Onsite SEO for Lawyers: Keyword Targeting Best Practices

Onsite SEO for Lawyers: Keyword Targeting Best Practices

| August 10, 2016

What is it?

One of the core goals of SEO is targeting keyword phrases to rank for.  A website needs to target one or more keyword phrases to rank for in search.  Also known as keyword research1, this discovery process is all about finding what terms have both healthy search volume and are relevant to your firm’s business.

Websites generally have multiple pages meaning they can target multiple keyword phrases.  As an attorney’s website grows they can target additional keyword phrases.  Overall keyword targeting is about finding a balance between obtaining search traffic and being as relevant as possible to what the firm does.

Best Practices

Choosing the right keywords is critical for success marketing a website in search.  Every attorney website is different so keyword research strategies will differ.  Here are some universal best practices.

  • Choose keywords that have good search volume, that are related to your practice area or services, and that are not extremely competitive
  • Only one target keyword per page
  • The keyword should be mentioned at least a few times on the page but it isn’t necessary to get an exact density2
  • Use anchor text that the page is trying to rank for in links pointed at the page
  • Use tools like Google’s Keyword Planner3 or Google Trends to research search volume


Start by coming up with a list of seed keywords that you think people might be using to find your practice.  A list of 15 to 20 phrases is fine.  Take those and plug them into Google’s Keyword Planner.  This will help you do two things:

  1. Get an idea of search volume for those phrases that you think people are using
  2. Get other ideas for other phrases that are actually being searched

At this point attorneys can toss out phrases that have low or no search volume.  They may find other phrases that have high search volume they hadn’t thought of before.  From this they can make their final list of keyword phrases to target.


Lawyers can take terms from their list and identify pages on their website that would be good to optimize for those keyword phrases.  For example a personal injury lawyer in Detroit might find that ‘car accident attorneys Detroit’ is a high volume keyword phrase.  They could then optimize their car accident page (or make a new one) on their website.

Page Relevance

Once a page is selected to optimize a keyword phrase for, the page should be completely about that topic.  For instance all copy on the page should be about the target keyword phrase.  Headers, images, body copy, meta descriptions, titles and other elements of the page should contain the target keyword phrase.