Lawyer SEO Marketing

Lawyer Marketing Guide

Intro & Chapter 1: SEO for Lawyers

How to appear at the top of Google search results? How to improve PPC results? How to brand & market your law firm. Keep reading.

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Intro: Lawyer Marketing Guide

Welcome to the Lawyer Marketing Guide by Gladiator Law Marketing. This guide is a crucial resource designed to equip attorneys with essential tools and strategies to enhance their online marketing effectiveness. In today’s digital era, understanding and effectively leveraging online marketing is imperative for legal professionals. It’s not just an option; it’s a necessity for thriving in your practice.

Gladiator Law Marketing has been instrumental in aiding law firms nationwide to maximize their web marketing investments and achieve their overarching business objectives. Web marketing is an integrated process – its success is directly linked to your firm’s overall performance. The strategies detailed in this guide are those we’ve successfully implemented for a diverse range of firms, from small and medium-sized practices to some of the top advertisers in their market areas.

Not every strategy fits every firm at every stage, but this guide is crafted to spark ideas, enhance your web marketing outcomes, and help you discover new tactics for better results.

The guide starts by exploring the fundamental aspect of any successful online presence: Search Engine Optimization (SEO). You’ll learn about the importance of keyword research specific to the legal sector and how effective on-page SEO can significantly elevate your website’s online visibility. We’ll guide you through the process of building authoritative backlinks, a critical factor in establishing your digital reputation.

Given the importance of locality for law firms, we place special emphasis on local SEO strategies. These are vital for attracting clients in specific areas. You’ll understand how to fine-tune your website and content for higher rankings in local search results, a crucial factor in connecting with potential clients nearby.

Acknowledging the current mobile-first approach, the guide underscores the necessity of having a responsive and swiftly loading website. We provide actionable tips to optimize your site for mobile devices, ensuring an optimal user experience.

Personalization in marketing plays a significant role in engaging your target audience. Our guide delves into personalization techniques that enhance engagement and conversion rates. It also discusses the importance of social proof in building trust and credibility with prospective clients.

Branding is a central theme of this guide. We discuss specialized branding strategies that set your practice apart in a competitive market, alongside methods to expand your digital footprint. The guide also highlights the effectiveness of personal branding in creating a distinctive identity in the legal sector.

In the digital realm, content reigns supreme. This guide offers in-depth advice on creating SEO-friendly content, including effective keyword research and writing techniques. Furthermore, we examine the innovative use of AI in content generation, providing insights into the future of digital marketing.

This guide is more than a collection of strategies; it’s a comprehensive roadmap for attorneys to navigate the dynamic landscape of digital marketing.

With practical advice, current methods, and industry-specific insights, you’re well-equipped to transform your web presence, attract more clients, and position your firm as a leader in the digital age.

For those seeking further guidance from a web marketing expert, consider Gladiator Law Marketing. With our 95% client retention rate, over a decade of partnership with firms nationwide, and offering a complimentary web marketing evaluation, we are well-positioned to assist you in conquering your market.

Chapter 1: SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for Lawyers

Discover the power of SEO. This comprehensive guide offers actionable strategies to improve your law firm’s digital marketing success.

This information has been compiled specifically for attorneys and law firms seeking to improve online lead generation. At Gladiator Law Marketing, we understand the importance of data-driven marketing. In this guide, we’ll outline all the essential fundamentals of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tailored to the needs of law firms.

Throughout this guide, we will provide comprehensive insights and strategies specifically tailored to the unique needs of law firms. From conducting thorough keyword research to implementing on-page optimizations, building authoritative backlinks, and leveraging local SEO tactics, we will cover all the essential fundamentals of SEO.

This guide will equip you with the knowledge and tools necessary to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of digital marketing. From understanding the importance of conducting thorough keyword research to optimizing your website’s content and structure, our guide covers all the essential elements of effective SEO for law firms.

We will also explore the significance of link building and how authoritative backlinks can boost your website’s credibility and search rankings. Additionally, we will dive into the importance of local SEO for law firms and provide insights on optimizing your online presence to attract local clients. We invite you to explore this guide and uncover the many benefits of effective implementation of SEO strategies.

Interested in discussing how this applies to your specific scenario? Call the Gladiator Law Marketing team at 888-683-3212.

What is SEO for Attorneys?

Like it or not, Search Engine Optimization is a task that nearly every 21st century business owner will confront at one point or another. For an attorney with a law firm, the situation is no different. It’s great that you have a website, but if prospective clients don’t already know you by name, they may have a hard time finding you. SEO for law firms becomes crucial, then, to ensure that your website shows up for the search terms that matter.

Attorney SEO involves more than just stuffing keywords into your website in the hopes of improving your ranking. In fact, keyword stuffing is just the sort of thing for which Google penalizes websites. But the good news is, Google prioritizes quality and authority over gamesmanship. These are the attributes your customers are looking for in a lawyer, so in giving them what they want, you’ll make the search engines happy, too.

Be prepared to play the long game and to take a holistic approach to optimization. You’ll need to tweak and/or create dozens of different website pages, landing pages, microsites, blog content, social profiles, guest posts on other sites, and more—all toward the singular purpose of getting found online.

Why is SEO important for law firms?

You probably don’t need to be told that a law firm isn’t like other businesses, and it feels self-evident to say that. But it bears repeating, especially in the context of SEO. Think of it this way: If someone wants to find a hardware store, they’ll do a Google search and go to the closest one they can find. Your potential clients, on the other hand, will consider a lot more than mere proximity before deciding to give you a call.

Consider, also, the study done by the National Law Review which revealed that 96% of people in need of legal services turn to search engines to find suitable counsel. The majority of those

people expressed a preference for Google, specifically, which underscores the need to pay close attention to your SEO strategy. If you’re still not convinced, here are two more statistics that are likely to change your mind:

  • No more than 3% of Google users click through to page 2 of the search results.
  • Less than 1% of all users engage with any of the results on page 2 or lower.

In other words, if you’re not on page 1, you’re not getting traffic . . . or potential clients.

Page 1 is only half the battle

If you’ve managed to get your firm’s website on the first results page, it’s not yet time to celebrate. Your site’s specific ranking within Page 1 is nearly as crucial as being on it. Most Google searches are completed in less than 60 seconds, from the moment a user enters the search term to the moment they click on the first relevant result. Users are not scrolling very far before they take action. It’s the feedback loop of Google: Users trust that the top results are the most relevant, and Google determines relevance by the results that get the clicks. It takes a lot of work to achieve above-the-fold, Page 1 visibility; without that, your website is just an online resource for your existing clients.

This isn’t hyperbole, either — the data shows it: Pages that organically rank first are 35 times more likely to receive a click compared to pages that rank tenth. Current trends show that users display a significant preference for the first result, and they won’t even bother to scroll down. We can see this in the click-through rates of first-position search results: 31.17% on desktop, 25.68% on mobile. In a field of 10 options, these are dominant numbers.

The Importance of SEO for Law Firms

You can see from the data why SEO is so important. It’s not just a competition for visibility — it’s a race for actual clicks. For better or worse, a first-place ranking will be seen by users as an endorsement, so it’s worth the effort to optimize your site. Rather than look at this as an unwanted chore in the messy business of attracting new clients, view SEO as an opportunity to build your firm’s image and reputation, while attracting the kind of clients you want to work with. A properly planned, well-executed SEO strategy will accomplish these things:

  • Build credibility and trust with your clients, both existing and potential. Your website’s About page may show your credentials, but a top rank on Google shows your credibility. Users perceive highly ranked websites as more trustworthy . . . and for good reason. Google rewards content that is authoritative and of high quality. If you’re consistently putting out high-quality content that other people are linking to, you’re going to rank higher. There’s no trick here: You earn credibility by being credible, and your top spot on Google is the social proof.
  • Drive quality traffic and clicks. If you spent enough time and energy, you could game your SEO to show up for just about any keyword, simply by following the instructions in

this guide. But what would that be worth? If you’re a criminal defense lawyer, you don’t want to show up in a “contract law” search. SEO for lawyers works best when you optimize your site for keywords specifically related to your practice. This means that the people who find you are looking for the service you offer. It’s an added layer of lead qualification that happens before they even call, leading to a higher rate of conversion.

SEO as a Competitive Edge

In general, law firms typically do not rely on advertising for their survival. Yes, there are a great many who do advertise, but the public views these firms with a more critical eye. A lawyer with a TV ad has a certain kind of reputation—whether it’s true or not is immaterial. For some reason, the more subdued a law firm’s advertising, the more that firm is viewed with some measure of esteem. It does not get any more subdued than a good SEO strategy.

The work that goes into optimizing a website is largely invisible; for all intents and purposes, it’s inbound marketing. When a prospective client decides—after visiting your website—to pick up the phone and call you, they’re under no pressure to do so. It was a choice of their own making. And the cost to get that call is far lower than traditional advertising methods, and with a higher degree of sustainability. Leaving aside the question of consumer perception, a billboard makes an impact for only so long. A newspaper ad lasts a day. A television ad costs a lot every time you run it.

A well-optimized website, on the other hand, has very minimal upfront costs. Implementing SEO costs only the time it takes to plan and write the appropriate copy for your website. There’s weekly upkeep to keep your website relevant once it’s fully optimized and online, but the foundation is set for a long-term strategy. That weekly upkeep ensures that you keep ranking high, and ranking high on Google will bring traffic. The cost of acquisition goes down with every conversion, while ensuring you’re adapting to an evolving market.

The Factors Affecting Your Google Rank

It goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway . . . the key to a good SEO strategy is understanding what Google’s algorithm looks for in determining page rank. The commonly held belief is that the website should have keywords appear as many times as possible so the algorithm knows the website is related to a given search. Not only is this untrue, it’s a counterproductive strategy, as you’ll see.

The good news is that building an attorney website and getting it to rank on Google is done pretty much the way you’d build your law firm in the real world. You establish that you’re an authority on certain topics, build up a network of colleagues and clients to vouch for your honor, and make it known that people who need your specific type of expertise can reach out for a consultation. SEO for attorneys does the same thing. A top rank on Google has a similar effect as your colleagues’ and clients’ endorsements. When you pay close attention to all the factors that affect rank, you’re creating good digital word of mouth.

The factors that affect rank are:

  • Keywords — This is the core of your SEO strategy. You’ll need to optimize your site for keywords related to your area of expertise. A personal injury attorney should make sure to have that phrase (“personal injury attorney”) show up in the website copy a few times. There’s more to effectively using keywords than this, but for now it’s enough to say that the keywords you choose should be relevant to your practice.
  • Keyword Research — Don’t assume that the handful of keywords you came up with are enough. Language is fluid, and there are dozens of ways to say the same thing. Use SEO tools like SEMRush or SimilarWeb to find all the variations of your keywords that people have been searching for. This includes long-tail keywords, which are longer and more specific and helpful for highly specialized practices.
  • Content — You may have heard the statement that “Content is king.” That is especially true for the legal sector. Google’s algorithm favors the more dynamic websites, those with an ever-growing library of well-researched, accurate, and informative content. The law is an endless source of debate to professionals and is often shrouded in mystery to laypeople. A legal website has no shortage of topics to cover, then. Opinions, explainers, case studies, legal news—the list goes on, and that’s a good thing. Keep putting out fresh, informative content, and make sure some of your keywords show up in each post. This is by far the most cost-effective way to demonstrate your authority and expertise.
  • Analyze User Intent — Keyword research tools are very good about telling you user intent—that is, what the user was hoping to gain from the search. That could be as simple as quick information or as complex as legal representation. In either case, knowing the intent behind the search helps you to tailor content to satisfy that intent.
  • Backlinks — The word “backlink” refers to links that exist on other websites that point back to yours. Google sees a backlink from another reputable legal website, for example, as a vote of confidence. Attorneys should always be looking for opportunities to acquire high-quality backlinks. Old-school networking is one way to drum up links, but this is best supplemented by a more programmatic approach. Using tools like, you can find backlinks that may be broken and fix them, while also identifying backlinks from less reputable sites that you may want to disavow.
  • User Experience — Also referred to as UX, the user experience of a website matters a lot for its ranking. Google’s algorithms assess the layout and content in terms of their accessibility. Is it easy to navigate? Is the content of high quality? Are there clear calls to action? Is the site also optimized for mobile? All of these things matter in ensuring your users get at the information they seek quickly; Google doesn’t want to send its users to a poorly designed website.
  • Local SEO — This is an especially important factor for attorneys to pay attention to. Legal services aren’t national chains; they’re tied to a location. Even in this age of remote work and video conferencing, where a lawyer can practice is simply a matter of licensing. There’s no point in getting found by people who aren’t where you’re allowed to practice. To optimize for local results, include the name of the city or state here and there in your website copy—location names are great for long-tail keywords. Part of a good local SEO strategy will also include claiming your Google My Business profile and optimizing your listing there.
  • Online Reviews and Reputation Management — Online reviews can play a role in shaping how a law firm’s website is ranked, at least if those reviews are submitted to Google. Still it’s good, for more than just SEO reasons, to manage your reputation online and anywhere someone has reviewed you. Respond when appropriate, for positive and negative reviews alike, and don’t get into a back-and-forth conversation.
  • Technical SEO/Site Security — A site that loads quickly and with minimal errors is more than just a good user experience — it’s part of good technical SEO. Site connections should be secure and encrypted (HTTPS). Pages and other site assets should be stored in a logical directory structure, with easy-to-read filenames. Doing all this ensures that algorithms can easily crawl and index the site, the very first step in becoming a search result.

You can see from all these factors just how holistic your approach to SEO has to be. There’s a lot to it, from determining what you want to be known for and who you want to attract, to predicting what people will be searching for and establishing credibility around that prediction.

Website Design as Part of SEO Strategy

With so many moving parts all needing to work together, a good SEO strategy for lawyers needs to be meticulously planned. The best time to do this is before you build your website. If you’ve already got one, don’t bother retrofitting keywords and concepts into it to try and improve your ranking. It’s better to start from scratch. The good thing about building websites is they aren’t physical structures; you can leave your existing one live while you work on the new one behind the scenes. Building from scratch ensures you get it just right.

Your keyword research should have yielded a list of keywords relevant to your legal practice while also reflecting the search trends of your target audience. Use these keywords to guide the copy of the website, ensuring that when people click through to you they’ll get the information they were seeking. But also remember that content is just one of many factors. You’re designing for prospective clients and the algorithms, and you’ll want to consider each of the factors we listed in the previous section as you’re designing your website to cater to both of them.

Performance In, Performance Out

Sure, the expression is usually “garbage in, garbage out,” but the same holds true with website performance. If you set yourself up for success by ensuring that your website performs at its highest technical level, it will perform well with audiences’ search level. Technical performance can mean a lot of things, but mostly it’s about how fast and responsive the site is—both factors in influencing SEO for the better.

One way to evaluate your website’s technical performance is through a trio of metrics known as Core Web Vitals. These metrics measure a site’s overall user-friendliness and effectiveness in some pretty clever ways:

  1. Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) is the metric that measures how quickly a website loads. Specifically, it’s actually telling you the time it took the largest element of the page (usually an image or video) to render. A good LCP time is within 2.5 seconds of the page’s beginning to load.
  2. The First Input Delay (FID) metric is a measure of a site’s interactivity and user friendliness, achieved by timing the lag between the first input a user gives a page (a link click, for example) and when the browser responds to that input. A good FID is 100 milliseconds or less.
  3. Finally, there’s the Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). This measures the “visual stability” of a page—that phenomenon when elements of a web page start to shift around as the page continues to load. The CLS score is arrived at by calculating the amount of shift that happens and within how much visible space. The goal is a score of .1 or less.

While design might seem like a subjective topic, these Core Web Vitals seem to put some very concrete numbers on the technical aspects of design. They put easy-to-understand numbers on seemingly nebulous concepts like “interactivity” and “visual stability,” giving site designers something measurable to shoot for.

Another vital part of SEO is mobile responsiveness. Smartphones and tablets are ubiquitous, and web traffic is becoming increasingly mobile with each passing year. Having a mobile-friendly design and a responsive server that knows which version of your site to deliver are crucial to the overall technical assessment of your site.

Appearances Matter

The way you present the content matters to your users; the way you structure the files that make up your website matters to the algorithm. In both cases, it’s about being able to easily find the information you’re looking for. Your users might not care that all images are under the /images folder, or that the About Us and Contact pages are in the /company folder, but this kind of organization will have a positive effect on your site’s SEO. For your users, make sure that your site . . .

  • Has visual appeal: A consistently thematic visual theme, appropriate images and fonts all work together to create a real sense of professionalism.
  • Is easy to navigate: Just as the algorithm appreciates a clean directory structure, so will your users like ease of navigation that enables them to find what they’re searching for. If it’s too frustrating to find it, users will bounce and look elsewhere.

Another way to make your law firm’s website more engaging is to lean in on multimedia elements. Images, videos, and infographics—especially as part of informational content—do quite a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of keeping people entertained. It’s important not to let these visual aspects overshadow the usefulness of your content. They should supplement the information you’re providing. Pay close attention, too, to file sizes with these visual elements. Especially with video, you want to make sure that you’re not causing a slowdown in load times, or any gains you get in content engagement will be offset by the performance losses.

If possible, try to make your website accessible to people with different abilities. Accessible and inclusive websites broaden the reach of your law firm, and search engines tend to reward such efforts. Remember, anything you do to make your website more useful to users reflects well on the search engine that referred you. Your law firm’s website makes Google look good when you prove their recommendation to have been right.

Learn how Google chooses which law firm websites to rank.

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