Law Firm SEO Guide
Ultimate Search Engine Optimization Blueprint for Attorneys
Get Our Best Law Firm Marketing Tips!
Delivered straight to your inbox
Introduction To Law Firm SEO
What is SEO?
The basic premise of search engine optimization (SEO) is simple: Maximize your law firm’s search visibility online by taking advantage of proven techniques to rise higher in search results. These techniques range from creating content that positions you as an expert, to technical tasks such as ensuring your website’s structure and code is correctly optimized.
While SEO can be a significant investment, it’s an essential part of the marketing mix for those in a marketplace as competitive as the legal space. There are challenges, though: Some law firms that hire outside SEO companies may become frustrated at the lack of transparency or failure to improve search engine rankings. Those who attempt to manage SEO in-house may find a lack of qualified candidates that are good at Local SEO, copywriting and link building. These are all unique qualifications that aren’t usually found in one person. Whether you fall into either of those categories or are new to SEO, this law firm search engine optimization guide can help you realize the ROI you should be getting from your investment.
Law Firm SEO Strategy
Creating a comprehensive SEO strategy for your law firm is critical to attracting the right clients and continuing to create content that will engage and eventually convert your audience. Since 75 percent of internet users never scroll past the first page of search results, appearing on page one in search engines can provide law firms with many benefits such as:
- Boosting organic traffic to your website
- Increasing foot traffic in your law firm
- Generating more leads
- Improving your return on investment (ROI)
- Remaining competitive within the legal industry
SEO for Law Firms
To gain the visibility you need, you must perform search engine optimization (SEO) on your website to:
- Get the pages properly indexed
- Get the indexed pages appearing highly enough in the search engine results pages (SERPs) that prospective clients find your pages in Google
Google uses a complex algorithm to decide how to rank pages for keywords. To be successful in Google’s rankings, how you optimize your website must dovetail with the ever-changing requirements of Google, and do so in a way that also provides clients and prospective clients with the information they need in a user-friendly way.
Your website is the foundation of successful SEO. From a high-level perspective, your legal SEO campaign should include:
- Keyword research for lawyers: This involves finding keywords to use on your site that are relevant, have good traffic, and have levels of competition that are achievable.
- Law firm website optimization: This includes:
- Regularly creating fresh content that’s relevant to your target audience and supports your keyword strategy
- Optimizing your content and corresponding back-end tags to reflect the keywords you need to rank well for
- Ensuring your website is easy to navigate and as user-friendly as possible
- Using additional SEO strategies, which we’ll outline below
- Local SEO for lawyers: As the name suggests, your SEO efforts should be focused on attracting your best prospective clients in your area.
- Link building for law firms: To rank well, you also need to obtain authoritative, high-quality backlinks from a diverse set of relevant websites.
There’s much more to these tactics, of course, so read on for the details. If you have any questions along the way, please contact DAGMAR Marketing to find out about our SEO services for lawyers.
Keyword Research for Lawyers
Keyword research consists of using professional tools and strategies to discover how people are searching for the legal services you provide.
Keyword research consists of using professional tools and strategies to discover how people are searching for the legal services you provide. Although some keyword tools provide a degree of free usage, the most sophisticated typically are not free, so consider paying for a subscription or outsourcing keyword research to experts who offer SEO services for lawyers. Another short-term option is to see what free trial offers currently exist for these tools. We italicized short-term because SEO is a long-term endeavor. Some of the tools we use include:
Your ideal keywords are highly targeted with steady to good levels of traffic and with manageable levels of competition. The latter requirement is why, for example, you don’t try to simply rank for “attorney.”
As you conduct research, you’ll need to analyze keywords found for commercial intent. Although terms with commercial intent may have less traffic than other terms you find, they have two advantages:
- You can rank more easily with these terms
- They tend to convert at a much higher rate because people are looking for services, rather than just information
As an example, the keyword in the image below is from someone who is clearly interested in suing an insurance company. This keyword is entered as a search term an average of 90 times per month.
Another example of a keyword with commercial intent are the 320 people searching each month for “Florida legal services.” The intent is commercial because they are looking to obtain (hire) legal services.
You’ll also want to find keywords with research intent. These often start with “why” or “how” as people seek answers to problems by searching on these terms. Content based on these keywords makes sense to use in content such as blog posts, white papers, case studies, and videos. These searchers may not be quite ready for legal services, but getting your law firm in front of them makes sense as a lead-nurturing strategy. The creation of quality content matters here: Content that educates or informs tends to garner more links and shares, which are ranking factors we’ll discuss below.
After you conduct your research, you can create a strategy based upon the keywords that you found, monitoring its success and tweaking it as needed.
SEO Tips for Law Firms
When it comes to SEO, the legal industry is one of the most competitive, so outsmarting and outranking competitors will require taking a strategic approach. In addition to finding keywords with research intent, it’s important to know which keywords your competitors are ranking well for and which ones they aren’t ranking well for in SERPs so you can map out your strategy accordingly.
Below are several other helpful SEO tips law firms can abide by in order to outperform competing law firms in search engines:
- Prioritizing keywords with high volume, but low competition
- Incorporating relevant long-tail keywords
- Satisfying search engines and user intent alike
- Including both on-page and off-page SEO into your strategy
- Producing better content than your competitors by:
- Making it longer, but easier to read
- Confirming its credibility by linking information back to reputable publications
- Creating content types that they haven’t (such as graphics, images, videos, etc.)
For more in-depth information, check out our post on keyword research for attorneys.
A side note: At this point, you probably already have a domain name. If you don’t, get in touch with us to discuss how to choose a relevant, keyword-rich domain name that isn’t spammy. If you don’t yet have a law firm website, you can also find out why we recommend WordPress as your content management system.
Learn more about WordPress for Law Firm Websites
Law Firm Website Optimization
As a baseline requirement, you must have a responsive site design. If you do, you’re ready to move on, and here are key elements of website optimization.
As a baseline requirement, you must have a responsive site design. If you do, you’re ready to move on, and here are key elements of website optimization.
SEO Site Structure
How your site is organized and where your content appears within your website’s architecture is an important part of having a search engine-friendly site. Your site should be logically organized and structured in a way that makes it easy for site visitors to find the information they need.
Because you want potential clients to find your services section as quickly as possible, put that selection far to the left in the main navigation bar. Here is an example:
Beneath the main Areas of Practice navigation item, make it equally as easy for potential clients to find your legal specialties. Here is how Harrell & Harrell handles the areas of practice sub-navigation:
It can be tempting to put your About Us link first in the navigation, but it’s better for SEO purposes and users if practice pages are first. These are the pages you really want to have rank well in search engines, and having them more prominent in the navigation sends more authority signals to search engines.
Our experience with studying the click patterns of multiple client websites is that users go first to the practice pages and then to attorney profiles and About Us pages.
Look for other ways to provide a quality user experience (UX) throughout your site. If your site is easy to use, people will feel more comfortable using it and be more likely to spend more time exploring it.
Good UX is also playing an increasingly important role in the effectiveness of your SEO. Google notices when people spend a reasonably significant amount of time on your pages and site (and, conversely, when you have a high bounce rate and low time on page/site). In addition, Google also monitors other engagement metrics.
Google has stated that engagement metrics (which allow Google to measure how much site visitors are engaging with your site and content) are not directly a ranking factor. But studies have shown a significant correlation, with high-ranking sites typically being the ones in which site visitors engage.
Here are additional user-experience and SEO tips for law firm websites::
- When people find your site through organic SEO, they typically don’t see your home page first. They instead find you through the page on your site that ranks the highest for the keyword they used. This means you need to envision every page of your site as a potential front door to the rest of your site and as the first impression of your law firm.
- Whenever you’re adding pages, consider where they belong, with streamlined simplicity a real bonus. A common mistake that lawyers make is adding too many pages to the navigation menu which could dilute the authority flowing to services pages. Instead, we recommend creating sidebar navigation elements on individual pages to progress deeper into a subject matter.
- Make sure you also include appropriate site maps so search engines can more easily find and index your content. Here is information from Google about site maps.
Based on the keyword research you’ve conducted, use keywords in each URL on your site without overdoing usage. We’ve seen, as just one example, some personal injury attorneys using the term “personal injury” on every single URL on their websites. For example, they might use www.domain-name.com/personal-injury-attorney-about-us.
That crosses over from keyword usage to keyword stuffing, which can hurt your efforts rather than help your SEO. A better URL for the about us page would be www.domain-name.com/about-law-firm. This is a better choice because this page is about your law firm overall, not about a particular service, such as personal injury, that you offer. More examples: Your motorcycle accident services page would be www.domain-name.com/motorcycle-accident-attorney and your car accident services would be www.domain-name.com/car-accident-attorney.
What we’re discussing here is optimizing new rather than existing pages on your site. It’s possible that you might not have optimized URLs on the pages that already exist on your site. Those pages are almost certainly indexed in Google and, once they are, it may not make sense to change the page URLs for optimization purposes. If it does make sense, this involves more advanced SEO techniques that when done improperly will cause you to lose your visibility in the search engines for those URLs. So, please contact us before changing any URLs.
Having a blog is an important part of any law firm SEO strategy. Google has a “freshness” ranking signal that rewards higher rankings to site with frequently updated content. Blog posts also allow you to target search terms that are more research-based in focus. These search terms normally have a lot of traffic and, while your service pages won’t qualify to rank for these search queries, they’re perfect for a blog post.
To return to the example used earlier, the search phrase “can I sue an insurance company” currently has 90 searches a month. You can target this search term by writing a blog post titled, “How to Sue an Insurance Company if You’ve Been in an Accident,” with the first how-to on the list being the recommendation to hire an attorney.
Here’s another example: 100 people search for “how to choose a criminal defense lawyer” in the United States every month; that’s more than a thousand people every year.
You can write a blog post with this title and otherwise optimize the blog post for that term. You could add geographical tags such as “in South Dakota” or “in Miami, Florida.”
You may have noticed that the monthly search figure we cite is national in scope, not just within your geographical practice area. But that number still has value: If you write a broad-level post about choosing a criminal defense attorney, there is clearly value in people inside your practice area reading the post. And, when people outside your practice area read your post to gain information, it will help with the engagement metrics described above.
You have multiple audiences for blog posts such as this, including:
- Potential clients
- Site visitors who will read it and:
- Contribute to engagement metrics
- Recommend the post to someone who needs this information
- Share it on social media, extending your digital reach
- Link to your article, increasing the authority of your website.
When you consistently provide fresh content, you have the potential to build a solid audience of readers, and this keeps Google busy crawling and indexing your content to be made available when people search on relevant terms.
You can provide content on a wide range of subjects on your blog, typically focusing on longer-tail terms of three to five words each (or more). For example, if you defend people charged with DUI, you could write posts focusing on:
- How to get free rides home on the Fourth of July to avoid DUI charges (with another post focused on New Year’s Eve)
- How to ensure you have a reliable designated driver when you go to parties and what to do if your designated driver starts to drink some beers)
- How to be a good designated driver for your group
- “Mocktail” recipes for designated drivers and other non-drinkers when you throw a party
- Statistics that share the dangers of driving under the influence
At the end of each post, you can include a call to action about contacting you if the worst thing happens and someone is charged with a drinking and driving offense or if injuries occur as a consequence.
As you plan your editorial calendar for your blog, consider:
- Your audiences
- Information that would be helpful to them
- Ways to share non-promotional information, then connect that to a promotional message
- Available images and videos
- Posting frequency
- Optimization strategies for the blog (coming up soon)
- Who will write the posts
Here’s another consideration: Google is particularly rewarding long-form content, such as posts that are at least 2,000 words in length and that cover a spectrum of issues all within one post. Here is more information about long-form blog posts. The benefits of a long-form blog post include:
- Long-form posts position you as the expert.
- They usually rank more highly and are more visible online.
- People tend to engage more deeply with them, boosting engagement metrics.
- Long-form posts tend to get shared on social media more often.
- These posts tend to gain more inbound links (more about that important factor later).
- You can include information for people new to the subject as well as info for people who are already more informed.
Elements you can include in your long-form posts include FAQs, testimonials, checklists, quotes from industry experts, how-to videos and much more.
Avoid putting duplicate content on your site, on pages or posts. When multiple sites—or even multiple pages within your own site—contain the same content, some versions of it may not get indexed, which means this content can’t appear in SERPs. You can check for duplicate content issues at Copyscape.com for a nominal fee.
The bottom line here is that your blog can be a powerful, linkable asset. This means that it’s the most likely place that other sites will link to, which is essential for your legal SEO (again, more about linking later).
Page speed has been a ranking factor for desktop searches for several years and it’s now become a factor for mobile searches. From an SEO perspective, Google states that pages that “deliver the slowest experience to users” will be negatively impacted. However, at DAGMAR Marketing, we believe that everyone should keep page-speed considerations front of mind. Even if your speed is fast enough to satisfy Google, site visitors are impatient. If your pages take too long to load, someone who really needs to hire a lawyer will likely move on to your competitor’s site. This potential client is worrying about a legal issue, so he or she isn’t going to wait very long, probably much less time than someone ordering a pizza online or buying a pair of shoes.
In addition, if your pages are among the slowest to load, you’ll be hit with a double whammy: less visibility in Google and potential clients fleeing to your competitor’s site. If you’re interested in more information about page speed, we’ve done a deep dive here. You can test your site at Page Speed Insights.
By using BestBuy.com as an example, we can see the following information about their mobile offerings:
This tells us that although BestBuy.com is reasonably well optimized, its page speed is mediocre. More specifically, its First Contentful Paint (FCP) metric tells us it takes nearly two seconds for users to first see a visual response from the page. It then takes another full second for the HTML document to load and be parsed; DCL stands for “DOM Content Loaded.”
Is being average in mobile page speed good enough for BestBuy.com? Or, more to the point, if your load times are similar to Best Buy’s, is that good enough for your site? The answer is, it depends upon what your competitors’ page speeds are. You can check your competitors’ page speeds with the Page Insights Tool.
Here is a look at BestBuy.com’s desktop speed and optimization:
Desktop is somewhat faster for BestBuy.com, with optimization not as well done.
We can learn even more from Page Speed Insights. For example, here is additional information about the mobile site’s page load distributions:
We can see, using both of their metrics (FCP and DCL), what percentage of their pages are considered to be fast in loading speed; how many are average; and how many are slow. Here are desktop results:
Another tool we recommend for checking page speed and other purposes is GTMetrix.com.
One more thing is important to mention: Google’s accelerated mobile pages (AMP). We wrote about AMP in depth but, in short, AMP is Google’s way of facilitating your ability to create lightning-fast mobile pages, crucial to consider since U.S. consumers are now spending an average of five hours daily on their mobile devices.
Core Web Vitals
Now that Google recognizes Core Web Vitals as an official ranking factor, it can also impact your lawyer SEO.
Core Web Vitals consist of three critical ranking signals that attorneys can rely on to measure their law firm website’s user experience. These signals will be scored as either good, needs improvement, or poor. 88 percent of users are less likely to return to a website after a poor user experience.
By monitoring the metrics below, you can improve your search engine ranking and optimize your law firm website design to help retain prospects:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) measures a page’s loading time. Google recommends that each page of your site have an LCP occur within the first 2.5 seconds.
- First Input Delay (FID) measures how long it takes for a user to interact with your webpage. As a best practice, Google suggests striving for an FID of less than 100 milliseconds.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) measures the visual stability of your website. According to Google, ideal user experiences come from sites with a CLS score of less than 0.1.
Learn More About Core Web Vitals for Attorneys
On-Page Factors: Content
Now more than ever, great content is a must-have if you want your law firm’s site to rank well in Google. Besides the home page, what else must you have?
First, it’s important to have a landing page that provides an overview about the services your practice offers, linking to individual pages for each of your individual specialties. For example, you could have a page describing your law firm’s services in general, and why a client should choose you. Then, from that services page, link out to a page that describes how you can assist car accident victims, as well as to one that describes services for truck accident victims, motorcycle accident victims, wrongful death and so on. Ensure that all legal services of any significance are included.
On your services page, include high-level keywords that people use to search for those services, using geo-modifiers as it makes sense. Include clear calls to action on each page, making it seamless to contact you online, by email, by phone, and in whatever other ways you offer.
Do you offer free case evaluations? If so, it’s important to make clear.
If you have multiple locations, create a location landing page that clearly delineates the city/state of each of them, along with how to contact each of the offices. Then link to individual location pages and create quality content for each location page. This is an excellent opportunity to use geo-targeted keywords.
Create a compelling story in your about us section. Experiment with ditching corporate speak as much as you feel comfortable doing. Here is how attorney Megan Zavieh presents herself as the well-rounded person she is through her choice of images:
This may feel too casual for you. If so, that’s fine. This approach doesn’t work for everyone. Take a look at how we handle introductions to our team at DAGMAR Marketing. Consider including a snippet that personalizes each attorney in similar ways.
Strategically include testimonials and reviews throughout the site rather than limiting them to the page specifically for testimonials. They really do influence potential clients. Why? Here, we’ll quote from a guest post we wrote for Localogy.com: “84% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, with 74% of them saying that positive reviews increase how much they trust a local business, and 54% visiting a website after reading positive reviews about the company.
Here’s one reason why this happens: social proof. This concept (known more formally as the informational social influence theory) states that when a person does not know how to act in a certain situation, he or she will look to see what other people are doing, and then imitate their actions.”
A comment about page length: Although there is no magic number as far as length, Google rewards longer content. We recommend a service page for every segment of your law practice, each with a minimum of 1,000 words.
Provide an FAQ page and use checklists and bulleted lists throughout your site. Google now provides an Answer Box in response to many questions asked, located at the top of search results pages. If Google pulls content from your site and puts it there, it’s really located in what is called position zero, since it’s found even higher than the top-ranked organic listing.
You probably see these Answer Boxes all the time. Here’s an example:
Law Firm Website Optimization: Keyword Use on the Page
To gain the attention of Google, pages and blog posts need to be skillfully optimized through the strategic use of keywords. This form of optimization is what people often think of when considering SEO and we’ll use this portion of one of our blog posts as an example:
You’ll want to optimize the title of the post (Ultimate Digital Marketing Blueprint for Startups). This is considered the H1 tag of the post and SEO best practices dictates only one H1 tag per URL.
Here is an example of an H1 tag on a page (rather than a blog post):
You should also optimize the subheadings throughout the post, but only when they can read naturally and well. Don’t force optimization and be sure to vary the keywords used. In the image directly above, you can also see H2 tags on the page.
These subheadings make it easier for site visitors to find the information they want, and it also helps Google correctly “understand’ your content. If you use WordPress, then it’s very easy to optimize these subheadings. You simply highlight the text and then choose “Heading 2” in WordPress.
You may have heard of these subheadings as “H tags” or “Header tags.” That’s because, when coding them in HTML (which you don’t have to do in WordPress), Heading 2 would look like this: <h2>
A subheading within the subheading is an <h3> tag. Here’s an example from the same DAGMAR post used above: Features Versus Benefits. (In WordPress, you’d highlight “Features Versus Benefits” and choose Heading 3 from the scroll bar shown above.
H tags go through 6, but that’s beyond what you’ll typically ever use:
Use your keywords in your body copy, too, if it reads naturally and well, but don’t overdo usage as that can backfire. Google might consider it spammy copy, which pretty much ruins your chances of ranking well with that post. Here is one more aspect to consider, something alluded to in the section about the services landing page: It can help to link from one page on your site to another page on your site to provide your site visitors with additional relevant content. This technique, known as internal linking, can also help with your SEO if you use keywords in or near the link.
Here’s an example of optimized internal linking, using a blog post we’d written about the benefits of creating long-form blog posts:
In it, we created a section where we gave examples of long-form blog posts from our own site, including, for example, our unique look at conversion optimization.
Here’s an example of internal linking taking place on a home page:
Inbound links take site visitors to estate administration and estate litigation pages, while also sending keyword signals to Google.
On-Site Back-End Website Optimization
When you optimize back-end tags on your website, they aren’t visible when someone visits your site, but they play a very important role in your law firm SEO strategy. Here’s how that works.
Let’s say a potential client of yours searches for “criminal defense attorney dubuque iowa” in Google. Organic search results that show up on page one are as follows:
Whenever you conduct a search in Google, you receive SERPs such as these. You’ve probably become so accustomed to seeing them that you barely even think about how they came together. So, let’s reverse engineer the first one:
The green line tells us the URL of the page: https://www.avvo.com/criminal-defense-lawyer/ia/dubuque.html
Note how “criminal defense lawyer” shows up in the URL; because Google can now effectively decipher most synonyms, the fact that the search term included “lawyer” doesn’t mean Google won’t return results with “attorney.” The URL also includes the state (IA) and city (Dubuque). You can easily see how Google is serving up a result where the URL matches the searcher’s intent.
The purplish-blue line at the top of the search result is the title tag, and it also includes the keyword (criminal defense lawyer) and the geography (Dubuque, IA). The smaller black text is the meta description tag and it provides text enticing searchers to click on this listing. It includes the geography and the plural version of the keyword (criminal defense attorneys). Google is sophisticated enough now to understand that singular and plural are highly similar in intent.
So for each page and each post you write, enter the text you want to appear in the corresponding title tag and meta description tag. Google is not required to use what you provide, but typically does use well-crafted ones.
WordPress plugins make it easy to add title tags and meta description tags to your posts. You can typically use about 60 characters in the title tag and 160 in the meta description tag. If you add more, it may not show up in the SERPs, which is counterproductive. Here is an example of the back end of WordPress, where the plugin allows you to enter tag information and the URL ending (slug):
Title tags still serve as an important ranking factor in Google, perhaps less so than it once was, but still important. Use as many keywords in this tag as reasonable, but keep to the 60- to 70-character count or the tag may be truncated in the search results.
The meta description tag doesn’t impact rankings but a compelling one will entice potential clients to click on your site, not your competitor’s, so it’s vital as a doorway to conversions. Remember that there are at least 10 other listings on a search results page and they all look very similar, so meta descriptions are a good way to say what is unique about your law firm. Don’t be afraid to introduce your local phone number here as that can be clickable on some mobile phones.
You can also use keywords in the descriptions of your images (ALT tags).
This is an additional form of HTML markup that you can use on your law firm’s name on your own website, as well as on any address information. You can find the schema information for local businesses here. It’s important that you use the appropriate schema for reviews on your site, as well. By doing so, Google may reward you with a review snippet in search results. Using law firm schema is more complicated than entering title tag and meta description tag on the backend of your site, so contact us with questions or for help.
Local SEO for Lawyers
Local SEO requires you to optimize for your specific locations. This means that, if you have multiple office locations, you should have a unique optimized page on your website for each one in order to rank well for your local audience.
If you’re more successful at this than your competitors, then your firm will appear in the coveted three-pack found in Google’s SERPs.
Below is an example of a three-pack. When we search for “providence rhode island attorneys,” a map appears at the top of the SERPs that pinpoints the location of the three highest-ranking attorneys in local search. Below that is more detailed information about each of these three attorneys. This is prime real estate, indeed.
If you click on the “More places” link, you’ll see additional listings.
As this image shows, Kelly, Souza, Rocha & Parmenter P.C., is just one ranking away from appearing in the prized three-pack for “providence rhode island attorneys.” In other words, this law firm could go from being buried in a “More places” link to being highlighted on a map at the top of the SERPs.
We’ll examine this example in more detail but, first, let’s do a bit of reverse engineering to help you rank well for local search. If you haven’t yet created or claimed your Google Business Profile (GBP) listing, put that at the top of your list. It is essential that you have an accurate and complete GBP listing.After you create or claim yours, you will need to verify that listing. You can find more information about the process here or check out our Google Business Profile for Lawyers post.
You must have a complete and accurate GBP listing, even if you have a great website. To quote Google, “With a Business Profile on Google, you can manage how your local business shows up across Google products, like Maps and Search. If you run a business that serves customers at a particular location, or you serve customers within a designated service area, your Business Profile can help people find you. Verified businesses on Google are twice as likely to be considered reputable”
It’s vital that the name, address and phone (NAP) information found on your website and in accompanying schema matches that of GBP. Think of it as the Yellow Pages of the digital age and you’ll quickly see why inaccuracies are highly problematic.
If there are any discrepancies in your NAP, prioritize this fix because accurate business data is fundamental to Google’s local search algorithm. The maps section of Google, for example, relies heavily on accurate data so users call the right number and get accurate driving directions. The bottom line: If your online NAP information is incorrect, Google won’t trust your listing enough to show it for searches.
Now, let’s go back to the law firm that was ranking number four in local search.
You know what stands out?
“No reviews.” Reviews in Google are a huge factor in local SEO rankings, so encourage satisfied clients to write a review of your law firm. Don’t ask for a positive review; simply make the request of clients that you believe are satisfied with your services. Here’s how you can create a unique link that will take these clients to where they can write that review.
Never write a fake review or encourage anyone else to do so. Don’t have members of your law firm team write one, and don’t ever leave a bad review about your competitors. Have a plan in place about how you’ll respond to any negative reviews you receive, and don’t respond to only the negative ones. SearchEngineLand.com has more recommendations about reviews and here is our own deep dive about customer engagement marketing and Google Reviews.
Any time you’re listed in a directory, make sure that your name, address, and phone number are correct. Contact any directories that have incorrect information and request corrections to the citations. Google references the NAP information in your GMB profile against NAP data displayed in any other online business directory (such as Yelp.com, YP.com, and Foursquare.com) and discrepancies lead to a lack of trust with Google.
If you’re new to local SEO for lawyers or aren’t getting the results you need from your current local SEO provider, DAGMAR Marketing can help. We focus on proven best practices and have helped law firms like yours realize gains in rankings and a better ROI. Local SEO for lawyers is one of our specialties, and we’ve even picked up local SEO awards along the way.
To have a highly effective legal SEO campaign, you must have quality backlinks or inbound links that exist on one site and point to yours. These inbound links must be relevant and from diverse set of domains, which is very important if you want your site to rank well in Google.
Here’s an example: An article in Forbes.com titled Seven Things To Think About Before You Register That New Domain links to the Does Domain Age and Registration Length Matter in SEO? blog post on our site.
This is an image from the Forbes article with the blue hyperlinks serving as outbound links for Forbes.com and inbound links to the sites to which they are linking.
Here is the article at DAGMAR Marketing that received the inbound link from Forbes:
You can get a high-level look at a site’s link profile at Moz.com, including your own, using their Domain Authority (DA) tool. You can use this tool on a limited basis for free or pay a subscription fee to mine a wealth of data. By looking at the DA dashboard for the American Bar Association, we see that they have a rating of 87/100, which is excellent, along with a spam score of 11%, which is outstanding. They have 8.2 million inbound links from 88,400 different root domains.
Top ranking backlinks come from well-known sites and they include:
Get your baseline DA score and also check those of your competitors. What’s important is how you compare to your direct competitors; in other words, it doesn’t matter that Amazon.com has a nearly perfect score of 97. In fact, if you practice only in Florida, it doesn’t matter what the DA scores are for law firms that only practice in Nevada. Monitor how your score changes as you conduct your legal SEO campaign and continue to monitor scores of top competitors. Are you getting closer? Passing any up?
Ways to get more quality inbound links include getting listed in quality directories for attorneys. Some are free, while others have a fee. Here are ten excellent free directories to consider (and, remember, if listings already exist and are incorrect, get them fixed):
- FindLaw.com: DA score of 87
- Nolo.com: DA score of 71
- AVVO.com: DA score of 74
- Justia.com: DA score of 90
- WalletHub.com: DA score of 71
- BestLawyers.com: DA score of 54
- HG.org: DA score of 64
- LawGuru.com: DA score of 51
- Lawyers.USLegal.com: DA score of 73
- Lawyer.com: DA score of 54
What local, state and national organizations do you belong to? Can you get listed on their websites?
Link building tactics are a best-practice off-site SEO tactic. When you have a healthy link profile, Google recognizes your site as one worthy of trust and rewards you accordingly in rankings. Other ways in which you can get inbound links include being quoted in online news sources. You can monitor requests for information from reporters at HelpAReporter.com (often referred to as HARO), ProfNet and the like. Creating high-quality, relevant content is also key, which is why we referred to your blog as your linkable asset. When you provide content that people want to share, they often link to it.
You can also write guest blog posts that allow you to link back to your own site. One strategy is to provide law-related news to sites intended for legal professionals. As an example to explore, there is AttorneyAtWork.com. This site has a nice DA of 50; if you decide to further investigate this opportunity, determine if the link to your site will be a follow link (what you want) or a no-follow (which isn’t what you want). You can also write for sites that don’t have attorneys as their audiences. Think about which of these blogs may have potential clients as readers and, if the site has a nice DA and will offer you a follow link, consider writing a post for them solely for the backlink benefits.
Low-quality inbound links don’t help your site and may hurt it. In some instances, it may be wise to use Google’s disavow tool to let Google know you don’t want any negative impact from a spammy link pointing to your site. We recommend consulting with an SEO specialist before attempting this technique.
Learn more about Link Building for Law Firms and Attorneys
Measure Your Results
As you incorporate SEO tactics into your law firm’s digital marketing plan, you’ll want to benchmark your success. This can include measuring how much your site traffic increases, which pages are receiving the most traffic, how many inbound links are coming into your site and the quality of these links, and more. You can find a wealth of information in Google Analytics and Google Search Console, and you can monitor your DA score and so much more. Create solid baseline reports, along with monthly follow up reports. Continue to tweak your strategy as you learn more from your results.
Finding the Best SEO Agency for Lawyers
All SEO companies aren’t created equal. As a result, it’s important for law firms in search of quality SEO to do its research before selecting an SEO agency. Perform your own Google search and don’t be afraid to ask a few questions before wholeheartedly trusting a company to properly manage your budget, your digital assets, and most importantly, your reputation.
Below are helpful tasks you can complete to find the answers you will need:
Ask about the company’s previous SEO success
– You can learn more about the agency’s strengths and weaknesses by reading testimonials, case studies, and even asking the agency yourself.
Find out how the agency will be measuring its efforts
– Is it lead-based or conversion-based? Before getting started, confirm that the agency will be providing your agency with valuable metrics that enable your law firm to measure how close you are to your goals and objectives.
Make sure the agency has experience in your specialty
– If your law firm has a preference for lawyers to write its content, make sure you’re choosing an agency that can accommodate this request best. An agency that has experience working with your industry will have greater knowledge of both what your firm and its audience needs.
Assure that the agency has all of the SEO services your law firm needs
– A one-stop shop containing everything your law firm needs to rise in search engine can help your law firm save time and money. Instead of speaking with multiple people, you can rest assure that one dedicated agent will be handling all of your marketing efforts and can answer any questions regarding your account.
Read what its clients have to say –
If an agency cannot manage its own online reputation, how can you expect it to properly manage yours? Read the reviews on Google, Facebook, and Yelp to learn strengths, weaknesses, and see how well clients are communicated with.
Hire Experts for Your Legal SEO Campaign
- With most consumers searching exclusively online for an attorney, it takes more than keywords for your website to rank higher than those of competitors who have a comprehensive SEO strategy in place. If you’d like to learn more about how SEO can help your law firm be found online by your best prospective clients, get in touch with us online or call 904-270-9778. We offer free, one-hour consultations to discuss your needs.
FAQs For Law Firm SEO
Law firm SEO is one of the core channels in modern marketing for attorneys. Short for search engine optimization, SEO includes strategies and tactics used to help attorneys’ practices rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs). In contrast to paid search (such as Google Ads), organic SEO “earns” you better placement on SERPs with a wide range of tactics, such as optimizing your website for relevant, high-traffic keywords and creating high-quality content.
Since most law firms serve clients in their local areas, local SEO for lawyers focuses on increasing a firm’s visibility among prospective clients. Local SEO is a unique discipline within digital marketing, and one in which DAGMAR Marketing specializes. Even if your law firm has a dozen locations, each one should have its own strategy for improving your SEO results, and local SEO does just that.
Law firms are in abundance in some U.S. cities and they are lacking in others. Given a majority of law firms target specific areas, optimizing your website for SEO can make you more discoverable and desirable to prospects that are faced with the choice between your firm or your competitors.
The research is ongoing, but it’s been clear for years that the vast majority of people start their search for services and products online. As more attorneys hire law firm SEO experts and start running SEO campaigns, the competition for top search engine rankings gets tougher. Having an experienced digital marketing team manage your SEO can give you a distinct advantage over competitors in your market.
SEO is a tool in your marketing arsenal. But just like general law firm SEO, there is a ton of competition for specific legal specialties and different types of messaging, optimization, and content needed depending on what area of practice your law firm specializes in. For example, a personal injury lawyer SEO, content, pages, and more are going to be very different from that of an estate planning attorney or family law attorney. So finding an SEO agency that understands the differences between legal specialties and can run SEO campaigns for your specific practice will only give you a leg up on your competition.
Yes! A blog is one of the most effective SEO drivers, delivering a long list of benefits. A law firm blog with relevant, well-written content can:
- Help you outrank your main competitors
- Drive traffic to your website
- Establish your firm as an authority
- Be used to share news, promote your firm’s accolades and successful cases, and highlight the achievements of individual attorneys
- Give you content you can share on social media channels
- Be used to provide information that may not fit as well on your site’s other pages, such as practice area pages
Blog content can also be a sustainable, long-term engine for good rankings on search engine results, since it can generate leads for weeks or even months. You can also update and expand older blog content to keep your content fresh, which can help your rankings.
If you interview several SEO providers, you’ll find a wide range of pricing. Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that the cheapest SEO company may do some keyword research and get your campaigns up and running, but they can rarely get you sustainable results over time.
At Dagmar Marketing, every client gets a blend of services that are customized to their needs, so there’s no off-the-shelf price for our services. Whether your law firm has a single office or several, your law firm SEO campaigns will get hands-on attention, including monthly analyses and reporting that shows you where every dollar was spent.
When it comes to identifying a budget for your law firm’s SEO strategy, it’s important to remember that you get what you pay for. Typically, legal SEO services cost around $100 – $250 an hour and can range anywhere from $2,000 – 10,000 per month. However, there are several factors that may cause this amount to fluctuate such as:
- The goals your law firm would like to achieve. If your objectives are large and laborious, it’s important to be practical and be flexible with your budget.
- The size of your law firm. A rule of thumb to remember is large firms generally require a larger budget. Given it usually requires more resources to implement a successful SEO strategy for a larger, more established law firm, you can expect to pay at least $18,000 a month more than a small law firm.
Being prepared with a set of questions to ask prospective agencies lets you compare apples to apples when making your decision. Whether you’ve worked with a law firm SEO company before or are just learning about what SEO can do for you, these questions can help you vet various providers:
- What specific SEO services will you provide?
- What recommendations do you have for improvements to our website to support SEO success? Do you have experience in SEO for law firm websites?
- What key performance indicators (KPIs) do you focus on?
- How often will you report on results and what will the reports include?
- Do you work with any of my competitors?
- Do you have experience in local SEO for law firms?
- Can you provide references from both past and current law firm clients?
Some improvements are often measurable within the first three months of an SEO campaign due to solving existing issues and building your profile on Google. SEO is a long-term strategy, however, so it will take several months to build on initial results. As high-quality content is created, links are built to authoritative external sites, and adjustments are made to your campaigns, you’ll see more improvements. We’ll share both the improvements and the challenges with you in our reporting every month.
The reality is law firm search engine optimization is a marathon rather than a sprint. Campaigns take time to produce results—we tell all of our clients that they should expect 3-6 months to see solid results. This is because high quality legal keyword research, optimization of your law firm’s website, in-depth quality content, and more. Additionally it takes time time for Google (and other search engines) to crawl and ‘score’ your site and begin ranking your law firm for specific keywords.
Our Law Firm SEO Results
- 34%Increase in organic traffic
- 103%Increase in local traffic
- 406%Increase in goal conversion rate
Harrell & Harrell, P.A.
- 142%Increase in organic SEO conversions
- 67%Increase in organic traffic
- 44%Increase in mobile traffic
U.S. Legal Services
- 26+Increase in top five rankings
- 35+Increase in first page rankings
- 82%Increase in targeted traffic
Read our Additional Expert Law Firm Marketing Guides and Posts
- Local SEO Dagmar Marketing
- Pay Per Click Dagmar Marketing
- Wordpress Web Development Dagmar Marketing
- Pay Per Click Dagmar Marketing
- Digital Marketing Dagmar Marketing
- SEO Dagmar Marketing
- Local SEO Dagmar Marketing
- Pay Per Click Dagmar Marketing
- Digital Marketing Dagmar Marketing
- SEO Dagmar Marketing
- Local SEO Dagmar Marketing
- Local SEO Dagmar Marketing