Local Keyword Research for Lawyers: A How-To Guide

Local keyword research is essential for law firms looking to boost their online presence and attract a local client base.

Focusing on local SEO instead of broader SEO helps law firms target their client persona within a specific geographical area, increasing your visibility and attracting more qualified leads.

But how do you find and optimize for the right local keywords?

In this article, we’ll explore the essential steps for conducting effective local keyword research for lawyers. This includes understanding your target audience, leveraging keyword research tools, and optimizing for long-tail geo-targeted keywords.

Understand your target audience

Before diving into local keyword research, define and identify the target audience for your law firm. Understanding who you’re trying to reach will help you create more targeted and effective local SEO campaigns.

law firm client persona

To define your target audience, consider the following factors:

  • Practice areas: What areas of law does your firm specialize in? Your target audience depends on your specific services (e.g., personal injury, family law, or criminal defense).
  • Demographics: Who are your ideal clients in terms of age, gender, income, education, and occupation? This information can help you tailor your keywords and content to appeal to them.
  • Location: What is the geographical area you serve? Knowing the cities, towns, or neighborhoods where your potential clients reside can help you target local keywords.

We aren’t exaggerating when we say knowing your target audience can help take your local SEO to another level.

Understanding who your ideal client is and their location can help you tailor your keyword strategy and content to reach and convert them. This allows you to invest your time in higher-value keywords to get a higher ROI on your content.

This is true for local SEO as well. After all, most lawyers work locally. Attracting website visitors from other states, while good for your overall SEO, isn’t always the ideal approach to getting actual clients.

Utilize keyword research tools

Leveraging the power of keyword research tools can help you more effectively identify relevant local keywords.

These tools provide a heap of data that can inform your keyword research. This includes search volume, competition, and search intent.

Here are a few top keyword research tools.

Google Keyword Planner

This free tool by Google provides a wealth of information on keyword search volume, competition level, and cost-per-click (CPC) estimates.

It’s designed for use with Google Ads, providing relevant data for pay-per-click specialists.

However, the data is useful for understanding keyword search volume and other metrics without signing up for paid services.

To find local keywords, enter your target location and relevant primary keywords related to your law practice (e.g., “personal injury lawyer”).

The tool will generate a list of local keywords along with their search volume and competition.


Ahrefs is a comprehensive SEO tool that includes a powerful keyword research feature.

With its Keywords Explorer tool, you can find local keywords by setting a specific location and entering seed keywords.

Ahrefs also provides data on keyword difficulty, search volume, and CPC, allowing you to identify your law firm’s most relevant and valuable local keywords.


Another popular SEO tool, and the one we recommend, Semrush offers a range of features for keyword research.

Use its Keyword Magic Tool to discover local keywords. Just enter your primary keywords along with your target location, and you’ll get a list of appropriate keywords.

semrush keyword magic tool
(Image Source)

Semrush provides data on search volume, keyword difficulty, search intent, plus many more metrics, helping you identify the keywords worth targeting.

Focus on geo-targeted keywords

As we’ve mentioned, it’s important to focus on geo-targeted keywords.

Geo-targeted keywords combine your practice area with the city, town, or neighborhood you’re targeting.

For example, if you’re a personal injury lawyer in Austin, Texas, you might optimize for keywords like “Austin personal injury lawyer” or “personal injury attorney in Austin.”

To identify and optimize for geo-targeted keywords, follow these steps:

  • Brainstorm location-based terms: List the cities, towns, or neighborhoods you serve.
  • Combine with practice areas: Pair these location-based terms with your primary practice areas or legal services, creating a list of potential geo-targeted keywords.
  • Analyze keyword data: Use keyword research tools like Semrush to analyze your geo-targeted keywords’ search volume and keyword difficulty. Select the most relevant and valuable keywords to target in your local SEO campaigns. Think high volume, low competition.
  • Optimize for long-tail keywords: Long-tail keywords are longer, more specific phrases with lower search volume but higher conversion rates. They let you attract more qualified leads who will likely convert into clients. For example, instead of targeting “Austin personal injury lawyer,” you might optimize for “Austin car accident injury attorney” or “slip and fall lawyer in Austin, TX.”
  • Incorporate keywords into your content and metadata: Once you’ve identified your top geo-targeted keywords, incorporate them into your website content, meta titles, meta descriptions, headings, and URL structure. This is how search engines like Google know what keywords to rank your website for and where.

Analyze competitors’ keywords

Analyzing your competitors’ keywords helps you identify gaps in their strategy and opportunities for you to outperform competitors.

Here are the main ways competitor research helps inform your SEO strategy:

  • Identify gaps in your keyword strategy: You can discover valuable keyword opportunities that you might have overlooked.
  • Recognize opportunities for improvement: If your competitors rank higher than you for specific keywords, analyzing their content can help you figure out why.
  • Uncover content ideas: Competitor keyword analysis can also inspire new content ideas. Your competitors often are doing their own keyword research and may have found opportunities you missed.

Track and monitor keyword performance

Tracking and monitoring your keyword performance is essential for anyone serious about law firm SEO.

By closely monitoring your targeted keywords’ performance, you can make data-driven decisions to adjust your approach, identify areas for improvement, and ensure your law firm remains competitive in local search results.

Here are the main ways you can use that data to level up your SEO:

  • Measure success: Tracking keyword performance allows you to measure the success of your local SEO efforts, providing insights into which keywords are driving the most traffic, leads, and conversions.
  • Continuous optimization: Monitoring keyword performance lets you identify underperforming content and adjust accordingly. You can improve your rankings by changing your content, metadata, or link-building strategies.
  • Detect shifts in search trends: Search trends and user behavior can change over time. Tracking keyword performance helps you stay updated with these changes and adapt your strategy accordingly.
  • Allocate resources effectively: By understanding which keywords deliver the best results, you can allocate your resources more effectively, focusing on high-performing keywords and optimizing your content for maximum impact.

But how do you track and monitor performance?

Tools like Semrush, which we’ve already discussed, and Google Analytics can provide valuable insights into your website traffic, user behavior, and keyword performance.

Use local keyword research to level up your attorney SEO

Local keyword research is a vital component for law firms looking to enhance their online presence and attract a local client base.

Focusing on local SEO lets you target your client persona, getting you more qualified leads that actually turn into paying clients.

You can implement these strategies on your own. Or, if you’d rather focus on your law firm’s cases, outsourcing to a professional law firm marketing agency is always a good option.