SEO for law firms helps you rank higher in search results. It can cost between $500 and $30,000 a month – but its value to you as a business is priceless. Let’s look at the benefits of a solid SEO strategy and learn expert tips for success.

Here, you’ll find:

Did you know there are over 425,000 law firms in the U.S.? This means a lot of competition in your state, your city… even your block!

A solid SEO strategy is essential if you want to stand out, appeal to prospective clients, and transform how you do lead generation.

As the law firm SEO experts, we’re here to help. We’ve put together this comprehensive guide to explain the benefits of SEO, how much it costs, and examples of great law firm SEO to inspire you. We’ll also share expert tips to get the edge in the search engine rankings.

What is law firm SEO?

Law firm search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing your law firm’s website to ensure you rank as high as possible in the search engine results for specific keywords.

Ideally, you want to rank at the top of the search engine results — in the number one position.

Take the first organic result in Google below for the keyword “divorce attorney in Reseda.” This law firm didn’t get to the top of the search results by luck. The company researched the right keywords to target, encouraged other sites to link to it, and ensured its website was user-friendly, fast, and secure.

Google search result for the keyword divorce attorney in Reseda

Search engines like Google and Bing use a range of factors to determine where to rank pages for certain keywords. While search engine algorithms frequently evolve and change, these ranking factors play a significant role in where you appear:

  • High-quality content: Accurate, well-written, and trustworthy website content that answers searcher’s questions is prioritized over low-quality content that’s written just to rank.
  • Quality backlinks: Links from relevant and reputable websites show your legal website is credible and authoritative.
  • User experience: Fast-loading, mobile-responsive websites that are easy to navigate and access are favored in the rankings.
  • Relevancy and intent: Search engines look at the intent behind the keywords a searcher uses. For example, if you operate in Texas, you’re more likely to rank for the search term “personal injury lawyer in Houston” than “personal injury lawyer in Louisville.”

We’ll look at all these factors and how to use them to improve your legal SEO later.

What’s the cost of law firm SEO?

The cost of law firm SEO can vary between $500 to $30,000 a month. The cost to your business depends on three key factors.

  1. The scope of the SEO work. Smaller, locally-based law firms typically have less complicated demands than large, national legal firms
  2. The needs of the law firm. The more services you need, the more you pay
  3. The experience of the agency. Some digital marketing agencies have specific expertise in the legal industry and may charge more for their services

8 expert SEO tips for law firms

So, what can you do to optimize your law firm website to increase your chances of landing that coveted spot on the first page of Google?

We asked our legal marketing specialists to share their top tips for attorney SEO success.

1. Implement local SEO best practices

When you work for a law firm, it’s likely you’ll have a brick-and-mortar office or a chain of offices in a specific town, city, or region. Local SEO increases the chances of your website appearing for localized searches.

Local mobile result for the search term “family lawyer near me”

Imagine that a prospective new client is searching on their mobile phone. If their location is turned on and they search for a term like “family lawyers near me,” you want to send signals to the search engines that you’re nearby.

Here are SEO tactics to enhance your local SEO:

  • Create localized landing pages on your website, focusing on specific geographic areas.
  • Build and optimize citations on directories like Yelp, AVVO, NOLO, Justia, and any associations or counsels where you’re a member.
  • Encourage client reviews to boost trust in your law firm. Surveys show 97% of locally-based consumers read online reviews before choosing a business to work with.
  • Get relevant local sites and news outlets to link to your website.
  • Make sure your website is easy to navigate and works well on mobile.

Another option is to claim and maintain a Google Business Profile for your law firm. We’ll talk about this in more detail later.

2. Provide an exceptional user experience

Search engines prioritize websites with a great user experience (UX). If your site is slow, hard to navigate, or feels spammy, you could reduce your site’s rankings in search.

Here’s how to ensure your law practice provides a great experience:

Ensure you have an SSL certificate

An SSL certificate is a positive ranking factor in search engine results. It shows you keep visitors’ data secure and are trustworthy.

You can tell if you have an SSL certificate by looking at your site’s URL — it should contain “https” rather than “http.”

Address bar showing https://hawksem.com/blog

Prioritize page loading speed

Slow-loading pages don’t just frustrate prospective clients — they harm your SEO.

Google measures three performance metrics collectively known as Core Web Vitals. If your site performs slowly, your SEO rankings may take a hit. The Core Web Vitals are:

  • Largest Contentful Paint: How long it takes for your web page to load
  • Cumulative Layout Shift: How much the elements on your page move around while your web page loads
  • Interaction to Next Paint: How much time elapses between a user interaction and a page response. For example, if a user clicks on a link to another page, how long before the new page loads

Core web vitals report for a website

You can view your core web vitals in Google Search Console or by downloading Google Site Kit on WordPress.

Check your mobile responsiveness

Over 60% of website traffic now comes from mobile devices. As a result, the search engines prioritize mobile-responsive websites.

You can ensure your law practice’s site looks good and functions well on mobile by implementing good web design. Do this by:

  • Choosing a mobile-responsive theme on your platform of choice
  • Avoiding large chunks of text and links that are too close to each other
  • Compressing your images and CSS code
  • Adding auto-fill to any forms you have on your pages
  • Avoiding pop-ups — these can be hard to navigate on a mobile screen
  • Ensuring your buttons are easy to click
  • Testing your site on different devices and operating systems

Provide helpful content

It’s important to use the right keywords and optimize your content so it’s easy to find. However, ensuring your content provides value to existing and prospective clients is also important.

Google’s helpful content update rewards content that benefits visitors and fulfills their needs, while demoting content that isn’t useful or beneficial.

Here’s an example of content that ranks high in the search engine results — a guide to neighbor boundary disputes. It’s detailed, well-structured, answers all the questions a web visitor may have, and was written by someone with experience in the field.

An article about boundary disputes

Providing articles on your site that answer the questions you get from clients is a great place to start.

When writing content, avoid overwhelming users with jargon. Speak to your reader as you would to a potential client in your office — in a way that’s easy to understand, but demonstrates your authority and expertise.

Ensure your site is visually appealing

Your website design should be as eye-catching as it is safe, fast, and helpful. A law firm website doesn’t have to be boring!

Kinchloe Law website

Here’s an example of a legal website we love. Kinchloe Law is light and minimalistic but still looks professional. The stunning photo of trees in bloom adds color, seasonality, and a personal touch.

An easy way to make your site visually appealing, inspire trust, and stand out from your competitors is through photographs of real people — not stock photos or AI-generated images. Include pictures of your team, office, and (if they give permission) the clients you work with.

3. Practice link building

A backlink is a link from another website that directs to your site. Links from high-quality, authoritative sites act as endorsements of your website, meaning you’re more likely to rank high in the search engine results pages.

Getting backlinks from link-building can be challenging, as this type of SEO is often out of your control. Here are ideas to earn backlinks from credible websites:

Guest blogs

Example of a guest post on Forbes website

Do you know someone in an adjacent field who runs a popular site or blog? Writing a guest piece for their site is a great way to gain a link to yours.

Consider a trade: Invite the site owner to write a guest blog for your site, too.

Newsjacking

Newsjacking is when you offer your unique insights to breaking news stories. It’s an effective way to get links and increase brand awareness, but moving quickly is vital.

An excellent way to get started with newsjacking is to monitor hashtags on social media. You can also sign up for Google Alerts to get an email when a news story breaks.

Podcasts

A podcast can boost your law firm’s brand awareness and get a link to your website. Many podcast creators are keen to speak to experts with knowledge of a specific topic.

Here are some fantastic legal podcasts that accept guest speakers to get you started:

Remember, you’re not limited to legal podcasts. For example, if you specialize in family law, pitch to education or parenting podcasts too.

Public speaking

Public speaking events and webinars can lead to valuable backlinks. The host organizations typically include a link to your site when they post about the events.

Become a source

Sites like Connectively (formerly HARO) and Qwoted connect journalists seeking expert insights with professionals in that field.

If they use your pitch, you’ll be cited along with a link to your site.

Community involvement

Charitable donations, event sponsorships, and involvement with local non-profits can lead to links and allow you to help your community at the same time.

Example of a backlink through a law firm donating to charity

Create good content

The best way to get backlinks is through good content creation. The aim is to develop exceptional content other websites want to link to.

Videos, infographics, comprehensive articles, and original research are great for attracting links and valuable additions to your content marketing strategy.

4. Implement E-E-A-T

Trust is essential across all industries, but especially in the legal sector. Prospective clients want to be confident your legal practice will represent them accurately, truthfully, and without deception. This is where implementing E-E-A-T can be beneficial.

Legal services are referred to in Google as “Your Money or Your Life” (YMYL) topics. This is because the wrong information could affect a person’s happiness, health, finances, or safety. So your pages are subject to even more scrutiny in the Google Search results.

E-E-A-T stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. Here’s how to apply all four principles to your digital marketing strategy to ensure your law firm’s SEO is above reproach.

5. Optimize onsite content

On-page SEO is the process of optimizing your pages to improve their ranking in the search engines. This enhances the user experience of your pages and makes it easier for the search engines to understand what they’re about.

We’ve already discussed ways to improve your content, like adding E-E-A-T signals, creating great content, and optimizing your page load speed. Here are additional things you can do to increase your chances of ranking in the coveted number-one spot:

  • Use headings, paragraphs, and bullet points to make your pages easy to read
  • Add external and internal links to provide structure and context to the search engines
  • Include images, photos, and videos to make your pages more engaging
  • Add relevant keywords to your headings, URLs, and alt text
  • Create unique page title tags and meta descriptions

6. Maintain your Google Business Profile

A Google Business Profile (previously Google My Business) is one of the best things you can do to boost your local SEO and improve your online presence. By claiming and optimizing your profile, you provide Google with additional information about your business.

Google Business Profile for Spartacus Criminal Defense Lawyers

Say you add your opening times to your Google Business Profile and advise that you’re open all day. If a potential client searches for “lawyers open 24 hours a day near me,” there’s an increased chance that Google will show your website.

If you have multiple offices, create a separate Google Business Profile for each, increasing your visibility.

Another benefit of a Google Business Profile is it increases your chances of appearing in the “local snack pack.” This is the small Google Map that appears at the top of the local search results — valuable real estate for your law practice.

Local snack pack in Google search

7. Find and fix technical SEO issues

Technical SEO concerns optimizing your site structure and code to improve how the search engines crawl your website.

Think of technical SEO like laying the foundations of a house. You want to ensure everything is sturdy and solid before painting the walls (or adding content!).

We’ve looked at technical issues that can affect your website’s rankings, like slow-loading pages, a lack of an SSL certificate, and templates that aren’t mobile responsive.

Other technical SEO issues to look out for include:

  • Broken links: Some tools check for broken links to quickly replace or remove them
  • Duplicate content: Either remove duplicate content or use a canonical tag to identify which content the search engines should prioritize
  • Excessive redirects: Look at your existing redirects and see if you can pare them down
  • Wrong language pages: If you offer services in multiple languages, adding the hreflang tag helps search engines know which pages to show

We recommend conducting a regular technical SEO audit to ensure your site performs as it should.

8. Monitor your SEO results

Law firm SEO isn’t something you do once and forget about. Track your results and make changes to ensure your website doesn’t fall in rankings.

“Tracking is an essential part of SEO marketing for law firms,” says Sam Yadegar, CEO of HawkSEM. “We use ConversionIQ (CIQ), our proprietary software, to track keywords, organic traffic, and conversion rates, to see which keywords are working and which need further optimization. This means we ensure our clients get a great return on investment.”

Here are some of our favorite SEO tracking tools:

  • Google Search Console: Shows which keywords you’re ranking for, alerts you to any technical issues on your website, and provides information about your search engine presence.
  • Google Analytics: Tracks your organic traffic, letting you identify which SEO campaigns lead to the most conversions. You can also look at the referral traffic you get from guest posts.
  • Ahrefs Site Explorer: Monitors which keywords you’re ranking for, and alerts you to new and lost backlinks and potential keyword opportunities.

Examples of lawyer SEO

We’ve already examined fantastic SEO examples for law firms, but we wanted to leave you with some additional ideas:

McCain & Bursh

Example of a Lawyer using structured data markup

This search engine result stands out from the rest as it provides a rating for the law firm. This takes up more space in the SERPs and shows the law firm is trustworthy and credible.

How did the law firm add a rating? By using structured data markup. You can add this code to your page to provide the search engines with additional context. You can add this manually or if you have WordPress, you can use a plugin.

Stewart Law Group

Landing page for Stewart Law Group

Earlier we mentioned that an excellent way to do local SEO for your law firm is to create a page for each area you work in. This is what Stewart Law Group has done. This page is the top organic result for “family lawyer Scottsdale,” and the firm has nine location pages across the state of Arizona.

The landing page is good too — it’s easy to understand, has a good call-to-action, and contains a video that tells people more about the organization.

Cristina Chávez Law

Featured snippet for the search term “attorney in New Mexico speaking Spanish”

The legal sector is highly competitive, so when doing your keyword research, it pays to niche down. A good strategy is to focus on long-tail keywords, ones that are over four words long. These keywords have less competition, and as they are highly detailed, the searcher is likely close to converting.

In this case, the keyword “attorney in New Mexico speaking Spanish” has led to Cristina Chávez Law getting a featured snippet, the highest accolade a page can receive in the organic search results.

The benefits of SEO for lawyers

The long-term goal of SEO is to get prospective clients to convert on your website, meaning more leads, business, and revenue. But how does SEO help with this?

  • Brand recognition: Even if prospective clients don’t click on your web page, they still see your firm’s name in searches. This means your legal firm will be the first name they think of when they need help
  • Improved authority: Search engines prioritize sites that are safe and user-friendly. The higher you rank, the more searchers will trust your law firm
  • Targeted leads: SEO allows you to focus on the target keywords your target audience uses, meaning better-quality leads and less time wasted on tire kickers

The takeaway

With some research into best practices and trial and error, SEO can get you showing up for the right search queries and ranking well. However, for many law firms, that’s not the best use of their time and money.

In this case, outsourcing your law firm’s SEO services is your best bet. Look for an SEO company that’ll serve as a partner, helping your firm grow and maintain an upward trajectory for the long term.

At HawkSEM, we have years of experience in SEO marketing for law firms. We’ll create a bespoke SEO strategy that aligns with your business goals, tracking and optimizing your campaign carefully to ensure you get the best results. And if you have any questions, a dedicated account manager is only a call, email, or video chat away.

Not only this, but we can optimize your other marketing channels, for example, your pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns.

Want to see how you can bring order to your Google results and drive leads to your website with an SEO agency? Get in touch with us today for your free, no-obligation consultation.

This article has been updated and was originally published in October 2022.

Contact HawkSEM for Free Consultation