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December 23, 2013

Legal Marketing: 4 Things Every Law Firm Website Needs for Optimal UX

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When a prospective client is shopping for an attorney, The American Lawyer found that the chief reason a client hires one law firm over another is subject matter expertise. When clients find you online, your law firm website should testify to that subject matter expertise. In part one of this Legal Marketing Series, we explored the fundamental techniques of SEO for lawyers‘ websites, noting that targeting local keywords, securing inclusion in Google Places, siloing by practice area and user experience optimization were necessary components of optimizing a law firm website for search.Screen shot of a Google search for Law Firm Website

Today, we’ll delve into user experience optimization. Senior SEO Analyst Robert Ramirez, who has worked on law firm websites nationwide, identified these four things as non-negotiables for a law firm website:

  1. High Quality Content Written by Lawyers
  2. An “In the News” Section
  3. Engagement Objects
  4. Lawyer Profiles

1. High Quality Content Written by Lawyers

When it comes to writing content that speaks to prospective clients, Ramirez pointed out that no one knows the pain points of visitors better than attorneys themselves.

“A lawyer knows the types of questions and concerns that their prospective clients have most often,” said Ramirez. “That’s why it’s essential that they either write the content on a law firm website themselves, or be heavily involved in the creation of that content.”

Whether that content be on static pages, blog or articles, lawyers shouldn’t be afraid to roll up their sleeves and get involved in the writing process. If your law firm chooses to hire a professional writer, lawyers should still “guide the look and feel of the pages,” said Ramirez.

“First and foremost, worry about speaking to your potential clients in your website copy,” said Ramirez. “Concentrate on conveying your knowledge and expertise first, not placing keywords in the content. Write for your clients, not the search engines.”

2. An “In the News” Section

An “In the News” or media page serves as a hub for the press your law firm receives. This space should be devoted to any form of positive press coverage including articles and broadcasts featuring your law firm’s cases, as well as any media wherein one of your lawyers is quoted. The media page is also where your law firm can, in addition to distributing them to newswires, post press releases.

These types of events are press release-worthy for a law firm website:

  • Taking on a high-profile case
  • Charity work
  • New partners

“Publicizing your successes and news worthy events is extremely important,” said Ramirez. “Don’t be afraid to brag, but make sure what you are featuring on your site is real news that generates interest. It’s all about raising your (and your firm’s) profile. News coverage is a great way to do this.”

Read more about press releases and their relationship to SEO here.

3. Engagement Objects

Statistics show that 40 percent of people respond better to visual information than text — that’s where engagement objects come in. Engagement objects are interactive content that grabs your visitors’ attention and keeps them interested and engaged. For a law firm website, engagement objects can include:

  • Images
  • Videos
  • Infographics

“Engagement objects are important. They can definitely affect your ability to convert visitors into clients,” said Ramirez.

When a law firm website displays a video or infographic that is well-crafted and houses useful information, the law firm positions itself as a thought-leader, and stands to gain a huge traffic increase. Read more about engagement objects here.

Videos on a Law Firm Website

“Spending the time and resources to develop videos is very useful, but you have to be careful that it looks professional,” said Ramirez. “Don’t skimp on something like that — if you’re going to do it, spend the money to do it properly. There’s nothing worse than a really bad video — it hurts you more than it helps you. When a prospective client visits a law firm website, they’re judging the law firm. You want everything to look professional. A poorly lit or shot video or a video with garbled, incoherent audio is a low-value signal to a visitor and could cause them to go elsewhere.”

Infographics on a Law Firm Website

Statistics also show that high quality infographics are 30 times more likely to be read than text articles. As with videos, however, quality is essential.

“An infographic is only as good as the information it provides — don’t just put something up to try to get links. If you have information that is valuable, however, infographics can be useful,” said Ramirez. “The information should be compelling and the data presented in an original way.”

Learn how to create infographics here.

4. Lawyer Profiles

When prospective clients look at your firm or practice’s profiles, they should inspire confidence and trust. Lawyer profiles should provide information regarding each lawyer’s education, work history and practice areas. Each profile can also provide information like success rate or high profile cases. Contact information for each lawyer should also be provided, as well as each lawyer’s bar number and professional social media platforms (if applicable). Next to all this information, each lawyer should have a professional head shot.

“Lawyer profile pages are among the most often read of a legal website’s content and all too often the pages are neglected,” said Ramirez. “Remember that the prospective clients are vetting you as a professional. The more complete the information you can offer them on your history as an attorney, the more likely they are to contact you.”

Next week, the Legal Marketing Series continues with an article on PPC for lawyers with insights from Senior SEM Analyst Michael Shore. If you have a question that you’d like addressed in this Legal Marketing Series, share it with us in the comments!

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3 responses to “Legal Marketing: 4 Things Every Law Firm Website Needs for Optimal UX”

  1. Andy kuiper writes:

    Thanks Kristi and Robert :-)

  2. Sunday writes:

    An interesting piece on legal SEO! It would be more intriguing if every legal marketer gets a piece of the vital details highlighted in this post for success!

    Practical steps and details on the user experience optimization have truly being highlighted. A great post this is, and I have already bookmarked for further reference!

    In kingged.com – the social bookmarking and content syndication website for Internet marketers, I have left the above comment where I found this post.

    Sunday – kingged.com contributor

    http://kingged.com/legal-marketing-4-things-every-law-firm-website-needs-for-optimal-ux/

  3. metz writes:

    “Spending the time and resources to develop videos is very useful, but you have to be careful that it looks professional,” said Ramirez.

    This one is true. Some looks so professional, they are eager to earn money by scamming other people. So it is a must to know if one site is legit of not. I hope we can identify scammy sites and videos.

    This comment was left in kingged.com where this post was already “kingged” and shared for Internet marketers.



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