Google is everchanging and growing with new updates and guidelines for content and websites. Following these guidelines is the best way to optimize your law firm content. Recently, they released an update about the importance of passages within text.
What is Passage Ranking?
When searching for something, you often look for a direct answer. You don’t want to read through multiple different blogs and articles looking for answers. This is where passages come in. In the past few months, you may have noticed that Google search results occasionally bring you to a page with a highlighted passage.
Google takes your question and looks for an answer. They’ll use this answer in drop-down questions embedded within search results. Passages will also appear highlighted once a searcher clicks through from Google.
“Very specific searches can be the hardest to get right since sometimes the single sentence that answers your question might be buried deep in a web page. We’ve recently made a breakthrough in ranking and are now able to better understand the relevancy of specific passages. By understanding passages in addition to the relevancy of the overall page, we can find that needle-in-a-haystack information you’re looking for.”
— Prabhakar Raghavan in Google’s “How AI is Powering a More Helpful Google”
Basically, passages prevent users from wasting time looking for concise information. But how do authors and content creators ensure that Google picks up their passages?
Tips for Writing Valuable Law Firm Content for Passage Ranking
Suppose you’re a lawyer looking to build your website with useful content that attracts potential clients. In that case, you’re probably curious about how you can write valuable content and rank for passages. To write valuable content for your law firm, you should consider the following.
Consider Specific Questions
Before you start writing, consider your audience. Who are you trying to attract? If you’re a law firm, you’re likely looking to attract future clients. Think about those future clients. What questions do they often have at the beginning of the lawsuit process?
- What is my case worth?
- How much compensation will I receive?
- How do I file a lawsuit?
- How much does a lawyer cost?
Using these simple questions and others, you can develop your content strategy. You can ensure that your blog contains useful and valuable content for readers.
Suppose you tackle the question, “How much does a lawyer cost?” You may choose to write an article about contingency fees. Within that article, write a short paragraph (2-3 sentences) that answers the question without restating it. An example of this would be:
“Our lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning that hiring a lawyer upfront costs nothing. You will only pay for our services if we win your case. Then, we’ll take a percentage of your winnings to cover legal fees.”
Focus on People-First Content
Recently, Google started rewarding content that was written with people in mind before search engine rankings. About this, Google says, “Google’s automated ranking systems are designed to present helpful, reliable information that’s primarily created to benefit people, not to gain search engine rankings…”
By creating your content for people first, you’ll create stronger content that ranks better anyways. This is because you’re paying more attention to the things that google values, like experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-E-A-T).
Plus, people-first content will help you rank better for passages because you focus more on providing helpful information that answers questions. If you write with people in mind, you might rank for passages in your text without meaning.
Keep E-E-A-T in Mind
In December 2022, Google updated the acronym E-A-T to include a second E for experience. Experience should shine through in any content that you make. For a law firm, experience is easy to achieve. Are you a lawyer? Do you have experience working on cases in the field you’re talking about? Check. You have experience!
The second E stands for expertise. While experience is hands-on and personal, expertise refers to knowledge. Because expertise is evaluated at the content level (not the site level), you’ll need to showcase this expertise in each blog. Having an author bio that states your name and information is a great way to do this.
A is for authoritativeness. Authority and reputation go hand in hand. Why should someone go to your site directly to find information? For law firms, authority is simple. If someone has questions about personal injury, the best person to ask is a personal injury lawyer. You have the authority to share your knowledge.
Trustworthiness is the most important facet of E-E-A-T. Trustworthiness is a measure of your site’s security. To increase your trustworthiness, you should ask yourself the following questions about your website:
- Is your domain secure?
- Is your contact information listed?
- Do you have a Google Business listing?
Follow Content Best Practices
And, of course, you should follow content best practices to give yourself the best shot of ranking for passages. That means writing short paragraphs that look good on desktop and mobile devices.
When writing for a general audience, you want to avoid using complex language or referencing specific statutes. The simpler the content is to understand, the better. You want your content to be readable and accessible. You’ll also want to ensure all your content is mistake-free.
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