We are always on the lookout for valuable content to share on our blog; adding worth beyond case expense financing for our readers. Today we welcome guest blogger Yvette Valencia. She is the co-founder and COO of WeDoWebContent. I hope this is useful to you!
Michael J. Swanson,
President and Chief Executive Officer
Capturing Clients with Keywords: The Art of Search Engine Optimization
If you’re reading this post, you likely found it in one of two ways: you’re either a subscriber to our blog or you used a search engine, like Google, to find information on “capturing new clients.” If the latter is true, my keyword (or “on-page search engine optimization”) strategy worked. You see, I wrote this article for two reasons: 1) to educate and help you succeed on the Web; and 2) to attract potential clients to my company’s website where they could learn more about our services and eventually hire us to design their law firm’s search marketing strategy.
Today I am here to tell you that you can do the same for your law firm. When you research and use the terms your ideal clients are using to find information on the Web within your Web content, you increase your chances of being found. And, when you write truly informative pages, ones that give your readers valuable takeaways, you will earn your stripes with Google and be rewarded with top spots on their search results pages (referred to as “ranking”).
During my presentation at the Broward County Hispanic Bar Association’s monthly luncheon, I revealed the biggest mistake most lawyers make with their legal marketing strategy and offered tips on creating a loyal fan base for the purpose of expanding their firms’ reach and increasing referrals. Now I’m ready to discuss one of the most powerful components of search marketing: keywords.
If you took the time to identify and develop a niche for your business and are taking the necessary steps to grow your practice, you will have a good idea of how your ideal clients search for information on the Internet. So if you want to continue building your list with similar clients, you should start by looking to your current clients for keyword inspiration.
Get Into Your Clients’ Heads
Conducting interviews with past clients can help you better understand how they search for legal resources on the Internet. Some questions you could ask are:
- When you were searching for a personal injury attorney, what was more important: 1) their office location; or 2) their specialty or exclusivity in handling cases similar to yours?
- How did you initiate your search? Did you believe you had a viable legal issue and knew you needed an attorney and therefore started your search there, or did you set out to learn whether or not you had a legal issue?
- If you received a referral from a friend or family member, did you first research the attorney or firm online or did you contact the attorney without researching?
- Did you search for lawyers that handled the type of accident in which you were injured or the specific injury you suffered?
Conduct Research & Analyze the Data
More and more people are using search engines like Google and Bing to find products and services on the Web. By analyzing what your prospective clients are looking for and how they are searching for it online, you will increase the chances of your website appearing on the first page of their search results.
You’ll want to start by gathering data from your website’s analytics service, as well as using a couple of independent keyword tools available on the Web. When you work with data that is accurate, you move away from assumptions and the dreaded possibility of wasting a lot of time and money.
Keyword tools allow you to evaluate the performance of millions of search terms – an essential step for creating the best keyword list for your business.
Google AdWords is a free and pretty robust keyword tool that provides the popularity and competition level of a specific keyword, as well as related keywords. You should be expanding your focus beyond the original keywords you research and open yourself to similar search topics – synonyms are great!
When coded properly into your website’s off-page code, Google’s Webmaster Tools and Analytics will track your domain’s performance and offer a treasure trove of information. In other words, from these tools you can gather up-to-date data about your audience, traffic sources, content, and conversions. In some instances you will be able to see the keywords that were responsible for drawing in new and repeat visitors, and which of them also led someone to buy your products or enlist your services. You’ll want to continue to promote these keywords within your Web content so as to not compromise your rankings and the ability to generate leads.
SEMRush is a paid keyword tool that’s definitely worth the price. You can track the performance of your chosen keywords over time. And, the reports you can generate will take the guesswork out of determining whether a keyword will be beneficial to your content as far as attracting potential clients.
You can generate lists with hundreds of keywords using these tools, but the real trick is knowing how to choose and target the right ones.
Evaluate Your Keywords
The keyword lists you generate during the research phase of your Web content strategy are only suggestions of what MAY work. To truly unearth the money-making keywords, you have to evaluate these keywords based on the following three points:
#1: Relevancy to your website. Ranking for a keyword that is completely unrelated to your company, your products, or service is completely futile. For example, a personal injury law firm has no business ranking for the keyword “teen pop star” unless it only represents celebrities like Justin Bieber. This will only lead to meaningless website traffic and do nothing for your firm’s bottom line. Instead, focus on the keywords that are closest to the end of your sales cycle so you can increase your chances of generating leads and gaining new clients.
Quality over quantity is the name of the game.
#2. Popularity in terms of web traffic and conversion potential. While keywords with high search volume can drive traffic to your website, they may not do much in the way of converting visitors to clients. This is why keyword research is critical to the success of any online marketing campaign.
A visitor to your website is just another notch on your Web traffic belt. You’re better off paying attention to the keywords that have the best conversion potential. Before you put all of your eggs in the expensive, high-competition-keyword basket, test the effectiveness of your business’s most important phrases with some pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaigns.
If your chosen keywords are generating Web traffic and new leads, you know you’re on the right track.
#3: Competition to rank for the keyword. While it’s great to want the #1 spot on page one of Google for “personal injury lawyer,” it’s highly unlikely that your law firm will gain this position using only organic marketing methods.
Your organic marketing efforts will consist mainly of a Web content strategy that ethically infuses both the keywords and synonyms your target audience is using to find the topics that interest them. Unlike paid advertisements, which I will go into shortly, the Web pages you create are indexed by the search engines, which means they will exist on the Web forever and will be served to the searcher every time your page meets their search criteria at no additional cost.
Knowing the competition level of a specific keyword will allow you to determine what it will take to rank for it and whether or not you are willing and have the budget to jump through those perpetual hoops.
Be Open to Pay-Per-Click Advertising
Most times, acquiring and/or maintaining a top position for a highly-competitive term means you will have to engage in a lengthy and expensive pay-per-click campaign.
The Beatles said it best in their 1964 chart topper “Money Can’t Buy Me Love,” but it can buy you a spot on Google’s search results pages. Through the search engine’s AdWords program, Google allows businesses to buy ad space on page one for the keywords they want to target, but this is a costly option, especially for attorneys whose top search terms typically range from $50 to $80 per click.
In highly-competitive geographic areas, like South Florida, Denver, Colorado, and Los Angeles, California, for example, engaging in pay-per-click advertising is necessary for the long-term health of your online presence. However, in other, not-so-competitive areas, you can get away with engaging in a modest and temporary pay-per-click campaign meant to accelerate your website’s exposure and ranking, as well as complement your organic (non-paid advertisements such as landing pages, informative articles, and blog posts) efforts.
The one advantage to pay-per-click advertising is that you will find out very quickly whether or not a highly-coveted term is actually a money-making term. If it’s not, you can drop it from your campaign and invest your money in another term that will actually generate qualified leads for your firm.
A smart and savvy businessperson is always organized. Microsoft Excel can be your best friend when it comes to organizing and tracking your keyword placement once the research and evaluation phases are complete.
You’ll want to develop a keyword matrix that has separate worksheets to group related keywords. For each keyword, keep notes on their popularity and competition, as well as when, where, and how you used them within your pages.
Discover How We Do Web Content Can Boost Your Online Presence
There’s no doubt that developing a keyword strategy for your website is a daunting task, especially when you have a successful law firm to run! Don’t take up your valuable time researching keywords when We Do Web Content can do the work for you!
Get started on one of our SEO plans today. Call 888-594-5442 or complete our online contact form to speak with our sales director about all of the services we offer to grow your practice.