SEO Keyword Research for Lawyers: 2021 Guide

August 26, 2021
keyword research

Getting your law firm’s website to the top of SEO search results is a must-do for law firms that want consistent business. Whether you’re a divorce attorney or a lawyer specializing in car accidents, you need to bring traffic to your website to get clients, and you can do this by finding the best keywords for attorneys through keyword research.

What Are Keywords?

SEO keywords are words or phrases that people type into Google (or other search engines) in their attempt to find information. 

keywords

Potential clients might be conducting a navigational search to find a local law firm, or an information search to learn more about the issue they are facing. 

Either way, keywords are the words and/or phrases they’ll type into Google—and if these words are worked into your content, their search has a better chance of ending on your law firm’s website.

Search engines work through analyzing words, phrases, and terminology entered by people utilizing them for answers to their many questions. 

For example, typing in “law firm website design” will effectively link whoever’s operating that search engine to nearby law firms with quality websites that represent their services.

Why Research Law Firm Keywords?

You will most likely not be able to guess what words searchers are using. 

While you might be able to guess some of the best keywords for lawyers that can boost your SEO, you might totally miss popular search terms, or place more importance on terms that are actually less popular—or too popular. 

Keyword research may help you discover the top legal keywords or phrases that you may not have used otherwise. For example, there’s a large difference in search traffic between the term Phoenix Arizona lawyer and Phoenix law firms.

keyword research

keyword research

People often search for narrow, specific interests. As such, engines like Google employ advanced algorithms. They have hundreds of variables to match the most suitable content with its operators. Furthermore, without keywords, you might as well type in “abcdefg” in hopes of locating the nearest grocery store.

The most important reason to use law firm keywords for search engine optimization is to make your content more “findable” and relevant. The more findable your content is, the less irrelevant content someone needs to wade through. 

In order to optimize keywords on your law firm’s site pages, you need to use one of the many online tools to find out what words and phrases searchers are using (more on that later).

Types of Keywords

It’s also good to dive a little deeper into this concept and understand the different types of SEO keywords. In the main, there are three types:

types of keywords

Fathead or Head Search Terms

Fathead, also known as just “head” search terms are the most popular, but they tend to be incredibly broad and general.

 Fathead terms that relate to your law firm might be lawyer, attorney, or even law firm. These terms have millions of searches every month, and it’s nearly impossible to boost your SEO by focusing on these keywords alone.

Chunky Middle Search Terms

Chunky Middle terms are less competitive and more specific. Keywords in this category might be terms like bankruptcy lawyer, tax attorney, or DUI lawyer

You will certainly want to target some of these keywords in your written content, but for purposes of boosting your SEO, they’re not enough.

Long Tail Search Terms

Long Tail terms have the fewest number of searches, but because they’re so specific, they can provide a great boost to your SEO. 

These are terms like Henderson NV bankruptcy lawyer, tax attorney near Atlanta, or DUI San Diego lawyer. Because there are fewer monthly searches for these terms,  you’ll have a better chance of getting in front of them.

Lawyer SEO Keywords Research Tools

There are a number of keyword research tools you can use online (and many more that aren’t on this list). Here are some of our favorite:

Answer the Public

answer the public

Answer the public uses keyword search data to generate what’s called a search cloud. This is a great tool if you want to research what your potential customers are asking and searching for. 

Moz

moz

Analyze specific keywords and get information about popularity, difficulty, and suggestions. You can also create a list of keywords to keep track of overtime. 

Ubersuggest

ubersuggest

Research keywords and get suggestions for content on your site. This tool was acquired by SEO expert Neil Patel. This tool has many features beyond keyword research, including domain authority and backlinks. 

Google Keyword Planner

google keyword planner

The Google Keyword Planner will help you to do research on keywords that relate to your business (in this case, your law firm). Or, you can place a competitor’s site into the Keyword Planner and see what keywords they’re using—and then use them yourself.

The primary purpose of the Keyword Planner is to assist you in creating optimized PPC ads (pay-per-click advertisement). However, it can also be a useful tool to identify keywords for SEO.

Google Trends

google trends

With Google Trends, you can choose a popular keyword or topic based on what people are searching for when they visit the search engine.

SpyFu

spyfu

SpyFu is a tool focused on keyword research, on the terms that people are actually searching for, and what keywords your competitors are ranking for. 

What Keywords to Use?

If you don’t know what keywords to start trying to rank for, look to the keywords your competitors are using. 

As mentioned, the Google Keyword Planner is a great tool to scope out keywords, because you can see how much competitors are paying for certain terms. 

The market is a great indicator of the value of SEO keywords, so you’ll definitely want to work these terms into the content on the pages of your law firm’s website.

Especially when starting a keyword marketing strategy, try to aim for long-tail keywords, as those will be the easiest ones to rank for. Not only is there less competition, but these terms have more direct relevance to the searches that potential clients are performing. 

How to Add Keywords to your Website

Keywords should be placed in a number of strategic places in order to maximize their effect on your search engine ranking. 

Title Tags

title tags

The title tag is the phrase at the top of your browser page. This describes the website page you are viewing. 

Every page should have a unique, 70-character max title. Make sure the keywords/phrases are unique. This is to ensure that your pages aren’t competing with each other for relevancy. 

Meta Description

meta description

The meta description is the 150-character sentence or two that shows up in search results, and this also shows when you share a page link on social media sites. 

Including your keyword here is tricky, because it is written for readers (rather than spiders), but necessary still. Be sure that you include your keyword naturally.

Headings

heading

Headings are written to include keywords and help summarize what is coming next. They are usually labeled according to descending specificity, “Heading 1, Heading 2, Heading 3, etc.” or “H1, H2, H3.” 

Headings are employed for accessibility, for instance, indexing spiders crawling your site cannot see photos or multimedia content, so headings help to tell the spider what is important on this page.

Main Body 

main body

Content should always be written for your customers: humans. While it is important to include your page keywords, it is more important to make the content readable, simple, and usable. 

URL

url

In order to help the reader (and spider) accurately predict what is on a page, you should include your keywords in your URL.

For example: https://lawfirmsites.com/website-design/

We have chosen to optimize the words “website design” It is not always possible to include your keywords in your URL, but that’s okay. URLs should be short, descriptive, and human-friendly.

ALT Tags

behind the scenes, you'll add the alt tag

Spiders and search engines cannot “see” photos or multimedia, so including a short sentence that describes the graphic is good SEO practice. 

Whenever it is practical for your human readers, include a keyword in your ALT text

Lawyer SEO Marketing

Overall, these are some general ideas to start your keyword research. It can be incredibly frustrating and time-consuming to find the right SEO for attorneys strategy. If you have questions or would like to start a keyword marketing strategy for your website, contact us today.

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Emma Carpenter