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5 tips for writing effective practice area page content

5 tips for writing effective practice area page content

Your practice area pages have a lot of heavy lifting to do. A practice area page may be the first and only page a visitor sees on your website. It should be informative, interesting and speak to the concerns of your potential clients. It should hold readers' attention. And a good practice area page should also convert readers into leads and clients.

Know the purpose of your practice area pages

Practice area pages do more than just tell visitors what services you provide. They offer a perspective on who you are and what it is like to work with you. They speak directly to potential clients, demonstrating why they will benefit from hiring you. And they invite readers to contact you.

Your practice area pages also work toward SEO goals because they contain contextually relevant content for individual service topics. Practice area pages that answer specific questions may also rank well for high-converting long tail keywords.

Here are some tips for writing effective practice area page content.

1. Write detailed pages about a single topic

Too often practice area pages devolve into a bulleted list of services. This tactic provides visitors with little insight about your firm and no actionable information. When a prospective client lands on one of your practice area pages and sees only a nondescript list, similar to that on any other attorney website, what reason does that visitor have to contact you?

Focused content helps with both SEO and conversion.

Since Google began using its Hummingbird algorithm in 2013, exact match keyphrases have become progressively less important to search rankings. Instead, Google is looking at the context of a page to determine its relevance to a search query.

To help Google and other search engines understand the context of your pages, write clearly about a single topic. If, for example, you practice family law, break the overall subject down into individual areas of concentration. One page that briefly covers spousal support, child support and child custody dilutes the context of each for search engines. A page that covers one of those items comprehensively is more likely to appear in search results than one that is watered down with too many subjects.

Also remember that people looking for a family law attorney are less likely to be interested in family law in general than they are to want answers about specific aspects of family law. These visitors will relate more readily to a page discussing child custody and outlining the process of working with your firm on child custody issues than they will to an overview of family law services. This example applies across all legal services; people want to learn about precise subjects.

2. Proactively answer questions

So much emphasis gets placed on a web page's technical performance — and its performance with search engines — that it is easy to forget you are writing copy for real human beings. These fellow humans have hopes, fears, concerns and goals.

A page that addresses a prospective client's concerns will resonate with that person. Always write for people who are visiting your website and for people you want to have as clients. For a start, try answering the following questions:

What do you do?

How are you different? What advantage does the client get from you that they will not get from your competition?

What will the client be expected to to do once they hire you?

What will you be expected to do?

What is it like to work with you?

What is the case process like?

Why should the visitor hire a lawyer for this matter?

3. Provide examples

A good strategy for holding visitors' attention is to group relevant information within the same areas of the site. You may have a page dedicated to reviews, one dedicated to videos and another to representative cases. This makes sense, as some people will be looking specifically for those types of content.

These dedicated pages serve as a hub for certain items, but that does not mean that representative case content, for example, should be restricted only to its dedicated page.

Some visitors, particularly those who visit your practice area pages, are likely looking for a broader understanding of a core service. These readers benefit from seeing a collection of material related to that service on the practice area page. For example, a personal injury firm that handles automobile accidents specifically related to faulty tires would want a page dedicated to tire accidents. On the tire accidents page, the firm could consider adding:

  • • Copy explaining tire accidents and manufacturer negligence
  • • A case study or representative transaction concerning a tire accident
  • • Example results from previous tire accident cases
  • • One or more frequently asked questions about tire accidents
  • • A testimonial from a client who was helped with a tire accident case
  • • Links to relevant articles (on your site) about tire accidents
  • • Brief bios of attorneys who handle tire accidents, with links to full bio pages

This gives potential clients more than just an explanation of the law; it gives them reasons to contact you.

4. Write for intelligent visitors

Assume that your readers are smart people who are interested in learning about the law. Because most of them are. Always understand your audience demographic and write copy they will understand, but do not over-generalize or over-simplify.

Also, avoid talking down to visitors or filling pages with unhelpful, over-optimized, keyword-stuffed copy. Do not just tell people that they need a lawyer and assume they will agree; explain why a hiring a lawyer is the best option and how you will solve real problems.

Within this context, however, do not use legalese. It is fine on a website to use colloquial language for legal terms. Mention the legal term once, then move on to talk about it in accessible language. You are not filing a brief or writing for a law journal; you are trying to get prospective clients to trust you.

5. Provide a call to action

Every practice area page should tell the reader what you want them to do next: contact your firm. You may offer secondary calls to action, like a free ebook or podcast download. However, always make your priorities clear. After visiting a practice area page, readers should have no doubt about what steps to take next.

Your practice area pages deserve attention. Do not just throw a laundry list of services at visitors who may be potential clients. Respect your readers and provide thoughtful content that resonates — and gets results.

Kristen Friend
Kristen Friend holds two bachelors degrees from Indiana University and an associates degreee from the International Academy of Design. As Art Director for Custom Legal Marketing, her work has been awarded Webby Honorees, WebAwards, Davey Awards, Muse Awards, W3 Awards, and many others. She is also a contributor to Entrpreneur Magazine through the Entrepreneur Leadership Network.