SEO for Lawyers – Top 10 Things Law Firms Need to Know

You want to to be on Google Page 1, been quoted $15,000 to $50,000 per month – with no guarantee. Search Engine optimization (“SEO”) for lawyers is one of the most effective strategies for law firms to acquire clients. Most clients will search online when they need a lawyer. Therefore, if your website is on the first page of a search engine, you will attract more clients in need of your services. Print ads only have a 1.7% conversion rate, compared to a 14.6% conversion rate for SEO. You need to rethink where you are allocating your marketing budget.

Many law firms have had SEO marketers promise the moon but fail to deliver. When these companies fail to provide, they allege “black hat” tactics. As lawyers, we always want evidence of allegations. We may easily verify if a website uses a black hat tactic by tracing its backlinks. When you trace a backlink to a source page with three or more target pages (i.e., lawyer’s page), that is a tale-tell sign of a black hat tactic. For example, the backlink page has hyperlinks to 5 unrelated websites; or the backlink page has hyperlinks to three different law firm’s websites. That may be indicative of black hat tactics.

How Does SEO Work?

SEO is a word that you have probably heard a lot, but very few people know what SEO is and why it is so important. Search engines analyze websites, making notes of key phrases, layouts, and information. When you type something into the search bar, the search engine will provide a ranking of pages in the order of relevancy to your search.

SEO is not all about bombarding your website with as many keywords as possible, though, search engine algorithms are complex. The search engine analyses the HTML of a website, not just your content. So, the layout and coding of your page are vital to your ranking.

Using SEO will give you more return than any other law firm marking strategy. However, there are some things to understand before you put all your marketing budget into SEO. Think of SEO a little like the stock market; your keywords are picked based on the information you have available at the time. You make the optimizations, and then, apart from a few tweaks of your strategy, you may have to wait three months to a year to see consistent results. There may be a few fluctuations; search engine algorithms may be updated; consumers might be searching for different things due to seasonal behaviors. This is why it is important to diversify your marketing strategy.


“One of the largest seo company for law firm, Gladiator Law Marketing, says it best, “SEO is just as much an art as it is a science. There is no secret formula. Quite often what works for one law firm will not work for another. If you are looking for a recipe or checklist that guarantees success, you won’t find it here or anywhere else. THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS FOR SEO SUCCESS. YOU EITHER UNDERSTAND SEO AND CAN ADAPT TO CHANGE OR DON’T AND CAN’T.”

Brad, How Can You Help Me?

I know how to get to page 1 on Google – and with enough time the 1st position for the money words – besting the purported best SEO companies for law firms. You’re about to spend anywhere between $4,000 to $40,000 for your law firm’s SEO and may learn 8 months later that you’re not even on page 4 of google search result. I will gladly provide consultation service for a fee.

How To Pick Someone To Manage Your SEO Optimization

When you become a lawyer, you need to go through rigorous education, bar exams, ethics exams, and character and fitness screenings. This is because your clients need confidence in your ability to represent them at some of the worst times in their lives. There is no prerequisite for SEO providers. You don’t even need to have passed a particular course. It is difficult to find someone who truly understands SEO and can use it to transform your online presence. But as a lawyer, you also need someone who understands your needs—altering legal term keywords to make them more SEO friendly. Some will even claim experience in SEO for law firms. You need an SEO provider with legal experience.

A bad SEO provider will hurt your business by:

  • Using outdated techniques

  • Not sticking to search engine guidelines. By breaking search engine guidelines, your website will be penalized.

  • Outsourcing to independent contractors from other countries. Even companies that are adamant they do not outsource still outsource some of their SEO work to people from countries such as India, Pakistan, or Russia. This means the quality might not be what you paid for, and might even negatively impact your business.

  • Writing un-original content. A lot of companies sell the same content template to multiple businesses. A few words are tweaked to make it relevant to the individual firm, but that is all. Not only is this content often irrelevant to your business, but it could also cause copyright issues.

  • Submitting fake performance reports. When a marketing agency is not creating unique, quality content for your business, they may fabricate performance reports.

How To Find The Best Keywords For Your Business

Finding the best keywords for your business is the cornerstone of optimizing your website’s SEO. The keywords you choose should show purchase intent, for example, “San Diego car accident lawyer” and have a high search volume. It is pointless to choose keywords that people will not search. Here are some steps in finding some keywords for your business:

  • Write a list of words or phrases relevant to your practice.
  • Compare your relevant phrases to what people are typing into search engines.
  • Rank your list by search volume.
  • Pick some keywords that are high search volume but moderate to low competition.
  • See what your competition is doing to rank for keywords.
  • Write better content than your competition.

What Is A Content Umbrella?

A content umbrella is a term for laying out your website for search engine optimization. If your content is organized in a logical manner, search engines and clients will be able to find your content easily.

The term content umbrella refers to having an overall theme to your website, such as personal injury law which is the umbrella. Under this umbrella, you should have a number of relevant subtopics such as motorcycle accidents, car accidents, slips, trips, and falls, etc. Under each of these subtopics, you should have a number of articles about a topic related to each subtopic. Each topic area should have its own dedicated page so clients can navigate the information they need. Search engines will also see your website as a leading source of information on the topic.

How Do I Stay Visible For People Search For Local Lawyers?

Most lawyers will only serve clients in their local town, so you are constantly competing against other local law firms. Search engines are also starting to charge for ads on their business pages. So how do you stay visible to clients searching for a lawyer in their area:

  • Write an AVVO profile
  • Fill out and verify your Google My Business profile
  • Verify a Bing Business listing
  • Join local legal directories
  • Make sure your website has location-specific terms on it eg, San Diego car accident lawyer, not just car accident lawyer.
  • Sign up for Yext, so you feature on local websites.

4 Ways To Optimize Your Law Firm’s SEO To Attract More Clients

There are a few basics steps you can take to improve your law firm website’s SEO. If you do not understand what you are doing, it is best to seek the help of a professional though. It is better to have an unoptimized website than to break search engine guidelines and penalize your website.

1.    Pick the right keywords for your law firm SEO.

Think of your keywords as the foundation of your SEO building strategy. If you don’t get the foundation correct, then the whole strategy will come toppling down. If you don’t pick the right keywords, then everything else you do will not make a difference. A good keyword needs to:

  • Be something your target audience would type into a search bar. Think of the age of your demographic, how they would speak, and what is important to them. Do not use legal jargon as a keyword or words like “cheap” or “low cost” if you are looking for high-end clients.

  • Have a high search volume. Use a tool like Keywords Everywhere or Google Keyword planner to test out search volume.

  • Show that your client is ready to find a lawyer. For example, “San Diego lawyer reviews” is a better keyword than “Why do I need a lawyer?”

  • Have low competition. The more people using a keyword, the more difficult it will be to rank highly for that keyword. This is why drilling down to location, or other specifics is better. Every divorce lawyer is optimizing their page for “divorce lawyer”, but you’ll have better luck with “divorce lawyer near 20886”. Keyword tools like Keywords Everywhere and Google Keyword planner will show the competition on certain keywords.

2.    Check what your competition is doing.

Now you have your keywords, see what your competition is doing and what you need to do to rank higher than them. The factors that make the most difference in law firm website SEO are:

  • Is your site secure? (ie HTTPS vs HTPP)
  • Is your website optimized for mobile devices?
  • Do your webpages and website load quickly?
  • Is your webpage content high quality?
  • The length of your content.
  • Have you got high-quality links back to your website?
  • Have you got quality social media links back to your website?
  • Are your images optimized?

3.    Once you have analyzed your website and compared it to competition, make technical improvements.

Cleaning up your law firm’s website will make a huge difference to your SEO and your client conversion. If your website is hard to use or takes too long to load, your clients will find another lawyer’s website that works better. The major things to think about are:

  • Site Security – People are more aware of their personal data being stolen in cyber-attacks. A lot of people will not use an unsecured website.

  • Website Speed – We are used to high internet speeds and instant gratification. If your page does not load in 2 seconds, people are likely to leave. Test your website speed and look to improve it if it is too slow.

  • Mobile-optimization – most people search for things on their mobile phones, so your site must be easy to navigate on mobile devices.

  • Schema Markup – this is a type of code which is understood by all search engines. It will help search engines understand your webpages so your page will rank higher.

The technical aspects of your website are more important than aesthetics. When you are designing a website, find someone who understands how to optimize your law firm website for SEO ranking and client navigation.

4.    Optimize your existing webpages.

You will need to go through your old content and ensure it is optimized as well. However, search engine algorithms prioritize readability of websites as well. Tagging keywords so much that your content no longer makes sense will not only hurt your conversion, but your search engine ranking too.

Our top tip: Do an incognito Google search for your key phrases and check the “searches related to” and “people also ask” sections. Answer these questions, and search engines will see your website as an expert source for their customers. This will give you a competitive edge over other local law firm’s websites.

Brad Nakase, Attorney

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