SEO Guide for Family Lawyers - Ultimate Edition
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The Straightforward Guide to SEO for Family Law Firms

Learn how to boost results from SEO for family law firms with this simple guide on SEO tactics, strategies, and finding an agency.

Our clients rank in

Top spots for keywords like…

  • Family Lawyer
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Child Custody Lawyer
  • Prenup Agreement

You’ve undoubtedly realized that most people go to Google first when they want to find a family law attorney.

Now you’re wondering how you can get the top spot. 

The answer is SEO, and when it comes to SEO for family law firms, the crucial thing to remember is that you don’t have to do it all yourself. Having a basic understanding of family lawyers SEO is enough for:

  • Figuring out what your law firm needs and
  • Finding the right SEO agency to help you achieve these goals

This post aims to demystify SEO and help your family law firm find direction in this notoriously complicated and misunderstood area of legal marketing.

Here’s what we’ll cover (feel free to skip ahead): 

What Is SEO for Family Lawyers?

The Key Elements of SEO for Family Law Firms

4 Family Law SEO Tactics To Prioritize Immediately

3 Ways To Get Started With SEO for Divorce Lawyers and Family Attorneys

dNOVO Delivers Real Results in SEO for Family Law Firms

What Is SEO for Family Lawyers?

SEO for family lawyers uses marketing and web design tactics to help web pages gain the top spot on search engine result pages (SERPs). SEO achieves this by signaling to Google’s algorithm that the content is the most relevant and valuable. This attracts potential clients seeking legal advice via Google search to click through to your website.

No matter what your company does, the goal of search engine optimization (SEO) is the same: rank highly on search engines because the top three positions attract the most traffic.

When your future clients search for “divorce attorney Ottawa,” “child support,” or “child custody,” it’s Google’s job to find exactly what they’re looking for.

SEO practices improve your website’s ranking factors and convince Google that your website is the one to recommend first.

They include:

  • Quality content
  • Mobile responsiveness
  • Website optimization
  • Page load speed
  • Internal links
  • External links
  • User experience

These ranking factors signal to Google’s algorithm that your page is the most relevant and valuable answer to a particular keyword or search query.

SEO is an important part of every company’s marketing strategy, but the degree of how important it is depends on:

  1. How competitive your industry is
  2. Whether organic search plays a major role in your marketing funnel

This brings us to the reason SEO is crucial for family law firms.

Why is SEO important for family law and divorce attorneys?

Every legal marketing blog cites the same stats to demonstrate that SEO is crucial for family law and divorce attorneys:

  1. Family law is a highly competitive industry
  2. Almost all prospective clients go to Google first when seeking legal advice
  3. The search terms they use are generic (e.g., Family lawyer Ottawa)
  4. Most of those prospective clients only contact one of the attorneys they find

You might be thinking: What makes SEO more important than other marketing strategies like social media, PR, or email marketing?

Well, for one, organic search is the most effective channel for law firms. By dominating the SERPs, you attract and capture traffic at the start of a prospect’s decision-making process, and you get a head-start on your competitors.

But SEO isn’t just about ranking well on SERPs, it’s also about building your audience and making your other marketing channels more effective.

You can think of it as the foot in the door that enables you to engage your leads via email newsletters, social media posts, or case study videos.

Without SEO, your other legal marketing efforts fall on deaf ears.

The Key Elements of SEO for Family Law Firms

Search engine optimization is an umbrella term for a series of tactics that work together to boost your law firm’s online presence.

Though methods and priorities vary, most marketers will agree that a combination of these tactics – used consistently – help a website rank highly on search engines.

Some are quick fixes, but most are long-term investments with compounding results over time.

First, let’s take a quick run-through:

TacticMeaning
SEO auditAnalysis of your law firm’s online presence to ascertain what you need to do to improve SEO
Keyword researchUse a keyword research tool to find what search terms your audience is using to find your law firm
Website optimizationPractices and tactics boost your website’s performance, so it’s more valuable to users and attractive to search engine algorithms
Content creationProducing relevant and high-quality digital material such as blog posts, landing pages, videos, case studies, and podcasts to engage, educate, and convert leads
Internal and external link buildingImproving your site’s authority (with referrals to reputable sites) and its user experience with signposts to valuable content within your site
Local SEO and Google My BusinessBoost your visibility to local searches by optimizing your Google My Business profile and including localized search terms in your website copy
Tracking performance and continuous improvementConsistent analysis of your website’s performance using A/B tests, keyword reporting tools, and other metrics, then using those insights to perform updates

Next, let’s look at the details (but skip ahead if you’re ready to dive into putting these tactics into practice):

SEO audit

Before you dive into your marketing campaigns, you need to assess your online presence as it stands.

An SEO audit evaluates your law firm’s current SEO status and highlights what you need to do to boost your domain authority.

From there, an SEO agency can help you prioritize these actions based on what will make the most impact and what makes sense for your budget.

Technical SEO experts carry out SEO audits, but they generally involve…

  • Using a keyword research tool to check:
    • On-page SEO: Optimize your website for relevant keywords, internal link usage, and a clear sitemap that’s easy to follow
    • Off-page SEO: Check if your website has earned backlinks, which signal to the algorithm that your content is authoritative
  • Using tools like Google’s free PageInsights tool to check for:
    • Page load speed: People click away from slow-loading pages, and Google prefers websites that load in less than two to three seconds.
    • Mobile friendliness: Your website must be responsive on all devices, or it won’t rank for the majority of online traffic which comes from mobile users.
    • Site security: Google doesn’t send people to unsafe sites. So remember to check for firewall vulnerabilities during your SEO audits.

In the same way you take your car to the garage for inspections to ensure it doesn’t break down, regular SEO audits ensure your website is functional and secure.

Keyword research

Keyword research for lawyers involves using a keyword research tool (like Ahrefs or SEMrush) to find relevant keywords that your target audience is searching to find family legal services. 

Your list of keywords then fuels the content you’ll produce on your website, blog, and social media pages to boost your ranking and attract these leads.

At the most basic level, you should look for keywords with:

  • High volume: The more searches per month, the more potential applicants you’ll attract by ranking for that keyword
  • High relevance: You should only target a keyword if it’s closely relevant to your service or expertise – otherwise, traffic won’t convert
  • Low difficulty: Means that there aren’t many competitors bidding on that keyword with paid advertising strategies, so you’ve got a chance of ranking for that keyword with your content

To approach keyword research strategically, you should also consider:

  • Competitors: Most keyword research tools can show you what keywords your competitors are ranking for – and with what sort of content.
  • Reviews: Law is a jargon-rich field, and the terms you might use in the industry may differ from the search phrases your clients use. Customer reviews for other lawyers reveal how clients talk about legal services and their priorities.

Website optimization

Under the SEO umbrella, website optimization is a set of practices that specifically improve the performance of your website so that users have a better experience – and, therefore, Google’s algorithm ranks it high on the SERPs.

If your website isn’t optimized for page load speed and mobile, your law firm might be wasting its precious ad spend on users that immediately bounce when they reach your home page.

You shouldn’t see website optimization for law firms as a box-ticking exercise but as an assurance that whoever visits your website (organically from a Google search or from an ad) is immediately impressed and inclined to get in touch.

These are the tactics a technical SEO expert might have in their website optimization toolkit:

  • Increasing page load speed
  • Optimizing your website for all devices
  • Ensuring website copy contains relevant keywords
  • Performing a heatmap analysis to see what pages lose traffic
  • A/B testing to identify and solve barriers to conversions
  • Improving UX by creating interactive forms, videos, or cleaner design

Some of these tactics are quick fixes that can make a difference overnight, but most require consistent maintenance to ensure your website performs well over time.

We’ll explain how to optimize page load speed and mobile responsiveness later in the post – read all about it here.

Content creation

Within SEO for family law, content creation (or content marketing) is essentially everything you publish online: your website copy, landing pages, blog posts, social media posts, videos, case studies, and podcasts.

Content creation is essential because, as mentioned earlier, almost everyone starts seeking legal advice with a Google search.

Successful law firms use this to their advantage by building a goldmine of content to attract, nurture, and convert those leads by providing them with educational, engaging, and relevant content.

Source

Content creation may seem like a major hurdle for law firms – how can a divorce attorney make time to write a blog post?

You can outsource content creation to a specialized legal marketing team that can produce all your content, depending on your budget and goals.

We’ll discuss this further in the next section. Skip ahead here.

Internal and external link building

Put simply, internal and external link building helps make your content more authoritative and helpful to people visiting your site.

External links are hyperlinks to other sites. 

Featuring external links on your law firm’s website may seem counterintuitive – why should you send hard-earned traffic elsewhere?

The presence of external links to authoritative sites – legal directories, newspapers, or government bodies – signals to your audience (and to Google) that your law firm is trustworthy.

Internal links are hyperlinks to other pages within your website.

They act as signposts guiding your audience to seek further information throughout your family law website, reducing the risk of getting lost or bouncing because they haven’t found the answers they need.

Internal links vastly improve user experience and leverage your content marketing by making it more accessible and organized. Because of this, Google’s algorithm has been shown to favor websites with robust internal linking strategies – such as linking to pillar pages.

Local SEO and Google My Business

Your law firm most likely operates locally, and organic and local searches generate 69% of online traffic.

For those reasons, it’s essential that your law firm has an impressive Google My Business (GMB) profile and that you optimize your content for local SEO.

Below paid ads, GMB profiles are at the top of the SERPs whenever you make a location-based search, for example, “divorce attorney in Ontario” or “divorce attorney near me”:

Updated GMB profiles contain all the information people need to have at a glance to evaluate whether they should get in touch:

  • Business name
  • Rating (based on reviews)
  • Opening hours
  • Years in business
  • Address
  • Website
  • Phone number

Optimizing your GMB profile and local search SEO could be the most dramatic and effective way to increase lead generation in your practice.

We’ll discuss this in further detail later in the post – feel free to skip ahead here.

Tracking performance and committing to continuous improvement

Tracking your SEO performance means analyzing your website and specific pages for metrics like:

  • Domain authority
  • Number of impressions
  • Click-through rate (CTR)
  • Keyword rankings
  • New referring domains
  • Bounce rate

SEO for family law firms is no “set and forget” task. It’s a long-term series of experiments and continuous content production to learn from what didn’t work and replicate the successful tactics.

The goal of SEO is to generate compounding results over time and maximize ROI, which you can achieve only by making data-driven improvements each month.

The best way for law firms to achieve this is to outsource their SEO to a legal marketing team that can constantly analyze and finetune their online presence. 

They’ll provide you with monthly reports and all the components you need to make informed decisions for your business.

4 Family Law SEO Tactics To Prioritize Immediately

Now that you understand the what and why, it’s time to dive into the how.

Below, we’ve put together the most effective and actionable law firm SEO strategies – with examples to show how they work for other successful businesses in your industry.

Here’s a quick summary if you’re pushed for time:

Family Law SEO TacticExplanation
Complete GMB accountComplete the essential elements of your GMB accountOptimize your GMB account by including special details such as service offerings and years of experience
Optimize website for page load speed and mobile responsivenessCompress imagesMinimize bloated Javascript and CSS codeUse a speed-optimized hosting serviceCache your web pages
Publish valuable content consistentlyAdopt a content repurposing strategy to maximize value and reach from evergreen, high-quality content
Showcase client reviews Include a request for a review or case study interview as part of your onboarding and closing processShowcase reviews on social media

1. Complete your Google My Business account

A complete Google My Business (GMB) account ensures your business’s online profile displays on Maps and provides the important details people need to reach out to you immediately. 

This is a quick, immediate, and effective fix to boost SEO for your law firm that you can complete yourself.

Without a GMB listing, your firm won’t show up in the local search results on Maps, and we can guarantee that your competitors are already claiming their spot.

Here’s how you do it:

Step 1: Go to Google My Business

Log into a Gmail account you’re comfortable associating with your firm. Select the “Manage Now” button.

Step 2: Name your business

Enter your law firm’s name – it might already be listed on Google, and you’ll claim an existing listing. If this is the case for you, you can skip to step five.

Otherwise, create a new business listing and follow the next three steps.

Important: Be sure to use the official registered name of your business, and don’t fall for the black hat SEO tactic of including keywords in your business name – you could be suspended.

Step 3: Provide your business category

Think strategically and select the most overarching category or the category that attracts the most clients to your firm. If you deal mostly in divorces, you’d select “divorce attorney.”

Don’t worry, you can include subcategories later.

Step 4: Set your firm’s address

If your firm has a physical office, add its address to your GMB listing. This is essential for your business to show up in Maps when prospective clients search for lawyers in their area.

Step 5: Confirm home visit options

If you’re comfortable advertising that you provide consultations at your clients’ homes, click “yes” for this option. Otherwise, click “no.”

Step 6: Provide contact information

Although you have the option to skip this section, we consider it essential. New clients value accessibility in their early decision-making process, so provide a phone number and website address here.

Step 7: Add a trackable website URL

This enables you to track how much organic traffic comes to your website through Google My Business specifically.

Simply add the following to the end of your website’s URL in the GMB account (with no “/” in between your URL and the following address): 

?utm_source=gmb&utm_medium=organic&utm_content=listing&utm_campaign=local

Step 8: Verify your law firm and complete the process

If you haven’t verified your business with Google, you’ll be asked to provide a name to assign to the postal confirmation.

Then you’ll receive a postcard in the mail within five business days. It’ll include a verification code you’ll need to enter to complete your account.

These are the most basic steps to set up your law firm’s GMB account, but it doesn’t stop there. 

You should optimize your GMB account by including:

  • Additional service information: Such as price range, free consultations, and a description of your specialization/practice areas
  • Key highlights: Include attributes that further differentiate your business from competitors
  • Including photos of your law firm: Use professional photography that highlights your office and your team
  • Reviews and Q+As from clients: immediately showcases your firm through testimonials and showcases how you interact with your audience

Simple Divorce’s GMB listing is the gold standard – it includes all the essential details + photos, a service list, Q+As, and testimonials:

By taking this effort to set up and perfect your GMB profile, you’ll attract direct and engaged traffic to your website or immediately to your phone.

2. Optimize your website for speed and responsiveness

Your prospective clients need to find information quickly and from any device – and you should know that most online traffic is on mobile.

Research from Google revealed that 53% of mobile visitors leave your site if it takes more than three seconds to load.

Source

Speed and accessibility are everything with SEO. Your website won’t have a chance with the algorithm if it delivers a poor experience to users!

Google Insights is a valuable tool that immediately tells you page load speed on desktop and mobile – and provides recommendations on improving it.

The most effective ways to improve page load speed on your website are:

  • Compress and optimize images: Images are vital for an attractive website, but you should reduce the file size using compressed file formats.
  • Minimize unused CSS, Javascript, and HTML: Bloated website code takes longer to load, which often happens when business owners choose to DIY their website design and constantly add to their website over time.
  • Choose a fast website hosting service: Cheap or free hosting services aren’t optimized for page load speed. Your web designer should provide you with a hosting option that ensures speed.
  • Cache your web pages: Caching stores copies of your website ready to deliver to visitors instantly. It’s like a “here’s one I prepared earlier” rather than loading your website from scratch each time.

To demonstrate how page load speed and responsiveness relate to SEO for family law firms, here’s a test on an unoptimized family law site:

Source

Compared to a test for our client, Simple Divorce:

Source

These results correlate with the websites’ SERP positions: Simple Divorce sits at position 1 for “divorce lawyer Toronto” and Russell Alexander sits at position 19.

3. Start publishing valuable content consistently

Google’s algorithm is getting better at rewarding content from subject matter experts and distinguishing value from unhelpful, keyword-stuffed articles.

In other words, law firms can’t cheat the system by publishing hundreds of blog posts produced by content mills at a cheap price. You’ll likely be penalized for doing so!

Producing high-value, long-form content is expensive – your lawyers don’t have time to be part-time bloggers!

This is how you strike a balance between consistency and quality:

Step 1: Produce one piece of long-form, high-quality content periodically

You won’t be producing this type of content all the time, so you can afford to pull all the stops to make it A+.

Ideas include:

  • A case study with a client interview
  • A podcast episode on an important topic
  • A thought-leadership-style blog post providing information on a service you provide

Outsource content creation to a legal marketing agency that can help you with videography and content planning. They can even provide a specialized legal copywriter to produce your blog posts.

This evergreen content will sit on your website and social media profiles forever.

Step 2: Repurpose that content into regular social media posts, email newsletters, and paid ads

The secret to consistency is repurposing your evergreen content across your channels – like an email newsletter, Facebook post, or even a paid ad.

For each evergreen post, you can create 10+ smaller and more regular posts that:

  • Highlight an interesting point from a blog post
  • Showcase a stellar review from a client
  • Advertise the service you’re writing about

Source

Content repurposing enables you to maximize ROI from your content – while nurturing your audience and ensuring a consistent stream of traffic to your site.

4. Collect and showcase reviews from clients

As we mentioned in the Google My Business section, social proof such as reviews play a major role for 82% of your prospective clients:

Reviews boost SEO for family lawyers by:

  • Building long-tail keywords associated with your business
  • Boosting social sharing of your business
  • Increasing traffic to your website 

Even if you provide stellar service, you can’t always guarantee that your clients will provide a review – it’s probably not going to be top of mind for someone going through a divorce. So, you must ask your clients and include a request for a review as part of your process.

You can do this by:

  • Including “Are you comfortable with providing a Google review or participating in a case study interview?” in your new client forms
  • Automating a request for a review to be sent via email after you’ve fulfilled your services
  • Offering a promotion or discounted rate in exchange for a detailed review or case study participation

Your reviews shouldn’t just be a static feature on your GMB account or website. When you receive a review, be sure to:

  1. Reply to that review thanking your client for their kind words
  2. Share the review on your social media platforms

Be sure to protect your client’s personal information when sharing their review on social media.

3 Ways To Get Started With SEO for Divorce Lawyers and Family Attorneys

SEO is a highly technical practice that takes years of experience and many wins and losses to get right.

With that in mind, hiring an expert is usually cost-effective – plus, you’ll leverage their experience to see results faster.

Still, we understand that law firms may want to consider other options:

  1. Learn SEO and DIY it
  2. Hire a team of in-house SEO specialists
  3. Trust an SEO agency

Let’s take a closer look.

1. Learn SEO and DIY it

At first, it might make sense to learn family or divorce lawyer SEO, so you can control your law firm’s online presence and save costs on expensive agency fees.

However, there are many risks associated with this decision:

  • Wasted time: It takes years of practical, hands-on experience to apply SEO knowledge to figure out what actually works. Put simply, law firms just don’t have time to accumulate enough knowledge to make a significant impact on their online presence.
  • Risk of getting it wrong: Expert SEO service providers ultimately cut their teeth by making mistakes early in their careers. If you decide to DIY family law SEO, you’re ultimately using your business’s website to experiment. 

If you mess up, your law firm ultimately pays the price and could lose clients. This could get serious if you accidentally break one of the many advertising laws that legal SEO professionals must abide by.

Ultimately, it’s best to trust the experts with the heavy lifting regarding SEO for family law.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t learn the basics and apply simple but important monthly optimizations.

Look for a family law marketing agency with helpful resources to teach clients about SEO. The best agencies are the ones that want to empower their clients, not create dependency.

2. Hire a team of in-house SEO specialists

If you’re a large firm, you may have the resources to hire a specialized team of in-house marketers with SEO training.

The obvious benefits of in-house marketing teams are that they’re focused solely on your legal practice, seven days a week.

However, there are a few obvious downsides – primarily, and obviously, the cost.

Hiring marketers as employees is expensive. You’re paying for all the costs of hiring a staff member rather than solely paying for hours spent dedicated to your marketing campaigns. 

The annual salary of an experienced marketer in Canada is upwards of $50k.

On top of that, it’s very hard for law firms to make informed hiring decisions when they themselves don’t have marketing experience. 

3. Trust an SEO agency

The best option for law firms, especially those just getting started with SEO, is to hire an experienced legal SEO agency.

With a specialized agency, you can have peace of mind that your SEO and marketing are being taken care of by people with a proven record of success.

This is what you can expect:

  • Pricing transparency: A legal marketing agency shows you exactly how your marketing budget is being spent and provides regular reports on your ROI from SEO
  • Skin in the game: A legal SEO agency must consistently generate results to keep you as a client and leverage their own expertise
  • Proven expertise: Successful legal marketing agencies come with proven success stories from past clients, and they apply these techniques to get results for your firm
  • Highly productive: The money your spend is directly attributed to your marketing and not to other costs, like salaries

The most meaningful way to find an agency is to do plenty of research and then reach out and ask many questions.

The best SEO agency for your law firm will be one that:

  • Refuses to work with your competitors
  • Provides on-call assistance via Whatsapp (or a similar platform) to help you whenever you need
  • Boasts an extensive portfolio of successful clients

An easy way to tell if an SEO company is worth its salt is to check the SERP positions of the clients they list in their portfolio.

dNOVO Delivers Real Results in SEO for Family Law Firms

This post has helped you understand the basic SEO components for family attorneys, giving you a roadmap for prioritizing what needs to happen next to boost your SEO results.

SEO for family law practices can be a complex and expensive process when you don’t have immediate expertise, which is why it’s best to find a proven and trusted partner to deliver immediate results.

At dNOVO, we’re proud to have helped many family law firms attract more clients with smart and scalable SEO strategies, so if you’re ready to dominate the rankings for family law in your area, get in touch
Otherwise, read more about SEO for law firms.

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