Online search is maturing and your content strategy plays a fundamental role in your ability to be found online. In the early days of the internet, when search engine algorithms were much simpler and competition online far less fierce, it was relatively easy to rank on Google (or other search engine) for obvious search terms, like Bankruptcy Attorney Orange County or Tampa Divorce Lawyer.
“Bankruptcy Attorney” and “Social Security Disability Lawyer” are known as “head terms” in search lingo. A head term in its simplest form is the most direct one or two words that would lead to finding something online. For instance the word “horse” as a head term used in search brings up 169,000,000 references on Google. The key to finding what you really want to know about horses, in this example, is to add in several more descriptive words about what you are looking for, such as “horse riding lessons in the Tucson area”—this is known as a “long tail keyword” string or phrasing. You would still end up with 195,000 references but they would be a thousand times more specific to what you are looking for. Plus, the page one SERP (search engine results page) will probably have some very targeted and useful results–which is the primary reason over 80% of searchers never click past page one.
Why Target Long Tail Keywords?
- Long tail keywords are less competitive. With over one million attorneys in the U.S. there will naturally be a huge amount of competition in the obvious legal head terms like “bankruptcy”, “auto accident attorney” or “malpractice lawyer”.
- They provide better conversion rates and overall higher quality traffic. When trying to attract new clients to your law firm website, it is much more important that visitors to your site are qualified to buy what you are selling (in this case legal services for a given geography) instead of larger numbers of less qualified prospects.
- Long tail keywords are more specific, which means visitors that land on your website from a long tail search term are “pre-filtered” for your practice. Content targeting “divorce mediation for families in Madison Wisconsin”, for example, will receive more relevant traffic than content targeting “Wisconsin divorce lawyer”.
The goal is to write content that takes into account how people actually search for legal help online. Consumers naturally understand that they have to type in a descriptive group of words to get a good targeted result like, “I was rear-ended in Lake County, do I need an attorney?” According to SEOmoz, long tail search comprises 70% of all search traffic. Your blog posts, articles and other content on your site are all perfect containers for these word groupings to be found by search engines.
Look for patterns and when you’ve identified keyword phrases that drive traffic and conversions try to experiment with synonyms of those words. For example, if there’s success with the term “divorce attorney for men over 50”, there is probably also opportunity with the term “divorce lawyer for men with adult children”.
The most important thing to do is identify what the most profitable areas of your practice are and experiment with content that uses long tail keyword phrases that focus on that specific topic in a natural and varied way. This will help you to stand out from the competition and ensure that potential new clients, most-likely using long tail keywords, will more easily find your law firm online.