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Law Firm Website Content: Your Complete Guide

updated
June 2, 2022
21 min
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The old idiom, “you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket” illustrates the risk of committing all your efforts to a single plan or idea. This applies to digital marketing for lawyers: they should not focus their marketing efforts solely on one area. 

At Grow Law Firm, we apply a multi-pronged approach to our legal clients’ marketing strategy that includes website design services, organic and local SEO for lawyers, Pay Per Click advertising services, social media marketing, and content. But perhaps content should come first on this list. Among all of the elements of a digital marketing strategy, it is possible to argue that content is one of the most important elements.

Legal marketing is a crowded market, and lawyers are no longer competing for ad space on bus benches and yellow pages.

Every law firm that is successful in marketing its practice online knows that it is impossible to have an online presence without content. Marketing agencies have different ways of describing content, from “the backbone” to “the foundation” of your marketing efforts. 

Any way you look at it, the practice area pages on your website, your law firm’s blog content, articles, videos, infographics, photos, and even podcasts that you produce are essential to your success in marketing your law firm. This blog post will explore why content on legal websites is so important, and how a content strategy, a content schedule, and content writers can help you achieve the success you desire. 

Why Does Good Content For Lawyer Websites Matter? 

Ranking high in search engines for relevant keywords is a goal for many lawyers. Let’s consider an example of how creating law firm web content can be a driving force: 

A small law firm in Georgia regularly publishes high quality content on their family law website. Due to their SEO efforts and dedicated content publishing, their website ranks in the number one spot for “Atlanta divorce lawyer,” and their blog posts rank high for dozens of related long-tail keywords related to family law topics.

With their prominent position in Google’s search engine results page (SERP), they have hundreds of potential clients visiting their website every week. Dozens of those visitors contact the law firm and schedule a consultation, and many of those consultations result in a signed representation agreement. Because the law firm gets so many phone calls, they decide to bring on more associate attorneys and support staff to handle their volume and growth.

Although the above example is fictional, the scenario is not. Content marketing for lawyers matters a lot because it is impossible to succeed in search engine optimization efforts without high-quality law firm website content. When content marketing works, lawyers can concentrate on actually practicing law, and do not have to worry about how they will get their next cases. Some lawyers even set up a separate stream of income from referring cases to other attorneys for the volume of prospective clients from their law firm websites that they are unable to take on. 

Main Objectives of Law Firm Website Content 

Before you can draft your content strategy, you need to establish the main objectives for your content. This is the first step before even developing your marketing goals. It takes both initial and ongoing effort to rank high in search engine results. 

Below are some common objectives for law firm website content as part of a law firm’s digital marketing strategy. 

Objective #1: Improve Search Engine Rankings

Your content is written for the human eyes of your target audience - your prospective clients who will come upon your website while researching their legal issues. 

But the content on a law firm's website is also written for a second audience, Google’s Spider crawler, the program/algorithm that electronically tracks your website and indexes the content for Google. 

Although Google officially does not “penalize” duplicate content, it will filter pages with identical content. 

Objective #2: Increase Brand Awareness 

Potential clients will be more likely to contact your law firm if they know who you are. Lawyers can promote brand awareness and web presence by establishing their position as subject matter experts in their area of practice, and their law practice as the go-to firm for legal representation. 

Some law firms are hesitant to invest in brand awareness because it does not immediately translate into cases. It is also one of the more challenging marketing objectives to measure, although not impossible. Client surveys and social media engagement are two ways to measure brand awareness campaigns. 

Working with a law firm digital marketing strategist, law firms can maximize the value of their content to increase brand awareness in conjunction with accomplishing other marketing objectives. 

Objective #3: Help Visitors Determine Whether Your Firm Is A Fit For Their Need And Address FAQ’s 

While you never want to discourage people from calling you, you do want the leads contacting you to be qualified. Your content should explain to your website visitors or audience the types of cases you handle. 

You can use long-form content to present a lot of information to your audience. For example, a defense lawyer could use long-form criminal defense lawyer website content to explain common defenses to specific crimes. 

Long-form content is intended to be read (vs. just skimmed) and meant to be useful. Law firms often use practice area pages as long-form content and include comprehensive FAQs. 

Objective #4: Convert More Prospects into Clients 

The content on your website, and content published on other websites attributed to you or your law firm, is an extension of you. In order for your content to help you convert prospective clients into retained clients, your content should reflect the high quality of service you provide.

You should have sufficient content on your website for your clients to stay as long as they want to learn about your law firm and research their legal matters. If your content builds trust with potential clients, they will have a high level of confidence in our skills and abilities before you even sit down with them. 

Outlining your objectives allows you to create high-quality, useful information that will allow your target audience to find you, and then lead them to fill out a contact form or pick up the phone and call you. 

How To Create High-Quality Content For Lawyer Websites

Lawyers cannot expect to have success in organic search engine results with substandard content. If your content is all filled with meaningless verbiage or “fluff” that is hard to read and difficult to understand, or written by an AI bot, it will fail to gain traction with search engine crawlers, and fail to convince human website visitors to contact your law firm. 

Below are eight steps for creating high-quality content for your lawyer website. 

Step 1: Research Your Audience

Think about your best clients, and consider their problems, needs, and questions. Your ideal clients, and by extension usually, the intended audience of your website, is a narrow portion of your local community. They will find you when they are researching their problem and searching for information on legal services. 

In some unique scenarios, it is possible that your website audience may not be your actual client. For example, in criminal defense matters, you may be frequently contacted by a spouse or parent of an individual needing representation. If you practice elder law, you may be contacted by the adult child of an elderly adult needing assistance. 

Your audience will be much different depending on the type of law you practice and the types of cases you handle. 

Lawyers who do not understand targeted marketing can easily get caught up in chasing the wrong audience groups or spending money on impressive brand awareness campaigns that do little to actually generate cases. You may have a family member or friend in a completely different industry - like personal training or pet sitting - that is killing it in marketing. While you may want to apply their “secrets'' to your marketing, you must remember that they have a completely different audience and competition. 

Understanding your audience is important for your content marketing and organic SEO, as well as other marketing strategies like PPC, local SEO, and social media ads

Step 2: Get Your Law Firm Website SEO Optimized

law firm website seo optimized

Before you start adding pages and pages of long-form practice area pages, blog posts, press releases, and FAQ pages, your law firm website should be SEO optimized. Your website should: 

  • Load quickly 
  • Navigate intuitively 
  • Fully utilize SEO tools like title tags, header tags, and meta descriptions
  • Have pages that link to other pages
  • Work well for any device (desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or mobile phone) 

If you are not a digital marketing expert, an SEO agency for law firms can help you review your website structure and either implement improvements and upgrades or build out a new website that is adequately optimized for adding content. 

Step 3: Create A Content Strategy

Strategic planning for content publishing is vital for law firms, where competition is stiff and the market is saturated. If you’re always trying to catch up with your competitors, by following their efforts, you will not be able to accelerate ahead. You can create a simple strategy by establishing your desired outcomes and then thinking through HOW to reach them: 

Set Goals

We are strong believers in SMART for all law firm website content strategies - that is goals that are: 

  • S: Specific
  • M: Measurable
  • A: Achievable
  • R: Relevant
  • T: Timely.

Define Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Your KPIs are how you measure your progress towards reaching your SMART goals. It is difficult to achieve measurable success in law firm marketing without establishing KPIs. Your KPIs could be a mix of things provided in your website analytics and things that you manually check: 

  • Rankings on search engine results page 
  • Number of outbound / inbound links 
  • Organic click-through-rate (CTR)
  • Average session duration. 

Choose The Types Of Content 

Your strategy should list out the types of content you will be posting, including:

  • Practice area pages 
  • FAQ pages 
  • Press releases
  • About us / Meet the team pages 
  • Case results / Case studies / Case outcomes
  • Blog posts
  • Client testimonials and reviews. 

Choose Publishing Channels 

Your law firm website is the obvious place for publishing your content, but you should not make the mistake of only publishing content on your website. You may also publish content on:

If you publish content on other websites and directories, you can add valuable backlinks to your website. This can bolster your website’s domain authority and generate traffic. 

If you publish on a third-party website, it’s possible that you could rank in search engines multiple times for a targeted keyword. For long-tail search keywords where potential clients are searching a longer search term, you can establish yourself as an authority on a legal subject when your potential clients find multiple websites where you are addressing a legal issue. 

Step 4: Analyze Your Competition

Discovering your competitors is simple: type your top keywords into Google and note the domains of your main competitors. There are a number of search engine optimization competitive analysis tools available besides Google: 

You may think you know who the big competitors in your local market are, but these might not be your primary SEO competitors. For example, if you are a solo personal injury attorney in Miami, trying to rank organically for the first page of Google for “Miami personal injury lawyer,” your competition will be the big law firm players that rank on Page 1 of Google for this search term. 

semrush keyword overview

Meanwhile, the very successful solo attorney down the road  - who you believe is your competitor - handles the same type of cases as you do. This attorney has a steady stream of fresh clients from their constantly updated accident and injury blog. Instead of targeting “Miami” SEO terms, they focus their SEO efforts on more localized neighborhoods of Hialeah, Pembroke Pines, and Miramar. That attorney is not your direct SEO competition. However, their strategy may be more cost-effective and successful, and generate more than enough cases to stay very busy. In this example, the lawyer down the road likely defined a different ideal client and targeted many different search terms. 

Step 5: Conduct Keyword And Topic Research

You are probably familiar with keywords, the phrases people type into search engines when they are looking for information on a legal matter. You can use tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs to get keyword data yourself for your local market - or have a content marketing agency do this research for you.

Keywords can vary widely, as your website audience may be looking for: 

  • Lawyers that handle a specific type of law (personal injury, immigration, bankruptcy, estate planning, etc.
  • Information about laws specific to a city, county, or state
  • News coverage of an actual event, such as a major traffic accident on a local freeway, a recent arrest, and criminal charge. 

You should perform keyword and topic research, but do not make the mistake of assuming that ranking for popular keywords will get you more traffic. In fact, keywords with low keyword difficulty scores may be the most effective, if you can quickly rank for them organically with lawyer website content or on your blog. 

Step 6: Develop A Content Plan

law firm website content plan

Once you have your marketing strategy in place and you’ve analyzed your competition, you can create your content plan. How much content you’ll create each month will largely depend on budget and writers available. Your content plan will include a list of content topics, and specifications on each topic for each type of content, with a title, list of keywords, and projected word counts. 

Your content plan can be created in a spreadsheet, like Google Sheets or Excel, or in productivity apps like Trello, Monday.com, or ClickUp. Ideally, you can access your content plan in a shared file so that your writing and editorial teams can access the editorial calendar and update progress on writing, editing, and publishing.

Finally, make sure you are complying with advertising and solicitation rules that govern your state. You can get into big legal trouble if you are deceptive or misleading, or make a statement or claim that is not true. All lawyers should review applicable ABA Rules, and also check with their state bar association. 

Step 7: Develop A Content Production Process 

When you have your content plan, it’s time to develop and/or refine the system and your editorial calendar for content creation. Your content production process will include: 

  • List of content to be created for the following month, such as 3 new practice area pages, 2 new service area pages, 6 blog posts, an updated “Meet the Team” page adding newly hired attorneys, and an updated “Case Results” page based on 2 new settlements. 
  • Create content briefs for writers, assigning competition to review, desired word counts, keywords, and headers. 
  • Update publishing calendar/productivity app with content assignments, writers.
  • Have the assigned editor review content written and make initial edits prior to attorney review.
  • Have designated attorney review proposed final piece for approval / additional edits.
  • Publish content within 1 business day of approval. 

If you work with an SEO agency, they can streamline the process of producing content so that all the pages you need are created on time and published on schedule, no matter how aggressive you are with your content production calendar. 

Step 8. Don’t Forget About Regular Content Analysis

Content marketing has evolved greatly in the last 20 years. When Google issues a major algorithm change, marketing priorities can change, sometimes very quickly. You should analyze your content (and other law firms) for your own validation purposes on a regular basis, and adjust your law firm website content focus and strategy as necessary. 

Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a free tool to analyze your content’s performance, using your website’s Google Analytics data. You can create performance reports and evaluate key performance indicators, and compare a recent time period (such as the last month) to the time preceding it:

google search console
google search console performance comparison

In the queries section, you can analyze which queries received the least and most impressions (viewed in search results but not clicked on) and actual clicks. Here you can select which queries you want to make stronger via updating your content. 

google search console example

Other Tools Like Ahrefs Or Semrush

Third party SEO tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush can help you check backlinks, understand your marketing opportunities, and generate keyword ideas with a few clicks.

ahrefs keyword ideas

Types of Content Law Firms Should Have on Their Website 

Practice Area Pages

Website visitors trust Google to show the best content for whatever they are searching for. Your goal with your website content should be to be the very best, most informative. These pages are a great place to incorporate and embed compelling content like shareable infographics and law firm video content

If your site has 200 words of well-written, informative content, but your competitor has 2,000 words of well-written, informative content, it is likely that Google will decide your competitor’s webpage has more valuable and relevant, and their page will rank higher. 

Resist any urges to take shortcuts or combine practice area pages. You should have a separate practice area page for each type of case you handle. Your practice area page should be comprehensive, and inform prospective clients on why you are the most qualified choice to handle their legal matters. 

Service Area Pages

Many lawyers have one main location, but will happily travel TO clients in nearby areas, and want to appear in search engine results pages for people searching for specific city searches. This reach can be done with Pay-Per-Click ads, but also organically with service area pages. If you are targeting potential cases in multiple cities or neighborhoods, you may want to have a separate page for particular areas. 

For example, a bankruptcy lawyer marketing his or her services in Los Angeles may also handle cases in Long Beach and Burbank, so they may create separate service area pages for Long Beach and Burbank clients. If you’re marketing a personal injury law firm that targets car accident cases in Dallas, TX, you may want service area pages for suburbs in the area, such as Plano, Arlington, Garland, and Irving. 

It is extremely important that content on a service area page is unique - and not even partially duplicate another page on your website. You should aim to make your content as informative as possible. Be sure to link internally to these pages from other pages on the website. 

Case Studies

You should include case results - the narratives and outcomes of your cases. These can be short or long-form. Do not include identifying information without your clients’ express permission. 

Contact Page

Your contact page should inform clients of how to get in touch with you, and what you offer. If you charge for a consultation, this is the place to clearly explain that. Many criminal defense attorneys and law firms handling contingency law matters (like personal injury cases) offer a free consultation, but some lawyers handling matters like family law or trust litigation prefer to offer a for-fee consultation. 

Along with a phone number, your law practice website should also have a “contact us” form allowing people to input their information so that you can contact them. This is a valuable tool for people browsing your law firm website late at night - who might not be inclined to call you at 11:00 PM. With a simple form on a contact page, you can capture your leads 24/7. 

About Us Page

An “about us” page can instill trust and comfortability with potential clients, either before they contact your firm, or after they contact your firm and before they meet you. Be sure to review this content regularly as your staff changes. 

Blog Posts

law firm website blog

Content on your website may be considered “evergreen” -  and only need to be updated periodically. Your blog is another matter - you need content regularly. 

Every blog post you publish on your website is another opportunity to rank in search engines, and another opportunity to establish yourself as a subject matter expert. You should determine a handful (3-5) “types” of blogs you will publish regularly on your website: 

  • Firm news and charitable giving: News and events involving your team members are great blog topics, and the type of content your employees may want to share on their social media pages (free brand awareness). Did an attorney win an award from a local bar association? Did your law firm sponsor a 5K race or Little League team? Did your law firm volunteer together at a local food bank, spend a day building at Habitat for Humanity, or sponsor a local family in need at Christmas? These events are excellent content for blog posts, which can be also shared on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Photos go great with these posts (with everyone’s permission, of course). 
  • News story analysis: Everyday events, especially those of interest, are great subject matter for blog posts. Many divorce attorneys blogged about the recent Amber Heard / Johnny Depp trial. Business attorneys often blog about mergers and acquisitions in the news, from tech companies and healthcare businesses to airlines and retailers. Lawyers that frequently blog on legal topics - and do it well -  may be contacted by local or even national news stations for camera analysis. 
  • Changes in the Law: Lawyers can share updates in local, state, or federal law that can affect cases. For example, California opened a three-year window from January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2022, allowing adult survivors of sexual abuse to pursue civil claims, regardless of prior statutes of limitations. For trial lawyers handling these cases in California, this extended deadline opened the door for numerous new cases, and many lawyers blogged about this topic. 
  • Step-by-step guides: You can write guides for individuals getting started on legal matters - specific to their state and county. Titles could be:

Five things to know about getting divorced in Oklahoma

Seven Step Guide to Filing a K-1 Visa if you live in Oregon

Four Things to Do Following a Slip and Fall Accident in Arizona.

It may feel daunting to come up with content ideas, but you don’t have to do it alone. One of the benefits of having an experienced law firm marketing company working for you is that they can collaborate with you on strategic planning and do the majority of the brainstorming for you - so you can focus on handling your new business and actually representing your new clients. 

Implement Cluster-Pillar Model

If Google establishes you as an authority on a subject, your website will rank higher than your competitor’s less-authoritative websites. One way you can establish your expertise is through pillar pages and cluster content. For legal practices, pillar pages are those evergreen practice area pages that are long-form, deep-dive pages that cover every possible aspect of a topic. Cluster pages cover related information, even more in-depth. Let’s look at some examples:

Personal injury attorney law firm website content: a Los Angeles accident lawyer could have a pillar page covering Car Accidents. Custer content pages could be content addressing head-on collisions and distracted driving accidents. 

Criminal defense attorney website content: A Houston criminal defense attorney could have a pillar page covering Drugs and Possession. Cluster content pages could be content addressing common defenses to drug charges, and penalties in Texas for illegal drug possession. 

Mind the E.A.T.

Google is constantly evaluating which websites are valuable and which aren’t. Because it is in Google’s interest to only show users high-quality content, they published their Search Quality Rater Guidelines (QRG). One concept that came out of this was the EAT formula. No, this is not about breakfast cereal. The EAT formula refers to content:

  • Expertise
  • Authoritativeness
  • Trustworthiness. 

Google recognizes that different searches need different results. Searches about medical or legal issues need high-quality, authoritative results. If people are searching for “cute baby elephant pictures” - they want adorable images. If they’re searching for “funny prank videos” - they want to laugh. 

As a lawyer, the content you publish should establish you as an expert. Best practices following the EAT formula include having an author byline on pages and linking to authoritative third-party websites. 

Last Questions: Who Should Write Legal Content And How To Simplify The Process?

Many lawyers are excellent writers and have all the skills to write the volume of content on their law firm’s website. However, lawyers should not make the mistake of believing they are the best candidate to draft legal website content. Similarly, lawyers should not personally review, edit, and proofread every single piece of content that goes on their website. 

Lawyers can simplify the content production process by outsourcing content writing. Do not hire “cheap” ghostwriters overseas or use AI content bots. Writers should be actual, experienced, knowledgeable writers who specialize in content writing for law firms. They should have an understanding of how you handle cases and be able to explain the basic legal process for your cases. Some law firms employ their own full-time content writers, but many contracts with writers through digital marketing services. 

Start Developing Your Law Firm Website Content Today!

At Grow Law Firm, content marketing is one of the most important services we provide our law firm clients. 

Our law firm clients that hire us to understand that content marketing is mission-critical. But they don’t try to do it themselves because they are subject matter experts at practicing law, not running legal marketing campaigns. 

Because organic traffic growth takes time (unlike almost instant Pay-Per-Click advertising), Grow Law Firm can help you forecast traffic growth based on keyword research and help you get the buy-in you need from your team. 

We’re ready to help you to develop a cost-effective, scalable content marketing strategy for your law firm to dominate your market. 

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