Business Strategy, Digital Marketing, User Experience

By Postali

Each year brings new technology and new ways for law firms to attract and retain clients. Below I’ve discussed five website-focused trends to pay attention to in 2021.

Local Service Ads (LSAs)

LSAs have been around in the home services industry for years, and they recently deployed in the legal sector. These ads are already impacting how people interact with a search result page. Here’s what they look like:

These ads are a game-changer for a few reasons:

 

  • They’re pay-per-contact, not pay-per-click like traditional search ads.
  • They occupy premium real estate on a search result page. Every click on these ads is a click that previously went to traditional ads, local map listings, or organic results.
  • They don’t require traditional landing pages because users go to Google-generated page. Here’s an example:

Google’s Ecosystem

Google wants to keep users on their platform because its data suggests it creates a better user experience. This is not a new trend. It’s just a continuation of what we’ve seen over the last few years.

As we look at how a search result page has evolved, this trend is clear. And it doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. The introduction of LSAs is a clear signal that Google wants to keep users in its ecosystem.

What does this mean for firms who want to be more visible in search? Spend time/resources investing in the firm’s Google properties like Google My Business and Google Local Service Ads. Make sure your service descriptions are thorough, use Google Posts, and, most importantly, get high-quality reviews.

Page Speed (Core Web Vitals)

Page speed has always been important to users. No one wants to wait for a page to load. As far back as 2016, more than 50% of users abandoned a website if it took longer than 3 seconds to load.

With much faster internet speeds available, users now expect almost instantaneous site load times. Not only do users expect a lightning-fast website, but beginning in May 2021, Google will too.

Source: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/google-core-web-vitals-ranking-signals/387142/#close

In May, Google will factor 3 page speed measurements (collectively called Core Web Vitals) into its page experience ranking signals.

What does this mean for firms? Fortunately, you’ve got time. Work with your web developer to improve page speed performance.

Curious how your site performs? Here are three free tools:

Brand/Positioning

The legal marketing world has been a bit behind the times when it comes to branding and positioning. For a long time, just being visible was all you needed. That’s slowly changing as consumers have become more aware of their options, and competing firms have invested in their brand.

Simply put, a strong brand creates a preference for you over your competitor. As markets become more competitive, consumers will decide who to call based on marginal differences between firms – website style, photographer, tone of voice, etc.

What does this mean for firms? Be mindful of how you’re perceived in the market. If you need to, form a small focus group and ask people how they see you. Are you perceived as you’d like to be? If not, it’s probably time for a change.

User-Centric Content

Write for people, not search engines. Google has invested significantly in natural language processing, and some of this technology deployed in 2019’s Bert Update. While this rolled out in 2019, the technology will continue to advance, and Google will improve its ability to understand web content and search query intent.

Websites that provide informative, helpful, and robust information will likely see increased visibility within search results due to this technology.

What does this mean for firms? Firms will need to be in-tune with the types of content their audience is looking for and must compellingly produce that content.

Jim Christy is the CEO at Postali, and oftentimes is the first point of contact with attorneys who might be interested in growing their law firm.