Topic clusters can help you come up with effective law firm blog posts or to drill down even further on substantive pages when you feel like you’ve exhausted your content options.
Here’s how topic clusters can help your law firm do better marketing.
What is a topic cluster?
Topic clusters are a content planning style that lets you cover a number of topics in-depth and also create a solid, organized foundation for your content.
Topic clusters are beneficial to you and your web visitors. Clusters let you see what subjects you’ve covered, as well as in-depth subtopics within those general subject areas. They can help you create structured and organized internal linking and provide a better and more meaningful experience for your potential clients.
Organizing your content with topic clusters can help you create a more efficient architecture. It can ensure that you write the content that matters most to qualified prospective clients.
Why should you try law firm content topic clusters?
A long time ago, online marketers spent their time focused on keywords. Your ranking for basic keywords became an important metric to gauge how well your website was doing. But that was a long time ago.
Search engines have advanced well beyond basic keyword searches. And so have your potential clients. Your potential clients are less likely to find their attorney through basic searches for terms like, “DUI Attorney Houston.”
They don’t have time to conduct a search like that and sift through lots of results. They may not even know they need an attorney yet. What they know is that they have a question and they need an answer.
They’re more likely to use Google to find the answers to questions that relate to their case or problem. And, if they’re using voice search on a mobile device, there’s an even higher likelihood they’ll ask a conversational question. Many of the search results pages that Google returns on a daily basis are for queries that have never been asked before.
Focusing on keywords is to be focused on a moving target in some ways. A basic keyword search in one location may turn up completely different results than the same search in a different location.
Attorneys should spend time publishing answers to their clients’ questions — in the language their clients use — instead of focusing on basic keywords.
There are attorneys who do rank well for basic keyword searches, but the way they got there wasn’t always by competing directly for those rankings. Those rankings are often a by-product of a tremendous amount of content that resonates with potential clients.
How should attorneys use topic clusters on their websites?
Creating topic clusters is quite easy. First, start with a larger piece of content that takes a general focus on a main topic. This piece of content is called “pillar content.”
From that pillar content, you can then cover specific subtopics, referred to as “cluster content.” The cluster content can link back to the pillar content and also to other clusters within the same main topic.
In a recent blog post about topic clusters, Hubspot used a good example. I’ve included their corresponding image below:
Let’s say that the main pillar of this cluster has to do with “Workout Routines.” The surrounding, linked clusters might be subtopics such as, “Workout routines to increase strength,” or “Workout routines without weights.” Those subtopics can be linked not only to the main pillar, “Workout routines,” but may also be linked to each other, which helps to create an effective and efficient architecture for you and your web visitors.
Here’s an example that may be more relevant to you. A main content area (or “pillar”) for a DUI attorney might be “The DUI Process.” The subtopics, or clusters, might be subjects such as, “Field Sobriety Tests,” “Breathalyzer Tests,” “Police Roadblocks,” “Your Rights,” and so on. Again, not only are these subtopics part of the larger topic, “The DUI Process,” but they can also be internally linked to each other. A web visitor who reads about “Breathalyzer Tests” may also be interested to learn more about DUI roadblocks or their rights at a traffic stop.
How should attorneys begin using topic clusters on law firm websites?
Before you begin creating content clusters, be sure that you know who you’re writing to. Your content’s purpose isn’t to be filler on your law firm’s website.
Your potential clients read the topics you write about on your law firm’s website and blog (and the many clusters that can accompany them). That content is only likely to make a difference for your firm if it addresses a potential client’s questions.
To really narrow in on your audience, consider creating law firm client personas to represent your ideal client. Taking the time to create a client persona now can help you in the long run by ensuring that your content is focused toward the kind of client you’d like to attract.
Consider the questions potential clients ask when you meet face-to-face. What are their goals or concerns? What are they afraid of? Answer those questions through your content and try an organizational strategy such as a topic cluster to ensure a good user experience for your web visitors and a way to keep your content structured.
When you have an idea about the kinds of questions potential clients ask, you can divide those questions into broader categories. You can expand those categories to include questions your potential clients may not have thought about yet.
Let’s briefly revisit the DUI attorney example. We discussed one broad category in that example: “The DUI Process.” What about other categories like “Penalties for DUI” (A first? A second? What happens to your driver’s license?) and “Accidents & DUI” (Hit and runs? Vehicular homicide?)?
There are plenty of broad topics to choose. For each of those broad topics, you can keep drilling down into increasingly specific content. Topic clusters give readers an opportunity to explore a topic both generally through the main pillar content, as well as more specifically through the pillar’s accompanying clusters. In online legal marketing, it’s important to give your web visitors options for how they want to interact with your content.
Topic clusters can work for your evergreen, substantive content and your day-to-day blog content. When a potential client finds content that interests them, they’ll benefit from additional internal links to other relevant material. That helps to keep a potential client engaged with your content and helps to build their trust that you are an expert in your field.
Here’s an example of topic clusters if you want to explore further.