Crafting Legal Website Content that Gets Results

May 10, 2020 | Law Firms

Patrick Carver
Founder, Constellation Marketing

A straightforward guide for busy lawyers who want to 10x their ROI on legal blogs.

About this article

The tough reality is that most blog posts by lawyers will never see the light of day. Without an effective process, your writing will never help you win new clients. With our 4 step approach, you can change all that and turn your writing into a revenue-generating activity.

  1. It’s all about the keyword
  2. Content Analysis: Create an unfair advantage
  3. Linking: Bypass thousands of other pages
  4. Index, Measure, Repeat

Do you want to consistently generate more cases?

See what's possible with Constellation on your side.

If you’re writing blogs for your law firm’s website, I hope you have low expectations.

I hate to break it to you, but there’s a strong chance no one will ever read your blog, much less become a client.

I’m sure you’re a great writer, that’s not the issue.

Turns out that over 94.3% of pages on the Internet get absolutely no traffic from Google. That’s right, the vast majority of everything written on the Internet is never seen. It’s truly a rough world out there.

Thankfully, with a few improvements, you can escape from the ocean of mediocrity and start acquiring high-quality visitors from Google on every new post.

We have developed a proven formula for legal website content that not only gets traffic but also gets cases.

Follow along as we open up the vault and show you how to turn your regular blogs into revenue machines.


It’s all about the keyword!


Writing web content without a focus keyword is like traversing the sea in a rudderless boat. You’ll be out there, but you’re not going to get where you want to go.

The importance of keywords is often misunderstood. Many attorneys we speak with have an idea that if you just add ‘the right keywords,’ then you’ll be on the fast track to great rankings and big profits.

This is simply not the case.

What we will say is that keywords are important, but they are useless unless applied properly.

The first step is understanding what people are already looking for. We use a tool called Ahrefs to understand what people are searching and how often.

This insight can give you a tremendous advantage when organizing your content. How you refer to a topic as an attorney may be completely different than how the vast majority of other people do.

For instance, we hear often attorneys refer to themselves as ‘criminal defense attorneys,’ but what the average Joe is really searching for is a ‘criminal lawyer.’


Another example: when people search for your services, half of them will type attorney and the other half will type lawyer.

What if you could see in the data that a huge majority of people will use attorney instead of lawyer? You would make sure to include the word attorney more often than lawyer, right? Of course you would, because you want to appeal to the biggest audience.

Now, you can apply this same logic to any topic that you’re preparing to write about. You want to figure out what keyword or phrase is the most commonly searched and craft your content for it.

Choosing a focus keyword will give you a north star to work towards as you develop your content, making it immediately more productive than what your competitors are pushing out.

At this point, you may be saying to yourself, “He said this was a guide for busy lawyers!” The good news is that you don’t have to be an SEO expert to make this work. You just need a few minutes and some common sense.

There is a simple and cheap way to take advantage of this strategy by using a tool called Keywords Everywhere. You can definitely use our recommendation, Ahrefs, which is the best in the industry, but it’s not essential.

Keywords Everywhere will provide you with the search volume metrics that you need to make an educated decision about which topic to cover. It’s not perfect, but for the average attorney, it’s going to be more than enough.

This way, when you are kicking around blog ideas, you can compare them to see what topic has the most traffic potential. You can use this to optimize existing pages on your site as well.

Although it helps get you going in the right direction, choosing the right keyword is only part of the equation. To truly see results, you’ll need to understand how Google thinks.


Create an unfair advantage


Now that you know the importance of keywords, the next step is developing a resource Google deems worthy of placement on the first page of their results.

How does one do that? Well, there’s not really a manual for it.

The best we can do is make a continually-evolving educated guess on what we think Google is looking for. Everyone has a different approach, but I’ll share exactly how we do it.

Our process heavily relies on a relatively new tool that has quickly become the industry standard, Surfer. This tool is kind of like a cheat code when creating website content.

It works by taking your keyword, running a search for that term, and then extracting and analyzing everything in Google’s search results. Behind the scenes, Surfer is collecting a bunch of data points that you can use for comparative analysis. It sounds complicated because it is.

Through this process, you’ll see the average characteristics of the pages that already rank for your desired keyword. With these comparative characteristics in mind, you can begin to create a composite idea of what the average first-page result looks like. As I said, it’s basically a cheat code.

This is an example of Surfer’s analysis which shows that the average first-page result has 1,960 words on the page.

surfer analysis stats

Pretty cool, right? Surfer also allows you to dig into other characteristics of a page like load speed, headings, and more.

This may be super confusing, so let’s take a look at this in practice. I’m going to run this analysis on the page you are reading now, but before I actually wrote it.

I set up a blank page on our website so Surfer would show me exactly what I need to write, before I even sit down to start outlining the content.  We’re targeting the keyword “legal website content.”

surfer stats 2

Now, we’re going to audit our page against pages that are currently on the first page. This produces a report of all the things we’d need to do in order to be similar to those ranked pages (and ideally, to rank as highly as they do).

surfer stats words

This is an extremely helpful first step that helps us get started on the right foot. We can now set up an outline of the page we want to create with detailed specifications about how it should look before we write a word.


The less complicated, quick version for busy lawyers

Sorry, our nerdy side took over there. You didn’t come here to become an SEO expert, you just want a simple way to make meaningful improvements in your current process.

A simple way to replicate this process is available. In fact, we used to do something like before Surfer came on to the market. It’s slow and definitely not sexy, but it can still work.

If you want to do this on your own, simply search for your keyword and spend 10 minutes reviewing each of the first three organic search results. Count the words with a tool like WordCounter, make a note of what topics they cover or how they present the information. That’s it.

By manually reviewing the top three and taking some notes about each page, you can start to see some commonalities and differences. This will give you some basic data about what you need to write about and how long your page should be.

This is definitely the quick and dirty process – it’s not perfect. But it’s way better than what most people are doing right now, which is writing aimlessly.

There are even some free tools out there that will help expedite parts of the process for you. If you want that list, just let us know and we’re happy to share.


Bypass thousands of other attorneys


The best place to hide a dead body is on the second page of Google.

You’ve probably heard that before. It’s a common joke amongst SEOs because only 0.78% of people click results on the second page of Google.

Remember how most pages get no search traffic? These pages share another common characteristic: no links.

What is a link? Also known as a backlink, this is the placement of a piece of text that when clicked, takes the user to a new website or another page. Links are one of the primary commodities that Google looks at to determine a site’s value and how broadly it’s represented within their search results. Generally speaking, the more links the better.

Obtaining even one link can be the difference between existing in obscurity and a regular stream of visitors.

Since there are literally millions of other pages that launched at the exact same time you hit publish, you’ll need to take some extra measures to stand out. Along with choosing a specific keyword to write about, acquiring a link to your new page from another website can be one of the most impactful things you can do.

The good news about those millions of other people adding content is that the vast majority are doing the bare minimum. They’ve typed some words and hit publish with no special attention given to Google’s recommendations or best practices.

So, how does one get a link? It can be complicated.

Let’s look at a couple of realistic strategies that the average busy attorney can implement on their own.


#1 – Beg & Plead

beg and plead secEven though this whole idea may seem like a foreign and difficult concept, the good news is that there is a very low bar of achievement.

Getting just one link will place you ahead of MILLIONS of other people, including many of your competitors.

The first place I would look to get a link is from a colleague with a website.

Presumably, you know other attorneys in your area, from law school, or conferences. We’re going to be reaching out to them for a simple favor.

See, not all links are made equal. Obtaining a link from your friend who runs a blog about pizza will not be very helpful. Google is interested in providing the best resources to their users. One way they determine best resources is by looking at who has been vetted by their own industry.

Obtaining a link from a legal-specific website sends a powerful message to Google that others in your industry think you are credible and deserving of a ranking in their index.

So, now that you have your page complete, it’s time to spread the word. Shortlist a few attorneys you know who have websites and may be open to the request. Then, send a simple email like this:

Hi fellow attorney, 

I hope you’re doing well! I’m hoping you would be willing to help me out with a small favor. 

I just published a new blog and am trying to promote it. The blog covers what to do if you’ve been arrested on suspicion of a crime. 

I would love to get your professional opinion on it and if you find it valuable, link to it from your website. I’d be more than happy to do the same for you on your next blog. 


Attorney Friend

Simple, clear, and to the point. Obviously, you can adjust this to match your personality and style. The point here is that you don’t have to prepare anything extra special to start this process.

More than likely, you’ll be able to connect with at least one friend who is similarly working to improve their visibility online. They will make for a great reciprocal partner for future promotion efforts.


#2 – Guest Posts

The next option is to secure what is known as a guest post. This is when you write an article for someone else’s website with the understanding that you can reference your own blog post that you’re promoting.

Why would someone do this? It’s mutually beneficial. By creating a nice blog post for someone else’s website, they will benefit by adding more content that can be found on search engines.

The key part here is that it has to be valuable to their audience.

What does this look like in practice? Let’s run with the example above about what to do when you’re arrested.

Since you’re hoping to have a link placed back to your post about being arrested, you’ll want to find the right partner. Again, we’re not going to reach out to your friend with the Famous Pizzas of the World blog with a guest post request. It’s possible, but a better bet is to think about who else may be writing about crime and justice.

This could be other attorneys (perhaps in another city) or true crime bloggers, or even a neighborhood newspaper. You want to find something that is accessible and at least somewhat relevant to your topic.

Personally, I’d stick with other attorneys. They have websites, they understand the importance of SEO, and they are probably much more likely to say yes than your average blogger. A great way to start this strategy would be to identify some other attorneys in different cities who have a similar practice and blog regularly.

Shoot them a note to introduce yourself and see if they would up for cooperative marketing opportunities. Bam! You’ve walked right into your first link source. Now, keep pushing to get more and more.


Index, Measure, Repeat


Now we’re getting into the land of extra credit. We have a few additional tips to help you get the most value out of your efforts.


First stop: Google Search Console

The next step after we hit publish on any page or post is to submit it to Google Search Console. Google’s crawling technology is so good that you don’t really need to do this step manually, but we still do because it helps you get indexed quicker.

gsc stats

Quicker indexing means quicker ranking movement.

What is GSC you ask? It’s as close you’ll get to a direct message line to Google’s search results. Search Console used to go by “Webmaster Tools,” but the basic function hasn’t changed. Its main purpose is to help webmasters monitor their website’s relationship with Google.

The best benefit of this tool is you can basically ask Google to crawl and index your website in their search results.

Instead of relying on their crawlers to find you, you can go to them. This is what we’re doing every time we hit publish: asking Google to come and take a peek at our content. Their crawlers will review our page to understand what it’s all about and then determine how we fit into the overall search landscape.

If you follow our tips from above, you’ll be able to bypass hundreds of other contenders because Google will already have an idea of what a ‘good’ page looks like for your keyword.


Track your progress

Now that you’ve made an amazing, keyword-optimized page you’ll want to track its progress, right?

We’ll share a few ways you can do this.

  • Google Search Console is a nice free option. Inside their console, you can actually see all of the keywords that you’re showing up for in search results and their average ranking position. If you don’t want to spend any money and only need a basic view, this is your tool.
  • The next step up is to use a tool like Ahrefs (our choice), Moz, or SEM Rush. All three of these SEO tools will give you the ability to pop in your website and track the keywords that matter to you. They all have free trials and paid options depending on your needs and budget.

These are well-rounded SEO tools that will give you a lot of value, unlike the one-trick-pony we have coming up next.

  • If you want to track keywords like a real industry pro, you should take a look at Accuranker. This is definitely overkill for 99.9% of attorneys, but it’s still pretty cool. Accuranker is different in that it has a very specific function doesn’t really do much else. That function is tracking keywords.

You can track any keyword on any device, in any location, on any search engine. It’s pretty intense. We do this for our clients because we want to know how our optimizations are affecting performance on a daily basis, but this level of scrutiny is certainly not needed.

If you would like a personalized recommendation on a service for you, we’re happy to provide that – just reach out.


Don’t stop till you get enough

The most important part of a good SEO strategy is consistency.

Consistency is important when you’re working to improve your site’s visibility because SEO has compounding benefits. The more you invest, the better your results will be. The more topics you cover, the larger your footprint will become.

After you’ve completed your first piece of content using this new approach, start planning your next. Ranking pages can happen quickly, but for the most part, it’s a long play. Figure out your niche, a process, and just start writing.

Don’t get discouraged if things start slowly. As time goes on you’ll start to see the benefits.

We want you to be successful and we’re here to help. You can learn more about our approach here.

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