You give up things when you choose the law firm SEO veterans at Black Fin… Things like obscure reporting, tactics from 2012, and a team who can’t answer your questions.

You’ve likely been through a lot already. I hear stories all the time of how agencies are taking advantage of law firms, forcing them into contracts or services that may not be what the firm needs — instead, it’s what brings the agency the most revenue.

Perhaps you’re ready for a different experience?

“The company you hire to manage your law firm’s SEO and digital marketing may be the most important decision you make all year. After all, the future of your firm likely depends on it.”

Gerrid Smith CEO, Black Fin

How we came to be the #1 ranked law firm SEO company…

“If you’re not first, you’re last.”

When I heard that statement in Talladega Nights, it immediately resonated with me as an online marketer. In 2017, if you’re not first, it can feel like you’re irrelevant. With Google now showing four PPC ads, then three map listings, a #1 ranking organically means you’re actually #8. This has changed the game for marketers, like us, and for lawyers, like you.

My name is Gerrid Smith, and I got started in the legal marketing industry 10 years ago when I developed the largest personal injury lawyer directory online in 2007. I learned very quickly how much I hated selling directory listings and that I was a geek and should just embrace that.

Before starting my directory, I had spent the previous two years studying SEO. I took every course online and visited every conference and important training seminar I could find. I was on a mission to be the best SEO possible. My father instilled in me the belief that you must give 110% of yourself to your career if you are going to succeed. That means putting in the time — working nights and weekends to develop the edge you need to be successful.

I couldn’t pick up the phone…

I knew the only way to sell directory listings was to pick up the phone and cold-call attorneys. But how could I do that when I hated salespeople myself? I couldn’t do it. I even had a great site with phenomenal rankings in Google. A site I knew would actually help attorneys generate more business for their firms. My purpose in life wasn’t going to be selling, but in getting my hands dirty and ranking websites.

The call that changed everything

I mustered the courage to call the owner of a domain name that I desperately wanted to use for my directory. He answered, asked what I was going to do with the domain name and what I felt the name was worth.

Gosh, I realized early on I was a terrible negotiator.

I gave him the full preview of what I wanted to do with the directory and all that it could become. I told him the name is worth more than $1k, but I was 20 years old and that was all I could afford. He told me to keep the money and instead, he wanted me to provide $1k worth of services for his son, who was an attorney.

I improved that firm’s ranking in 30 days and found my calling.

A lot has changed since I made that first exchange.

Today, that firm is still a client and we help them generate hundreds of cases per year through the Internet. I was completely unknown then, and while I’m still unknown to most of the world, I was featured in the following online publications last year alone:, to CIO, and Search Engine Journal.

I Carry The Weight of the World for Our Clients

I don’t want you to believe I’m perfect — I’m not. Even the greatest hitter of all time, Ted Williams, only got on base 3/10 times. Our batting average is a lot better than Ted’s because it has to be. I’ve made it my life to eat, breathe, and sleep SEO for attorneys. Even after being the top ranked company in Google for years, I still go to trainings, take courses, and perform testing on my own website to make sure we don’t lose our edge. I treat every day and every client with the respect and energy they deserve.

Failure is not an option for my clients, so it can’t be one for me.

Unlike many of my competitors, we don’t have cold-callers and hard sellers. Just like ALL of my clients, my name is all over this site. Since day one, we’ve never required a long-term contract. I have always believed that we should have to fight for our client’s business every single day. I’m not here to hide behind a fancy logo. I need to be able to sleep at night. I want to live everyday like it will be written about in tomorrow’s paper. That mentality has caused us to grow slower than others, but it causes us to think twice about every strategy we implement on a client’s site. It really makes you think – about – everything, which is a good thing. Measure twice, cut once

The honest truth about what makes Black Fin special…

This may sound cliche, but in general, most companies provide crappy services because they just don’t give a rat’s ass about their customers. When you care deeply about your customers, you think about them and how they can get ahead at all hours of the day. Your thinking about your customers when you wake up and you’re brushing your teeth to when you’re going to bed after a long day. You just don’t stop. This mentality gives you a passion and a drive to read more, test more, and study more just to find the slight edge your client needs to take them from #4 to #2 so you can have a 5-minute victory and then dissatisfaction drives you to figure out how to steal that #1 spot from a firm who is most certainly less deserving than your own.

That’s the heart of Black Fin.

It’s the heart of a company that’s ranked at the top of Google for some of the most coveted and competitive keywords in our industry for years.

It’s the heart of a company that has helped hundreds of law firms generate clients through the web.

It’s the heart of a company that believes it has never arrived, nor will it ever.

We will keep pushing the limits and do whatever it takes to ensure our client’s win.

Because there’s just too much riding on the line.

“If you’re not first, you’re last.”

“I have been in the internet advertising game for over 15 years. During that time, I have hired and fired at least 6 SEO/SEM companies. Luckily, my search is over. Black Fin is by far the BEST company I have used. EVERY SINGLE PERSON I have dealt with from Day 1 has been super-knowledgeable, as well as professional, courteous and friendly. My questions (and I have a lot of them), are ALWAYS answered beyond my satisfaction in a very quick manner, and someone is always available. Most importantly is that Black Fin has grown my business exponentially. They not only designed 2 beautiful website for me, but they have managed my PPC campaigns VERY effectively and cost-efficiently. I cannot say enough about this company, other than that I am happy I need look no further.”

JEFFREY H. PENNEYS, ESQUIRE Law Offices of Jeffrey H. Penneys, P.C.

“Black Fin is a powerful partner to improve your Firm’s web presence, credibility, and get new business. I’ve worked with several other companies who claim to get results and, only now, since working with Black Fin have we actually gotten solid results.”

Chris Parvin

“We have been using Black Fin more than a year for both SEO and web design. We appreciate their responsiveness to our requests and questions. They have been a pleasure to work with.”

Doug Douglas N. Kiger | Attorney at Law

“Gerrid had two of my listings on the first page of Google within two weeks. I have never been so impressed with an SEO service. I would recommend Gerrid to any business owner who wishes to quickly increase his or her visibility on the Internet.”

Amanda B. Cook, Business Attorney

“I cannot express how much Gerrid Smith and Black Fin have impressed me, and improved my website’s ranking… Gerrid also responds to questions very quickly. What is even more impressive is that Gerrid checks my analytics every day, not just at month’s end. Additionally, Gerrid and Black Fin provide other suggestions to improve my firm’s business, not just the website. I cannot be happier with Gerrid Smith and Black Fin, and highly recommend their services.”

Seth Gladstein, Gladstein Law Firm

“Before hiring Gerrid and his team, we didn’t really know what was possible as it relates to growing the firm from the web. Today though, our firm generates over 100 leads per month from the web and we just finished a record year in 2013. We couldn’t be more pleased with the Black Fin team.”

Lee Abrahamson

“I wanted to thank you for all of the attention you have given me. In the time that our firm has been utilizing your services, our web presence has skyrocketed – a true testament to your expertise and diligence.”

Andrew M. Lamkin, Esq.

“Black Fin’s Content Team is top notch. The writing on my site’s individual pages is original and informative. What impresses me most about Black Fin’s Content Team, however, is the engaging, informative, and topical blog posts they create for my site. The blog posts don’t simply rehash stories, which may somehow relate to my practice, that have recently been in the news. Instead, the Content Team writes posts that actually help our potential clients, such as ones concerning how insurance policy limits affect injured people’s recoveries, and what to do when researching an elder care facility for a loved one. Simply stated, the Black Fin Content Team produces great work, and I highly recommend them.”

Seth Gladstein, Attorney | Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC

“Black Fin has been my favorite marketing company to work with. The quality of work is extremely high and the staff is always helpful and professional. Having worked with other companies, I have been used to being less than satisfied. Black Fin was so different. It always takes extra steps to meet my needs to create great work. I am its very happy client. I give my highest recommendations for this company.”

Jiah Kim, Attorney | Jiah Kim Law

“I am extraordinarily satisfied with Black Fin’s content services. The writing is always engaging, and their quality and attention to detail is on-point. It’s also legally accurate, informative, interesting, and – most importantly – useful to my site’s visitors. Keep up the great work!”

Mark S. Rubinstein, Attorney | Rubinstein Law Offices

“I’ve worked with several internet Marketing Companies and Blackfin has been on point more than any other. They are proactive in their approach to getting you the best results and constantly look for new ways to improve your ranking and increase traffic. They have a stellar team that will communicate with you on a regular basis on the needs of your firm and ways to improve. I’m very satisfied and happy to recommend them to anybody……except for people in my own market because I want them all to myself.”

Jack Mkhitarian, Attorney | New Mexico Criminal Law Offices

Who Do We Serve?

Marketing Managers
Startup Law Firms
Established Law Firms

5 Reasons Why You Should Consider Black Fin for Your Firm’s Search Marketing Campaign

  1. #1 for Years – We’ve been able to rank our own website and many clients at the top of Google. Why couldn’t we rank yours?
  2. Transparent Reporting – We believe you should be able to understand your reports, how you’re improving, and what we completed for you in the previous month.
  3. Focused On Your Needs – We only offer you what you need as opposed to our focus being our own bottom line.
  4. Nationally Recognized – We’re award winning and our CEO has been quoted in Forbes, INC, CIO, and Search Engine Journal.
  5. 5. We eat, breathe, and sleep SEO for Lawyers – It’s been our core competency for 10 years.

What Is the All Weather Campaign (AWC)? Black Fin’s Lawyer SEO Recipe for Success

Our founder was inspired by the story of Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates — one of the world’s largest hedge funds — and his creation of the All Weather Fund.

Ray knew that the market, just like Google’s algorithm, goes through seasons and constant changes and he wanted to create a fund that did well in “all weather” conditions.

Gerrid took the same principles he learned from Ray in the creation of Black Fin’s AWC program with the goal being that our clients would perform well in Google’s vast array of algorithm updates.

An FAQ with Attorney SEO Veteran, Gerrid Smith

What is SEO for Lawyers?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the art and science of ranking web pages in the organic section of the search results.

For simplicity sake, because there are over 250 factors in Google’s algorithm, Google is primarily looking at relevancy and authority.

Relevancy is all the things — both on your site and off — that tell Google your site is relevant for a particular niche. If you’re a personal injury lawyer, what are the things on your site that tell Google you’re an injury lawyer? Aside of the fact that you reference it on your site, you probably have pages on your site that target medical malpractice, dog bites, car accidents, and slip and fall injuries, which are common on many PI sites across the country. Google looks specifically for a theme on your site, so if you tell them “I’m a personal injury lawyer,” they will actually look for the car accident page to make sure you really are.

Authority is much trickier to build. Think of relevancy as a bucket. All of the personal injury lawyers in your market are in a single bucket because they all include works like “your city,” “personal injury,” “car accidents,” etc. on their website. With maybe 100 competitors in the bucket, how does Google determine which site should rank first, second, third, etc.? They are primarily going to look at authority, which involves the number and quality of websites that link to your website. If you have 50 quality websites that link to you and your top competitors have 25 websites linking to their site, your site will likely rise to the top of the bucket. Again, there’s a lot that goes into ranking a site, but that’s the simplified version.

The next level analogy I use is that there are four primary pillars for any SEO campaign:

  1. Maps/Google My Business SEO – This is crucially important these days.
  2. Content Optimization – Making sure your content is optimized so Google can categorize your website properly.
  3. Site Structure – This includes things like site speed and crawlability so Google can find all of your web pages.
  4. Link Building – Getting quality sites to link back to you.

Generally speaking, we like to tackle the first three points in months 1-3 as that really sets the foundation for the site. From there, we focus on increasing your domain authority by getting other quality sites to link to yours.

Here are some other factors Google may consider for your attorney SEO campaign:

  • The age of your domain name.
  • How long your domain name has had a live website.
  • How much time people spend on your website.
  • If people quickly bounce off of your website and back to the search results.
  • How many times you mention your keywords on your web page (more isn’t necessarily better).
  • How many related/LSI keywords you use on your web pages.
  • How many local directory listings you have.
  • How those directories use your firm’s Name, Address and Phone number (NAP) and how consistent it is across all the directories, your website, and your Google My Business listing.
  • The length of your content.
  • The grade-level of your content.
  • If your content was written for users: use of bullet points, small paragraphs, lots of sub-headings, etc.

How much are quality SEO services from a reputable provider?

First off, the price you pay depends generally on two factors:

  • The strength of your competitors
  • The strength of your own website

Let’s say you had an estate planning firm in Cleveland, OH. If you ranked #3 in Google for “Cleveland estate planning lawyer,” I may bid $750/month on your campaign, whereas if you were just getting started and had no history in Google, I may have to charge more like $3,500/month for the campaign.

Most of the reputable companies I respect charge a minimum of $1,500 for smaller cities and upwards of $7,500-$10,000/month for larger cities. On an hourly basis you can expect to pay between $50-$250/hour. You should never choose a provider simply based upon price. What’s cheaper? A company that charges you $2,500/month that ranks you in six months on the first page of Google, or a company that charges you $1,000/month but you never rank anywhere?

Can Xyz legal SEO company who just sent me an email telling me my website sucks actually help me?

Do you know how you always get those sales emails from SEO companies sharing how many issues your site has? They tell you that everything your current SEO company is doing is all wrong.

Next time that happens, drop the domain name of their site into this tool and you’ll see if they actually know anything about SEO:

(Screenshot of a tool we use called SEMRush that shows how much traffic a site is receiving each month from search engines. Our client received a sales email from this company and they were claiming to know SEO, even though their own website receives 0 visitors per month in traffic from SEO.)

Why does it take so long to get ranked?

There’s a number of factors here. Assuming you’ve chosen a quality digital marketing company, I would primarily look at the strength of your competitors and the strength/weakness of your website. If your site has been around for awhile, you have a number of quality sites linking back to you and your competitors are weak, it shouldn’t take long (maybe 3-5 months). But if you’re new and you have strong competitors it can easily take 12+ months to rank.

You have to understand that in 2017, it’s not uncommon for firms to have been doing SEO for 10-15 years. Even the best strategy won’t help you win in the short-term if your competitors are strong. The fact is, you’re probably the new kid on the block and Google already trusts your competitors. Trust is never built overnight.

What kinds of law firms do you serve?

Over the years we’ve been able to help a wide range of law firms:

  • Personal injury lawyers
  • Criminal defense lawyers
  • Estate planning lawyers
  • Bankruptcy
  • Family Law/Divorce Lawyers
  • Financial Fraud Lawyers
  • IP Litigation Lawyers
  • …and many more

We can help just about any firm, regardless of market size.

Can you share some recent examples of your success in ranking law firm’s in Google?

Client Review


"I cannot be happier with Gerrid Smith and Black Fin, and highly recommend their services."

- Seth Gladstein, Gladstein Law Firm

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