How AI Tools Can Assist SEO for Law Firms
How AI Tools Can Assist SEO for Law Firms
AI is turning every industry upside down, and the legal industry is no exception.
Although AI tools were not built with the needs of law firms in mind, many colleagues have already adopted AI technologies as part of their marketing stack of tools.
And when it comes to SEO, these tools can help to perform more tasks in less time, leading to more clicks on search results and therefore clients.
But with Google flagging low-quality sites since the Helpful Content Update, it’s important to know how to use these tools carefully to avoid penalizations due to thin content and bad practices.
Today, we’ll explore how to get the most out of the popular AI tools to improve SEO at your legal firm without losing the quality of your content.
But first, you might wonder why you should invest time in SEO.
Why is SEO important for Law Firms?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is an essential part of digital marketing for law firms, as it helps to increase visibility in search engine results and drive more clicks by giving people what they’re searching for.
And in today’s scene with most clients and partners turning to search engines to find trustworthy legal services, it’s crucial to have a strong online presence.
In fact, a survey conducted by Google Legal Services revealed that 74% of consumers visit a law firm’s website to take action, and 85% use online maps to find legal service locations.
Without a strong presence on the first page of search results, law firms may miss out on valuable clients who turn to competitors instead.
And we´re talking about a lot of traffic lost here. The number of searches for law firms and related terms in the United States alone is staggering. If we analyze the monthly volume of the searches related to the term and its variations in the US Semrush database, we find there are 3.1M monthly searches related to this topic.
Data from Semrush.
Unfortunately, many law firms are not implementing SEO correctly and are missing out on opportunities to grow and establish brand awareness.
But why does this happen?
A common misconception is that legal content is too complex or boring to be optimized, and that is not supposed to be SEO-friendly. But this is far from the truth of what SEO means to a legal business.
With the right approach, law firms can create valuable, informative content that ranks well for very competitive terms. You can use the questions people make online to understand what your clients want, and what are the trending topics in your zone and create content that answers that search intent.
For example, if we search for the term “divorce service” in Google, we’ll see three or four ads and a “Businesses” or “Places” section with local results. This is our first flag on how to optimize for such a term in case we do offer legal assistance for divorce.
Below, we’ll see a “People also ask” section displaying relevant questions with a high volume of searches on this topic:
- How much is a divorce in [location]?
- What is the cheapest you can get a divorce for?
- What to avoid doing during a divorce?
- How can I divorce my wife without money?
By conducting this research, you can harness the power of this data to comprehend what your target audience is searching for in relation to the legal services your firm offers, and tailor your website’s content and optimization efforts accordingly.
So, what do you have to optimize in order to get more visitors to your website?
SEO basics to get your legal firm featured on search results
When it comes to optimizing your law firm’s website, there are several pillar elements to consider. Here are a few basic SEO strategies that follow Google’s best practices:
- On-page optimization: Make sure your website is properly optimized for the right search intent. This means understanding which pages should be structured as about, services, contact, or informative to avoid content cannibalization.
- Link building: Acquire high-quality backlinks to your website from other reputable sources by offering great content based on your experience in the legal field. Also, you’ll need to follow internal link-building best practices to help crawlers find new content faster.
- Local SEO: Optimize your website for local search by including your firm’s name, address, and phone number on your site. Use schema to be featured on local results.
- Content creation: Publish regular content that answers the questions and concerns of your target audience. This can include blog posts, case studies, and resource pages. But remember, content is more likely to rank high in SERPs if it’s directly related to the legal services that you offer.
From the ones above, content creation is a highly demanding task in the legal industry, as it requires staying up-to-date with the latest news and changes to ensure that fresh content is consistently provided.
With the constant need to stay current in the legal industry, many content creators are turning to AI tools like ChatGPT to assist in creating and optimizing their content. These tools can not only aid in writing, but also assist with other SEO tasks such as implementing schema and updating old titles and meta descriptions.
But with the recent Google Helpful Content Update that targeted sites with thin content, it’s crucial to adhere to best practices and understand how to create a SEO strategy when utilizing these tools.
In the following section, we’ll explore the right way to use AI tools to improve SEO on your legal firm website.
How to use AI tools to improve SEO of a law firm
From keyword research to article writing, AI can help you in all of the stages of the content creation and website optimization process. But some people still believe using AI to write breaks Google guidelines. This is not true and Google has spoken to clear the rumors.
In fact, Dany Sullivan, Google’s public Search Liaison, says on Twitter they don’t think AI content is necessarily bad. But AI content written without some degree of human review and written primarily for search engines is their main concern.
Google doesn’t care about how the content is created or which tools you use in the process. They do care about if this content was created with users in mind, rather than just to rank high on search results. The key is sharing content that you know will help someone solve a problem, gain a better understanding of a topic, or get professional help.
Having said so, let’s take a look at a few practical cases where AI can help with SEO at your law firm:
When it comes to content creation, using AI tools can help you structure your ideas and provide useful information in the research phase.
For example, an AI tool such as ChatGPT can be used to research the seed keywords “divorce lawyer” and “child custody” and generate a list of related long-tail keywords including “divorce mediation” and “divorce proceeding”.
Test the prompt: generate a list of SEO keywords from the seed keyword: “divorce lawyer.”
Article writing assistant
Once you have a list of potential keywords, you can use them to generate a list of blog post ideas that address the questions of your target audience. For example, you could use the main keyword “child custody agreement” to come up with an article such as “Creating a Child Custody Agreement: What You Need to Know” and then link to your legal services.
Test the prompt: write me a blog outline for the article “Creating a Child Custody Agreement: What You Need to Know.”
Then, you can use an AI tool such as ChatGPT to generate a rough draft from the content outline. However, it’s important to review, edit and optimize the content generated by the AI tool to ensure that it is accurate, relevant, and showcases your professional expertise.
As the Google team says, their war is not against AI-generated articles, but against content that is generated primarily for search engines. So, you can use AI tools to create content that ranks, only if it’s user-first and offers a first-hand experience on the topic.
For example, AI-generated content may not include the latest laws or regulations. That’s why you should always double-check the information by hand. But remember, you can’t just ask ChatGPT “write a blog post about divorce services” and expect a masterpiece. Probably, you’ll get a good structure to work on, but it won’t return a complete piece you can publish the right way. You’ll need to work and add information that demonstrates you have real experience on the topic.
Moreover, ChatGPT is not the only AI tool you can use to get help with writing. More AI-powered writing assistants include:
- Copy.ai: Great for paraphrasing AI-generated text and passing AI detectors.
- Jasper: A pioneer in AI content writing.
One of the secrets behind good pieces of content that are not flagged by Google is a great link-building strategy.
This means that you’ll need to work on using links only from reliable and trustworthy sites, ensuring they are relevant to the legal industry. And sadly, AI can’t do that for you at the moment.
In addition, this particular industry requires an excellent use of quality resources along with proper internal and external linking to support your topical authority. Therefore, usually, you’ll find in the first results those pages that are using government links and adding expertise to support their authority in the subject.
Local SEO optimization
“Legal services near me” is one of the most popular searches that legal firms target. But according to the location of the user who searches, different results will appear on the screen.
To improve your local SEO strategy, you’ll first need to set up a contact page with updated information about your legal firm and use Local Business structured data to appear in local search results.
This will make your business appear when people search for your services online near you, helping you reach potential clients.
If you don’t know how to create schemas for your site, then you should take a look at the schema section in this article about using ChatGPT for marketing.
SEO titles and meta descriptions
These SEO elements are important for optimization because they give a summary of the content on the page and are used by search engines to understand the relevance of the page to a particular search intent.
We can use ChatGPT, our favorite tool, to create compelling titles and descriptions.
Test the prompt: write 15 SEO title ideas for my blog post: [copy and paste the text of your article]
By feeding the chat with information about the content on the page, it can generate optimized titles and meta descriptions that include relevant keywords in a way that sounds natural and engaging for users.
But usually, the chat returns titles that are too long or meta descriptions that don’t include actionable words such as “Get”, “Contact”, or “Hire”. So you can use this as inspiration, and then use SEO tools to check the length.
In conclusion, AI tools can be a game-changer for law firms looking to improve their SEO efforts. But remember: the key to using AI for SEO is to supplement your skills, not replace them. With the right approach, you can use AI to create high-quality, informative content that will help your law firm stand out in search results.
How to achieve this? By offering new, compelling, user-first content that proves your authority to help potential clients.