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Podcast Ep. 124: SEO and Content Marketing Lessons Learned from The COVID-19 Pandemic with The National Law Review

by Talia Schwartz • January 26th, 2021 • Podcast

In this episode of The Legal Marketing 2.0 Podcast, Guy is joined by Eilene Spear, the Operations and Projects Manager for the National Law Review. Eilene joins us to talk about the successful traffic-generation strategies that enabled The National Law Review to garner the most website traffic of any legal news website in the United States during 2020. If you’re a legal marketing professional looking for SEO and content marketing takeaways you can implement ASAP, you’ll want to tune in!

Eilene Spear heads the National Law Review remote publication team as the lead writer.  Eilene works on various SEO projects and coordinating NLR staff on improvements to the NLR website and other marketing and outreach projects.  As part of her job with client services, Eilene reviews the NLR analytics, ensuring clients get the most out of their relationship with the National Law Review. You can connect with Eilene on LinkedIn here.

Podcast Show Notes

The National Law Review had a phenomenal year in terms of your traffic. What are some traffic patterns and readership trends from 2020? 

In 2018 we had about 4 million page views across the year and then in 2019 we increased that to 7 million. So that was almost a 100% increase across 2018 to 2019 but then in 2020 we had over 25 million page views on our main site.

We were able to pivot our content early on and I know that was what really made the difference. It was the cumulative effect of producing relevant timely content consistently.

Successful pieces of content were the ones that were timely. Fairly quick on the heels of the legislation because when people look for the information, you know they always want it right away. So there was a timeliness factor in terms of when the content came out.

How did you adjust your team’s response to accommodate the influx of COVID-19 related traffic?

When the lockdown started, we just saw this explosion of content. Because attorneys were unable to go visit their clients, they began writing more online content surrounding all of the latest coronavirus-related laws and regulations coming through. So it helped that we had a designated Coronavirus feed on the homepage of our website.

We pumped out a lot of content, which meant a lot more page views and we actually had to adjust our servers to make sure we could handle the traffic volume.

Everybody wanted to be compliant with the regulations and the laws, but sometimes it wasn’t exactly clear how to do that. And that’s where our great attorney partners came in and really clarified things for people looking for answers in a really confusing and difficult time.

What are some trends in readership you saw related to COVID content?  What performed well?

In terms of readership, we had a lot of people looking for information about labor and employment, healthcare and unemployment. And then kind of as people got more educated about some of the main pieces of legislation, it became more about anticipating the issues. For example, we had an article come through in July, about Covid-19 and vaccinations and the attorney who wrote the article was farsighted enough to sort of anticipate the mashing of these two issues, even though the vaccine in July was nowhere on the horizon, necessarily. They wrote an article sort of anticipating some of the issues with requiring or asking your employees to be vaccinated and we saw that piece just take off like a meteor.

What are some best practices for legal marketers on thought leadership? What advice do you have for them so that they can see the same type of growth that you guys saw last year?

With thought leadership, there are a lot of opportunities, considering the landscape. So I think one thing is to be aware of those opportunities. And, you know, you’re not getting that face to face opportunity so that’s where content creation comes in.

If I were to be so bold as to suggest a formula, you know, I would say look at what’s coming down from Washington from the Biden administration and then figure out how that affects the niche that you’re trying to reach.

We’ve seen a lot of content perform well on trust and estates and I think that tax treatment of these PPP loans is going to be huge with tax season approaching. You know, making sure people are obeying the IRS.

What are some SEO principles law firms should integrate into their content creation?

It’s so important to have a plan for your content and for blog posts, using headers to subdivide the text and making sure those headers are descriptive and keyword rich.

It’s also crucial to make sure headers are properly formatted. You want to use those h3 tags – the more structure you can put in, the better you’re going to be.

When it comes to podcasts, make sure you get the transcript and post the podcast with show notes. It seems like such basic information to transcribe your podcast yet I see so many firms that don’t do it.

For webinars, it’s also important to post them to your law firm’s website with text – whether it’s a transcript or a detailed description. Search engines like text.

Repurposing content is also important. For instance, if you do a webinar series, you should look at what content was covered in the webinar and then turn that into an article or possibly even an article series. So just kind of making that content go further.


If there’s anything we learned in 2020, it’s the importance of being agile. The National Law Review showed agility in their content marketing and SEO strategy during 2020 and it proved effective. They pivoted their content to address the rapidly changing legal and regulatory environment caused by the pandemic, pushing out relevant and timely content consistently. We hope you’ve learned some valuable lessons on SEO and thought leadership that you can implement at your firm right away.

Stay tuned for our upcoming webinar with the National Law Review where we’ll dive even deeper into SEO. Registration information will be available in future emails and social media promotion. Click here to subscribe to our marketing emails and don’t forget to follow us on LinkedIn!


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