How to Plan and Create SEO-Optimized Content
Date: June 26, 2023
Producing content for your law firm’s website is helpful in any form, but it has the most impact when you create content with SEO, or search engine optimization, at the forefront of your mind. Knowing the building blocks of search engine optimization will allow you to focus your content in a strategic direction. While unfocused content may have some positive effects on your law firm website’s ranking and traffic, taking the time to research and create an SEO content strategy will mean long-term success and a higher chance of readers converting into qualified leads.
Remember that ultimately, the goal of SEO-focused content is to organically influence where your law firm’s website appears when searched. Where you land on the search engine results pages (SERPs) can have a major impact on whether or not users choose to click on your links and delve further into your high-quality content and determine whether your law firm is right for them.
Defining Your Content Goals and Target Audience
In order to have a successful SEO-based content marketing strategy, you must first establish your goals and objectives in order to understand your direction. To define your objectives, your initial step is to pinpoint your target audience. Who is the ideal client for your law firm? What do they most need from you? What are their pain points? Whether you’re an elder law firm or a business law firm, perform a deep dive into your client base and your understanding of your most successful cases to look for connections and similarities– this will give you a broader understanding of who to target in your content marketing efforts.
Conducting Comprehensive Keyword Research
Once you have a grasp on your marketing goals, you’re ready to begin arguably the most important phase of your SEO-based content process– conducting comprehensive keyword research. This phase of your process has you look closely at your practice areas, target audience, and closest competitors to find what key words and phrases people are utilizing the most when looking for services like yours. You can do this through something as simple as Google search or through more sophisticated SEO systems like Ahrefs and Semrush. These tools allow you to hone in on the terms, including longer keywords called long-tail keywords, that your prospective clients are using in their search efforts, and even deeper, what terms people are using to find general information versus what terms people are using that lead to prospective clients becoming qualified leads.
These tools will also give you perspective on the traffic value of each keyword, from an average monthly level of traffic to difficulty of ranking for that term to related words and questions associated with each of your intended keywords. Once you’ve determined what keywords will be most effective for you to use, you can find ways to incorporate them organically into your content. The more ways you find to include these terms in a natural and smooth way, the more likely it is that your content will organically rank higher for those inquiries on the SERPs.
Utilizing Headings Throughout Your Blog
Once your keyword research is complete and you’re ready to write, an SEO factor to bear in mind is your use of headings. These are HTML tags that act as an outline for your blog, ranging from an H1 (usually your title) all the way through H6, allowing you the latitude to dig as deeply into a topic as you choose. Incorporating keywords into these headings gives Google a better sense of what your article is about, and will encourage search engines to place your content higher on the SERPs for those related keywords.
Developing an Editorial Calendar for Consistent Publishing
Though it may not be expected, a factor of Google’s content ranking algorithm is dependent on the consistency and frequency of your posting. One way to ensure that content creation doesn’t fall between the cracks is to build an editorial calendar for yourself and your team. Don’t put yourself on a schedule that is overly ambitious and results in short, inconsistent blogs; rather, create a content calendar in which every piece of content receives the care that it needs in order to be well-crafted and optimized, and in which you can ensure that you’re posting at a manageable and consistent clip. Frequency in posting shows Google that you’re active as a law firm, always learning and exploring, and the quality of those pieces demonstrates your status as a thought leader. Assigning writing projects to various members of your team or working with a freelance writer can ensure that you always have something unique and interesting to share, and planning a month or a quarter in advance can give your team the time to put thought and care into each piece.
Crafting Engaging, Informative, and Shareable Content
Creating SEO content, funnily enough, is not just about the technical SEO factors that we’ve discussed. Google and other search engines care just as much about user experience as they do about ranking factors. In fact, it would be helpful to consider readability as another search engine optimization factor for your content. While some SEO factors, like meta descriptions and word counts, are for site crawlers and other robots, Google also wants your content to be engaging and informative in order to appeal to real human readers. In fact, through their Helpful Content Updates, Google has become aggressive in promoting content written by people for people and suppressing content deemed “unhelpful.” Just as much as ranking, your goals with creating content should include demonstrating your expertise, establishing yourself as a thought leader, and providing examples to potential clients as to why your law firm is the one to choose.
Shareability is another factor to consider. Never underestimate the power of an online network, especially on a social media platform like LinkedIn where your peers may have a different audience than you do. By creating content about topics of interest, major questions, or current events, your network is encouraged to share your content to a broader audience who you might not have reached before. Coordinate your keyword research with long-tail keywords, or extended phrases, that coincide with questions or phrases that are currently of interest to your prospective client base to create content that people want to spread far and wide and make the most of potential sharing opportunities.
Promoting Your Content Across Digital Channels
You can’t just rely on your network to share your content– you also have to put in the work to make sure that your content, when posted, is fully optimized for SEO and promotable across all platforms. The first step of this is to ensure that everything is in order on the back end of your website. Include your keywords in your page title and meta description, and put thought and care into your page’s URL. Include a featured image and other visual elements if possible.
Once posted, a major way to promote your new page organically is through link building. This is one of the most important elements of SEO optimization for your content, as building links as bridges between pages gives your new content more authority and allows search engine crawlers (and human users) to find new pages more easily. Link from one blog to another when they touch on similar topics, and connect case studies and blogs to relevant service pages and vice versa.
It can seem daunting to create an SEO content strategy. Trust a team of SEO professionals like our team at 9Sail to help you navigate the technicalities, benefits, and pitfalls of SEO-based content creation. Contact us today to learn more.