“Who,” “What,” “Where,” “When,” “Why,” and “How,” as well as “Am”and “Is” are all examples. And it’s easy to see why these are so common. Most people (including legal prospects) turn to Google to find answers for their questions.
This is important to know because it presents a huge opportunity for legal marketers.
The Rise of Semantic Search
Google’s Hummingbird update back in 2013 resulted in some major changes to their algorithm. Most notable was that Google has since been able to decipher underlying meaning and understand what its users want in the broader context.
This is known as latent semantic indexing (LSI). With LSI, Google processes search queries by examining the whole rather than just individual keywords. And this is a big reason why question keywords have caught on.
Creating great content that thoroughly answers a question puts legal marketers in a position to thrive in the Google rankings.
Optimizing for Questions
With eight percent of all search queries involving questions, it gives savvy legal marketers an opportunity to dominate. It’s just a matter of properly using question keywords.
Besides just ranking highly on the first page for a keyword, it also increases the chances of your content appearing in featured snippets. Here’s a good example of a featured snippet for “how to negotiate a settlement.”
As you can see, this featured snippet is located at the very top of the page even before the number one ranking and the “People also ask” box.
Fortunately, this isn’t all that difficult to do. You just need to follow the right formula.
Formats for Question Keywords
There are three potential routes you can take when optimizing for question keywords.
- Direct answer questions – These start with “Who,” “What,” “When,” “Where” and “Why.”
- Short answer questions – These start with “Why,” “Is” or “Can,” and a basic answer can usually be given within a paragraph or two.
- Long answer questions – These typically use a “How To” format and answer a question step-by-step.
How to Optimize
The trick is to first find a solid keyword that receives plenty of searches but has a relatively low amount of competition. This is something you’re likely already familiar with if you’ve been doing SEO for any length of time.
Tools like the Google Keyword Planner, Moz’s Keyword Explorer and SEMrush are all great for performing keyword research. All you need to do is find a promising keyword and include it in a question format.
For example, you might take the keyword “personal injury settlement” and create question keywords like:
- What’s the average personal injury settlement amount?
- How is a personal injury settlement calculated?
- Where can I find a good personal injury settlement lawyer?
A big part of SEO success is simply understanding user behavior. Recent data clearly shows that people frequently use questions to find information. Building a strategy around that should help you pull in more organic traffic and generate quality leads for your law firm.
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