How to tell if you need new website content

Any highly competitive business needs to stay relevant to customers. In a digitally driven world, the best way to do that is to keep your website fresh, informative and engaging. Otherwise, when prospective clients are comparing the content of local law firms, you might just be, well, “out.”

Content marketing demands proactive steps based on best practices—and it starts with a stable website foundation. New content can lead to better search rankings and more conversions. Those show up in dollar signs. You may not need to overhaul your firm’s entire website, but if your content is more than a year old, it may need to be refreshed.

Here are 10 ways to know if your website needs new content:

  1. Is the content outdated?

Search engines have algorithms made to find content that’s current and the most relevant to terms people search for. Old, stale and generic content is doing you no favors when it comes to getting found on the web. Sophisticated search engines will bypass a legal website if it’s not updated or pertinent to people’s needs.

That means it’s not acceptable to cite statistics from five years ago; not update your site with news about your latest cases; not to have a recurring blog showing your lawyers are thought leaders, and not to have an ongoing dialogue with consumers through social and professional platforms.

  1. Does your website still reflect your core brand attributes?

Have things changed since writing your law firm’s website copy? Or are you offering new services in a particular sector or mass tort, for example, or have you shifted your approach to customer service in some way?

If so, your website navigation—the page hierarchy outline that leads users through your website in the most intuitive way—probably needs to change. Inevitably this will lead to shifts in content and tone. Remember, if you’re not telling the real story about who you are as a law firm and positioning your attorneys as approachable authorities, you’re not going to generate the right lead from your website.

  1. Is your copy too light, general or sparsely spread?

There was a trend a decade ago when websites were written to appease the search engines. They were intentionally “tight” on copy yet disproportionally loaded with keywords and location identifiers.

As a legal marketing and advertising firm, we’re all for clean, intelligent website design, but if there’s no original copy to back up your law firm’s brand, people will see right through the fluff—or leave your site immediately for lack of substance.

Luckily “light” is not in anymore. Global online search statistics show that people are increasingly interested in deeper, richer content. Therefore stuffing websites with top-searched keywords is no longer rewarded by search engines the way it once was. In fact, long-form content—1,200 words-plus in an appropriate format—is winning in every category.

  1. How many authors has your website had over the years?

Let’s say you hired a professional copywriter to create content for your original website.

Good idea!

But then you added to and tweaked copy over time with unqualified in-house help.

Bad idea.

There’s a good chance the “tone” of your content is now muddled with different voices, and perhaps some typos and inaccuracies to boot. This mixing of writing styles can undermine your brand consistency and confuse readers—not something most lawyers want when they know they’re being heavily vetted online.

Rewriting content with a consistent tone could be one of the smartest steps you take. Assuming, like most niche businesses, that your law firm doesn’t have (or plan to staff) copywriters, employing a professional writer who knows your legal brand and approach to business is well worth the investment.

  1. Are you ready for a redesign anyway?

If you’re considering a redesign to modernize the look and feel of your website or are moving to a universal content management platform in the near future, this is an ideal time to think about fresh content and content marketing strategies that will integrate with social and professional networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn.

A redesign typically means a new design and navigation, which affects how content is allocated on your website. Cut-and-paste is not a smart option, however. Redesign phase is the right time to reorganize and rewrite your content in ways that will help people learn more from it, digest it quicker, engage with it more meaningfully and share it easier with friends.

  1. Do you just need more interactive elements?

Are you happy with the look of your website and even how it’s performing in keywords rankings, but know it’s time to amp up search engine optimization (SEO) through more engaging, interactive content?

There are plenty of ways to amplify existing written content. For example, you can add a blog, videos, social network links, e-newsletter feeds and long-form content, without changing out everything.

That said, visual assets like videos should not take over your website. Think of these engaging elements as assets to enhance core written content rather than replace it.

  1. Are your analytics telling a different story?

Do you “like” your content but Google Analytics reports that other people aren’t finding it, reading it, sharing it with others, or engaging with your lawyers online?

There some very helpful statistics such as bounce rates and high-performance pages that can tell you which pieces of content are most relevant and compelling to users. This information can help tremendously as you consider the smartest page-by-page content updates to keep people on your site longer—and how to convert them to clients.

  1. Do you need different distribution channels?

Sometimes what’s off isn’t the content, but it’s distribution.

Modern content marketing strategy for law firms should always consider leveraging each piece of content at least four different ways. A compelling blog could shout out with a quick Twitter feed, then be repurposed in a more shareable format on Facebook, then become the base of an infographic sent in an email and so on.

Content that’s not marketed and distributed properly is like a personal diary. Who knows how, if and when anyone else will ever unlock it?

  1. Do you have the right mix of media?

Law firms are more sophisticated about content marketing by turning words in the digital sphere into more interactive media experiences.

That requires thinking like a journalist about how to best tell your law firm’s story through a mix of original posts, complemented by photography, infographics, and video. We’re not thinking in “silos”, but rather in multi-media layers to explain (and show) what brands do best.

  1. Is your content converting?

One of the most important pieces of information you can understand about your current content—and future content marketing strategies—is whether or not your content is actually converting to paying clients.

Are people filling out online forms for more information? Are they using online chat options to take the next step in the decision-making process? Are they sharing content with friends who could become future clients?

Ask your marketing or advertising team to help you read the metrics on how well your content coverts. If it’s not leading to ROI, it’s time for a change.

At Network Affiliates, we specialize in knowing not only what lawyers need to say and where to say it. Have questions about your law firm’s content marketing strategy? Call or click today for a free, confidential evaluation of your current efforts: (888) 461-1016.

Posted in SEO

Do Not Waste Money on a .Law Domain Extension

As you may have heard, the .law domain extension became available to credentialed lawyers as of October 12th. There are a lot of front-end promises in terms of what buying a domain name with this extension can do for your web presence – and ultimately your SEO. Don’t believe those promises.

The newly-released .law domain extensions will not automatically rank higher than .com domains – plain and simple. Two years ago Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam team, quickly dismissed the idea:

“Google has a lot of experience in returning relevant web pages, regardless of the top-level domain (TLD). Google will attempt to rank new TLDs appropriately, but I don’t expect a new TLD to get any kind of initial preference over .com, and I wouldn’t bet on that happening in the long-term either. If you want to register an entirely new TLD for other reasons, that’s your choice, but you shouldn’t register a TLD in the mistaken belief that you’ll get some sort of boost in search engine rankings.”

When it comes to advancing SEO efforts, consumers become easy targets because we’re all looking for that “silver bullet”. The truth is credibility and domain authority can only be built with a strategic approach and quality content over time.

If there is one reason to buy a .law domain name, it would be for a vanity campaign. However, before doing so, make sure to research other relevant .com vanity domains. Depending on your geographical area or area of practice, many are still available.

Here’s an example: 

The only value (if any) would be to use this domain only for vanity campaign purposes (namely in TV advertising). However, a better and move valuable domain would be

The bottom line is: don’t be suckered into this. There are many, far more valuable things you can do for your web presence and SEO. Focus on what’s important – building credibility, generating quality content, establishing domain authority – ‘silver bullet’ promises. They don’t exist.

Not sure where you rank these days? Our SEO experts are happy to give you a FREE and confidential evaluation of your current web presence. Give us a call to find out where you stand 888.461.1016.

Why Content Equals Authenticity in Law Firm Marketing

A quality content strategy is key to beating the competition.

Let’s face it: As a whole, one of the legal industry’s greatest challenges is getting past some damaging stereotypes about attorneys.

Your law firm’s marketing goal?

Stand away and apart from this type of competition. Top attorneys are learning that one of the smartest ways to do this is by building a solid pipeline of quality content that’s both informative and engaging, and leveraging it through your website, social platforms and database.

Why? Because this form of thought leadership actually works. Sharing content on topics that your lawyers know about deeply—and your prospective clients care about deeply—serves to build trust and boost your brand, reputation and authority in your legal niche. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that search engines now reward the best-quality, most relevant content, helping your firm get found on the Web and users to stay on your site longer. (Hint: That usually leads to phone calls. And, ideally, paying cases.)

The problem is lawyers do law, not content, and they often don’t know where to start. In fact, one recent study by American Lawyer Media Legal Intelligence, The Zeughauser Group and Greentarget proved this very point: 84 percent of law firms said they expected to produce more content during the year, but just a quarter of surveyed firms said they had a written content marketing plan, and only 29 percent had a professional managing content development.

So where do law firms start?

Content marketing for lawyers takes a measured approach—but, then again, attorneys are pretty darn good at crossing “T” s and dotting “I”s already. Here are a few ways to gain some momentum in your content marketing efforts:

Gather stakeholders. If team members are too busy to create content internally in a consistent, dedicated way, pinpoint your “experts” on certain topics and outsource your writing to a professional. A content development partner can create original content in a conversational voice for your law firm, interview key stakeholders when necessary and make your content sing—while your attorneys focus on law.

Aim for variety. No one will come back for more if every blog, e-blast or piece of content is the same. Variety is critical and also allows you to test what works best for your audience. Posts can be “newsjacks” (adding your own perspective and spin to a recent legal case, for example); short form (bulleted tips for selecting a good accident attorney); or long form like an in-depth white paper or case study, a form of content marketing gaining strong traction in SEO).

Upcycle your efforts. The rule of thumb is each piece of content can be leveraged up to four times. A content marketing expert can help you rework an eCRM topic into a blog post into a “likeable” Facebook update into a compelling LinkedIn article. Save time, money and resources by upcycling content and increasing the chance of your content being shared by others.

Monitor the mission. If you’re putting effort into creating content to engage with your audiences, generate website traffic and build new leads, you’ve got to monitor your progress. Get your Google Analytics and SEO statisticians in line; see what your clients are saying about your legal counsel; and be open to change and adjusting for constant improvement.

To find out what Network Affiliates can do for your content marketing efforts, give us a call! Speak with one of our experts and get a FREE, confidential marketing evaluation. What are you waiting for?

Posted in SEO

Ranking Is Still Important, But There Are Other Factors As Well

Instead focus your efforts on what really brings qualified leads

In the world of search engine optimization, it used to be that keywords were king. Stuffing website content with specific highly searched terms was the way to rank higher on search-page results and attempt to pull in more traffic to your website.

Not anymore. SEO is moving away from keywords as a primary ranking factor. Search engines are shifting priorities to a more complex and dynamic ranking system called semantic search — which determines the intent and contextual meaning for search queries. For law firm SEO, that means duping the system with keyword overload is done; now it’s the quality of your content that will serve your site best.

What’s critical is how relevant your content is. This creates both a challenge and an opportunity for law firms around the country. Yes, it will require modifying content on your website and digital marketing campaigns, but it could also create a leg up against the competition if you do an SEO overhaul right—and do it now.

Shifting from a keyword-concentrated to a semantic search content strategy requires a shift in thinking about SEO for law firms.

Try to ignore rank: Ranking may temporarily boost ego, but isn’t necessarily the end goal for attorneys. The end goal is using content marketing to generate more quality leads.

Add more meaning: If content is meaningful to the end user, Google now recognizes that value. This explains why keyword padding has gone by the wayside—it is of no significance to the end user.

Ratchet up relevancy: New semantic search algorithms can decipher entire phrases, or long-tail keywords, to serve up the most relevant information to the user. Your mission should be to add greater relevancy to the content you produce.

Account for humans: Just because you rank No. 1 for a vanity search term like “personal injury lawyer” doesn’t mean the user always clicks on the No. 1-ranked website. Humans click on what is the most personally pertinent.

Consider keyword variables: Google now leverages a user’s location, search history, demographic data, time of day and other variables for keyword ranking.

Prioritize conversion: Put ranking in the background and start to prioritize conversion. Are conversion rates going up? How many of your law firm’s leads are qualified leads?

The new story of attorney SEO is get relevant to get more business. You can have tons traffic and top keyword ranking, but if the traffic is not geographically focused or your content isn’t helpful to the user, then it won’t convert.

Interested in learning more about how your law firm can convert more cases? Network Affiliates SEO strategists can show you how.  Give us a call today 303-817-7313.

Posted in SEO