Signs Your Law Firm May Need A New SEO

The legal industry has a serious problem.

Attorneys and Law Firms around the country continue to get taken advantage of by “churn and burn” SEO agencies.

These agencies, which are run by self-proclaimed SEO experts, in most cases, promise big results for less than $1,000 a month. They keep cashing checks for months until their client finally realizes that their “partner” hasn’t improved their SEO performance one bit.

Here’s the thing.

Quality SEO isn’t cheap.

You can’t invest a few hundred dollars per month if one of your goals is to rank number one in the organic search results for a competitive keyword (e.g., “[city] car accident lawyer”).

It’s just not realistic.

If you’re paying less than $1,000 per month for SEO, content, or link building services, then you’re probably just throwing your money away while increasing the speed at which your hair turns gray. You would probably be just as well off throwing that money out the window and praying to the Google gods.

Why does this keep happening?

Whenever Build Your Online talks to a law firm that’s been burned about taking over as their SEO partner, we listen to the reasons why they’re looking for a new partner. Over the years, we’ve heard a few reasons come up time and time again.

Here are the seven biggest reasons why law firms drop their SEO (or digital marketing) partner, as well as how law firms can avoid these pitfalls and find a dependable long-term partner.

1. You need someone who is passionate about SEO, not just a web designer or relative

Sometimes lawyers (or their marketing directors) don’t realize there’s a huge difference between a web developer and a true SEO.

So often they’ll hire someone who will build them a beautiful website with all the fancy bells and whistles.

But that’s about the extent of it.

That’s because web developers, generally speaking, don’t:

  • Keep up to-date with the radical changes that take place in the world of SEO.
  • Understand link building and outreach.
  • Write or edit content.
  • Know how to diagnosis and fix the technical SEO complexities of a website.
  • Have practical experience marketing a law firm from a digital perspective.

Some web developers claim they do SEO because they know how to go in and change the title tags and make other basic on-page changes. This may be a good foundation, but on-page SEO typically doesn’t provide results in competitive legal markets.

How to Stop Failing at SEO

A trustworthy digital partner should be able to show real-world examples of SEO success, with before and after case studies of their clients.

They should be able to answer any and all pointed questions.

An SEO partner should be able to clearly demonstrate how they grew organic visibility, traffic, phone calls, or keyword rankings over time for their clients.

Designing a website is great. But it isn’t SEO.

If you hire a web designer or developer to do your law firm’s SEO, it is highly likely that you’ll be looking for a new partner within a few months when you don’t see a bump in traffic or leads.

2. No Tracking!

Setting up tracking is a must.

Whenever we work with a client, one of the first things we do is set up tracking (e.g., call tracking, goals, and events in Google Analytics).

This is a must.

If we’re running a link building or content campaign for a client, we need to understand if what we’re doing is working. For instance, if our client is getting 20 phone calls when we begin, and six months later they’re still getting 20 phone calls, then we haven’t done our job and we need to adjust our strategy and tactics.

Part of the reason to set up tracking is so that you can set goals, which you can meet or exceed in a realistic time frame. SEO partners who don’t put tracking in place won’t have the data and empirical evidence they need to make informed decisions.

How to Stop Failing at SEO

Get all the proper tracking codes in place.

That way, you can pinpoint which pages are converting (e.g., generating phone calls).

By setting up call tracking, for instance, you can know whether the content you’re publishing is generating calls because you have the data.

Remember, anything that isn’t measured can’t be improved! Without data, you’re just guessing!

3. No Link Building Strategy

You can only get so far by publishing content and cleaning up technical SEO issues.

Without an aggressive link building strategy, it can be hard to win at SEO in competitive fields, such as the legal industry.

Most agencies in the legal industry ignore link building. They don’t do any link building at all.

Some companies will say they do link building, but they’re using outdated and dangerous practices from 10 or 20 years ago.

They’re doing stuff like building hundreds of directory links, engaging in forum commenting, and other spammy tactics (like PBNs – private blog networks) in the hopes of artificially inflating organic search rankings.

Link building is confusing to a lawyer.

Sadly, in the legal industry, link building can do more damage than good – if the agency is even doing it.

How to Stop Failing at SEO

This solution goes back to communication. It’s important for a digital agency to be transparent about the links being built – are they safe or risky?

Link building is about quality, not quantity.

A good partner will also spend time reverse engineering the competition to come up with a link building strategy and identify opportunities based on the analysis.

An agency can’t manually build all the links you’ll need.

The best links are usually earned – either through outreach or publishing link-worthy content.

4. Not Enough Focus on Conversion Tactics

A good digital partner should also be paying attention to how the site is converting.

You can use tools from Google among others.

It’s important to understand how people interact with the website. Is the SEO partner doing any A/B split testing to improve conversions?

If not, then they are missing out on opportunities to drive more leads and cases to the firm.

How to Stop Failing at SEO

A good digital partner will improve the conversion rate in addition to driving more traffic.

This is another area where it’s a good idea to ask for case studies. They should be able to provide insights that are proven because they’ve tested it on other sites in their client base.

It’s wise to work with partners who specialize in digital marketing for law firms. They have already done a lot of research, understand how to write content, and know which conversion tactics work for law firms.


Stop switching agencies every six months.

It’s time to end the cycle of insanity and failure now.

If you’re in the legal industry and trying to select your next SEO or digital marketing partner, do the following:

  • Find someone who has real practical experience working with other law firms.
  • Always check references. 
  • Constantly educate yourself.

Want to grow your law firm?