keyword research for law firms

How to Conduct Keyword Research for Your Law Firm

If you are serious about investing in a law firm search engine optimization strategy (SEO), one of your first steps should be coming up with a process for keyword research. Keyword research enables you to pinpoint the top keywords for lawyers that potential clients are searching for. Figuring out how to rank for those keywords can lead to spikes in website traffic and more conversions.

Keyword research for lawyers, like many other legal marketing decisions, is driven largely by what you discover in the data.

In this article, we explain the basics of keyword research, why it should be a priority for your law firm, how to come up with a keyword strategy, and what tools are available to help with the process.

What is Keyword Research for Lawyers?

Keyword research is the process of identifying terms and queries people use in search engines. When you figure out what people are searching for, you can focus your content on those topics.

Of course, this is easier said than done as the keywords used could vary from user to user. For instance, let’s say someone is trying to find a personal injury attorney in Kansas City. They might search for any of the following keywords:

  • Personal injury attorney
  • Kansas City personal injury attorney
  • Kansas City personal injury lawyer
  • Kansas City personal injury law firm
  • Accident lawyer near me

Done correctly, keyword research can lead to more targeted content on your website which in turn helps establish your digital presence, leads to the right kind of web traffic, and increases conversions for your firm.

Different Types of Keywords

Before getting into the nitty gritty of keyword research, it is best to first gain an understanding of the different types of keywords.

There are three main types of keywords:

  • Fathead keywords
  • Chunky middle keywords
  • Long-tail-keywords

Fathead keywords are the search terms with the highest search volume but they are so broad and general that they are all but impossible to rank for. These would include keywords like “attorney,” “lawyer” or “law firm.” Realistically, fathead keywords won’t play a big part in your law firm SEO strategy. Just type “attorney” into Google and take a quick look at all the results that come up. Who knows if the person making that search is even remotely interested in the type of law your firm practices?

Chunky middle keywords are a little more specific and somewhat less competitive. Keywords in this bucket could be terms like “Miami divorce attorney,” “personal injury lawyer in Kansas,” or “estate planning law firm near me.” The search volume for these keywords will be high enough that there is a lot of competition for them, but your firm should have a chance to rank for at least some of them, especially on the local level.

Long-tail keywords are where attorneys and law firms can really boost their SEO game. These search terms have the lowest search volume, but because they are so specific you can really start to match your content with the searcher’s intent. Examples of long-tail keywords could include searches such as “How do I file for divorce in Georgia?” “What if a driver doesn’t have insurance in Iowa?” or “What is probate like in Wisconsin?”

Although many users utilizing long-tail queries in search are likely still in the information-gathering stage, this gives your firm the chance to establish itself as a subject matter expert on the issues potential clients are facing. These also present the best opportunities for quick SEO wins.

How Should Law Firms Select Keywords?

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to keyword research. Google “How to do keyword research” and you’ll quickly see dozens upon dozens of methods thrown out there.

But what they all come down to is this: you need to come up with a manageable list of keywords that are relevant to your law firm, with a decent amount of search volume, and a reasonable level of competition.

A good place to start is by simply putting yourself in your client’s shoes and brainstorming what they might be researching. If you are a divorce lawyer in Indiana, some topics your clients might be searching could include:

  • How much is child support in Indiana?
  • Indiana child custody laws
  • How are assets divided in divorce in Indiana?

From there, you can use any number of keyword research tools to come up with related keywords that should give you even more ideas. (We’ll talk more about those tools in the next section.)

Another option is to pick out the biggest competitor in your market and conduct some competitor research using one of those aforementioned tools. Many offer competitor insights so you can view what keywords they rank for and the content they are producing that is helping them rank. From there, you can work your way back and decide what keywords might make sense for you to target.

What Are the Best Keyword Research Tools for Attorneys?

There are so many keyword research tools out there that it is a little overwhelming to know where to start. While there are some useful free options available, you will likely eventually need pay for a service if you are serious about implementing a keyword strategy and tracking your results.

The most essential data points you need to make sure your tool provides are estimated search volumes (keep in mind that these are always estimates and never exact), a keyword difficulty ranking, a keyword suggestion feature, and reporting capabilities to help track your progress.

The most tried-and-true SEO services that include a keyword research tool are SEMRush, Moz, and Ahrefs. Check out this breakdown from the Search Engine Journal to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Implementing Keywords

You’ve done your research, analyzed the data, selected your targeted keywords and now you are ready to dominate the Search Engine Results Pages. So what do you do next? Just splatter your keywords all across your website as many times as possible?

No! That’s called keyword stuffing and might be the quickest way to get Google to penalize your site.

Generally, there are five places on your website you will want to include your primary keyword:

  • URLs
  • Title tags
  • Meta descriptions
  • Headings within your copy
  • Main body

While utilizing keywords in those spots is important, that’s not even half the battle. Keyword rankings are won by matching content to search intent.

For example, if you are an elder care law firm in Atlanta you are not likely to rank for “Atlanta elder care attorney” with a blog post. That’s because blog posts typically contain educational content and someone searching for that query is likely further along in the funnel. An office page that includes your address, contact info, and information about the elder care services offered would be much more likely to rank for that specific keyword. (Assuming you are also following other local SEO best practices.)

If you’re crafting content to rank for one of those more specific long-tail queries, then your focus needs to be on writing content that best meets what the user is searching. Work in your primary and secondary keywords where it makes sense, but only when it comes naturally and don’t overdo it. Google knows when you’re trying to game it.

Once you’ve finished, you’ll need to make sure you are regularly monitoring your rankings to see if further adjustments need to be made. Moz has a comprehensive guide to keyword tracking you should check out if you are interested in learning more.

How Can Lexicon Help With Your Keyword Research?

Ranking for keywords is not an easy process. It takes a lot of time to research, create content, track results, and make necessary adjustments and optimizations.

Lexicon has been carrying out keyword strategies for law firms for years and knows how to drive traffic that increases conversions. Contact us to learn more about how we can help your firm rank for the most valuable keywords.