SEO for Lawyers: A Deep-Dive With +100 Examples

seo-for-lawyersAre you interested in getting your firm to the #1 position in Google’s search results?

Of course you are. Who isn’t?

SEO for lawyers remains one of the most effective ways for law firms to attract quality clients.

Consider these legal stats:

  • 96% of people seeking legal advice use a search engine.
  • 74% of consumers visit a law firm’s website to take action.
  • 62% of legal searches are non-branded (i.e., generic: Phoenix divorce attorney).
  • 72% of people seeking legal advice only contact one attorney.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll share:

  • The fundamentals of law firm SEO
  • What Google wants from a law firm’s website.
  • How to build authority and trust.
  • The most effective law firm website content.
  • How to establish a positive reputation online.
  • Concrete strategies to get your law firm to the coveted #1 position in Google’s search results.

Let’s begin.

Chapter 1:

Introduction to Lawyer SEO

What is lawyer SEO?

Law firm SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of improving the visibility of your law firm’s website on search engines like Google. A successful SEO campaign will see you ranking highly on Google, increasing the quality and quantity of traffic to your website.

As a marketing tactic, SEO for lawyers requires in-depth keyword research, onsite optimization, link building, citation building, Google Business Profile optimization, content development, and analytics configuration.


When done right, SEO outperforms other channels that prospective clients use to find a lawyer, including social media and word-of-mouth.

Like any other business, search dominates the research phase. When we want to find a new service in our area, most of us head straight to Google.

Our client, Trey Porter Law, experienced an 827% increase in website traffic with a well-optimized SEO campaign. He ranks highly for several competitive, local keywords that get him tons of monthly leads.

san antonio dwi defense

We tell all of our clients that SEO is a long-term investment. It’s the only channel that nets you compounding returns over time. It might start slow, but you’ll experience steady growth.

Why is law firm SEO so important?

Law firm SEO, when done right, provides several opportunities for your business.

If you have well-written, quality content, you’ll naturally:

  • Rank for more keywords and drive more qualified traffic to your website
  • Build free backlinks naturally without outreach, building your reputation and helping you rank even higher
  • Establish yourself as a thought-leader in your practice area, allowing you to convert website visitors at a high rate

It’s important because of all the marketing channels out there, it provides the highest return on investment. And it’s showing no signs of going anywhere.

In fact, SEO only gets more important over time.

  • Search accounts for 59.2% of all online traffic (and Google holds 86.86% of total search engine traffic)
  • 49% of marketers report that organic search has the highest ROI of any marketing channel
  • Google is estimated to process 5.6 billion searches per day

If your law firm’s website can’t be found on search engines, you’ll have to rely solely on referrals. While word-of-mouth is powerful, SEO is much more sustainable and is in your control.

Get More Traffic & Leads

Talk to a marketing expert

“My website continues to dominate all the top website searches in my industry and my business has grown 10 fold as a result.”

Micheal Oykhman
Oykhman Criminal Defence

Why do I need a website optimized for SEO?

Remember the Yellow Pages? If you wanted to look up a local business or service back in the day, that was the way to do it

But today, we rely on search engines to look up just about everything. And 96% of people seeking legal advice begin their search on Google.

Lawyers need a website optimized for search as it’s the primary way of improving your online presence. And clients expect more than a single homepage — you need to show off your business’s expertise by showcasing your knowledge and credibility.

website marketing hub
(Image Source)

Think of your website as your base of operations for all digital marketing. All marketing initiatives, from SEO and PPC to email marketing and social media, tie back into your website.

Put a great deal of effort into the design and branding of your website. It should be made to convert visitors, build trust, increase awareness, and encourage visitors to take action.

How does SEO compare to other marketing channels?

SEO isn’t the only inbound marketing tactic out there. Let’s look at SEO in relation to PPC and social media.

Attorney SEO vs. PPC (Google Ads)

Pay-per-click advertising, most commonly done via Google Ads, is a quick way to get qualified leads to your website. It’s much quicker to see results with PPC than with SEO.

The downside is that it’s also much more expensive. You pay every time someone clicks one of your ads, and it quickly adds up. After all, legal-related keywords are some of the most expensive out there.

You can see that keywords like “DUI lawyer” can cost up to $131.32 per click.


Conversely, SEO is a long-term investment that can cost as little (or as much) as you’d like depending on how you go about it.

But any law firm website content you create and publish is yours forever, earning you backlinks and valuable traffic as long as it’s ranking. Contrary to PPC, the returns are compounding over time.

SEO vs. social media marketing

In our experience, social media marketing for lawyers is more effective in building trust and establishing authority in your practice area.

Once you’ve drawn in visitors to your website via SEO, they’ll be inclined to check out your social profiles to keep up with you.

It’s hard to compare the two as we see them as different but complementary vehicles for growth.

That’s not to say you can’t convert visitors through social media–just that it’s much easier to get discovered via SEO.

What are the areas of Google’s Search Engine Results Page (SERP)?

Google’s SERPs refers to the elements that appear on a Google search result page. Law firm marketing services can get you to the top of the SERP, which is what you want.

The SERP includes the following items.

Local Service Ads: LSAs display above everything else in Google’s search results and operate on a Pay Per Lead (PPL) basis.


Google Search Ads: Search Ads display below LSAs and above the Local Search Results. The ads operate on a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) basis.


Local Search Results: The Local Search Results are an extension of Google Maps. It is configured through a Google Business Profile. It doesn’t cost a business anything to display in this area, however, competition is steep.


Organic Search Results: The Organic SEO Results display below the Local Search Results. It is the area most commonly associated with Google.


People Also Ask: A list of questions related to the searcher’s query displays in Google’s search results, often directly below the top relevant organic result.


Featured Snippets: Featured Snippets, also known as Position 0, display for question-based queries or when structured data (such as tables of information) are present.


Local Panel: The local panel displays in the right-hand sidebar of Google’s search results. It includes information related to a business and is an extension of a firm’s Google Business Profile.


When launching an attorney search engine optimization campaign, start by considering the areas of Google’s search results most important to your firm.

Then evaluate how you can positively impact your firm’s visibility in the areas listed above to attract the greatest amount of high-quality traffic.

Chapter 2:

Lawyer SEO Ranking Factors

What are Google ranking factors?

For years, the basic principle of SEO marketing has remained the same:

Google wants to return the most accurate, credible and authoritative information to its users.

Google fiercely defends its search results and updates its algorithms regularly for greater accuracy, assessing each website for a large variety of factors, called the Google ranking factors.

Any reputable law firm SEO agency stays on top of Google’s algorithms.

At JurisPage, we believe the following factors most impact a website’s search engine rankings in Google’s search results.


Content refers to any written or video content optimized and published to a firm’s website.

Writing original, informative content is the cornerstone of law firm digital marketing — and optimized content is a key ranking factor.

It must be topically relevant, optimized for keywords, informative, and easy to read and share.


Content creation, be it articles, videos, or podcasts, is one of the most effective marketing techniques for a firm to invest in.

By consistently publishing valuable content, you create the perception of being a subject matter expert. It increases your website and social media traffic, ultimately contributing to an increasing number of quality sales leads and prospects.

What goes into good SEO content

A strong piece of content should be comprehensive and easily digestible.

keyword elements blog post

  • Topically relevant: Your content should answer the query the visitor typed into Google.
  • Should answer the search intent: Building off relevancy, your content should answer search intent. If someone types in “criminal defense lawyer Toronto,” they’re looking to find a lawyer and are ready to take action. Your content should match their intent (more on this later).
  • Target keyword placement: The keyword phrase you’re targeting should be used in all the right places. That includes the title, headings, body, anchor text, and image alt tags.
  • Should branch off into several different pieces of content that address the same category: Using the previous example, if your primary keyword is “criminal defense lawyer Toronto,” you’ll want to make supporting content for other longtail keywords like “criminal defense lawyer Toronto pricing,” and “what do criminal defense lawyers do?”
  • Authoritative source: Your piece of content should be an authority on the topic, being more comprehensive in all ways than your competitors.
  • Supporting sources: The content should link to supporting sources used to inform your content or other pieces visitors could find useful.
  • Internal linking: Link to other relevant pages across your website.
  • Usability: Your long-form content should be easy to read. Break it into shorter paragraphs, bullet points, videos, images, etc.

Hyperlinks and link building

Hyperlinks, often referred to as backlinks (or just links for short), are used to calculate a web page’s “PageRank.” A simplified definition of PageRank is below.

PageRank is an algorithm used by Google to evaluate the perceived value of a web page.

What does this mean for you? Think about all of the content that’s out there. Now consider how Google which of the thousands of blog posts covering the same topic should be on the first page.

While the impact of backlinks and how their value is calculated has evolved since Google’s introduction, links continue to play a leading role in determining a website’s position in Google’s search results.

An attorney SEO marketing firm can help you get reputable, high-quality backlinks that act as votes of confidence for your content.

law firm backlinks

Today, quality, relevance, and quantity matter. But, what do each of these areas mean?

  • Quality: Does the source website have a high PageRank? If so, it is deemed to be higher quality than a website with low PageRank.
  • Relevance: Is the website related to your practice area? If not, the link may carry less weight than one from a highly related source.
  • Quantity: Simply put, how many quality, relevant links has your website received. The more links pointed to your website, the higher it will rank on Google.

Every authoritative link that points to your website is seen as a digital vote of confidence, but where do you get links?


Gathering off-page citations to improve rankings

Most lawyers want to attract local clients — if you’re one of them, it stands to reason that local SEO is your top priority.

Backlinks play a role in local SEO. Gathering off-page citations (backlinks to pages where your contact information will show up, like legal directories) is crucial to your long-term SEO success.

We’ll talk about this more later, but for now, just know that backlinks from the following sources are extremely valuable.

  • Legal directories
  • Local directories
  • Social media
  • Reviews and endorsements

How to evaluate the quality of a backlink

No one knows for sure how Google measures the quality of a backlink. But there are some factors that, through experience, we’ve come to use to evaluate backlinks.

Domain authority

The higher the domain score (or authority score on Semrush) of a source, the more “link juice” you receive when they link back to you. You want to get backlinks from high DA websites, as they act as more influential votes of confidence for your content than lower DA backlinks.

american bar authority score

Placement and number of backlinks

Few people know that the placement and number of backlinks affect their value.

Google considers the first backlink on any given page to be the most valuable. That means it gives off the most link juice.

And a backlink from a page with hundreds of other backlinks is less valuable than a page with only a select few backlinks.

A backlink from the American Bar Association would be very valuable, as it has a high domain authority.

american bar backlink value

In addition, the placement of the backlink matters. The most valuable backlink is displayed within the content, not in a header or footer.

Google determines that these backlinks are more genuine and relevant to the content on the page.

Here’s an example from our client Kazarian Law. Notice how the backlink fits naturally into the content.

placement of backlink
(Image Source)

Anchor text

While Google hasn’t come out and spoken about the importance of anchor text, our experience tells us that it does matter.

Search engines need to parse through your content and determine which keywords to rank your page for. Anchor text provides an additional bit of context, so as long as it’s topic-relevant, it’s helpful.

In another example from Kazarian Law, you’ll see that the anchor text is relevant to the topic at hand.

anchor text
(Image Source)

Do-follow vs. no-follow

When someone gives you a basic backlink, it’s a do-follow link. These are preferable as they provide the link juice we’ve been discussing.

But there are also no-follow links. If you tinker with the HTML, as in the following example, you can essentially strip the value from the backlink and tell Google not to pass along any link juice.

nofollow link

No-follow links still take someone from websites A to B but don’t affect your rankings.

Experience tells us that no-follow links aren’t as valuable as do-follow links. But if you have a chance to get a no-follow link, go for it

Technical SEO

Another important area is technical SEO. It’s a make-or-break SEO factor that, when done right, will contribute to your SEO success. But if you get it wrong, it can undermine any other efforts you make.

At its most basic level, technical SEO measures how Google-friendly your law firm’s website is. It looks at things like URL structure, sitemaps, security, and your website’s code.

Most law firms outsource their technical SEO to a professional. It’s crucial that it’s done right, so the cost more than makes up for itself in the long run.

Here are some technical SEO areas to be mindful of.

Your website loads quickly and is mobile-first

Nowadays, Google’s algorithms are mobile-first. That means Google looks at the mobile version of your website when indexing your pages.

Prioritize the mobile version of your website, making sure it’s responsive on all screen sizes, including tablets, desktops, and mobile devices.

And page speeds should load quickly (under 2.5 seconds). Any longer than that, and it’ll affect your rankings.

Your website should be user-friendly

Google sends a robot to crawl every website that’s out there. It’s how they discover websites and get the data necessary to index them, determining their placements on the SERP.

If your website is user-friendly and has a logical structure, that robot (and users) are more likely to find your website pages and understand what they’re about.

How spiders crawl websites

Think about the user experience when designing your navigation, and build plenty of internal links.

Your website should follow Google’s guidelines

Google keeps some things a secret, but they share many of their expectations. Go through their Webmaster Guidelines for technical SEO tips.


RankBrain is the name of Google’s machine learning algorithm, which predicts user intent when someone searches for a term. Part of the Hummingbird algorithm, it assesses what a user means when they type a search term before returning appropriate results.


Remember the following factors when optimizing your law firm website for RankBrain:

  • Organic click-through rate (CTR): If a page gets more clicks, it may improve the Google rankings for the main target keyword on that page. 
  • Bounce rate: If a user turns up on a page and then quickly clicks away, it may be an indication that the page content is not of sufficient quality or is a poor match for a keyword search: either way, it’s not good. It’s especially bad if a user bounces and then clicks on other search results to find the answers they’re looking for.
  • Direct/repeat traffic to your website: The Chrome browser informs Google how many people visit your site and how often. A high volume of direct traffic or repeat traffic indicates quality and will help rankings.
  • Dwell time: How long visitors spend on your site pages is important: the longer they stay, the better the indication of high-quality content.
  • Number of comments: A high number of comments indicates user interaction, which is seen as a positive for Google – blog posts, for instance, that receive user comments may get a rankings boost.

While content and hyperlinks are paramount to any site’s SEO, it is our belief at JurisPage that RankBrain will increase in importance as its algorithm is developed.

Core Web Vitals (“Page Experience”)

Core Web Vitals is a name for Google’s assessment of the page experience for users. Google announced previously that as of May 2021, certain factors related to page experience would be used in Google Search rankings.

This is what Google had to say:

“At Google Search, our mission is to help users find the most relevant and quality sites on the web. The goal with these updates is to highlight the best experiences and ensure that users can find the information they’re looking for.”

Here is a summary of the three factors used (highlighted in green):


To understand the web core vitals, a more descriptive explanation is needed.

The Core Web Vitals are:

  • Loading (Largest Content Paint): The largest content paint measures the amount of time it takes for the main page content to load.
  • Interactivity (First Input Delay): First input delay is the time between when a user first interacts with a page element, like a link, tab, or application, and when the browser is able to process the event. The key takeaway is to keep your website simple and eliminate functionality that doesn’t respond quickly to a user’s action.
  • Visual stability (Cumulative Layout Shift): Cumulative Layout Shift measures the visual stability of a web page. When page elements shift upon loading, it detracts from the website’s user experience.

The items detailed beside the core factors are also important signals for page experience:

  • Mobile-friendly: The website is formatted for mobile viewing.
  • Safe browsing: The website is free of malware.
  • HTTPS: The website has a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate.
  • No intrusive popups: The website is free of popups that detract from the user experience.

In summary, Web Core Vitals are complicated and are not something the average attorney will be able to navigate on their own. Hiring a legal SEO agency is your best option.

Page-level factors (Onsite optimization)

One of the main Google Ranking Factors is page-level optimization — also known as onsite optimization.

This relates to how well the text and media on your page are optimized for search.

It’s an expansive topic, and we go into each of the main factors in the dedicated section on onsite optimization. But for now, it’s enough to acknowledge the importance of the following items.


Domain factors

A series of domain factors (i.e., factors relating to your domain name) also affect rankings with Google but generally to a lesser degree than those mentioned above.

For starters, there are four parts of a URL to consider.


Traditionally, law firm domains in North America are the firm’s name followed by .com. or .ca. though .law and .lawyer top-level domains are now available.

We don’t need to dwell too long on this topic but consider the following factors and their potential impact on your rankings:

  • Domain Age: Has a minimal impact (the older the better)
  • Keyword usage in a top-level domain or sub-domain: This can indicate relevancy and is especially effective if it is used as the first word in a domain.
  • Domain authority: Pages on an authoritative domain often rank higher than those on lower-authority domains.
  • Domain registration length: Google regards a domain that expires far into the future as a good indication of legitimacy.
  • Domain history: A checkered domain history with frequent ranking drops may indicate a problem for Google.

Do you own a criminal defense law firm? Our complete guide to criminal defense marketing has specific tips for you.

Chapter 3:

Keyword Research for Lawyers

What is keyword research?

Keyword research for lawyers is the process of identifying words or phrases most frequently searched by your target audience. Keywords then form the foundation of an SEO program, including content, metadata, URLs, etc.

It is important to note that keyword research comes before content writing.

What are people searching for?

Your keyword research informs just about everything you do online, from building your brand to creating killer content.

With the right tool, you can find out what prospective clients are searching for and make an effort to ensure it leads them to your website. For example, someone may enter a query related to their legal situation (like “how can I file for a divorce?”) or enter a phrase with purchase intent (“hire criminal defense attorney”).

Here’s what you see when you use Semrush to look up keywords related to “DUI lawyer.”

keyword difficulty

Note the volume and KD.

  • Volume is the number of monthly searches for that particular keyword.
  • KD refers to keyword difficulty, meaning how hard it is to rank for the keyword. The higher the number, the more work (and time) it’ll take to rank.

Why is keyword research important?

Keyword research is the foundation of your search engine optimization efforts.

We mentioned that keyword research comes before content writing. You’ll likely waste time and money without proper keyword research to guide your content.

But you need to invest in content if your goal is to build brand awareness, increase website traffic, and ultimately get more clients.

What is search intent?

Each keyword has an implicit intent.

For example, the query “Best DWI Lawyer in San Antonio” implies the user is searching for a top attorney to support them with a charge. We call terms with a purchase intent Transactional Queries.

Just look at how cluttered the search result is for this term. This is common for queries with purchase intent.


The intent of the search query “DWI Laws Texas” on the other hand, is not implicit. The user is simply searching for general information.

Therefore, Google delivers a different search results page.

We call these terms Information Queries.


Lastly are branded queries. Branded terms do not require much in terms of optimization. However, items like Google’s local panel which displays in the right sidebar are items to configure and monitor.


To leverage search intent and target profitable keywords, start by identifying the user’s intent, then shape content to address it.

For lawyers, the key questions to ask are the following:

  • What keywords will users search about your firm or attorneys? (Brand intent)
  • What keywords will users search to collect information about a legal matter? (Informational intent)
  • What keywords will users search to hire a lawyer? (Purchase intent)

The most effective approach to keyword targeting, then, is to focus on categories that follow a typical customer journey.

In very simple terms, this is what happens on a customer journey.


SEO tips for engaging customers with keyword selection:

  • Find keywords that apply to each type of user intent and then prepare content to precisely match each type.
  • Start by developing content for transaction keywords. They are terms with the strongest purchase intent.
  • Next, look to develop strong branded content about your firm and its partners and associates.
  • Finally, create information content related to the primary practice area and services you provide.

How to find profitable keyword opportunities

The following opportunities are a starting point for your research. Then, supplement this list with keywords you identify using the many research tools available.

Here are a few of the best ones.

Manual competitor analysis

One of the most efficient ways to find keyword opportunities is to analyze your competitors.

Tools like Semrush allow you to look at the keywords a competitor is ranking for, what their top pieces of content are, and will even tell you who your competitors are if you don’t know yet.

Here’s an example of what their competitive positioning map looks like.

competitive positioning map

It tells you who your top competitors are and breaks down their website traffic and keyword data. From there, you can dive deep and discover their top-ranking content pieces to learn what keywords you need to target.

SEO professionals can also use this data to identify gaps in competitors’ content strategies so they know how to position yourself.

“People Also Ask” sections on Google SERPs

We have already looked at the featured snippets and “People Also Ask” sections that feature on the Google SERPs.

Each of the questions highlighted below can be searched separately to find more related questions. It’s a veritable goldmine for keyword phrases to target.


It’s important to note that Google generates these questions from thousands of potential options, yet, it found the ones listed to be most closely related to the original search query.

Read legal forum Q&As

Avvo and are two law firm directories that can help you scan for frequently asked questions.

Both forums (Avvo Forum, Forum) feature a wide range of Q&As which can reveal excellent keyword phrases to target for content during the informational/awareness stage.

Here’s how the Q&A section looks.

(Image Source)

Google Keyword Planner

When it comes to keywords, anything offered by Google is worth considering as their analytics tools are the best and broadest-reaching.

The Keyword Planner can help you identify keywords and check their search volumes in detail.



Next to Brian Dean at Backlinko, Neil Patel’s SEO information is the best out there — UberSuggest is his free keyword research tool.

It provides volume and competitive difficulty information on your selected keywords and generates new ideas and suggestions for related keywords.

(Image Source)


Ahrefs differs from the others outlined in that it’s a paid tool. However, it provides competitive analysis as well as keyword research, which may justify the fee.

With its Keyword Explorer, you can enter a term like divorce lawyer (or even better, a few related keywords like divorce attorney, child custody attorney, alimony attorney) then view the keyword volume and difficulty score.

(Image Source)

The “Questions” section of “Keyword Ideas” also generates keyword phrase ideas for informational query keywords.

Google Trends

Google Trends is another free-to-use Google tool that may be of use to some firms. However, it’s at the bottom of the list for a reason: law firm content is less susceptible to “trends” than other businesses.

A good example might be if cannabis legislation changes in a particular state and cannabis business lawyers are looking for related keywords that have started trending.


Chapter 4:

Content Marketing for Lawyers

The overarching goal of writing content should be to become a Topical Authority.

A Topical Authority is a person or brand perceived as an authority over a niche service or skillset.

Positioning yourself, and your firm, as an authority on a topic provides numerous benefits in Google’s search results and on your website.


The TopicSeed website says “topical authority is the future”:

“Unlike keyword research that targets a set of literal phrases, topical authority and topical research require a broad yet deep comprehension and mastery of linked entities and hierarchical concepts.”

So, how do you position your firm as a topical authority and give Google what it wants?

In our experience, Google rewards content that is:

  • Original with no duplication
  • Authoritative, well-referenced, and researched
  • High-quality, informative content that provides valuable insight into the topic
  • In-depth: long-form is favored over short-form content
  • Easy to read, well-written
  • Well-structured
  • Recent and updated

What type of content should you create?

The needs of your target audience are defined by the intent of the user when they search for information.

Therefore, a law firm’s content strategy should align with its user’s intent.

For most law firms, this largely means creating seven types of content for their website:

These content types will account for 80-90 percent of what you need to do from a content marketing perspective.

Practice area pages

Practice area pages are the most important pages on a law firm’s website.

They serve as bottom-of-the-funnel sales pages where visitors convert into paying clients.

Your practice area pages should cover only one practice area at a time and be as specific as possible. For example, criminal defense attorneys should have one practice area page for traffic offen