Stephen Fairley 2013-04-04 07:05:44
How to Use Content Marketing to Drive Targeted Traffic to Your Website: 8 Best Practices Stephen Fairley is CEO of The Rainmaker Institute, LLC, the nation’s largest law firm marketing company specializing in small law firms. Over 8,000 attorneys have benefited from applying their proven Rainmaker Marketing System. Stephen is a bestselling author of 10 books and a nationally recognized law firm marketing expert. He has appeared in the American Bar Association’s Journal, Harvard Management Update, Inc and Entrepreneur. To receive your FREE copy of his book “Top 10 Marketing Mistakes Attorneys Make” visit www. TheRainmakerInstitute.com or call 888-588-5891. If you are looking to drive more high quality traffic to your law firm’s website, one of the best ways to do so is via unique, high quality content on your blog. It is estimated that 95% of law firms already have a website (I’m not sure what the other five percent are holding out for…perhaps they still think the Internet is a fad), but too few attorneys are consistently generating quality leads from their online presence because they lack great content. Google has made it increasingly difficult to rank high without putting a lot of quality content on your website. In this article I will share with you some secrets our clients have used to get to the top of Google and convert more browsers into buyers with great content. It used to be that a website or blog post could plug in as many keywords as possible (now known as “keyword stuffing”), thus artificially boosting their search engine ranking. Google caught on to this and has created a more complex algorithm that will now black ball you for these kinds of tricks. Google analyzes the keywords to ensure they fit the context of the page on which they are used, as well as your entire website. While this is frustrating for those just catching up with the use of keywords, it will improve the overall quality of search results. We are also seeing a stronger correlation between the amount of content you have on your website and how well it ranks. Google is favoring larger and larger websites. In fact, Hubspot.com reported in a survey released earlier this year that companies with 101 to 200 pages of content generate 2.5 times more leads than websites with fewer than 50 pages. For those of you in highly competitive practice areas, such as personal injury, family law, criminal, bankruptcy, and litigation, the writing is on the wall—if you want to continue ranking well on Google, which drives more qualified traffic to your website so you can generate more online leads, you must put more and more content on your website. I’m going to share with you eight of the best practices in content marketing. Best Practice 1: Create content prospects will connect with and will want to read. If a consumer or business owner is looking for a good attorney and your website is the first to pop up, good for you. However, if they read your home page and find it littered with meaningless legal jargon, then chances are they are going to move on to website number two. People hire attorneys they feel a connection with. If the viewer doesn’t connect with your website, then chances are they aren’t going to call you. By creating content that viewers find informative and relevant, easy to digest and in multiple formats (like audio or video as well as written) you are encouraging them to spend more time on your site. By filling each page with informative and easy-to-understand language, an attorney is boosting their visibility on the web and converting browsers into believers. Best Practice 2: Know the critical keywords prospects use to search. While Google is making sure the context fits the keywords, websites still need to focus on certain keywords. If you are a family law attorney, make sure your website uses common terms like: divorce, child custody, spousal support and other key words embedded in the content. Start by making a list of at least 20-30 terms you believe an interested prospect might use to search for your kind of services. Then do your research. I recommend two sites: Google Keyword Tool and WordTracker.com. You can find the first one simply by searching on Google for it. The terms definitely emphasize Google’s pay-per-click model, which is why I strongly recommend double checking your findings against the results from WordTracker.com. Use only one or two key terms per blog post and do not post duplicate content. For example, law firms used to stuff all their relevant key terms at the bottom of each blog posts by using a common paragraph in every post. That practice is now a dangerous one because Google will consider it to be duplicate content or trying to “spam” the search engines which can result in a penalty. Best Practice 3: Make sure your blog is on the same domain/subdomain. I used to recommend having two different sites: your primary website and a separate blog site. Due to the recent changes in Google I now recommend keeping your blog on your website (use ABClaw.com/blog instead of blog.ABClaw.com). If you already have two separate sites don’t combine them unless they are less than six months old. By integrating your blog and your website in one place, you can increase your rankings by adding more content via your blog. Topics for your blog can include recent cases you have handled, commenting on current events or stories in the media, answering frequently asked questions, and discussing aspects of the law. A blog is a great place to impress prospects and referral sources with your knowledge and experience. Best Practice 4: Create geo-targeted pages. You need to write several pages for each city you want to target. For example, if you are a business litigation attorney in the East Valley of Phoenix, you want to have several pages of content focusing on each of the following cities: Phoenix, Tempe, Chandler, Scottsdale, Mesa, Gilbert, etc. Do not make the mistake of only targeting Phoenix because every single other attorney is doing that. Put as many pages of content up there for the secondary cities. Even though you will not receive nearly as many hits for those cities the competition to rank on the first page of Google will be significantly less. Best Practice 5: Use video to give visitors a sense of who you are. Video is one of the best ways to improve your website conversion rates. I highly recommend you record several videos for your website: an overview of each major practice area your firm offers, a few case studies of typical clients you want to attract, a video introduction for each attorney, and reasons why people should hire you versus a competitor. You can also add videos from seminars or presentations you make to add more content to your site. Best Practice 6: Take a position on a topic and frequently update your blog. When you begin a blog, you need to make sure that it is a topic you feel passionate about. While you may be excited to write about the topic in the first week, you need to make sure that you will still be energized in six months or a year. Most legal blogs start out strong, but fizzle within a few months. Either the content becomes repetitive or the posts come less and less frequently. In order to keep your website and blog at the forefront of Google’s mind, you will need to post regularly. The most successful lead generation blogs post every day. If you aren’t willing to post new content at least a few times per week then you should seriously consider hiring someone to do the writing for you. In a survey of over 7,000 small businesses, Hubspot.com found companies that blog 15 or more times per month generate five times as much traffic as companies that don’t blog! In addition to choosing a subject that you find interesting, you need to make sure that there is an audience for your blog. If you are writing about something that is so obscure only a handful of people are interested, then chances are you are not going to get a ton of leads from it. However, we have a law firm client who has a very tightly focused practice niche and even though there aren’t the volume of cases other practice areas receive, each lead they generate from their blog can result in a very nice six figure fee. Best Practice 7: Add social media to your website to make it easier for people to share your content online. Most major websites people visit have fully integrated social media—whether its Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter you want to make it easy for people to share your content with their friends and colleagues. Best Practice 8: Keep your content consistent with your brand. If you’re an estate planning attorney, write about estate planning and rarely about anything else. Professional blogs need to remain professional. The tone, content and focus should demonstrate the type of attorney you are. If your office is more relaxed and friendly, then try to convey that in the tone of your blogs. If your firm is more traditional, that too should be apparent in the tone of your piece. In addition to staying professional and on topic, your content needs to stay relevant. If there is a major change in what area of law you practice in, then you should be discussing it right away on your blog. If there is a big ruling in your practice area that is causing a lot of questions or anxiety for clients and prospects and you are the last person to mention in on their website or blog, then chances are the readers will have moved on to someone who is more on top of things. Conclusion. Content marketing is one of the best ways to build targeted traffic to your website and become recognized as a thought leader. However, it is a long-term strategy so set your expectations appropriately. Depending on the level of competition in your practice area, how well-established your website/blog is, which key terms you are targeting, and how frequently you update your blog it may take several months to start seeing some significant results. As always, if you do not have the time to write 10-20 high quality, unique blog articles every month and would like some help, please give us a call.
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