In the fast-paced digital landscape, you expect constant changes. But, in 2023, you’ve really had to hold on to your hat! The art of digital marketing and SEO for lawyers is undergoing a profound transformation behind the scenes, and it’s happening so fast that it’s nearly impossible to keep up.
So, what do you need to know about attorney marketing and SEO in 2023? How can you stay ahead of the curve? Join us on a crash-course journey as we explore three developments that are rapidly revolutionizing digital marketing as we know it.
1. Major Google Analytics Update Prioritizes the Client Journey
Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the latest overhaul of Google's analytics platform, replacing the Universal Analytics we’ve all used for years. Just like its predecessor, GA4 provides insights into your website and app data, helping you track your performance and identify key metrics and milestones. However, that’s about where the similarities end.
This is a huge shake-up for lawyers, marketers, and anyone else that has ever tracked their website, app, or ad performance online. So, let’s dive into some of the key ways the switch to GA4 affects law firms.
Enhanced User-Centric Approach
GA4 focuses on the user journey rather than individual sessions. You can track user behaviors across multiple devices and platforms, giving you a holistic view of how people interact with your website or app and more insight into the path new visitors take to become real clients.
GA4 emphasizes event tracking, which provides more granular data about user interactions. Events can include actions like button clicks, form submissions, video plays, and more. This level of detail helps you understand how users engage with your website and which actions they’re most likely to take.
Machine Learning and Predictive Insights
AI is everywhere in 2023, and GA4 is no exception. GA4 incorporates machine learning to give you predictive insights and even more valuable data analysis. It can automatically identify trends, patterns, and anomalies in user behavior, allowing you to make better data-driven decisions. For example, GA4 can help you identify the most effective marketing channels for acquiring new clients or predict the likelihood of a website visitor converting into a client.
Privacy and Consent Management
GA4 includes enhanced privacy controls and aligns with evolving data privacy regulations. It allows you to configure data collection and ensure compliance with user consent preferences. This is obviously important in any kind of legal marketing, where client security and data privacy are paramount.
Although it was just released in July 2023, GA4's enhanced analytics are rapidly reshaping the SEO landscape for attorneys. So, don’t feel bad if you need a hand getting up to speed! You can reach out to our team at 888.886.0939 to learn more about getting it set up and using it effectively.
2. AI Takes the Online Attorney Marketing World by Storm
If you’ve read anything about law firm marketing in the last year, you probably already know that AI-driven advancements have seemingly come out of nowhere to change absolutely everything. Below, let’s talk about a few ways law firms are using AI to their advantage.
Chatbots and Virtual Assistants
In the past, automated customer service often produced a generic, lackluster experience. Now, though, AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants have advanced by leaps and bounds to deeply enhance the client experience. These AI systems provide instant support and information for curious clients, and they respond naturally to questions. Law firms are using these tools to handle basic inquiries, schedule appointments, provide information about their legal services, and offer self-help guidance on their websites.
The best part is that these kinds of AI chatbots can be available to your clients and potential clients 24/7, which improves accessibility and responsiveness while your human staff focuses on more complex tasks.
AI Content Creation Tools
AI copywriting, image, and video tools are making some of the biggest waves right now, with OpenAI’s ChatGPT being one of the most recognizable. With these kinds of tools, you type in a prompt—try something like, “write a blog post about estate planning for business owners”—and the AI uses natural language processing and machine learning to produce your results.
Here are just a handful of examples of the ways law firms are using AI content tools to get more done:
- Use an AI copywriting tool to generate a blog post. From there, ask it to create 5 social media posts and some email copy based on that blog content.
- Use AI for brainstorming. Try a prompt like, “give me 10 ideas for an article about tax disputes.”
- Use an AI video generator to create an “explainer” video on a topic. Add an AI-powered virtual assistant to it that allows users to interact with the information, ask questions, and request more information.
- Generate a whole series of posts that answer frequently asked questions. Put them together into a downloadable book, and head over to an AI image tool to generate your cover image.
This is an exciting area, and we’ve barely scratched the surface of what AI can do. It’s just the beginning!
However, it is important to understand that we’re not yet at the point that these tools can output perfect website content, videos, or images on their own. While they can and do streamline the content creation process, lawyers still need to check, edit, and verify all the content AI produces for them.
AI-Assisted Search and Ranking Algorithms
Google has fully embraced AI in developing their search and ranking algorithms. The company currently uses RankBrain—a “machine learning” or “AI” algorithm—to understand keywords in search, measure how users interact with search results, and gauge their satisfaction with what they find. With its machine-learning capabilities, the algorithm essentially adjusts itself based on actual user behaviors, like clicks, time spent on page, bounce rate, and more. And it gives Google a much better idea of what its users are really searching for, as well as what they mean when they type in a search.
And like we mentioned above, you can also see the advancement of AI-assisted analytics in the newly released Google Analytics 4.
3. Helpful Content Reigns Supreme in Search
At the end of 2022, Google rolled out a major algorithm update, dubbed the “helpful content update.” You might have guessed from the name, but this update focuses on the quality of your content and how it aligns with the needs and expectations of your readers.
Google’s overall guidance on quality content hasn’t really changed with this update. It’s been clear for YEARS at this point that helpful content is what Google (and your potential clients) want to see. But this issue has definitely become a lot more serious with the helpful content update.
Not sure if your content is hitting the mark? Here are some things Google wants you think about:
- Do you have a clear focus for your website?
- Do you have a specific audience in mind for your content?
- Are you writing for actual people instead of search engines?
- Do you demonstrate knowledge and expertise in your content?
- Does your content answer questions and help readers achieve their goals?
- Does your content leave readers feeling satisfied with the experience?
- Does your website meet other core quality guidelines for things like technical health, page speed, security, privacy, best practices, etc.?
- Do you need to audit the older content on your site to remove anything that would now be considered “unhelpful” according to this update?
Google is also quick to say that the people-first approach to content doesn’t invalidate SEO. Ethical optimization is still a critical part of getting found in Search and connecting with your perfect clients. Google just wants to make sure that you’re applying that optimization to high-quality, knowledgeable content that your perfect clients want to see and read.
If your content is all optimization and no substance, that’s when you’ll incur Google’s wrath.
Curious about the impact that AI-generated content has on search rankings? Well, whether you use AI or not, the official Google recommendations for creating rank-worthy content remain the same. Google doesn’t really care how you create it, as long as your content is relevant, meets quality standards, and shows your experience, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.
Keep Driving Great Clients to Your Law Firm in 2024 and Beyond
In 2023, we’ve seen the legal industry rapidly embrace cutting-edge technologies, making online search a dynamic playing field where innovative strategies reign supreme. Lawyers that harness these new tools and technologies are propelling their law firms to new heights, and they’re doing it using innovative SEO and marketing strategies that are perfectly adapted to these rapidly changing times.
Are you ready to unleash the power of AI, GA4, and quality online content for your law firm? Using our combination of marketing technology and full digital marketing services, we’ll build a digital strategy that continually attracts, converts, and retains the types of profitable clients you like to work with. Get started by booking an appointment with our experienced team.