Andrew Shum
Posted by Andrew Shum

SEO for Lawyers: Your Ultimate Guide to Law Firm SEO

17 min read
seo for lawyers

You’ve spent years building up your law practice’s reputation through hard work and excellent client service. But having solid online visibility is just as important as a list of successful cases. That’s where SEO for lawyers comes in to improve your search engine rankings.

With law firm SEO services, you can ensure the right audience finds your website and establish your law company as a credible, authoritative resource. In this guide, we explain why SEO is a must for law firms these days. You’ll also discover the factors Google uses to rank websites and the main steps you need to take to get real results from your SEO campaign.

Key Takeaways:

  • Ranking highly on Google can drive a steady stream of new clients.
  • Law firm SEO provides more cost-effective and long-term value than paid ads alone.
  • Given the legal field’s strict marketing rules, law firms often partner with agencies well-versed in the field’s specifics.
  • Setting clear, measurable SEO goals around organic traffic, keyword rankings, and lead volumes and monitoring progress is vital for justifying SEO ROI.
  • Doing SEO yourself is possible, but partnering with a law firm SEO company is typically more efficient.

What Is Law Firm SEO?

Law firm SEO is the process of optimizing a law firm’s website to rank higher in search engine results for relevant keywords. But SEO doesn’t stop at driving more traffic. With high-quality content and technical website optimization, SEO for lawyers can help you convert visitors into loyal clients.

In addition, SEO isn’t limited solely to your website. When someone searches for a lawyer, they might also check out a law firm’s listings on directory sites and review platforms to see what others say. Optimizing and updating your company’s Google Business Profile is another aspect of law firm SEO practices.

With all the different pieces that go into a full-fledged SEO campaign for law firms, the potential advantages are extensive. But what specifically makes SEO so valuable for lawyers looking to grow their practices?

Law agencies have many marketing options these days — both offline, like networking events and print ads, and online, like social media marketing and email campaigns. But SEO is an approach that deserves a special focus.

According to this study, about 73% of people who looked for legal information on the internet used search engines to find solutions. Every month, there are nearly 500,000 searches with keywords that contain “lawyer near me” or “law firm near me.” That’s an incredible number of people looking to hire legal help locally through search engines.

A few queries that stand out are:

  • “Personal injury lawyer near me”
  • “Divorce lawyer near me”
  • “Immigration lawyer near me”

lawyers seo keywords

For law companies, showing up at the top of search engine results pages is absolute gold. But, as we’ve mentioned, driving traffic isn’t the only reason why SEO is important for lawyers. Here are some other reasons why SEO matters:

  • It establishes credibility and authority: People tend to trust and click on the top search engine results more, assuming these sites must be credible sources to rank so highly. A law firm’s website optimized with content that demonstrates legal expertise can also have a major positive impact.
  • It attracts prospects before they’re ready to hire: Perhaps someone is just researching a legal issue out of personal interest. If your content ranks well, you can get on their radar early as a knowledgeable resource. Then, when they do require legal services, you’ll have a head start over other firms they haven’t encountered.
  • It makes your website an inbound marketing engine: When you rank highly for relevant keywords, your website becomes a 24/7 digital marketing channel working to capture interested prospects at the precise moment they have a legal need.
  • It improves user experience: Law firm SEO helps you enhance your site structure, content, page loading speed, etc. When a website is optimized this way, it keeps users engaged longer, gets more inquiries from prospective clients, and leaves a better impression overall.
  • It manages online reputation: One or two bad reviews may not seem like a big deal but can be extremely harmful if they are the first results someone sees when searching a law firm’s name. Smart attorney SEO tactics push positive content to the top of organic search results, mitigating the impact of negative reviews.

As the benefits above illustrate, an investment in SEO for attorneys can pay big dividends. However, firms often consider paid advertising, like Google Ads, as another digital marketing strategy. Let’s compare the two approaches.

SEO vs. Paid Ads for Lawyers

Both paid advertising and SEO have their merits. Paid ads offer instant results. With platforms like Google Ads, you can bid on keywords and have your firm’s ads displayed at the top of search engine results pages.

However, with such services, you have to pay when someone clicks on your ad. You rent prime real estate, and the more competitive the keywords, the pricier the clicks get. In fact, for some competitive legal keywords, the cost per click can reach $300.

lawyer ppc keywords

What’s more, as soon as you stop paying, your traffic disappears.

On the other hand, the fruits of your legal SEO efforts compound over time. Once you’ve earned a coveted spot on the first page for your target keywords, you’ll continue to reap the benefits of organic traffic and lead generation with only minimal maintenance required in most cases.

Take Ben Crump’s law firm, for example, which gets around 264,000 organic visits from Google monthly according to Semrush’s organic research tool. Now, let’s imagine for a second that Ben Crump didn’t have a great organic presence and had to pay for each of the visits through Google Ads. How much would these visits cost them? Well, Semrush estimates the average monthly cost for the law agency to rank through paid ads is $14.9 million!

Ben Crump’s law firm semrush

Every single click on Ben Crump’s website costs around $56.44. And that’s just the cost of getting visitors to the site — there’s still no guarantee any of the visitors will become paying clients.

In fact, visitors from organic search are more likely to convert. This study found that organic traffic in the legal industry had a conversion rate of about 4%, while only 1.8% of paid traffic led to conversions.

While paid ads certainly have their place in marketing, relying solely on this approach for a high-cost industry like legal services can drain a firm’s budget. Building a strong local search presence through SEO may take more time and effort upfront, but it will be more cost-efficient in the long run compared to continuously shelling out a fortune just for clicks.

If you’ve decided to focus on SEO as your main digital marketing strategy, let’s look at the major factors that impact your search engine rankings.

Lawyer SEO Ranking Factors

Search engines like Google use complex ranking algorithms that evaluate hundreds of different factors. However, some factors carry much more weight than others on law firm websites. Here are the major ones to focus on.

Top Lawyer SEO Ranking Factors

High-Quality Content

Good attorney SEO starts with a great content strategy. Google is extremely selective about which websites earn prime rankings. So, the content should break down complex subjects into easy-to-understand language and provide angles that set it apart from what’s already saturating the web.

Here are some of the main types of content for law firms:

  • Blog posts: Articles exploring various legal concepts.
  • Frequently asked questions: Dedicated FAQ pages answering common questions about legal processes, law services, the firm’s fees, etc.
  • Case studies and firm updates: Content highlighting successful cases, firm news and updates, community involvement, and more.
  • Legal guides and ebooks: Long-form downloadable content that provides a thorough analysis of legal topics.

In addition, the performance of this content in Google search results depends on how well it is optimized with keywords.


Another SEO ranking factor is the links pointing to your website from other sites. Backlinks inform Google about the reliability of your content. The more reputable sites that link to your web pages, the higher your pages are likely to rank.

Let’s take a look at the search engine results page (SERP) for the query “Los Angeles personal injury lawyer”. The websites that take the first positions have high domain rankings (DR) and quite powerful backlink profiles.

Los Angeles personal injury lawyer SERP

To have a chance of competing with such sites, you would have to at least reach the same results. This makes link building especially important for newly launched websites that haven’t yet established their authority.

User Experience

How user-friendly your law firm website is plays a big role in your search engine rankings. Google wants websites that load quickly, work well on all devices, and have clear navigation.

In addition, most lawyers’ websites have almost identical designs. This means that they won’t stand out for the user who might be browsing different sites and considering several options. Not to mention, most of them are seriously outdated.

If your website loads slowly, doesn’t look good, or is hard to use, your visitors will most likely quickly return to the search results, increasing your bounce rate and lowering your rankings. If they do stay on your page a bit longer, poor usability might discourage them from performing the necessary action (booking a consultation, filling out a form, etc.).

On the other hand, a modern, user-friendly website makes your agency appear much more trustworthy. It keeps visitors engaged longer and guides them toward the final goal.

Local Relevance

If you’re a lawyer looking for clients in a specific city, focusing on local SEO tactics is also a must. Your firm’s information must be complete and consistent across listings and local directories. Getting positive reviews from past local clients is also critical. These steps help Google know where your practice is located and who your target audience is.

Getting links from local websites is also a part of local SEO for law firms, as is making sure location keywords and the cities or neighborhoods you serve are included in your website’s content, titles, and location landing pages.

However, Google Maps and Google Business Profile are arguably the most critical things to optimize for local relevance. In local search results, Google often shows users a “Local Pack”, a special section that shows relevant businesses on Google Maps. For example, here’s what the SERP for the “personal injury lawyer Boston” query looks like:

Google Maps lawyers

An optimized and frequently updated Google Business Profile listing is a key factor for ranking in such local results and on Google Maps in general.

Technical SEO

Pages that load quickly, a safe browsing experience with HTTPS, and a logical site architecture and URL structure also provide positive signals to Google.

After working with numerous websites in this field, we’ve determined that the most typical technical SEO issues on legal websites are:

  • Duplicate content
  • Keyword cannibalization
  • Broken pages and redirects
  • Low loading speed
  • Problems with indexing and crawling
  • Missing, duplicated, or not optimized meta tags.

There are many SEO best practices to follow that can help you improve your website’s performance in all these areas. Let’s dive deeper and explore SEO tips to take your website to the first page of Google search results.

How to Improve Your Law Firm SEO

SEO can provide a consistent flow of leads from organic local search traffic, but only if done right. Here is how to ensure your legal SEO efforts are successful:

How to Improve Your Law Firm SEO

Create the Right Law Firm SEO Strategy

There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy that works across the board. What gets results depends heavily on your specific practice area and geographic market.

You can start by researching how your top local competitors execute SEO for law firms. Analyze their content, backlink building tactics, on-site optimizations, and more. This way, you can understand what it will take to compete with and eventually outrank them.

Your strategy should also align with the search intent and behavior patterns of your potential clients. For example, personal injury lawyer SEO will look quite different from SEO for an immigration law practice.

The strategy should also be adaptable and include the monitoring of your results. You can conduct regular SEO audits to identify areas for improvement in your on-page optimization, technical SEO, backlink profile, and local SEO factors.

Plus, the legal industry has strict rules around marketing. For example, the American Bar Association aims to prevent misleading advertising claims, aggressive solicitation tactics, unclear payment models, and more. For this reason, law companies tend to partner with digital marketing agencies experienced in the legal field so as not to raise any ethical red flags.

Data-Driven SEO for Lawyers to Grow Your Practice

Our law firm SEO company takes a fully customized approach aimed at improving your business performance:

  • Thorough research into your local market, top competitors, and target audiences
  • Creating ethical, keyword-rich content that converts visitors into leads
  • Detailed weekly reports showing your progress.

Optimize Your Google Business Profile

Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business) is a free listing that allows businesses to manage their online presence across Google’s services like Google Search and Google Maps. Having a Google Business Profile is a must for lawyers who rely on local clients.

Once you claim and verify ownership of the listing, be sure to fill it out with all your business details, such as:

  • The official name, address, phone number, and website
  • The specific cities and areas you serve
  • Your hours of operation
  • Your price ranges
  • The payment options you accept.

Also, consider adding photos and enabling direct messaging.

Encourage satisfied clients to leave ratings and reviews on your listing. An optimized, frequently updated Google Business Profile packed with positive customer reviews lets potential clients see you’re a legitimate option before they even visit your website.

Prioritize the User Experience

Many legal websites haven’t received a design refresh in years. While law companies certainly don’t need flashy, bright websites, a clean and modern professional look instantly elevates the user experience.

Therefore, it’s always a good idea to invest in a website redesign that takes into account these aspects:

  • Mobile-friendliness and responsiveness
  • Fast page loading
  • Convenient navigation on all devices.

An efficient design should also include a well-thought-out hero section with an understandable call to action and important contact information displayed prominently. It should also factor in the structure of the content, allowing for a clear demonstration of your services and the advantages of your law firm.

Conduct Thorough Keyword Research

Identifying the right keywords is foundational to SEO for lawyers. When performing keyword research, take into account the following factors:

  • Practice areas: Make a list of the specific legal practice areas your firm handles, like personal injury, family law, criminal defense, etc. These areas will provide a base for relevant keywords.
  • Location: Since most law firms serve specific geographic areas, location-based keywords are critical. Think about cities or regions your firm covers and how potential clients search with geographic terms.
  • Search intent: People’s search intent falls into two main categories: searching for legal information and searching for legal services. A person searching for “best divorce lawyers in Chicago” is more likely to hire a lawyer than someone who is just looking for “divorce laws in Illinois.”
  • Search volume: Use keyword research tools to evaluate the monthly search volume for different terms. Higher volumes can mean more potential website traffic targeting popular queries.
  • Competition: Keyword research tools can also show how competitive certain keywords are based on how many other sites target them. More competition makes it harder to rank highly.
  • Long-tail keywords: Also consider long-tail options that add more specificity, like “Chicago personal injury car accident lawyers.”
  • Related terms: Subsets of your main practice areas may uncover more relevant keywords to target as well. For example, “medical malpractice lawyer” under personal injury.

With the right keywords targeted properly, you’ll make it easier for potential clients to find your website.

Nail On-Page SEO Optimization

Once your keyword list is finalized, it’s time for on-page SEO — making each web page as relevant as possible for these terms. This covers both the visible content elements and behind-the-scenes technical SEO factors.

Title tags and meta descriptions are the first things potential clients see in local search results, so optimize them with keywords to improve click-through rates.

Throughout the actual page copy, work in your target keywords within headers, body paragraphs, image alt text, and internal link anchors. Yet, avoid awkward keyword stuffing at all costs, as it makes content less readable. Plus, the overuse of keywords is a violation of Google’s guidelines, as it’s a clear sign you create content solely for online search, not the human eye.

On the technical SEO side, fast web page loading, secure HTTPS connections, mobile responsiveness, and user-friendly URL structures also provide positive signals to search engines.

Build a Diverse Backlink Portfolio

Even with stellar on-page optimization, your law firm’s website won’t be able to rank as competitively without third-party websites linking back to it. However, don’t aim for a high quantity of backlinks alone. The quality and relevance of the links also matter a great deal.

Links from spammy, low-quality sites can hurt your search engine ranking if Google detects link buying or other manipulative tactics. The links need to come from legitimate, respected sources related to the legal industry.

As our experience shows, most law firm websites that rank highly for different keywords don’t use aggressive link building strategies or black-hat techniques. If you want to achieve lasting results and remain competitive for a long time, you should focus on ethical link building methods, such as:

  • Getting listed in trusted local directories
  • Pursuing featured content or guest posting on other reputable legal blogs/publications
  • Publishing research (studies, surveys, statistics, etc.) relevant to your field, which will attract backlinks naturally
  • Earning media mentions and links from authoritative news outlets when showcasing firm expertise
  • Having location/practice area resources linked by relevant local/regional websites.

But it’s not just about Google — mentions from quality sources also drive referral traffic as people discover and click through to your law firm’s website naturally.

Showcase Your E-E-A-T

Google’s algorithms put a big emphasis on expertise, experience, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness, which are known as E-E-A-T. These factors are especially crucial for legal practices — people need to be able to trust the lawyers they hire to handle important, often life-changing legal matters.

So, how can you demonstrate strong E-E-A-T signals? Some of them will be improved if you implement the tips we mentioned earlier. A big factor is the content, quality backlinks, client testimonials, and overall website experience.

A detailed “About Us” page with extensive information about your law firm is one of the best ways to improve your E-E-A-T. Attorney profiles are some of the most clicked pages of legal websites, so they are the perfect place to show your credentials, like education, years of experience, awards, and recognition in your field. If you or your firm’s attorneys are members of prestigious legal associations, be sure to highlight these memberships on your website too.

In this screenshot, you can see a great example of an attorney profile from that demonstrates the expertise of the firm’s criminal defense attorney:

E-E-A-T for lawyers

Work to Hit the Featured Snippets

Google often displays quick answer boxes known as featured snippets. They aim to resolve a searcher’s query without the need to click through to a website. Here’s what featured snippets look like:

Featured Snippets

While getting content featured is great for your law firm’s online presence, you might be thinking, “If Google already answers the query, why would people need to visit my website at all?” That’s a fair point. However, featured snippets only provide a short overview or quick answer. For more details on complex legal matters, people will still want to go directly to your website.

Getting your content featured in snippet boxes can be tricky, but there are some proven tactics. First, research the types of queries that typically trigger featured snippets. Understand what people’s intent is behind those searches — are they looking for quick factual answers, steps for how to do something, comparisons, or definitions?

Next, use concise paragraphs that directly answer common questions. Search engines tend to pull snippets from content that gets straight to the point with helpful responses. In addition, use descriptive headers, bulleted lists, and simple tables or charts that neatly summarize important information. This gives Google well-organized content to potentially turn into snippets.

Set Measurable SEO Goals

Search engine optimization for lawyers is an ongoing process, so it’s critical to establish clear, measurable goals to track your progress and return on investment. Some common SEO KPIs for law companies include:

  • The amount of organic traffic: Remember to separate website traffic going to your main landing pages from traffic going to informational content pages. Getting visits to your service pages is ultimately more valuable for lead generation.
  • Positions on targeted queries: The ideal scenario is for your law firm’s website to appear on the first page of organic search results for phrases related to your practice. If you don’t currently rank on the first page, continue tracking the improvements. Moving up even a few spots every month indicates your SEO for law firms is working.
  • The number of leads: This is arguably the most meaningful SEO metric for your law firm to watch closely. How many form fills, phone calls, or other signals of prospective client interest do you get each month from organic search? This metric directly shows the return on your SEO investment.

Use tools like Google Analytics, Google Search Console, rank trackers, or any other marketing software to monitor these metrics. With a bit of patience and the right approach, you’ll see the SEO wins steadily roll in. However, effectively implementing a law firm SEO strategy also raises an important question — should you try to do it all yourself, or is it better to hire an attorney SEO expert?

DIY SEO vs. Hiring a Lawyer SEO Expert

Taking on SEO yourself can seem appealing at first. You avoid extra marketing costs and maintain full control over the process.

Yet, SEO for law firms involves many nuances. You’ve got to perform keyword research, create search-friendly content, do link building, analyze data, and keep up with Google’s frequent algorithm changes.

For many legal professionals, it quickly becomes a full-time job on top of their existing casework. And if you don’t see your rankings climb to the top, with so many aspects, it might be difficult to understand why your SEO efforts are not paying off.

That’s why so many organizations opt for law firm SEO services. Our law firm SEO agency can be your strategic partner, focused on driving more leads and cases through search traffic. Meanwhile, you can keep delivering exceptional legal services.

Of course, hiring an SEO expert comes at a cost. This leads to another question — how much do companies typically invest in SEO for law firm websites?

How Much Do Law Firms Spend on SEO?

The amount you’ll need to invest depends on a few key factors, such as the size of your business, practice area specialization, and geographic market. The broader and more competitive your market, the more you’ll need to invest.

Here’s an overview of the typical price ranges for SEO for lawyers, depending on the location:

City Competition Sample Keyword Average Monthly Budget
Small (up to 150K residents) Low West Palm Beach car accident lawyer $4-6K
Mid-size (up to 500k residents) Medium Orlando car accident lawyer $6-10K
Large (more than 5ook residents) High personal injury lawyer Chicago $10-16K

The current state of your website is another factor that impacts the cost of law firm search engine optimization. If you’ve just started with a brand-new website, you’ll likely need to budget more for upfront local SEO work.

On the flip side, if you have an established law firm website that’s been around for years, you may require less of an initial SEO investment. Your efforts can focus more on updating content, advanced link-building strategies, and so on.

Bottom Line: Things to Keep in Mind about SEO for Lawyers

Optimizing your law firm website for search engines is critical if you want to succeed online. However, Google constantly updates its algorithms, and your competitors are likely working hard to outrank you. To appear at the top, maintain your hard-earned rankings, and keep leads flowing in, you’ll need to:

  1. Follow all the marketing rules and regulations for the legal field. Law firms have to be extra careful to avoid misleading claims or being too aggressive in trying to get potential clients.
  2. Determine the exact words and phrases prospective clients use when they need a lawyer.
  3. Create search-optimized content that shows off your expertise without keyword stuffing.
  4. Get high-quality websites to link back to your site.
  5. Make sure your law firm’s website loads quickly, has simple navigation, and makes it easy for visitors to take action.
  6. Set clear goals and metrics, so you know if your SEO efforts are actually paying off.

If this all sounds a bit overwhelming, you don’t have to go it alone. Consider SeoProfy, an experienced SEO agency that specializes in marketing for law firms. We know all the latest SEO best practices and can help you move toward SEO success.

Andrew Shum

Andrew is the Head of SEO at SeoProfy. He has been involved in search engine optimization since 2016, gaining practical SEO experience across various niches and countries.

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