are writing for in your web content or blog posts.
For smaller firms this will generally not be difficult, particularly if you have a focus on an area like family law, business law or DUI law etc.
It is not difficult to provide content that relates specifically to those areas, along with the appropriate geographic information relating to your locality.
For larger firms, the divisions and areas of specialization will dictate who you should be writing for.
If you are an intellectual property lawyer in a larger firm then you will have a decent idea of the sort of information you should be providing and who your client may be.
The same goes for those handling banking or property work. You focus on your ‘avatar’ – the sort of person you think you will be attracting for lead generation and your attorney marketing efforts
Knowing who you are writing for is a key to success in content marketing for lawyers.
3. Build ‘Topical’ Authority
The need for authority is more important than ever and you need to ‘cluster’ your content around the authority content you want to rank for.
This has long been one of the things Google is keen to establish with content providers, but it is now more important than ever.
It used to be that you could build up the authority of your site then write a fairly well-optimized piece of content for a single keyword and have it rank.
So if you had a good ranking law site focused on drunk driving issues that had some authority, you post an article about mergers and acquisitions and it could still rank.
That doesn’t work anymore in most cases.
Now your content has to have topical coverage, which means you need to cover a major topic and sub topics so that Google understands what your site is about and what authority it has.
This will involve some focused strategy and perhaps a ‘topical map’ outlining what topics you need to cover to gain the necessary authority.
There are over 4.6 billion internet users providing daily data (or consuming data) on an almost unimaginable scale, as FinancesOnline show with data usage (below) –
With that tsunami of content, Google wants to highlight the content that is the most authoritative and trustworthy.
Why wouldn’t it?
And why wouldn’t you want to be providing some of that content?
If you have some topical authority, based around a specific topic, then Google will see you as an expert, regardless of whether you have a Ph.D. after your name or some other technical or other qualification that deems you an ‘expert’.
It is often the case that content from a non-technical expert, but collated and curated properly and with care to provide genuinely useful information around the subject matter, is something that will provide the necessary authority.
So grouping content into appropriate areas with detail is important and will play a key role in legal marketing lead generation and client acquisition.
Don’t get hung up on search volumes for keywords. Often it is an ‘overlooked’ or little searched query that can still provide valuable content that someone is looking for – even if they don’t necessarily know it is something they needed to know when they started searching.
By providing such content, you are enhancing your own expertise in Google’s eyes, too.
Don’t Ignore The Big Topics
None of the above means you should ignore the major topics that everyone else in your niche has written about.
You can’t just write on obscure areas and ignore that elephant in the room. It may/will be super competitive, but to establish authority your law firm needs to ‘be there’ – to write about the topic anyway.
Once you have your major piece in place, the other search engine optimization topics that help build out your authority will help complete the picture of yourself as an expert in that sub-niche.
4. Check and ‘HealthCheck’ Your Website
Your law firm website is not a build-and-forget thing. It’s something that needs updating and upgrading as an almost organic, living creature.
It is often the first point of contact for potential clients, so it’s important to make a good impression. Make sure your website is professional, well-designed, and easy to navigate.
It’s easy to let things slip, particularly if you have been charged the earth to have your site ‘developed’ or ‘improved’.
And you need to monitor your website performance by maintaining ongoing checks to ensure it is up to the mark in terms of ‘snippets’, headings, speed and all the other factors that we have outlined in our earlier legal marketing article here.
No question, some web developers will do a great jobs. Others, not so much.
Either way you pay, but be aware that having a fast, relevant, easy-to-navigate site is part of the key towards achieving great results from your content.
5. Focus On Building Your Law Brand
Don’t just have your content as something interesting but you want people to keep coming back, engaging with your ‘brand’.
A podcast and other social media outlets are useful
As Google’s algorithm continues to change, so too must lawyers seeking to keep their SEO ‘noses clean’ and achieve better rankings.
Make sure that your website is optimized for relevant keywords, and consider creating content (such as blog posts) that addresses common questions or issues in your practice area.
So what are the key factors that might make the difference for law firms wanting to lift their online rankings in 2023?
6. Be Smart About How You Use Social Media
Use social media: Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn can be effective tools for reaching potential clients and building your brand. Consider creating a social media strategy that aligns with your overall marketing goals and monitor the results.
While social media can be a double-edged sword, it is also vital to magnify your content and marketing efforts through good platforms that suit your content and interest.
Legal marketing and attorney branding require good use of social media platforms.
If you can help develop your engagement by using social media properly you will accelerate your client acquisition efforts.
We outlined some of the tactics you should be using for your digital marketing efforts in this post.
7.Do Not Overlook Email Marketing
Email marketing remains a highly effective way to stay in touch with potential clients and keep your firm top-of-mind. Consider sending out newsletters, updates, or other valuable content to your email list to boost your attorney branding and leveraging your overall legal marketing.
Using tools like ConvertKit (no affiliate link) can be highly effective to build the engagement and segmenting your list(s) so that you can deliver targeted, relevant content, reports, PDFs and the like.
The ability of good software for emailing is now so sophisticated and largely ‘hands off’ that you can really get focused engagement and client acquisition activity as never before, particularly when it is linked to great content – including all important video.
8. Create Truly Engaging Content
Create engaging content: In addition to your website, consider creating content (such as blog posts, infographics, or videos) that addresses common questions or issues in your practice area.
This top content marketing can help to establish your expertise and attract potential clients.
But you need to make sure you are creating real value with what you provide. Help you clients or potential clients by solving problems for them.
But be authentic, too. Provide real value and speak with a real voice that helps build both your authenticity and your brand.
With the onset of AI content and the continuing, evolving nature of ‘search’ it will be more important than ever for any blogger or website owner seeking to build a brand, create client acquisition strategies and generally build their authenticity, to be human – to put their own perspective and ‘take’ on developments, events, cases or news
By creating what AI cannot readily do (it relies on the existing dataset after all, not human experience) you can leverage your content for maximum effect.
Give them the ‘real you’.
Provide real value and help when you post items. And avoid the 5 content marketing mistakes that can kill your efforts.
Google will pick up on that and reward you with rankings – and help you lead generation and client acquisition – and your law firm marketing efforts will bear fruit.
Consider offering valuable resources (such as ebooks, webinars, or legal guides) to potential clients as a way to demonstrate your expertise and build trust.
By working on these principles and applying them diligently – particularly by providing real-world value with your content – you will boost your online law marketing efforts and obtain the results you’re looking for.
Jacqueline Coombe is a professional business and personal development writer who has written on a range of topics from business, marketing and finance to travel and lifestyle. She is also a Principal Consultant specialising in Search + Content Marketing at international digital marketing agency Web Profits. She can be contacted at [email protected]