Let’s get SEOrious : why law firms should consider SEO to grow their client portfolio and build a better legal Internet
I want to convince you that if you are a law firm with at least 10 lawyers in your team, you need to be doing SEO right now💎.
I’m not going to give you a definition of SEO because there are many out there ( you should check SEO gurus like ahrefs, yoast, moz, screaming frog) .
For me, doing SEO is like dancing with Google🕺🏼: You are creating content and helping Google achieve it’s mission. If you do that, Google is going to treat you well and give you rewards🎁.
What is Google’s mission? At it’s core, they have to understand language. Their job is to figure out what people are searching for and surface helpful information from the web, no matter how they spell or combine the words in their query.
The E in SEO stands for Experience
Originally SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. For me doing SEO is less about search “Engine” and more about search “Experience”. That places the focus less on pleasing the machine and more on pleasing the human who is searching for information. The closest your piece of content is to you user’s human needs and their context, the higher your chances are of getting good results.
Doing SEO is using “digital” to accomplish part of your mission as a lawyer
According to the UN basic principles on the role of lawyers, one of their key roles is advising clients as to their legal rights and obligations, and as to the working of the legal system. Yes! One big part of the mission of the lawyer is to clarify information, to give information.. and now guess where are people looking for information today🤔? It’s Bing, DuckDuck, Yandex, and of course the big Google.
I was yesterday talking to an “artist” friend of mine who did not know if she had to declare their income coming from an airbnb listing to the tax authorities in Belgium. She clearly had a legal question but she was lost and did not know who she was supposed to ask. I said, why don’t you “Google it”? She said she did, but she got different pages saying different things about it. No page in the search results was tailored enough with an answer adapted to her life situation. This could be a content creation opportunity for law firms.
Let’s face it. It’s year 2021, if not you, somebody else is going to be doing it, somebody else is going to try to disrupt your market. The risk of not doing this as a lawyer is that there is an increasing number of actors with commercial interests (startups) that are not registered in a Bar, they don’t have same ethical standards as lawyers do, and they are writing content on the web solving legal issues. I know from direct sources that Bar registered lawyers are very worried about their market being disrupted by actors outside the Bar. I would advice them to stop worrying and start using digital to accomplish their mission as a lawyer.
Doing SEO as a lawyer who writes for the web
Web is a different medium. When you write your texts for the web you need to plan them, write them and display them in a different way.
Doing SEO is breaking up long texts and writing only what your user needs. Think about “micro questions” or “micro moments”, somebody out there has a burning legal question:
Is it legal to make vaccines a workplace obligation?
Think about my friend Ana who is an unemployed artist and does not know if she has to pay taxes for her Airbnb listing.
I know this is difficult because you have been trained to write differently but try to write a post that answers only that. And remove superfluous words or ideas that do not serve that purpose.
I am going to show you a bad example, but not to blame the author. On the contrary, I recognize the great work this law firm is doing with their content:
I think this article in french is a bad example for SEO, what they say is comprehensive and probably right in their analysis, but looks more like a report or memo: there are too many questions answered in this post. basically you need to break this article in 5 or 6 mini articles that answer smaller questions.
Doing SEO strengthen some good muscles💪
User centric muscles
It forces you to question if your service is good and to change adapt it to what your users need at each moment. More on this in this article
Mind clarity & information organization muscles
SEO forces you to think about having a clear mission for your website’s content and, as a side effect, also your law firm mission.
But you also need to have a structured website, with good schema markup language that makes sense to robots who are trying to understand what your website is about.
Another good “thing” coming from SEO is that is will improve your collaboration skills. You need to go out there and connect with other legal actors that have websites in your semantic area. You need to find ways so that they link to your site. Those are “back links” and they will improve your SEO results.
I hope I managed to give you some good reasons on why should start being a much more SEOrious lawyer.
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Content Strategist with a legal background.
I combine several years of experience in online communication with an advanced technical expertise in web development and an in-depth knowledge of UX trends & marketing tools.