One of the most important – but also overlooked – pages on any law firm’s website is the “About” page. Simply stated, an About page is a webpage where prospective clients can learn about a law firm and often, find links to the individual attorney’s bios. About pages are crucial for several reason, not the least of which is that About pages often rank highly in brand-driven search queries, which are those that contain a firm’s name. Thus, the About page will be the first point of contact between many searchers and the firm. As they say, “first impressions are lasting impressions.”
Another reason why the About page is so crucial is that, even if someone does not come to a webpage through the About page, they will almost invariably navigate to the page at some point. In today’s climate, people want to do business with firms that share their views. An About page is a great way to explain to prospective clients what issues are important to the firm and what the firm does to make a difference in society, not to mention for the lives of their clients.
About pages are also a crucial entity-optimization asset. Google defines an entity as “a thing or concept that is singular, unique, well-defined and distinguishable.” For example, an entity can be an event, idea, book, person, company, place, brand, a domain or a law firm. Google specifically lists About pages in its human rating guidelines as one way it uses to determine the “expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness” of a page. Google pulls information from an About page and puts that information into its knowledge base, further increasing the importance of the About page.
Now that we have established that About pages are important, the question becomes how can a firm create a compelling and useful About page to help educate prospective clients about the firm and also boost its SEO efforts.
Start Off Strong
One of the most essential aspects of a good About page is that upon viewing it, someone should want to learn more. The About page is a fantastic way to immediately generate interest. In this context, think of the About page as a business card. For example, by including the firm’s tagline, or (if interesting) the story about how the firm came into existence is a good first step. Some very successful About pages have used short videos or statistics to quickly generate interest and encourage visitors to navigate further into the business’ page.
Basic SEO knowledge tells us that Google uses links when crawling a law firm’s webpage. Including links to other reliable, trustworthy sources is an important aspect of the About page. For example, if several of the firm’s partners have received an important award, linking to the organization that bestowed the award may be a good external link to include in an About page. Another idea is to link to any published articles – not necessarily those hosted on the firm’s domain, but through the entity’s page that published the piece. If neither of these options are available, then perhaps including a link to an important conference that an attorney attended or spoke at.
Keep it Interesting
Almost every law firm has an About page. However, the quality of About pages varies significantly between firms. Frequently, firms put their time and marketing dollars into the commercial landing pages, such as main practice area pages. However, a well-crafted About page can drive free, organic traffic to a firm’s page.
About pages should not be an afterthought, and should be interesting. Of course, no visitor wants to be bombarded with pages of text, so it is important to keep the text length in mind. That said, the following are ideas to include on the About page:
Why did the founding partners decide to create the law firm? Lawyers, by their nature, are often very good story tellers. Thus, it may be helpful to explain if the firm was created to solve a particular problem or cater to the need of a specific client group that was previously underserved by existing firms.
Consider including a photograph of the partners, but only if it makes sense for the firm. Studies have shown that photographs can go a long way in developing trust. Of course, for larger firms, it may not be realistic to have a picture of every attorney, and a group shot of all attorneys may end up looking like a class photo. In these situations, the firm’s logo or some other relevant picture or photograph may be preferable.
Keep it attractive, but simple. Most visitors are going to be less interested in the “theme” of the page than they will be about the content. This goes back to storytelling; make sure that the content on the About page is interesting and compelling, and not just a bullet-point list of practice areas or awards and achievement. Finally, keep in mind that the average reader’s attention when viewing a new page is 8.5 seconds, so it is best not to lay too much groundwork before getting to the point.
Do Not Forget the Call to Action
At the bottom of almost every page – including the About page – should be a call to action. The About page loses its importance if visitors are not told where they can learn more information. The call to action is crucial in this regard because it encourages visitors to continue their search, and concisely explains how the firm can help the visitor with their legal issues. For example, a personal injury law firm may list the types of cases the firm handles and explain that the firm offers a free consultation. In this situation, it may also be persuasive to mention that the firm does not charge clients anything upfront, and that they will only pay for the attorney’s services if they are able to obtain compensation for their injuries. For many potential personal injury clients, these are roadblocks to seeking legal representation. By clearing up these uncertainties early on in the process, the page will be more likely to hold the prospective client’s interest.
About pages are one of the most frequently overlooked pages. However, by not taking advantage of all that an About page can do for your law firm leaves a lot on the table. Rather than asking a second-year legal intern to draft the firm’s About page, partners should put a lot of thought into the firm’s About page to maximize all that it can provide.