The Difference Between Effective and Ineffective Law Firm Website Content

by Dec 15, 2019

Google makes its money by providing high-quality answers to the questions its users ask. Providing quality answers keeps these people using the search engine, which enables Google to sell advertising. For Google to feature your website in its free search results, your law firm’s website must do an excellent job of answering the questions potential clients ask of the search engine. 

Effective content heightens your visibility in search results and drives more business to your firm. Here’s what to know about the difference between effective and ineffective content, and how to create better content for your law firm’s website.

What does effective law firm website content look like?

Effective law firm website content provides what both prospective clients and search engines want. Google notes that webmasters should “Make pages for users, not for search engines.” 

It reflects the way that potential clients think and search.

Effective law firm website content focuses on your potential clients, and the way that they think and conduct searches. If they’re in the research phase of their case or problem, they’ll want to know more about it, the next steps that they should take, and whether it makes sense for them to hire an attorney.

Some of your web visitors don’t yet realize that they need an attorney. And, even when they do, they tend to research their case or problem before making any decisions about hiring a law firm. Potential clients often conduct long-tail searches about their problems, which means that effective content mirrors those searches. 

Effective law firm website content explains legal concepts in language that’s easy for your potential clients to understand. It also reflects the language that potential clients use to search — which often has a local focus. (To learn more about how clients search with a local focus, see: “Thinking Locally, Not Legally: How Potential Clients Find Law Firm Websites.

It educates potential clients.

Effective law firm website content is all about helping your potential clients. Google wants to provide the best possible results for search queries that its users make, and it has developed specific criteria to ensure that it’s able to deliver those results. Google represents part of that criteria with the acronym E-A-T:

Expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.

Expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness are particularly important for law firm websites.

Law firm websites are considered “Your Money or Your Life (YMYL)” pages by Google because of their potential effect on the happiness, health, or well-being of a search user who finds them. (Pages with legal information, financial information, and medical information are among the pages that fall under the “YMYL” designation.) 

As a result, YMYL pages require a high amount of E-A-T, and Google holds these pages to a higher standard.

The best way to demonstrate expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness to search users (and Google) is to provide high-quality informational content that helps your website visitors learn more about their problem.

To learn more about Google’s E-A-T ratings, see: “Google’s E-A-T and Your Law Firm’s Website.”

It builds trust and encourages potential clients to contact your firm.

As noted above, trustworthiness is an essential factor for website visitors in the decision-making process. Just as high-quality content is the best way to demonstrate your authoritativeness and expertise, it’s also the best way to develop a bond of trust with your potential (and current) clients. 

Providing educational content shows website visitors that you have an interest in helping them solve a problem, that you care about their case or matter, and that you want to help them make an informed decision about what to do next.

When you build a comprehensive library of high-quality content, your website becomes a resource that more potential clients turn to as an educational resource.

The more that web visitors trust your site as a place where they can find accurate information about the law and associated legal processes, the more trust you develop with potential clients. 

What does ineffective law firm website content look like?

If your content does any of the following, it may be the cause of your website’s struggles:

Does your law firm website content talk exclusively about your law firm?

If your law firm website’s content is focused exclusively on your law firm, it’s likely to turn off potential clients. Potential clients don’t visit your site to hear about your firm unless it’s in the context of how you can help them. They’re thinking about themselves, and the problem that they’re facing. Ineffective content tends to be firm-focused instead of client-focused.

Does your law firm website content read like advertising copy?

If your website copy reads like an advertisement, intelligent, qualified, and engaged search engine users will likely hit the back button on their browsers. People are tired of advertising. We ignore many of the ads that we see in billboards and magazines; we skip over advertisements with our music and television subscriptions, and we even use ad-blockers online to remove ads from our visual field altogether.

We are living in an information age. Search engines have given consumers a lot of power as it relates to information, and potential clients will use the information they find to make decisions about hiring an attorney.

Does your law firm website content fail to educate your potential clients?

Many potential clients turn to the internet to research their case or matter before choosing an attorney. If your site fails to educate potential clients, it will turn off potential clients who are in the research phase of their search for legal information or help. That, of course, assumes that potential clients find your website if you don’t have educational content. The high-quality content that you create is a crucial ingredient in online visibility.

Does your law firm website content fail to make an emotional connection that inspires trust? 

Potential clients need to know that you care about their case or problem, that you’re enthusiastic about helping them, and that you’re someone they’ll like.

If your law firm’s website doesn’t make an emotional connection and fails to inspire trust, it will turn off potential clients who are at the point in their search where they know they are going to hire a lawyer and are trying to decide which one.

Learn more about developing effective law firm website content

If your site is delivering general information, you’re not differentiating your firm from your competitors. Most importantly, you’re not giving your clients, your potential clients, and the search engines anything of value. 

Search engines are finely tuned to reward the prose that is best for their human users. The content on your website must show potential clients that you care about them and their goals. It must also prove that you’ve successfully helped people just like them, and establish you as an expert.

To learn more about developing high-quality content that appeals to your potential clients and search engines, see:

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