February 1, 2018
When it comes to writing articles for your law firm’s website, it’s easy to focus on the words.
That makes sense… words are the things you write, right? And they matter a lot. Written content is still your website’s most valuable asset in terms of SEO. High-quality webpages and blog articles, written at sufficient length and on a regular basis, packed with worthwhile info, will get you Google results.
But you could strap a turbo booster on those blogs and webpages by embedding relevant images and videos within.
Even better, you can create new images and videos that take on a starring role in their own right, becoming destination pieces on the internet.
Google loves fresh new content, and it rewards all kinds — written, visual, audio, and beyond.
But as with most things in the world of web marketing, you can’t go about it helter skelter. There are right and wrong ways to make images and videos part of your SEO strategy, and there are even certain kinds of visual content that perform better for lawyers than others.
In today’s article, we’re going to explain:
…and a lot more. To lay it out, we’re going to walk through nine truly compelling justifications for investing in image and video creation for your law firm website.
We say it all the time: content is the single most significant driver of traffic, user engagement, conversion, and overall search engine success. Content is the thing Google’s web crawlers are built to find. They’re also engineered to assess the quality of the content, and to sign scores accordingly. The more content you have, the better that content is, the more users find it helpful, and the more frequently you add new content, the higher your score will go.
Usually, when we talk about King Content, we’re referring to him in terms of words. As we alluded to earlier, you can’t skimp on written copy and focus entirely on images or video instead. Words are still the food that web robots like best.
But photographs, infographics, YouTube videos, web tutorials, podcasts — these are all considered content too. And the more kinds of content you have on your site, the better… which brings us to our next point.
Google can tell the difference between different kinds of content, just like you can. So when it crawls your site, it knows how often you’re uploading blog articles vs. webpages vs. videos vs. images, etc.
It assigns different values to all those things, the exact weight of which remains undisclosed and is subject to ongoing change as the company continually tweaks its formulas.
But this much is clear: the best results come from an overall content strategy that involves multiple media types.
Google’s algorithm loves a 1,500-word webpage that gives users helpful and easy-to-read information about a particular topic of law, for example. But you know what it loves even more? That same webpage when it adds an infographic, three images, and a complementary video as an adjunct to the written content. All those things send a clear signal to Google: “This website is a goldmine for search users!”
Quick note here: we’re referring to Google because it’s the top dog in SEO, but just about every web crawler assigns extra value to non-textual content — especially when it’s augmenting written copy. So these principles hold up for attorney search engine marketing (SEM) in general, even if for some reason Google isn’t your focus.
Of course, you aren’t building your website exclusively for robots. People matter too. They’re the end goal, right? It is people who become clients — your digital marketing campaign is just the strategy for getting their attention. At the end of the day, your online presence needs to impress real humans too.
That’s certainly true for law firms, which must compete for local search with numerous other firms (ranging from Big Law to single-shingle hangers). Studies show that most potential clients using Google to find a lawyer will take a journey similar to this one:
…And any one of those cases could be a multi-million-dollar claim, to say nothing of the many more midrange cases that are most firms’ bread and butter.
So it’s not enough simply to attract inbound traffic through organic search. You must also make the sale to those leads once they reach your site. Having already explained how images and video help with the traffic side of the equation, we can now illuminate its other glorious benefit: people love to look at things!
Ultimately, what Google is really rewarding with its search engine rank (SER) is the user experience. Users consistently report that their website experience is heightened when they find more than one medium of information within the same source.
Think about your own experience visiting websites. All other things being equal, do you prefer a webpage that adds some visual content? Does it make you more likely to trust the source and/or engage as a customer?
For most people, that answer is yes.
A 2014 study by Google itself found that YouTube videos were an important milestone on the web user’s path to making a purchase decision. Image-heavy social media platforms like Pinterest played an important role too.
Similarly, a 2015 white paper published by the Local Search Association (LSA) studied people who searched for local products and services online. The study found that:
We think this local search data, which comes from a trusted industry source in LSA, is particularly pertinent to law firms because legal services is a primarily local industry.
Local SEO is so critical to law firms — and so competitive. These figures make a compelling case, then, for including video in your attorney SEO strategy.
We often hear from lawyers who say they want to blog and know they should, but after a while, they have a hard time coming up with topics to write about. (A key reason we develop topics for many of our clients at Black Fin and then develop the content for them.)
Images and video content can help to ameliorate that problem. Whenever you produce a new video (an interview with one of your attorneys commenting on a hot-button legal issue in the news, for example) or an image (like an infographic that explains a complex legal issue), you can build written content around that asset too. For example:
Think of it as a rule: new webpages/articles can inspire new images/videos, and vice versa.
YouTube might be owned by Google, but they aren’t one and the same. In fact, while Google is the biggest search engine, YouTube is the second biggest search engine. (It’s also the third most visited site on the web.)
The two operate quasi-independently of one another and use their own algorithms (though those algorithms value some of the same qualities). They’re also serving partially different user bases at the same time.
For example, Janet might be searching legal topics on Google while Bryan searches the same topics on YouTube and Alice searches on Google Videos. You want all three of them to find you.
The same is true for Google Images Search, which is a powerful driver of organic traffic — and one that too many law firms and legal marketers are overlooking.
The great thing about creating image and video content for your law firm is that you can host them on your website and on visual platforms like YouTube while also showing up in search on Google Images, Google Videos, and so on.
When you upload a video to YouTube, one best-practice optimization tip is to include a link to your firm (perhaps to an individual webpage or blog article that is highly relevant to the video itself) within the YouTube description panel for your upload.
This backlink from a highly credible domain gets you some extra SEO juice — especially if you’re able to upload videos on a regular basis and link them to relevant companion pieces on your site.
It’s even better if those videos rack up decent view counts on YouTube (something your legal marketer can encourage through a multi-pronged digital marketing strategy).
Backlinks are just the beginning. There is so much your law firm (or your firm’s legal marketer) can do to optimize images and videos for search. Truly, it is an SEO science all its own. Think of it as a subspecialty.
More to the point, it’s when you start creating and optimizing images and videos that your overall digital marketing strategy really comes to life. At its core, SEO is a multifaceted discipline. It’s the art of capitalizing on the web’s many moving parts for your own business benefit (and for the good of your potential clients too).
This is something we preach throughout our website, in all our own graphic and video content, and in our daily conversations with clients: to really beat out the competition in a web space as crowded and competitive as the legal services field, your attorney SEO strategy must be firing on all cylinders. It’s not enough to post a little blog blurb now and then. You need to consistently add fresh, rich, high-quality, and diverse content to edge out competitors who are only doing some of those things. This is the secret sauce, and images and videos are two finger-kissing ingredients you ought not ignore.
While we don’t want to downplay the effectiveness of smartly written social media copy (a solid tweet can pack a punch), it is true that law firm social media tends to go further and perform better when it includes videos, gifs, or other images. Consider these stats:
When you create video or images for your website, you can post that same content on a wide range of social media networks — not only Facebook and Twitter but also platforms that are designed for image/video:
…And while platforms like Instagram and Snapchat are never going to be the top focus for law firms, if you’re already creating visual content for your site, adding them to these other networks is an easy, no-fuss way to drive some extra traffic to your site.
The highest-performing visual content will be the content you create yourself. While it’s never a bad idea to include a highly relevant video you found from someone else on YouTube by embedding it one of your blog articles, for example, the way to really score with your visual content is to make it yourself.
Naturally, lawyers are not graphic designers or film directors by trade. So when we say “you,” we really mean your digital marketing agency or whoever you’re commissioning to create content for you.
But don’t fall into the trap of thinking that images and video are too complicated or too expensive for a firm of your size. That used to be true, but it isn’t remotely true in 2018. Even very small local businesses are having infographics, YouTube videos, podcasts, and other kinds of digital content created for them on a regular basis. It’s a basic park of being in business and marketing that business, so don’t let the march of technology leave your firm behind. This stuff is manageable, affordable, and effective.
We only do one thing at Black Fin, and we do it really well: build up law firms’ business using the web.