Long-Tail KeywordsMost law firms and website owners understand the concept of a keyword as it pertains to websites and search engines. When it comes to law firm SEO, however, many legal marketers fail to understand the difference between keywords and long-tail keywords. If you’re not making efforts to optimize your website for both, you are missing out on some of the most valuable search traffic available.

What Are Long-Tail Keywords?

Standard keywords tend to be more general. They are often a single word or a short phrase of two or three words. “Lawyer”, “personal injury lawyer” and “San Francisco attorney” would all be examples of common keywords people might use to start their search for a lawyer.

Long-tail keywords are more specific and usually contain much longer phrases. They also tend to follow natural language structures. “Injury Lawyer in San Francisco specializing in work accidents” would be an example of a long-tail keyword. So is a direct question like, “How can I file a lawsuit for employment discrimination?”

What Are The Differences Between These Two Types Of Keywords?

The key difference between these two types of search terms, and using SEO to optimize for them, is that they tend to represent people in two different phases of their client journey towards deciding on a lawyer to represent them.

Prospects who search using basic one, two or three word keywords and phrases are usually beginning their first research into a subject. They are not yet ready to make a decision. They seek general information that will educate and lead them in the right direction.

People conducting searches using long-tail keywords and phrases tend to be closer to making their final decision to retain a lawyer. They have already discovered general information on the topic; now they are looking for specific details to help them solidify their choice and hire a lawyer.

Another important distinction between these two types of search terms is the traffic they bring to a law firm website. Standard keywords made up of just a few words tend to bring more traffic into a site, but as we said, this traffic tends to be people looking for information, not people ready to make a decision. On the other hand, long-tail keywords will often bring less traffic, but that traffic will be comprised of people who are on the verge of making a final choice. As a result, long-tail keyword traffic often convert into leads and clients at a much higher rate.

Is Long-Tail Optimization More Important?

The point here is not that one type of optimization is better than the other, but that both are important for increasing traffic and converting leads.

By optimizing for shorter, standard keywords that are relevant to your law practice, you attract web visitors at the start of their decision making process. You have the opportunity to educate these people, instill trust, and form a relationship with them.

By making optimizations for long-tail search terms, you give yourself the opportunity to present the final facts that will convert a web visitor into a new client right at the moment when they are most ready to make a decision.

But optimization cannot be effective unless your website actually contains suitable content to satisfy a visitor searching for those long-tail keywords. If this highly specified type of content is not available on your site, the prospective client will likely find it somewhere else, and consequently make their decision to go with another lawyer or law firm who better satisfied their detailed query.

Putting The Pieces Together

The bottom line is that optimizing for long-tail keywords is about closing deals and new business. It is about turning leads into clients. If done correctly, long-tail keywords will not only help you convert more of your own leads, but will help pull more leads away from your competition.

If your law firm’s site is getting respectable traffic but having trouble converting that traffic into new clients, creating more content designed around long-tail keywords could be the piece of the puzzle you’re missing. To get a better sense of how your firm can incorporate this content into its web site or if you need help enhancing your law firm SEO strategy contact us today to get started.

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