Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most potent tools a law firm has to reach its target audience. SEO is becoming increasingly complicated to navigate with the ongoing introduction of new technologies like artificial intelligence. Google’s frequent updates to its algorithms further add to this complexity, making it more critical than ever for law firms to stay abreast of the latest trends in SEO.

In recent years, Google has made numerous changes that have significantly impacted how it ranks content in search results. In particular, the company has focused on rewarding well-written, original content rather than AI-generated content or content “scraped” from other websites. This shift has made it even more critical for law firms to produce high-quality, authentic content if they want their websites to stand out in the search results.

This blog discusses the value of authentic content relative to content marketing, human writing, high-quality content, and AI writing tools. We’ll also discuss how much effort law firms should invest in written content that offers consumers relevant information and adheres to Google’s standards.

The Legal Industry Should Focus on the Big Picture, Not Individual Signals When Creating Authentic Content

According to a Search Engine Land article published on August 22, 2023, law firms can achieve SEO success by prioritizing authentic and concept-based content over individual signals, as advised by Google experts Martin Splitt, John Mueller, and Danny Sullivan. In an episode of Search Off the Record on August 24, 2023,  they shared insights on ranking updates, user-centricity, and the significance of publishing quality content.

More recently, on March 5, 2024, Search Engine Land announced that the Google helpful content update has been incorporated into its core update, leading to a 40% reduction in unhelpful content within search.

While we all aspire to understand Google’s algorithm, focusing on delivering valuable content to your target audience and prioritizing their satisfaction is crucial. Enhance your rankings, traffic, and conversions by putting your users first.

When Implementing Effective Legal Marketing Strategies, Including a Law Firm’s Content Marketing Strategy, Consider the Ultimate Goal: To Build Trust with Consumers and Loyal Customers when Generating Content

Regarding search engine optimization (SEO), many firms have become fixated on understanding all ranking factors that affect search rankings. However, according to Mueller, there is a better approach. Instead of dissecting every detail, he suggests focusing on the overall picture. From a technical standpoint, things are generally reasonable. The key is ensuring that your website presents a helpful and valuable user experience.

Since various systems comprise Google’s algorithm, Sullivan advises maintaining a high-level focus. Google will continue to provide more information to help you understand these systems better and increase your chances of success.

In short, don’t get lost in the details when it comes to SEO. Instead, create a website that provides value to users and stay informed about the systems that drive search engine rankings.

Google’s Most Recent Changes and Their Effect on Authentic Content Marketing

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Whether producing a blog post, social media posts, or ad copy for paid advertising, your legal marketing strategy should consider the following Google updates.

BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) – One of its most significant changes, Google introduced its BERT algorithm in 2019. An AI-based technology, BERT allows Google to better understand natural language and interpret the intent behind a query. It has made it easier for Google to recognize content that provides useful, meaningful information rather than artificially generated content or content simply copied from other sources.

Mobile First Indexing Initiative – This Google initiative prioritizes mobile content, meaning that websites must be mobile-friendly, with content optimized for small screens. Unfortunately, AI-generated or scraped content often does not translate well to the mobile format; therefore, law firms must focus on creating quality, original content for their websites to stay ahead of the competition.

Featured Snippets Feature – This Google feature allows a website’s content to appear in the search results as a box with an answer to the user’s query. While it’s an excellent opportunity for potential new clients to see a law firm’s content, the firm must create original, well-crafted content to earn a place in a Featured Snippet. Otherwise, Google may use AI-generated or scraped content, which could mean the user will not find the answer they are looking for and click away from your website.

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Defining Authentic Content Marketing for Law Firms

The podcast’s discussion stressed the importance of authentic content, especially in the era of AI-generated content. According to Mueller, producing content genuinely created for a specific audience is crucial in navigating Google’s evolving ranking systems. While AI content may have its place, Mueller believes that pointing people toward authentic information will be the foundation for success. In a world craving authenticity, prioritize genuine content to achieve your goals.

Understanding User-Centricity in Authentic Content Marketing in Your Legal Marketing Strategy

According to Sullivan, considering the perspective of the people reading your content is crucial. Put yourself in their shoes and anticipate their questions and needs. He advises providing helpful information like parking instructions and directions to your law firm based on personal travel experiences. His philosophy aligns with Donald Miller, the author and CEO of StoryBrand, who encourages business owners to think of themselves as the guide and their customers as the hero.

Moreover, Sullivan urges content creators to think critically about their audience and whether their content truly satisfies their needs. Write with the audience in mind and ensure the content is valuable and informative. Miller takes this a step further by noting that customers buy solutions to internal problems, and that identifying our customers’ problems deepens their interest in the story we are telling.

Splitt emphasizes that the goal of SEO is not simply to rank highly on search engines but to create a user-friendly and high-quality website. He questions whether the content is designed to benefit users and if search engines can comprehend its value.

What is the secret to successful SEO? Generated content that serves your audience’s needs and appears easily understandable by users and search engines.

Focus on building relationships with your target audience to engage them and compel them to return to your website. By providing helpful content that answers their questions or offers solutions to their problems, you can foster a sense of trust between you and your readers to develop loyalty and encourage repeat visits.

AI Tools and AI-Generated Content

Although Artificial Intelligence (AI) has quickly become a helpful writing assistant, law firms should not consider it a replacement for human writers. Often, AI-generated content seeks to fill gaps in existing information or answer simple questions; it cannot possibly replace the creativity and ingenuity of a real writer, nor can it provide detailed insight into complex topics. Moreover, law firms should never publish content produced by AI without editing, rewriting, and checking for accuracy from legitimate sources.

Many AI tools can help you generate content. GPT-3, for example, is a text generator that can produce large amounts of content at an impressive speed. However, it’s inappropriate for detailed research pieces or sophisticated works of writing — such as a blog post, webpage, or PPC ad — because it cannot understand the context and can generate incomplete, inaccurate, or incoherent content. GPT-3 works best for internal communications, such as memorandums.

Articoolo is an AI-based article generator that enables users to enter a topic and keyword phrase and produce articles in a few seconds. However, the quality of the output could be better.

AI provides a valuable starting point for writers as an assistant, but it’s not a replacement for human writers. Understanding how search engines work and the role of AI-generated content is vital for creating a successful SEO strategy for your law firm. Prioritize authentic content over AI-generated content to satisfy users and search engines while increasing online visibility. Law firms can create a solid foundation for their legal marketing strategies by focusing on crafting meaningful, user-centric content.

Search Engine Results Also Rely on Website Optimization

However, SEO isn’t exclusively about content quality; it’s also about technically optimizing your website to give users a good experience. Factors like page speed and redirects can significantly impact how Google ranks your website.

Google Analytics or other web analytics tools can track your website’s progress over time and adjust as needed based on the data you collect. You can also use SEO tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs to find out where your website ranks for specific keywords and phrases to enable you to make changes and improvements to increase your rankings.

Final Thoughts: In an Era of AI-generated Content, Implementing an Authentic Content Marketing Strategy in Legal Marketing Efforts Should Be at the Forefront of Law Firms’ Content Creation Process

There is no substitute for authentic content when it comes to SEO. Law firms should focus on creating quality content tailored to their target audience if they want to stay ahead of the competition and experience tangible results from their SEO efforts. By understanding Google’s ranking updates and putting effort into creating high-quality, helpful content, law firms can ensure that their website stands out in search results and attracts potential clients.

An Award-Winning Legal Marketing Agency, Law Firm Marketing Pros Can Help with Authentic Content Creation That Appeals to Consumers and Enhances the User Experience

Does balancing search engine optimization with authentic content marketing and website optimization feel time-consuming? Our award-winning legal marketing agency can help. With over a decade of experience working with attorneys, we understand the urgency of keeping up with Google’s changes and producing original, relevant, and useful content in the age of AI. Our talented, experienced, and knowledgeable team of in-house content writers can handle the entire process for you, from blogs, meta descriptions, social media posts, and webpages, and our savvy SEO and website professionals can manage link building and other critical efforts involved in website optimization.

Contact Partner and Co-Founder Josh Konigsberg, author of Law Firm Digital Marketing Made Easy: The Only Book You’ll Ever Need to Become a Best-Known Attorney, to schedule a free 15-minute client accelerator call at (561) 948-5001 or complete our online form.

Though brief, this call dives deep into your strategy. Josh will then prepare a complimentary digital marketing brief packed with 25-35 pages of value that drives qualified clients directly to your practice.

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This blog is not intended to be legal advice for a lawyer or law practice. No special relationship or privilege exists between you and the Blog and/or its owners, Law Firm Marketing Pros or its Affiliates (“LFMP”). LFMP IS NOT A LAW FIRM and THE AUTHOR IS NOT AN ATTORNEY. You will be representing yourself and your law practice in any legal matter you undertake or any Client you represent as a result of your use of the information provided in the Blog, including any Services offered through the Blog and content available on the Site the Blog is published on, and in all other matters relating to you and your businesses. This Blog may provide audio-video content, referenced articles, newsletters, and other content for informational purposes only. In the process of providing this information, the Blog is engaged in the publication of information regarding business and management issues that may be commonly encountered by law firms. This blog is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney. This Blog does not review any of your answers to questions for sufficiency, provide legal advice, or analyze applicable law and apply it to your specific requirements. Accordingly, if you need legal advice for a specific issue, you are advised to seek the advice of your local, state, and/or national Bar Association.

Do you still have questions about digital marketing? Contact Partner and Co-Founder Josh Konigsberg, author of Law Firm Digital Marketing Made Easy: The Only Book You’ll Ever Need to Become a Best-Known Attorney, to schedule a 15-minute client accelerator call at (561) 948-5001 or complete our online form.  Though brief, this call dives deep into your strategy. Josh will then prepare a complimentary digital marketing brief packed with 25-35 pages of value that drives qualified clients directly to your practice.

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