Sometimes, we talk with attorneys who ask us this:
Does Google care about the word count on my law firm website’s pages?
The short answer to that question is “no.”
But, attorneys should understand the logic behind that answer in order to succeed online. The reasons behind this answer have to do with the intersecting motivations of Google and your potential clients.
Why Google doesn’t care about law firm website word count…
Google’s mission statement is, “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
The company’s goal is to provide the best possible content for its users when they make a relevant query. Search engines users often look for a specific piece of information to learn more about a problem or question they have. That includes your potential clients. They may search for information about the matter they’re dealing with.
There are a variety of factors that Google takes into account when it ranks the quality of your law firm website pages. What all of these factors are, and how they’re weighted, is not public information. But Google has stressed this point:
“Make pages primarily for users, not search engines.”
Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines lay out some of what Google expects in a quality page. One aspect is a high level of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-A-T). Another is what Google defines as a “satisfying amount of high-quality main content.”
The guidelines say this:
The quality of the [main content] is one of the most important criteria in Page Quality rating, and informs the E-A-T of the page. For all types of webpages, creating high quality [main content] takes a significant amount of at least one of the following: time, effort, expertise, and talent/skill.
Google doesn’t define the quality of a web page by how many words are on it, but instead by the quality of the content that’s featured. Quality content takes time, energy, and expertise. Pages should be “factually accurate, clearly written, and comprehensive.”
An example of quality law firm website content and word count
Here’s an example of how high-quality content and word count can be different.
Let’s say you’re a DUI attorney who practices in a state that doesn’t offer expungement for a first time DUI. Because your state doesn’t offer that as an option, it’s unlikely that you’ll be writing too much about it. You might choose to go over what expungement is, how this is an option in some states, but that it’s not an option in your jurisdiction.
There may not be an incredibly long word count for that kind of information. Yet, the content that you provide can still be of a high quality that’s useful to your potential clients.
On the other hand, consider something like a court decision about DUI laws.
Maybe you decide to write a blog post about this topic. The word count might be quite a bit longer than the above example. A reader would need the facts and history of each case. The ruling requires a certain amount of detail to be understood properly.
Writing only 300 or 500 words on this topic probably isn’t enough to sufficiently explain the context and details surrounding that decision in a way that would be useful to a potential client. Here, you might have a word count that’s several thousand words of high-quality content.
Quality Vs. Quantity On Law Firm Websites
The quality of the content on your law firm’s website is important to being found by your potential clients. But the overall quantity may be something to think about as well, rather than just the quantity of the words on a single page.
Successful online legal marketing comes down to creating a comprehensive educational experience for your potential clients that answers the questions they have about their case or problem. The content you create should build a bond of trust between you and your potential client. It should provide them with meaningful, useful information, and encourage them to reach out to you.
The more high-quality information you publish to your law firm’s website, the more opportunities you create for potential clients to find you online and to engage with your firm. If the content you feature on your site is low quality, whether or not the quantity is high, Google will favor sites with higher quality content. They’ve even created algorithms to spot sites with low-quality content, such as Panda.
If you have high-quality content but a low quantity of it, keep writing (or hire a professional proxy writer to help you.) Continue building up the content over time. Create a large bank of educational resources for your potential clients. Give Google new opportunities to index pages on your site and return those pages when potential clients make relevant searches
The ultimate goal is to have not just high-quality information, but a large quantity of it. Don’t spend your time focusing on a specific word count, but write each evergreen page and blog post to the length that it needs to be written.
Ask yourself if what you’ve written sufficiently explains the topic to a potential client in the way that you might if you were sitting across a desk from them. Does your content answer the kinds of questions they’d have about a particular topic? Does it explain things a potential client might not think to ask but that are important to their understanding of a case or problem? Is it written in a way that they can understand?
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