Users who see you online and don’t think you’re an industry-leading expert won’t trust you – and neither will Google. Why should you care?
A study by one of the UK’s leading marketing attribution companies found organic search to be responsible for 66% of all new business enquiries generated over the phone by its UK law firm clients.
This clearly demonstrates the importance of SEO for Law firms.
Your firm needs a committed and strategic approach to organic search if it is to succeed in 2024 and beyond, but to get this approach right, it’s vital to understand how Google thinks, and how it evaluates your website content and that of your competitors.
Is your firm’s website presenting information that Google and users trust?
Google always seeks to put the needs of its user front and centre. The quality and relevancy of Google’s results in correlation with user intent, has long been a challenge Google’s devotion has sought to fulfil, and it has become super-sophisticated at doing so.
The freedom the web brings in allowing anyone to become publisher-in-chief, coupled with the sheer volume of online content, creates the obvious need to filter out the detritus, to sort the wheat from the chaff.
Google has engineered an algorithmic approach to ensuring the cream rises to the top. This process is critical to understand and address for law firms, because it can make or break the potency of your SEO strategies.
Whether you know it or not, Google E-E-A-T is at hand and working away every single day. The mechanics of EAT constantly evaluate topics covered by your website content, looking at the way you describe them and the way you digitally demonstrate your knowledge.
The content on your website is classed as a YMYL (Your Money of Your Life) topic by Google. This means that Google sees your content as being able to directly impact the wellbeing of people and businesses. For example, if someone wants to find out more about making a compensation claim following a traumatic birth event, or a business is looking to resolve a dispute amongst shareholders, then getting the wrong information (similar to being given bad advice) could have long term consequences for whomever consumes the content.
This is why E-E-A-T principals need to be at the heart of your SEO content strategies and content marketing efforts.
If users became dissatisfied with Google’s results, the resulting impact could threaten Google’s $1 trillion advertising system. Clearly Google will not want this to happen, so It’s vital they display authority in their results, ergo, it’s vital for Lawyers to EEAT their (website) words.
What is E-A-T and how has it evolved?
EEAT (or Double-E-A-T) is Google’s method for evaluating if their search ranking systems are providing helpful, relevant content (i.e. would ordinary people feel the results they get from Google demonstrate expertise, authority and trust).
In more recent times, Google has become particularly sensitive to EEAT evaluations when it comes to YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) topics and the need for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness (E-E-A-T).
A careful approach to EEAT & YMYL can hugely benefit your SEO strategy and is a must if you are to become more visible on Google.
Why is E-E-A-T important for law firms and SEO?
Google EEAT underpins Google’s evaluation of a website across all the whole variety of ranking systems that interact with one another, allowing Google to display search results to a query in micro-seconds.
Furthermore, the newer AI powered rankings systems with machine learning have EEAT principles at their core, when it comes to YMYL topics, such as those that pervade your website.
Incorporating E-E-A-T into your law firm’s content marketing strategy is the best way to drive more relevant traffic to your site. It’s also the best way of ensuring your site is less likely to suffer the pains of any negative impact from algorithmic updates by Google.
Getting EEAT right will essentially future proof your organic search exposure and allow you to grow.
By showing Google that your website is trustworthy, you are propelling your search engine recognition forward, and enabling your site to reach more people with commercial intent.
A brief history of E-A-A-T
2014: E-A-T is introduced
Originally, prior to E-E-A-T, Google introduced E-A-T in 2014. This stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness:
- Expertise: This is about how accurate your content is, and how the author can showcase their knowledge around the topic
- Authoritativeness: This is all about how good the reputation of the website and author is. It can take time to build authority from Google, as newer sites present more uncertainty, but there are ways and means of building authority.
- Trustworthiness: This refers to whether your content can be trusted. Factors such as reliability and transparency come into play. For law firms, as they are presenting YMYL content, this is even more important: can your page be trusted for users?
E-A-T forms part of the quality guidelines set out by Google that used to improve any algorithm updates, and is evaluated by humans to assess the search result quality.
There is no E-A-T score which can directly be used to improve rankings, but if Google knows that your website can be trusted and your content reflects this coupled with being relevant to the user’s search query, you will more than likely rank higher, becoming more visible to your potential customers.
2014: YMYL introduced
YMYL was created to ensure that the information presented around sensitive topics is reliable. These topics include anything that can have a large impact on someone’s finances, health, safety or well-being.
The legal sector naturally finds itself under this umbrella, because a user could use your advice and take action resulting in a detrimental outcome, if your information wasn’t accurate.
For example, you could have a web page about a personal injury claim and have a section about a medical condition. If someone was to read and use this information and it was inaccurate, it could have negative consequences on their chances of making a successful claim or in other areas of their life.
It may not only affect the person viewing the content, but also:
- Others who are impacted by the person viewing the content.
- Groups of people affected by those who looked at the content.
2022: Transition of E-A-T to E-E-A-T, showcasing your law experience is key to SEO
In 2022, Google updated its Quality Rater guidelines, on the basis that users expect that people writing content on websites have experience. Thus, an additional E (for experience) was added to E-A-T, to make E-E-A-T.
It’s now essential your firm considers how best to demonstrate “expertise” within the underlying strategy and themes of your SEO activity.
Key components for law firm websites are:
- Lawyer biographies
- Case studies (utilising a variety of media)
- Accreditation & awards
- Strong back-link profile
- Bespoke schema markup design to link URL’s, authorship, and expertise together.
Through showcasing your experience on webpages, you can prove to Google that you are best placed to advise people on legal matters, and as such, Google will give you more credit. More credit from Google equals better rankings, more search exposure, more visitors and ultimately more new business.
We specialise in law firm SEO
At Cure Digital, we have more than 15 years of experience in law firm SEO. We have the technical knowledge that can take your business to the next level, through improving your E-E-A-T and creating quality content which will be recognised by Google. This is even more critical in the law industry, as YMYL means that your content will be scrutinised more than others for accuracy, reliability and trustworthiness.
We adopt a range of techniques, both on- and off-page to improve your search engine rankings, ultimately leading to new business generation for your law firm.
Every law firm is different, and our approach will be targeted towards your specific needs. Whatever your speciality and size, we can help your company grow online, driving targeted traffic to your site and generating more leads.
You cannot afford to not incorporate E-E-A-T into your law firm’s digital marketing strategy, and we can help you succeed with this, ensuring that we prove to Google that you are experienced, have the expertise and are authoritative and trustworthy.
The digital world waits for no one. If you are ready to elevate your employment law firm to new heights, it is time to act. Contact Cure Digital today and let’s start building a future-proof digital marketing strategy for your firm.