What is SEO?
At its most simple, SEO or search engine optimization for lawyers is getting your law firm or personal lawyer website to rank at the top of the Google results for keywords related to your legal practice.
96% of people start with Google or another search engine when they are looking for a lawyer or legal advice and 74% of users visit a law firm’s website to take action, according to the National Law Review.
Remember these statistics!
- What Is Lawyer SEO?
- Essential Law Firm SEO Tactics
- Law Practice SEO: Organic Search Versus Paid Search
- What To Look Out for When Hiring a Law Firm SEO Company?
- How To Vet or Assess Lawyer SEO Marketing Companies
- What To Ask When Hiring a Lawyer SEO Company?
- SEO Consultant for Lawyers
- Personal Injury Lawyer SEO
- Real Estate Attorney SEO
- Bankruptcy Lawyer SEO
- DUI Attorney SEO
- Criminal Representation Lawyer SEO
- Local SEO For Lawyers
- SEO For Class Action Lawsuits
- SEO For Multi-District Litigation
- Finding SEO Services for Lawyers
- How a Legal Industry SEO Company Can Help You
- Why We Got Fired After 4 Months of Lawyer SEO
What is Lawyer SEO?
SEO or search engine optimization is the art and science of ensuring that a given website appears at the top or on the first page of the search engine results for desirable and relevant keywords.
For lawyers, search engine optimization means getting your website or your firm’s website to appear at the top of the organic search results for the keywords that your target audiences – your potential clients – are most likely to be searching for as they seek legal help.
After all, when a person is looking for a lawyer, they are often at one of the most stressful points in their life.
Chances are they are going to start by typing their problem into Google in order to find an attorney who works on their type of case, or simply to get more information and learn more about what they can expect as they go through the legal system.
They may also be searching to learn more about whether they may even have grounds for a lawsuit, as in the case with many types of personal injury lawsuits.
If they are looking for a criminal lawyer, a bankruptcy lawyer, a DUI lawyer, or similar, they may be somewhat stressed out or even desperate as they seek answers.
And if they are searching for class action lawsuit or multi-district lawsuit information, they may be seeing if they are eligible to participate in said types of lawsuits.
According, if you are a lawyer or otherwise responsible for handling the marketing aspects of a law firm, then you should be concerned with ensuring that your or your law firm’s site appears at the top of the search results for the more popular and impactful keywords.
Search engine optimization or SEO for lawyers is both an art and science with nuances specific to the legal field.
Giving legal advice (even if you aren’t the reader’s lawyer) means that your site and web design should be held to higher standards than most, and of course, you want to ensure your law firm is represented properly with authoritative content in addition to ranking well.
People who find your site through search are most likely in dire need of legal assistance, after all, so you want to ensure that you are giving good advice providing quality content across the board.
Besides, search engine algorithms tend to reward sites with valuable content that is shared, linked to, and otherwise helpful to the end-user with higher rankings.
Which will lead to more traffic and more conversions in the long run.
Creating good content that provides users with answers to their legal questions might be the art of SEO, but the science is building links, ensuring the technical specifications are in place and the site is properly built for search engine bots to crawl, and even determining which keywords are most likely to be successful.
Read on to learn more about SEO for lawyers and law firms and how to hire an SEO company that will take your website to the top of the search results for keyword searches that result in valuable clients…
Essential Law Firm SEO Tactics
On the surface, the definition of Law Firm SEO is simple–it is the activities around getting a law firm website or page to the top of the search results for a given keyword or optimizing a law firm website for a set of relevant keywords or phrases.
However, the actual activities or the work and effort involved can be much more complex than that.
For instance, determining which keywords are the most effective in regard to actual conversions versus the effort involved in ranking for said keywords can be a challenging exercise in and of itself.
Creating content around those keywords and building links to that content is also a long process and complicated process – but one that when properly done, leads to amazing results and lots of inbound leads!
Moreover, ensuring that you or your marketing develop a link-building campaign that is based on showcasing your site’s authority and thought leadership through relevant, constructive link-building is a rare skill and one that is difficult for beginners or people new to SEO or the law to capture.
Each industry has its own link-building techniques, resources, methods, and authority sites, of course, but the mindset of creating valuable content remains consistent.
In fact, content creation is one of the more challenging aspects of law firm SEO.
Not only do you or someone else have to create all this content and fit that into your busy schedule, but you also need to make sure it is properly optimized for your keywords, answers people’s legal questions in a satisfactory way that leaves them seeking more (and therefore converting and contacting you!), and that people know about it, link to it, and otherwise interact with it.
Law Practice SEO: Organic Search Versus Paid Search
You might already be familiar with the differences between organic search results and paid search results or search engine advertisements on Google, Bing, and other search engines, at least from the perspective of a user.
However, if you are looking at lawyer SEO from a marketing viewpoint and therefore the value, effort and SEO costs involved, and the overall return on investment, there is much more to consider.
Sites or pages that are in the organic results are the ones that the algorithm deemed to be most relevant or useful to someone in your location (and perhaps with your user behavior and history if you are logged in to Google or another social network) for your particular search terms, while paid search ads are paid listings that are pretty much available to the highest bidder with few simple and easily fulfilled caveats (such as their landing pages need to include the targeted keywords, etc.).
What to Look Out for When Hiring a Law Firm SEO Company?
If you are looking to engage the services of a law firm SEO company, then there are a few key things to check out before you even have that initial meeting.
The first is how did you discover them?
An SEO law firm should be able to rank for some of their own target keywords or you may have discovered them through a client’s rankings for popular keywords.
But just because they don’t have experience in law firm SEO doesn’t mean you pass them by – a good SEO company is a good SEO company, and a good SEO company can pivot to any industry or use internal resources to be just as capable as a niche SEO law firm company.
In fact, a lawyer SEO firm might even take you on while they are helping your competitors.
Either way, if there is no current evidence that the SEO company you are thinking of engaging can instead top the search engine results pages for desirable and high-value terms, then you might want to move on.
The next is the amount of time and effort (including costs) it will take to reach the top of the rankings.
It goes to follow that keywords that go for a high dollar paid in the paid search ads (the ones you see at the top and in the sidebar of the results page) take a lot of effort to rank for organically.
This takes time and Google, Bing, or any other search engine isn’t going to rank any website for a top search term overnight.
How to Vet or Assess Lawyer SEO Marketing Companies
If you are an attorney or are otherwise seeking a marketing company with SEO expertise to promote a law firm, then there are a few key questions you should ask as you vet prospects and decide on a team to work with.
You will also want to check references and take a look at the company’s online platforms to learn more about the company or people you’ll be working with and their expertise and background.
Often, SEO consultants and their teams publish authority of their own (and hey, you’re reading this!) so you can see where they fit into the SEO industry as a whole and if they have been recognized for their work with awards, amazing reviews on independent platforms, or contributed to or been mentioned in leading publications (both industry-specific and marketing or business-related in general).
On the other hand, if a potential SEO partner exhibits red flags like being cagey about their process, says everything is proprietary, guarantees rankings, or otherwise seems too good to be true, then trust your gut and move on.
And never partner with a lawyer SEO that says they will build you thousands of links every month.
What to Ask When Hiring a Lawyer SEO Company?
If you are seeking to engage the services of a professional SEO consultant or any other type of digital marketer, then there are a few key questions you should ask before you choose a firm or individual to do SEO work for you.
Your potential SEO partner’s approach to these questions can tell you a lot about how they operate and how the process of working with them to optimize your law firm website might go.
These essential lawyer SEO questions include but are certainly not limited to:
How do you approach keyword selection and targeting?
They should be able to determine what keywords are most likely to convert, what keywords you can realistically rank for based on your budget and the competition in your niche or area of law and location, and what your goals are for the SEO process.
They should also be aware of the search volume or popularity of the keywords selected with your target audience.
What SEO tools do you use and why did you choose these particular tools or SEO software?
These tools can be free or paid (or a mix of both), but you want to know if they are using competitive technology to your advantage.
Where do you get your search marketing news?
You don’t have to read these blogs, social media accounts, or sites yourself of course (that’s what the consultant is for), but you want to know they are plugged in to the industry and up to date on the latest changes in the search engine algorithms.
What do you consider to be the most valuable ranking factors currently and how do you optimize for them?
While the search engines constantly tweak their algorithms, there are some factors that remain fairly constant.
Learning about the ranking factors that a potential SEO partner values the most and how they attack them will give you insight into their approach and mindset as well as their level of expertise.
If they do not take a holistic viewpoint (e.g., the aforementioned art and science) that includes careful selection of keywords, building links with high-quality sites, and ensuring your site actually converts traffic, then you might want to continue your quest and look at other potential SEO partners.
Can you perform a quick competitive analysis of my three (or a number you agree upon) competitors?
Knowing that your SEO consultant can reverse engineer your competitor’s strategy and see what techniques might benefit you, what keywords they are targeting, and more is extremely valuable.
And enables you to assess their SEO chops!
Do you create content or can you handle the content creation aspect? What is the review process like?
Content remains king in SEO and thought leadership is one of the keys to great rankings since search engines still reward websites with highly relevant, authoritative content that other sites link to as a valuable resource.
Accordingly, your legal website should be populated with high-quality, useful content carefully and realistically seeded with your targeted keywords.
Often, SEO consultants can help with the writing (either themselves or by outsourcing to an expert content marketing company) or they can otherwise work with you to generate content that fits your practice area and is optimized for your keywords.
How do you approach link-building?
Building links or performing what is essentially search engine PR is a key part of SEO.
The days of being able to buy links or simply submit your site to various outlets or directories and get links easily are long gone and those tactics won’t get you the rankings you want.
Rather, you need to be able to earn links because your content is helpful and that your site is a valuable resource – and your SEO partner’s job is to help other relevant site owners or publishers understand this!
Can you provide example performance reports?
The SEO consultant may have to redact client names or other identifying information, of course, but seeing the reports they provide to clients gives you a good idea of how they work and how they define successful search engine optimization.
Ideally, you can see reports over time e.g., 3 months, 6 months, and a year out from the start of an SEO process so you can get a good idea of what you can expect for your own site.
You can also use these reports to see how the SEO consultant uses analytics to track and measure their progress and gain insight into your / their target audiences.
Do you guarantee page one rankings?
If you are new to the world of search engine optimization, you may think a guarantee of good rankings sounds great!
However, an SEO company does not control the search engines and therefore can’t guarantee your site will earn or maintain a ranking, so if a law firm SEO company says they do provide a guarantee, you should be wary.
How do you approach conversions or conversion optimization?
While an SEO service provider’s primary job is to get your site to rank for popular and relevant keywords and therefore drive traffic to your website, all the traffic in the world won’t matter if your content sucks and your site doesn’t convert.
While your SEO company may or may not offer conversion optimization services or recommendations, they should be willing to track potential issues and bring up conversion challenges so they can be addressed as part of the overall optimization process.
Of course, these are hardly the only questions you should ask when considering hiring an SEO company for your law practice, but they are a good start as you begin the search for SEO services.
SEO Consultant for Lawyers
Much of the same elements come into play when considering lawyer SEO for solo practitioners as they do for law firms.
After all, if someone is looking for legal advice online, the size of your firm doesn’t necessarily matter in many circumstances.
All that matters is that you have the expertise and knowledge they are looking for and that you can handle their legal problems properly.
Personal Injury Lawyer SEO
Personal injury legal services are one of the more common verticals or areas of law that people search for.
After all, if someone or their loved one has been injured or otherwise harmed and they believe they might have a personal injury case or a cause of action for a personal injury lawsuit of any kind, they are likely to turn to the web in order to find legal help, resources, and solutions.
Therefore, if you are seeking clients for your personal injury law practice via SEO, you should have an article or page about each aspect of personal injury law that you or your firm handle, with a focus on your location or states that you practice in, from the various types of medical malpractice to construction accidents or motor vehicle accidents.
The goal is to have your personal injury attorney website appear at the top of the search results when people type their relevant questions into Google and to provide helpful answers that help them determine their next steps and take action towards getting compensation for their injuries.
Real Estate Attorney SEO
People often tend to look to the internet for advice when they are thinking of buying or selling real estate, and one of the ways that real estate attorneys can position themselves as experts and leaders in their community is to ensure that people find their site when they are researching the various legal aspects of real estate transactions.
Accordingly, if you handle real estate SEO, you should have content or pages focused on buying and selling homes and all the legal intricacies that may come up as people go through the process.
You want your real estate attorney website to appear at the top of the search results when people type their relevant questions into Google and for it to have useful, actionable answers for them.
Bankruptcy Lawyer SEO
People seeking bankruptcy lawyers are often in the middle of incredibly stressful times in their lives.
Furthermore, they are often struggling to find some information that will help them assess their situation and ideally, won’t cost them anything (at first).
Hence the popularity of bankruptcy search terms on Google.
If you are creating content or generating content ideas for your bankruptcy attorney site, focus on the process of how you and your firm handle various types of bankruptcy cases and what the person filing for bankruptcy should do in addition to contacting you as soon as possible, and try to answer any questions they might have and be typing into Google as they seek legal assistance.
DUI Attorney SEO
Similar to people looking for bankruptcy attorneys, people looking for DUI attorneys are under incredible amounts of stress and seeking answers via Google, which is why it is so important for you to ensure that your law practice or law firm’s website ranks highly for keywords or phrases they might be using.
This comes through creating content that specifically focuses on DUIs and related charges targeted towards your area, including potential consequences and examples of how your law firm has handled those in the past (anonymize the names and any other information that may be identified) so potential clients can see what their potential case may look like.
When you are creating content for your DUI attorney site, focus on the process of how you and your firm handle DUI cases and what the potential defendant should do in addition to contacting you as soon as possible, and try to answer any questions they might have and be typing into Google as they seek legal assistance.
Criminal Representation Lawyer SEO
Anyone looking for a lawyer to represent them in a criminal case is likely looking for trustworthy help and answers – and fast.
Ensuring that your law firm’s website has a page or article about each type of charge you commonly handle (including any area-specific case law or regulations) that is properly optimized for what users might be searching for, e.g., “drug possession IL”) goes a long towards getting the kind of traffic that will convert into clients.
This content should cover the current aspects of legislation related to those types of cases, examples of cases you’ve successfully handled in the past (anonymize names and other potentially identifying information) as well as next steps for anyone seeking criminal representation to take, including contacting your firm as soon as possible of course.
Local SEO For Lawyers
Some level of local SEO or localized SEO is generally necessary for most lawyers trying to drive leads for their law practices.
After all, most lawyers or law firms are licensed to practice in certain locations or focus on a given city, state, or region.
While some aspects of the law are nationwide or nearly universal in the United States (and people may be searching for answers from anywhere), often there are nuances to cases that require a lawyer who is familiar with that state’s case law or metro region.
On the other hand, some types of lawsuits such as multi-district litigation or class action lawsuits require nationwide or a broader scope than localized SEO, but in general lawyer SEO is fairly localized.
While you can and should start with building out your Google Business profile and other localized listings, making your site the legal resource for your area in your legal niche requires a larger amount of dedication and expertise.
SEO for Class Action Lawsuits
Since a class action lawsuit involves a group of plaintiffs that may be spread around the country or across many locations, this type of specialized lawyer SEO requires a broader net, so to speak.
Not only do you need to reach potential plaintiffs wherever they might live, but you also need to provide the latest news about the class action lawsuit process and information for people who are searching about their problems or symptoms as they may relate to potential litigation.
This type of lawyer SEO requires regularly updated content as well as plenty of background on the class action case and problems that led to it, as well as how much a plaintiff might stand to gain if they win.
Ensuring that the latest news is constantly posted to your law firm’s site is an important part of optimizing a page or pages for class-action lawsuit-related keywords and bringing in the appropriate clientele.
If you are hiring an SEO firm to optimize your website for these types of keywords in order to help you find clients to represent in a class-action lawsuit, you’ll want to discuss who is responsible for updating this content and how often it will be done.
SEO for Multi-District Litigation
Similar to class action lawsuit SEO, SEO for multi-district litigation requires that you cast a nationwide wide net and provide regular updates for your audience on these types of ongoing and often extremely complex cases.
Finding plaintiffs for a multi-district lawsuit or MDL cases is similar to class action lawsuits, so you will want to ensure that your law firm’s site includes relevant keywords and background info for people who are interested in learning more about whether or not they are eligible to join an MDL and how much they might stand to gain.
Like a class-action lawsuit, if you are hiring an SEO firm to optimize your website for these types of keywords in order to help you find clients to represent in a multi-district lawsuit, you’ll want to discuss who is responsible for updating this content and how often it will be done.
Finding SEO Services for Lawyers
If you are a lawyer in need of SEO services, then you probably started your search the same way that you hope your future clients find your website online – by googling relevant keywords and seeing what SEO consultants show up in the results.
That might even be how you found this article!
Of course, ensuring that any SEO company you hire knows what they are doing is so essential it nearly goes without saying, and one of the more obvious ways for them to prove their search engine chops is by ranking well for highly competitive keywords like “SEO services for lawyers”.
However, there are plenty of other factors you should consider when you are choosing which SEO team to work with.
For instance, do they have any reviews or references that you can check out?
Any testimonials on their site?
Check out where their website is linked or mentioned, or if any of the principal consultants or team members have a solid social media presence, have participated or even spoken at any conferences, or otherwise gotten any recognition that shows their skills have been verified or vouched for by third parties.
You should also consider your goals. Do you want to find clients to participate in an MDL or class-action lawsuit, or you are keeping things local with personal injury law or minor criminal cases?
You want an SEO team that understands the various niches that lawyers can occupy and will be able to work with you accordingly.
How a Legal Industry SEO Company Can Help You
While there are thousands of SEO companies and consultants, finding one that specializes in the legal industry or SEO for law firms and lawyers can make all the difference.
Knowing how to market to clients looking for legal assistance, understanding how to write content that showcases your legal expertise without misconstruing any legal situations, and perhaps most importantly being able to get results with SEO are all things that the right SEO partner can accomplish for you and your law practice or law firm.
Take your practice to the next level with the right lawyer SEO team.
Why We Got Fired After 4 Months of Lawyer SEO
We worked relentlessly for an attorney in one of the most competitive cities in Chicago (if not the most).
We got fired after 4 months.
So why did we get fired, and why listen to us with anything related to lawyer SEO?
First, we don’t have all of the answers and we don’t pretend to.
We also don’t specialize in just one niche, but we do focus on our clients that we partner with.
When an owner or executive is tasked with hiring a company to perform a service, the most likely candidate that will get hired is probably focused or experienced in their prospective industry.
That makes sense.
If you are a lawyer and you are looking for SEO, then doing a Google search will most likely land you on a company that focuses on lawyer SEO.
Naturally, you might see some competitors that are ranking well for a specific search query and naturally you get excited that this is the SEO company that will change your business.
Let me be straight forward with you, hire an SEO consultant to help you find the SEO company you are going to partner with.
Because an SEO consultant will work on your behalf to make sure you are placed with the right SEO company, one that will elevate your company performance over a course of time.
An SEO consultant for lawyers will save you months of wasted time making their value immense.
So why did we get fired after 4 months?
Well, the answer is simple.
We took the foot off the gas when it came to the constant reminder that an SEO campaign requires time & patience.
I know what you’re thinking, that can’t be the reason you got fired after 4 months – you probably didn’t perform.
First, 4 months in the SEO world is what we call a “warming period”.
Anyone in the SEO world knows that tackling a super competitive market or industry requires a lot of time, blood, and sweat.
Is that an excuse?
We simply didn’t do a good enough job explaining that to our client – in fact, we’ve hired outside help to redesign our approach to making sure our clients fully understand what it takes to build a sustainable online presence.
So, what did you have for show for 4 months?
Well, we had a lot.
Like I mentioned previously, we put in a lot of sweat.
Our initial approach was to write around 165,600 words to increase the quality of content, optimize around 100 URLs, and do keyword research on one of the most competitive industries in Chicago – personal injury SEO.
In 4 months we wrote close to 90,000 words.
We built the highest quality citations to their practice’s multiple locations (4 months is not enough time for those citations to completely index BTW).
We rewrote title tags, ALT tags, H1 tags, H2 tags, and we did a complete overhaul on the website architecture.
We started in August, and we got fired at the end of November.
At our peak, we hit over 5,000 organic keywords.
Ahrefs is close, so I am including the screenshot below for reference.
So, you ranked a bunch of keywords, what is the big deal?
Well, the quality of those keywords matters – on the Internet, it just takes one page to change the pace of your business.
Literally, you can have one page that ranks well for an attorney service you provide and then it is time to hire.
If you’ve used Google Ads, then you already know that any lawyer service is going to be expensive, I mean, have you tried to advertise for “truck injury lawyer?”
Organic keywords matter, and seeing that value grow matters.
You’re probably still asking, if you are showing results like the above why did you still get fired?
Well, we got fired because we didn’t do our job in coaching our client well enough.
If you are an attorney looking to grow your practice, understand that SEO is a long-term investment.
It doesn’t happen tomorrow, it doesn’t happen next week, and it probably won’t even happen next year if you are just getting into the industry.
Hire an SEO consultant to help you find the right company, and when you do find the right company, make sure you are included in weekly and monthly meetings to understand how your practice is growing online.
Also, you should be on Google Ads.
If you don’t have the budget, go for the long-tail keywords for profitability.
Also, don’t hire an SEO company just because they are in your niche.
It took us 4 months to grow our client’s practice in some of the most competitive search queries in the world.
We all use the same SEO tools, are in the same SEO groups, and we all have the same data.
There is usually only a slight edge hiring on attorney that has data on a competing lawyer firm, but then you are hiring the same SEO company that is working on behalf of your competitor.
How does that work?
Which client gets to rank higher, the one that spends more?
Opt-in to keep an open mind when hiring an SEO firm.
Do not hire the Lawyer SEO firm that promises you thousands of links per month.
That doesn’t work and it’s not sustainable.
On a final note, you might be asking, well after you got fired how did the other SEO firm do?
The point of this post is to provide useful information on lawyer SEO, but it is also to ensure that you learn from our mistakes as well as our knowledge, and not to post our personal company updates – but you’re most likely an attorney or an executive that is reading this post, and if you made it this far down, then you deserve to know about post results.
To conclude, we posted an Ahrefs screenshot earlier that showed a major decline in organic keywords, so why did this happen?
The SEO lawyer niche company changed the URLs, changed title tags, and implemented a templated strategy that has been used over and over again.
Are you a DIY hacker?
How did we do?
Have a comment or a question, let us know.