Law Firm SEO Experts – Hire the Team That’s Obsessed With Rankings in Google

We know what it’s like.

You’re ready to take your firm to the next level. All you need is for the phone to start ringing.

And you’ve done everything that you’ve been told to do to raise your site to the top of the search results. You’ve listened to the so-called gurus, and might have even spent big bucks on SEO companies that promised quick results.

But when you look at the search results and see how much better your competitors are doing, all you can do is ask yourself why they’re winning and you’re not.

We get it.

We know what it’s like to know how much better you could be doing with a little more resources, a little more knowledge, a little more time.

That’s why we’re here. And that’s why we want to give you the exact game plan that you need to succeed – free.

If you are willing to invest some time watching a tailor-made audit of your site that you can view at your leisure, we’ll show you what makes Black Fin different.

We’ll show you that we can promise and deliver when we claim that we know what actually moves the needle with SEO for lawyers. Regardless of what you choose to do next, you’ll be left with this recording of our free consultation, including some smart, actionable ideas for growing your business.

“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

The Truth About Law Firm SEO Marketing

Attorneys go to law school. Doctors go to medical school. SEO experts just have to create a website and call themselves SEO experts. How can you possibly tell the professionals from the phonies? Is the whole industry as spammy as it seems? Is every SEO “professional” really a used car salesman in a bad suit, just looking to sell at any cost? Unfortunately, there are tens of thousands of bad SEO professionals and hundreds who claim to specialize in legal marketing.

They are doing any one or all of the following:

  • Using outdated tactics.
  • Violating search marketing guidelines.
  • Outsourcing all of their SEO services – and I mean all of them – from strategy to execution.
  • Using the same tired SEO plan for every client, no matter what the client’s needs are.
  • Cashing your checks without producing results.

Every week at work, I hear a different “SEO expert” horror story from a client. And guess what? I understand why.

I’m not going to lie. SEO for lawyers is hard. Every part of SEO is hard:

  • Staying on top of Google’s algorithm changes.
  • Understanding new SEO technology.
  • Accurately analyzing results and outcomes.
  • Creating affordable and manageable SEO strategies.
  • Coming up with better plans than the competition.
  • Actually executing those plans.

SEO Magic Bullet

The truth is that SEO is time-consuming and difficult and baffling. There’s no playbook. There’s no magic bullet. There’s only hard work and smart analysis and sensible innovation.That’s what I’ve learned and that’s what I offer to my clients.

Anyone who tells you different is in a bad suit, trying to sell you a lemon.

What’s Your Firm’s SEO Problem?

  • You hired a “Law Firm SEO expert,” but you simply aren’t seeing any results. Just like with the last “expert” you hired.
  • You are extremely busy running a successful, high-pressure law firm and don’t have time to update your website, let alone keep up with the SEO world.
  • You’ve delegated SEO and marketing tasks to different members of your staff, but you don’t have an overall winning strategy. You’re constantly playing catch-up with the competition, and you aren’t getting results. 
  • You are blindly throwing handfuls of money at your website and SEO issues, but it just isn’t helping.
  • You’re trying to utilize lawyer SEO tricks that you’ve read about on the web, but you’re not getting traffic; or, worse yet: You’re getting penalized by Google.
  • You’ve searched for SEO help on the web, but you aren’t sure who to trust anymore.
  • Your website was doing great, but suddenly you’ve been penalized by Google and your traffic and calls have almost stopped completely.

The Black Fin Solution: The Art & Science of Lawyer SEO

I grew up in an entrepreneurial home where good processes and systems were highly valued. I’ve also learned, through my last seven years working in SEO, that there’s also a highly creative, unquantifiable element to search engine success.

I’ve dedicated my career and my company to finding an efficient SEO system for attorneys that produces predictable results. I’ve found that the solution that works – and the solution that continues to work despite changes to the Google algorithm and other evolutions in online marketing – is a blend of art and science. We give our clients logical, time-tested strategies and solutions. But we are also constantly innovating, creating, and experimenting, based on the individual needs of our clients and the changing landscape of SEO.

Complex Graph
Source royalsocietypublishing.org

And although we have a system in place, we aren’t slapping together hamburgers here at Black Fin. We’re optimizing websites thoughtfully and thoroughly. Google is making more than 150 changes to their algorithm per year. New technology is always coming out. Every client has different SEO needs. A better analogy would be that we’re making hamburgers where the lettuce, cheese, pickles, and mustard are all alive and running wild. As crazy as that sounds, we have developed a great process for creating those types of hamburgers. And they taste pretty good.

So, what is that system?

We’ve broken our SEO program into three parts: Month One, Month Two, and Innovative Maintenance.

Month 1

A successful SEO campaign must start with a strong foundation. The foundation is your website. Your website is where your traffic is directed, where high-quality content lives, and where your clients first connect with you, your firm, and your brand. Our first month is spent optimizing the code and content of your site. This includes:

  • Making sure your images are optimized for both SEO and loading speed.
  • Fixing all indexing problems.
  • Making sure that your title tags and header tags are optimized, but not too similar.
  • Ensuring that internal links are set up on all practice areas.
  • Checking Google Page Speed insights for areas of opportunity.
  • Analyzing and updating your website content.
  • And about 45 others things that you don’t need to worry about right now.

The bottom line: We want to make sure that the technical aspects of your website don’t hold back your actual marketing campaigns. We want to quickly solve the most basic, but most vital, issues with your website and make absolutely ensure that:

  • Your website looks good and is well organized for users.
  • Your website scans well when it comes to search engines.
  • Your website loads quickly.
  • Your website is filled with useful, optimized high-quality content.

Month 2 

During the second month, our goal is to build the authority of your brand, your website and you, the attorney. Some people still think that SEO is all about stuffing pages with keywords. The truth is that the things we do to your website account for only 30 percent of Google’s algorithm. The remaining 70 percent  are things we do off your website.

Here are just ten things that we do to build your authority, on and off the web:

  1. Write and distribute press releases
  2. Claim and verify local citations and directory listings
  3. Set up and manage social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.)
  4. Secure high-end directory links like BOTW.org and Business.com
  5. Set up website sponsorships
  6. Secure and publish high-end guest posts (We’ve been featured on Mint.com, BusinessInsider.com and others)
  7. Write magazine-style article posts (e.g., Examiner.com)
  8. Create case studies based upon data from Google Consumer Surveys
  9. Create highly shareable infographics
  10. Develop scholarships that are pitched to colleges to garner high-quality .edu links

In addition, we make sure that you are up and running correctly on Google+ Local. This online platform for local business is huge. From verifying your listing, to optimization, to cleaning up old citations, to creating new citations, it’s an enormous undertaking – but, it’s essential to SEO success. Not only is Google’s organic algorithm now dependent on Maps, but many of your ideal clients will look for your services using local search.

Innovative Maintenance

As we move forward with your website and SEO strategies, we’ll continue to work on all of the projects listed above. Our main goal is the same: Build your authority, both with search engines and within your community. This involves seven different pillars:

  1. Strong Structure. Make sure that nothing on your site will prevent you from ranking in the future
  2. High-Quality Content. Optimize for both SEO and conversions
  3. Trust. Ensure conversion elements are in place
  4. Thought Leadership. Blog to gain influence, links, and trust
  5. Authority Development. Link-building and website promotion
  6. Preeminence. Rank YouTube videos, Facebook, and Yelp profiles in Google
  7. Social clout. Make sure that your brand is building trust on social media websites

It is vital to understand that “maintenance” doesn’t mean blindly making updates and going along with the same program that you’ve always had. SEO changes every day. Some of these changes are huge. In addition, there is always room for innovation and creativity in SEO. Although we will always focus on the seven general building blocks listed above, our ongoing SEO campaigns are dynamic, ever changing, and forward thinking.

How Long is This Going to Take?

Building a well-optimized website and establishing your law firm as an authority can take time, as does fixing a website that is out of date or that has been “optimized by SEO gurus.” But the truth is, it really depends on the authority of your current web presence and how long you’ve been online.

Generally speaking, it takes about 6-8 months for a brand new website to generate results in Google. Established websites can take 3-5 months to start generating results, depending on the tactics from the last SEO company and how aggressive and thorough your campaign is. 

How Much is All of this Going to Cost? 

This is one of the many ways that we’re different from the competition. We aren’t going to give you the runaround when it comes to price. We have SEO plans that start at $750 per month and go up to $20,000 per month. Most clients pay about $1,500 per month. We work with law firms of all sizes and will work with you to develop a strategy that fits your budget and your needs.

An FAQ with Attorney SEO Veteran, Gerrid Smith

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 law firm 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.

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?

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: https://www.semrush.com/

(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.)

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.

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.

Learn the Art & Science of Law Firm Search Marketing. Partner with Black Fin. 

Here is the Black Fin guarantee:

  • We will get to know your law firm, your unique SEO needs, and what makes you different from the competition.
  • From Day One, we will take solid, proven actions to make your website optimized and your law firm more successful.
  • We will track our success and regularly share our concrete, objective results with you.
  • We will continue to be passionate about SEO innovation and the SEO system that we have developed for attorneys over the last 10 years.
  • We will be upfront, honest, and straightforward about our services, our prices, and our promises.

Find the right solution for your SEO problems. Stop worrying about your SEO strategy. Start demanding real results. If you’re ready to get started, contact us today at 216-206-6855.

Updated: August 14, 2017

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

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