When you need the answer to a legal question, unless you’re seriously traditional you most likely pull your smartphone out and ask Siri or Alexa. Below Tom Desmond, CEO of Law Firm digital marketing agency ApricotLaw, delves into the ever-evolving uses of technology in the legal sphere.
Voice searches are becoming increasingly popular. More than 77% of Americans use smartphones and nearly 1 in 6 Americans using smart speakers — and both of those kinds of devices come with artificial intelligence (AI) assistant technologies like Alexa and Siri.
That means many Internet users are conducting searches for lawyers via their smart devices, rather than using their desktop computers or laptops. They may not be asking Alexa to represent them in court, but they are asking her questions they might ask a lawyer, and she’s directing them to attorneys who can provide answers.
These advances in AI and voice search technology are having a significant impact on search engine optimization (SEO) for law firm websites. Is Alexa your new lawyer? No, but she might connect you with your next big client.
Traditional SEO and Law Firms
As most private attorneys know, a good SEO strategy enables law firms to generate more leads, which turn into clients. In the Internet age, SEO helps law firms thrive and dominate their markets.
Traditional law firm SEO involves choosing relevant keywords to target, creating high-quality, original content, getting diverse backlinks to your site, and ensuring that your site is mobile-friendly.
Barring any radical shifts at Google headquarters, these basic SEO principles are likely to remain important in the realm of law firm marketing. But innovations like AI-assisted voice search are changing the SEO landscape, and it’s up to law firms and their SEO providers to keep up.
How Artificial Intelligence Guides Internet Users to Lawyers
As voice searches on smartphones and smart speakers become more common, individuals looking for an attorney are more likely to use these technologies in their research.
The way AI assistants guide voice search users to attorneys is different for each system. For instance, Google Assistant will report only the top Google results, while Alexa will only provide answers that have been proven accurate. And most AIs only relay information from one or two top results to users.
The language used in these AI-assisted voice searches is drastically different from the way a searcher uses Google on a laptop.
For example, if an individual is looking for a car accident lawyer in New Orleans on his or her laptop, he or she might type in “New Orleans car accident lawyer” into Google and be given pages of the top-ranking car accident attorneys in New Orleans.
However, the same individual using Alexa will conversationally ask something like “Alexa, how do I find the top car accident lawyer in New Orleans?” That means the dialogue of voice search sounds a lot different from the text-based Boolean searches of days past.
Generally, someone conducting a voice search through an Amazon Echo or other Alexa-enabled device will want to do, know, or buy something or go somewhere. As it relates to law, that means they want to contact a lawyer, know something specific about the law, retain an attorney, or meet with a lawyer.
Alexa will seek to answer such queries in a conversational, human way. That means law firm website content should be conversational if it hopes to catch Alexa’s attention during voice searches.
How You Can Optimize Your Firm’s Site for Voice Search
There are a number of ways you can optimize your site to dominate voice search results. Answering the “who, what, when, where, and why” of the search queries related to your firm, location, and practice area can convince Alexa to select your firm over your competitor when it answers a user’s voice search command.
An easy way to match the conversational phrasing common to voice searches and hopefully rank well in the voice search results is to emphasize frequently asked questions and answers about your firm and practice areas on your site.
Another key aspect of voice requests through Alexa is assistance with navigation and location. By integrating your firm’s website with Google Maps and making in-content references to your location, you can alert Alexa to the fact that you are, indeed, nearby when a user asks her to find “personal injury lawyers near me,” for example.
Alexa’s No Lawyer, but She Can Connect Clients with Your Firm
Although Alexa is not a lawyer and is in no way able to give legal advice, her algorithm will pick up conversational language, FAQ answers, and location references when answering her voice search queries in an effort to connect users with an attorney who can help them with their legal matter.
By making sure your law firm’s website is optimized for AI-assisted voice searches, you can raise your chance of being her response of choice when she’s asked to find a lawyer for a user.