Your overall firm strategy should guide your marketing efforts. Do your marketing team and SEO managers have the same goals as the rest of the firm? Chances are, they may be trying to accomplish different things, even when it comes to content. Here are our top tips for aligning law firm SEO and overall marketing efforts.
5 Best Practices for Balancing SEO and Marketing Goals
Obtaining results that are best for your SEO objectives and overall marketing goals starts at the beginning of the process. It’s important to establish clear protocols that will help you to avoid ambiguity early on. Here are five steps that can help.
1. Keep SEO in Mind When Creating a Brand Guide
Many marketers make the mistake of letting SEO become an afterthought, but it should actually be a key component of your marketing programming. This is particularly true when it comes to content marketing. We suggest solidifying the relationship between SEO and marketing with a section in your brand or style guide on SEO specifically. A common mindset is to adjust content to rank for law firm SEO when it’s more effective to optimize SEO for marketing. This is especially true when writers are in charge of their own SEO efforts – the brand and style guide should help them to navigate this work while adhering to larger marketing objectives. Here are some things you might want to include:
- Keyword lists including preferred ones and ones to exclude. This can help marketers across every channel focus on relevant keywords and avoid those that don’t help.
- A list of branded terms that shouldn’t be adjusted for SEO. This ensures that other marketing efforts aren’t impacted by keywords that have been tweaked for SEO purposes.
- Key content topics including which subjects are most important for advancing brand awareness as well as improving SEO. This also helps SEO managers plan a long-term strategy.
Related: The Law Firm Guide to Content Marketing eBook
2. Make Sure Each Content Asset is Optimized for Both SEO and Marketing Goals
In an ideal world, all content would rank for SEO. However, the goal of each piece is going to differ based on search intent. Some thought leadership may present difficulties in ranking for SEO, but have importance for brand awareness and credibility. In these cases, it’s better to focus on your marketing goals for things like lead generation rather than putting your efforts into SEO ranking. On the other hand, content that is important for SEO should focus on search intent and optimization first and foremost. You might notice that branding takes a backseat to SEO in these cases, but you can still ensure everything is aligned during content creation. The best way to do this is to plan content beforehand and note whether it will be designed for SEO, other marketing efforts, or both.
3. Survey Your Audience to Assess if Goals are Being Met
You can get a lot of powerful insights on marketing strategies and SEO impacts by simply asking your audience. Start by asking which values your clients or prospects associate with your brand. You can also ask about the top keywords that come to mind. This will help you to evaluate SEO priorities and determine if the impression your audience has of your firm is on par with your goals. If you notice that there’s a disconnect between SEO-focused activity and overall objectives, you can start making plans to get everything better aligned. Additionally, as part of this process, you might A/B test different versions of things. Create one that is SEO-focused and one that is marketing-focused and see how they both perform.
4. Create a Cohesive Calendar
An intentional content calendar will help you address both intended and unintended brand associations and focus on law firm SEO at the same time. As you plot content, you can document whether the material will be SEO-focused or marketing-focused (intended to meet other goals, such as lead generation for example). Plan your content per quarter and set goals for each content asset.
5. Hold Regular Meetings Between Marketing and SEO Managers
Probably the most important part of the process is making sure the people behind the work are aligned. Both marketers and SEO professionals should be on the same page and be able to collaborate on the content calendar. From there, you should host regular meetings so that marketing and SEO can contribute ideas, view reporting, and discuss progress toward overall goals. Focus on the metrics associated with all content and the impressions that material is making. You can also practice social listening and bring this information to meetings. The important thing is that there are representatives from both an SEO and marketing perspectives present in consistent meetings.
Related: SEO for Law Firm Websites eBook
Meeting the goals of both your CMO and SEO manager isn’t always easy. However, your firm will be more successful if these efforts are aligned. Follow the steps above to take a thoughtful and proactive approach to ensuring your marketing goals and SEO objectives are both being met.
If you’d like assistance with your law firm SEO, don’t hesitate to contact us today for a free consultation.