SEO for Lawyers: The Practical Guide to Law Firm SEO

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Relying on old-school methods such as referrals is no longer sufficient for law firms looking to attract new clients. The world has moved on, and it’s time for your strategies to do the same.

Here’s a little food for thought: 73% of Americans now start their quest for legal advice with a quick Google search. Of these, nearly 40% find themselves browsing through law firm websites. Even more telling, 60% of people looking for legal guidance online feel the information they find helps clarify their action plan.

This tells us loud and clear: to stay relevant and accessible, law firms need to beef up their online presence. And no, simply having a website with a contact form isn’t enough anymore. That’s just the basics.

94% of law firms in the U.S. have a website already. Yet they don’t receive many inquiries through it. That’s where attorney SEO (search engine optimization) comes in.

Attorney SEO helps your law firm’s website show up first (ideally) when people look for legal help online.

It also handles some other important aspects, like website content, user experience, site loading speed, and mobile optimization, to make it easier for visitors to find what they’re looking for and feel encouraged to reach out for services.

With law firm SEO, you invest in your business, effectively turning online searches into real-world consultations.

What is Attorney SEO?

Attorney SEO is the process of optimizing a law firm’s online presence to make it more visible on search engines like Google and Bing. It uses various techniques to attract more organic traffic—potential clients actively searching for legal services online.

Attorney SEO can look like this:

Best Divorce Lawyers In Chicago Google Search 04142024

Like this:

Family Law Services In New York Google Search 04142024

And like this:

Best Divorce Lawyers San Antonio 04142024

Is SEO Important for Law Firms?

SEO is pretty much indispensable for law firms, and here’s a lowdown on why. First, it’s about visibility online. There are approximately 450,000 law firms in the U.S. alone. In states like California, Florida, and Texas, the legal market is particularly saturated with law firms—right, left, and center.

Without a proper online presence, your law business is almost invisible. This means fewer inquiries, lower conversions, and less revenue. Why? Because your potential clients start their search for legal services online. If your law firm isn’t discoverable but your competitors are, you’ll fail to attract enough clients to sustain your business.

Law firm SEO also puts you on the map—literally. When potential clients search for lawyers in their vicinity, you can show up right in front of them, just a few clicks away. According to Semrush data, there are 33,100 general searches for “lawyer near me” every month, even more for specialist lawyers. If you’re not capitalizing on this, you’re missing out big time.

Lawyer Near Me Semrush Keyword Magic Tool 04142024

Attorney SEO puts you on Google, makes you discoverable, and, more importantly, helps you improve your lead pipeline.

The Foundations of SEO Success for Law Firms

Build a Reputable Brand

Being in the legal business is all about winning cases. Nobody wants to hire a lawyer that has a low success rate, right? So before thinking about SEO and online presence, focus on building a solid, reputable brand.

You want to be the best law firm in town. That will help you immensely when it comes to entering the online space. Happy clients will jump at the opportunity to leave a review about their experience with your firm. Your goal is to become a respected firm that everybody recommends without hesitation.

Secure a Domain

Your domain is like the digital front door to your brand. It’s often the very first thing potential clients will see, so picking the right one is key.

Think of securing a domain that’s either exactly your law firm’s name or a shorter, snappier version of it. Moz’s research indicates that top-ranking domains usually combine keyword richness with brevity, boosting memorability and search engine visibility. Given that domain names influence rankings, it’s crucial to make a wise choice.

Choose a Robust & SEO-friendly CMS

A Content Management System (CMS) facilitates content management on your website.

Picking the right one is important for getting noticed on search engines (that’s SEO for you). At the very least, your CMS should let you tweak things like meta descriptions (the brief website summaries in search results), alt text (text descriptions for images), and URLs for each page to make them more search-friendly.

It should also be equipped with blogging tools, ways to link pages internally (helping visitors navigate your site), and features to redirect users away from pages that don’t exist anymore. Plus, a good CMS should keep your site secure with proper encryption and let you keep an eye on basic analytics to see how your site’s doing.

Optimize Your User Experience

A successful law firm’s SEO strategy also addresses user experience (UX). Zero in on the following aspects of UX:

Conduct User Research

Your website should be created with your ideal customers in mind. Here, you’ll need to do a bit of detective work to find out what their pain points and triggers are and what information they are looking for.

This research can take various forms, such as surveys, interviews, or analyzing how users interact with your site through analytics. Armed with this information, design a website that meets the needs of your target audience effectively. Your site needs to be logically organized, easy to navigate, and speak your client’s language.

Build Credibility with Great Web Design

For law firms, the stakes of making a first impression are high. In 2022, enhancing their company’s reputation was among the top three priorities for 24% of law firms.

Winning cases is the best thing for your reputation, but if your website looks like it’s stuck in the past, that’s not going to do you any favors.

Think about it: People make up their minds about a website in less than a second. That’s barely enough time to blink! So, if a potential client lands on your site and it’s sleek and professional, they’ll feel they’ve come to the right place right away.

Here’s a straightforward plan to make your website a client magnet:

  • Start with a clear headline: Your homepage needs a headline (H1) that gets straight to the point. Tell people what you can do for them without making them search for it.
  • Make it easy to navigate: List your services clearly. Don’t make people dig around. Lay it all out so they can see at a glance what you’re offering.
  • Highlight client testimonials: Got some legal wins under your belt? Share them. Client testimonials? Even better. This is your chance to shine and prove you’re reputable.
  • Be approachable: Sprinkle calls to action throughout your site. Make getting in touch with you as simple as possible. You don’t want potential clients to give up because they can’t figure out how to reach you.

In short, your website should ooze confidence, almost telling the visitor, ‘You’re in good hands with us.’ Make it easy for prospects to understand what you offer and how to get in touch. That’s how you turn a quick visit into a lasting partnership.

Optimize Your Website for Fast-loading

47% of customers expect websites to load in 2 seconds or less, while 40% abandon a site that takes more than 3 seconds to load. Your customers aren’t willing to wait. They’ll literally leave without even checking out the services that you offer. Harsh, but that’s the reality.

Make a positive impact on the user experience (and your Google rankings) by optimizing your website for quick loading. Ensure your images are web-friendly by reducing their size without compromising quality. Choose a quality hosting service for seamless site performance. Moreover, simplify your website’s design and prioritize loading crucial parts first.

Remember to regularly check your website’s speed with tools such as Google PageSpeed Insights, which offers practical tips for making your site faster.

Organize and Keep URL Structure Practical

A clear URL structure is a win-win for everyone. It helps search engines understand the hierarchy and content of your site, and it makes navigation easier for users.

Google recommends various best practices for URL structure; however, the underlying message is to keep URLs concise and meaningful. Incorporate your keywords where possible, but avoid overstuffing them. Additionally, organize your content in a logical order, using subdirectories that reflect your site’s structure.

For example, a URL like is excellent for both SEO and user experience. It quickly tells users and search engines what the page is about, without any confusion.

Build and Execute Your SEO Campaigns

With a strong brand foundation, it’s time to build and execute SEO campaigns that enhance your firm’s visibility and client base. This involves:

  • Keyword Research: Understanding what potential clients are searching for is the first step in any SEO campaign. Utilize Semrush and Ahrefs to identify relevant keywords and phrases.
  • On-Page Optimization: Make every page on your website work harder for you by optimizing meta tags, and headers, and using strategic internal linking with your target keywords.
  • Content Strategy: A well-planned content strategy keeps your site fresh and relevant, driving traffic and establishing your firm’s authority.
  • Local SEO: Claim your Google Business Profile to improve your local rankings. Ensure you keep your profile updated and respond to Google reviews from your past clients.
  • Link Building: High-quality backlinks from reputable sites signal to search engines that your site is a credible source of legal information, boosting your SEO.

How to Track the Success of Your SEO Campaigns

You’ve made your investment in SEO and waited a few months, and now things have started to pick up. Here’s what you should keep an eye on to measure the success of your SEO campaigns:

Search Engine Visibility

This metric represents the visibility of your website in search engine results pages (SERPs) for relevant queries. It’s a measure of how often your site appears in searches. The best tool to track search engine visibility is Google Search Console (GSC).

Hook up your domain with GSC to start tracking:

  • Impressions: How often your law firm’s site shows up in search results.
  • Clicks: The number of times people click on your site from search results.
  • Click-Through Rate (CTR): The ratio of clicks to impressions, showing how likely people are to click on your site after seeing it.
  • Average Position: Where your site typically ranks in search results for specific queries.
Google Search Console Performance Graph 04142024

You want to achieve the highest scores in all these metrics to ensure you’re the first option potential clients think of when they need your legal services, and to outshine your competitors who are also striving to secure those top spots on Google.

Branded Search

Another important indicator of your SEO campaign’s success is the volume of branded searches.

For instance, imagine the scenario where your law firm wins a major legal case. Intrigued, your potential clients go straight to Google and type in your name to learn more. This is a classic example of a branded search that your potential clients could be performing, where the query includes the law firm’s name or specific attorneys within your practice.

Seeing an uptick in these kinds of searches is a clear sign of growing brand awareness and interest in your services. It effectively signals that your SEO and broader marketing strategies are working.

Keyword Rankings

This refers to the position of your website’s pages in the search results for specific keywords relevant to your practice areas.

High keyword rankings increase your website’s visibility and the likelihood of clicks. For law firms, ranking for high-intent keywords like “personal injury lawyer [city name]” can significantly impact lead generation.

Use tools like Ahrefs and Semrush to track your website’s rankings for targeted keywords over time.

Leads Gained

Ultimately, the goal of SEO is not just to increase traffic but to convert that traffic into leads. Tracking leads is essential to understanding the ROI of your SEO efforts.

Implement conversion tracking in Google Analytics to measure actions such as contact form submissions, phone calls, or live chat engagements. Analyze the source of these leads to understand which SEO strategies are most effective. Then, double down on what’s working.

Average Time on Page

Finally, look at the average time spent on the page, the so-called dwell time. Dwell time measures the average time visitors spend on a specific page of your website. A longer time spent means they love your content and find it valuable. For law firms, this engagement can be critical to building trust and persuading clients to reach out. Again, the Google Search Console will help you track this.

Law Firm SEO FAQs

How much does law firm SEO cost?

The cost of SEO for law firms can vary widely, typically ranging from $1,000 to $15,000 per month, depending on the firm’s size, competition level, region, and scope of services required. Law SEO is a highly competitive field, meaning higher investments might be needed to achieve tangible results.

How do I build backlinks for law firm SEO?

To build SEO backlinks to your law firm’s website, consider getting your practice listed on reputable directories, such as FindLaw or Best Law Firms. Moreover, reach out to any unbranded mentions of your law firm and ask the authors if they can include a link to your site. Finally, try using websites like Connectively or SourceBottle to respond to reporters’ requests for legal commentary. While this doesn’t guarantee a backlink, as some publications may not include it, it does increase the chances of obtaining one.

Is Law Firm SEO worth it?

Yes, law firm SEO is certainly worth it. With nearly three-quarters of people using search engines to find legal advice, a strong SEO strategy can help you stand out among other law firms, attract more qualified leads, and enhance your credibility. Firms investing in SEO see an increase in client inquiries and cases as a result.