SEO Guide

SEO for Lawyers: How To Boost Your Online Presence

In today's competitive legal market, having a robust online presence is crucial for attracting potential clients to your law firm. One of the most effective ways to increase your visibility online is through learning and understanding modern search engine ranking factors. 

Knowing these factors can ensure you use up-to-date tactics when building your law firm's search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. SEO for lawyers refers to the methods used to improve the quality of your law firm's website and non-paid online content to achieve higher search engine rankings, making it easier for potential clients to find your firm when searching for legal services.

Section 1: What is SEO for Lawyers?

It's essential to understand what Law firm SEO is and isn't. You don't want to use outdated SEO strategies that can penalize your website. You also don't want to waste time on an SEO strategy that may work best in other industries but not the legal industry. 

Because Google holds most of the online search share, you should focus on understanding how Google ranks online websites and content. Modern SEO is centered on providing your targeted audience with the best content that helps solve their intents. 

Here are some questions that can guide you in learning how SEO can be effective. 

  • How to target your ideal clients (audience) and case types. 
  • How to best satisfy your audiences' intent (wants and needs) and experience with your website and content.
  • How search engines like Google rank websites and serve content. 

Google's RankBrain

RankBrain is the name of Google's Artificial Intelligence AI tool used for every Google search query since 2015. It is designed to deliver the most relevant and valuable search results by more effectively comprehending the user's intention behind a search inquiry. 

Utilizing machine learning, RankBrain can decipher complex search queries and determine their connection to specific subjects while also considering the user's interaction with the presented search results. Consequently, search results that resonate and are most helpful with users receive higher rankings.

How Google Evaluates Online Content

The primary objective of search engines is to provide users with the most relevant responses or information. Search engines evaluate two primary factors to ensure users receive the most useful search results. 

Relevancy: Firstly, they examine the relationship between the search query and the content on a page, which is assessed through various aspects such as keywords or the topic. 

Authority: Secondly, they evaluate the authority of a website, which is determined by its popularity on the internet. Google presumes that the more popular a page or resource is, the more beneficial its information is to readers.

When thinking about improving or making your online content of higher quality, you can use the acronym EEAT as a useful framework. 

E.E.A.T. stands for:

  • Experience
  • Expertise
  • Authority
  • Trust

Google evaluates the experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness of the content creator, the content itself, and the entire website. For Google, a comprehensive legal article authored by a seasoned lawyer specializing in a particular legal field on their website holds significantly more value than a random blog post offering unsubstantiated legal guidance.

Types of SEO

Online marketers may refer to SEO in two areas: On-page SEO and Off-page SEO. 

  • On-page SEO encompasses improving your website's content, design, and technical elements, such as optimizing title tags, meta descriptions, and header tags. 
  • Off-page SEO includes increasing user reviews and testimonials, using tactics like local citations, which can be achieved by listing your law firm in legal directories like Avvo and Google My Business and building a solid backlink profile.

By investing time and effort into optimizing your website for search engines, you can significantly increase your chances of ranking on the first page of search engine results for important keywords related to your practice areas. This can lead to a substantial increase in website traffic, and new client leads, ultimately contributing to the growth and success of your law firm.

Section 2: Understanding SEO for Lawyers

SEO is crucial in driving more visitors to a law firm's website through better visibility in search engine results pages. A sound understanding of modern SEO and how to prioritize specific SEO strategies over others can help lawyers gain more clients and expand their practice by attracting the right target audience.

The Importance of Local SEO

Local SEO is particularly important for law firms because it targets potential clients within a specific geographical area. Optimizing your law firm's website and online presence for local searches increases the likelihood of clients finding your services nearby. 

Key aspects of local SEO include:

  • Claiming and optimizing your Google My Business listing
  • Consistent NAP (Name, Address, and Phone Number) information across various platforms
  • Gathering and showcasing positive client reviews
  • Creating local content that caters to the specific needs of the community

Law Firm Local Search Google Optimization Factors

When evaluating local law firm sites, there are three factors Google takes into account:

  • Relevance 
  • Distance
  • Prominence

Relevance: Keywords remain critical for local SEO. An additional on-page optimization aspect for law firms and attorneys is including their name, address, and phone number on a webpage, commonly called NAP in local SEO.

This is a logical step, as search engines require a method for determining a business's geographical location.

Distance: Google considers the proximity of a user's location to the location of the law office or area of services offered. The growing trend of local searches, including the term "near me," portrays Google's prioritization of the nearest businesses first.

Prominence: For local search prominence, Google examines more than just links. Reviews and citations (online mentions of a business's address or phone number) also contribute to its authority.

The more relevant details a law firm or attorney provides in their Google Business Profile, the higher the chances their profile will be useful for nearby prospects.

The factors above represent only a fraction of the scope but are crucial initial steps for law firms and attorneys aiming to excel in local search rankings. For more Local SEO information, you can learn more about how our agency offers Local Listing Services.

Section 3: Optimizing The User Experience

High-quality, relevant content is essential for law firm SEO success. Focus on creating informative and engaging content that addresses your potential client's needs and concerns. Use keywords strategically, but avoid keyword stuffing (overusing). Instead, aim for a natural text flow and maintain a natural keyword density.

Creating Helpful Content

In 2022, Google implemented a significant algorithm update called the “helpful content update that significantly influences content creation.

Throughout its existence, Google has consistently emphasized delivering the most valuable content to users. Its new focus on "helpful" implies that users should feel "satisfied" with the content they access on the Google search results.

However, measuring user satisfaction is a complex task. What does Google define as helpful? Content that is:

  • Satisfies the intended audience.
  • Designed to help humans rather than rank for search engines.
  • Pertinent to the website's main topic or subject area.
  • Developed by credible, experienced creators.
  • Demonstrates profound knowledge of the subject.

Crafting helpful content may be easier said than done. So, how can you enhance the helpfulness of your content? First, prioritize quality over quantity. Secondly, broaden your keyword research to encompass more than just search volume. 

Take into account the following aspects:

  • What kind of content ranks highest for specific searches?
  • What is the appropriate length of content for your audience?
  • What questions does it answer?
  • What additional subtopics or related questions are explored?

Keyword and content research can reveal a wealth of information about these quality indicators, so don't let the prospect of organic traffic distract you.

Keyword Research

Keyword research is a crucial aspect of SEO for lawyers. It helps identify the words, terms, and phrases potential clients type into search engines when seeking legal services. By targeting these keywords, law firms can increase their online visibility and attract more clients.

Choosing the Right Keywords

Keyword research should focus on finding phrases most relevant to a law firm's practice areas and expertise. This will help potential clients find the right legal service providers based on their needs.

Several tools are available to assist with keyword research, such as the following: 

  • Google Keyword Planner
  • Google Search Console
  • SEMRush
  • Google Trends
  • SpyFu

These tools help attorneys analyze search volume, competition, and trends, making it easier to decide which keywords to focus on in their SEO strategy.

Consider the User's Intent

In addition to using these tools, it's essential to consider user intent when choosing keywords. Consider the types of questions or concerns prospective clients may have and create content addressing those needs. 

For example, if you specialize in personal injury law, incorporating keywords related to specific accident types or geographical locations can better target your desired audience.

Here are some tips for choosing the right keywords for your law firm's SEO strategy:

  • Focus on long-tail keywords: Longer, more specific phrases often have lower search volume but higher conversion rates. You can optimize your content for more qualified leads by targeting these phrases.
  • Analyze your competitors: Look at the keywords your competitors rank for and consider targeting similar phrases, particularly if they have a significant search volume and lower competition.
  • Monitor search trends: Stay up to date with current search trends and adapt your keyword strategy accordingly. This will help you maintain a solid online presence and capture potential clients searching for legal help during specific periods or news cycles.
  • Think local: If your firm serves a specific geographic area, include location-based keywords in your SEO strategy. This will help your website appear for local searches and ensure that you're attracting clients from your service area.

By implementing efficient keyword research and targeting the right phrases, you'll be well on your way to improving your law firm's online presence and attracting more clients. Using long-tail keywords can help drive targeted traffic to your site, increasing your chances of conversion.

Long-Tail Keywords and Their Impact

Long-tail keywords refer to more specific and longer search phrases that people use when they are closer to making a decision. These keywords usually have lower search volume but are less competitive and have higher conversion potential. By targeting long-tail keywords in your law firm's SEO strategy, you can attract more qualified traffic – potential clients seeking the exact legal services you provide.

For instance, instead of targeting a generic term like "lawyer in Phoenix" or "defense attorney," you can focus on more specific keywords like "personal injury lawyer in Scottsdale, AZ" or "El Paso, TX adoption attorney." Long-tail keywords are essential to execute in the following areas:

  • Narrowing down your target audience and attracting relevant clients
  • Improving your search engine rankings for specific services
  • Creating valuable content that addresses specific concerns of potential clients

Understanding and implementing sound SEO strategies, including local SEO and long-tail keywords, can significantly improve a law firm's online visibility and attract more potential clients.

Meta Tags and Descriptions

Meta tags and descriptions are crucial in increasing your law firm's visibility on search engines. Include target keywords in your title tags, header tags, and meta descriptions. Ensure that meta descriptions are concise, informative, and engaging, as they may appear in search results and influence user click-through rates.

Internal Linking and Site Structure

Optimizing your site's structure and internal linking is essential to improving your website's user experience with on-page SEO. A well-organized website ensures easy navigation for users and helps search engines crawl and index your pages efficiently. Use internal links wisely to guide visitors to relevant content, and incorporate anchor text that indicates the linked page's topic. This will improve the user experience and contribute to higher search engine rankings.

Your Websites Page Speed 

Search engines consider a web page's load time a top priority since most people prefer immediate answers nowadays. Your website's page speed is the duration it takes for the page to be accessible for users to read.

Various website elements can impact this, such as the size of images. For example, videos or larger images can take longer to load, resulting in a slower page speed. To enhance the speed and performance of your pages, you can utilize Google's PageSpeed Insights Tool, which provides recommendations on optimizing your webpage elements.

Core Web Vitals

Core Web Vitals serve as metrics for evaluating real-world user experiences regarding page load performance, interactivity, and visual stability. Google introduced these enhancements to refine its SEO approach, which primarily consists of three elements:

  • Performance: Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): This metric measures the speed at which a web page loads.
  • Responsiveness: First Input Delay (FID): This gauges the responsiveness of a page to user interactions.
  • Stability: Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): This denotes the time required for the page to achieve stability.

Core Web Vitals by Google are concrete SEO performance indicators that offer a deeper understanding of user interactions on your website. These measurable data points assist you in improving your site's overall user experience. An enjoyable user experience with your website increases the likelihood of users returning to your website.

Section 4: Off-Page SEO Techniques

After creating an extensive profile of high-quality content that serves your audience, consider experimenting with Off-page SEO. This strategy helps improve the rankings of a law firm's website by showing Google that you are getting votes from other websites through user testimonials, reviews, social media posts, likes, and backlinks.

Local Business Directories and Citations

We have already reviewed how important it is to claim your Google Profile Listing. Consider adding other local business directories to help enhance your online visibility and local SEO, such as Avvo and Justia. Ensure your firm's information is accurate and up-to-date on these platforms. Citations, or mentions of your law firm's Name, Address, and Phone number (NAP), are crucial for local search rankings. Some key directories and areas to claim and optimize for local SEO strategy are:

  • Google Business Profile
  • Apple Maps
  • Yelp
  • Facebook
  • Bing Places
  • Adding your firm to reputable legal directories, like Avvo and Justia
  • Maintaining consistency in NAP information across all online citations

Social Media and Online Reviews

Managing your law firm's presence on social media platforms is crucial for off-page SEO. Some tips include:

  • Creating complete and cohesive profiles on popular social media channels
  • Sharing valuable and informative content regularly
  • Engaging with your audience, responding to comments and messages
  • Having positive online reviews can significantly impact your website's credibility.
  • Encourage clients to share their experiences on Google My Business and Yelp.

Building High-Quality Backlinks

High-quality backlinks help search engines assess the authority and trustworthiness of your site by acting as a vote. Having an active backlink outreach strategy can be effective if done intelligently. Here are some proper ways to build backlinks for your law firm.

  • Take on cases that capture widespread attention from news outlets.
  • As a legal practice, you can cite legal documents, forms, tutorials, cases, and additional guides that could be invaluable to prospective clients and result in other law firms linking to your site.
  • Participate in legal forums and blogs, providing valuable insights and linking to your website when appropriate.

Beware of generic backlink buying services as these use general outreach, and building a poor backlink profile could be devastating to your website's authority factor.

Implementing these off-page SEO techniques can help your law firm increase visibility and engagement, ultimately driving more potential clients to your website.

Section 5: Measuring SEO Success

In this section, we will discuss how to measure the success of your SEO efforts for your law firm's website. We will cover key performance indicators, use analytics tools, and the importance of continuous improvement in SEO strategies.

Key Performance Indicators

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are crucial for tracking and evaluating the success of your law firm's SEO initiatives. Some essential KPIs to monitor include:

  • Conversion rate: The percentage of website visitors who take a desired action, such as filling out a contact form or calling your law firm.
  • Keyword rankings: The positions your targeted keywords hold on search engine result pages (SERPs).
  • Organic search traffic: The number of visitors to your website from search engine results, excluding paid search ads.
  • Bounce rate: The percentage of visitors who leave your site after viewing only one page without interacting further.

Using Analytics Tools

To effectively measure your law firm's SEO performance, you need to use analytics tools that can provide you with the necessary data on your website's traffic and user behavior. 

Google Analytics

Mastering Google Analytics for legal practices is a valuable endeavor. Assessing your law firm's website performance is essential for gaining insights into your target audience and evaluating the success of your marketing approach. From increasing your website’s conversion rate and minimizing bounce rates to understanding visitor behavior and delivering an improved user experience, comprehensive resources are available to help you achieve these goals for your website.

Continuous Improvement

SEO is not a one-time effort; it's an ongoing process that requires regular monitoring, updating, and refining. Continuously improving your law firm's SEO strategy involves:

  • Analyzing your competition: Keeping an eye on your competitors' SEO tactics can help you identify new opportunities and stay ahead in search rankings.
  • Performing keyword research: Regularly analyzing keyword trends can help you optimize your content strategy and target new, high-traffic keywords for your law firm.
  • Optimizing user experience (UX): Ensuring your website is easy to navigate, loads quickly, and is mobile-friendly can significantly impact your SEO performance.
  • Creating valuable content: Producing high-quality, informative content that answers your target audience's questions and showcases your expertise in the legal field is crucial for attracting organic search traffic.
  • Innovation: As the internet evolves, users' engagement with the online world also transforms. Continually experimenting with innovative methods and online platforms to best serve your target audience's needs will maintain your competitive edge.

By keeping track of your KPIs, using analytics tools, and making continuous improvements, you can effectively measure your law firm's SEO success and make strategic decisions to boost your online presence.

Conclusion

SEO is paramount for law firms seeking visibility and growth in an increasingly competitive legal market. Properly implementing SEO strategies enables lawyers to attract more clients and bolster their online reputation. The main objective of SEO is to help better serve your audience. As a result, your websites attain higher positions in search engine results pages, resulting in increased organic traffic.

SEO is a continuous practice that helps drive visitors to your law firm's website by improving its search engine rankings. We have explored various aspects of SEO for lawyers, ranging from understanding the basics to implementing expert tips. Remember that consistency and regular monitoring are essential for success.

The digital landscape is ever-changing, and staying up-to-date with current trends will enable law firms to remain ahead of the competition. Law firms should invest time and resources into understanding SEO and, if necessary, seek the assistance of professional SEO services. Please do not hesitate to contact us and discuss how we can collaborate with your legal practice to develop an SEO approach that propels your law firm toward success.

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