SEO for Lawyers: Everything You Need To Know in 2024

SEO
SEO for Lawyers: Everything You Need To Know in 2024
Article by Szabolcs Szecsei
Last Updated: July 16, 2024

SEO for lawyers means using search engine optimization to help your legal firm and expertise become more visible online, helping you build your authority and discoverability. This ensures that your website will get more qualified traffic, i.e., people looking for your legal services.

Law firm SEO can help you make a case for yourself online (no pun intended). But how do you get started with SEO for lawyers? We’ve asked our search engine experts to tell us more about attorney SEO and they’ve helped us create this comprehensive guide. Read on to learn all about it!

What Is SEO for Lawyers?

Attorney SEO or search engine optimization for lawyers simply means optimizing your content and website to show up in the search engine results pages (SERPs) for people looking for legal help.

Ideally, the optimization process will start with identifying the search terms (keywords) potential clients might use to find a law firm like yours online. After identifying those, you will want to optimize your content with them to help you rank higher on Google, Bing, etc. Why is this important? It’s been estimated that 99% of searchers only look at the first page of search results.

In addition to this, it’s also important to:

  • Optimize for local searches
  • Build strong backlinks to improve your site’s hierarchy
  • Optimize your site’s technical performance
  • Maximize the amount of traffic you can get with other methods such as PPC

If all of this sounds confusing or overwhelming, don’t worry, we’ll dissect each of these strategies below. A seasoned SEO agency will also be more than happy to help you get a better grasp of these concepts.

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The Importance of Attorney SEO

Search engine optimization for attorneys can have several crucial benefits for lawyers, as SEO can build a strong online presence, helping them find potential clients, and enabling them to scale their practice. In addition to that, SEO for lawyers will typically bring the following benefits:

  • Better online visibility: This means rising above the competition and ensuring that your practice is the first choice for people who need legal help in your area of expertise.
  • Qualified traffic: Law firm SEO helps you attract qualified leads actively seeking legal assistance, resulting in higher conversion rates and more meaningful client engagements.
  • Build trust and credibility: A strong online presence and high-quality content on your website can help you establish your firm as a reputable and trustworthy expert in your field. This instills confidence in your potential clientele, encouraging them to opt for your help over competitors.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Compared to traditional advertising, law firm SEO represents a cost-effective marketing methodology, delivering a high return on investment and long-term results.
  • Improvements in reputation management: SEO helps you proactively manage your online reputation, as you can establish yourself as a trustworthy professional and reinforce a positive brand image.
  • Data-driven decisions: Law firm SEO also enables you to gain valuable insight into your target audience’s preferences and behavior, allowing you to hone in on your marketing strategies to help even more people with their legal issues.

How To Perform SEO for Attorneys: 6 Steps

Getting started with SEO can feel like a huge task, but the following steps will help you better understand the overarching process of optimization. Or it can enhance your partnership with your SEO firm. Let’s dive in!

1. Keyword Research

Creating SEO-focused content always starts with conducting keyword research and pinpointing the most relevant search terms your target audience uses. There are several paid and free tools like Ahrefs or Google Keyword Planner that help you gain insights about different keyword metrics such as difficulty, search volume, and competition. Optimizing your headings, titles, subheadings, text, and other content with keywords can dramatically improve your on-page SEO.

2. On-Page SEO for Lawyers

When discussing any type of SEO, every concept involves at least some form of on-page SEO, which concerns all elements on your website. On-page website optimization looks at keywords, content, meta descriptions, and images.

  • Content elements: The content on your site, from service pages and blog posts to FAQ pages, all have relevant keywords in them to help with your rankings.
  • Image optimization: Your images need to be optimized by naming them, adding alt-text to them (to help with indexing and address accessibility needs), and using the right format (like PNG or JPEG).
  • Keyword optimization: Implement specific and relevant keywords into your content. Usually, these terms should all be relevant phrases your target audience might use to get their questions answered about their legal issues (for example, “personal injury firm in Miami”).
  • Optimizing meta descriptions: Metas summarize what your page is about, helping the searcher decide whether to click or not. They can help you rank higher and increase your click-through rate, especially if they are more compelling and to the point.

3. Website Content for Lawyers

Your content strategy should also be created with SEO in mind, and more precisely, in line with what people want to watch or read about within your industry. In the case of attorney SEO, this means crafting content that discusses your area of expertise and sharing useful information that helps them navigate any legal issues.

Ahrefs
[Source: Ahrefs]

If you’re new to content marketing, the best place to start would be content pillar strategies. This approach involves organizing your content from “pillar” topics that branch out to more specific “clusters,” ensuring that bots can crawl your site faster and get more accurate data about the information they find.

It’s also important to take the time to optimize your service/area of expertise pages. These are the bread and butter of your online presence. As such, they should be organized in high detail, and enriched with the right keywords. For example, if you are an expert on family law, then you should have separate practice pages for Custody, Divorce, and Adoption.

Lastly, using FAQ pages can also help you add more value to your readers and optimize your content. FAQ pages will usually feature your most frequently asked questions from existing and previous clients about legal services or issues. You can create a list of these questions and add your answers in Q&A format, enabling your readers to find the information they need in a quick and straightforward way.

On the note of creating content, our experts also highlight some best practices you should follow to ensure your readers receive quality.

According to Mauricio Luiz Siriguti, General Manager at Webegin, being understandable and coherent drives value.

“Attorneys frequently talk in a difficult language — jargon — and for common users searching on Google, this will not help to be indexed, ranked, and most importantly, understood. Do not use jargon. Quality is equal to people understanding your content, adding value not words.”

He also adds that your content should address specific ethical concerns too: “We need to keep in mind that anything provided online is legal advice, so disclaimers are vital in this segment”.

James Byrne, Owner of After Dark Grafx, also recommends focusing on clarity when writing content.

”Stick to the basics and offer general information with a call to action. You may focus on detailed topics but it’s best to write for ages in the "middle". This means, you are not writing for a 5-year-old or a 70-year-old. Rather, keep the copy and understanding of the copy to high-school/first-year-of-college level to reach a broader demographic of clientele.”

From the standpoint of ethics, Byrne also advises legal experts to avoid promising their clients results they can’t deliver. Often “We’ll do all in our power” is enough to build further trust.

Logan Godfrey, Director of Communications at ENX2 Marketing, believes that the most important ethical concerns of legal marketing revolve around transparency, truthfulness, confidentiality, and client trust.

“Ensuring that all marketing communications are transparent and truthful is paramount to maintaining the integrity of legal services and upholding professional standards. Respecting client confidentiality and privacy is another crucial ethical consideration, requiring law firms to handle sensitive information with the utmost care and adhere to legal and ethical guidelines.”

“Building and maintaining trust with clients through ethical marketing practices is essential for fostering long-term relationships and upholding the reputation and credibility of legal professionals in the industry,” he adds.

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4. Link Building for Lawyers

Link building is also a highly important part of legal SEO, which often gets overlooked. Valuable backlinks from reputable sites are among the main ranking factors for search engines.

Two things that contribute to a first-page rankings are backlink quantity and backlink quality. These links are online referrals to other websites that point traffic to your platform. In the realm of SEO, these links work like votes in a popularity contest. If your firm gets a lot of them from other popular sites, it indicates to Google that you are an expert, offering value to your prospects.

You can start by performing interlinking or adding links into your content and service pages to other pages on your site. This can boost metrics such as time spent on site and can help Google's bots with crawling your site. The more pages they explore and the better these sites are connected, the better Google can understand your site, content, and services, improving the possibility of showing it first to people looking for legal help.

You can also start backlinking, which involves industry-relevant sites or directories using your links on their pages. The best way to go about this is by pitching your articles to legal publications, signing up as a journalist source, or crafting high-quality content with the hopes of getting it shared on other sites.

You may also try guest posting, which involves writing guest articles for industry-relevant sites. This approach can help you build site authority and establish yourself as the go-to expert both in the eyes of Google and your visitors when it comes to getting legal help.

While backlinks are essential, it’s worth noting that 66% of pages have none of them. Fortunately, several great strategies can help you get them and in turn, boost your content’s credibility.

Lastly, you can also leverage off-page citations, or the places on the web where your firm’s contact information is displayed, making it visible for prospects and potential clients. This is why it’s essential to get backlinks from online sources which feature business contact information.

In the case of law firms, the best place you can get off-page citations are:

  • Social media profiles like Facebook, X, and more
  • Pages that share your content on social media
  • Local directories and your company’s Google Business Profile
  • Endorsements and reviews on other websites
  • Legal marketplaces like Avvo

5. Local SEO for Lawyers

By strategically leveraging local SEO techniques, law firms can ensure that their services take center stage when potential clients in their area need legal assistance. From fine-tuning Google My Business listings to integrating location-specific keywords and citations, local SEO tactics empower law firms to carve out a robust presence within their communities. This not only attracts highly relevant traffic but also translates into increased conversions.

Additionally, by securing placements in local map packs and directories (as we’ve mentioned above), law firms can amplify their visibility among local clientele, cultivating trust and credibility in the process. In a landscape where clients prioritize convenience and proximity, prioritizing local SEO isn't merely a choice — it's a vital strategy for law firms striving to dominate their local market and emerge as the preferred option for legal representation.

6. Technical SEO

Optimizing your content with the right keywords is one thing. But to make the most out of your optimization efforts, you also need to ensure that the technical aspects of your site are up to par with Google’s standards, ensuring the best possible user experience for your visitors.

Loading Speed

The acceptable load time for websites should no longer be more than two or three seconds. The probability of users leaving the site increases by 32% as page load time goes from one to three seconds. Google also looks at loading speed as a part of its Core Web Vitals, which are all essential for ranking high. On that note, you can use PageSpeed Insights from Google to check your site speed.

Site Structure

Your website should also have a followable structure, with an easy-to-understand hierarchy. This means, your homepage, parent and child pages should be organized in a way that makes sense for Google. An organized site structure can help you rank higher in the SERPs, increase your traffic, and make it easier for your visitors to navigate your site, boosting user experience in the process.

Mobile-Friendliness

Ensuring that your site works correctly on mobile devices has several SEO benefits. Google also prioritizes a mobile-first approach, which means that your site should look and work excellently on mobile devices. It should also load fast on mobile, with easy navigation and readable buttons and fonts.

User-Friendliness

It's imperative for your website to be easy to use. There are several ways you can achieve this, but in most cases, these things are better left to a seasoned web design team. With their help, you can focus on the following:

  • Creating a website with consistent and simple design elements
  • Easy-to-read yet brand-consistent fonts and typography
  • Easy task completion like signups, or application processes
  • Creating an accessible website

Best SEO Agencies

As we’ve hinted above, it’s always best to leave your SEO needs to the experts. To help you find the most suitable professionals for your needs, we took the liberty of highlighting some of the best agencies in the industry.

Rankings

Rankings is a leading SEO agency that specializes in serving law and legal firms. They offer tailored services to meet the needs of the legal industry, helping attorneys and other law firms reach top rankings on search engines and generate qualified leads. Apart from offering comprehensive optimization services, Rankings also covers other digital marketing aspects such as Google Ads, website design, PPC, and more.

Rankings worked with Dolman Law Group to improve their online presence via SEO services. The company received 400% more organic cases from search engines after the campaign and managed to win several first-page rankings for local phrases and keywords. The project also boosted year-over-year organic traffic from 3,076 sessions to 13,000.

MeanPug

MeanPug is a digital agency that tailors its services specifically for law and legal firms. Its highly skilled team designs creative solutions that align with each legal firm’s clientele, message, and brand, leaving a memorable mark. They leverage both cutting-edge technology and traditional tried-and-tested marketing tactics to deliver their clients the best possible results.

Their project with Pinkham & Associates, APLC included a new branding strategy, content marketing, web design, development, and SEO. After implementing the comprehensive approach, the brand has seen a 11.49% increase in daily impressions and a 34.6% boost in number of daily clicks.

HigherVisibility

HigherVisibility is a four-time SEO Agency of the Year winner, making it one of the most respected teams of experts in the industry. Several influential organizations and expert teams, such as Search Engine Land and Forbes have recognized them.

HigherVisibility worked with Restauration Roofing, a Memphis-based contractor company, that needed help with its online presence. HigherVisibility devised a comprehensive digital marketing strategy for the client, which resulted in a 162% increase in organic traffic, a 400% boost in conversions, and a 164.89% increase in organic visibility.

Attorney SEO: The Bottom Line

Search engine optimization can look overwhelming for legal experts at first glance. Still, with the right proactive approach and willingness to explore the latest digital marketing trends, lawyers and attorneys can leverage the power of Google search and reach more people who need legal assistance.

On that note, outsourcing your SEO needs to a team of experienced professionals is a wise decision. While lawyers can certainly learn the intricacies of search engine optimization, the ongoing learning curve can be time-consuming, and can potentially divert them from their primary expertise: helping clients navigate the legal system.

SEO for Lawyers FAQs

1. Is law firm SEO worth it?

In short, attorney SEO is a worthwhile investment for every legal practice that seeks to leverage the full potential of digital marketing. SEO is an integral part of almost every digital marketing strategy and is a necessary investment for every legal expert who wants to remain relevant in the digital age.

2. Can attorneys perform SEO alone?

Technically, every business owner/blogger can optimize their presence for search engines, but it’s pretty much like learning how to pilot an airplane; getting every aspect of it right requires plenty of monitored practice as small errors can lead to catastrophic consequences.

On the other hand, SEO is a time-consuming practice that requires continuous learning and tweaking. This can take up a lot of time, which may rob experts of running their businesses/providing their services.

3. Are paid ads better than SEO?

In terms of bringing faster short-term results, paid advertising is still superior to search engine optimization, where ideally, clients will see tangible improvements after three to six months.

Still, it's worth mentioning that while yielding results slower, SEO ensures that these results last longer, as content and other optimized assets will keep on generating traffic and driving conversions even after a campaign. With paid ads, when the budget is spent, traffic also dies off.

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