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SEO For Lawyers In 10 Steps + Examples

You know you can help people, whether guiding them through a divorce or fighting a personal injury case from a road traffic accident, but the phone isn’t ringing, and your email inbox is empty.

This is where search engine optimization (SEO) can help.

SEO for lawyers—when done correctly—helps prospective clients discover who you are and how you can help them.

Instead of worrying about where your next client will come from, you can focus on doing what you do best: helping people.

Continue reading to find out how you can use SEO to promote your legal services for your law firm.

What you will learn:

  • What SEO for lawyers is
  • The importance of SEO for law firms
  • Why local SEO is typically the better option for law firms
  • How to develop an SEO strategy to show up in search results
  • What tools to use to kickstart your SEO strategy

What is SEO for lawyers?

SEO for lawyers is a part of marketing that law firms and attorneys can use to improve search engine visibility and encourage people to inquire about their services.

Potential clients use search engines such as Google to educate themselves and to find trusted lawyers.

For example, someone might Google the key phrase, “divorce attorney Miami.” Your goal is to appear at the top of these search results.

Law firm websites can use SEO tactics to improve search rankings.

Among other things, as a law firm, you can:

  • Set up your Google Business Profile
  • Post educational blog posts on relevant topics
  • Acquire and manage positive reviews on Google

These are just some of the SEO tactics we'll cover in this article.

Why is SEO important for law firms? 

SEO enables law firms to increase their online visibility and rank higher in search engine results.

By targeting specific keywords related to your legal services, you can attract more qualified traffic to your websites.

This organic approach is cost-effective compared to paid ads and builds credibility and trust with potential clients who are actively seeking legal assistance.

Let’s say you practice divorce law in New York and use Google ads to attract new clients.

According to the Forecast Planner in Google Ads, you can expect to bid between €7.35. and €35.10 to appear among the top ads on search results for "divorce attorney Miami."

With SEO, you can optimize your website and write articles targeting those keywords to appear organically in search results.

This way, you can differentiate your law firm from competitors by showcasing your expertise through valuable content and attracting and retaining more clients.

Moreover, with Google ads, once you stop paying, you will stop appearing in search results.

Meanwhile, SEO efforts only compound over time.

10 SEO tactics to grow your law firm 

SEO is a multifaceted field. There are many SEO tactics you can use to grow your law firm.

However, given the local nature of law businesses, you'll want to focus on local SEO tactics - which will also be the main focus of this article.

Here are 10 SEO tactics you can use on your law firm’s website.

1. Find keywords to write about 

People use keywords in search engines such as Google when looking for legal services.

To show up in search results, your first task is to find what keywords your audience uses to search for your services.

Choosing the right keywords ensures you attract prospective clients, not avid fans of the Family Law series. Which, by the way, is a great TV show, but not the point!

Here's how you can go about finding the right keywords to target.

Pick your main topics

Start by choosing the main topics that are relevant to your business.

You can use your industry knowledge to generate these seed topics.

For instance, if you practice family law, you can focus on topics such as divorce and separation, adoption and guardianship, and prenuptial agreements.

You can also perform a Google search on the topic of "family law" to see what comes up.

If you look at Related searches, you might find some other topics such as "family law child custody".

Only some results will be relevant, but note down any query that can form a seed topic and is relevant to the services you offer.

Identify related keywords  

Next, you'll use these seed topics as the starting point to generate a robust list of keywords.

For instance, you can use Google autocomplete to find keywords related to "family law child custody."

Note relevant keywords like "family law child custody lawyers," "family law child custody forms," and "family law child custody free consultation."

You can also find related keywords by looking at the People also ask section on Google. There you can see more specific keywords, known as long-tail keywords.

Similarly, the Related searches section can reveal further keywords relevant to your main topic.

When choosing which keywords to focus on, there are three factors to consider:

  1. Keyword difficulty—how easy it is to rank for a keyword
  2. Search intent—the user's main goal when they search a query
  3. Business potential—how relevant the keyword is to your business

However, a free Google search will only take you so far.

You need to use a Keyword Research tool such as Surfer to decide which keywords to target.

In Surfer you can find 66 keyword clusters related to the topic of "child custody", covering keywords from "temporary custody orders" to "parent visitation rights".

Your goal should be to find lucrative keywords, which are relevant to your business, have a good monthly search volume, and are not too difficult to rank for.

For instance, "supervised visitation" can be a very lucrative keyword to target. It has a monthly search volume of over 10k, and a moderate difficulty.

In Surfer you can also see that this is an informational keyword, which means you should create long-form, educational articles to rank for it.

This way you can build a keyword list for each of the main topics you defined in this step.

2. Build content hubs

You can then organize your main topics and the keywords that fall under each into content hubs.

Content hubs, also known as topic clusters, are groups of related content that revolve around a central theme. A main "pillar" page links to "cluster" pages that delve into specific aspects of that topic.

Content hubs allow you to cover a topic comprehensively, establishing you as an authority on the topic.

You can build content hubs by covering a topic in-depth on the pillar page and then creating several pages covering different aspects of that topic.

You can easily map out your content into content hubs using Surfer.

Here's an example of what a content hub related to the topic of "child custody" looks like on Surfer.

The pillar page covers all the different types of custody, and the supporting cluster pages focus on different aspects of custody, from custody schedules to agreements.

To complete the hub, the pillar page should link internally to all relevant cluster pages and vice versa.

3. Create high-value content

Now that you’ve mapped out your content hubs, it’s time to create high-value content.

High-value content is helpful content.

For your content to truly resonate and perform well, it should:

  • Match the searcher's intent and fully address their query
  • Offer thorough and meaningful information on the topic
  • Be precise, with no grammatical, spelling, or factual mistakes
  • Be optimized for search engines

As you can see, it takes a lot to create high-value content that fulfills the above.

However, you can rely on the help of AI writing tools to speed up the process.

As long as your content follows the helpful content guidelines, Google does not care how it is created.

Scale content with AI

With the help of an AI content writing tool like Surfer AI you can create an article draft in less than 20 minutes.

Enter your main keyword and follow the steps in the app.

Surfer AI will look at the top-performing pages for your keyword and create a fully optimized article that aims to outperform the competition.

Remember that legal content falls under “Your Money or Your Life” (YMYL)  topics, which means it needs to be factual and accurate more so than other types of content—you can’t exclusively rely on AI to do that.

So, it's important to add that human touch before hitting publish. This means adding your unique legal insights and examples to it.

If you need more help making your content sound humane, you can rely on Surfer's AI content humanizer.

4. Identify relevant keywords to add to your content 

Your article must include related keywords to help search engines understand the search intent and content of your page. This is also known as NLP optimization.

NLP optimization involves adapting your content to be more easily interpreted by search engines that utilize Natural Language Processing to understand and rank web pages.

For example, if your article is about how to get a divorce, phrases, and keywords such as “how long does a divorce take,” “how much does a divorce cost,” and phrases like “husband” and “wife” are expected to be included in the article.

These keywords and phrases should be included naturally throughout your article—not forced into place like an incorrect jigsaw piece.

Find relevant keywords by using the tools mentioned above—Google autosuggest, related search, and people also ask. 

Google your main keyword and note down related keywords you can include in your article.

Surfer's Content Editor suggests an extensive list of related terms for your main keyword.

For this example, the Content Editor has identified 80 terms and phrases you can include in your article and how often.

5. Perform on-page SEO 

On-page SEO is the process of including keywords in important areas to help search engines understand what your article is about.

Once you’ve got your keywords for each article, you must include them strategically and naturally.

Include keywords in the following areas:

URLs—where the page is found (it’s also a good idea to avoid numbers and dates here)

Page title—this can be different from your H1 and allows you to include keyword variations.

Use header tags—H1s, H2s, H3s, etc.—to help search engines understand what your page is about.

Body content—include keywords naturally throughout your content, but never stuff your article with keywords.

The length of your articles also plays an important role in ranking your content. You want to write a post of similar length to the current top-ranking posts for your main keyword.

Take the average of the top 3-5 posts for your chosen keyword and +/—10%.

If you use Surfer, enter your main keyword into the Content Editor, and it will calculate a target word count for you. 

6. Build local citations

Local citations are used to reference your law firm online. They help Google verify the accuracy of your business information.

Typical information included in a citation includes your business name, address, and phone number—often referred to as NAP. 

Enter your NAP business information on local directories and popular platforms such as Apple Maps, Yelp, Bing Places, and Facebook to build your online presence.

Your NAP information must be consistent across all platforms.

Inconsistencies can confuse and potentially harm your search engine rankings—take the time to enter accurate information.

To find local directories, you can use a custom Google search such as:

  • intitle:directory keyword
  • inurl:resources intitle:resources keyword
  • inurl:directory keyword

7. Optimize your Google Business Profile 

A Google Business Profile is essential for local law firm SEO.

When set up and optimized correctly, you will appear on local searches and for relevant search terms and keywords.

For example, if someone searches “immigration lawyer near me” or “immigration lawyer in California,” you will show up in a local search with contact details, a business description, and public reviews.

Setting up your Google Business Profile is free and exclusively for local businesses.

To optimize your Google Business Profile, ensure that all your business information is accurate and up-to-date, including your law firm's name, address, phone number, and operating hours.

Regularly update your profile with new posts and photos to showcase your firm's activities and legal expertise.

You can also specify your services, the area you serve, and allow interested clients to request a booking directly from Google.

Here's an example of a well-optimized Google Business profile.

8. Demonstrate E-E-A-T

E-E-A-T stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.

Google uses the E-E-A-T search rater guidelines to prioritize helpful and original content.

By demonstrating E-E-A-T in your law firm content, there’s a good chance you will perform better in Google search results.

As a law firm, E-E-A-T is even more applicable. As we mentioned above, law is a YMYL topic—“Your Money or Your Life.”

When a potential client Googles a question relating to their case, they don’t want to read a blog post from a part-time English teacher. They want to hear from a qualified, practicing lawyer. 

You need to demonstrate E-E-A-T to build trust, credibility, and expertise, and there are numerous ways you can do this, including:

Show your credentials 

One of the easiest and most effective ways to build trust and credibility is to include an About page.

Write about your law firm, who you help, how long you’ve been in business, etc. Show your credentials and add a “meet the team” section or individual page—link these to author bios in your articles.

Show testimonials and social proof

Add testimonials and social proof to your website. You can also manage reviews on your Google Business Profile and showcase these on local Google search results.

Testimonials and social proof can be added to a separate page or next to CTAs to further establish trust and credibility.  

Write cases studies

Case studies are an excellent way to show your law firm's expertise. You can write case studies on cases you’ve worked on in the past with results on how you’ve solved complex legal issues for your clients.

9. Manage your online reputation

Think about it: before you buy anything online or inquire about a service, you read the reviews. What do people say about the service?

Your potential law firm clients are doing the same—they’re comparing your firm to your competitors to see who is the most trustworthy and best fit for their case.

By managing your online reputation, you ensure your business remains credible and is positioned as legitimate. 

Collect reviews on review sites such as Trustpilot and your Google Business profile. If you’re just getting started, request reviews from past clients to build up your online reputation.

Address negative feedback promptly to maintain a positive brand image.

A poor review is not the end of the world—but if you reply with a bad attitude, you might as well leave your briefcase at the office and call it a day.

10. Earn backlinks 

Backlinks are external links from one website to another. When you click a backlink, you open up a new webpage.

Backlinks are not to be confused with internal links—links that link exclusively to content from your website, e.g., adding a link to other articles in a post.

Backlinks serve as a trust signal. The more quality backlinks you have, the easier it is to rank content.

Google’s Andrew Lipattsev highlighted how backlinks are a confirmed ranking factor back in a 2016 Q&A session.

But not all backlinks are created equally. Ideally, you want naturally occurring links from high-authority, relevant websites.

Create a link-building strategy to earn links and boost your SEO using methods such as:

Guest posting

Guest posting is when you publish an article on another website, usually in exchange for a link to your site.

For example, you might write a blog post on how much a divorce costs for a counseling website. 

You can find guest blogging opportunities by pitching publications and other websites. Alternatively, you can post in relevant Facebook and other social media groups looking for guest posts.

Create original linkable content

If you have the resources, we suggest creating original content that people will want to link to. This could be some original research or statistics, an infographic, or a tool that potential clients can use for an estimate.

You’ll have to do the hard work to decide what to create. But if it’s highly relevant, timely, and linkable, you’ll naturally build backlinks to your website.

Use services such as HARO and Qwoted

Journalists and media professionals who are looking for expert contributions to blog posts and news articles use services such as Help a Reporter Out, also known as HARO, and Qwoted.

Requests are published daily, with people looking for your expertise. For example, a journalist may be looking for an expert analysis for an ongoing corporate case. 

You can answer these queries in exchange for a link back to your law firm's website. Competition can be quite high when responding to submissions, so always reach out to the journalist before sending a pitch to avoid wasting time and effort crafting your responses.

You can also sign up for daily updates from both PR services, so you won’t need to check both sites incessantly.

3 examples of law firm SEO 

To better illustrate how your strategy should be pieced together, we’ve collected 3 examples of law firm SEO from local law practices.

1. Van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim

Van der Veen is a team of Philadelphia-based trial lawyers who practice everything from personal injury to criminal defense. Their blog is up to date and extensively covers a variety of topics.

But what stands out most is their case study page. It showcases their expertise and immediately builds trust by clearly showing that they can get results for their clients.

Consider adding a case study page to your law firm's website.

2. Kenny, Burns, & McGill

The Kenny, Burns & McGill team are criminal defense, real estate, personal injury, and civil litigation lawyers in Philadelphia.

The blog section on their law firm site mainly focuses on timely news—such as AirBnb laws—and numerous case victories, from a client’s bail being reduced by $25,000 to a $90,000 settlement for an injured client.

The image below shows an example case study article.

The team has also successfully set up their Google Business Profile and showcased their reviews on Google search. They also respond to reviews to maintain a positive online presence.

3. Law Offices of Jason Pollack, Esq

Finally, we have the law offices of Jason Pollack, Esq, a criminal defense lawyer.

Again, the Google Business Profile is set up excellently. It shows all services, reviews, and even company updates.

This makes it easy to find out what they do and how to get in touch. It instantly builds trust and establishes a positive reputation.

This firm's blog covers a mix of criminal law topics, educating prospective clients and further increasing its SEO potential.

Example blog topics showcasing extensive topical coverage for the law offices of Jason Pollack, Esq.

Should you hire an SEO agency for your law practice?

You don’t need to hire an SEO agency to get started with law firm SEO.

However, hiring an agency can be beneficial if local SEO and writing content do not come easily to you or you don’t have the time to invest in a strategy.

By using an agency, you’ll save time while leveraging their expertise. You know all the technical SEO aspects will be covered—which can often be confusing for beginners—and you’ll have new articles published consistently.

If you’re going the DIY route, you can rely on a tool like Surfer to cover different aspects of your SEO process, from keyword research to writing fully optimized and engaging content. 

How long do SEO results for law firms take?

You should typically see some results from your SEO efforts within 6-12 months. If you see no improvement after 1 year, it’s time to change your SEO strategy or seek outside help.

Once you’ve started your local SEO law firm strategy, it’s easy to become impatient and expect results overnight.

But SEO results do not have a fixed timeframe.

Focus on the above strategies and before you know it, you’ll reap the rewards of your efforts.

How much does legal SEO cost?

Legal SEO costs vary depending on whether you work with an agency or do it yourself. If working with an agency, costs can vary between $1,000 to $20,000 per month.

It depends on the market, competition, and how aggressively you want to scale.

If you're managing the SEO strategy yourself, the costs will be much less, but the time and effort commitment is understandably more.

You’ll also need to pay for SEO tools to help you get the most out of your efforts.

6 SEO tools for law firms

When curating a content strategy for your law firm, you can use various SEO tools to enhance your SEO efforts.

These tools provide insights such as whether a keyword or topic is worth writing about and how difficult it is to rank a keyword. They can even help you generate seed and topic ideas.

1. Surfer

Surfer is a comprehensive SEO tool that helps you cover different aspects of your strategy, from performing keyword and topic research to building topical maps and writing content.

You can also enter a keyword into the content editor for suggestions on improving SEO for your existing law firm articles. For example, Surfer provides relevant keyword and heading suggestions, a target word count to ensure you cover the topic in enough depth, and much more.

If you want to scale your SEO as a small or one-person team, you can use Surfer AI to speed up the process.

2. Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a must-have free tool provided by Google that helps you manage your site’s online presence in Google search results.

You can submit new blog posts for indexing so people can find your content, troubleshoot errors, and track your SEO progress. This will help you make informed and better decisions regarding your content strategy. 

When set up correctly, you will receive email alerts on issues and errors that need to be fixed to polish your SEO efforts and help you get the most out of your content.

3. Localo

Localo is a tool that works with your Google Business Profile—this helps you appear in and maintain local search results, showing up on Google Maps and searches for local law services.

When using Localo, you get step-by-step tips on attracting new clients and improving your reach and visibility on Google. It helps improve reputation management. 

You can also protect your law firm from unwanted changes to search, ensuring no false reviews are posted and your opening hours and other details are correct and unalerted—either by accident or by your competitors. 

4. Screaming Frog

Crawl your website with Screaming Frog, find broken links and duplicate content, and analyze your page titles and metadata to gain new insights and make better-informed SEO decisions.

You can make sure your articles are being indexed correctly, don’t have any critical errors, and even check the readability score for each blog post.

You can also use it for competitor analysis, gaining insights into what other law firms are doing for their SEO strategy.

5. Trustpilot

Trustpilot allows you to display reviews publicly to help potential clients decide who to work with.

You’ll expand your keyword reach, boost your overall SEO performance, and increase visibility to help you stand out from other law firms—especially if you have raving reviews.

6. Mention

Easily monitor over 1 billion sources across the web to uncover recent trends and hot topics.

Mention helps you reach your brand's potential online by analyzing your competition. You can also listen to what people are saying online to stay in the loop.

It’s great for social posts and timely blog content.

Key takeaways

  • SEO for lawyers is a specialized part of marketing that enhances online visibility and client engagement.
  • The importance of SEO for law firms lies in its ability to attract qualified traffic and build credibility with potential clients.
  • Local SEO is crucial for law firms to target clients within their geographical area and appear in relevant local search results.
  • Developing an SEO strategy involves keyword research, creating content hubs, and producing high-value content tailored to clients' needs.
  • Utilizing tools like Surfer can simplify and optimize the SEO process, from keyword research to content creation and on-page SEO.
  • On-page SEO, including strategic keyword placement and content structure, is essential for search engine understanding and ranking.
  • Building local citations and optimizing Google Business Profile can significantly improve a law firm's local search presence.
  • Demonstrating E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) is vital for law firms to establish authority and trust online.
  • Managing online reputation through reviews and testimonials can influence potential clients' decisions and enhance credibility.
  • Earning quality backlinks from reputable sources can improve a law firm's website authority and search ranking.
  • Consistent SEO efforts can lead to noticeable results within 6-12 months, with ongoing work compounding over time.
  • The cost of legal SEO varies, but investing in the right tools and strategies can yield a significant return on investment.

Conclusion

In conclusion, SEO for lawyers is a powerful tool that can significantly enhance a law firm's online presence and client acquisition.

Law firms can establish themselves as credible authorities in their field by employing targeted strategies such as keyword research, content creation, and on-page optimization.

Additionally, local SEO tactics and optimizing Google Business Profiles are essential for connecting with clients in the immediate geographic area.

With dedication and the right approach, law firms can achieve substantial growth and a competitive edge in the digital landscape.

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Screenshot of Surfer SEO Content Editor interface, displaying the 'Essential Content Marketing Metrics' article with a content score of 82/100. The editor highlights sections like 'Key Takeaways' and offers SEO suggestions for terms such as 'content marketing metrics