Content marketing will continue to get a lot of attention as websites adjust to Google's new Hummingbird algorithm, which was quietly rolled out in August and formally announced at the end of September. This release is the first entirely new rewrite of the company's algorithm since 2001, and it changes the way Google looks at keywords. Hummingbird is a move toward a more contextual, semantic search; that is, rather than just focusing on individual keywords or keyphrases, the search engine will try to discern the whole meaning of the text a user enters in order to return results that more accurately reflect the searcher's intent.
How does this affect your firm's effort to continually better your search rankings and increase traffic to your site? If you have been keeping abreast of the series of updates known as Panda and Penguin, then it is unlikely you will have to make too many adjustments. It is still necessary to build a more natural link profile, and when people mention your firm without linking to you, it will still add to your authority and brand presence. And it is still important to regularly produce quality content that is intended for human consumption, not search engine bots.
Producing a steady stream of content is difficult. Continually coming up with article and blog topics can wear down anyone's creativity. Fortunately, there is more to content marketing than writing. Here are some ideas to help you build out your online presence:
Videos. Videos have always been a good way for attorneys to introduce themselves to potential clients whom they have not yet had a chance to meet personally. Since Google's revamping of YouTube into a channel and subscription based service, videos are also increasingly good for inbound marketing. By producing helpful videos you can build subscribers to your YouTube channel, which helps keep information about your firm available to people even if they are not actually on your website.
Infographics. Infographics can help distill complicated processes or data into simple concepts. They look great on blog entries and social media pages and are very sharable. Posts that contain graphics get the most attention, so it is worthwhile to produce some interesting pieces that lend themselves to gaining social traction.
Lists. Lists are one of the most popular forms of content. They can be simple and process related, like items you need to collect before filing for bankruptcy or divorce, or what steps you can expect to face in your personal injury case. This type of content can help calm prospective clients as they organize the actions they will have to take in order to move forward to resolve their issue.
Interviews. Interviews are helpful because they break up the monotony of having to produce so much content by yourself. You can be the interviewer or the interviewee – both are valuable. If you interview a colleague or expert in a related field, you will likely garner a mention and some good word of mouth. If you solicit interviews with local media, you build authority within your community and will probably be featured in both the print and online version of the publication. If the article is picked up or syndicated, your reach is even greater.
Ebooks. Ebooks are a great way to connect with potential clients. You share some of your knowledge – enough to make people understand they need to enlist your help – and in return you build valuable trust with a group of website visitors that has already expressed a need for your services. Make sure to collect a name and email when someone downloads an ebook. This helps build a list of contacts that are highly likely to convert.
SlideShare presentations. If you give seminars or public presentations, upload your slides to SlideShare. The presentations will be viewable by the public on slideshare.net and will appear in searches. You can also share presentations on your website or across your social network accounts.
User-generated content. Reviews and testimonials are some of the most effective forms of user-generated content for attorneys. People like to see that others have been helped by your firm, and they like hearing how they can expect to be treated should they hire you. Having your claims backed up by real clients is a valuable trust-building tool.
Embedded social media posts. If a colleague or client mentions you in a positive manner on Facebook or Twitter, or if you have a post that is particularly popular, you can embed those into your site. Visitors can like, follow, retweet, share and comment on embedded posts, just as they could if they were on either of the networks themselves.
Not all content is textual. Breaking your content into different types can help spur creativity, build authority with search engines, and attract new visitors to your site.