Beginning Content Creation Tips for Law Firms: How Potential Clients Find Lawyers Online

by May 26, 2020

This is the first blog in a series about beginning content creation for attorneys. To see all of the blog posts in this series, visit our series introduction page.

Today’s post will provide a foundation for understanding the importance of content creation. We’ll explore how potential clients find attorneys online, and explain the surprisingly simple connections between their actions, your law firm’s website, and the search engines (specifically, Google). 

Understanding how these things are connected will help your law firm focus on what works and avoid unnecessary risks that can damage your web presence.

How do potential clients find attorneys online?

Potential clients tend to use search engines to research their case or matter. To get the answers to their questions, they tend to ask long questions of Google (which are referred to as “longtail queries”).

Potential clients will often search for answers to questions such as:

  • “What are my rights at a traffic stop in Georgia?”
  • “My neighbor’s dog bit me. Who is responsible for a dog bite in Phoenix?”
  • “Do I need an attorney to get a divorce in Orange County?”

Many potential clients who are in this research phase don’t yet realize that they need an attorney. Even when a potential client does recognize that they need an attorney, they will still spend time researching their problem and your law firm.

How does Google play into attracting potential clients to law firm websites?

The easiest way to understand how to succeed with Google is to understand the business model that Google uses. 

Google depends on ads for revenue. However, no one would want to use Google if it was nothing but ads. Google depends on the organic listings that it returns in search results — the content on websites — to keep users coming back to use Google again and again to answer their queries.

Search users — like your potential clients — rely on Google to provide the best results for their questions. Therefore, Google needs website content to return in those search results. If people don’t write and publish good content, Google has nothing to return to users. 

What Google wants from attorneys is to create high-quality content for Google users — and in this case, your potential clients, who are using search to learn more about their situation.

What do law firm websites need to do to succeed with both Google and potential clients?

Your law firm’s website needs to provide high-quality content to succeed with both Google and your potential clients.

Many potential clients begin their search for an attorney online. And many start searching online for information about their legal situations before they’re even aware that they need a lawyer.

Your potential clients use Google to research their problems. They will look at the information provided to them in search results to decide what to do next. The more information that you can give those potential clients about handling specific aspects of their problem, the more likely it is that Google will return your pages to a potential client when they make a related search.

Once a potential client finds your content in search results and navigates to your website, the high-quality content they see helps to engage them. They can learn more about the details of their problem and learn to trust you as an authority in the process. Once they have consumed enough content to feel confident that the problem they are facing is too complex to handle on their own — and would benefit from your services — a potential client then reaches out to your law firm.

This is content marketing. It outperforms all other forms of legal advertising. It provides an unprecedented opportunity to attract new clients and referral sources — without exposing yourself to the risks and expenses inherent in other forms of online legal marketing.

Now that you have a foundation for understanding the philosophy behind content marketing — and how your law firm’s website plays a large role in attracting new clients to your firm — we’ll look at developing specific pieces of content. In the next blog post in this series, we’ll discuss the elements of high-quality content.

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