Search Engine Optimization Requires a Long-Term Commitment

When most law firms start spending money on search engine optimization (SEO), they both hope and expect to see results quickly. While implementing an SEO strategy does lead to immediate changes – like fresh content and better site structure organization – ever the over-achievers, lawyers generally want to see page one, result one organic search results on all major search engines as soon as possible.

The bottom line is that you will start seeing results in six months, meaning initial increases in organic rankings, and after about 12 months, you’ll see true impactful results – while keeping in mind SEO results grow, fluctuate, and eventually level off over time. Bottom line: if you can’t budget for at minimum six months of SEO work, you should spend your money elsewhere. So why should law firms invest in search engine optimization at all? SEO delivers a better rate of return than any other form of online marketing, as 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine and Google gets 92% of that.


Lawyers want to see their SEO results match the results of their paid advertising (whether online or off) – and that is simply impossible because SEO IS NOT ADVERTISING. We know our law firms need the SEO work we recommend and do for them. But SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. Other marketing vendors selling SEO services to the legal industry don’t do real marketers any favors in this department either – selling snake oil and quick fixes that won’t work but sound great really undermine the hard work the rest of us put in toward long-term SEO goals. It’s also important to remember that vendors promising immediate results may be able to deliver…. for a while. Ultimately, Google recognizes the shady practices used to achieve those results, and your domain name and website may permanently end up on a Google blacklist – someplace you definitely don’t want to be.


SEO is the process of getting traffic to your website by increasing your website’s ranking in the free, organic, or natural search results on search engines. SEO is a fairly broad set of digital strategies marketing professionals use to promote your website to search engines. The process involves continued site improvement until the site begins to show up in relevant keyword searches – and then capitalizing on the initial results to maintain and/or continue to increase your rankings.

Your website starts off with an SEO baseline – and that is where you will measure your progress from. Your website’s SEO baseline includes traffic, website design, website content, domain age, domain structure, geographic location, competition, and target market. A good SEO strategy starts the process with an audit of your website to measure all of these factors and more. Then, he or she will create a content plan, produce content on an ongoing basis, obtain inbound links (also called backlinks), work with a virtually limitless number of digital citations, and even get your site some awesome social media signals.


Consistency is important when it comes to any kind of SEO. Stick with your marketing plan, even if you aren’t seeing noticeable results after month four or even month six; time and commitment will get you the search engine traffic results you want to see. While most law firms are likely to quit right about the time that SEO starts to begin its real work (around six months in), this is just when organic rankings will begin to increase. And, if you quit after a few months and come back to SEO later, most or all of your previous efforts have likely worn off and were a waste of time and money. It usually takes between 8-12 months for new websites in competitive niches to make SEO work in full.

10 Factors That Can Influence How Quickly SEO Works For Your Law Firm:

  1. Keyword Phrases (including search volume and how often they are used throughout your website)
  2. Domain Name
  3. Your Business
  4. Your Location
  5. Your Content
  6. Competition In Your Niche
  7. If Other SEO Work Has Been Done Before
  8. Site Design and Architecture
  9. Website Traffic
  10. Your Target Audience

Since no one knows what comprises Google’s search algorithm, SEO is not an exact science. While trial and error and thousands of experts’ research gives us trustworthy tips on what is important, no two businesses are the same – even law firms that have the same number of attorneys and same practice areas. Even utilizing similar strategies, the same results don’t happen for every law firm in the same timeframe.


So if your SEO vendor tells you that it’s going to take anywhere from six months to one year to achieve awesome results, they’re telling you the truth… And on the flip side, if you’re talking to a vendor and they tell you they’ll get you ranked #1 in a few months or less, you’ll get a huge amount of traffic overnight, and/or you can do SEO once and rank well forever, you know they’re lying. With everything in the search industry continually changing, and with Google rolling out new algorithms and updating old ones, if you think SEO will get you quick results, think again.



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