We recommend that all of our website clients add high-quality, original, and legally substantive written content in order to optimize their site’s performance. A key component of this strategy is to draft a strong and informative narrative for your home page, which is arguably one of the most important parts of your website from a search engine optimization (SEO) standpoint.
A question we frequently get from clients in response to this advice is how to draft this kind of home page without making the narrative too long, or including so much legalese that the content is off-putting to prospective clients. Others worry that including legal substance on the home page will obscure additional information they want to emphasize, such as career accolades, past case results, or free consultation information.
Fortunately it is possible to address these concerns by incorporating a discussion of key legal standards while balancing out the page with the information you want to convey about your firm, career, and accomplishments. The following pointers provide an outline to implementing this approach, helping your site succeed, and in the long run, attracting new clients.
1. Highlight a Few Facts to Distinguish Your Firm from Others
The primary purpose of the home page of your website is to present yourself to prospective clients and others who may wish to contact you. Among the characteristics that might set you apart from other attorneys and law firms are your education or training credentials, relevant experience, and areas of practice. We encourage clients to describe their approach to practice, career accomplishments, and any other key distinguishing attributes (making sure to describe your legal services in a manner that complies with any applicable rules of professional responsibility, as discussed in this previous post). Incorporating this kind of information can help you to connect with prospective clients by explaining your services in a more personalized way, and ultimately turn site visits into new clients.
2. Include Legal Analysis Relevant to Your Practice
While it may seem counter-intuitive to discuss legal standards on your firm’s home page, it is critical to your site’s performance that this page reflect your understanding of your profession in terms that convey an authoritative grasp of the subject matter—in this case, the practice of law in your field. This means that simply describing career accomplishments or listing the types of cases your firm accepts is unlikely to be sufficient. Thus, when you are describing the areas of law you practice, it is important to include some substantive legal analysis.
The kind of content that can help your site begin to make headway in the search engines should highlight the legal rules that you see most regularly in your practice, but do so in a succinct and reader-friendly manner.
Example: A family law firm client recently came to Justia with a home page that listed the types of legal matters the firm worked on and included a few client testimonials, but otherwise the page was lacking in legal substance. We recommended rewriting the home page text to explain some of the main rules that applied to divorce cases in that client’s jurisdiction, such as whether a finding of fault was required in order to dissolve a marriage or whether a minimum period of state residency had to be fulfilled. We suggested subsequently transitioning the discussion to a brief overview of child custody and support. The client took our advice and revised their home page accordingly, which has helped improve their rankings and conversions.
In sum, explaining the basic substantive law principles you work with most regularly not only helps you tailor your content to current SEO standards, but can also help clients to get an understanding of how you can help them with their specific legal problems. Providing this kind of legal road map communicates your understanding of what your clients are dealing with, and can provide an incentive for readers to get in touch with more specific questions, ultimately helping you convert home page visits into new business.
As discussed in a previous post, while it is key to keep your legal discussion reader-friendly and avoid getting too academic, it is also essential that your website pages contain sufficient text. Indeed, posting pages with only a few sentences of text can actually harm your site’s performance. If you follow the basic format we describe, you should have no trouble coming up with sufficient text for your home page.
3. Avoid the Urge to Copy and Paste
Our clients are attorneys with busy law practices, and many are short on spare time for non-client matters such as drafting website pages. However, the answer is not to cut and paste content from other sites. On the contrary, and as explained previously, adding text that you have copied directly from another online source can hinder your site’s rankings. If taking time out to draft original content for your website is not realistic for you, consider hiring a local writer, or learn about Justia’s custom content services.
4. Incorporate Keywords, But Don’t Overdo It
If you follow current trends in the SEO industry, you have likely read about the importance of incorporating keywords in your content that relate to the case types and geographic areas you are most interested in. While keyword density is a significant component of your site’s performance, we caution clients against overusing these terms. As explained by Google here, using these terms too heavily, a practice also known as “keyword stuffing,” can actually hurt your site’s rankings.
Example: A Florida personal injury law firm client came to Justia with a home page that included several passages of this nature: “Our Tampa car accident lawyers represent Tampa car accident victims. Our lawyers have settled hundreds of cases for injured Tampa car accident victims. Contact our Tampa car accident lawyers today to learn more.” We recommended that the client rewrite these sections using sentences that sounded more natural, such as: “Based in Tampa, our experienced attorneys help car accident victims seek compensation for their injuries. Serving clients throughout Florida, we work tirelessly to hold negligent parties accountable for damages.” Our client made these changes in accordance with our advice, and their site began ranking higher and generating more client contacts.
The main idea here is to describe your practice in a natural and accurate way with regard to the case types and geographic areas you are most involved with or interested in. Using language that sounds spammy, or using the same terms repeatedly in an unnatural way, will diminish the value of your content and can impede your site’s performance.
5. Include a Call to Action
Now that you have drafted a high quality, original home page narrative containing an appropriate level of legal substance, length, keyword density, and biographical information, be sure to include a final word to prospective clients regarding why and how they should contact you. This kind of language, also known as a “call to action,” will reference things like available legal remedies (e.g., damages, potential dismissal of charges), no-cost initial consultations, and contingent fee arrangements as potential reasons for clients to get in touch with your office to discuss their legal issues. Including this information (again, making sure to follow all relevant legal ethics standards), along with a clearly visible phone number and email contact form, can make it easier for site visitors to contact you, and to take the next step toward potentially engaging your services.
By following the tips above, as well as continuing to add high-quality practice area content to your website on a frequent basis, you can improve your site’s rankings and build greater exposure for your firm among prospective clients. Keep checking back for tips on how to strengthen your online presence, or contact us for more information about Justia’s custom website and blog content services.
Disclaimer: The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from Justia Inc. or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this Post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.