An effective content marketing plan for lawyers includes in-depth content analysis. There are many strategies that can be leveraged during analysis to ensure the content you deliver has the greatest impact; measuring key performance indicators (KPIs) and knowing how to use Google Analytics and Google Search Console are two strategies that show how well your law firm’s content marketing efforts are performing.
But there are other core strategies that lawyers should use to meet goals, understand and secure their place in the industry, and improve search engine optimization (SEO): competitive analysis, and keyword discovery and position monitoring tools.
Through competitive analysis, lawyers can see a clear picture of how they measure up against other lawyers who have the same practice areas and target the same audience. What’s learned during competitive analysis can and should influence your content marketing plan. Why? You’re not only able to see the successes and failures of other firms but learn from them to improve the content and achieve better results.
Keyword discovery is another part of content analysis that law firms can use to more effectively reach and strategically define who their content is created for. During keyword discovery, the most important search terms and phrases are identified. This includes niche or less common keywords that deliver the best results, like high engagement on your website and new clients. Using tools that reveal the best keywords for you as a lawyer and integrating what’s learned into your legal content to reach your audience will, in turn, improve SEO. You’ll see higher search results for organic traffic and more effective Google Ads and social media campaigns.
Lastly, position monitoring goes hand-in-hand with keyword discovery, both of which are often offered through one tool or package. Position monitoring shows law firms their Google rankings and the URLs and keywords associated with them. They allow you to check position based on mobile and desktop devices and other important factors. Knowing how well your competitors rank and for what keywords is a core strategy; if you don’t know who or what you’re up against, results will be limited. Regular use of position monitoring tools ensures your content has the right focus and should influence both existing and future content.
Lawyers who skip content analysis and don’t use these tools will greatly miss out. Your content marketing efforts and search rankings will suffer, and success will be limited.
Here we’ll explain how competitive analysis, keyword discovery, and position monitoring tools can be used to improve the impact and reach of your content and ensure you compete with who matters most. Ultimately, these strategies can help lawyers reach content marketing and business goals. They show where you’re succeeding and where you’re not and reveal opportunities worth pursuing.
Competitive Analysis Strategies for Lawyers
Competitive analysis is much more than just identifying competitors, taking a quick look at their website or social media pages, and comparing it to your own content. Lawyers need to know who their competitors are and how they’re doing, but that’s not the end. Knowing how to take what’s learned during competitive analysis to improve your own content is crucial.
The competitive analysis process takes an in-depth look at your biggest competitors’ content – its format and tone, readability, messages, calls to action, keywords, and sales/ client recruitment tactics. It includes finding out what communication channels they use to distribute content and how well they engage your shared target audience. You can learn a lot about your competitors by performing a competitive analysis. Through that knowledge, you’ll be positioned to find your competitive advantage.
There are many benefits of competitive analysis in content marketing plans: it reveals where others are succeeding and failing, potential strategies and content topics you’re missing out on, and how you measure up. The best result from this type of analysis is finding how your law firm can differentiate itself, develop authority, and strengthen content marketing efforts.
The problem many businesses face when doing a competitive analysis is knowing where to start and the steps involved. Just like Google Analytics tracking, the data and information learned can be hugely overwhelming without the right skills, direction, and focus.
Luckily, there’s a clear structure and purpose to the competitive analysis process that experienced marketers follow. We’ve gathered some of the core strategies lawyers should focus on.
First and foremost, lawyers need to know who their direct – and fiercest – competitors are. Law firms in the same geographical area are part of the equation. Next, those with not only the same practice areas but client and audience focus – like people with personal injuries due to a specific product’s defect – more strongly identify who you’re competing with for clients. Use position monitoring and keyword ranking tools to show which firms are competing for the same keywords. Consider the organizations or other businesses that are interfering with your effort to rank well for important search terms.
Content Platforms and Content Types
There are many platforms and ways lawyers use content to market themselves. Websites, blogs, search engine ads, social media pages and ads, email newsletter software, direct mail, and TV and radio are some of the most popular platforms and opportunities lawyers use.
The type of content is also important to consider. Website clusters and pillar pages, e-books, blog series, infographics, videos, and FAQs are common formats lawyers can leverage to share and connect with their audiences. The best part? A combination of content formats and types can improve SEO when you know what you’re doing.
If during your analysis you find content your most successful competitors are using that’s highly engaging, consider how it could be incorporated into your own content marketing strategy.
Research your competitors’ social media strategy, including the types of content they post and the platforms they use. Consider the frequency of their posts, the tone and persona, and analyze what’s done well and what isn’t.
Lawyers post many types of content on social media, including photos, graphics, infographics, article snippets with links to their blog or website, external links, guides, and more. Is what they share of high quality? Who are they taking the time to link to and follow? There could be opportunities and strategies previously unknown yet relevant that would add significant value to your digital visibility.
Top-Performing and Influential Content
Look at the categories of your competitors’ blog posts to identify trends, review their social media posts, and check out their website’s most featured and high-performing content. What topics are your competitors covering? Analyzing these key focus areas ensures your law firm stays current and delivers relevant and timely content for your target audience. You may find gaps that can then drive content ideas and be further broken down into highly valuable clusters of information.
There is a wide range of tools that show what keywords you and your competitors are ranking for and, in turn, how content is performing. Using these tools is an important part of content analysis because they reveal what’s getting traffic and high search results, which can be evaluated to create new or refresh and repurpose content.
Look at frequency and type of audience engagement, such as comments and shares on social media posts or blog posts. How is your target audience reacting to competing law firms’ content? Are there topic trends you can address to meet the needs of your audience?
Content Format and Structure
Consider the layout and types of content on the top-performing pages. Examine content length, visuals, structure (like subheadings and lists), internal and external links, and conversion functions (buttons and forms that encourage further browsing or to contact the firm). The tone and readability, how often they distribute content, and the platforms they use are all factors that affect how well you compete. This process can reveal the structure needed to improve rankings and drive positive change.
Key Messages and Value Proposition
One of the most important messages a lawyer needs to incorporate in content is the value proposition. Why are you a better choice than a lawyer from a competing law firm? What do you offer that others don’t, or why do you stand out?
Knowing your law firm’s value and key messages compared to that of competing firms can be defined during competitive analysis. Look at the messages within their content and how they present themselves as lawyers. Use what’s learned to differentiate yourself.
We cover this in the next section, but it’s important to note that tracking your competitors’ positions in search results and the keywords they rank for is extremely valuable during competitive analysis. Being informed and analyzing how they use keywords and other SEO factors can guide your efforts to be better positioned than them.
Keyword Discovery & Position Monitoring Tools
In the beginning stages of creating a content marketing plan for lawyers, optimization and ideation tools are used to identify keywords and phrases to include throughout your online content. Content is then created and distributed on the appropriate platforms and in the appropriate language and tone.
But how do you know if your search engine optimization efforts are getting the rankings you need to reach your audience? The answer: Position monitoring and keyword discovery tools.
Lawyers should regularly monitor their website and blog rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs), including average and individual page rankings and the keywords they’re ranking for. Position monitoring and keyword discovery tools like those offered by BuzzSumo do this. They allow you to analyze the efficacy of your content thoroughly and whether your online presence is the best it can be.
When done right, these tools guide search engine optimization efforts. Lawyers can learn what pages need improvements and whether they’re ranking for high-value search terms. Even better, you can identify gaps and opportunities in your content marketing campaigns to improve SERPs rankings.
Position monitoring and keyword discovery tools set the stage for your law firm to get ahead of the competition and become an authority on relevant topics. But these tools are not a ‘one time use only.’ The internet is a vast portal of information. Ranking high on Google takes time, skill, and other resources, and maintaining your presence is an ongoing process.
There is a range of features and customizable reports available through keyword and position ranking tools. We’ve outlined many of the common functions across platforms and why they’re important.
Check the position of your keyword rankings based on location and device use. The breakdown for mobile versus desktop devices is especially valuable because there are distinct search differences across devices.
Position and keyword ranking tools can be customized with target keywords. Daily SERP position tracking data can be gathered and compared over time to see if your content marketing strategies and campaigns are working.
Top Keywords and Top Search Positions
Knowing your law firm’s top-performing keywords and top search positions provides insight into how well your legal content is optimized. While it depends on the tool, an important feature is the breakdown of the number of pages in the Top 3, Top 10, and Top 100 search results.
Experienced digital marketers take top keyword data and create or update content to compete for top search positions. When a content marketing campaign is underway, tracking your top keywords and SERP positions can reflect whether your targeted content is succeeding. Lawyers can clearly see which keywords are improving rankings, as well as those that are dropping.
Keyword Difficulty and Volume
If you’ve been paying attention to your Google rankings and developing optimized content, you know there are different levels of keyword difficulty. Keyword tools tell you everything from the rare and obscure to most popular search terms, and position ranking shows how your website ranks for them. Knowing how difficult it will be to rank for a keyword should affect what you target.
The more specific your search terms are, the better your results will be. They might have lower search volumes but a high ROI because they meet more specific audience needs. These valuable tools allow you to sort by search volume and keyword difficulty, and law firms can take what’s learned to refine keyword use and improve rankings.
Ad Performance and Keywords
Keyword discovery and ranking tools can tell lawyers the best keywords for pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns. Some even analyze social media ads. This feature positions your law firm to improve ad clickthrough rate and refine audiences to improve campaign results.
Discover Competitors and Improve Rankings
A solid content marketing plan for lawyers includes monitoring how your competitors rank on SERPs. There are built-in features in position monitoring tools that give complete insight to your selected competitors’ websites; you’ll have access to in-depth report capabilities that analyze another law firm’s website in the same way it analyzes yours. Seeing how others with high rankings optimize content, including link structure, content format, and keyword use, should affect content marketing strategies to improve your website.
Another key feature of position tracking tools is keyword tagging. This allows you to customize the process and use filters based on the most important keywords your law firm wants to rank for. Once keywords are tagged, lawyers can download reports that automatically gather data based on your selected terms, saving time and keeping you focused on what matters most.
During competitive analysis, it’s common to see content topics or subtopics that your law firm hasn’t covered much, if at all. The same goes for keyword discovery and position monitoring. Analyzing the keywords related to search traffic can expose areas you’re missing out on – topics that could improve your Google rankings and contribute to developing topic authority.
We’ve covered many of the features and benefits of keyword and position monitoring tools, but there’s much more. Lawyers can find out total keywords on pages they rank for, keyword metrics, and what pages are showing up in the top 100 search results. Visibility scores and location-targeting are also important functions.
If your law firm isn’t using position monitoring and keyword ranking tools to analyze and improve SEO efforts and improve your digital presence, start now. They’re invaluable to content marketing, and lawyers will reap extensive benefits if used regularly – and properly.