What Keywords Do People Really Search to Find Lawyers?

Blue line art of a magnifying glass and browser signifying keyword searches

There’s a huge, pervasive, and enduring myth about SEO for attorneys, and it empties law firm’s coffers every day. That myth is that average, everyday people will type broad keywords into a search engine when they want to find an attorney. 

You heard me right. 

Typical keywords, like “Virginia auto accident attorney,” don’t produce contacts or queries like more targeted or long-tail keywords. But, somehow, all these broad or generic keywords are the ones that dominate law firm websites and go for big money through paid-advertising options like Google Ads. 

It’s a tough pill to swallow if you’ve been relying on broad keywords, but it’s an important lesson in how search engines actually work to bring clients and cases through your door.

So, keep reading to find out how actual people connect with the attorneys they eventually hire. 

The Proof Is in Real Searches for Attorneys From Real People

Don’t believe that broad keywords are a bust? Well, don’t just take my word for it. I’ll prove it to you with some simple facts.  

Take a look at the following list of keywords that real people have actually typed into a search engine (Google, Yahoo!, AOL) in the last week:

  • bad faith claim insurance advocacy
  • rotator cuff tear + medical malpractice
  • Child in wreck in Hattiesburg, Mississippi receives settlement
  • 911 phone call bike accident death mistakes
  • lawyer female washington dc personal injury
  • hospital medication mistake
  • NH injury in any accident laws
  • statute of limitations on Tort malpractice in Virginia
  • CHILD CAR SEAT FEDERAL LAW
  • car accident claims by lawyer in alexandria, va
  • how to file nursing home abuse in Virginia
  • reckless driving school, va
  • northcarolina social security hearings process
  • michigan lawsuits company death
  • atlanta apartment complex liability laws
  • michigan food lawyer
  • Will I win my lawsuit in Raleigh NC due to a car accident?
  • virginia speeding above 100 mph

Are you surprised? You’ll notice people type in the most unexpected phrases, and there aren’t many of those broad, generic keywords in the mix. The search terms often don’t include a city or state, and most of them don’t even include the words “lawyer” or “attorney.” 

But, after each of the above searches, the searcher did indeed contact a lawyer. So, where does that leave you?

How to Ditch the Broad and Rethink Your Keyword Strategy

You might feel like broad, generic keywords help you “cover all your bases.” They’re easy and seem obvious compared to some of the real-life, off-the-wall keywords like you saw above. And that’s a big part of the reason why they’re so overused, even when they don’t produce very many clients and cases. 

The key thing to understand here is that the internet doesn’t cater to the broad and generic. Instead, it caters to the highly specific and highly relevant

While using a few of those obvious keyword strings (like “Virginia car accident attorney” or “Newport estate planning lawyer”) might help Google and other search engines parse your website and understand what you do, it doesn’t help real people find you when they need your services. 

In truth, the best leads for law firms don’t all come in on the power of a single keyword or an over-optimized homepage. Instead, they come in 3 or 4 or 5 at a time from all kinds of different pages on your website—blogs, library articles, FAQs, case results, etc.  

If you’re tracking your leads in DSS, verify it for yourself. You can see what page each contact went to first. And, most of the time, the page they were led to isn’t your homepage or even a major practice area page. Instead, in the vast the majority of the cases, the first page they visited on your website after coming from search was a library article or content page.  

And it makes sense. Your content pages are the pages that are naturally rich with long-tail and highly specific keywords and phrases. Your content pages are where you answer the kinds of questions people actually have before hiring a lawyer, and they’re where people can make a connection between what you’re saying and their own experiences. 

So, the answer to getting more leads from your website and marketing isn’t to bid on bigger, broader, or more expensive keywords. The answer is to write more highly specific and highly relevant content for your website. Add library articles and blogs with great calls to action. Address the questions you hear from actual clients and potential clients. Optimize and design your content pages with the same care you put into your homepage and practice area pages. 

Ultimately, the more well-thought-out content pages you have on your site, the more likely you are to have the word combinations that real-life visitors search for.  

It's organic. It’s free. And, best of all, it works better than the big, broad alternatives. 

Has this information left you with a lot of questions? Are you suddenly rethinking your pay-per-click (PPC) spend or content strategy? If so, you’re already headed in the right direction, and our team’s expertise can guide you the rest of the way toward your goals. 

Is Your Law Firm Or Medical Practice Website Getting Enough Exposure? Foster Web Marketing Can Help With Our Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Services  

Are you concerned that your website isn't pulling in enough traffic to keep you swimming in leads? Do you need help with SEO for your legal or medical website? If so, Foster Web Marketing can help! Please contact us online or call our office directly at 866.497.6199 to schedule your free consultation with our experienced marketing team. We have been helping clients throughout the United States and internationally since 1998 and are confident we can help you not only reach, but exceed your goals.

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