Get More Cases with Law Firm SEO Strategies That Actually Work

John SammonAuthor: John Sammon
Updated on 04/04/2024

The legal industry is one of the most competitive industries when it comes to search engine optimization. This is because the industry was one of the early adopters of SEO, and marketing for lawyers and attorneys has always been an intensely competitive world, long before digital advertising ever came into play.

And odds are that if your site doesn’t pop up on the first page of Google’s search results, then users will have a very hard time finding you.

If you are coming to this page, you may be just starting out with SEO for your legal practice, or perhaps you have been doing SEO for a while. Whatever stage you are at, a search engine optimization campaign will be critical to growing your practice now and in the years ahead.

This page serves as a guide to help law firms with their SEO initiatives. However, if you want to talk to us about how we can help you with SEO via our services, please fill out the form on our website or click the button below.

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Frequently Asked (and Unasked) Questions to Improve Your Legal SEO Strategy

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Why Is SEO Important for Attorneys?

SEO can be incredibly important for attorneys because increasing your online presence can help you stand out against your competition and lead you to have more inquiries about your business, as well as potential clients going forward.

With approximately 68% of individuals starting their online experiences with a search engine, it is apparent that more individuals now more than ever are taking to the internet to find the solutions that they need. That is why we are encouraging law firms to invest their time in their website content with these helpful SEO tips.

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What Is Local SEO and How Does It Apply to a Legal SEO Strategy?

Local search engine optimization is the process of increasing your ranking on search engines for keyword phrases relevant to your business on any of the major search engines, and warrants a different set of tactics and strategies that help you rank in your specific city, township, or metro area.

You wouldn’t look for a dentist 500 miles away, so you’d expect people looking for immediate legal help to think the same! Let’s say you’re a personal injury lawyer. If you are trying to rank for a variety of personal injury keywords in the city or cities where you take on cases, then you need to focus on best practices to rank in local search.

Believe it or not, there are things you do differently when you target people nationally vs. locally on the SEO side. This mainly has to do with the kind of legal service you offer, whether it be you work with major corporations (B2B) or the regular consumer (B2C). I’ll expand on some of the things you’ll want to look for in a local SEO campaign in the next section.

Things That Will Help Your Law Firm Improve Its Local SEO Presence

The key areas to keep in mind when you are trying to improve your presence in local search include:

On-site Elements

  • Add individual pages for each specific practice area you want on your website; don’t just list them all on one general practice area page. Breaking up pages like this will allow the search engines to match up a regional search to your specific practice page. Here’s an example of an individual practice page sitemap structure (for a firm that takes on a variety of cases):
    • Practice areas (listed as main items in your website navigation)
      • Car accidents
        • Motorcycle accidents
        • Truck accidents
        • Drunk driver accidents/DUIs
      • Worker’s comp
      • Probate
      • Dog bites
  • Regional/city names on your website: Make sure you include regional/city names (that can be easy for one location but challenging if a firm’s presence is expansive) throughout your website to help signal to search engines where you typically operate.
  • Add all of your firm’s attorneys to your website and make sure each has their own dedicated page.
  • Use some sort of “free offer” language in your call to action on your website. This can be worded as a “free case assessment” or “free consultation” as part of a hook to get potential clients to contact you.
  • Create individual location pages for each of the locations/addresses that you have. Add them under the “Contact” section and be sure to embed your Google Maps address on those pages.
  • Try introducing a chat feature on your website. Creating a bot to answer your visitor’s questions is a good start. However, we recommend actually having someone at your company answer questions during business hours. Check out LiveChat.com as an option.

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Off-site Elements

  • Claim and complete local profiles on Google and Bing
    • Optimize your Google Business Profile, verify it, and then import the listing into Bing Places to bypass the postcard verification process from Bing
    • Choose your category wisely, as this can be critical to ranking in a specific area (it’s a good idea to Google your local competitors and see who is using what for their primary Google Business Profile category)
    • Create an organizational follow-up process to ask clients for Google reviews. This can be an incredibly sensitive matter in the legal world, but if there’s an opening for your firm to gain a review, it would be worthwhile as these are highly valued in local search. The process for requesting and receiving Google reviews at your law firm will be something to develop internally.
  • Review your competitors’ profiles on Bing and Google to see if there are any opportunities to add/alter your own profile to include different information
  • Clean up your local NAP profile listings. NAP (short for name, address, and phone number) refers to your business name, address, and phone number and the consistency in their appearance on the internet. The search engines look at a list of about one hundred sites to assess if your business information is the same (Yellow Pages, Yelp, etc.). If they are, then you are rewarded in your local search position. This used to be one of the biggest ranking factors in local search, and while it’s still important, it’s not one of the top things you should do. However, if you:
    • Opened a location in a new market
    • Moved offices in the past five years
    • Bought out another firm at a different address

    Then you may want to consider signing up for Yext.com. This service is the best place to go to in order to update your information across the search engine local SEO NAP websites. Yext can cost anywhere between $200-$500 annually depending upon what plan you select. It can be well worth it, though.

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Things That Will NOT Help Your Law Firm Improve Its Local SEO Presence

  • Adding keywords to your business name in your Google Business Profile or Bing Places for Business profile. This is a huge “no-no” and could get you kicked off the platform altogether, as it violates guidelines set forth by both Bing and Google, UNLESS you have verified licensing (such as a DBA) that matches.
  • Flat-out buying links in mass. This is something that more law firm owners are aware of but the days of buying 500 links for $50 are over. People still offer those types of services, so please beware of them, but the fact is that these will do nothing to help your law firm’s SEO standing, and could actually hurt your site in the long run.
  • Creating a scholarship for link-building purposes. Many law firms still do this, but the search engines are firm that you should no longer do this, and it could cause you to get a manual penalty, per Search Engine Journal in 2021.
  • Creating numerous spammy Google Business Profiles for your firm that are focused on single keywords. This approach violates the Google Business Profile guidelines and will likely get you kicked off Google Maps altogether. An example of this would be “Dog Bite Lawyer Buffalo NY” as the title of your GBP listing.
  • Using syndicated content that is indexed by Google. If you subscribe to a service that provides blog content to many other law firm websites, make sure the search engines don’t see that content, as it is essentially treated as duplicate content. Utilizing duplicate, syndicated content on your law firm site will hurt your SEO more than help it.

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What Other Types of SEO Focus Should I Have and/or Utilize?

There are other branches of search engine optimization that can help lawyers improve their presence outside of localized strategies. For example, technical SEO is super relevant for every business, as how user-friendly your website is can directly impact your rankings. Not having an SSL certificate, having intrusive pop-ups, large photos that load slowly, and many other elements can impact the technical side of your website. Google’s PageSpeed Insights is a free tool that will give you a grade on individual pages of your website and give you actionable advice on how to fix these issues. In most cases, you will need the help of a developer to implement them.

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How Can I Get the Most Out of My Google Business Profile?

As we mentioned earlier, the main category you select for your GBP is one of the main factors of ranking locally. And Google has over 4,000 categories for you to choose from. You are then allowed to select one category as your main category, and add up to 9 others for a total of 10 categories! As of February 2024, here are some of the categories related to the legal industry you can choose from:

  • Lawyer
  • Law firm
  • Legal services
  • Lawyers association
  • Legal aid office
  • Medical lawyer
  • Divorce lawyer
  • Paralegal services provider

There are even a handful of niche attorney-specific categories as well you can utilize:

  • Administrative attorney
  • Bankruptcy attorney
  • Business attorney
  • Civil law attorney
  • Criminal justice attorney
  • District attorney
  • Elder law attorney
  • Employment attorney
  • Environmental attorney
  • Estate litigation attorney
  • Estate planning attorney
  • Family law attorney
  • General practice attorney
  • Immigration attorney
  • Labor relations attorney
  • Patent attorney
  • Patent attorney
  • Personal injury attorney
  • Real estate attorney
  • Social security attorney
  • Tax attorney
  • Trial attorney

Pro-tip: Make sure to choose the most specific and relevant category as your main category, the other more broad categories are tougher to rank with!

What If My Type of Law Isn’t Listed?

We know that there might be services you offer that aren’t listed above. But thankfully, you are able to add custom services to your GBP! You are able to add as many as you like, and it’s also a great place to sneak in terms such as “Family Law Services in Chicago” and alike.

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Why Should I Invest in SEO?

Here are some statistics regarding how marketing can help law firms:

legal seo stats

  • 85% of people use online maps to find legal service locations (Google)
  • 71% of people looking for a lawyer think it is important to have a local attorney (FindLaw)
  • An average law firm spends about $150,000 on SEO (First Page Sage)
  • 62% of legal searches are non-branded, such as“Phoenix divorce attorney” (FindLaw)
  • 96% of people seeking legal advice use a search engine (Google)
  • And over 38% of people use the internet to research lawyers (FindLaw)
  • 74% of prospects beginning a search online end up contacting the office via phone (FindLaw)

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What Mistakes Do Law Firms Make When It Comes to SEO?

Often, attorneys and other popular niches in the marketing world turn to agencies that only specialize in their industry. And while we agree having experience helping the field first-hand is important, it can also come with a load of setbacks. One in particular is the fact that many legal-only marketing companies are using syndicated content. This means, they are publishing the same content across dozens, if not hundreds, of other law firm’s blogs. This makes the content considered unique, and duplicate, in the eyes of search engines. In fact, Google as of 2023 suggests you noindex syndicated content! Unless best practices are implemented for syndicated content on your blog, it is a slippery slope to be possibly flagged as spam.

Another mistake we often find is that legal professionals are not promoting their awards or recognition. A core part of ranking well on Google is E-E-A-T, which stands for experience, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. Providing and showcasing proof that you are a reputable attorney or lawyer is a surefire way to not only look good in the eyes of search engines, but also to potential clients who land on your site.

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Why Am I Not Ranking in Multiple Suburbs?

For many attorneys, they opened offices years ago in downtown metro areas. This is great, as this helps you rank well in that exact vicinity and for keywords for that major city (ex: A personal injury lawyer trying to rank in Cincinnati).

However, proximity is a HUGE local ranking factor, so that means that if your address is not located in the city you are trying to rank in, it is going to be very very difficult to do so. This is why supplementing your site with location pages for other suburbs you want to rank in is important, because you can still get customers through organic listings below the local pack.

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Which Should I Promote More, Our Phone Number or Forms?

For the legal field, your industry is a special case where your phone number is more important than having an accessible form, due to these reasons:

  1. Those looking for legal advice don’t want to share personal information via a form
  2. Sensitive or timely cases are looking to speak to someone immediately

So we are not saying to not have forms on your website, but ensure your phone number is front and center on your website and local profiles.

Pro-tip: Invest in a call tracking software like CallRail so you can see where calls are coming from (direct, organic, paid), and get insights such as abandoned calls and more.

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Does Your Website Need to Be Mobile-Friendly?

Absolutely. With nearly 63% of all search traffic through Google coming from a mobile device, it is important to ensure that your website can be accessed in all formats. If you are looking for a content management system that includes mobile-compatible templates, we recommend using WordPress.

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What Are the Key Components of SEO for Law Firms?

There are a few different components that go into the overall SEO efforts of law firms and legal teams:

  • Two of the main key components are keyword research and optimizing content. Optimizing content means adding keywords to title tags, metadata, and the content itself with keywords that are based on user intent.
  • Additionally, law firms should focused on ranking for services around a 1-3 mile radius of their office because of the factor that proximity plays in ranking locally. This approach includes optimizing pages to have a local focus and ensuring that your Google Business Profile is updated and filled out completely.
  • Next, it is important to attack off-page optimization like building high-quality backlinks. Backlinks are a great way to show Google that other sites value your content.
  • Lastly, conduct technical audits that raise awareness for any issues for the indexability and crawlability of your site.

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What is YMYL Content and How Does it Impact the Legal Field?

Your Money Your Life content is material deemed sensitive by Google because it covers topics that can impact the future happiness, health, financial wellness, or safety of a person. In their documentation, they state:

“For example, our systems give even more weight to content that aligns with strong E-E-A-T for topics that could significantly impact the health, financial stability, or safety of people, or the welfare or well-being of society. We call these “Your Money or Your Life” topics, or YMYL for short.”

This means that lawyers must be extra careful with the content they produce to ensure that they are labeled as trustworthy. The best guidelines to follow are defined as E-E-A-T as they stated above, which stands for expertise, experience, authority, and trustworthiness. With this in mind, it is important to showcase any case studies, awards, and other material that shows credibility to demonstrate that the legal team is a reliable resource for sharing legal advice online.

Pro-tip: Be sure to also provide important context from your blog authors, such as their education, speciality, and certification for advanced law topics to demonstrate that they are a reliable voice for the topic!

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How Can I Track My SEO Efforts?

We suggest using Google Analytics to track organic traffic from blogs and landing pages. It also tracks conversions which is ideal for identifying how people engage with your website. Conversions are chosen by you, which means you can track form submissions, phone calls, and any other goals you want to see.

As for keyword rankings, we suggest using SE Ranking. This platform makes it easy for you to add new keywords you want to track and allows you to see their progress in rankings over time. You are able to customize the interface of it so that you can see what metrics you want, like search term volume and page ranking.

Last but not least, we suggest tracking your backlinks using Moz. Moz allows you to see your backlinks and the authority of these pages. It also allows you to look at the backlink profiles of your competitors which can be helpful for comparison. You can learn more about how to use Moz in our recent video on link building fundamentals.

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What Types of Blog Topics Should I Write About?

Regularly publishing relevant content on your website is a great way to show that you are a credible source for legal advice. We suggest trying to center your blog posts around a keyword, even if it doesn’t have much search volume. We love using long-tail keywords in blog posts because the people who search for them are usually looking for something specific.

  • 10 Tips for Choosing the Right Lawyer
  • Your Go-To Dictionary for Legal Jargon
  • Legal Issues in [insert industry]
  • Legal Considerations for [marriage, parenthood, etc]
  • What is Pro Bono Work?
  • Benefits of Hiring a Divorce Lawyer
  • When Should I Hire a Family Attorney?

You can also post any conferences you attend, awards you receive, new hires, and other things going on at your firm. Remember that the opportunities for content are limitless, as long as you choose content tailored to your audience!

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How Can I Get More Reviews on my Google Business Profile?

It is important to have reviews on your Google Maps listing to show customers your value and help your profile grow above competitors. Getting reviews can be difficult, and some people will go as far as getting reviews unethically. Google’s policy goes against this, so be sure to avoid the following when trying to get more reviews:

  • Selectively asking for positive reviews or prohibiting negative reviews
  • Offering or accepting money in exchange for reviews
  • Leaving reviews yourself or asking current employees to leave reviews

Once you have your review link, try collecting reviews using the following tactics:

  • Adding static messaging to your website in the form of pop ups or sticky bars with a call to action to leave a review
  • Encouraging your email list to leave a review through email newsletters that link to the review form
  • Leaving the review link in your email signature, which is a popular tactic for the service industry

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  1. Ask people in your network and local bloggers if they would be able to link to your website on their resource pages.
  2. Reach out to Better Business Bureaus and Chambers of Commerce in your area. They might require you to fill out a form and pay a small fee, but the links and traffic are worth it.
  3. Find local and niche directories that are near your office and in your area. (Ex: Downtown Pittsburgh)
  4. Use HARO-type link building, where you will be prompted to respond to queries from journalists that will be published in reputable publications.
  5. Create content on your website that is highly searchable and linkable, such as facts and statistics about niche things related to your field or area (ex: 50+ Statistics on Divorce)

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How Do I Switch SEO Agencies?

If you are looking to change who you outsource your SEO marketing to for your law firm, we understand it can be a complicated process, and you may be worried about what happens to your already ongoing SEO campaign. As you shop for a new company to partner with, be sure to mention you are already investing in services and share what expectations you have for whoever takes over. You should then choose whichever company checks all your boxes and is on the same page as you when it comes to expectations and goals.

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“John was someone who came highly recommended to me for digital marketing and SEO. To my surprise he was easily accessible for a telephone appointment. Although I expected his knowledge of a SEO to be far beyond mine (it is) he was also able to speak to me at a level I could understand. He seemed interested in making clear how he could help me and not overpromising. He seems to be a much more straightforward marketing asset that I am used to dealing with. Thank you John!” – Brandon Shroy, Attorney at Law

How We Help Law Firms and Attorneys With SEO

Better Results on Google, Bing, and Other Search Engines

From claiming and optimizing your Google Business Profile and Bing Places profile to making tweaks to your website with search engines in mind, we can help give your site a boost.

Custom Legal SEO Approach

We understand that every law firm is different. From your firm’s overall focus to your location, there are a lot of variables that come into play when developing a strategy for your practice areas. This is why we start all of our campaigns from scratch – there are no cookie-cutter approaches here.

You Can Get Back to Work

The best part about working with a lawyer SEO agency like us is that you will have more time on your hands to dedicate to growing your business, and to helping clients with their legal matters. You can trust that our team has SEO covered.

Your Website Will Grow Stronger

From the backlinks we build to the content we write to every small change we make in-between, everything we do in our search engine optimization efforts is not only done with the goal of getting you more business, but to put your website in a better condition for years to come.

Proven Results

One of the best parts about search engine optimization is that it reaps rewards long-term. The work that we do for you during your campaign, whether it’s for a year or a more extended period, will help give your website a more stable foundation in the eyes of Google well into the future. Here are some results we’ve gotten for clients in the past:

  • Conversion rate increased 3.06%
  • Monthly organic traffic surged by 632%
  • Overall traffic improved by 402%
  • Monthly inquiries boosted by 543%
  • 90% of leads converted into business

SEO Services We Provide for Lawyers and Attorneys

  • Competitor Research – You are likely competing against a large number of lawyers in your area. We do a deep dive into how they are ranking and what separates their websites from yours to see what opportunities are available.
  • Optimized Writing – Our in-house team of writers have backgrounds in marketing, journalism, advertising, English, and similar majors that give them the expertise they need to strategically write for search engines and your client base.
  • Local Focus – With 46% of all Google searches being local, we can help your firm rank better locally through various strategies such as link building, citation management, spam cleanup, and more.
  • Technical Adjustments – What many marketers don’t know is that there are aspects on the backend of your website that can hurt your SEO efforts. Our developers are able to point out flaws and make changes to its structure to help improve your site’s health.
  • Link Building – In order to help build authority and strength to your domain, we conduct various link-building tactics on both a local and national scale that help your website gain trust in the eyes of search engines.
  • Data Monitoring and Collection – For all of our services, we give our clients monthly report summaries that will break down changes in keyword positions, traffic, conversions, and more.

Additional Questions You May Have

How Is SEO Different Than PPC?

The biggest difference between PPC (or pay-per-click) and SEO is that PPC depends on having a set budget for your campaign that you will use to strategically bid against competitors for the search terms you wish to show for. SEO, on the other hand, is based on organic listings that Google ranks depending on a variety of factors.

What Does Sixth City Do During a SEO Campaign for Law Firms?

Besides some of the SEO tactics we mentioned earlier, our team creates strategies from scratch, meets with you on an ongoing basis, uploads and implements copy and other strategic items, and works with you to get feedback and make adjustments based on the client leads you acquire.

What Are Some Benefits of Our SEO Services?

You need SEO to help your firm rank above your competitors, get more leads, and enhance your overall online presence. Search engine optimization marketing for your legal firm can help get your business on the map and in front of your ideal client, helping you build a strong foundation moving forward.

“John and the Sixth City team are wonderful to work with. They are extremely knowledgeable about SEO, digital marketing and website optimization. The team goes above and beyond to help clients reach marketing goals and is accessible to answer questions via phone, email and in-person meetings. They are true professionals and I would highly recommend their services to anyone looking for a digital marketing firm that will help take their business to the next level.” – Joni Bowen, Kent State University

Get to Know Our SEO Team

Located in Cleveland, Columbus, Indianapolis, Chicago, Nashville, and Pittsburgh, our legal SEO company has 25+ years of collective experience working with a wide variety of businesses in diverse fields both B2B and B2C, law firms included.

Not to mention, we also have the ability to offer you paid marketing, website design, conversion optimization, email marketing, social media management, and other digital marketing services to help your law firm thrive.

Give Your Legal SEO Marketing a Shot in the Arm Today

If you would like to learn more about how we provide SEO services to law firms, don’t hesitate to reach out for a free website evaluation using the form above, or by heading over to our contact page. We look forward to meeting you!

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