If you came here to see a list of the best law firm SEO companies, let me disappoint you now. If you're interested in learning how to make informed decision about hiring a law firm SEO agency, stay with me.
I've shared some my thoughts on "Top SEO Lists" before. At best, a list like this has been curated by people who have experience using all the companies on the list and thoroughly vetted their work. Let me save you some time, those lists don't exist.
If you head over to Google and search for "best law firm SEO company," what you'll mostly find there are sponsored lists. Put simply, SEO companies pay the websites to be included on their lists. You should give these lists little to no weight or consideration.
You'll also see sites that claim they have a vetting process. In theory, this sounds great. In reality, it's misleading.
First, any proper vetting would have to be conducted at least quasi-scientifically. It would require extensive research of data that would have to be shared by both the law firms, as well as, the SEO agencies. If you are aware of such a list, please feel free to share it in the comments below. Be warned though, if you share trash, it will be known. Second, it would have to be independent. In other words, the publisher of the list would have to be completely disinterested. No conflicts. Of course, then you would have to ask about their motivation in investing the time and money to properly curate the list. As you begin to contemplate this, hopefully you realize why these lists are so problematic.
Even if a bunch of experienced law firm SEO experts got together and agreed on some kind of methodology for curating a list like this, and even if they got their clients' permission to share the requisite data, there would still be huge issues relating to the value of the list. You see, what works for one law firm might not work for others. So even objective data that correlates strongly to results for a particular firm doesn't mean that SEO company will be right for you.
In fact, lawyers should know this. Go look at any "best lawyers" list and you'll immediately recognize many of the same issues.
So what characteristics do the best law firm SEO companies share? Here are some of my thoughts. But before I share, a few disclaimers. Hopefully, if it wasn't obvious, I own a company that does SEO for law firms. Why would I write this and expect you to believe it? Well, I'm writing it because I genuinely want you to make a more informed decision about hiring an SEO agency. Obviously, I'd love it if you considered us. But after doing this for over 10 years, I am deeply sympathetic to how bad it is out there. With respect to why you should believe me, you shouldn't. You question everything I'm saying here. You should run it by other lawyers who have hired SEO companies. You should run it by my competitors. You should run it by SEO experts that don't work with lawyers. Okay, here's what I've learned.
First, the best law firm SEO companies are familiar with rules of professional conduct. Ideally, they're familiar with your state's rules. In the very least, they should be familiar with the model rules. You should have conversations with them about how they approach the issues related to legal ethics rules. Specifically, how they will keep you informed about what their doing on your behalf, and the process for obtaining your informed approval.
Second, they should have experience successfully doing SEO for law firms like yours. Are you in a competitive practice area and location? Then ask them about their experience with law firms with the same practice area in a comparably-sized market. The degree of difficulty in executing effective SEO for a personal injury law firm in Chicago is vastly different from that of a rural estate planning attorney.
Third, in my experience, the best law firm SEO companies are committed to limiting conflicts of interest. In other words, they won't work with your competitors. So, you should definitely ask them who they are working with in your practice area(s) and location(s). If conflicts exist, ask them how they address them. If they're unwilling to commit to some type of exclusivity, I would look for other options.
Fourth, the best companies will be willing to define success in advance. You should have conversations about what success means to you and what milestones you can expect along the way. Now don't misunderstand me. I'm not suggesting that they'll make guarantees that they can't deliver on. In fact, if someone is making you a guarantee that's impossible for them to make, this should be a red flag that they're willing to be dishonest with you.
Fifth, the best law firm SEO companies are transparent. They should be eager to share with you what they intend to do for you and the reasons why they are suggesting it. If they're claiming "proprietary method," you should consider other options. In fact, they should be sharing what they're planning to do, why they're suggesting it, and why it has value to your firm from a business standpoint.
Sixth, the best law firm SEO companies don't hold their clients hostage. This means that you, the law firm client, should own all of your accounts, data, content, content management system, domain, and really everything else related to your web presence. To me, this is non-negotiable. Get it in writing. It also means that they shouldn't hold you hostage to long-term contracts. If they're not doing what they said they were going to do, you should be able to walk away and find someone who will.
Seventh, they should be experts. Admittedly, this one is a bit more difficult to explore. After all, the very reason you're searching for the best company is that you're likely not an expert yourself. Here are some of the areas of expertise with which they should be familiar:
At the end of the day, finding the best SEO company is much like finding an expert in any other context. Do your homework. Ask people you know, like, and trust. Arm yourself with at least basic knowledge so you can speak their language. Ask for examples of their work. But most of all, make sure their values align with yours. Your relationship with them will play a significant role in your ability to meet your online objectives. If your relationship isn't built on a sound foundation of honesty, integrity, trust, and transparency, it's unlikely to deliver value to your firm.
All the best law firm SEO companies know this.
Over the years, law firm prospects have sent us reports from just about all of our competitors. Unfortunately, even today, some law firm marketing agencies still mislead their clients via "reporting." One particularly egregious example comes in the form of ranking reports. Which prompted this LinkedIn post. To my surprise, I received a lot of […]
John Wanamaker supposedly said "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half." In an an effort to figure out "what half is working," attribution was born. Coupled with a transition from traditional, offline ads to digital media, attribution became the holy grail for analyzing advertising spends. But […]
I recently asked ChatGPT, "What are some of the top personal injury law firms in Chicago?? Actually, first I ask "who are some of the top personal injury lawyers in Chicago?" ChatGPT couldn't handle that one, so I modified the prompt. ChatGPT listed five very well-known firms downtown. Can you guess the other four? That's […]
If you're like me, you have some degree of AI, ChatGBT, Bard, exhaustion. Now don't get me wrong, this is stuff is remarkable and is changing, well, a lot. But before you hook up the ChatGPT API to your WordPress API and crank out 10,000 pages, here are a few things to think about. Let's […]
If you know me, you know my opinions about links and SEO advice from Google. If you don't, here's the TL;DR: Meh, links! Meaning, all things being equal, links still remain a competitive difference maker for ranking. Take Google's SEO advice with several grains of salt. Google has no economic incentive to help your site […]
The best marketing advice I can give you is to be authentic. Of course, you don't find that very helpful in terms of meeting your growth goals. So, you might decide to game the system. As I'm writing this, one of the more popular ways to gain the system is to pay for engagement. This […]
The following post was written by ChatGPT. ChatGPT, developed by OpenAI, is a state-of-the-art language model that can generate human-like text based on a given prompt or context. This technology has the potential to revolutionize the way that businesses, including law firms, market themselves to potential clients. One way that a law firm could use […]
How long does SEO take? When can I expect to see results? What results should I expect to see? These are all reasonable questions that we field from lawyers every day. And, like many legal answers, the answer is: It depends. Yes, I know that's not the answer you wanted. But it's the most honest […]
And how much time should they spend doing it? I recently had the privilege of chatting with Tyson, Jim, and Conrad for an upcoming episode of The Maximum Lawyer Podcast. If you're not familiar with The Maximum Lawyer community, you should definitely check it out. Jim asked a really great question about who should do […]