Author: Gary Lilley | Date: 13 November 2023

Keyword research for law firms

Most SEO campaigns will start with thorough keyword research. If you want to be able to attract the right type of visitors to your site, you will need to have a good understanding of what is being searched, how often it is searched for, and with what intent those searches are performed.

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Although it’s possible to break down search intent into a multitude of different categories, we will discuss the main three here:

Informational Searches:

These are searches where the prime focus is finding information on a specific subject or answering a question. There is no commercial intent or desire to purchase a product or services. Some examples would be:

  • How much does a solicitor earn?
  • What does a barrister do?
  • What is the difference between a barrister and a solicitor?

Searches with Commercial/Transactional Intent:

In these cases, the person conducting the search is likely willing to spend money or take action (fill in a form, pick up the phone). They are actively looking for a solicitor, are ready to file a claim, or need some kind of legal service. Some examples of legal commercial searches:

  • Divorce solicitor Manchester
  • Accident solicitors near me urgent
  • Help with filing a claim for personal injury
  • How much compensation can I claim for a mis-sold pension?

Navigational Searches:

In these cases, the person knows exactly what they are looking for, for instance, they are looking for a particular law firm.

What do you mean when you refer to keyword volume?

The volume of a keyword refers to the amount of times it is searched for monthly on google.

Short tail and Long tail keywords

Short-tail keywords can be described as “main search terms”. These are usually highly competitive, broad search terms with high search volume. If we imagine that we are a law firm offering family law services, then one of our main short-tail keywords would be: “Divorce Solicitor”. A long-tail variant of this could be: “Can I move my divorce case to a different solicitor”.

While it is tempting to only target short tail keywords, most searches performed these days are four words or longer (some estimate it to be around 70% of total searches). While the monthly volume might be lower, so will the competition. The commercial intent might be a lot better defined in longer keywords too.

Tools and methods for finding relevant keywords for your law firm

Before we use any tools, we should aim to create a starting list of any relevant keywords we can think of ourselves. We should also note down some competing law firms that we know are offering the same kind of services. This will give us something to start with and expand upon.

Google-ads keyword planner

This is the only true ‘official’ source of Google search data. The keyword planner is aimed at advertisers on the Google Ads platform. You can sign up with your Google account here and use it for free.

ppc for law firms using the google keyword planner
Once you sign in, click tools on the left hand side and then go to Keyword planner

Choose the Discover new keywords option

Choose the option : “Start with a website”

Fill in the website of a competitor and choose the “Use the entire site” option. In this example we used the number one ranking site for “Family solicitor Plymouth” : C&C Family law

Alternatively, choose the “start with keywords” option and fill in one of the starting keywords you noted down earlier.

Finally, you will be presented with an overview like the one above.

Competition in the case of Google’s own keyword tool refers to the amount of advertisers paying money to appear in the sponsored section at the top of the search results. It does not take SEO difficulty into account. For organic competitiveness scores, we can use other tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush. Nevertheless, a high competition indicates that the keyword is possibly lucrative, as many firms are bidding for the same spot. The same goes for the “top of the page bid”: if people are willing to spend between £9.54 and £107.97 (per click!) to appear in the sponsored section for “best divorce lawyers UK”, then each visitor who has searched for that specific term is potentially worth a lot of money.

Review this entire list and note down keywords that are relevant to the services you offer. Once you are finished, repeat the process with more competitors.

SEMrush and Ahrefs

The best keyword research tools in the industry as of 2023 are SEMrush and Ahrefs. Both calculate an organic competitiveness score, taking into account domain authority, backlinks, and other factors. They also offer many more options for expanding your keyword lists than the regular Google tool does.

Both companies monitor the top-50 in google for thousands of legal keywords allowing you to quickly spy on your competitors, see what they are ranking for what pages are generating the most traffic.

Both tools come at a fairly hefty price and can be overwhelming at first if you are unfamiliar with legal marketing or SEO. If you would like assistance, contact us to find out how we can help your law firm with SEO or digital marketing.

Finding keyword opportunities through google search console.

Google search console gives you insight into what people were searching for when your law firms website appeared in the search results, regardless of how many people actually clicked on it. If your homepage is targeting “mis-sold pension claims” there will be hunderds of other related searches you will appear for. This can give you a very solid understanding of what searches your website already appears for and what queries might need to be anwered on each page to be as relevant as possible.

An example from a website targeting mis sold pension claims. The search console shows us a variety of other relevant ideas we might not be targeting yet.

Want in-depth statistics and insight into your competitors in the legal sector?

With our legal dashboard, you can:

  • Compare your website speed with your competitors and other law firms.
  • View our in-depth database with performance metrics containing over 3000 UK-based law firms.
  • Track your progress monthly and watch as your online presence grows.
  • Receive free advice on maximising your legal marketing efforts.
  • Get the first 30 days for free.

Finding relevant keywords through the “people also ask” and “related searches” snippet.

Google will often display highly related questions in their rich snippet boxes. These questions are deemed highly relevant by the algorithm. You may want to answer these on a seperate page or the questions can be used to expand upon already existing content content. Be sure to cross-check the competitiveness scores and search volumes in the other tools discussed earlier in the article.

At the bottom of each page on google there will be a box with search queries that google think are relevant.

If you keep clicking on new related searches while adding them all to a spreadsheet it is easy to quickly build up hundreds of relevant keywords.

The above method step by step :

  • Google your main keyword, in this example “divorce lawyer”.
  • Copy all the questions and related searches to a text file or spreadsheet.
  • Click on one of the related searches or google one of the related questions.
  • Repeat the above steps until you have hundreds of keywords.
  • Once you are finished you can use a website like this to remove duplicates from your list before manually filtering it.

In only 60 seconds I managed to go from just “divorce lawyer” to the following list :

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his divorce is taking too long
How much does it cost for a divorce solicitor in UK?
Is it worth getting a solicitor for divorce UK?
Can you get a divorce without going to court?
How much does a divorce cost if both parties agree UK?
Is it best to get a solicitor for a divorce?
Can I get a divorce without a lawyer?
What do you talk about when going through a divorce?
Do I need a solicitor for an amicable divorce?
How do I choose a good divorce lawyer UK?
What is the average cost of a divorce lawyer in UK?
Can you get free legal advice for divorce UK?
What questions should I ask a solicitor about divorce?
What is a fixed-fee divorce?
Can you pay monthly for a divorce?
How do I choose a solicitor for divorce?
Do both sides need a solicitor in divorce?
Do both parties have to have a solicitor in divorce?
Do I need a solicitor if my husband is divorcing me?
Can I do a divorce without a solicitor?
What happens if both parties apply for a divorce?
Can my wife delay a divorce?
How do you deal with an unwanted divorce?
How do you stop a divorce you don't want?
How long does a divorce take in UK if one party doesn't agree?

Not sure where to start? Need help setting up your SEO campaign? Get in touch with us to see how we can help your law firm.