At the time of this post, Google’s external keyword tool reported 1,000,000 monthly exact match searches for “attorney” in the United States. While we can debate the accuracy of the tool, there is little doubt that the keyword attorney has some major search volume. Which got me thinking, who is enjoying all that traffic?
Here is a little info on Google’s top 10 organic results (original post on July 6, 2010, updated on November 20, 2018 from Chicago, IL excluding local business listings) for the search term “attorney”:
The global Internet encyclopedia continues to dominate Google search engine results pages. Even for very high volume high competition search terms.
While the number one result hasn’t changed since 2010, the visible result has. Google has now added a featured snippet search result at the top of the page for some search queries. This top spot is fairly coveted but often owned by sites like wikipedia for general search term like ours in this instance.
BONUS: Below our featured snippet, you can see the great new addition of the “people also ask” box, which tells you what other people are searching for within the original search result.
Google continues to move in the direction of returning “geo-located” results. In this case, it has returned LexisNexis’s browse by location lawyer directory for Chicago. While these mega directories can produce results, you really have to know what you are doing to take advantage of a listing here. While good visibility for targeted keywords can generate a postivive return on investment, poor visibility can lead to a bottomless money pit in which you are stuck for a long time.
The second result is another interesting switch the Google has made, now prioritizing social media within search results.
2010; Lawyers.com Homepage
LexisNexis is really capitalizing on organic traffic with another listing for their lawyers.com directory. Again, while we have seen good results generated from listings here, we have also seen very tragic outcomes as well. If you’re considering lawyers.com, have a law firm web consultant perform some forecasting as to what you might be able to expect.
As we’ve seen in searches after Google added the new featured snippet result at the top of the page, search results now repopulate that result/link in spot number three. The featured snippet seems to be the gift that keeps on giving!
Looks like someone is capitalizing off their exact match domain. From their website:
“Attorney.org is a non-for-profit website meant to spread the free flow of information. In addition to featuring breaking legal news, Attorney.org profiles different organizations and associations around the country to promote awareness and bring well deserved recognition to different causes. Another facet of Attorney.org is our Attorney Tips section which helps your average person learn more about the different types of attorneys and how to determine whose help they need.”
Unfortunately, I was unable to verify their status as non-for-profit in New Jersey. I have yet to work with them. If you have any experience with them, please feel free to post here.
Update for 2018: attorney.org seems to no longer be in exsitence.
Making it’s appearance on page one in 2018, the dictionary definition of ‘Attorney’ jumps in to see if this is what we were searching for.
*BONUS RESULT: News stories are now jumping into search results with their own section, usually starting just where you would need to scroll to read. Maybe this is Google’s way of getting people to scroll further down on page one of search results?
Whoa! LexisNexis with yet another listing! That’s 3 out of the top 10 for attorney. Must be getting a lot of traffic…
Another definition rings in at number five. This is certainly a change from the result 8 years ago.
Alright, the Attorney General for the state of Illinois. Relevant, geo-targeted, and a government site.
Dictionary result from wiki.
Hmmm… This one is interesting. Mr Ledger’s California law firm, which appears to service the entire country, has some excellent positioning. Looks like some serious attorney seo work went into this one.
2018; Legal Match blog post
A win for the legal directories! Eight years ago, this search resulted in multiple directory results but in 2018, this was the only result in the top 10 to be a legal directory. According to wikipedia and their website for accuracy, Legal Match was founded in 1999 to help people in all 50 US states find a lawyer registered on their website.
2010; New Lawyer
New Lawyer continues to prove that calling for and exchanging links can still be a powerful part of your seo strategy. While we haven’t used them for our law firm clients, we have received several requests to exchange links with them. And from the looks of their resources pages, it doesn’t look like we’re the only ones.
The fourth dictionary result on the list.
From their website:
“LegalX.net provides you with several quality internet advertising options. You can contact us directly by clicking here for any of our advertising options.”
Looks like they are providing a variety of law firm Internet marketing options. We haven’t worked with them yet, but would like to hear your reviews.
2018; Dictionary.com article:
A dictionary.com article defining the difference between the words ‘attorney’ and ‘lawyer.’ Spoiler alert: in the US, there is no technical difference between the two words.
2010; Find Attorney Or Lawyer
Another “lawyer finder” service. While we haven’t done a thorough analysis of their search visibility, it’s likely that their traffic is far-lower than those sites appearing in positions 1-3.
Rounding out the top 10 is yet another dictionary definition of attorney.
Well, there you have it. Google’s top organic results for my “attorney” search, from 2010 and updated in 2018.
What do you think? Did Google provide good results? Have you worked with any of the companies listed here? Did you enjoy any benefits from their high search visibility for this high volume legal search term?
Wondering why the results are so different, 8 years later? First of all, Google has updated it’s search algorithms a number of times, making their results more accurate for the searcher’s query. Second, the searcher location was masked on our updated search, ensuring the results would not be local to our area.
What do you think made the change?
Full search results page: