Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Legal SEO Basics in 2014 - Content Writing Rules for Panda 4.0

The task of online legal content writing and blog writing can be broken into two parts: (1) Writing interesting, useful, share-able material; (2) Ensuring the material takes into account up-to-date search engine optimization details.

A common mistake is focusing too heavily on only one of those prongs. The writing may focus only on keywords and buzz topics and mirroring every detail of the perfect SEO scheme without emphasis on quality material. Or the writing may be oblivious to modern day search engine optimization, with duplicate content and dense structure. Either approach is a problem because it means that the writing either wont be worth reading or won't actually be read (because no one will find it online or devote the time to absorbing it).

Many attorneys working to write content for their own website or blog struggle most with the second prong--the SEO part. You may have may ideas about topics to discuss, commonly asked questions to analyze, and other information that is very much worthwhile for potential clients and the community at large.

But the SEO details are foreign to most legal professionals. And the challenge is made ever harder by the fact that the rules are changing on a monthly (or even daily!) basis. That is one key reason why it is worthwhile to have help with online writing and marketing. Whether you want help with the writing itself or need guidance getting your thoughts found, going it alone on that front is often a mistake--leading to lost business potential.

If You Read Nothing Else About Writing Online Content At This Moment:

For these intrepid souls who want to get their mind around the basics of SEO writing today, a very helpful short article at SiteProNews breaks down the basic writing in today's "Panda 4.0" world (referring to Google's latest algorithm update targeting content). The cliff notes version of the lessons we can take from the latest update include:

1) Remove all duplicate content. Ensure that no content is copied verbatim from anywhere on the web, included your own pages (and including long snippets of statutes, case law, etc.)

2) Remove "thin" content. Ensure that all material actually grapples with a question or issue. That does not mean that all pieces must be 2000 word white papers. But, brief 200 word, bland, ultra-generic pieces are worthless.

3) Write for people, not search engines. This is counter-intuitive considering this is a list about how to write for search engines. But, ultimately, Panda changes are all about rewarding quality material that is written for the quality of the prose with far less emphasis on keywords and marketing.

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