10 Strategies to Rank for “Best” & "Top" Keywords in Google

best-top-law-firm-keywordsBest law firm in Chicago”, “top family law firm in California … did you know that your firm CAN rank on the first page of Google for keywords like these?

I know what you’re thinking, in most jurisdictions legal marketing guidelines prohibit the use of words like best, top, specialist, expert, etc.

But, what if you could circumnavigate these challenging rules? Step around them and start ranking for these terms without making any direct claims of being the best at all?

Imagine the traffic and customers you’d generate as a result.

Today we look at 10 creative techniques you can start applying immediately to rank higher in Google’s search results for law firm keyword phrases using “best” and “top”.

Why “best” and “top” are so important


“Best” and “top” are frequently used by searchers as shortcuts to find what they’re looking for. They are commonly referred to as conversion keywords (or “money terms”) because of their elevated conversion rates.

The graph below shows how keyword types impact search volume and conversion rates.


That is, not only do a lot of people click on them; these people also have a high intent to buy, meaning the conversion rate is high too.

In short, if people are searching for the best criminal law firm in New York and you rank highly, you’ll almost certainly get qualified traffic that is ready to hire you.

Some additional benefits include:

  • Websites that rank highly for these terms are also perceived by users as high quality.
  • Most assume that ranking first in Google’s search results for “top” or “best” is an indication that a business is, in fact, number one in its field.

So that’s why these keywords are so competitive and difficult to rank for – made tougher for law firms by the strict marketing regulations.

They won’t be the only keywords you target – but they should be high on the list.

So how do you rank for them?

10 strategies to rank for “best” and “top”

By implementing the following ten strategies in your law firm SEO, you should start seeing results…

1. Generate client reviews that include the words “best” or “top”

Google doesn’t prohibit you from using the words “top” or “best” for your law firm.

The search engine is simply looking for references to keywords in your content.

So start ranking for these terms by getting others to write them. Then, include their reviews on your website.


If you receive a review from a customer that says “XXXX is the best lawyer in Calgary”, your page will immediately be more optimized for the keyword.

This is due to Google’s emphasis on exact match keyword usage in a website’s content. It is one of the top ranking factors identified by backlinko in its Search Engine Ranking factors study.

Tips to get started

Approach your top 5-10 clients and ask for reviews. Make it easy with a series of questions that will elicit the responses you want, rather than just asking them to write a review. For clients you’re closest to, ask them to include the word “best” in their response.

2. Write client success stories


One area where you can directly use the words “best” or “top” in your own copy is when writing sample case studies.

Successful case summaries make sense for any law firm website as they demonstrate expertise and real-world results.

If you can add phrases like “We were able to achieve the best possible result for our client”, it will help you rank for these terms.

Tips to get started

Pick out 2-5 cases where you achieved favourable results for your clients and feature a brief write up on your website. Use the words “top” or “best” wherever it’s natural to do so.

3. Use “top-rated” and “best” on the page in association with other ratings

You can’t say you’re the “best civil litigation lawyer in Philadelphia”.

But, in the example below, Patrick T. Daley, Joesph Lesniak, and Anthony J. Baratta could say that they are “top rated civil litigation lawyers in Philadelphia on super lawyers” … it’s true and, more importantly, it can be independently verified.


Similarly, if you’re Oykham Criminal Defence in Calgary, you could say “top Google reviewed criminal defence law firm in Calgary”.


Even though most jurisdictions force attorneys to validate their claims, you can get creative with the “top” and “best” terms in any given area.

As long as your claim can be independently verified, it should not cross any marketing red lines.

Tips to get started

Are you ranked highly in any directories or with Google for your particular area? If you can stand by it and validate it, mention it!

4. Include awards you’ve won on your pages


Has your firm won any awards in your practice area? If so, include these on your website as they often include terms such as “top” and “best”.


Include logos of the awards as well as the text.


Tips to get started

It doesn’t have to be a major award – think of smaller, local awards you’ve won or awards you can refer to from Avvo or other law firm directories. Remember, the idea is to get the words “best” and “top” associated with your law firm.

PRO TIP: Optimize award logo file names and alt attributes to make them more relevant to the term.

5. Use Schema.org review markup

Using Schema.org review markup allows you to inject your star rating directly into your search results snippet.


That’s particularly valuable if you have a 4-5 star rating, as it provides instant credibility to your readers.

It translates to clicks – and people will click through to your website already expecting high-quality services.

This won’t necessarily improve rankings in Google’s organic search results but you will create the appearance of being the best.

Tips to get started

If you have a WordPress site, use the free WordPress SEO Structured Data Schema plugin as a simple way to get the schema markup onto your site and your reviews showing in search results.

6. Have someone else write about you, claiming you’re the best.

Again, someone else saying you’re the “best criminal law firm in Toronto” is not a violation of legal marketing guidelines.

You already know the value of client reviews. But you can also target third parties for publishing articles that claim you’re the best.


Tips to get started

Look for opportunities to have your information published to leading legal websites, journals, and blogs. See if you can pay to be included in articles that feature the “10 best (practice) law firms in (location)”, for instance.

7. Use barnacle SEO

Another way to get your law firm associated with the terms “best” or “top” is to pay to have your website featured on sites like Three Best Rated.


This is termed “barnacle SEO” because it’s based on the idea that you attach your firm to another website and collect the benefit as these websites appear prominently in Google’s organic search results.

It may not improve the rankings of your website but it will increase the authority of your brand through its inclusion on these top-ranking websites.


You might even mention that you’re featured on Three Best Rated on your website – like Currie Law above. This will again associate your firm with the word “best”.

Tips to get started

Approach Three Best Rated (or other similar third-party rating or review sites) and inquire about pricing for being featured for your law firm’s specific practice area and location.

8. Optimize for Google’s local search results

For most “best lawyer in location” searches, Google will trigger its local search results.

If most of your clients come from the local area, therefore, make sure you optimize your law firm for Google local search to ensure you’re at the top of the list like New Mexico Legal Group.


How do you optimize for Google local search?

Firstly, focus on gathering high-quality Google reviews. They really are insanely powerful in bringing instant local credibility to your law firm.

This is important as users may select law firms based on this rating alone.

Tips to get started

Make sure your location is added to all appropriate web pages and if you don’t yet have many Google reviews, request 5-10 of your best clients to write reviews for an immediate boost in local search visibility.

9. Create content that gets your website included in Google’s “featured snippets”

Did you know that the nature of your content may affect how you’re displayed in Google search results?

You may have noticed Google’s “featured snippets”. They appear in their own box on top of the organic results, just below the ads (if there are any).

And they are Google’s way of trying to answer a user query immediately and accurately.


One of the benefits of having a content-rich site with plenty of articles and resources that answer your clients’ questions is the chance of your law firm being featured in a snippet like above.

The first firm featured on the list for “best business contracts” includes plenty of business contract contents.


10. Buy a Google AdWords ad

One of the beauties of Google AdWords is that you can choose the terms you want to appear for (“best law firm in Chicago” or “top criminal lawyer in Tucson”) but these terms do NOT need to appear in your ad copy.

As you can see here:


So you may appear for the term without violating the legal marketing guidelines.

Tips to get started

These terms may be highly competitive to bid for. Make sure you hire a professional Ads specialist to make the most of this option – or it could get expensive for you.

Ready to crack the “best” and “top” ranking challenge?

Even if it was permitted, simply pasting “best” and “top” around your site wouldn’t be a good idea.

Apart from the fact that every law firm would be doing it, “best” is a judgement that should come from an independent third party – not you! It’s more credible that way.

So you CAN rank for the “best” or “top” but you need to be smarter about it and use third parties when possible.

The starting place is always actually being the best. Then, implement the above ten strategies and watch your rankings soar.

I’m pretty sure we’ve covered the main ones – let us know which ones work best for your rankings.