This is the sixth and final post in a series about the basics of search engine optimization (SEO) for your law firm website. For links to the other posts in this series, refer to the first installment, titled “Can Google Find Your Law Firm Website?”
Content marketing is a long-term marketing strategy, not a short-term campaign.
Sometimes attorneys expect that their online marketing efforts are complete as soon as they have a web presence to point to. But, in the same way that cooking hamburgers in a vacant building will not instantaneously equate to operating a successful restaurant, launching a law firm website is not going to be sufficient in-and-of-itself to reliably attract potential clients to your firm from the world wide web.
Providing informative, targeted content on your law firm website will not multiply traffic to your site overnight. But, the more content you add to your site over time, the more traffic that content will attract from search engine results pages (SERPs), and the stronger that content’s attractive power to both search engines and search engine users will become as a result.
Regularly updating the content on your site sends positive signals to Google with regard to the relevance of that content for particular searches. A large diversity of content on your site also offers Google more options when returning relevant results for a wider array of searches. And, with a depth of content to refer to, internal linking between related pieces of content on your site can keep search engine users engaged with your site longer, which will increase your chances of converting those users to actual clients.
Law Firm Website Content Works Long-Term
Once a piece of content is published on your law firm website, so long as Google’s web crawlers can find and index that content, it can begin showing up on SERPs. But Google considers hundreds of factors when attempting to determine the relevance of a particular piece of content for searches, including the authority of the site on which that content lives and how often that site is mentioned in citations elsewhere on the web.
The first evergreen practice area page or blog post published on your law firm website may not immediately rank on the first SERP for a relevant query. But continuing to add quality content that targets additional long-tail search phrases will, over time, increase the perceived relevance and authority of your website, thereby increasing the chances that search engine rankings for your previously published content will rise. And as more and more users interact with a piece of content as a result of rising rankings, the more relevance Google will assign to that content and the higher still it will rank on SERPs.
Whereas social media posts and pay-per-click ads will only work to market your law firm for a short time (or as long as you are willing to continue paying for ads on those platforms), content published on your website will continue working to attract an increasing number of potential clients for as long as your site exists. And, once a piece of content is published, there is no need for additional investment in that piece of content. The long-term benefits of such content therefore cannot be measured based solely on its short-term gains. Rather, the ROI for producing a piece of content will continue to rise, and the cost to convert subsequent clients who land on a particular page will continue to decrease, with each new lead it supplies to your firm.
Law Firm Content Marketing Is All About Thought Leadership
It is a good idea to approach content creation for your law firm website with the goal of becoming a thought leader in your region and area of practice.
The purpose of the content on your site is to provide detailed answers to specific questions asked of search engines by your potential clients. By anticipating the types of questions your potential clients will ask in search engines and answering those questions in language that is accessible to those clients, you can showcase your authority and expertise on the subject of their legal issue, thereby building trust with those potential clients. The more questions you can answer for them, the more trust you will develop, and the more likely those clients will be to hire your law firm.
But industry thought leaders—those individuals who are called upon to do interviews, write for trade publications, and speak at industry conferences—are not created by a single blog post or webpage. Rather, it takes writing regularly to amass the hundreds or thousands of web pages necessary to convince the public (including other legal professionals) that you are an expert in your field, and to develop a voice that sets you apart from your competition.
You Have to Want It More than Your Competitors
It can take months, or even years, to build your online brand to the level of genuine thought leadership. And, if you are just starting out in a highly-competitive legal market like New York or Los Angeles, your content is going to have to compete with long-established players in the local content marketing game. But, while other attorneys may have a head start on your law firm website, in no way does this take you out of the running for online success.
Competing to become a thought leader in your region and area of practice means that you will need to be tenacious with your content marketing efforts. You will need to establish a unique voice for your content, write regularly, and continue adding to your site—either yourself or by delegating the work to a competent professional—throughout the existence of that site. And you will need to do all of this in a way that makes you stand out from your competition.
If it is taking time for your website and blog to gain the audience you desire, don’t despair. Continue adding to your content archive and targeting additional long-tail phrases with that content. But, with practice, patience, and continuous refinement of the content on your law firm website, you can position yourself as a thought leader in your field, and ensure that your law firm website continues working on behalf of your law firm in the long run.