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How Clients Search on the Internet

Potential clients are searching for lawyers on the Internet using longtail keywords. FindLaw found that longtail keyword searches where someone was looking for a lawyer accounted for 32% of all searches.  67% were less valuable research queries using regular keywords, such as “DUI laws in Texas”.

What’s the difference between a regular keyword, keyword phrase or Longtail keyword? A keyword could be “lawyer” while a keyword phrase could be “personal injury lawyer” or “Dallas personal injury lawyer”. FindLaw refers to this as a Head-Term query.

A longtail keyword is much longer and likely includes information pertaining to the searcher’s circumstances, such as “lawyer for drunk motorcyclist hit by a car in Dallas”.

Longtail keyword phrases are more valuable for a law firm because someone typing in a search like that is looking to hire a lawyer. This is just an example but before you think that you don’t want a drunk motorcyclist as a client, I recently obtained six figures for one.

Trying to rank for keywords is a waste of money. Somebody landing on a website who searched for “lawyer” or “attorney” is not the potential client you’re trying to attract. A lot of money is spent by law firms trying to rank for keyword phrases but this requires a costly investment and produces fewer potential clients. FindLaw found that only 1% of a law firm’s website traffic was accounted by short keyword phrases.

The problem with searches using research queries is that a lot of these people are not looking to hire a lawyer. FindLaw found that 71 percent of a law firm’s contacts come from long-tail queries; 26 percent from research queries; and only 3 percent from head-term queries.

Download the FindLaw white paper The Futility of Chasing Silver Bullets analyzing search-generated traffic to thousands of law firm websites.

This research isn’t surprising and can be found in many articles on the Internet about every kind of business, not just attorneys. Fortunately, it’s much easier to compete against other lawyers for longtail keyword searches that it is for shorter keywords or keyword phrases.

If you are now interested in focusing on longtail keyword phrases and wondering how to do that, the answer is in writing informative blog articles. Unfortunately, this takes a lot of time that most lawyers don’t want to spend.

I occasionally find a law firm’s website which has a substantial amount of informative articles. This is sometimes the result of a lawyer who likes to write a lot and sometimes a law firm with several attorneys each contributing articles or where one attorney is assigned to write articles.



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