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How We Increased a Law Firm’s Leads by 174% With Content Optimization [Case Study]

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How We Increased a Law Firm’s Leads by 174% With Content Optimization [Case Study]


The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.

Content marketing and optimization are crucial parts of any respectable online marketing strategy. Without content, how does your target audience know who you are and what you’re offering them? Without content optimization, how do you expect that audience to notice you at all?

For my team at Tao Digital Marketing, our work with AFG Law goes to show that results can be achieved by focusing on creating the right content for the right audience. In this case, we saw: 

  • Leads increase from 306 to 840 (174%)

  • Increased impressions from 1.44m to 3.57m (148%)

  • Increased clicks from 17.5k to 55.5k (217%)

  • Clicks on top page increase from 8,549 to 30,419 (255%)

By making strategic changes at the right time and focusing our efforts on optimization, we generated these positive results — and so can you!

Objectives

The objective of any SEO work is ultimately all the same: to increase leads and generate sales.

We wanted to improve the customer journey through the sales funnel, all the way from “reach” (through pieces of content that would help potential clients), down to engaging with AFG Law by contacting them for legal assistance.

When we first spoke to the client, we discovered that the only way they were tracking leads was by verbally asking customers how they found out about them, which they would then enter into a CRM system. To address this gap, we wanted to provide tangible evidence that would help them see exactly where the customers were coming from, and the journey they took along the site.

We took AFG on as a client in April 2020, but naturally, results started to pick up from July 2020 as Google started to crawl the site more regularly. In this case study, we’ll be focusing on comparing July-December 2020 and March-September 2021 to give a fair six month representation of both years.

Our targets/KPIs for 2021 were as follows:

  • More than double leads from 306 to 650

  • More than double clicks from 17.5k to 40k

  • Technically optimize the site

  • Be able to clearly demonstrate the customer journey

The target audience was people who required the services of solicitors, so we wanted to provide answers to questions they may be searching for in blogs, as well as service pages appearing for those who needed legal assistance as soon as possible.

Law can be a complicated subject to understand, so it was important to really break down the chosen topics in a lot of detail. Our strategy focused heavily on content creation alongside technical changes that would support the performance of the content.

Our strategy

Step 1: Cross-analyze content data

The first steps we took included creating three audits:

1. Content audit

We create this using the Google Search Console KPI on Screaming Frog. This allows us to see current topics on the site and identify any thin or irrelevant content that could be deleted or noindexed. We can then review full URLs, word counts, clicks, and overall CTR.

Our tech team then orders the topics depending on how useful they would be to the client, such as focus keywords, search volumes, relevancy to client, seasonal data, time sensitive information, long tail or short tail keywords, etc. This can help to speed up the ideation process and focus on quick wins.

Example of a content audit detailed by Tao Digital Marketing on behalf of AFG Law

2. Content gap analysis

This can be done by using tools like Moz Pro’s True Competitor and also by manually searching through competitor’s sites to find topic areas you don’t cover. You can then find new areas in which to create content.

3. Competitor audit

This can also be done using tools and manual checks, as even after the above two audits, you can still miss little gems of data that can help with ideation.

In our case, after taking time to thoroughly review these audits for AFG, content ideas were then reviewed and researched by our content writer, moving onto our next step. Any content that may have been holding the site back from a technical perspective was handed over to our tech SEO experts, which is explained further in strategy point four.

Step 2: Create the content

After reviewing data from the audits, our content writer created and researched ideas. They looked to see if there were topics that AFG were lacking strong content for in the content audit and gap analysis, then checked if competitors were talking about them as well (or if they weren’t — that can be good news too, depending on the client and topic).

From there, they pulled together ideas for new blog posts, pages, and other content, and for optimizing existing content (for example, if AFG poorly mentioned a keyword that we highlighted as a good area of focus in the spreadsheet). They then carried out the usual checks:

  • Researching within Google Search Console (GSC) to see if existing pages were ranking for certain terms. For pages we planned on updating, we checked what the page was initially ranking for, and what elements needed keeping in and what needed adding. We also looked at what queries were ranking.

After this, “skeleton documents” are created, which detail the URL, meta description, keyword(s), as well as frequently asked questions, which can be found through Moz, the SERP, GSC and Answer the Public.

Example of a ‘skeleton document’, featuring technical information at the top of the document

In November 2020, we uploaded a “Guide to Common Assault, ABH and GBH”, answering the huge variety of questions we found through our research. The popularity of this piece absolutely soared and gained 28,000 clicks, with an average of 2.2K clicks per month.

Results of AFG’s common assault guide

The piece also ranked for 691 keywords, and ranked at position one for “common assault charge uk”. As we added FAQ schema to the page, it also appeared in the featured snippet for the key phrase, too. It received over half of the clicks (56%) for “common assault”.

Example of the common assault guide appearing in the featured snippet

The success of this piece is largely down to answering a large number of questions — 24 to be exact. As we mentioned, law is a complicated subject, so it’s vital that any potential clients can get their answers on AFG’s site, then follow the call to actions placed throughout to access further assistance. Clear, natural CTAs were really important, not only to conclude the articles, but also to encourage readers to use AFG’s services. Check out the example below to see how we tied one into a commonly asked question:

Example of a natural call to action at the end of a piece of content

We also included contact forms on popular and newer pieces to make the contacting process as smooth as possible. As you can see from the Thrive graph below, this has been very successful since we implemented the process eight months ago:

Example of contact forms filled in at the end of a piece of content

One thing to note: In October 2021, AFG decided to remove and redirect all pages regarding criminal law, including the common assault guide, as the criminal department is closing for new instructions. 

Another topic that has been hugely successful is probate. We noticed that there were a large number of searches around “probate meaning uk”, and “what does probate mean uk”, which to us, suggested there was a lack of UK resources around this topic.

We then created an in-depth guide to UK probate law. As it is such a complex area of law, this gave us the opportunity to really elaborate and give users the answers they were looking for.

This has become AFG’s second most-viewed page (after the common assault guide), ranking position one for “probate meaning uk” and other related terms. The piece ranks for 278 keywords and gets around 800 clicks per month, gaining 51% of clicks for the term “probate meaning uk”.

Results of AFG Law’s probate guide

Step 3: Analyze and review content

Creating great content is one thing, but tracking and tweaking content along the way is a whole other untapped source of information that many agencies just don’t have the time or resources for. We do this on a monthly basis as part of both research and client reporting. Each client receives 24/7 access to a live spreadsheet of work undertaken, as well as a monthly video report going into detail about the success of certain pieces of content, amongst other work.

Google Search Console is one of the most useful tools for us when it comes to tracking the performance of live content. We usually give content time to be indexed and to gain traction before going back to it — this can be anything from six weeks to six months. Once a piece of content starts to perform, we’ll analyze the data in GSC.

Take the aforementioned probate guide, for example. We covered a significant range of topics and queries to ensure that the guide was thorough. Even so, there will naturally be some questions we failed to answer. This is mainly because in our initial research, we take the most popular, topically relevant and applicable questions to discuss and answer within our guides to ensure that we meet the target intent. 

GSC will tell us what queries and keywords the guide is ranking for. For this, we looked into the data and saw an interesting query: “What is a Personal Representative?”. We’d mentioned this keyword in the content but, at the time, it didn’t feel necessary to explain it in its own section within the content. It was still ranking, however, due to it being contextually relevant and briefly mentioned.

After reviewing the term, understanding the search volume and relevancy to the content, we decided to add this to the guide as a standalone query. This meant that, although we were actually ranking for this term beforehand, we can now meet the search intent in more depth, providing much more useful information for those searching for that specific keyword and capitalizing on that search volume.

From a technical and psychological perspective, we look at heat mapping through Lucky Orange, which provides real-time data across a range of months. 

Step 4: Implement technical SEO

Tweaks that support technical SEO are perhaps some of the most important changes we made alongside content optimization to see real results. A technical SEO audit was undertaken alongside the content audits to provide direction. The site was unsecured when we first gained access, so there were a lot of fundamental updates to make. 

1. Noindexing and deleting content

There was a huge amount of content already existing on the site, but not all of it was bringing in traffic, and was actually harming the site by exhausting crawl budget.

AFG participates actively within the community and were writing many, many blogs, which was great for their brand and nice for their existing connections to read, but wasn’t going to bring in leads. We decided to noindex or delete a lot of these pages due to very low traffic and low rankings. This was done for close to 1,000 pages.

Usually, we would redirect these URLs, but since they had no traffic we did not on this occasion. These decisions were made using the data from the content audit.

2. Addressing redirects

The problem with many of AFG’s URLS was that they were far too long and didn’t include the keyword the page was aiming to rank for, so we changed several URLs and created 301 redirects from the old URLs. There were also a number of 404 errors that needed to be addressed and changed to 301 redirects.

3. Technically optimizing content

There were several pages that featured multiple H1s, an issue that needed rectifying as soon as possible. We manually went through these and changed them to appropriate H1s, H2s and H3s.

Page titles were also optimized to include keywords and company name, as well as meta descriptions, which were edited to under 155 characters.

FAQ schema was added to service pages that answered frequently asked questions as well as top performing pages, such as the common assault and probate guides.

In order to convert as many site visitors as possible, we also installed a Thrive Leads exit intent popup that appeared when a user was navigating off the page. This is used as a last resort to keep people on the site and to encourage them to get in touch, especially if they’re on a page without a contact form.

Example of exit popup installed using Thrive Leads

4. Making use of internal and external links

Building both internal and external links has been vital in improving AFG’s domain authority from 18 to 24. Internal linking was especially important as some vital pages were several clicks deep and not easily navigated to, so we used a combination of “Site:afg.co.uk [relevant term]” to find pages with similar topics that could be linked to, in addition to the Link Whisper software.

We also built links through answering PR requests (HARO, Response Source and #journorequest on Twitter) and guest blogging. It was important for us to build links to key pages, and to pay attention to natural anchor text that flowed within the content, rather than standing out as an obvious link.

Results compared to objectives

Leads

We exceeded this goal by increasing leads gained from 306 in 2020 to 840 in 2021, a 174% increase. This comes as a result of creating useful content, adding various contact forms on the page, as well as the exit intent form. 

Clicks

We exceeded this goal by increasing clicks to 55.5K, 217% of the original number. This comes as a result of various changes we made, such as creating highly relevant content that matches the user’s search intent, optimizing page titles and metas, and implementing FAQ schema. 

In 2020, the top page was the homepage, which gained 8,549 clicks between July-December. This year, the common assault guide was the top page, which gained 30,419 clicks between March-September 2021, meaning we have increased clicks to the top page by 255%.

Technically optimize the site

Although this is not as tangible as the other goals, the results can certainly be seen in the increase in clicks, impressions, and traffic. Changes such as shortening and optimizing URLs, addressing redirects, and link building worked in harmony with content creation.

Clearly demonstrate the customer journey

In September 2020, we connected AFG’s site to What Converts, a lead tracking software. This creates a unique custom phone number for visitors on the site so that the software can record exactly what page resulted in a call. It also tracks general form fills from the site.

As you can see in the image below, calls are the much-preferred contact method of AFG’s clients, taking up 1,025 of the 1,229 leads (83%) since we connected the site to the software. The rest came through contact forms from various different pages on the site.

What Converts’ example of overall leads generated since September 2020

The software also breaks down the exact page the customer came from, as well as where in the world they are based, pictured below. Naturally, most leads came through the contact page.

Thanks to more than exceeding our set KPI goals, AFG have been very pleased with our work and Director Anita Boardman the following to say:

“For years, we’ve been looking for a company to carry out the work Tao Digital have done for us, and be able to clearly demonstrate the customer journey as well as some fantastic results. We’re extremely pleased with the hard work carried out and have been able to grow our business further as a result of this work.”

Have you tried similar strategies? Have any suggestions for this process? Let me know in the Moz Q&A or on Twitter @LydiaGerman1! 



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The Ultimate Guide to Storytelling

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The Ultimate Guide to Storytelling


Storytelling is an art.

Not a process, method, or technique. And — like art — it requires creativity, vision, skill, and practice. Storytelling isn’t something you can grasp in one sitting, after one course. It’s a trial-and-error process of mastery.

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How to Blog When You Have No Time

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How to Blog When You Have No Time


Finding the time to blog is a frequent challenge for many marketers. Marketers often wear many hats and it can be difficult to focus long enough to churn out quality articles when you’re pressed for time.

How to blog when you have no time? We spoke with author and marketing expert David Meerman Scotton how to avoid common time management mistakes by developing a routine.

No matter what you’ve got on your marketing plate, it won’t get done without proper time management. Learning how to make the most of your time will greatly affect your productivity and overall success as a blogger.

Why is blogging time management important?

When it comes to creating content, maintaining consistency is key. This is why blogging time management is so important. You may not always feel motivated to create on a regular basis, but establishing a schedule will help you to stay consistent with your blog output.

For example, you may find that you’re better at writing in the mornings. So you can set aside 2 to 3 hours each morning to work on writing based on how many articles you’d like to produce each week.

Create a content calendar to help you plan your content in advance and set reasonable deadlines. Make note of holidays or seasonal events that may impact your content schedule.

Getting organized will help you set and achieve goals for your blog. If you’re starting from scratch, check out our guide to starting a blog.

How to Blog When You Have No Time

1. Use blog templates.

An easy way to jump-startyour creative process is to start with a template. Why suffer through writer’s block staring at a blank document if you don’t have to? HubSpot’s free blog post templatescan help you format your article and get started writing faster than starting from scratch.

[Include screenshot]

Templates function as an easy to follow outline where you can organize your thoughts and start to flesh out your content. HubSpot’s offer includes six templates ranging from how-to posts to pillar pages and infographics.

2. Develop a blogging routine.

In many ways blogging reminds David of exercising. In order to be successful at it, you will need to develop a routine. “It is programmed in,” David says. “It is about building it into your life and making it a second nature, like running in the mornings or doing yoga after work.”

Dedicate time each day to writing or allocate one to two designated writing days per week. Block time off on your calendar and turn off messaging apps to avoid interruptions while you write.

Once you’ve gotten organized and created a routine, you may find you had more time to write than previously thought.

3. Keep a list of ideas.

One way to save time coming up with content is to make sure you always have a running list of fresh ideas to work with. That way you’re not scrambling at the last minute for worthy topics.

Creating topic clusterscan help you flesh out your blog content strategy. A topic clusteris multiplearticles grouped by a shared topic or related topic. For example, you may have one pillar page that gives a broad overview of a topic. From there, you can create more in-depth, specific articles on related subtopics.

This will not only help you plan content but organize your site architecture as well.

4. Perform research prior to writing.

It’s much easier to write when you have all the pertinent information you want to include in one place. Research your chosen topic before sitting down to write and organize the information in a quick outline.

Include any keyword researchin this process so you can ensure your content aligns with what readers are searching for online. This way when you sit down to write, your only job is to write — not look up new facts.

5. Don’t edit while writing.

When writing it’s very tempting to want to stop and make corrections. Don’t do this. It breaks your writing flow.

Instead, write a rough draft withjust pops into your mind first. Follow your train of thought without stopping to fix typos or edit. The goal is to just get your thoughts on the page. Once your initial draft is written, you can always go back and make changes.

6. Perform article updates.

Another strategy is to build upon existing content by performing an article update. Giving your older content a refresh is not only good for SEO and your readers, but it can be a quick win for adding new content in a time crunch.

With older content, you may need to include additional research and update it for accuracy, but it generally takes less time than writing a new article from scratch. Review your existing content. Are there articles you can do a deeper dive on? Have there been industry advancements you can include? Is there a new angle to explore?

7. Find content ideas wherever you go.

By making blogging a life routine, you will come across creative content ideas much more frequently. Keep an open mind, observe new things that interest you personally and find ways to turn them into fodder for a blog post. By noticing world dynamics that get you excited and relating them to your audience, the process of blogging becomes a lot more natural and fun.

Accumulate content ideas from different situations in life and find ways to apply them to your industry.

8. Hire a freelancer.

Sometimes your workload is just too heavy and your efforts can be better used elsewhere. If you have the resources and budget to do it, hiring outside help may also be a great option.

Sites like Upwork, Contenta, and MediaBistro make it easy to find writing professionals. If looking to generate content on a larger scale, consider working with a content agency.

Blog Like A Pro

Creating content with a consistent cadence is an obstacle busy marketers frequently struggle with. Creating a schedule and mastering blogging time management will allow you to create even when you’re short on time.

This article was originally published in December 2010 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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How clean, organized and actionable is your data?

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90% of marketers say their CDP doesn't meet current business needs


A customer data platform (CDP) centralizes an organization’s customer data, providing a single 360-view of each consumer that engages with the company. Yet there are still data-related considerations that organizations have to make beyond what the CDP does.

“[CDPs] were designed to fill a need – to enable a marketer to easily get to the data they need to create their segmentation and then go on and mark it from that point,” said George Corugedo, CTO of data management company Redpoint Global, at The MarTech Conference. “But the issue is that CDPs really don’t take care of the quality aspects of the data.”

Maintaining data quality also impacts segmentation, campaigns and privacy compliance challenges for marketing teams that use this data.

Data quality

The data in a CDP depends on the quality of where it came from. Therefore, an organization using a CDP must also consider the quality of the data sources and reference files used to build out the CDP.

“The inevitable question is going to be, how good is this data?” said Corugedo. “How much can I trust it to make a bold decision?”

This is something that has to be on every organization’s radar. For instance, when identity resolution is used, the issue depends on the quality of the third-party reference files. If they are provided by a telecommunications company or credit bureau as the data partner, those files might only be updated quarterly.

“It’s just not an optimal solution, but every single CDP on the market uses some form of reference file,” Corugedo stated.

It’s up to the data scientists and other team members working within the organization to own the accuracy of these data sources.

Read next: What is a CDP?

Segmentation and other actions

The quality of the data using specific reference files and sources will vary and will impact the confidence that marketers have in creating segments and using them when deploying campaigns.

Marketers have to make this decision at a granular level, based on the trustworthiness of data from a particular lineage.

“If they have a campaign that is reliant on suspect data, they can actually delay that campaign and say maybe we wait until that data gets refreshed,” said Corugedo.

Otherwise, marketers are just “spraying and praying.”

Using rules instead of lists

The advantage of having a CDP is unification of all data. But the data is being updated all the time. Instead of deploying campaigns based on a fixed list of customers, the use of rules to define segments allows marketers to update who they engage in the campaign.

“A list, as soon as it’s detached from the database, starts to decay because it doesn’t get any updates anymore,” Corugedo, adding that using lists takes longer to execute a campaign.

Lower quality from data that isn’t updated can have serious implications for healthcare and other industries, where accuracy is essential. 

“Instead, rules are passed through the campaign just like they would be with a list, but those rules reevaluate every time there’s a decision point to make sure that only the qualified people get the particular content at that point,” Corugedo explained.


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Privacy and regulatory compliance

Maintaining data quality through a Redpoint Global dashboard, or a similar combination of tools and data personnel, will also help an organization manage privacy.

The crucial point is that people on the team know where the data came from and how it’s being used in campaigns. The stakes for sending out relevant messaging are high. Privacy and compliance issues raise the bar even higher.

If you’re using a CDP, you can save headaches and extra labor by using a tool that has compliance and privacy baked in, so to speak.

“What we’ve done is embrace some of this complexity and absorb it into the environment, so the marketer never even sees it,” said Corugedo. “What we do is with every implementation, we will implement a PII vault that keeps PII data super secure, and we can anonymize the marketing database.”

This way, personal information of individual customers (PII) is never violated.

“Marketers ultimately don’t necessarily need to have visibility to PII,” Corugedo explained “They like to see it for testing purposes and making sure that it looks right and everything, but the truth is we can do that in other ways without revealing PII.”

Having a handle on data quality adds to the confidence marketing teams have in creating segments and executing campaigns, and it can also help protect the customer’s privacy and guard against regulatory infringements.

Facts not fiction: Beyond the CDP from Third Door Media on Vimeo.


About The Author

Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country’s first federal CIO. He is especially interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the marketing world as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on “innovation theater” at Fintech Inn, in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades like Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS, and contributes fiction, criticism and poetry to several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University, and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.



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