Creating websites can be tricky. You have to find the balance between presenting information that you think is important to the firm and providing the content that your audience desires.
You probably have a good idea of what your law firm wants to present, so that leaves two questions.
1) What do people actually hope to find on your law firm website?
and perhaps more importantly…
2) Do you come close to providing what they want?
Here are the top 4 things people want to see.
What People Want to See
We asked hundreds of people to tell us what they’d hope to find on a law firm’s website.
How does the general public describe pricing information, for example? Do they say “price”, “cost”, or “rate” most frequently?
Knowing the exact wording they use helps you seed your website content with the best keywords.
So, let’s see some results.
We analyzed the exact wording that our respondents used to describe what they want to find on law firm websites. This excluded most non-keyword options like “the” and “an”.
As you can see from the word cloud above, there was one clear winner. Out of all the words used, “cases” was by far the most commonly used word.
Just take a look at the data table below to see how frequently the most common keywords were used (out of 3,768 total words used).
It looks like the word “cases” was used frequently because people were interested in the law firm’s past experience and successes. That’s consistent with their frequent use of “experience” as well.
Notice the difference in use of the plural word “cases” and the singular form “case”. “Cases” was used almost 3.5 times more frequently than “case”.
It may seem like a small change, but it can have a meaningful impact on whether your law firm’s website is found or not.
Basically, search engines prioritize search results that match most closely to the terms people type into the search window. Just using the plural form of a word might give you that edge over a competitor.
“Experience” was certainly a prominent word in responses. Interestingly, it was used far more frequently than “education”. This suggests that people are most interested in the real-world “cases” with which attorneys have “experience”. They don’t seem as interested in their attorneys’ educational background and credentials.
Maybe it’s because most attorneys have a J.D., so there’s little variation in academic degrees. Maybe people just don’t put much stock in formal education and weigh practical experience more heavily.
Regardless of the reason, use of “experience” seems like a better bet than referencing your “education”, despite how proud you may be of your framed J.D. diploma.
Rate was used frequently but in two different ways.
- In reference to the hourly rate or other fees charged.
- In reference to success rate or some similar performance index.
These multiple usages of the word may explain why the singular “rate” was much more commonly used than its plural form “rates”. That is, people are more likely to refer to a success rate (singular) than to success rates (plural).
It’s pretty clear why people used the word “won”.
The problem is that many attorneys don’t necessarily talk about their prior cases in these terms. For example, settlements are often compromises that make it difficult to know who “won”.
The lesson here is that regardless of how attorneys tend to word their own successes, the general public thinks about it in terms of who “won” or lost. As a result, you should probably describe it that way.
Also, the word “won” was used twice as frequently as “win”. People seem less interested in claims that you can “win” their case, and more interested in evidence that you have “won” cases in the past.
Audit Your Content
Now that you know the words that people prioritize, take a quick look at your website. It may be your homepage, your services page, or your blog.
Whatever the case might be, a quick search for these 4 words will give you a sense of how close you are to matching prospects’ word choices. In most cases, simply hitting control + F (or command + F) and entering in these terms will give you a count of how often they show up.
How’d you do?
Here are a few other options for you to consider when designing or revising your own law firm website.
Do Your Research
There are various ways to do keyword research. We’re just giving you one example.
One of the most frequent strategies is to check online keyword search services.Google Trends, Topsy, and Iconosquare, are just some of the services that capture how people are talking about legal services across websites and social media.
Those who want the most in-depth and comprehensive research should turn to professionals. Agencies can perform advanced keyword research for you and will likely have specialized services for this task.
Have a Strong Social Media Presence
Social media gives you a great way to bring people in to that website that you spent so much time developing. Relying on search engine results alone is never the best strategy. In fact, driving more traffic to your website via social media will increase your rank in search engine results.
Content on Google+, Twitter, and even Instagram are searched by Google and other search engines. After carefully developing your list of keywords, why not branch across platforms. It can increase your reach significantly.
Follow Their Lead
One of the toughest things for some business owners is to deviate from what they think is best, most important, or most interesting.
You may just adore torts case briefs, but your prospective clients won’t. Use guides like this one to get a better understanding of how prospective clients think and talk about legal services.
Incorporate your target audience’s natural language into your content. Answer the questions they think are most important. Don’t write for your law school friends or firm colleagues (no matter how much you want to impress them).
Ultimately, you’re developing the website for your prospective clients. Make sure it’s actually valuable to them.