How long does SEO take to kick in for a law firm?

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You’ve just launched a new website for your law firm, or you’ve just started dipping your toes into law firm SEO. Are you getting impatient to see the fruits of your labor? 

The truth is that it typically takes around 6 months to a year for attorneys to see the biggest gains from a new SEO strategy. But it doesn’t necessarily stop there—as long as YOU and your marketing team keep it going. 

And, truthfully, this is where a lot of attorneys go wrong with their SEO. They get impatient! 

While you might see some positive changes within a matter of days or weeks, it’s truly a case of good things coming to those who proactively wait.

Why Faster Isn’t Always Better for Law Firm SEO 

SEO feels like a science. It feels like you should be able to plug in the right keywords, turn the right knobs, and get a great result as soon as you “turn it on.” And that’s kind of the way it used to work, years ago. 

But modern SEO is a lot less black and white. There is a lot more to keep track of. You’re usually trying to be seen for lots of longtail, natural-sounding keywords and phrases. You’re working a lot harder on little things that increase your reputation and authority. You’re working on getting things just right on the technical backend of your website. You’re competing with more law firms for your perfect clients’ attention. It’s about a lot more than getting to Page One with whatever the biggest, most obvious keywords are for your law firm. It’s frankly a lot more confusing than it used to be!

All that additional complexity slows things down—and, in some ways, that’s really a good thing. 

Even Google raises an eyebrow at sites that gain too quickly in the rankings. Why? Because it assumes you’re doing something you shouldn’t be doing. Just like I said above, that’s just NOT the way SEO works these days! 

Your goal with SEO isn’t to race to a predetermined endpoint and then relax. Instead, you’re building up a complex strategy and constantly monitoring and adjusting it to keep it going and make it better. No matter how much you do or how skilled your law firm’s SEO partners are, there will not be a point where you can just rest on your laurels. You have to stay fresh and keep moving if you want to keep a stronghold on your search domination. Scammers and tricksters get flushed out with each new Google update, and earnest lawyers that provide what their potential clients want slowly move up.  

Think of that first year as the time you spend EARNING your rankings and wins. Google knows it takes time, and it doesn’t want to push sites to its own users that aren’t up to its standards.

So, it’s really not about how fast you can get there; it’s about sustainability and the quality signals you send over time.

What Can Attorneys Do to See SEO Results Faster?

The most effective SEO strategies right now are a cocktail composed of:

  • Technical SEO—you know, things like keyword research, optimization, search-crawler friendliness, etc.
  • Consistent, high-quality content
  • Clean backlink profiles
  • Ongoing maintenance of all the above  

So, if you want to speed up your results, make sure that your content strategy is on point. Play by Google’s rules and follow its guidelines for speed, structure, security, and other best practices.  This will clear out a lot of bumps in the road that would otherwise slow you down. 

Other things you’re already doing to market your law firm can support your SEO efforts, too. Community outreach, PR opportunities, social media involvement, your review strategy, and even email and newsletter outreach can pump up excitement and word-of-mouth referrals. And all those things can give Google more subtle signs that your brand is trustworthy and that your site is hitting all the marks for your perfect clients. 

It won’t guarantee you faster or bigger wins, but it sure will support those goals and put you in the best position to achieve them.

Staying on Top of the Things You Can’t Control

Of course, there are things you can’t control that can and will impact how fast your law firm’s SEO strategy gains traction. The quality of the sites you’re competing with matters. The age and authority of your current website matter. Google’s constant algorithm changes matter. But that’s one of the big benefits of working with a skilled SEO partner who can explain the lay of the land and warn you when big changes are coming. 

Ultimately, you don’t WANT to see huge, sudden gains that disappear as fast as they appear. That’s usually a bad sign. Instead, what you really want to see are steady gains in traffic and conversions over time. It’s totally normal to see a pattern of fast growth in the first year, followed by slower but steady growth after that. This pattern shows your progress as you trample over poorer quality sites in the beginning before going head-to-head with stronger competition on your way up to the top.

And the best part is that, if you maintain it, your SEO strategy only gets more powerful. It might start slow or feel like it hits a plateau from time to time, but it’s really getting exponentially stronger in the long run. You’ve heard us say it before, but it’s a whole machine that runs faster, better, and more efficiently as you work on it. 

Not getting the results you want from your law firm’s SEO efforts? Not sure why it’s taking so long to see results? Join us for a free website analysis, and let’s take a look under the hood together. 

 
Tom Foster
Connect with me
Founder | CEO

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