While the adage quality over quantity remains true in legal content marketing, your law firm’s blog post length matters. Research is consistently showing that longer blog posts perform better. We’ve tested this with legal content for our clients and generally, the longer blog posts do receive more clicks and more engagement. But short posts containing critical updates that are distributed intelligently perform well too.
(As usual) There’s no one-size-fits-all blog post length for law firms, however, it’s generally accepted that posts containing around 2,000-3,000 words perform better. In this blog post, we’ll discuss why this word count range works, as well as some other factors to keep in mind if you want to hit it out of the park with your content marketing efforts.
Why Longer Law Firm Blog Posts Perform Better: The Human Element
Higher Quality Blog Posts Rank Higher on Search Engines
Historically, blog posts that were written to appeal to search engine algorithms performed better than high-quality content that wasn’t ‘stuffed’ with keywords. However, this has changed over the past years and ‘quality indicators’ have been developed to help search engines prioritise content that appeals to human readers, not the bots.
Longer law firm blog posts tend to appeal more strongly to human readers because they give a more comprehensive answer to their query. Blog posts with a higher word count tend to delve into the ‘why’ behind the answer to a question, while also outlining relevant ancillary information and providing additional value.
Given your law firm is likely trying to increase its credibility and/or deliver additional value for existing clients through its content, longer posts that delve more deeply into topics of interest are also more likely to achieve these marketing purposes.
Here are some general across-industry blog post length practices:
Let’s take a look at an example:
Two privacy law firms draft and publish a blog post about ‘dark patterns’.
The first publishes a 700-word blog post explaining what a dark pattern is and providing common examples of dark patterns.
The second publishes a 2,500-word blog post covering what dark patterns are, common examples of dark patterns, an overview of best practices to avoid dark patterns, an explanation about why dark patterns can damage a brand’s reputation and the impact they have on customer trust and loyalty, and an overview of what to do instead of relying on common dark patterns.
As you can see, the second post pre-empts common follow up questions, while firmly establishing that the law firm knows what the problem is and how to overcome that problem – building trust and credibility for readers.
5 Lessons for Law Firms About Quality Blog Post Length Best Practices
- Quality must be your main priority. Writing lengthy posts won’t help you achieve your law firm’s marketing goals if you simply add fluff or filler. You must strive to add real value with your words.
- You should keep your marketing purpose in mind when drafting your law firm’s blog posts. We’ve seen short blog posts be very effective at attracting high-quality customer leads to our law firm clients’ webpages where the lower word count achieves its purposes. For instance, short digestible updates about pandemic-related regulatory updates have consistently performed well.
- The structure of your content counts. Think about how each new sentence, paragraph and chapter flows from the previous ones. Start strong and finish strong, staying on topic throughout – and try to avoid legalese (unless you’re writing the post for an audience of lawyers). Your readers won’t mind reading 2,000+ words if you make it worth their while.
- Publishing a shorter, high-quality blog post is better than rushing through to publish a low-quality long blog post. Where time resources are stretched, feel free to draft and publish succinct, high-quality content that answers the query contained in the title. You can always join multiple posts together later to improve SEO.
- If your competitor has written a blog post about a topic and you’re hoping to provide your opinion on the same topic (hitting the same keywords), reflect on theirs and work out how you can do it better. You should consider whether you have questions at the end of reading the competitors post – and then answer those questions in your coverage. In these circumstances, you should also strive to write a blog post at least as long the competing law firm’s blog post. You can use this free word counter platform to see how many words a competitors’ post contains.
Images and Blog Post Length: Best Practices for Law Firms
Images break up the wall of text, making it easier to digest and more memorable for readers. It’s important that you include images in any post (for B2C law firms) – and it’s increasingly important that these images are high-quality.
Some best practices you should consider for images in your law firm blog posts:
- Generate your own designs to break up the text and provide a succinct visual overview of your content.
- Low quality or irrelevant images can hurt your law firm’s credibility.
- Including images of your law firm’s team members is ideal. Consider including professional images of your firm’s lawyers, wherever relevant.
- Ensure your images don’t impact the blog post’s load speed. You should condense the images so that they’re small files to avoid this common mistake.
Why Your Law Firm Blog Post Length Matters to Search Engine Algorithms
If you’re interested in the technical ‘why’ behind why longer blog posts tend to perform better: read on.
When you publish long-form, in-depth articles that comprehensively cover a topic, Google will typically rank them higher than short and shallow posts. Assuming the quality is there, people will spend longer reading them – and they’re more likely to share them with their friends or social media following. Both factors positively impact a post’s visibility.
Consequently, one aspect of search engine optimisation (SEO) your law firm must consider is that the size and overall word count of your website do play into your rankings. However, you can’t just create a large website with a lot of words and expect it to rank highly – there are other (potentially more important) ranking factors that come into play here.
Let’s look at a few of these factors:
If you publish a high-quality blog post that provides detailed coverage of a topic of interest, it is likely that a higher number of other blogs will link to your law firm’s blog post. Backlinks are one of the most important ranking factors considered by search engine algorithms – since backlinks show that other human readers find the content valuable. So, generally, the more backlinks your content receives, the higher it is likely to rank for relevant search queries.
The reason more pages are likely to link to your law firm’s blog post if it is longer is because it has a higher likelihood of answering more questions about the topic. Since it answers a broader range of questions, there are more opportunities for it to attract backlinks.
Time on Page
One ranking factor search engine algorithms use to determine how a blog post will rank is how much time users spend on that page, on average. Generally, the more time users spend on a page (when compared to competing pages, the higher that page will rank. By including more words in your blog post, users will typically spend more time reading them – assuming the quality is there.
More Relevant Keywords
Don’t skimp on keywords! Keywords are still important for search engine algorithms. However, they no longer need to be stuffed into useless sentences just because there’s space. It’s important that the content you include adds something useful to your law firm’s blog post and continues supporting its thesis and marketing purpose.
Good keyword density is achieved where the inclusion of keywords helps readers to navigate the content quickly, while also instructing the search engine algorithm what the blog post is about. Generally, you should include relevant keywords in your law firm’s blog post title, as well as around 70-75% of H2s in the blog post. (Read more about SEO Basics here).
Uncertain About How Long Your Law Firm’s Blog Posts Should Be?
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