Members of Team Curated offer some insights into key components that can help law firms improve their sites’ search ranking. Broadly, it’s about creating a site and content that appeal to users as much as search engines.
Senior Content Strategist Emma Flood describes nurturing and growing your website for search through strategy and commitment:
"Many people believe that succeeding in search is all about SEO wizardry, but this is only part of the story. Like most other endeavours succeeding in search is also about good old-fashioned hard work. When you build a website for your law firm, it is similar to setting up shop. You don’t simply put up an open sign and expect clients to find you, you still need to put in a great effort to find clients and attract their attention to your business. One of the best ways of attracting new clients in search is through creating consistent, high-quality content. Blogs are a great way to get new visitors to your site, and should be written with both your current readership and potential new clients in mind. Writing about topical issues will attract the attention of those looking for that story in search – rather than looking for a law firm. The more content you add to your page, the better chance you have of meeting what potential clients are looking for online. One of the best examples we have of this method succeeding is our in-house publication Unlock the Law. Unlock the Law is now a Google news partner, and dominates in search for a variety of legal and news topics. Much of the success of Unlock the Law in search is as a result of daily posting of issues consumers want to know about. Unlock the Law focused on topical news stories and legal questions that consumers may be looking for online in order to meet the demand for information in these areas. Your law firm can harness this tactic by continuing to create content that is of value to your potential customers. That is the real prize for both search engines and potential clients, providing value."
Digital Outreach Officer Stephen Mcilkenny focuses on the importance of using SEO to appeal to search:
"Building your site on a staple of high-optimised, quality content is one way of being found online. But it is not the only important factor. To stand out from the many other law firms operating online, your site must also be search engine friendly. Headers and page titles should be optimised by containing words that describe your service, location and individual services. For example, if you are a criminal defence solicitor in Liverpool, your headings should include some of the keywords relating to this. While it is vital to include these keywords for the benefit of a search engine, try include words that a user will type into a search engine. On-site navigation is also vital. Your site should be easy to navigate and easy to use. If you or a user cannot easily search on your site, how can a search engine? Although many lawyers believe that being found online is simply creating content, there is so much more to being found online than merely writing and uploading."
Editor-in-Chief Kate Manning emphasises paying attention to language:
"Perhaps one of the most obvious yet difficult things to get right when creating content about the law and legal services is language. Lawyers and law firms understand the importance of words and will choose them carefully. This tends to mean that they pluck for accuracy when signing-off content or copy, often at the expense of readability. Unfortunately, this approach is likely to be hurting their site’s ranking. When queries relating to the law or a legal problem are put into search, the content on a site needs to authoritatively answer them in order to be ranked. This means law firm websites need to be populated with user-friendly content that uses natural language without diminishing legal accuracy. This is tricky but achievable when time, attention to detail and a little patience are invested in content creation.’
Business Development Manager Emma Dunipace highlights the importance of authoritative content:
‘As well as SEO Best Practice, Google and other search engines now recognise (and reward via better rankings) authoritative content, i.e. digital publication that goes beyond bland copy created merely to fill a space. Authoritative content has depth and clout. The kind whereby after a few sentences, the reader is in no doubt of the author’s grasp of their subject matter. It is well researched, carefully written and imbued with references throughout. This is the perfect content creation scenario for lawyers and law firms. More so than most every other sector, the legal world must go beyond stating that they have experience in providing legal services, or that a partner went to one of the top law schools. Good quality legal services are expensive so it figures that the stakes are higher. Offering regular commentary and insight-based pieces, supported by relevant sources and quotes, sets high-calibre law firms apart from average ones. Publishing and distributing engaging content relevant to practice area is essential in law firms reaching their target audience. Further to this, understanding the target audience is crucial in creating content that will resonate with them. Social media links boost the impact of authoritative content too. When expertly written content reaches the target audience, they will likely want to share this with their own networks, thus further extending reach. The value of this type of content lies in its ability to drive traffic whilst simultaneously building trust, therefore adding value to a firm’s brand reputation."
Curated Media Director Ally Thomson explains why emphasis should be placed on content that offers valuable, practical help and information to audiences:
"Valuable content helps people . It answers their questions and brings clarity, which is especially important for complex matters such as the law. On Unlock The Law our most visited content is content which has helped people – for example when the drink driving limits changed in Scotland in December 2014 our site provided content that explained the practical realities of the change . Major news publications ( Daily Mail and The Herald ) featured our work and referenced our site which consequently led to more traffic to Unlock the Law, high visibility in search for relevant keywords and an increase in the domain authority of our site. If you Google “ guide to the new drink driving limits in Scotland “our site will rank prominently to this day as Google considers it and the site to be of value, and Google only wants to feature valuable content and sites in its search results."