If you have been studying digital marketing, you might be sick of hearing the phrase “artificial intelligence” because everyone is trying to take advantage of it. In this section, we look at how you can get in front of voice search engines and robots like Amazon’s Alexa using specific types of website content.
ComScore says that 50% of all searches will be done by voice search in 2020. That means that understanding this technology is no longer optional.
It’s time to embrace the fact that we are moving towards a world where you can have a Star Trek-like computer that interacts with you and can tell you verbally about almost anything.
Technology is advancing at such a rate that people are now able to choose how they search for information they need. One such search method is voice search. Law firms can also make use of voice search to increase the number of ways they can be found online.
Voice search is different from a “normal” search on say, Google, because you’re using your voice instead of a keyboard. However, is that the only difference? In the annual FindLaw Consumer Legal Needs Survey (2017), it became apparent that 27% of people were already using voice search when hunting for an attorney. These people usually use a mobile device (the Siri app on an iPhone) or an at-home device (Amazon Alexa, Google Home) to conduct their searches. So it’s important to get it right straight away.
In the next section, we provide a framework for optimizing your own law firm website so it is ready to attract prospects who are using voice search.
How to optimize for voice search
Optimizing your law firm’s website for voice search involves understanding how people actually voice search and what (small) incremental changes you can make to your website to have the greatest effect.
Think about the types of questions people might ask, based on what stage of the sales funnel they are in. You could have people who are at the beginning of their search, curious about general information. They might ask questions like “what does an estate planning lawyer do?” Next, you might have people farther down the funnel, who could ask “how much does an estate plan cost?” Beyond that, there will be people who are much farther down the funnel and will be looking for specific details about specific practices. They might ask, “Who is the best estate planning lawyer in Manhattan?”
As you can see from the examples above, there are a number of opportunities to target keywords. If you can optimize your website so that search engines can easily find answers to user questions on your site, they’re likely to present prospects with your information.
One tactic to help you do this is to make sure your structured markup is in good working order. Structured markup is a type of code that tells Google what type of content is on each page. Google then uses that markup to decide what content they should display on the search results based on the specific query. To implement structured data, visit , which has a semantic vocabulary of tags or microdata that you can add to your HTML code.
And try Google’s schema helper tool.
Here are some law firm website pages to add schema to (these are just examples):
- The home page. The home page can be marked up with organization schema, as well as “website” schema.
- The contact page. Detail comprehensive contact information as structured data.
- Practice area pages. Schema App makes it easy to mark this content up with what’s called “article” schema.
- The law firm blog. There’s a schema for blog posts called “blogposting” to use on all posts.
- Prominent staff. Create “person” markup for individual biography pages. If a lawyer earns a knowledge panel in search, it helps.
A simple example:
“name”: “Super Book”,
“description”: “Ultra interesting. Super impressive.”,
If this seems like Martian code to you, then the good news is that there is a WordPress SEO Structured Data Schema plugin. It gives website owners a super-easy way to add schema for the following:
Another way you can increase the chance of your law firm’s website being used for voice search queries is to speed up the website. Remember that Google uses website page loading speed as a deciding factor as to which pages they show in the top search results. The same goes for voice search. If you can decrease your site’s loading speed by just a few seconds, you can significantly improve your rankings.
Use natural language
To optimize your law firm’s website for voice search, you need to include keyword-specific answers to the questions your target audience has. But how do you phrase these answers? Should you use industry jargon? Should you use language that your audience might use instead?
The answer brings us back to the differences between normal search and voice search. Normal search is much smarter than it used to be. Today, you could search “personal injury lawyer Miami” and get some useful results.
Compare that to the voice search, where the user is probably more likely to say something like: “Siri, tell me the best personal injury lawyers in Miami.” See the slight differences in the two search questions?
With voice search, you need to use natural language, and the best way to do this is through trying to target long-tail keywords. Most people don’t talk to their Amazon Alexa and just say “family lawyer New York.” They’re much more likely to be specific about the type of family lawyer they’re looking for. So they might ask their device to “give me a list of child custody lawyers in New York” or “find me a list of divorce lawyers in New York for women.”
If you can improve the ways you use natural language on your website, you will increase the likelihood of your content showing up in the results for a voice search query.
If you’re concerned about having natural language (instead of industry jargon and buzzwords) on the core pages of your website, an FAQ page can be a wonderful way to ensure that you have a hub or area on your website that provides valuable information for users and is completely optimized for voice search.
FAQ pages as part of your resource section
In fact, one of the best ways to optimize for voice search is to create an FAQ page. Such pages are not only good for helping your law firm website rank well on the search engine results pages (SERPs), they’re also useful for optimizing for voice search. This is because FAQs help to answer direct questions — the exact same type of questions people might be asking their helpful voice-activated robots.
When putting together your FAQ page with voice search in mind, be sure to think about the types of questions your target audience is likely to ask and how they might be phrased.
If you’re unsure what questions they might ask, look through the historical data from your live chat or customer support to see which topics crop up repeatedly. If a number of people are asking the same questions, then it is probably wise to create direct copy on the website that helps address these questions.
You can also use a range of online tools to help you discover which are the most popular questions that people search for on Google. Answer the Public, for example, gives you a cluster of questions based on a specific keyword. In the example below, we can see a number of different questions people might ask when it comes to the subject of “family law”.
If you have ever used a voice search tool, think about the types of questions you might ask:
“How much does it cost to file a trademark?”
“What’s the closest law firm to me?”
“What’s the phone number for XYZ law firm?”
Organize your FAQ content in such a way that it directly answers the question your audience might have.
Think about how you write the copy for your FAQs. Don’t be afraid to return to it to update it as needed, and don’t use overly technical language.
Your audience may not be highly knowledgeable about legal phrases and, if they are in the early search stage of the sales funnel, you don’t want to overwhelm them with content they just don’t understand.
Make sure each answer for each FAQ question is provided in the first paragraph (if an answer has multiple paragraphs). If you don’t organize your content on a paragraph level, the search engines will struggle to find the information they need to process your prospect’s question and might not supply your page in the search results. Any supplementary information that’s still important should be placed in the second paragraph and beyond.
This way you’re optimized for voice search where the most important information is listed first. But also you’re optimized for regular search. where people can choose to read more detailed information about a point if they wish.
You can even create an FAQ table of contents with links to each of your separate pages that answer questions in short and long form.
Know Queries and Know Simple Queries
In the 2015 Google Quality Rater’s Guidelines & Handbook, they discuss how they analyze different types of queries.
According to Search Engine Land, “Know simple queries” tend to be the type of queries that often show a featured snippet or other type of knowledge boxes, and “Know Queries” are ones where the result couldn’t be answered in a short list or one to two sentences.
If you do a Google voice search and check the word count of the paragraphs and pages that come up in the top three results, you will get the facts about the text depth that is chosen by Google to place at the top of the search results pages. You can then test using that text depth for writing your own short and long FAQ content.
Clean up your local SEO
We’ve spoken about optimizing your website for voice search for terms like “what does a divorce lawyer do?” However, people searching for answers to questions that are so general usually aren’t close to becoming customers.
Your only (or main) aim may be to attract people further down the sales funnel — people searching for “phone number of the best criminal defense attorney New York.” One of the easiest ways to optimize for this is to make sure your local SEO is in good working order.
Your local SEO is important if you want prospects in your geographic area to have a clear understanding of your business, where it’s located, and the different methods people can use to contact you. You can also (if you haven’t already) claim and update your Google My Business listing to help the search engines understand more about your business. Make sure the listing has your correct business name, phone number, address, and email. Make sure your social links are consistent with your website and any directories you might be featured on.
Simply having FAQs on your website is not enough. You need an authoritative law firm website in order for your questions to be considered for position zero (above the main search results) or position one on the search results pages.
If you can keep in mind the differences between the ways a spoken question is phrased and the ways a “normal” online search is conducted, you’ll be well on your way to optimizing your website for voice search.