Winning Law Firm SEO: The Definitive Guide

by | Jun 14, 2021

Everything You Need to Know About Law Firm SEO

Constellation Marketing is an award-winning, full-service law firm SEO company. We make your law firm excel in Google searches and win new clients.

Search engine optimization (SEO) can help your law firm win hundreds of thousands of dollars in new business this year.

While SEO isn’t a quick fix, it is the most effective and sustainable channel for legal marketing growth. This is a fact backed by results and proven ROI. So if you’re looking to amplify your law firm’s revenue, look no further. SEO is your long-term strategy for success.

Welcome to our comprehensive guide to search engine optimization (SEO) for lawyers.

If you want to:

Get high-level, actionable insights you can use to win more 1st page rankings on Google

Avoid the most common search engine optimization mistakes made by other attorneys

Develop a working knowledge of this essential topic so you can maximize your legal marketing budget and avoid poor service providers

Then, follow along as we share the knowledge needed to win more high-value clients from Google search engines without headaches.

    Patrick Carver
    Do You Want To
    Consistently Generate More High-Value Cases from the Internet?

    Got 15 minutes?
    Let me review your current metrics and provide a forecast of your potential growth based on our client results.

    What Is Attorney Search Engine Optimization?

    Attorney SEO is the process of maximizing the number of visitors to your law firm’s website by ensuring that it appears high on search engine result pages (SERPs).

    law firm seo what is attorney SEO

    We’ll cover these integral components of attorney SEO in this thorough guide:

    • Measurement and Analytics
    • Keyword Research
    • Content Marketing
    • On-page Optimization
    • Website Technology
    • Link Building
    • Local SEO

    Let’s be clear: You excel in the courtroom. You wouldn’t expect a digital marketer to win a legal battle, so why assume you must be an SEO guru to succeed online?

    This page is tailor-made for busy lawyers like you—those who want to understand SEO enough to make informed decisions without delving into the nitty-gritty.

    In essence, you stick to the law; we’ll handle the SEO. And together, we’ll conquer both courtrooms and search engines.

    How Law Firm SEO Works

    We know that navigating complex legal landscapes is your forte—and grasping the essentials of Google’s algorithm won’t be any different. The world of SEO may seem opaque, but let’s clarify: it’s entirely within your wheelhouse to understand the basics.

    How does Google decide what to show in search results? What’s the secret sauce behind its ranking algorithm? While these questions might sound complex, they’re solvable puzzles for a law-trained mind.

    Here’s a look at the basic mechanics of Google’s algorithm:

    Crawling: Google’s search engine software looks for web pages

    Processing and rendering: It seeks to understand what the page is about

    Indexing: It determines where to place the page in the search results by assigning it a value

    Google and other search engines have hundreds of ranking factors and make constant adjustments. At Constellation, it’s our job to provide up-to-date law firm SEO services and apply the winning formula for our clients.

    Learn more about SEO basics for attorneys.

    Why Effective Law Firm SEO is Essential

    According to Higher Visibility, 53% of all web traffic comes from organic search engine results pages. The next largest channel is paid search at 27%. The rest is split between social media and direct traffic.

    Regardless of your practice area, whether it be a personal injury law firm or real estate, your clients often come from Google search results. According to the National Law Review, 96% of people seeking legal advice use a search engine.

    Moreover, over 70% of all leads for lawyers come from organic search results. Organic search is not the only way someone finds a lawyer, but it’s the most widely used and thus key.

    Notably, 90% of searchers do not go past the first page of results. You’re practically invisible at the crucial decision-making moment if you’re not on that coveted first page.

    The way to accomplish this is through law firm SEO.

    According to Constellation’s SEO director, Mersad Berberovic, “SEO is the digital equivalent of word-of-mouth in the legal industry. It’s where your potential clients are looking for trustworthy and authoritative answers to their legal questions.”

    Legal SEO is the Best Client Acquisition Channel

    It’s clear why you should care about your law firm’s SEO. It’s the #1 most powerful marketing tool for law firm owners who want to maximize ROI. By investing in legal SEO, you are generating highly targeted traffic to your law firm’s website.

    What makes SEO the ideal way to build a growing pipeline of new business for your firm?

    You are building an asset for your business with long-term value that compounds over time.

    You own the real estate! Never depend on a directory company for new business again.

    You won’t fall victim to sky-high advertising costs that drain your budget.

    If you’re ready to take action to expand your sources of new business, take a serious look at SEO and how to boost your search engine rankings.

    Success Story

    Constellation boosted business for Missouri DWI and Criminal Law Center in a major way through our law firm SEO services, taking them from 54 calls in the last period to 215 calls in the last quarter—a whopping 298% improvement.

    They also skyrocketed to 285 new leads in the last quarter, compared to just 95 leads in the last period, which is a remarkable 200% improvement.

    Core Components of a Winning SEO Marketing Strategy for Law Firms

    Measurement and Analytics for Law Firm SEO Campaigns

    To get the most out of SEO law firm marketing, start by defining your metrics.

    A knowledge base will help you develop realistic goals, understand what you’re paying for, avoid overspending on poorly performing campaigns, and find new growth opportunities.

    Does your current law firm SEO company send you reports focusing exclusively on non-impact metrics like page views? With an SEO campaign, you want to see a linear progression through the three levels of the marketing funnel:

    1. Getting ranked
    2. Driving organic traffic to your site
    3. Gaining conversions

    Top 3 Metrics for Your Law Firm SEO

    What are the essential metrics for law firm SEO? First page rankings, organic traffic, and conversions. Focus on these high-level indicators to get the most value from your SEO law firm website campaigns.

    Your overall keyword count will give you an idea of whether your website is growing or stagnant. SEO work will compound over time and allow you to rank for hundreds of first-page keywords, which is where the magic happens.

    While rankings and traffic are essential, the ultimate goal is conversions. Tracking your conversions helps you:

    • Measure the effectiveness of your SEO campaigns
    • See which pages are working so you can double down on the strategy
    • Identify and fix pages that get traffic but don’t generate leads

    By taking the following steps, law firm websites are positioned to make informed decisions to optimize their online presence and drive more qualified leads.

    1. Implement Google Tag Manager and Google Search Console. Use these tools to track keyword performance and identify crawl errors.
    2. Set Up Conversion Goals in Google Analytics. Track specific actions like form submissions or calls.
    3. Create Monthly ROI Reports. Use tools like CallRail to track lead sources and calculate ROI. Proper analytics are an essential aspect of your legal SEO campaign. If you’re not focused on the right metrics, you won’t know if your lawyer SEO efforts are working

     

    Learn more about measurement and analytics.

    Keyword Research Tips to Optimize Your Lawyer SEO

    3.5 billion searches happen every day. With effective keyword research, you can capture lots of valuable cases!

    One simple tip can multiply your ROI. What is it? Have a keyword plan!

    Your potential clients are using particular terms to search for a service, and you need to figure out what those keywords are. You accomplish this with a well-crafted keyword research plan that you and your law firm SEO services or agency develop.

    Having a pointed focus helps you rise above the millions of other results. It tells Google who your content is for, which helps them categorize it and place it within the search results.

    Optimal Keywords for Law Firms

    The best keywords for lawyers show a user’s intent to hire a lawyer. Simple, right?

    The basic formula is: Your City + Practice Area + Lawyer/Attorney

    When it comes to local keywords, don’t forget to include local terms like “[City] personal injury lawyer“.

    Take, for example, “Atlanta DUI Attorney,” which receives 150 searches/month.

    Certain SEO tools like Ahrefs display exactly what people are searching for. We use Ahrefs for competitor analysis to identify keywords your competitors are ranking for, but you aren’t. We share that intel with our clients and build a page that will rank for it.

    “Atlanta DUI Lawyers” is the best keyword, with a monthly volume of 400 searches, so we would choose that to target.

    Target Prospective Clients with Long-Tail Keywords

    Ranking high for something like ‘Auto Accident Lawyer Near Me’ could generate millions in revenue. That’s the power of SEO.

    But the truth is that this search term is hyper-competitive. You’ll need a well-funded, smart strategy to win a first-page placement.

    Good news! There are hidden opportunities called long-tail keywords that lead to substantial ROI. Long-tail keywords are searched less frequently but have a high user intent. They may not be the ‘money’ keywords, but they’re valuable.

    Long-tail keyword example: “Where do I find my Georgia car accident report?”

    You can win lucrative cases if you show up for search queries like this and provide value to a potential client at this key moment.

    Pro tip: Use Google’s “People also ask” section for long-tail keyword ideas.

    Keep exploring the topic of Keyword Research for search engines.

    Unlock the Power of Content Marketing for Your Legal Services

    Once you have a target keyword, you must prove to Google that your website is the best option! You can achieve that through content marketing.

    In the sage words of our SEO director Mersad Berberovic, “Content is king, but context is queen. Creating high-quality, relevant content is essential, but it needs to be part of a broader strategy that considers user intent and the customer journey.”

    To maximize the ROI of your law firm website content, stick to one topic per page.

    We’ve published extensive legal content development guidelines to demonstrate the right way to do it.

    Google is looking to rank comprehensive, authoritative content. Pages that attempt to cover many topics on the same page typically don’t go into enough depth on any subject—so they’re destined for page six status. Instead, focus on covering one topic well.

    Google’s latest algorithm updates have shifted from site authority to reward page authority. Regardless of your overall stature, you can win important rankings. This means you now have a better chance to outrank big players like FindLaw or Avvo.

    Using keyword research before you write helps inform your plan and ensures no overlap between the topics. Keep your law firm’s pages focused, and you stand to win against the competition.

    Establish Topical Authority on Your Law Firm’s Website

    Google has always put a premium on high-quality content. So, how do you create it? Here are four key components:

    R

    Strive to create the most comprehensive resource on the internet

    R

    Cover all aspects of a topic

    R

    Incorporate and cite relevant sources

    R

    Make your law firm website navigable and functional for users

    Sites that consistently produce quality content are rewarded with better rankings, whereas sites that create low-quality content get less visibility.

    When working on your law firm site content, remember two concepts: find a keyword target and write high-quality content.

    Over time, this activity compounds, and you’ll become the authority on the search engines in your market.

    On-Page Optimization

    On-page website SEO is a fundamental element of SEO that refers to ranking factors you can control on your website.

    Proper on-page optimization will help you:

    • Show up for your targeted keywords
    • Compete toe-to-toe with well-capitalized competitors
    • Win more 1st page positions without spending on links

    Page Titles, Meta Descriptions, and H1

    Even if you do nothing else for on-page optimization, the most critical on-page activity for search engines is optimizing your:

    • Page Title Tags. Use the format “Primary Keyword – Secondary Keyword | Law Firms Name”
    • Meta Descriptions. Include a CTA and your main keyword
    • H1 Headers. Pepper them with relevant keywords

    Adding this “meta” information gives search engines a map instead of allowing them to draw their conclusions. This gives you the power to influence where you’re listed within search engine rankings.

    Structured Data: Schema, Headers, and More!

    Along those same lines, utilizing structured data to inform Google what you want to rank for is important.

    Google uses crawlers to review your website pages. They scan your page, looking for the most important parts.

    The good news is that we can circumvent this by telling Google exactly what they should consider important by using what’s called structured data.

    Structured data is information in a coded format that makes it easier for Google to digest.

    Title tags, meta descriptions, and H1 headings are types of structured data for SEO. Here’s a list of structured data types you could leverage:

    • Headers
    • Bold text
    • Ordered lists
    • Schema

    Using these elements tells Google, “Hey, this is important; focus on it first.”

    Find out more about on-page optimization for lawyer SEO.

    Technical SEO and Speed Optimization

    So you’ve got your keyword plan, and you’re taking the time to optimize your pages and use structured data. What else can you do to gain a competitive edge? Enter technical SEO.

    Technical SEO for lawyers is a game-changer. When everyone is spending money on content and link building, the performance of your website can move the needle.

    To rank above your competitors for the best keywords, you need technical SEO to ensure a fast website.

     

    2 Key Benefits of Fast-Loading Pages

    They make it easy for potential customers to evaluate and hire you.

    They satisfy Google’s desire to rank sites that deliver a great user experience.

    The reality is that we live in an era of instant gratification. Everyone wants what they want, RIGHT NOW. This extends to shopping for law firms and hiring legal services.

    Shockingly, 79% of online shoppers say they won’t return to a website if they’ve had trouble with load speed!

    The fact is, if your page speed takes more than two seconds to load, your prospective client has moved on.

    How to Improve Your Site Speed

    You’ll see a measurable impact by doing the bare minimum to optimize your law firm website:

    • Use speed-enhancing plugins like WP Rocket or NitroPack

    • Compress (reduce the file size) of your images

    • Leave out any necessary widgets or scripts

    • Get a premium host who explicitly optimizes for speed

    SEO is not an all-or-nothing pursuit. Chip away at the most approachable items we discuss here one at a time, and you’ll be miles ahead of your competitors!

    Learn more about website fundamentals from law firm SEO agency experts!

    Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-E-A-T)

    Google aims to serve its users the best content as quickly as possible. Since “the best” is subjective, it’s crucial to understand their interpretation and how you can achieve the standard.

    E-E-A-T is the framework that Google uses to assess content creators, webpages, and websites as a whole.

    Here’s how to master the framework:

    • Add awards, certifications, experience, and professional membership information to your site.

    • Include a byline on all content with a link to your profile.

    • Add data and references to your content.

    • Add name, address, and phone number.

    Featured snippets are paramount in E-E-A-T, as they provide an opportunity to secure prime real estate at the top of search engine results, increasing visibility and driving more organic traffic to your law firm’s website.

    By offering concise answers to user queries, featured snippets can establish your site as an authoritative source, enhancing your credibility in internet users’ eyes.

    A Beginner’s Guide to Link Building

    What are backlinks, and how do you get them? A backlink is a reference from one website to another that confers value on your website. Generally speaking, the more links you have, the better.

    Keep these three guidelines in mind to become a master of link building:

    1. Quality Over Quantity. Use Ahrefs to analyze the link quality of your competitors.
    2. Legal Directories. Get listed on high-authority legal directories.
    3. Broken Link Building. Use tools to find broken links on legal blogs and offer your content as a replacement.

    6 Easy Ways to Acquire Links for Your Law Firms Website

    • Sign up for a directory like Avvo or FindLaw
    • Sign up for a website like Facebook or YellowPages
    • Join an organization like your local Bar association
    • Be quoted in a journal or news article
    • Write a guest post for another website
    • Write a great article that others use as a reference

    This link-building guide from Moz is a great resource to deepen your knowledge.

    Our standard advice for lawyers wanting to engage in law firm SEO services is to start small and be consistent. Over time, you’ll begin to build authority. Combined with high-quality content, backlinks give you an unparalleled advantage over the competition!

    Inbound Links

    Inbound links, which connect two pages on your website, are similar to backlinks.

    Internal linking may very well be the best SEO hack out there. An internal link connects two different pages on the same website. It’s a form of on-page SEO.

    Why do it? These types of links are useful for three reasons:

    1. They allow users to navigate a website.
    2. They help establish an information hierarchy for the given website.
    3. They help spread link equity (ranking power) around websites.

    Unlike link building, optimizing your on-page SEO through internal links allows you to quickly and easily redistribute link juice, create topical authority, and aggressively use keywords.

    How do you do it? 

    1. Determine what your most important content is
    2. Find other pages that are topically relevant to your important content
    3. Find where the two topics converge
    4. Create a connection between the two pages with a link

    Internal linking is a highly underrated SEO strategy. It’s completely free. You don’t have to ask anyone to link to you. And it helps you rank higher on Google. Boom! High ROI.

    Discover more about link building for law firms.

    Patrick Carver
    Do You Want To
    Consistently Generate More High-Value Cases from the Internet?

    Got 15 minutes?
    Let me review your current metrics and provide a forecast of your potential growth based on our client results.

    Local Search Optimization for Attorneys

    What is local SEO, and how does it work to help law firms?

    Local SEO is a search engine optimization (SEO) marketing strategy that helps your law firm be more visible in local search results on Google.

    There are three pillars of Google’s Local SEO algorithm: relevance, proximity, and prominence. Relevance is the most important ranking factor for local searches on Google.

    Start with local citations and backlinks:

    • Local Citations. Ensure NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) consistency across the web.
    • Local Backlinks. Partner with local businesses for mutually beneficial backlink opportunities.

    Google Business Profile (Formerly Google My Business) for Law Firms

    Keep your Google business profile updated with your hours of operation, contact info, and photos.

    You can expand your reach by optimizing your GBP presence and acquiring positive reviews. Be sure to respond to all reviews, as well.

     

    Google Map Pack

    Google Map Pack is a collection of business listings and a map that provides users with a quick overview of nearby businesses related to their search query.

    Why is it beneficial to be placed in the Map Pack? It’s 100% free, and you’re above all organic search engine results.

    Unlike regular organic search results, placement here is largely a byproduct of your location.

    You get into the Map Pack by being close to the location of the person searching.

    Expert tip: Use Schema Markup for local SEO to provide information about your services and reviews.

    The Importance of Consistency for Local SEO

    So, do you want your law firm to be found in Google’s Map Pack more often? Of course you do!

    Placement in the pack can be a game-changer for law firms since being there means you’re above all other organic search results.

    Citation syndication is an essential part of achieving placement in the Map Pack. A consistent presence (accurate business info) across the web feeds the “prominence” part of the local algorithm.

    Conversely, having incorrect or duplicate listings can hamper a business’s ability to rank well in local searches. And that’s not to mention how frustrated consumers get when confused by inaccurate information online.

    Syndication helps push your business information across the web quickly and effectively. We use BrightLocal for the job. Their syndication service distributes client data to thousands of directories, apps, and mapping services.

    If you’ve ever changed jobs, moved office locations, or simply want to perform better in search, you need syndication!

    Learn more about local search optimization for law firms.

    Smart Law Firm SEO Strategy for Lawyers

    With your keen analytical skills and meticulous attention to detail, you’re more than capable of understanding the complexities of SEO for your law firm—although it’s perfectly understandable if your focus is better spent on legal endeavors.

    Given your packed schedule, it’s only logical you’d prefer not to dilute your expertise by diverting attention to SEO nuances.

    That’s precisely where we step in—our specialized team of law firm SEO experts work tirelessly to stay ahead in this constantly changing landscape so you don’t have to.

    Keep it simple when you’re looking for practical solutions that will help you win more clients.

    Content and links are the two most enduring parts of Google’s search algorithm.

    Staying firmly grounded in these two areas will:

    Providing a scaleable way that you can impact your marketing

    Giving you a large advantage over other attorneys who do nothing or ineffectively try do everything

    Publish, Track, Optimize, Repeat

    A simple SEO plan for attorneys is to write one comprehensive piece of content every month and then share it to build links.

    Over time, this practice will compound exponentially. Harness this simple strategy, and you’ll turn your knowledge into a recurring pipeline of new clients!

    Let’s take a practical look at how to make the most of your SEO strategy and maximize the ROI of your most precious commodity: your time.

    Here’s the framework we use to win our law firm SEO agency clients over 5,000 first-page positions and 60,000+ organic search traffic every month!

    This strategy is deceptively simple and incredibly effective.

    Begin to Transform Your Law Firm’s Online Presence Today

    The cost and time estimate of lawyer SEO efforts varies significantly depending on factors such as industry competitiveness, the current state of your law firm website, and the goals you are striving for.

    Generally, SEO for lawyers is an ongoing investment that may take several weeks to see significant results, but the long-term benefits of organic traffic and brand visibility make it a valuable investment.

    Using the tips in this guide, make your best guess, take action, and follow your results over time to see how you’re performing. Once you’ve received feedback in the form of a ranking, you can work to improve it.

    Working on SEO for law firms is similar to investing in the stock market. Over time, your effort compounds and creates a game-changing asset for your law firm.

    Looking for a high-quality law firm SEO expert to take your digital marketing strategy to the next level? Reach out to Constellation Marketing today for a free consultation.

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