What It Is & How to Get Started

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What Is Law Firm SEO?

Law firm search engine optimization (SEO) is working to improve a legal practice’s visibility in relevant search engine results—without paying for ads. Common tactics include publishing useful blog posts, improving site speed, and acquiring positive reviews on Google.

With the right SEO marketing strategy, your law office can earn organic (unpaid) rankings like these:

And ultimately get more clients.

Is SEO Important for Law Firms?

SEO is important for most law firms and lawyers because it’s a cost-effective way to attract new clients.

Every month, millions of people search for legal services and information through Google. 

On average, more than 45% of desktop searchers click an organic search result. And 27.6% click on something to enhance their search (like a search suggestion), 1.8% click an ad, and 25.6% click nothing at all.

And the higher you rank in organic search results, the more exposure and clicks you’re likely to get:

Semrush data showing average click-through rates for organic results

SEO is the tried-and-tested way to improve organic rankings.

And while you need to invest in your legal SEO efforts, organic search can be far more cost-effective than other marketing channels.

For example, law firm Morgan & Morgan gets around 630.6K organic visits from Google every month (in the U.S. on desktop). According to Semrush’s Organic Research tool.

We don’t know their SEO budget. But it’s probably far less than the estimated $16.9 million it’d take to get this traffic through search advertising.

"Traffic" and "Traffic cost" data shown for Morgan & Morgan in Organic Research tool

7 Best SEO Tactics for Law Firms

When doing SEO for attorneys or law firms, certain tactics work better than others.

Here are our top recommendations:

1. Demonstrate Experience, Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness

Google wants to rank law firms that demonstrate Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-E-A-T). Because it wants to give users reliable results.

Especially since law is a Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) topic. Meaning poor-quality information and services can seriously harm people’s lives.

Law firm Latham & Watkins demonstrates E-E-A-T through an “Achievements” page. Which features case studies, awards, and accolades.

Awards shown on Latham & Watkins' "Achievements'' page

The firm also provides detailed information about its attorneys.

By showcasing photos, contact details, qualifications, and more, they make it clear that their lawyers are real and credible experts.

Latham & Watkins' website shows detailed information about its attorneys

In addition to demonstrating E-E-A-T on your website, try to build a positive reputation across the web.

One of the best ways to do this is to build quality backlinks.

Backlinks are links that point to your site from other sites. In addition to driving traffic and brand awareness, they can have a significant impact on your law firm’s Google rankings.

You can learn the details in our backlinks guide, but know this as a general rule of thumb: 

The higher the quantity and quality of backlinks your site has, the more authoritative it’s perceived to be.

Working to acquire backlinks is known as link building.

To get started, make sure your legal practice is listed on reputable directories like:

And then pursue your unlinked brand mentions.

For example, if a client has named your firm in a blog post, ask if they’re willing to add a link.

You could also try:

  • Connectively: Respond to journalists’ requests for legal commentary
  • Broken link building: Find broken links to competitors’ sites and convince webmasters to link to your site instead
  • Skyscraper technique: Create a better version of highly linked content in your niche (e.g., legal guides) and convince influencers to link to your version instead

When you’re ready to elevate your efforts, use Semrush’s Link Building Tool.

It identifies link building prospects (sites that might link to you) based on your target keywords and competitors. And gives each opportunity a rating out of five.

Prospects report in Link Building Tool

You can then use the tool to send and track outreach emails (messages designed to convince prospects to give you a link).

Link Building Tool helps you send and track outreach emails

And monitor the backlinks you acquire.

"Monitored Domains" dashboard in Link Building Tool

3. Perform Keyword Research

Keyword research is the process of finding what your target audience searches for in Google. 

It’s one of the most important tasks when doing SEO for law firms. Because it helps you identify new ranking opportunities. And optimize your content more effectively.

To get started, open Semrush’s Keyword Magic Tool. 

And enter a basic term related to your business (e.g., “divorce”).

"divorce" entered into the Keyword Magic Tool search bar

The tool will provide a list of search terms that include your starting term or a close variation.

Along with the following metrics:

Keyword Magic Tool results for "divorce" with "Intent," "Volume," "KD%", and "SF" columns highlighted

Various filters and sorting options make it easy to find the best keyword opportunities.

For example, use the “Questions” filter to find legal queries you can answer through blog posts.

"how to file for divorce" result highlighted under "Questions" tab in Keyword Magic Tool

Then, apply a keyword difficulty filter to focus on the least competitive terms.

Keyword difficulty filter in Keyword Magic Tool

Click the check boxes and then “Add to keyword list” to save the terms you want to rank for.

That way, you can view and organize them in Keyword Manager.

Add keywords to a list in Keyword Manager tool

4. Create Optimized Content

To rank for your target keywords, you’ll need to create quality content that’s optimized for search engines and your target audience.

The most important thing is aligning with search intent—what the user wants to achieve.

For example, people who search “can you divorce without splitting assets” need reliable information about their legal options.

That’s why the top-ranking results are high-quality, in-depth guides.

Google's SERP for “can you divorce without splitting assets” query

Whereas someone searching “divorce lawyer in queens” is looking to hire a local attorney.

So, the top results are about relevant services in that area.

Google's SERP for “divorce lawyer in queens” query

As we mentioned earlier, E-E-A-T is an important concept in law firm SEO (though not a direct ranking factor). So, give readers (and Google) good reason to trust your content.

Generally, quality content is:

  • Comprehensive
  • Well-written
  • Accurate and up to date
  • Created by a topical expert
  • Presented in a user-friendly way

And make sure to follow our on-page SEO checklist. To give your content the best possible chance of ranking highly.

On-page SEO checklist

You can get help with Semrush’s SEO Content Template.

Simply enter your target keyword(s), define your target audience, and click “Create content template.”

SEO Content Template tool

Then, the tool will provide SEO recommendations based on the top-ranking pages.

For example, you’ll get a suggested word count and readability score.

SEO Content Template tool provides SEO recommendations based on your Google top 10 rivals

When you’re ready to start writing, send your brief to the SEO Writing Assistant.

Like this:

"Open in SEO Writing Assistant" button

The tool provides suggestions and scores to help you meet your targets.

And Smart Writer tools that make the writing process easier.

SEO Writing Assistant editor with content on the left-side and tool's scores and Smart Writer menu on the right

Further reading: Content Marketing for Law Firms

5. Maintain Your Google Business Profile

If your legal practice caters to local clients, it should have a well-maintained Google Business Profile (GBP).

This can help you rank highly in the local pack (the map section that appears when people explicitly or implicitly search for products or services in their area).

Google's local pack results for "legal firms near me" query

And in Google Maps:

Google Maps results for "legal firms" query

Your business profile may also appear in other contexts (e.g., when people search your brand name).

So, it’s important that it makes a good impression. And provides all the information potential clients need.

Google's results for "thelault booth attorneys at law"

To get started, sign into GBP and enter your business name.

Signing in to Google Business Profile

If necessary, follow the steps to add or claim your business. And verify its location.

Then, make sure your profile is complete and accurate.

For example, Pardalis and Nohavicka Lawyers entered their opening date. Which enabled Google to display a “7+ years in business” attribute.

They also provided photos, a list of legal services, accessibility information, and more.

Pardalis and Nohavicka Lawyers' GBP with "7+ years in business" and other attributes highlighted

Once you’ve completed your profile, you can focus on:

These efforts can help you improve your local rankings and attract more clients. 

6. Find and Fix Technical SEO Issues

Technical SEO issues can harm your website’s rankings and user experience.

Examples include:

Broken links

Links that point to invalid URLs frustrate users and make it harder for search engine crawlers to explore your site efficiently

Slow page speeds

Page speed metrics known as the Core Web Vitals can affect Google rankings. Because users want pages that load quickly.

Duplicate content

Identical or near-identical content wastes Google’s resources for crawling and indexing. And can weaken your SEO efforts.

Missing title tags

Failing to provide an HTML page title can make it harder for users and search engines to understand what your pages are about

Robots.txt errors

Issues with your robots.txt file make it difficult for search engines to understand which pages should be crawled (and which shouldn’t)

You can check your site for over 140 issues with Semrush’s Site Audit tool.

After setting it up based on the Site Audit configuration guide, head to the “Issues” report for a full breakdown.

“Issues” report in Site Audit tool

We recommend that you work on “Errors,” then “Warnings,” then “Notices.”

Click “Why and how to fix it” for more advice on each issue. 

A pop-up explaining issue with broken internal links and how to fix it in Site Audit tool

Then, click “Send to…” to send a task to your task manager (if you use one).

In some cases, you might need to assign the task to a web developer or SEO specialist.

“Send to…” drop-down menu, with "CRM," "Trello," and "Zapier" options

You’ll often resolve technical issues via your website’s content management system (CMS).

But you might need to use Google Search Console. It’s a free tool that lets you request Google indexing and handle other technical tasks.

It can also help you monitor SEO results. As we’ll discuss in the next section.

7. Monitor Your SEO Results

Monitoring your SEO results allows you to see what’s working and what isn’t. So you can improve your law firm’s search engine optimization strategy over time.

We recommend that you use three tools: Position Tracking, Google Search Console, and Google Analytics 4.

Let’s explore what you can do with each one:

Position Tracking

Position Tracking is a Semrush tool that makes it easy to monitor your Google rankings.

Select the search engine, device type, and location you want to monitor. 

"Targeting" window in Position Tracking tool settings

Then, import the keywords you want to rank for.

You can add tags if you want the ability to monitor keywords in groups.

"Keywords" window in Position Tracking tool settings

Once everything’s set up, head to the “Overview” report.

And click the bell icon to set up ranking alerts like this:

Set up alerts to immediately see changes in your rankings

Reference the graphs anytime to get an understanding of your overall performance.

"Visibility" graph shown in Position Tracking tool

Or scroll down to the table for a full rankings breakdown.

You can change the time range in the upper-right.

"Rankings overview" report in Position Tracking tool

In addition to your current and past positions, you can see:

  • Keyword search volumes and difficulty scores
  • Which keywords trigger SERP features and whether your site ranks for them
  • Estimated monthly traffic

And more.

Use the filters to focus on keywords or rankings that meet specific criteria.

For example, you can see which featured snippets you’re missing out on. And try to pursue them.

Position Tracking tool helps you identify which featured snippets you’re missing out on

Google Search Console

With Google Search Console, you can find:

  • How many impressions (views) and clicks your Google results generate
  • Your average click-through rate (i.e., the percentage of impressions that drive clicks)
  • Your average position for up to 1,000 popular queries

After setting up the tool, go to “Performance” > “Search results.”

Then, choose the time range you’re interested in. 

Navigating to "Search results" in Google Search Console

Click all the checkboxes above the graph to see how each metric has fluctuated over time.

"Total clicks," "Total impressions," "Average CTR," and "Average position" metrics shown above the graph

Then, scroll down to see metrics by query, page, country, device, search appearance, or date.

You can also apply filters based on these dimensions.

Query, page, country, device, search appearance, and date filters in GSC

Further reading: Google Search Console: The Ultimate Guide

Google Analytics 4

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is a free website analytics platform that provides insight into your visitors’ demographics and behavior.

In the “Traffic acquisition” report, you can compare the following data for each channel (including organic search):

  • Users: The number of unique visitors
  • Sessions: The number of visits
  • Engaged sessions: How many visits lasted longer than 10 seconds, generated a conversion event (e.g., a purchase), or included at least two page views
  • Average engagement time per session: How long the average visit lasts when your site was the user’s primary focus
  • Engaged sessions per user: The average number of engaged visits each user makes
  • Events per session: The average number of conversion events per visit
“Traffic acquisition” report in Google Analytics 4

To focus on organic search data in other reports, add a comparison or filter.

Like this:

"Build comparison" window in GA4

So, how can you use this feature?

Let’s say your law firm only takes clients in the U.S.

In the “Demographic details” report, you can see which countries your organic visitors come from. And determine whether your SEO strategy is working as desired.

“Demographic details” report in GA4

Further reading: Google Analytics for Beginners

Law Firm SEO Services: What You Should Know

If you don’t have the internal resources required to achieve your desired results, consider outsourcing your SEO to an agency or freelancer.

We recommend using specialists who focus on law firm SEO services. 

After all, the legal sector presents unique challenges and opportunities. And you need to work with marketers who understand them. 

Over at Semrush Agency Partners, you can view some of the top legal marketing agencies in the world.

Use filters to find those that meet your criteria.

Semrush Agency Partners' page showing "TOP Professional Legal Services Digital Marketing Companies in the World"

Then, click on any provider to learn more about them. 

Pay particular attention to:

  • Success stories (have they delivered the kinds of results you’re looking for?)
  • Years of experience (do they have a strong track record?)
  • Clients (have they worked with law firms like yours?)

If you’re interested in a provider’s law firm SEO services, click “Schedule call.” Or fill out the contact form.

"Contact Agency" form on Semrush Agency Partners

Start Getting Results with Law Firm SEO

Whether you’re handling it internally or externally, law firm SEO should play an important role in your legal practice’s marketing strategy.

And Semrush’s SEO toolkit can provide the insights you need to make better decisions.

Create your free account now to get the ball rolling.

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