Law Quill | #006 - Part 3 - Creating Great Content Series - Understanding Keywords for SEO

CREATING GREAT CONTENT SERIES

This series is about giving small and solo law firms the information and tools to create amazing content for their own websites to gain more organic traffic, help potential clients, and rise in the Google rankings.

Part 3 – UNDERSTANDING KEYWORDS FOR SEO

UNDERSTANDING KEYWORDS FOR SEO

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) keywords are the lifeblood of digital marketing, and they can make a substantial difference in your website’s online visibility. 

SEO keywords are topics, phrases, or words that people search for repeatedly on the internet; they are the most popular terms people use when seeking specific information.

This episode will teach you how to FIND AND USE keywords to gain more organic traffic to your law firm’s website!

 


SHOW NOTES

Some of the resources I visited about in today’s episode include the following:

Keywords Everywhere

Ubersuggest

Ahrefs Keyword Generator

Search Volume 

Keyword Tool

Answer The Public

Google Keyword Planner Article

Note: Link to websites may include affiliate links, in which I would receive a small fee or reward for the referral. However, please know I only provide referrals for companies and services I either use myself or believe in strongly..


TRANSCRIPT

Hello, welcome back.! And today is going to be a good day, you picked a good day to listen, because this episode is part three of CREATING GREAT CONTENT, but it is going to be about understanding keywording, how to keyword an article and frankly, why it even matters.

So if you are in the process of trying to create a blog, then one of the most important steps that you will take will be with respect to keywording. So we’re going to get into what a keyword is, how to find them, how to use them correctly. And when you do this, right, you can get yourself to the very first page of Google, it’s really that important. So let’s just really get into it. Let’s first talk about what is a keyword.

Now, if you’re an attorney, the chances are very good that you have a phenomenal command of the English language. And you are probably an exceptional writer, I am certain that you could very easily articulate how certain laws are applicable in certain situations. And you probably often win your argument.

A lot of times I run into the challenge when I am talking with lawyers about providing content for them as a digital marketer. They will say to me, well, I am a great writer. And I believe them that they’re a great writer, that is typically not the issue.

The issue is that you are not just writing your articles on your website for potential clients to read them. You are also writing them for the Google bots that will not only read them, but attempt to interpret your content based on the information that you’ve provided.

And listen, while the Google bots are exceptionally advanced, they are not our robot overlords yet, and they scan content in a very specific manner. If you are a lawyer considering writing your own content, you simply have to learn the basics of keywording. Otherwise, you will be writing the great American novel and no one will be reading it.

Figuring Out the Keywords

So let’s talk about first what a keyword is. A keyword is not just a word usually, contrary to its name, a keyword is actually a set of words or a phrase that someone types into Google, it could be one word, but typically it’s not. And a keyword for purposes of SEO, which stands for search engine optimization, is a string of words. It can also be called a longtail keyword. So I’m just going to keep with the terminology that everyone uses, which is keyword. But just know that that is usually a string of words, it’s a phrase.

Now you want to pop up first, or at least on the first page of Google, when someone is searching for that phrase for that longtail keyword. So for example, if someone were to put in Kansas City personal injury attorney, or what is the difference between a chapter seven and chapter 11 bankruptcy, or what is a special needs trust, you want to get on the front page of Google for those longtail keywords.

The keyword is the link that connects your article with your potential clients through Google. So Google is researching your articles scanning it, doing whatever it does with the algorithm, figuring out what it’s about, and then it makes the decision where to serve you up based on how good it thinks that content is going to answer the question of the person that is asking or looking for that content.

As an owner of a website, that is trying to increase your potential clients to your law firm, keywords are going to be pivotal for your content. So when I say SEO optimized keywords or SEO optimized content, you really need to think about what are the words that my potential clients are using to search for me? I’ll be honest, in a lot of cases, for law firms, that is going to include the type of practice area you have, along with your location, but not always, because you also want to be reaching people who are hoping to find answers regarding legal questions in your practice areas.

Keywords Searched by Your Potential Clients

Then, based on the answers to those questions, which are, what are the words my potential clients are using to search on Google? And what are they hoping to find? That is where you find your very best keywords? These are the focus keywords of your particular article. So the first step in determining what are good keywords for an article is to truly examine your goals for the article. What is your mission? With this article? Is it to provide information? Is it to answer questions? Who is your target audience? Who are you trying to reach?

The next step is to just start listing keywords, you think your potential clients would type into Google to find this article? A lot of times that’s going to be a question. So in some cases, a keyword is not just a phrase, it’s actually a question. And some articles actually include that exact question within the article that is totally fine to do, and in fact, can help your SEO. But after you have done this, after you have sort of examined your goals regarding the article and thought about who would actually be searching for this and how they would be searching for it. Now you need to actually dive deep, and start your keyword research. And again, if you find the right keywords, you will target the specific audience of clients that are looking for you. So again, just remember, keywords are what link your website to your potential clients through Google.

So take the time, create a list of keywords, you think people would search. And then we’re going to go to the very next step, which is to start the actual keyword researching.

Finding Focus Keywords

Now that you have a list of your keywords, you can start digging deeper on finding a focus keyword. Let me stop and explain this for a minute.
Many people think you can only have one keyword in your article. And that is simply not true. Now you want to be using one focus keyword. That is important for SEO strategy. However, if you are writing an article that is informative, and is thorough, then you will just inherently be using other keywords.

Let me give you an example. If someone is writing an article about a will versus a trust, they will use words like estate planning, or assets. Those are words that can be keywords. And as the Google bots read your article, there is a chance you can actually rank for more than one keyword. However, it’s very important to not do what is called keyword stuffing, which means if you find a really good keyword, to just put it in 10 or 20 times and make your content sound strange and not readable and awkward. So you don’t want to do that.

Now, before we get into actually how you put the keywords into your article. Let’s find them first.

Google Your Keywords First

The first thing you should do is go to Google, Google the keywords that you listed down regarding your article. And then what you want to do is check Google’s suggested searches. These are going to be questions that people have already asked Google regarding this subject matter. So this is very valuable information that you either want to use in your article or use to find keywords.

So for some additional hints, check out Google’s related searches at the very bottom of the first page. So just to walk you through this, if you put a keyword at the very top of Google and you get your search answers, what I want you to do is scroll down to the very bottom of that first page of Google. And you will see related searches. These related searches are keywords. So you can click on those and see if those answers for those searches, more related to the topic that you’re writing about. But either way, those related searches, quote, unquote, at the bottom of Google are keywords. So consider using those as your focus keyword, which is your number one keyword, or at least including these phrases in your article.

Use Google Keyword Planner

The second thing that you can do is use a free tool called Google Keyword Planner. Now, this particular tool can be very challenging and complex for a layperson, however, there is a step by step article that I will link in the show notes that can really help you understand how to use this free and very powerful keywording search tool. And again, that is called Google Keyword Planner.

Keyword Generator Tools

The next place that you can look for keywords or see whether or not the keywords that you wrote down, are going to be effective for your article is, Uber suggest, again, I’ll link to all of this in the show notes. There are a couple of other free tools as well. There’s a keyword generator, there’s a search volume tool and a keyword tool that I’m going to place in the shownotes that you can see whether or not those particular ones will work for you as well.

I personally use a tool called KW Finder, which is a paid tool. There’s another one called SEM rush, which is also paid, those are quite expensive. However, if you are interested in perhaps spending just a bit of money on this, there is a tool that I highly recommend. It is called keywords everywhere. It is very inexpensive, and frankly, quite accurate. I have put this tool up against my KW finder tool with respect to SEO research and keywording statistics. And it comes close. Now I still use these other paid tools.

Because as I write for law firms, there’s a lot of metrics and data that I really want to dig deep and analyze to make sure that I’m getting the best informative and intentional content for my law firms that I write for. However, using keywords anywhere is, I think, a fantastic first step, if you are trying to generate content yourself, that is optimized for SEO, this keywords everywhere tool is actually a Google extension. And when you put in keyword into the search bar of Google, it will tell you how often that particular keyword is searched every month. But then it will also give you suggestions for other keywords that are related to that. And some of those may actually have higher number of searches or lower number of searches. So it is an extremely good tool.

I just want to take a moment here and say that just because something is searched more every month, does not mean it’s necessarily a better keyword for you. Let me give an example. If you are just starting out and you are a criminal defense attorney in New York City, you are not going to compete for the longtail keyword criminal defense attorney in New York City. There are law firms that are large and have spent a lot of money in both paid advertising and organic marketing to try to get to the very top of that page. However, if you are in the state of New York and you’re a criminal defense attorney, perhaps you can try to actually go for keywords that don’t have as much of a search volume, because you know, you have a better chance at actually ranking for those.

Here’s a detailed reason why so that it will make sense to you. Law Firm websites that have either been around for a long time, or have a great deal of content, or have a great digital marketing strategy to bring people back to their website often have really great da scores. That’s called a domain authority score, the better Google sees you as an authoritative source, the higher your da score goes up. If you are just starting out as a law firm and have a relatively new website or have a website that, frankly, you have not worked on to promote on the internet, then your da score is probably lower. Therefore, the keywords that you can rank for will also be lower.

So don’t be fooled that just because something has a million searches a month, that is a good keyword for you. Keywording is a little bit of an art and a little bit of a science. So just keep that in mind as you are searching for keywords. So remember, I’m going to include links to all of these different resources in the show notes, so you’ll be able to find them.

Longtail Keyword

So again, let’s talk about the fact that you have thought about the type of article that you want to write, you’ve done a little bit of research on it on Google, you’ve looked at the Google related search terms, you have looked through these free tools that I have recommended. And now you’ve come up with what you think is your best focus, longtail keyword.

Now, I will tell you that it is important not to throw away all the other keywords that you’ve been researching that relate to this one special longtail keyword that you found, you need to use those other keywords throughout your article. And this is not only going to help potential clients have answers for their questions, but it’s also going to help the Google bots truly understand what in the heck you are talking about. So just remember not to throw those away and not use them at all. Just make sure to use those related keywords, threw out all of your article. So when you’re using long tail keywords, just make sure that you never use it more than three or four times within the article. Additionally, a great practice is to try to incorporate that longtail keyword into the actual title of the article. So if your longtail keyword is wills versus trusts, then perhaps a good title would be understanding the difference between wills versus trusts.

Another thing you can do is make sure that you use the long tail keyword in one of your h two headers. So that would be one of the larger chapter or section subheadings of your article. This will signify to the Google bots that this is exactly what you’re talking about, and the question that you’re trying to answer. So this is just a really great strategy for SEO and for keywording. And it’s just really easy to remember to include those keywords, at least in the title if it makes sense. Or in the first paragraph and then somewhere as an h2.

SEO Yoast

Also regarding formatting, and the tactical side of things. If you have a WordPress website and if you have installed a plug in called Yoast, there is a way for you to insert what you believe is your main keyword, your focus keyword into that plug in at the bottom of your article. And Yoast will tell you whether or not they agree with you whether or not that particular keyword is being used well and effectively throughout all of your article.

While we’re talking about Yoast, there is an option on Yoast to include a meta description for your website. Now, if you don’t have a WordPress website and you don’t have a Yoast plugin, there are still ways to get a meta description for your article. A meta description is the little sentence that shows up right underneath the title of your article when someone is searching for something on Google. Now, if you don’t tell Google what to put in there as a first little sentence, they are going to just pull the first sentence from your article and you don’t want that because that first sentence of your article may not have your focus keyword in it. So in that Yoast plug in or however you do it on your website, you want to make sure that within your meta description, you actually include your focus keyword. The other thing you want to consider is where to place your focus keyword with respect to photographs on your actual article.

There is a way to include a description of your pictures that you put on your website. And this is typically done so that people who are visually impaired can understand what the picture is. However, you can also include focus keywords within that picture description. When you do that, that allows Google to understand what the picture is, and how it relates to your article, it’s very important to consider whether or not your focus keyword would actually fit well, within the description of a picture, it can just help the overall SEO of your article.

Creating a Keywording Strategy

Let’s go ahead and put this all together and create a keywording strategy. Now, because you have an article that has a longtail keyword, you’re using some of the additional keywords that you found throughout the article. In order to bolster the understanding that the Google bots will have of your article, you’ve placed your keywording within the meta description within the h2 and h1 tags, you have included it maybe within the pictures on the website. So you have done your due diligence with respect to finding a keyword and placing it in that article.

What you want to do at this point, is create a keywording strategy for your website. Now if you are a law firm that is involved in estate planning or personal injury, a lot of your topics may be on a similar subject, such as generational wealth, or wills or trusts if you are an estate planning attorney. If you are a personal injury attorney, you may be talking about car accidents, injuries that often occur from accidents, trucking accidents, motorcycle accidents, so a lot of the language that you will use within your articles will be similar.

However, you never want to take one longtail keyword and use it in another article on your website. It’s basically cannibalizing your own keyword strategy. So my best suggestion to you would be to create a spreadsheet either in Excel or a Google spreadsheet that has a listing of all of the articles that you currently have on your website, the main focus longtail keyword for each of them. And then what I would do also in that spreadsheet is all of the other keywords that you researched and used somewhere in that article. The other thing I would do is to include any data that you compiled regarding that keyword. So that could be the number of monthly searches how difficult it is to rank for that keyword.

Whatever tools you’re using for your keyword research, I would definitely incorporate that somehow into your key wording master spreadsheet. This is going to help you develop a keyword strategy. From this point forward. Not only will it help you not cannibalize the longtail keywords that you’ve already used, it can help you look at a later point to see which of your articles are doing really well through your Google Analytics.

Now we’ll talk about Google Analytics on another podcast. But eventually what you will be able to see is which articles gain more traffic than others. At that point, what you’ll want to do is go back to these articles and back to these keywords, and see what other keywords are available that you’ve already done research on to create additional topics that are not the same, but similar, so that you can continue to get traffic regarding those particular topics.

Also, when you create topics that are similar, you can interlink those articles on your website, which is excellent for SEO. We’ll talk about that in another podcast as well. But just know that creating a keyword spreadsheet like this is going to help you with your overall SEO strategy as well as your keyword strategy.

As another suggestion, what I would do is if you find a keyword that is searched a lot every month but has a really difficult score, and you don’t really feel like at this point in your SEO journey on your law firms website, you could really get to the top page of Google for that. But maybe you think in six months or a year you might have a shot. What I would do is create an Additional spreadsheet or a tab on that spreadsheet that lists out those keywords as well. Don’t let your research go to waste. use that for future articles that you might have.

I always tell law firms that SEO strategies are a long game, you just have to have a lot of patience with it. And frankly, anyone that tells you that they can get you to the top of Google in a couple of weeks or a month, they’re just simply, they probably have a bridge to sell you somewhere to because really, it’s just not true. But once you have established focus keywords, focus phrases, and you have done your due diligence to go back and analyze either the success or lack of success in your rankings on particular posts, you can then see really where you stand. If you are not making it to the first page with some really good content, you can go back and add additional longtail keywords that might be even more effective in that article.

Just realize that anytime you can go back to articles that you’ve created, and add on to them. While it is always beneficial to be creating new content on your website, if you do think you can go back and add significant and substantial changes to articles that you already have on your website that are maybe not keyworded or are very short, something like three or 500 words, Google will relook at those articles and consider them to be fresh content. If enough changes are made that it is frankly, a substantially new article. This is a great way for law firms that already have existing content on their website to repurpose that and reuse it and frankly, create it into something that is excellent for SEO, even if it wasn’t great for SEO to begin with.

With all of that. I hope that this podcast in particular, truly demystified the entire SEO process as it relates to keywords. Because this can be a really overwhelming area. And yet, it is so critical for all of the SEO throughout all of your website, not just blog articles, but also your About Me page, your fact page, all of the content that you have regarding landing pages, your front page, all of it. So understanding SEO and keywords is really, really crucial.

But now, with this podcast, you’ve got it right, you get this now. So just go over to the show notes and look at all of the links that I’ve provided, regarding free or inexpensive keywording tools, start doing the fun research of keywording right, and create a spreadsheet of your keywords that you come up with. And this is the very beginning of a very powerful SEO strategy for you. And here’s the best part, we’re not even close to done yet.

The next part of this series, The CREATING GREAT CONTENT series is going to be about organizing and formatting your article. Because we know that lawyers are fantastic writers That’s not the problem. The problem sometimes comes with the organization and the formatting of the article, not only so that it looks good on different devices like mobile devices and desktops, but also the organization and formatting of your article is absolutely essential for SEO. So we’re going to talk more about that in the next episode.

And, you know, the best way to make sure that you get notified of that is to, you guessed it, hit that subscribe button. In the meantime, head on over to LAWQUILL.COM/podcast. And that’s where you’ll be able to get all the show notes and all of the resources that I have in this podcast and all the podcasts so head over there and I will see you the next time on the LEGAL MARKETING LOUNGE. Thank you again so much for being here.