In this post, you’ll learn how to rank your law firm’s website on Google by implementing an effective law firm SEO strategy, step-by-step.
We’ve used this exact strategy to rank many of our clients’ law firm websites at the top of Google. This has resulted in one client generating 8,699 leads over the last two years.
So, if you want to rank number one on Google, land more clients and grow your law firm, this guide is for you.
Let’s dive in…
Setup Google Analytics & Google Search Console
Before you begin, ensure that you have Google Analytics installed on your website and that your site is set up on Google Search Console.
If you don’t have a WordPress site, follow the instructions below:
Setup Google Analytics (GA4)
Squarespace: Verifying your site with Google Search Console
Squarespace: Using Google Analytics with Squarespace
For additional help, refer to this Google article.
Step #1 – Keyword Research
The first step to any good law firm SEO strategy is keyword research. You need to understand what potential clients are searching for when looking for a law firm like yours.
This should be pretty straightforward. It’s usually going to be something simple like family lawyer Sydney or employment lawyer Perth.
Most people who search don’t use complete sentences because they assume search engines understand their intent.
Next, find out the number of people who are searching your Target Keyword each month. You want to ensure that people are searching for the Target Keyword you’re trying to rank your website for (otherwise, why bother ranking for a keyword that no one is searching for?)
You can use several different tools to do this. One of the best free tools is the Keyword Surfer Chrome plugin. Simply install the plugin and then search in Google for your keywords.
The plugin will show how many people search for that keyword each month. Make sure you configure the plugin to display data for your specific country.
Another excellent tool for keyword research is Google’s Keyword Planner, but only if you’re a paying Google Ads customer. You can still use the tool if you’re NOT a Google Ads customer, but your results will be vague. See the example below:
If you ARE a Google Ads customer and have spent enough money with Google, then the Keyword Planner tool will give you more accurate data around the Average Monthly Searches. See the image below:
In the example above, the keyword family lawyer Sydney has 1,600 people a month searching it. It’s a valuable keyword for obvious reasons. If you’re looking for a family lawyer in Sydney, the most obvious keyword you will search for is family lawyer Sydney (or similar). If you target this keyword, you will also rank for similar combinations like family lawyers in Sydney, Sydney family lawyers, etc.
The same goes for employment lawyer Perth. This keyword is worth targeting, given that almost 600 people each month search for it, and the intent is quite clear.
Keywords = Leads = Customers
Let’s do some quick math (stay with me here).
On average, if you rank #1 on Google, around 30% of people will click through to your law firm’s website.
So, if 1,600 people search for family lawyer Sydney each month, and your website ranks #1, you’ll get 30% of these people coming to your website. That’s 480 people, every month, coming to your site who are actively searching for a family lawyer in Sydney.
If 10% of those people reach out to discuss your family law services, you can expect 48 new leads to contact your law firm every month.
Assuming you can convert 25% of those leads into clients, your law firm would have 12 new clients – every month.
That’s the power of SEO for law firms.
Where Do You Currently Rank?
Now that you have chosen your Target Keyword, it’s time to find out where your website currently ranks on Google. You need a starting point before you begin implementing any SEO strategy.
The easiest way to do this is to use the ahrefs Free Keyword Rank Checker Tool.
Simply input your keyword and your website URL and choose your country. This will show you where your law firm website currently ranks in Google when your prospective clients are searching your Target Keyword.
So now you know your Target Keyword and where your website currently ranks on Google, it’s time to optimise your site.
Step #2 – Technical Optimisation (Law Firm SEO)
This is the starting point. You need to ensure that nothing technically is holding your website back from ranking in Google.
This will also be the most complicated part of the law firm SEO process, especially if you’re unfamiliar with web development.
Several factors go into this, including site speed, mobile-friendliness, site architecture, proper use of headers and tags, duplicate content, internal linking, redirects, keyword cannibalisation and much more.
If you’re unsure how your website stacks up, you can run an SEO audit with a tool like Semrush Site Audit. This will give you a basic list of issues you can start working on immediately.
You can also follow the steps in Brian Dean’s Technical SEO Guide for a more comprehensive checklist of items.
However, if you find this overwhelming, my advice is to engage a professional SEO company to do an audit of your site and fix any technical issues. It will save you a ton of time trying to figure it out yourself.
A word of caution: A lot of SEO companies will offer to do a free SEO audit. In my experience, most of these “free audits” are nothing more than generic reports from basic software programs that provide no real insight into the technical issues specific to your website. After all, how much value can there be in a “free” audit?
Depending on the size of your website, a proper SEO audit should cost anywhere from $500 for small websites (less than 10 pages) to $20,000 for large, complex sites. The audit will uncover your site’s specific technical issues, and once you have this list, you can either DIY or get your SEO expert to fix these issues for a one-time fee.
Step #3 – Content Optimisation
Pick a page on your website that you want to rank for your Target Keyword. This will be your “Target Page”. If you specialise in only one type of legal service, for example, employment law, this would be your Home page. Your Home page is likely the page with the most backlinks, which means it will have the most authority with Google and be the easiest to rank.
However, if you offer a broad range of legal services, pick the most relevant page on your website to rank for your Target Keyword. For example, if you have a specific page on your site dedicated to your Employment Law services, then use this page to rank when people are searching for employment lawyers in your city.
Next, make sure the keyword is strategically placed throughout your page. Include it in the following places:
Title, Meta Description & URL
Once you’ve installed the plugin, navigate to your Target Page (the page you’re trying to rank) and add the Target Keyword to your SEO Title, Meta Description & URL (Slug). See below for an example using the Yoast plugin.
Heading 1 < H1 >
Use the Target Keyword in the first heading on your website, also known as Heading 1 or < H1 >.
Don’t try to be cute and clever with your headings. If the current heading on your website says something vague like, We Get Results, or Experience Matters or some other ambiguous statement, delete it. Your customers don’t care about you. They only care about what you can do for them.
In fact, according to Donald Miller, who wrote the best-selling book StoryBrand Marketing, your website needs to answer these three questions within the first 10 seconds:
What do you offer?
How will it make your client’s life better?
What do they need to do to buy it?
If a person is searching for employment lawyers Perth and comes to a website with a big heading that says Employment Lawyers Perth or Perth Employment Lawyers, they will instantly know they’ve come to the right place.
Next, you need to include the keyword in your first sentence. Usually, this is the sentence directly under your Heading 1. When writing this sentence, try to answer the second question: how will your service improve your customer’s life?
You don’t have a lot of space here to list all the ways your service does this, so pick the most significant one. For example, “If you have been wrongfully dismissed, contact the expert Perth employment lawyers at ABC Law Firm. We’ll help get the compensation you deserve.”
Heading 2 < H2 >
Like your first heading (Heading 1) include your Target Keyword in one of your subheadings, also called your Heading 2’s or < H2 >. You can install the Detailed SEO Extension for Chrome to ensure you get this right.
Simply install the plugin and go to your Target Page to see how your headings are structured. They should look something like this:
Your <H1> should always be the first heading on the page. The first subheadings <H2> should come next, and one of them should include your Target Keyword. Note you can have multiple <H2’s> and <H3’s> and <H4’s> etc, but you should only have one <H1>.
Image <alt> Attribute
Add at least one image to your page and add your Target Keyword to the <alt> attribute.
To do this in WordPress, navigate to the Media section in the back end, locate the image, and add your Target Keyword to the Alternative Text section. See below:
Include the Target Keyword wherever possible throughout your text. Try to make this as natural as possible, and don’t overdo it. 3-5 times is plenty.
Try to include the Target Keyword in the last sentence on your Target Page.
Step #4 – Link Building for Law Firms
Once you’ve completed the technical work and optimised your content, it’s time to build links to your Target Page.
If you’re unsure what link building or backlinks are, see this post by Moz.
Backlinks are especially valuable for SEO because they represent a “vote of confidence” from one site to another. In essence, backlinks to your website are a signal to search engines that others vouch for your content. – Moz Blog
I’m not going to lie – this is super difficult, and as a result, Google places a lot of value on backlinks as a ranking signal. I’ve been doing SEO for over 10 years, and acquiring backlinks is the most difficult part of any law firm SEO strategy.
Generally, whoever can build the best backlink profile will most likely win (assuming your technical SEO and content optimisation has been done right). Because without a strong backlink profile, your website will be almost impossible to rank for competitive and valuable keywords.
DIY Link Building
If you want to DIY this, I recommend the following resources to get you started:
Link Building for SEO: The Beginner’s Guide by Semrush.
Link Building for SEO: The Definitive Guide (2022) by Backlinko.
Note that this is a never-ending process. You will always need to be link building. Why? Because it’s likely that your competitors are working with an SEO agency, and if that agency knows what they’re doing, they will constantly be building backlinks for your competitor’s site.
Outsourced Link Building
My advice is to outsource your link building to an SEO agency. Tell the agency you want to build links to your home page and your Target Page. Start with 5 – 10 high-quality links for each page and do this monthly until your site is ranking #1 in Google for your Target Keyword.
Ask them if you can review the websites that are going to link to you before they build the links (this might not always be possible). You want the websites that will link to your site to have a domain authority (DA) or domain rating (DR) of at least 20.
You can check the authority of any website for free using the Website “Authority” Checker by ahrefs. When it comes to link building, it’s not just the quantity of links pointing to your site, it’s also the quality of those links.
Expect to pay anywhere from $300 to $500 per link (USD). You can obviously find it cheaper, but the quality of the link will most likely be low. Low-quality links won’t help your site, and you’ll be wasting money.
Also, note that it takes time for Google to find those new links and pass the authority onto your website. According to one study by Moz, it takes an average of 10 weeks to see the benefits of link building. i.e. 10 weeks from when you build the link to when you see an increase in your website’s Google rank.
Now It’s Your Turn…
There you have it.
My proven 4-step SEO process for ranking any law firm website at the top of Google.
Now it’s your turn.
Contact me directly on LinkedIn if you have any questions or need help implementing any of the above.