Writing content for the legal industry requires a certain level of skill, knowledge and expertise. The law is a complex and technical area which often deals with sensitive subjects. This puts a certain level of pressure on businesses to ensure the content they produce and share is accurate, empathetic and answers the audience’s questions.
As consumer expectations continue to evolve, people demand more transparent, seamless interaction with brands, highlighting the need for valuable and accessible content. Google recognised this shift in behaviour, rolling out their E-A-T (Medic) Update in August 2018 to reinforce the importance of high-quality content, particularly affecting rankings for sites categorised by Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines as ‘Your Money, Your Life’ (YMYL).
Operating in a YMYL sector, many legal brands lost SERP visibility due to the ever-changing Google algorithm and have been trying to claim back authority ever since. If you want to build trust with your audience and with Google, take a read of our five top tips.
1) Consider your target audience
Creating strong and valuable legal content starts and ends with the reader. Knowing your audience and understanding what they need from you is a large part of the battle. Consider whether your content needs to be written for businesses or consumers. B2B may encompass banking and financial law, litigation services or tax advisory, while B2C may include personal injury claims, medical negligence, wills or tax.
Understanding who your audience is allows you to provide them with exactly what they need. This will also help you create content to satisfy search intent, an essential factor to SEO and boosting your online ranking. Start with the who, what, where, when, why and how. Using tools such as AnswerThePublic and Google Trends, you can uncover common questions people want answered around a specific topic. This will also help spot any content gaps you may have.
2) Select a voice that is appropriate for your target audience
Your audience should also influence your tone of voice. As a B2B legal business, your tone should be professional, serious, formal and empathetic without being emotional. However, when dealing directly with consumers as a B2C business, their legal issues may revolve around delicate subjects such as divorce, child custody or creating a will. When researching these topics, your audience may be in a state of emotional or financial distress. As a result, it becomes significantly more important to create a relatable, approachable, personable and understanding voice.
The aim is to converse with your audience, answer their questions and add value, not lecture or frustrate them. Use plain English or simple words to make content accessible for all. Note that legal jargon can’t always be avoided but in those instances, aim to provide a clear explanation.
3) Do your research
Writing content for legal is a labour-intensive activity that requires structured processes to produce a high-quality outcome. Authoritative resources such as NHS, Ministry of Justice and The Law Society should be used, combined with comprehensive proof checking to ensure your information is always accurate.
Google stated: “financial advice, legal advice, tax advice, etc., should come from trustworthy sources”. Your content needs to be produced with a level of journalistic professionalism, finding relevant sources that support your thoughts and statements can help with this.
4) Content depth
You’ll usually find high-ranking legal content is lengthy and not based on a specific word count. What you write must be sufficient to answer the question without producing empty words.
The structure of content can depend on the depth needed, the topic in discussion and, once again, the target audience. A question and answer format is becoming a common approach for YMYL content as it provides specific, in-depth responses and explanations to solve a user’s problem. This format could include answering your audience’s most frequently asked questions or addressing pain points such as:
- What legislation applies to my business?
- How do I create a will?
- Do I have a case for a medical negligence claim?
- What is Power of Attorney and how do I register?
- What does probate mean?
It’s imperative to remember the legal industry changes. Where statistics and regulations are included in your content, ensure you review, edit and update on a regular basis to maintain accurate information. Your users and Google need to have confidence that they can rely on what you’re advising.
5) Make it digestible
In such a diverse and complex industry, there is likely to be a wealth of information to cover on many topics. Keep in mind not only how your content is written and structured, but also how it is displayed online.
Deciding on your structure, breaking up paragraphs and clearly signposting your content makes it easier for your readers to digest and navigate. Keep your sentences as short and simple as possible. Use bullet points for lists or important points to make them stand out on the page. It’s also beneficial to factor in logos, graphics and widgets such as Trustpilot to boost your authority and consumer trust. Keeping content varied and easy to read through relevant imagery and infographics can also help to reduce bounce rates too.
In certain cases, it may be suitable to let other pages do the talking such as a credible, national news story that highlights relevant examples. Linking out to other resources can also help if you are struggling to explain a complex piece of information in a succinct way.
As a sector that is likely to affect everyone at some stage in their life, there is a necessity for high-quality, accessible and relevant legal content. Our expert team of in-house content writers have experience working on results-focused projects with leading legal businesses including Withers Worldwide. Get in touch for further information on how we can help improve your content and boost organic performance further.