Friday, February 22, 2013

Law Firm Blogging -- It's Not Just Google

If you talk to online marketers, the team that people your website, or SEO professionals, they will usually mention blogging in one context: a way to improve your SERP performance.  SERP = Search Engine Results Page.  In other words, the idea that is drilled into so many attorneys is that they need a blog solely to improve their ranking on search terms in Google (or Bing, Yahoo, and the many other search engines).

While content--good legal content--is critical to SERP improvement, it is not at all the only way that blogs benefit the firm.  At least not in the way that SERP is understood by most lawyers.

Here are two reasons why.

(1) When talking about search engine performance, most think that the blog will improve the rankings for the main firm page.  For example, the idea is that you have blogs which include terms like "Florida injury attorney."  That term is linked to the firm's home page which helps to improve how the home page ranks when searchers type in "Florida injury attorney."  That works...kinda.  But it is not some magic formula that brings instant results, nor is it necessarily the main way that a blog benefits a firm.

That is because, on many occasions, searchers land directly on a blog post itself.  For example, someone involved in a car accident in Miami may not be searching for "Florida injury lawyer," but they may be searching for questions like "Will my Florida PIP insurance cover my back injury?"  If you wrote a blog post discussing PIP coverage, perhaps sprinkling in terms like "back injury" and "Miami," then the searcher may find your blog post.  They'll learn of the firm via the blog post and perhaps retain legal services if necessary.

In this way the blog  benefit relies much more on the content itself and less on some magic linking tricks to amp up rankings for main site pages.  Of course, SEO best practices are still important to use when writing the post itself.  After all, it is no good if the searcher never finds your post discussing  PIP coverage for personal injury.

(2) On top of the searcher landing directly on the blog and finding the site from there, blogs have also been shown to be very helpful in converting a searcher to a caller. Getting potential clients to your website is one thing, and getting them to retain you is another.  Many articles (and entire books) have been written on this conversion process.  But without question to get someone to actually call you must make it clear that you are knowledgeable, experienced, and personable such that the client can envision working with you.  Blogs can meet all of those goals.  They ensure the client is greeted with an interactive experience that projects freshness and helpfulness.  Put simply: all things being otherwise identical, a client is much more likely to call the firm with a blog (that is actually updated with interesting content) than one without a blog (or with a stale one).

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