Voice search has become a common way for people to find information, businesses, and services. Read on to learn how to optimize your law firm’s website and business listings for voice search.
Voice Search for Law Firms is On the Rise
Why has voice search become so popular? It’s because we’re more connected—and accustomed to convenience—than ever. Nearly every adult in America owns a smartphone, each of which comes equipped with an assistant powered by artificial intelligence (AI) that can be accessed almost effortlessly.
These AI assistants now live in our homes, too. It’s become incredibly easy to ask Siri or Alexa for recipes, weather information, or to play a song—and even to find a lawyer. Add the fact that it’s much easier to talk than it is to type and you get the perfect avenue for today’s consumers to search for a law firm. Whether those potential clients are on the go, in a dilemma, or just curious about a legal issue, voice search is a tool that law firms cannot ignore.
Types of Voice Searches
There are two basic types of voice searches that apply to law firms, each of which requires a different strategy for optimization. The difference between them comes down to the intent of the searcher: are they looking for general info about a legal issue, or do they want to hire a lawyer?
These two types of requests will prompt different types of answers from an AI assistant. Answers to information requests will usually read off a sentence to the searcher, while answers to service requests list potential businesses one by one, starting with the highest-rated ones near by, and ask for feedback after each result.
Information requests include general legal questions such as:
- “What happens in an uncontested divorce?”
- “Can you get emancipated if you’re under 18?”
- “Are there different ways to get legally separated?”
When people ask these questions of their AI assistants, they’re not necessarily looking for legal help right that minute—they’d just like an answer to a question they’ve thought of. They don’t need to know where the nearest lawyer is; they want to be informed. To answer information requests, AI assistants draw upon informational articles and FAQ pages.
Service requests are more specific and time-sensitive than information requests. They can include questions like:
- “Is there a good divorce lawyer near my office?”
- “I just got a DUI. Can you find me a lawyer nearby?”
- “Who’s the best motorcycle wreck lawyer in Little Rock?”
People asking these questions are further down the sales funnel than those making information requests. These searchers have an intent to find and hire a lawyer.
When answering service requests, AI assistants draw upon business listings. Depending on which AI assistant the searcher uses, the places the assistant goes to find those listings vary:
|Assistant Name||Technology/Platform||Search Location|
|Siri||Apple iPhone, iWatch||Apple Maps|
|Google Assistant||Google Home, Google Nest||Google My Business|
|Cortana||Microsoft Windows 10||Bing|
This differs from spoken information requests because the focus is on location and rating, not necessarily specific keywords. Keywords do come into play, of course, but the fact is that AI assistants are prepared to provide business listing info—not your law firm’s website—to a prospect who is using voice search to find a lawyer. This means that to show up as a result from a spoken service request, your firm’s business listings must be 100% accurate and rated highly.
That doesn’t mean you don’t have to optimize the content on your website, however. The more authority your website has in general, the more likely it is that an AI assistant will trust it enough to provide it as a voice search result.
How to Optimize Your Law Firm’s Website for Voice Search
There are a few things we can do to make sure the content on your law firm’s website does everything possible to rank highly enough to get used in a voice search result.
Don’t worry—you don’t have to completely revamp or undo the existing SEO (search engine optimization) work you’ve done! Your existing SEO is still effective at helping your firm show up in relevant voice searches because voice search results tend to be taken from high-ranking content. According to Backlinko, 75% of voice search results rank in the top 3 regular search results for the same query, and 40.7% of all voice search answers come from a Featured Snippet.
Keep it Simple & Straightforward
The content on your website must be written in a conversational tone to match how real people speak. In other words, remember to write for clients, not for lawyers—the people who want to hire you aren’t going to be searching using terms you learned in law school!
FAQ pages are absolutely vital for successfully implementing voice search for law firms. By writing the questions that clients commonly ask and providing a clear, concise answer to each one, you’re creating quality SEO content for both regular search and voice search.
“Phrase the questions as the voice searchers would ask them,” suggests Virginia Mayo of Bigger Law Firm. “The more questions on the firm’s website, the more likely the response to voice searches will feature content from the firm’s site. The more the question matches the query, the more likely it will provide the preferred response and attract potential clients.”
In addition, make sure that the answers you write are about 29 words long—that’s the length Backlinko found was most commonly used in voice search results!
Location, Location, Location
Thanks to wide-knowledge websites like LegalZoom, FindLaw, and even Wikipedia, it’s almost impossible to guarantee that your law firm’s website will be the one chosen by an AI assistant to give an answer about general legal information. However, your chances improve as searchers include more information about their location.
- “What’s an uncontested divorce?” is unlikely to pull up your FAQ page for answers.
- “Can you get an uncontested divorce in Arkansas?” might go to your website, but probably not if there’s already a well-established page—whether on FindLaw or on another firm’s site—that already answers that question.
- “How do I get an uncontested divorce in Little Rock?” narrows down your chances considerably—as long as you have quality local SEO!
The more information you include in your content about the location of your firm, the better. The key is to conversationally describe where you’re located and the courts you serve when writing about the services your attorneys provide. This helps convince search engines—and the AI assistants browsing them for information—that you are a promising prospect for solving the searcher’s problem.
For a more advanced approach, you (or your webmaster) can use HTML tagging and schema markups to inform search engines about the types of content you have on your law firm’s website.
“Headings, subheadings, tags, and links are important to your search engine optimization, and even more important to your voice search engine optimization,” explains Anthony Flores of Attorney Marketing Network. “Make sure that all questions that are incorporated into your site’s FAQ are marked up properly with <H2> headers, so they provide the proper impressions.”
Schema markup (also called structured data markup) is another way to let Google know what exactly is on your law firm’s web pages. Examples of valuable schema markups for a law firm’s website include Legal Service, Question, and Answer.
“Incorporating schema markup on your website provides search engine bots with specific semantic information in the exact language they understand,” says Mark Homer, CEO of legal marketing agency GNGF. “You should be marking up as much as you can on your website to help the semantic part of the search engine algorithm. At the most basic, you should use the legal service markup to provide specific information about your law firm business to search engines.”
Finally, make sure your law firm’s website loads quickly, Backlinko discovered that “voice search results tend to load significantly faster than most web pages”—52% faster, in fact. If you’re not sure how to compress the content on your law firm’s website to help it load faster (especially on mobile), Kirkpatrick Creative can help.
Can Clients Use Voice Search to Find Your Law Firm?
Optimizing your law firm’s website for voice search takes work, but the rewards are well worth it—especially as voice-activated AI assistants grow in popularity.
At Kirkpatrick Creative, we know what it takes to strengthen your law firm’s online presence. We’ve learned through decades of experience to measure and refine the effectiveness of everything we do for our clients. It’s what we call advertising engineered to work: custom strategies built on capitalizing on what works for your law firm—and eliminating what doesn’t.
We want to help you make sure that every dollar of your firm’s advertising budget pulls its weight. If you’re ready to get started on the journey of voice search for law firms, Kirkpatrick Creative can help. Call us today.