Editor’s note: This post was originally published in May 30th, 2020 and was updated on June 5th, 2020, and July 15th, 2021, for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
What are featured snippets? How can you elevate your law firm’s organic results to get that spot? Today, we come up with 5 actionable tips for your legal SEO success.
Google’s strategy relies on searchers spending time on its pages, if possible without moving out of the Network. Featured snippets are part of this strategy.
What exactly are featured snippets?
They are a selection of text-based results designed to answer the search query. They appear at the top of the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages), and they are often considered as position #0 from many SEOs, as they appear over the traditional number 1 organic spot. They are pulled directly from related indexed web pages, and they are usually definitions, lists, and tables. Let’s find out their value to your law firm’s SEO strategy, and discover five actionable tips that will help you increase your organic presence.
Below you can see how a featured snippet looks like:
- How can you mark a page as a featured snippet?
You can’t. Google determines the pages that provide searchers with information that reply to their search query and elevates them. All you can do is create relevant, unique, and easy to read content for your law firm’s website that invites the search engine to use it as a featured snippet. Direct answers, followable steps, lists, and tables are usually among preferred results.
- Is there a downside on featured snippets?
It depends on your point of view. Until January 2020, featured snippets had position #0 on the SERP, but nowadays, a lot of SEOs consider it as spot #1. This happens because if your law firm appears as a featured snippet, your traditional organic result will be pushed back to page number two. If you wish to retain your traditional organic result you can ask your webmaster to exclude snippets with a tag.
Now that you are familiar with the basics of featured snippets, it’s time to explore their added value to your Law Firm’s SEO strategy.
- Give answers to the right questions
It all starts with our favorite keyword research. Understand what questions you need to answer and how people formulate them. Who knows the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) of a law firm better than you? Nobody and FAQs are ideal candidates for featured snippets. Why? Because they are designed to effectively answer specific questions. Make sure that you gather all Q&As and develop a detailed page on your website. If you are an attorney who’s handling multiple areas practice, ensure that you create specific pages for each one of them. Let’s understand the value with two examples of featured snippets.
- Personal Injury query:
You can see in this example that Google pulled a result from an FAQ page, giving this Personal Injury Attorney a prominent spot in the SERPs. Depending on the searcher’s intent, this might result in a visit on the webpage and potentially on an action, like a call or a form submission.
- Bankruptcy Query:
In a previous article, we covered the increased importance of bankruptcy-related digital marketing campaigns. Now, take a look at this search query. It shows high intent, and the searcher could be someone in need of legal advice for his case. The top spot, with a featured snippet, goes to an NGO, but this could be your bankruptcy firm helping the searcher.
Remember: If you have video FAQs, transcribe them, they can become the most effective tool in your journey towards featured snippets.
2. Get your law firm ready for Voice Search.
We’ve covered the overall importance of Voice search for your law firm in a previous article, but today we will concentrate on how Voice Search is related to featured snippets. When people use their voice assistant to perform a query, they often ask a question. This question needs a clear and specific answer, and thus featured snippets are the most appropriate results.
Here is a Voice Search Query for a Bicycle Accident in Phoenix:
Google Assistant reads the featured snippet, mentioning the law firm’s name. The call to action, and potentially a new case for this attorney is just a phrase away.
Remember: If you have video FAQs, transcribe them. Especially if you filmed them conversationally, they can become the most effective tool in your journey towards featured snippets.
3. Be well organized and prepared for multiple questions.
Google prioritizes content that is organized, well-written, and provides clear answers to the search query. Organize your legal website’s pages with bullets, lists, tables, and rich paragraphs to gain authority and attract Google’s preference. There is no definite answer from Google regarding the optimum word count for featured snippets, but below you can find a research from Moz showing that your best chances are with 40 to 50 words.
In the same context, especially for your blog posts, write strategically, so that a single article answers multiple similar questions. Why is this important? Google understands synonymic questions. You should be able to do the same because you increase your chances to get your website elevated for more queries.
Remember that your content in Spanish matters too. US Hispanics represent a great opportunity for law firms. With the proper bilingual legal SEO strategy in place, you can increase your organic traffic and caseload with more Spanish speaking clients.
4. Add branded images to your content.
Sometimes, featured snippets might not result in a click as the searcher can find his answer on the SERP. You need to ensure that you make the most out of these cases. How can you achieve it? One way is to have a subtle mention of your law firm’s name in the answer, but there is an additional way that can prove to be the most effective. Sometimes Google shows an additional image next to a featured snippet. Make sure to add your logo to all your assets so that you attract the attention of the searcher, increasing your law firm’s brand awareness.
5. Benchmark against your competitors.
If you’re familiar with our blog articles, you already know that we consider benchmarking a must for every law firm. You need to know your metrics and understand your performance, but there’s a lot to learn from your competitors. Research their organic presence and identify where they’re having success with featured snippets. As soon as you know where they are ranking and what brings them success, you can start doing it better and get to rank higher, getting the featured snippet for your law firm. There are multiple tools you can use; we’d suggest you look into SEMRUSH and SpyFu. If you need assistance or have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.
What are our key takeaways?
- If your law firm’s website makes it to the featured snippet result, your traditional organic result will be pushed back to the second page.
- Create unique content and keep it organized. This will give you an edger over the competition.
- Work on your FAQs and transcribe your videos. It will drastically help you, especially with conversational search queries and voice search.
- Conduct thorough research for your keywords. This will lead you to answer all the right questions.
- Monitor your competitors’ performance. You’ll gather valuable data and ideas on how to become more efficient.
June 5th update
After years of testing, Google announced it’s officially adding new functionality to featured snippets. Danny Sullivan of Google confirmed that if your search results on a featured snippet and you click on it, Google may highlight on the web page, the text you viewed on the featured snippet, or jump straight to it.
This is a significant change, as it might affect the way people are viewing your pages and means that they might skip your call to action. You build your law firm’s website to inform people and provide valuable information, but ultimately, your goal is to attract new clients. To ensure that you don’t miss chances for new cases, evaluate your calls to action and make them visible throughout the visitor’s journey on your website.
July 15th update
We are coming back with a bonus tip that could help you take the extra step your law firm might be needing. Videos are constantly gaining ground in legal marketing as more searchers are looking for visualized answers to their queries. Your QnAs and FAQs that you have uploaded on your YouTube channel could be a great addition to your SEO strategy and your quest to getting on the featured snippet. Optimizing your keywords, adding the proper tags, growing your law firm’s YouTube subscribers, and understanding the competition are the steps you need to make. The types of videos we mentioned above would be ideal, as they are usually long enough (around 6-7minutes) and educational, two factors that play a vital part in Google’s preferences.