By Dana Abatemarco – Digital Law Marketing, Inc.
Web pages, blog posts, attorney listings, podcasts, pics for the ‘Gram: in the world of online marketing, “content” covers a lot of ground. Whether you’re a thoroughly established law firm or a solo attorney who’s just hung up your shingle, strong content is going to be the backbone of your online presence. Without an experienced legal SEO copywriter, your chances of finding yourself on Page One are pretty slim. You need a writing team who not only knows what they’re doing, but understands what you’re doing, too.
What is an SEO copywriter?
Let’s start from the beginning.
- SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Moz¹ defines SEO as “the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.”
- An SEO copywriter creates copy – or content – that utilizes these practices to boost the rankings of your website.
In general, your writer works together with an SEO specialist (the person who handles link building, listings, meta tags, search patterns, etc.) to create content that is targeted toward your specific audience. They’re the yin and yang of your website, and hiring one doesn’t do you much good unless you hire the other. Think of your website like a meal: the SEO specialist researches the perfect ingredients and recipes, and the SEO copywriter takes that information and turns it into the fully cooked dinner.
What is content?
Content, in the broadest sense, is information. That information can be conveyed through words, pictures, videos, podcasts, and more.
For our purposes today, however, “content” is text-based information conveyed through webpages and blog posts.
What is a legal SEO copywriter?
A legal SEO copywriter is an SEO copywriter who writes for attorneys and law firms. Your writer will utilize all the same best practices of SEO and apply them to content that is created to target an attorney’s audience, such as potential clients and/or other law firms.
Your legal copywriter is the person who:
- Creates all of the practice area pages on your website;
- Writes your weekly blogs on those practice areas, trending legal news, or anything else applicable to your business;
- Updates and maintains your attorney profile so it reflects your awards, memberships, and cases; and
- Crafts social media posts that highlight the firm’s achievements or important legal information.
In short, a legal SEO copywriter combines the best of both worlds by creating high-quality legal content which utilizes best SEO practices to increase the rankings of your law firm.
Debunking the myths surrounding your website’s content
For the past seven years, I’ve run a team of SEO legal copywriters for Digital Law Marketing, and I’ve talked to hundreds of attorneys. While most of my work is comprised of creating, editing, and revising content, I also help our partners understand why we write the way we do, and what role I hope they will play in the writing process. And while every firm is different, there are some concerns I hear more often than others.
So, let’s take a look at those myths now.
Myth One: Any SEO writer is fine for my law website’s needs.
You wouldn’t hire just any attorney to write your will or business contract. You want an attorney who knows the process inside and out, who does it regularly and successfully. So why hire a writing team that doesn’t specialize in legal content?
Jacks of all trades are masters of none. Retail and e-commerce copywriting is different from finance, is different from medicine, is different from law. By hiring a legal SEO copywriter, you’re ensuring that your writing team knows what your audience is looking for.
Furthermore, your website needs to be trustworthy. If you want to be recognized as an expert in your field – even if you’re not allowed to use that word on your website – then you need to make sure your content is accurate AND authoritative. You need writers who can search and read your state’s codes as well as case law, and produce pages that comply with your state’s regulations regarding legal advertising.
Finally, you deserve accountability from your writing team. Many SEO companies farm out their writing work to contractors whose expertise is not specific to the legal industry. If you partner with an SEO company that only works with law firms, then you know that you’re going to work with legal SEO copywriters.
Myth Two: Social media content is more important than our firm’s website content.
Social media is a good way to get your message out and introduce people to your brand, but a strong social media campaign won’t make up for ineffective content on your website.
What you really want is for your social media to work together with your website content, to create a more robust picture of your firm and your team. Targeted ads, boosted posts, and even live videos can all contribute to the firm’s overall success, but focusing solely on social media to build your brand and authority is a mistake. Instead, it’s better to make them work together for your benefit. When someone asks Siri “Do I need an attorney for an assault charge” or searches for “local estate planning attorneys near me,” the search engine isn’t necessarily going to return your latest tweet – it’s going to show web pages and blogs that address those specific needs.
That’s where your legal SEO copywriter comes in. Not only do we know what kinds of search terms people are using (and how they’re using them,) but our entire job is devoted to ensuring that your website pops up when people need legal guidance. A funny tweet or interesting infographic may go viral for a bit, but conversion is based on finding answers to questions. Legal SEO copywriters make sure those answers are there and provide supporting information to show the searcher and search engine that you’re an expert.
Myth Three: I don’t need to change my content at all if it’s already doing okay.
If you’re reading this and thinking that you already rank well for your practice area and location, so you don’t really need to review or update your content, you’re missing out on a great opportunity. Content isn’t supposed to be static. Your content team and SEO specialists should be regularly reviewing how people are getting to your page, and determining if the webpage content is giving users the answers they need. Does the page need a call out box directly addressing a frequently searched question? Should a portion be rewritten to better address specific topics or questions that users have?
Plus, Google is constantly rolling out new features that require your content and website to be structured a specific way. Here are a few:
Short answer boxes: these little features are “snippets” that pop up at the top of the page during a search.
FAQ: an easy way to draw users in because of how many answers are readily available.
Jump links: It’s like a BOGO – come for one answer, get one or more additional answers for free!
Legal SEO copywriters, in tandem with SEO specialists, know how to give you the best chance to get these additional search features that make your listing really stand out in the crowd.
Myth Four: I can add SEO to my current website content later.
That might have worked 20 years ago, but the days of stuffing a bunch of keywords into existing webpages and expecting it to be successful have gone the way of the Walkman. About 60% of the global population is online², searching through billions of pages each day³. Search engines like Google are constantly tweaking their algorithms and intuiting how people search, which means SEO practices are constantly changing. The old ways of getting a search engine to notice you simply don’t work anymore.
Myth Five: I must hire another attorney/write my own content if I want it to be good.
Every legal website is an ouroboros: your content shows Google you’re an expert, which in turn brings in more searchers. Those users send signals to Google based on their behavior. Google determines whether their search results were useful, and how your site contributed or detracted from that user’s experience and adjust accordingly.
To show your expertise, your website must be accurate – and who better to explain the law than you, right? After all, you do this for juries all the time. You know how to talk to people.
But do you know how to write for them?
It’s an entirely different skill set, and it’s not one that most attorneys have reason to practice.
Think about it this way. When a client comes into your office, that client can see your face, hear the inflections of your voice, and watch your body language in real time. When you’re in front of a jury, those same elements come into play. These in-person interactions help you and your client (and you and jury) establish trust, mutual respect, and maybe even friendships.
Now, think about what you normally write: professional letters, case filings, maybe some emails. Each of those has a specific purpose and a specific format, even your emails. They’re designed to be accurate and efficient. They establish a different kind of relationship.
As writers, our job is to engender those in-person feelings on your website, without the benefit of your face, voice, and body language. We help potential clients see you, the person (or people). A legal SEO copywriter knows how to get them to your website in the first place, and then offers them the information they need to determine that you are the expert they want to hire. Legal SEO copywriters are the ones who establish your online persona while also creating quality content that is both accurate and informative.
I know that it works because I do it every day – and I am not a lawyer.
Choosing the right legal SEO company for your needs
Now comes the hard part: how do you choose the right writer? What do you look for in a team? How do you decide which company to use? You do need to be careful when it comes to partnering with an online marketing firm, because you want to make sure your best interests are front and center. To that end:
- You want a company with experience and measurable outcomes, but you also want a company that specializes in your industry.
- You want a team who is accountable to you, and who works with you to craft your content to fit your brand.
- You want a team who is accessible, so if you have questions or suggestions, you can chat (via email, phone, or video conference) with the person who’s creating your pages.
- You want a team who moves quickly, because laws and SEO algorithms can change at any time.
- You want a company you can trust, so you can focus on what you do best: practicing the law.
At the end of the day, you want to work with writers who are as invested in your law firm’s success as you are. My colleagues and I at Digital Law Marketing take our clients’ successes personally, and we put the time in to get to know our clients, their preferences, and their goals, so that we can build an online content marketing plan that works for them. If that sounds good to you, you can give us call any time at 877-916-0644, or fill out our contact form for a no-obligation conversation about the future of your website. You can also check out what our clients have to say about their experiences.
¹ “What is SEO?” Moz.com. https://moz.com/learn/seo/what-is-seo
² Johnson, Joseph. “Global digital population as of October 2020.” Statista.com. https://www.statista.com/statistics/617136/digital-population-worldwide/
³ Internet Live Stats. “Google Search Statistics.” https://www.internetlivestats.com/google-search-statistics/