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SEO for Lawyers: What Law Firms Need to Know in 2024

SEO for Lawyers: What Law Firms Need to Know in 2024

Is your law firm’s website struggling to get noticed or bring in quality leads? It’s time to check your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. SEO specifically designed for lawyers can significantly boost your visibility in online searches. A solid SEO strategy not only improves your law firm’s online presence but also strengthens its reputation in the legal field. By consistently ranking high in search results and providing helpful content, you build trust and credibility with potential clients. This trust is vital in the legal industry, where clients rely on reputable sources to guide their decisions.
To assist you in improving your SEO expertise, we’ve crafted a guide that covers the fundamental principles of SEO tailored specifically for law firms. This resource is designed for lawyers who are just starting to explore online lead generation strategies.

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the secret weapon that helps lawyers thrive in the digital age. With over 96% of people seeking legal advice using search engines, having a strong SEO strategy is essential. By optimizing their website’s content and structure, lawyers can improve their visibility and ranking in search results, making it easier for potential clients to find them. In fact, studies have shown that implementing effective SEO techniques can increase organic website traffic by up to 200% and lead to a 15% higher conversion rate

Paid vs Organic SEO

Paid SEO involves investing in digital ads, also known as pay-per-click (PPC) ads, that appear on top of organic search results. You pay a specific amount every time someone clicks on your PPC ads. PPC is a good way to track and measure conversions while getting faster results than organic SEO.

Organic SEO is when you optimize your website so it ranks in search engine results pages, but without using paid methods. Content that appears in SERPs using organic SEO are called organic results and visits to a website are called organic traffic. This is achieved by content marketing, acquiring backlinks, and improving the site’s technical aspects.

Why is SEO for Lawyers So Important?

With Google becoming the go-to destination for individuals seeking legal assistance, the significance of SEO for law firms cannot be overstated. Notably, search trends for personal injury lawyers have witnessed an exponential 4,000% growth since 2015, resulting in over 60 million annual searches in this domain alone. This surge in online inquiries extends to various other practice areas, indicating a pervasive reliance on digital platforms for legal needs.

Organic traffic offers substantial revenue potential but requires significant effort due to industry competitiveness and dynamic ranking factors. A recent survey found that 64% of individuals use Google to find legal representation, underlining the importance of SEO for connecting law firms with potential clients. In today’s digital landscape, SEO is crucial for law firms aiming to thrive online.

Moreover, statistics show that on average, more than 45% of desktop searchers click on an organic search result, highlighting the importance of ranking higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) for increased exposure and clicks.

Additionally, a study by AccuRanker found the legal niche to be the most competitive in SEO. Effective Attorney SEO strategies can help law firms:

  • Generate more leads
  • Achieve higher rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs)
  • Increase calls and email inquiries
  • Boost conversions with compelling calls-to-action
  • With so much competition, effective SEO strategies are crucial for law firms to stand out.

 Source: Semrush.com

7 Best SEO Strategies for Law Firms

1. Conduct Keyword Research

Keywords are the foundation of effective SEO, as they are the words and phrases potential clients use when searching for legal services. According to a study, 96% of people seeking legal advice use a search engine. Therefore, choosing and incorporating the right terms into your website is crucial for improving search engine rankings and attracting clients.
The table below illustrates the significance of keywords by examining both the total number of keywords and their respective impact on site traffic, as analyzed through Ahrefs’ tools.

Here are some steps to help you in the process:

  • Identify your target audience
  • Brainstorm relevant topics and services
  • Use keyword research tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner, Moz, Keyword, Explorer, SEMrushand Ahrefs.

    Below is an example of the results obtained from analyzing keywords using Ahrefs’ keyword research tools.

  • Analyze competitor keywords: Look at the websites and online presence of your competitors. Identify the keywords they are targeting and ranking for. This can give you insights and ideas for terms that may be effective for your own strategy.

The table below shows the comparison of how many keywords, volumes, and traffic the competitors have.

  • Organize and prioritize keywords: Group your terms into relevant categories .  This organization, known as keyword mapping, can help you structure your website content and optimize it effectively.

Here’s an example table with keywords related to the topic “lawyers” and their query frequency represented descriptively:

Search QueriesQuery Frequency
Lawyers near meHigh
Best Lawyers in [location]Moderate to High
Divorce lawyerHigh
Personal injury attorneyHigh
Criminal defense lawyerModerate to High
Immigration lawyerModerate to High
Family law attorneyModerate
Employment lawyerModerate
Estate planning attorneyModerate
Intellectual property lawyerLow to Moderate
Tax AttorneyLow to Moderate
Medical malpractice lawyerLow
Real estate lawyerLow
Bankruptcy AttorneyLow

2. Develop SEO-Friendly Content

Content is King – It’s Really What Matters Most
Content marketing is a cornerstone of attracting clients online. By publishing a variety of content types, including informative blog posts and specialized legal resources tailored to your clients’ needs, you can capture attention and earn valuable links from other websites. This not only boosts your visibility but also enhances your domain authority.

To really optimize your website, you’ll need content that is:

Building Trust Through Client Engagement

Incorporating authentic client reviews, testimonials, and feedback into your website strengthens its credibility and influences potential clients’ decisions. Encouraging satisfied clients to share their positive experiences on platforms like Google and Facebook fosters trust and builds a positive reputation for your firm.

Source: pjlesq.com

Strategic Keyword Integration

Identifying relevant keywords through comprehensive research lays the foundation for creating impactful content. Every piece of content on your law firm’s website should be strategically crafted around these keywords to improve your Google ranking and drive targeted website traffic that converts into leads and new clients.

Optimizing Content Across Platforms

Content optimization extends beyond blog posts to encompass all areas of your website, including landing pages, case studies, FAQ pages, service descriptions, and even the contact page. Ensuring consistency and relevance across all content types enhances user experience and reinforces your firm’s expertise and authority in the legal field.

Do you offer free case evaluations? If yes, it’s essential to make it clear.

Source: dagmar.com

Generally, quality content is:

    • Comprehensive
    • Well-written
    • Accurate and up to date
    • Created by a topical expert
    • Presented in a user-friendly way

And make sure to follow our on-page SEO checklist. To give your content the best possible chance of ranking highly.

3. Enhancing On-Page Performance

Are you a lawyer aiming to stand out online and attract more clients? Unlock the power of on-page SEO—the secret weapon for boosting your visibility, reaching your target audience, and generating a flood of qualified leads for your practice.

Here are some essential elements for On-Page SEO:

  • Title Tag: The title tag is an indispensable on-page element that appears as the clickable headline in search engine results. For attorneys, skillfully crafting keyword-rich title tags that accurately represent the page’s content is essential. 

Shown here is a great example of a Title Tag and Meta Description:

source: lawyersofdistinction.com

  • Meta Description: This offers a concise summary of the content and appears below the title tag in search results. Lawyers should optimize their meta descriptions by including a compelling copy that entices users to click through. 
  • H1 (Heading 1): The H1 tag represents the main heading on a webpage and should convey the page’s topic clearly. Attorneys can benefit from utilizing H1 tags that include relevant keywords pertaining to their practice areas and geographic location. 

The image below depicts Heading 1 and Heading 2.

source: rocketlawyer.com

  • H2-H3 (Heading 2 – Heading 3): These subheadings play a vital role in organizing and structuring the content on a webpage. Advocates can enhance the user experience by incorporating H2 and H3 tags, effectively dividing the topic into logical sections. 
  • SEO-friendly URLs: Advocates should strive to optimize their URLs by ensuring they are concise, descriptive, and contain relevant terms.
  • Alt Tags (Image Descriptions): Adding descriptive alt tags to images on a law firm’s site is crucial for both accessibility and SEO purposes.
  • Internal Links:  This involves linking relevant pages within a firm’s own website. For Advocates, internal links can be employed to connect related practice areas, blog posts, or informative content. 

In the example below, you can see the internal link:

By using internal links, you can distribute the equity of those links to your most important pages. This has the side effect of allowing those pages a better opportunity for ranking.

Source: rankings.io

4. Build Quality Backlinks

You’ve got amazing content, but how does Google know it’s awesome? That’s where backlinks come in.

Backlinks are like digital votes of confidence – when another website links to yours, Google sees it as a thumbs-up for your content’s trustworthiness.

But not all backlinks are created equal. Google likes quality over quantity, preferring links from reputable sites with relevant content. These quality backlinks boost your site’s credibility and help it climb Google’s rankings.

Without quality backlinks, your site might struggle to get noticed by Google. Ready to give your content a boost? Let’s dive into the world of quality backlinks.

A backlink is high-quality when:

    • It is placed within the content — not a sidebar or footer
    • It comes from a website with a high domain authority
    • The linking web page has a low number of outgoing links (a backlink from a website with dozens of outgoing
      links is less valuable than one from a website with a few outgoing links)
    • The anchor text linking to your site is relevant to your content
    • If your website has minimal or low-quality backlinks, Google may view your website as having low credibility and authority.

Strategies for Acquiring Authoritative Backlinks

Utilize Legal Directories:

To get started, make sure your legal practice is listed on reputable directories like:

  • Best Law Firms
  • Avvo
  • FindLaw
  • Justia

Engage in Guest Blogging:

Contribute guest articles to reputable legal websites or related industry platforms to expand your reach and incorporate backlinks to your website. Choose platforms relevant to your practice areas to ensure the backlinks are authoritative and beneficial.

Network and Form Partnerships:

Build relationships with legal professionals, industry influencers, and local businesses to uncover natural backlink opportunities. Networking through legal associations, community events, or online platforms can lead to partnerships that result in quality backlinks.

Optimizing Anchor Text:

Anchor text plays a crucial role in legal SEO, serving as clickable links that aid search engines in understanding linked page content. Thoughtful optimization of anchor text can significantly enhance page ranking and visibility by providing valuable context to users and search engines.

The table below shows the total number of referring domains, the number of pages linked, Do follow, and No follow of the top linked pages.

Monitor the Backlinks you acquire:

This involves regularly assessing the quality and relevance of acquired backlinks to ensure they continue to contribute positively to your website’s SEO efforts.

Source: Semrush.com

While acquiring backlinks is essential, it’s equally important to:

Avoiding Common Backlink Pitfalls

Beware of Low-Quality or Irrelevant Links:

Monitor your backlink profile and disavow links from low-quality, spammy, or irrelevant sites that could harm your website’s SEO.

Avoid Link Buying Schemes:
Steer clear of purchasing backlinks or participating in link schemes, as these practices can lead to severe penalties from search engines.

Steer Clear of Excessive Reciprocal Linking:
While reciprocal linking can be beneficial, avoid excessive reciprocal links that may be viewed as manipulative by search engines. Focus on organic link-building strategies to maintain your website’s credibility and authority.

5. Claim and Optimize Your Google My Business Listing

No matter how your firm operates, whether internationally, nationally, or locally, it’s important to have a Google Business Profile. Google Business Profile is a local listing (from Google) that appears in relevant search results, like those with a local or branded intent.

Is Google Business Profile Free?

It’s 100% free to create and manage your Google Business Profile.
And the best part? You can harness its full potential without spending a dime.

What Advantages Does Google My Business Offer?

Maintaining a Google Business Profile offers three primary advantages:

  • Increase visibility on Google
  • Gain credibility with reviews
  • Share business information with customers

Let’s look at each one in more detail:

Increase Visibility on Google:
    • A Google Business Profile ensures that your business appears prominently in relevant local search results, including Google Maps and Google Search.
    • This includes the local pack, which appears for location-specific queries (or search terms that suggest location, like “lawyers near me”), and features Google Maps results and business information.
    • By providing accurate and up-to-date information about your business, such as your address, phone number, hours of operation, and website, you make it easier for potential customers to find and connect with you.
    • Optimizing your profile with relevant keywords and high-quality images can further improve your visibility and attract more traffic to your business.
Gain Credibility with Reviews:
    • Customer reviews are a critical factor in building trust and credibility with potential customers. Positive reviews can help establish your business as reputable and reliable in the eyes of consumers.
    • Encouraging satisfied customers to leave reviews on your Google Business Profile can boost your reputation and influence the purchasing decisions of others.
    • Responding promptly and professionally to both positive and negative reviews demonstrates your commitment to customer satisfaction and can help mitigate any negative feedback.

Source: Yelp.com

Share Business Information with Customers:
    • Your Google Business Profile serves as a centralized hub where customers can access essential information about your business, including your address, phone number, website, and directions.
    • You can use your profile to communicate important updates and announcements, such as changes to your business hours, special promotions, or new product offerings.
    • The ability to post photos, videos, and regular updates keeps your profile fresh and engaging, providing customers with valuable insights into your business and offerings.

6. Troubleshooting Technical SEO

Technical SEO issues can harm your website’s rankings and user experience.

Examples include:

  • Broken links
  • Slow page speeds
  • Duplicate content
  • Missing title tags
  • Robots.txt errors

SEO goes beyond keyword optimization. You also need to ensure that your website’s technical aspects are in great working condition and that your website visitors have the best possible user experience when browsing your site.

Here are some areas where technical SEO is applied:

Site Speed Optimization:

Experts recommend a load time of 2-3 seconds for optimal user experience. Google considers site speed in its Core Web Vitals for ranking. Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to analyze and improve your website’s speed.

Effective Website Structure and URL Optimization:

Organize your website with a clear hierarchy, ensuring easy navigation for both users and search engines. A well-structured site improves rankings, drives traffic, and enhances user experience.

Incorporate relevant keywords into your URL structure to improve search engine visibility and user understanding. Successful SEO for law firms consists of using descriptive and keyword-rich URLs that accurately reflect the content of each page.

Consider hiring a Technical SEO expert to implement schema markups, showcasing valuable information like ratings and reviews in search results. Be sure to avoid lengthy or complex URLs that could confuse both search engines and users.

Mobile-Friendly Design:

With many visitors using mobile devices, having a mobile-friendly website is essential. A responsive design ensures your site adjusts to different screens, providing a better experience. Google prioritizes mobile versions for indexing, so test your site on mobile and make improvements as needed.

Below is the image showing a site with a well-optimized mobile version:

Structured Data and Schema Markup:

Structured data (also called schema markup) is code that helps Google better understand a page’s content.
And by adding the right structured data, your pages can win rich snippets.
Rich snippets are more appealing search results with additional information appearing under the title and description.

Here’s what a search result might look like when using schema markup:

Use The HTTPS Protocol By Installing An SSL Certificate:

Secure your website by installing an SSL certificate and using the HTTPS protocol. Without it, visitors may see a warning message like this one.

Would you stay on a site that appears insecure? Of course not. Ensure your website’s security to retain visitors and build trust.

7. Monitor Your SEO Results

Monitoring your SEO results is essential for refining and improving your law firm’s search engine optimization strategy over time. It’s not sufficient to merely implement changes for optimization; understanding what works and what doesn’t is crucial for success in the legal industry. By regularly monitoring your SEO performance, you gain insights into the effectiveness of your efforts, enabling you to make informed decisions and adjustments to enhance your online visibility and attract more potential clients.

5 KPIs to Track Your Law Firm SEO Results

Let’s start with some core metrics that help you determine whether your SEO work is bringing in the traffic and conversions you need. 

Most commonly, SEO experts track five key performance indicators (KPIs):

  • Google rankings and click volume for relevant industry keywords 
  • Increase in organic web traffic
  • Increase in website conversions from organic page visitors
  • Increase in referral traffic and conversions
  • Improvement in your local SEO presence

That said, your agency needs a systematic approach to tracking law firm SEO performance. After investing in your agency’s services, it’s natural for clients to ask questions like:

    • Has there been increased traffic on our law firm website?
    • Have there been significant changes to our search engine rankings?
    • How did our last SEO campaign perform?
    • Did our law firm receive any new reviews? What about our competitors?

Let’s face it–there are a lot of SEO insights to keep track of (just ask any experienced law firm SEO agency). 

3 SEO Tracking Tools

Google Analytics:

With Google Analytics, you can:

  • Track website traffic and user behavior.
  • Gain insights into audience demographics, interests, and acquisition channels.
  • Measure key metrics such as sessions, pageviews, bounce rate, and conversions.
  • Access detailed reports on website performance and marketing campaign effectiveness
  • Optimize website content and user experience based on visitor data.
Ahrefs:

With Ahrefs, you can:

  • Utilize tools for backlink analysis, keyword research, and rank tracking.
  • Monitor up to 10,000 keyword rankings for “regular” organic search.
  • Gain insights into organic search traffic, keyword performance, and website visibility.
  • Identify technical SEO issues and discover opportunities for improvement.
  • Support content strategy development and enhance link-building efforts.

Google Search Console:

Google Search Console offers comprehensive insights into how your website is crawled, indexed, and displayed in search results, empowering you to optimize your site’s visibility and performance. Additionally, it provides valuable tools for submitting sitemaps, resolving website errors, and enhancing your presence in search results.
To access this information, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to your Google Search Console account.
  2. Navigate to the “Performance” section on the left-hand side.
  3. Click on “Pages” below the line chart to locate the desired page (typically your homepage).
  4. Select “Queries” to view the search queries for which the page is ranking (focus on queries related to your target keyword).
  5. Review the “Position” column on the right to see your rankings.

These distinctions ensure that each tool serves a unique purpose in website tracking and analysis, covering various aspects of SEO, user behavior, and search engine visibility.

FAQs

What’s the Best Way to Do Keyword Research for Law Firm SEO?

Utilize tools like Google Keyword Planner or SEMrush for finding relevant, low-competition keywords. Focus on specific practice areas and locations, and analyze competitor keywords for insights. Remember to prioritize long-tail keywords that reflect user intent and address common legal queries.

How Long Does It Take to See Results from SEO for Lawyers?

Results vary based on factors like market competitiveness and website quality. Generally, expect gradual improvements over several months with consistent optimization and monitoring. Patience is key as SEO involves ongoing efforts to maintain and improve rankings over time.

Can I Do SEO on My Own, or Should I Hire an Agency?

While DIY SEO is possible, hiring an agency offers expertise, resources, and specialized tools for effective strategy execution, allowing you to focus on your practice. Agencies also stay updated on algorithm changes and industry trends, ensuring your SEO efforts remain competitive and adaptive.

How Much Do Law Firms Spend on SEO?

SEO spending varies based on firm size, market competitiveness, and service scope. Assess specific needs and goals to determine an appropriate budget. Consider factors like the complexity of your website, desired keywords, and the level of competition in your target market.

Is Paid SEO Worth It?

Paid SEO, like PPC advertising, can yield immediate traffic and targeted leads. Carefully plan and optimize campaigns for maximum ROI and complement organic SEO efforts. Monitor campaign performance regularly and adjust strategies to align with changing business goals and market conditions.

Final Thoughts

As law firms navigate the digital landscape, SEO emerges as a vital long-term strategy rather than an immediate solution. It’s akin to a marathon, not a sprint, requiring patience and perseverance. While instant results may not be apparent, consistent efforts in crafting relevant content, fostering backlinks, adhering to Google’s guidelines, and soliciting client reviews are paramount.

In today’s era, visibility is paramount, and SEO serves as the beacon guiding potential clients to your doorstep. It’s about more than mere online presence; it’s about being in the right place at the right time for your target audience. As legal seekers increasingly turn to the web, a finely tuned website becomes the cornerstone of client attraction.

Moreover, SEO isn’t just about climbing search rankings; it’s about cementing your law firm’s credibility and authority in the digital realm. Through strategic content creation, local optimization, and a robust online persona, law firms can position themselves as trusted leaders in their respective fields. This not only draws in more clients but also sets them apart in a competitive market.

For law firms yet to embrace SEO or those with limited efforts, the time to act is now. In an ever-evolving digital arena, staying abreast of SEO trends is crucial for continued success. Remember, your competitors are likely already capitalizing on SEO, making any delay a missed opportunity to engage with potential clients effectively.

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