Google MUM and Creating Content for Lawyers
For a long time law firms have played a “tug of war” watch between SEO content and the way they would word information. Attorneys are intelligent, and as such, their vocabulary and level of understanding are going to be much higher than say the average reader. Over the last decade and a half, there have even been certain “grading scales” essentially built into certain organic algorithms that, if you believe what you read online from SEO gurus, trigger the search engine to “score” content higher based upon readability. Even one of our favorite SEO tools, Yoast, still utilizes the Flesh Reading Ease Score. However, the winds of change are upon us. And “MUMs” the word. Today, we’re going to discuss Google MUM and creating content for lawyers. Quality content. Finally.
See, up until now, even with user experience and content depth “checkmarks”, content still has been somewhat “blah”. SEO developers and content writers have still been “put into a box” and forced to play a keyword game. Even with tags, trying to trigger enough word count related to the potential clients typed in (or spoken) keyword search. Regardless of what you may have read, or been pitched by an SEO sales rep, semantic search never really had the impact it preached it would. Semantic search, in essence, was supposed to allow for higher quality content, and thus, better “reads”. Instead of focusing on repetitive keyword-rich header tags, and trying to slide in a keyword or synonym here and there, semantic searches were supposed to have (for lack of a better term) artificial intelligence to understand the intent and relevancy of the paragraph or article.
Alas, this never fully happened. Do we have definitive undeniable proof? No, we do not. So, why did we come to the conclusion that semantic never truly hit the mark that MUM will hit? Simple, for the last 5 years (including today as I personally write this article) we can STILL stick keywords into tags and paragraph bodies to trigger responses without being forced to push the envelope on high quality or even personal relevancy. Now, am I knocking my own writing style? I think not, lol, I personally believe I publish content like a perfect angel. That you are hanging on to every word I write, breathless for the next paragraph to come.
Okay, you get the point. Content has been and still is, a somewhat way for SEO publishers to “jimmy-rig” their way into the SERPs. However, that is all about to change (or say we hope and pray) with the rollout of Google’s MUM update. We’re going to dive deep into this new update, but for those of you who just want the quick and dirty info, here it is. In a “nutshell” MUM starts to fully understand what you are writing about and how it applies to a searcher. I cross-checks synonyms, gives relevancy and “brownie points” to authoritative writers (an attorney writing content gets a bigger bump than some SEO rep who doesn’t understand the law), understands multiple languages, and fully understands a keyword (yes there are still keywords).
So, without further delay, let’s try to dive into Google MUM and creating content for lawyers (see we just stuck our H1 tag back into this last paragraph, I bet this article ranks high for that specific keyword, thus proving semantic searching isn’t as powerful as MUM will be).
What is Google MUM and How Does it Affect Law Firm Websites?
Before we go too deep, we want to take a minute to back up. MUM isn’t out yet. Yes, everyone in the SEO world is talking about it. And yes, Google has mentioned and confirmed it’s rolling MUM out. But it hasn’t launched yet. So everything we are about to discuss is totally hypotheitcal. We’ve read all the articles from Google, Search Engine Land, Search Engine Journal, and MOZ. Our team of SEO reps and Google-certified ad specialists have put in the time to research this new platform as well. So, we don’t feel like we’re “shooting from the hip”, but nevertheless, we’re about to pick apart a platform that isn’t live and functional. So, what is Google MUM and how does it affect law firm websites? Let’s take a look…
Google MUM stands for Multitask Unified Model. It’s a “learning program” (for lack of a better term) that is built to understand the deeper meaning of a word or keyword. Now, MUM (again from what we’ve read and have been told) has multiple layers, or tasks, that it is set to accomplish. Some of the major ones have to do with understanding and crosschecking a search against multiple languages. There are lots of cool features that MUM should carry with it. However, for today’s read, we just want to focus on how MUM may affect the development of law firm SEO content. This is the part where you grab a pen and paper and take notes. Or, you can just call us and email us a copy of your credit card. We’d be happy to sign you up for services and handle all of your marketing for you. Too fast? Did we go for the close too quickly there? Okay, keep reading.
What MUM Does That Lawyers Need to Consider Before Publishing Content
MUM, as far as we are concerned so far, deals with content. Now, we are still HUGE pushers of Google AdWords, Google Local Service Ads, and traditional marketing such as, but not limited to, television and radio commercials, billboards, and print. In fact, we believe that organic SEO doesn’t deliver quality leads nearly as well as paid advertising does. But, like always, there is a caveat to search and to generating new quality case leads. Whether your new potential client finds you from a keyword search and clicks on a paid ad, remembers one of your TV or radio jingles, or received a flyer in the mail, chances are they are STILL going to “contact you” from a search engine. Here is why…
According to Baclinko.com, 35.86% of people use Chrome as their browser of choice. Safari takes the top slot at 57.19 percent. So, nearly 94% of people use a browser. Guess what, these browsers tend to launch Google Search Results. Doesn’t make sense yet? Okay, let’s try rewording it. Regardless of how someone finds you, they will want to do some level of research on you and your law firm. While organic SEO does NOT trigger the lead generation itself, it DOES help build trust and relevancy. Meaning, after a new potential client finds you they may want to read about you, research you, or see what other firms come up just because they believe Google “shows” real firms organically and paid ads are well, paid for.
Are you picking up what we are laying down? You will want your site, and especially your news articles and blogs, to rank well in the SERPs. So, in order to do this, you are going to have to understand what MUM does that lawyers need to consider before publishing content. Here are the key points we believe you need to think about when producing, or paying for, SEO content.
Root Keywords and Synonyms
A root keyword could be something as simple as “car accident attorney”. A synonym would be “auto injury law firms”. Currently, you would want to create content for both the root term and the synonym. In addition, you may even want to utilize a tag or link. This may change though. Instead of simply adding in the term, you will want to produce content about the term, and more importantly, explain the term and how it directly (as well as indirectly) relates to the searcher. We will explain more about this in the section titled “content depth”.
Content Depth is a beast. Okay, so we should have started with this because we believe this is the most important area MUM will most likely tackle. It’s a doozy, so go slow. Pretend for a second that a keyword, like “car accident attorney”, is the truck of the tree. All the synonyms such as, but not limited to, “car crash lawyer” and “vehicle accident injury law firm” are the branches of the trees. Then, the leaves that flourish from the branches are long-tailed search terms like “how long does it take to get paid after filing a car accident injury claim”. With MUM, it looks like you are going to have to go THIS DEEP (and maybe even deeper) when producing content.
The point of MUM is to understand the keyword at a more in-depth level. And, as such, it is built to understand the true intent of what someone is searching for. Here is an example. Let’s say you’re looking for an injury lawyer. You are most likely hurt. If you are hurt, perhaps you were in an auto accident. In turn, if you were in a car crash, you may need help with medical bills, auto repair bills, and you may want to know how long it takes to get paid after a claim is submitted. More so, if your injury prevents you from working, you may need to learn about getting reimbursed for lost wages.
Can you start to see how far down the rabbit hole you can go? MUM is built to understand WHAT a person who has been injured in an auto accident “cares about” or “wants to learn” more about. It’s no longer going to be enough to provide “vanilla content” about “hiring an auto accident injury lawyer in Los Angeles” to get a page or article to rank. You are going to need to create very DEEP content silos and produce content articles that answer a wide variety of secondary and third-level questions.
The final piece, and probably the most exciting for attorneys, deals with quality content. For too long content has been written at a “fifth-grade reading level” in order to “trigger” quality scores within algorithms and search parameters. Basically, in the past (and even still today without MUM being released yet) your content got a “brownie point” if it was considered “ease to read”. Now, with MUM, that goes out the window (again from what we’ve read and have been told so far). MUM aims to destroy bogus, keyword-stuffed, over fluffed content. And instead, it wants to replace it with quality, information-rich and ACCURATE content. So, what does this mean?
It’s a bit tricky, but here goes. Theoretically, Google is attempting to give a “personal injury lawyer” more relevancy and thus a better position in the SERPs for an article about car accident injury representation than say a medical website, newspaper, or SEO agency. MUM is supposed to understand that if someone is looking for legal representation after an auto accident then the best possible find would be an article written by a local car crash lawyer. Makes sense right? Think again…
See, Google (as far as we know so far) doesn’t know if a lawyer is writing the article or if an SEO agency is writing the article. All it can base its findings on are the URL (law firm website) tags, links, so on and so forth. MUM though is set to bring a new way of determining relevancy. It wants to understand the full depth of a keyword, the synonyms, and surrounding possible search questions that “branch off” from the root keyword.
This means the content needs to be written as if produced by a LAWYER. Not a random SEO rep sticking in keywords. Medical content should be produced by medical professionals, legal content by legal professionals, so on and so forth. Or, at a bare minimum, a very well-educated SEO writer who UNDERSTANDS the topic of law well enough to create accurate and informative content.
Utilizing Google MUM to Generate Better Leads for Your Law Firm
If you want to learn more about utilizing Google MUM to generate better leads for your law firm, give us a call. Our analysts are ready, willing, and able to walk you through all you need to and want to learn about the potential benefits (and pitfalls) of MUM. More importantly, we’d be happy to discuss all the types of law firm marketing campaigns we manage. At Big Bang, our goal is to help you grow your firm through the acquisition of more cases. More simply put, our job is to make you more money. Period. Forget the fluff, the fancy reports, the nonsense. At the end of the day, it’s about dollars out versus dollars in. The rest is hogwash.
The truth is that there will always be some new algorithm change, some new digital lead platform like Google Local Service Ads. TV changes, radio evolves. The point we are trying to make is that it DOES NOT MATTER how the client finds you, it’s about them JUST FINDING you and retaining you. You HAVE to obtain new clients per month (so as you practice injury, criminal defense, family law, so on and so forth) to keep the doors open. Let one of our analysts’ audit your current ad spend. Let’s see if there are ways to increase your productivity.
Law Firm Marketing and Getting Better Quality Cases
Thanks for stopping by today and checking out our newest article. MUM might be a great update. We won’t fully know though until it’s launched. Until then, we highly recommend you click on the links below to learn more about the programs that are running right now. There are lots of ways to grow your lead base. At the end of the day, it’s about making money. You need to make more money than you spend on your marketing, or it’s a waste of time and resources. If you’re an attorney, and you really want to learn more about law firm marketing and getting better quality cases, call us at (818) 877-7701. We’d love to talk shop and most of all, earn your business.