law firm content marketing

How Law Firms Can Choose the RIGHT Keywords to Optimize For

by Joe Balestrino • February 12th, 2021 • Search Engine Marketing | Blog

law firm keywordsKeyword research and targeting are a huge part of any law firm’s search engine marketing strategy. Whether for organic or paid search campaigns, finding the right terms that are relevant to your audience and can draw traffic to your website is critical. The problem is it that no matter how good the keyword research process is, there’s always a risk of choosing to target keywords and topics that require a lot of effort and don’t produce the results you want.

Unsure what keywords to optimize for? Use these eight tips to ensure you’re targeting the right keywords for your law firm’s organic and paid search campaigns.

1. Identify goals

You need to start at the beginning. You have to know what you want to accomplish before you can go any further. Consider objectives such as obtaining leads or increasing engagement. Knowing ultimately what you want to accomplish at a business level and working backward to determine how search influences it is your starting point.

2. Talk to stakeholders

You can begin generating a list of ideas and topics by talking to your business development team or clients. Chat with the others on your marketing team, and make note of what prospects ask about. Getting input on what people would search for in order to find your firm will lead to some of your most helpful insights. At this point, it’s a good idea to treat the list like a brainstorm and make note of anything people mention. 

3. Study competitors

You shouldn’t make the mistake of assuming law firms that compete with you are doing things right (or wrong). That being said, you do want to understand what they are doing and how they’re targeting. Are the competitors that most align with your services outranking you? If so, there are probably things you can learn from them. Make sure to review their title and meta description tags, the topics of pages of their website, and areas that they have a strong search ranking position in. Use this information to create a list of topics, terms, and phrases. 

4. Do the actual keyword research

There are plenty of tools and resources to help you find keywords for both organic and paid search. As you research, focus on the seed keywords and terms that you identified with your competitor review and stakeholder discussions, and expand the list with the recommendations from the tools you use. There is a specific science to keyword research, which we won’t detail here. If you need some assistance learning how to better perform keyword research, check out our post: Keyword Research Tools for Law Firm SEO.

5. Come up with topics

Google’s algorithms pay more attention to searcher intent than to specific words. That doesn’t mean you need to have a page for each keyword, but you do need to translate your keywords into content that is useful to people. It makes sense to start with your current navigation: How are your services broken out? What are the topics you cover? Combine that information with the topics that have naturally emerged as you research, and then organize keywords into meaningful groups – or topics. These form the basis of your ad groups for paid search or your content clusters on the site for SEO focus. 

6. Ensure alignment between keywords and content results

Once you have your topics, content clusters, and keywords sorted out, you want to review everything to make sure that what people are finding closely aligns with the services you provide. For example, if you’re ranking for certain types of law that aren’t specifically what you are trying to do more work in, you might need to readjust your strategy. 

7. Review the search engine results pages (SERPs)

Search engine results are always changing, so it makes sense to review them and see how your pages are being presented. Grab a few of your most important keywords or phrases and literally perform a Google (other other search engine) search. For each term, look over what comes up, what competitors you’re seeing, where organic and paid listings appear on the page, and if there is a lot of noise on the SERPs in general.

If the results aren’t what you hoped for or expected to see, you may need to rethink the importance of those keywords or that topic in your strategy. Note that this is particularly important for organic search results, because they can be pushed so far below the fold under paid options that even well-performing keywords may not appear as you hoped. 

8. Measure performance

It’s only when your law firm’s paid search and SEO campaigns are put into action that you’ll get the real data you need – and find out if you’ve picked the “right” keywords. Certain keywords are going to perform better than others, for several reasons. Once you have data, you can adjust priorities and optimize your strategy.

Keep a special eye out for these trends:

  • Keywords that you can’t rank for organically
  • Keywords that produce a lot of impressions but few clicks
  • Keywords that drive a lot of traffic but no activity

All of these are indicators to dig deeper and go back through the principles outlined.


Search marketing and the ever-changing landscape of digital in general means that the “right” strategy might be a moving target. By knowing end goals, creating topics, and validating the keywords you’re choosing, you’re using a strategy that will work no matter how digital marketing and search engines evolve. 

Contact us today if you’d like help executing strategic search engine marketing campaigns that will improve your website traffic and help you convert more leads.


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