SEO for Family Law: What You Need to Know

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a game changer for family law firms.

It’s more than just a digital marketing buzzword; it’s a strategy that will put your law firm on the map.

When someone’s looking for help with a divorce or is in a custody battle, they need a family law expert. Odds are they’ll head to Google and type in “family lawyer near me.” You want them to see your firm first.

But SEO isn’t just about getting your name out there.

It’s about making you the go-to name for family law issues in your area. It’s about connecting with people who need your expertise and guiding them straight to your website.

So, to grow your family law practice, you must invest in SEO. It’s not an overnight solution; it’s a constant, strategic effort. But the payoff is worth it.

In this article, we’ll take you through the following:

  • What is law firm SEO?
  • Why it’s important for family law firms?
  • The aspects of SEO you should focus on
  • How to implement a comprehensive SEO strategy

Let’s get started.

What is SEO for family lawyers?

SEO is a digital marketing strategy that can improve the visibility of your family law website in organic (non-paid) search engine results.

It involves implementing a range of strategies and techniques that make your content appeal to search engines like Google, aiming to improve your rankings.

What is law firm SEO

But it’s about more than just building a search-engine-friendly website. You should create your website and content for people first and search engines second.

At its core, SEO is about delivering content that search engines need and visitors find valuable.

The better optimized your site is for search engines, the more likely your site will be to rank on the first page of the search engine results for keywords relevant to your firm and content.

Importance of keywords in SEO

Keywords are the linchpin of any successful SEO strategy.

These are the phrases that potential clients type into Google when seeking legal assistance. When your content matches these search queries, your content is more likely to show up on SERPs.

Identifying the right keywords and knowing how to properly use them in your content is an important piece of the puzzle.

For a family law firm, these might include “family law attorney,” “divorce lawyer,” or “child custody legal advice.” These keywords are broader than we usually recommend but are a good place to start.

Long-tail keywords (more specific phrases like “best family law attorney in [your city]”) are the real high-converting keywords you want to target. These longer keywords usually have lower search volume, but they can attract high-quality visitors—those who are more likely to convert.

Lawyer Keywords Head Body Long-Tail

Ultimately, a well-executed keyword strategy forms the backbone of any SEO strategy, driving targeted traffic to your website and increasing your firm’s online visibility.

SEO vs. traditional marketing

While traditional marketing methods like print advertisements, billboards, or television and radio spots have their place, SEO is non-negotiable. It’s a marketing tactic that will help you reach an audience you otherwise wouldn’t—one that’s targeted and more likely to convert.

Traditional marketing is like throwing a dart in the dark, hoping you hit the bullseye, but often coming out short. You’re advertising to everyone, hoping your messaging resonates with someone.

While it can be effective, tracking your ROI from traditional marketing tactics isn’t easy.

Lawyer Advertising Rules Traditional Advertising

Whereas SEO is more targeted. You identify a specific client persona and create marketing material explicitly designed for them. The ROI from SEO and digital marketing as a whole is easier to measure and optimize.

On that note, SEO itself is more measurable. You can track many metrics, like website visits and conversion rates, that give you an idea of how your marketing strategies are performing.

It’s also worth noting that SEO is infinitely more scalable and cost-effective, even for practice areas like divorce law. There’s no need to continuously pump large amounts of budget into it for it to work, whereas billboard and radio ads require a hefty amount of money to keep running.

Why is family law SEO necessary?

You’ll want to focus on SEO when building your family law practice.

Around 70 percent of law firms have landed new cases through their website.

To land those cases, you need to invest in SEO to get your website to the top of Google. But it’s not as easy as stuffing a bunch of keywords into your content.

Law-related keywords are highly competitive—they’re some of the most competitive keywords out there. So your SEO strategy needs to be intentional if you want to beat the competition.

legal related keyword prices
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An indication of how competitive legal keywords are is that the most expensive keywords on Google Ads in 2022 were all law-related. Meaning they’re the highest in demand of all keyword phrases.

This is why we recommend law firms invest resources into outsourcing their SEO in order to succeed in such a crowded market.

Our client Spectrum Family Law in Calgary, invests in SEO and dominates the first page of Google.

The results speak for themselves.

family law seo

4 essential elements of a family law SEO campaign

A comprehensive family law marketing campaign needs to work on several levels if you want to get those coveted top rankings.

On-page SEO

On-page SEO is a massive topic, but it’s one that’s essential to touch on if you want your family law firm’s website to reach the top of SERPs.

It’s about how you optimize your website’s pages for search. There are several factors that go into how Google decides on rankings, including:

on-page seo

A thoughtful content marketing campaign is the backbone of any successful SEO campaign. And family lawyers have a lot of relevant and informative content they could create.

Consider that most people looking for legal assistance with a family law matter may need to learn how their case should be handled, how to hire a family law attorney, or how to defend their charges.

You have all that information in your head, waiting to be shared in your blog and across your website.

Building powerful service pages, FAQs, and blog articles is the foundation of your SEO strategy—great content optimized for keyword usage and the technical elements of SEO.

Let’s dive into some specifics.

Keyword research

We’ve already touched on the importance of keyword research for lawyers, but it’s worth going into more detail.

They’re important, but you should write all of your content for your readers first and search engines second.

Stuffing your pages with keywords can actually hinder your SEO rather than help it, especially when you’re not matching search intent.

Every time a user searches for a keyword or phrase, there’s an intent behind it. And your content should match the address’s intent.

types of search intent

The closer your content matches the intent of the user, the higher it’s likely to rank. Identify what the intent is and shape your content to address it.

To do this, consider a typical client journey, which usually goes something like this:


And you should find keywords and design content that addresses all stages of the buying journey to reach clients at all stages.

A keyword phrase like “hire a family lawyer in Calgary” has a pretty obvious intent behind it. The searcher is looking to hire a service.

But a search for “custody laws in Calgary” is a bit more ambiguous. Is the searcher looking for information, searching for a law firm to hire, or are they ready to hire a lawyer?

Powerful practice area pages

Consider creating long-form practice area pages (where you dive into the practice area, share your knowledge, and answer the questions your clients often ask).

family law practice area page
(Image Source)

These pages, when done right, are at least 1,000 words and quite comprehensive. You’re not just explaining your services—you’re sharing insights and knowledge.

FAQ pages

A dedicated FAQ page on your family law firm’s website can be a powerful tool for multiple reasons.

First, just think about all of the questions your potential and current clients ask you. You can use your FAQ page to address those questions and concerns, demonstrating your understanding of your client persona.

It’s immediately valuable to your website visitors, making your site more user-friendly. This can lead to longer site visits, lower bounce rates, and a higher conversion rate.

Second, an FAQ page is a goldmine for SEO. By naturally incorporating relevant keywords like “family law,” “divorce lawyer,” or “child custody,” you can boost your website’s search engine rankings and appear in Google’s People Also Ask section.

In-depth blogs

Writing and publishing quality blogs is the foundation of many SEO strategies.

It’s a way for you to cover topics relevant to your practice area that your prospective clients may be interested in. Comprehensive blog posts show off your expertise and knowledge in the field.

Evergreen Elder Law writes various blog posts related to their practice area.

family law blog post
(Image Source)

From an SEO perspective, blog posts are unmatched. Regularly updated, relevant, and keyword-optimized content can get your website to the top of SERPs for long-tail keywords your clients are typing into Google.

Blogs are also incredibly shareable. You can share them on your social media pages, and if they’re especially notable, they could generate backlinks and get you some free PR.

Technical SEO for family law websites

Many aspects of technical SEO relate to and are a part of on-page SEO.

But we treat it separately from on-page SEO as it’s where things get a little more… well, technical. Many law firms outsource their website’s SEO when they realize how much work goes into it.

For example, let’s look at a blog post. You, of course, want to optimize your page for the keyword(s) you’re targeting.

Aside from that, though, there are other elements you need to optimize, like:

  • Title tag
  • Description tag
  • H1 tag (main header)
  • Heading tags (h2–h6) (sub-headers)
  • First and last paragraphs on the page
  • Page URL
  • Image alt tags
  • Relevant on-page links (both internal and external)

The title and description tags are what you see on the Google SERPs. For instance, a Google search for “Calgary family law lawyers” will show the following.

calgary family law lawyers

The primary keyword appears in both the title and description tags for each law firm on page one of Google.

It’s essential to get the title and description tags right because they’re the first impression people have of your website and determine whether someone clicks through to get to your page. This is important to Google when ranking your website.

Other elements of technical SEO that you want to be conscious of include:

  • Page load speed (aim for under 2.5 seconds)
  • Mobile-friendliness/responsiveness
  • Site structure/architecture
  • SSL and HTTPS
  • Schema
  • Sitemaps
  • URL structure
  • Redirects

Let’s talk more about page load speed and mobile optimization.

Mobile optimization (or responsiveness) involves optimizing your law firm’s website for all devices, including phones and tablets. Because Google is now mobile-first, a website that’s not optimized for mobile devices won’t perform well.

It makes sense, as 92.3% of internet users use mobile devices.

This should be handled when your website is designed, as any qualified law firm website designer will use a responsive design. That means the layout is automatically adjusted depending on the screen size.


(Image Source)

Page load speed is exactly what it sounds like.

It’s a critical factor for user experience and SEO. Users expect any website they visit to load quickly (something below 2.5 seconds). If it doesn’t, odds are they’ll hit the back button and click on one of your competitor’s websites.

Aside from that, Google look at page load speed as one of its key ranking factors (and it’s part of core web vitals).

We recommend hiring an SEO specialist to handle this aspect of SEO.

Off-page SEO

Off-page SEO is about establishing your website as a trustworthy and credible source. It’s one of the most important SEO ranking factors, so it’s essential to get it right.

Here are some key elements.

The importance of E-E-A-T

Google does an incredible job at vetting information, especially when it comes to the legal profession. The information displayed in search results can have a major financial and life-changing impact on users.

Here’s what E-E-A-T means.


Google wants to show content written by experts whenever possible. So legal content written by lawyers will almost always outshine that of non-experts.

The in-depth family law content you develop will go a long way to establishing your E-E-A-T.

Building backlinks

Another important ranking factor is backlinks.

A backlink is a link from one website to another. In this case, one from another website to your law firm’s website.

Think of every backlink you receive as a vote of confidence in your website. When determining where to rank a page, Google looks at the number and quality of backlinks, so you need to consciously seek them out.

You can use a tool like Semrush to check the backlink profile of not only your website but of your competitors. It’s a great way to see where your competitors get their backlinks, so you can approach the same organizations to get your own.

semrush backlinks
(Image Source)

Keep in mind that one high-quality backlink can be worth as much as 50 low-quality links, so seek out the best.

But how do you build backlinks?

law firm link building

Social media

We know that off-page SEO refers to actions taken outside of your own website that affect your rankings—social media is one channel you can’t afford to miss.

Having an active presence on platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn can help you get in front of more potential clients and drive traffic to your website. It benefits your local SEO as well as your E-E-A-T.

We talk about social media for law firms in much more detail here.

Local SEO for family law firms

Most law firms work locally—they operate in a specific area and only work with clients in those areas.

Which is why local SEO is non-negotiable.

One of the cornerstones of local SEO is building citations, which confirm the validity of your law firm and require your business contact details to be accurate (your NAP data– name, address, and phone number must be consistent across the web).

Keep these consistent on all platforms and directories, including social media.

Let’s go into a bit more detail.

Google Business Profile

Your Google Business Profile listing is the most crucial aspect of your local SEO strategy. Make sure you claim yours and optimize it.

Anyone searching for the name of your law firm will see a panel that takes up a lot of real estate on the SERP, like this:

law firm google my business profile

Your Google Business Profile will also show up on the map pack as a pinned location (if you’ve optimized your profile).

law firm map pin google

The more optimized your profile is, the more likely you are to rank for local keywords that generate some of the most qualified traffic.

Here are a few things you can do to optimize it.

google my business checklist

Reviews and citations

Online reviews and citations play a pivotal role in local SEO, influencing your firm’s online reputation and impacting your visibility in local search results.

Reviews are a form of social proof that can significantly influence potential clients’ decisions when hiring a lawyer. When a prospective client sees positive reviews for your firm, it builds trust and credibility, potentially tipping the scale in your favor.

Google takes into account the quantity and quality of your reviews in its local ranking algorithm. Encourage satisfied clients to leave reviews on platforms like Google Business Profile and directories like Yelp and Avvo.

Responding to these reviews—both positive and negative—in a professional and timely manner further enhances your firm’s reputation.

Tracking SEO success

You’ve got your website up, have created some great content, and are starting to bring in traffic.

Now what?

Ensuring your family law firm’s SEO efforts are fruitful involves more than just implementing strategies—it requires diligent tracking and analysis of key metrics. Without detailed analytics, it’s impossible to gauge the success of your SEO campaign or identify areas that need improvement.

Google Analytics is a powerful (and free) tool that offers insights into your website’s performance.

It provides data on important metrics like:

  • Organic traffic
  • Bounce rate
  • Dwell time

Monitoring these metrics can help you understand how users are interacting with your content, what’s going right, and what’s going wrong so you can adjust accordingly.

You should also track the keywords that drive traffic to your site. By doing so, you can see what targeted keywords are performing well in SERPs and which are actually getting you new clients.

Avoiding common SEO mistakes

While SEO is essential for any successful law firm marketing strategy, it’s also easy to make mistakes. Here are a few common ones to avoid:

Keyword stuffing: While keywords are essential for SEO, overusing them can be counterproductive. Keyword stuffing—overloading your content with keywords in an unnatural way—can lead to a poor user experience and can even cause search engines to penalize your site.

Ignoring mobile users: It’s a grave mistake to ignore mobile optimization. A website that doesn’t function smoothly on mobile devices can frustrate visitors and hurt your search engine rankings.

Overlooking user experience (UX): User experience is an often-overlooked aspect of SEO. A website that is difficult to navigate slow to load, or cluttered with ads can drive away potential clients. Search engines factor in UX when determining rankings. Focus on creating a user-friendly site with intuitive navigation, fast load times, and a clean, professional design.

Avoiding these common SEO mistakes can significantly enhance your online presence. Remember, SEO is not just about improving visibility—it’s also about providing a superior user experience that encourages engagement and drives conversions.

How to execute an SEO campaign

The majority of law firms outsource their SEO. It’s highly technical and not something that can be taught overnight.

Getting to the top of Google takes time, know-how, and commitment to staying consistent.

You have to manage a lot of different areas, including:

  • Keyword research
  • Developing content for your site (practice area pages, FAQs, blog articles, etc.)
  • Optimizing pages for keywords
  • Attending to the technical side of SEO (site architecture, etc.)
  • Attracting backlinks (off-page SEO)
  • Optimizing for local search (citations, local directories, Google My Business)
  • Soliciting reviews from clients
  • Core web vitals

Most attorneys prefer to focus on what they know—practicing the law. Besides, SEO requires an ongoing effort and isn’t something you can set and forget.

If you do want to go at it alone or simply want to learn more about SEO, visit our full SEO for lawyers guide.

Otherwise, consider outsourcing to an expert that specializes in law firm marketing.

Besides, anyone who can deliver the types of SEO results that x gets is worth paying for.

divorce lawyer serp

Family law SEO: A long-term investment in your firm

If you ignore SEO, you’ll miss out on arguably the most cost-effective way to generate leads for your law firm.

If you focus on the abovementioned SEO tactics, you’ll receive a steady (and endless) flow of inquiries, much more than you would with any other marketing tactic.

But SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. It requires ongoing work.

For most family law attorneys, hiring a high-quality SEO specialist is the right move, as DIYing it can be tricky.