If you scan through websites for attorneys, physicians, and other professionals, whether you are looking at web pages or their blogs, you may by surprised at how little substance, and how much fluff, some of these sites contain. It may sound great to their friends and relatives, but let’s face it – listening to a doctor or a lawyer tell you how great he or she is is not the way to go, and here are a couple of reasons why:
- Knowing how good you think you are really doesn’t advance the ball from the point of view of a potential client. They might want to know what clients/patients or colleagues think of your abilities, but self-serving statements are pretty much meaningless.
- If you’ve got an S.E.O. specialist who knows what counts in that area (search engine optimization), he or she will tell you that merely repeating key words such as “experienced New Orleans lawyer” or “New York plastic surgeon” isn’t going to get you too far in terms of rankings.
Google wants substance if they’re going to put you on the map. And not just a re-hash of what every other lawyer on the planet has been saying. The key here is unique content. There is obviously more to the algorithms (which change on a regular basis) that goes into website rankings, but the first step, we’ve found, is to provide unique, informative and well-written content that provides information beyond what’s going on in a particular lawyer’s office.
So if I’m going to write an article for one of my clients, where do I start? I write blog pieces and web pages for a number of attorneys, some of whom practice criminal law. Typically, I’ll write weekly for a firm, choosing topics from their practice areas. Initially, you have to identify your audience. This will affect both the subject matter of the article and how technical it should be. Among the other questions you should ask is whether you’re writing to boost local listings, or to show up on more generic searches.
My next step is often to run a search on interesting arrests or other news stories about crime and crime-related issues. When I read the news piece, I can tell you that there are often questions about what really happened, or why specific charges were or were not filed. Or there might be a major judicial ruling that has an impact on one of their practice areas. Explaining the case (or the ruling), talking about the implications for the future, and, if possible, adding some humor to the mix, has been working for me and for my clients for years. Other tactics include taking a hot legal topic and writing a piece that informs the reader of the current state of the law, and the likely direction it may go.
These are just a couple of examples of how to write a meaningful, original article. There are plenty of other ways to do it. Just keep it unique and interesting. A couple of additional tips. Research is essential. Substantive mistakes and grammatical errors hurt. Finally, I’ve found that it is important to use one or more of the programs out there that will check for unintentional duplication in your article before it’s posted, so you suffer a Google penalty..