Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Legal Content - Basically, It's Everything

A post yesterday at SEOmoz (a site you should subscribe to) discussed a topic near and dear to our legal content writing hearts: the importance of new, unique material for search engine optimization.  In discussing a "transition" in effect the author noted that is must mean "that content is now at the epicentre of audience creation once again."

The catalyst for the post was a algorithm change made by Google recently known as "Penguin."  Essentially these changes just alter the (very complex) way that the king search engine decides how sites are ranked for certain searches.  The fundamental principle of Google (and subsequently all search engines) was linking.  The idea was that the more links going into a page, the more "authority" that page likely has.  As a result, the page shows up higher in the search because it has a better chance of proving helpful to the searcher.

At the end of the day, linking alone is nowhere near sufficient to best manage the search, because links can so easily be "gamed."  That is why, underlying it all is not necessarily links but content.  For lawyers and online legal marketing that usually means one thing: more and better legal blog writing--new material, interesting comments, summaries of complex information, helpful reminders--anything that might be useful to another person on the planet.

The SEOmoz post author fits this into the larger picture, "We don't get excited about where a paper is printed any more..  Instead its about the content that's printed on it."

Understanding the importance of legal content writing is stage one in the "SEO for Lawyers" toolkit.  Amazingly, many many attorneys and firms have yet to grasp the underlying concept.  It is not hard to see this--just look at most attorney websites (or blogs, if they have them).  What you likely find is minimal content, stock images, or law firm blogs that are not updated even close to frequently.  All of this is an indicator of the lack of importance still placed by so many on new content.

But getting across that first hurdle--understanding the central role played by content--is the key to it all. You have to get past that, for example, before you hire legal content writers or even touch the ideas which make up the rest of the SEOmoz post: Creating a Content Writing Plan.

If you are an attorney you likely have little time to delve into the details of the content writing plan portion of the text.  But, we'll summarize it thusly: know your audience; know what topics work; write consistently and timely.

If you are working with a website company or "SEO guy" you will likely hear terms like "content marketing" more and more.  That is what they mean when they say it: creating new words under the name of the firm to post on a blog and send into the social media universe.

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