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Selecting the right keywords for lawyer blog

If you are smart enough to use keywords for your lawyer blog, why noy use the right keywords? Selecting the right keywords means more than spending a few minutes just coming up with a few words or phrases to describe your law practice. It’s also more art, than science.

If you have the time, here are the general rules on selecting keywords for your lawyer blog. If you don’t, find a trusted professional with a legal background to do the job.

Think like prospective clients

Lawyers are the best at picking keywords based on the way they – rather then their clients think of the lawyers service. Dumb. You need to find out what prospective clients call your service.

You may call yourself a plaintiff’s trial lawyer or a family law lawyer. However the average folks view you as a personal injury lawyer or a divorce lawyer.

Obvious keywords for lawyer blog

Just sit down and type up a random list of keywords that come to mind in a text editor (preffered because does not add code) or a word processor. Take a look at the list and add any other words or brief phrases that come to mind.

Look at your lawyer blog or Web site stats

Most all sites have tools allowing you to look at site traffic stats. That same tool should list the keywords being searched on for people coming to your blog or Web site from the search engines. Add those terms to the list so long as they describe what you do – there can be some odd ball keyords attracting folks if you wrote on a unique topic.

Note that you are not getting all the keywords people use to search for lawyers like you as you may have missed to boat on your lawyer blog or website design or previous use of keywords.

Competitors’ keywords

Hope you know who your competitors are. Go to their blog or web site. Go the source code for their site (click view on top menu in browser screen and then click on source on drop down menu). Look for tag and see if there are helpful, if any, keywords there.

Note from another post in my blog that this keywords meta tag is not very important but your competitors may be using developer and keywords who do not know what they are doing and spending lots of time listing their keywords here.

Ask anyone and everyone

When I was a trial lawyer I always asked friends or acquaintances in the local tavern what they thought of a certain fact situation. I wanted to get ideas of how a jury would look at things. Do the same here.

Ask non lawyer friends, relatives or business associates what words they would type in when searching in search engines for legal information for the area you practice and/or a lawyer offering similar services.

Geographic specific words

This is huge. Just as you probably would not want to compete with lawyers in another city and state using other forms of marketing, do not do it with keywords. Define the geographic area from which you expect to draw clients – be realistic. Often, less can be more – the more specific you are, the better the results.

Identify your city, town and in some cases a well defined area within your city. If it is a huge metro area, look at the towns where you want to draw clients from. It’s not hard, just open up a Yahoo! or Mapquest map and look at the larger cities or towns in your metro area.

By going for the smaller towns you will get better results in the search engines. In addition prospective clients in those smaller cities may appreciate the fact you have identified yourself as representing folks in their city within the metro area.

Note, as discussed in another post, primacy is important. A keyword phrase – Madison divorce lawyer – will do much better than – family law lawyer, divorce, support, child custody, Wisconsin, Madison law firm. And of course will do much better than – family law lawyer, divorce, custody, visitation, divorce lawyers – where you will be competing against Los Angeles divorce lawyers in the search engines.

Refine the list

Misspellings

People misspell words all the time when doing a search. In some cases the misspelling of a particular may be 15 or 20% of the time. Even though Google suggests the proper spelling, some search engines do not and getting a top ranking at Google on a misspelling or another search engine may be valuable.

Synonyms

You may have missed some similar words. Most all word processors have a thesaurus. Use yours.

Split or merged words

I do not know the name of your locale or or the area of law you work in. There may be two ways people type in the word – LaCrosse or La Crosse – e commerce or ecommerce. Make sure both are on your list.

Singulars and plurals

Go through your list and make sure you have the plural just below the singular version of a word on your list. Search engines treat each version as two different words. This can be important as lawyers is searched on about 4 times the amount as lawyer.

Hyphenated words

Look on your list to see if you have any hyphenated words or words that could have a hyphenated version. Add the other version to the list. Search engines treat the hyphen as a space so the words on each end are looked at as two separate words. This can be key when people search about equally for ecommerce and e-commerce.

Lawyer or law firm name

We all like to hear and see our name but most of the time people searching for a lawyer to help them are not searching for a lawyer or law firm by name. People are searching by locale and type of lawyer – divorce – criminal – bankruptcy. If they search by name, unless your Web developer was asleep, you are coming up near the top of the search engines anyway.

I suggest using the lawyer’s name and law firm in the TITLE tags keywords in the Contact Us page. By doing so you will likely be the number one result on the results page when someone searches for you or your firm by name

Competing lawyers or law firm’s names

I am not suggesting use of competitors’ names in the keywords on your site. However add them to your list. This way you can check to see how often competitors may be searched for and what other keywords people may be using when searching for competitors.

Overture search term tool

You have your list of potential keywords, use a keyword tool to select keywords for lawyer blog to see what words you missed and to see which words are searched the most often.

Overture, a pay for click service, is owned by Yahoo. They have a free tool so their customers and anyone else can see which words or phrases were being searched the most on Yahoo over the last 30 days.

To find it, go to Overture, click on the advertiser center, then click on tools and the term suggestion tool. Type in your word or phrase and you will get the number of searches. Type that number next to the term or phrase on your keywords list.

Note it is not the exact number that matters, it is the relative ranking you should pay attention to. If divorce lawyers is way higher than divorce lawyer, that’s what you should paying heed to. That’s probably proportionately like that for searches across the net on all the search engines.

Also note the results can be skewed by search engine professionals and lawyers who have paid way to much to these folks doing repetitive searches on these terms. Nonetheless, this tedious work should be done.

Wordtracker keyword tool

Most all people providing search engine services use Wordtracker. Wordtracker has access to a large number of metacrawlers (uses a large number of search engines when doing a search for someone). It covers about 150 million searches for two months or about 300 million searches.

Peter Kent provides a nice list of what Wordtracker provides:

  • Number of times in the last 60 days the exact phrase was searched for
  • Estimate of the number of times each day the phrase is used throughout all the Web’s search engines
  • Similar terms and synonyms and the relative number of searches
  • Terms used in hundreds of competing KEYWORDS meta tags, ranked by frequency
  • Common misspellings
  • Comparison of how often a term is searched for with how many pages come up – a nice way to find terns with relatively little competition

Wordtracker ain’t free. You buy a subscription for a period ranging from a day to a year.

Because of all the features it has, Wordtrackertakes a while to learn how to use proficiently. So let a professional do the job for you or get a good guide like Peter Kent’s Search Engine Optimization for Dummies book.

Selecting the final keywords for lawyer blog

Look at the popularity of words and phrases. The ones you first thought of may not be searched often – move them down the list.
Remove ambiguous terms.

See if there are words that could mean different things to different people. This means doing a search on the most popular terms and making certain the search turns up sites like yours. If the sites which turn up are not regarding the area of law you practice, get rid of those terms.

Limit broad terms

Just because – divorce lawyer – gets searched on more than – Madison divorce lawyers – does not mean that it’s the best keyword phrase. Although divorce lawyer gets searched a lot more does not mean the people searching with that phrase are your prospective clients. Be smart.

Though choosing the keywords for a lawyer blog or Web site is not rocket science once you get the hang of it, it can take a lot of time both to learn how and to actually do the job. Properly done, SEO for lawyer blogs and Web sites pays off. You should learn how to do it or hire someone you trust and that you can hold accountable to do the job.

Though I perform search engine optimization for lawyer blogs, I thank Peter Kent and his Search Engine Optimization for Dummies book for the guidance and outline it provided me in authoring this post.

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