FindLaw’s 2017 U.S. Consumer Legal Needs Survey — an annual survey that delves into the biggest influencers on a consumer’s decision to hire an attorney — discovered that 27% of those surveyed used voice search when looking for an attorney.
Most (21%) of them used a home device like Google Home or Amazon’s Echo; 6% used Siri or other mobile voice search. The fact is, more and more people are using AI assistants like these to perform searches, which means that you need to do what is necessary to optimize your law firm website for voice search. Here are six ways to get started:
Clean up local profiles. Most voice searches are local, with people looking for something “near me.” So it is in your best interest search-wise to be sure all your local profiles are in place and correct:
- Check your NAP (name, address, phone) information to make sure it is consistent across every listing you have on the Internet — your website, blog, social media profiles, directories like Avvo, etc.
- If you don’t have your office hours published, add them to your contact pages.
- Post client reviews on your website and ask clients to review you on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Avvo and any other relevant review sites.
- If you don’t have a Google My Business page, claim yours and be sure you have the proper category information as well as good images.
Understand how people are using your site. Do most of your website visitors come to your site to do research or are they looking for a lawyer immediately? To satisfy both audiences, be sure your website has content that speaks to both groups as well as others whose intentions may not be so easily gauged by reviewing your site analytics.
Most voice searches are done by people looking for immediate information. Therefore, your site content needs to feature answers to questions these people are most likely to ask. Remember to include Q&As for both types of queries — those who are just doing research may ask something like, “What does a car accident lawyer do?” and those who are closer to hiring an attorney may ask, “How much does a car accident lawyer cost?”
Be sure your site has structured markup. Structured markup is code that helps Google identify what kind of content is on a website page. Google uses structured markup to display mobile search results. Most website data can be marked up; ask your webmaster to add structured markup to your website.
Increase page speed. Page speed is one of the main factors Google uses to determine which sites should be served up first in search results so make sure your site loads as quickly as possible. Even trimming off a few microseconds can improve your ranking. Some ways to accomplish this include:
- Compressing site images.
- Compressing code and removing slow scripts.
- Optimize mobile content using Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP).
Google’s Page Speed Insights tool can provide you with any other technical changes that may be necessary to increase your page speed.
Have relevant, conversational content. Because people speak differently than they write, your content needs to be more conversational in tone in order to optimize your site for voice search. Forget about keyword density and focus instead on creating shorter sentences that include your location(s) and practice area(s). Think about how you talk about your firm at a networking event or during a consultation and write your content like that. Cut out any legalese that the average person would never use in a voice search. For example, people don’t look for a “family law attorney,” they look for a “divorce lawyer.”
Use your FAQs. Think about the questions you hear every day from clients and prospects, write them down with the answers and add them to your website. The questions you post should be ones you think your target market will be asking on voice search. Be sure you post each question on its own page. If you have a Live Chat function on your website, search that data for questions that people routinely ask. Another good resource for finding commonly asked questions about specific subjects is answerthepublic.com. I just searched for “divorce” and found that a couple of the most commonly asked questions about divorce are, “Are divorce records public in (state)?” and “How divorce works in (state).”
Do your research. Even if you area already a frequent user of voice search yourself, you need to be educated on how most people use it. One of the best ways to do this is to review the guides for the various personal assistant devices from Google, Apple and Microsoft.