Advanced SEO Training Program for Law Firms

By The Black Fin Team


Category: Random SEO

The information below was created by the talented veterans at Black Fin, who have been working exclusively with law firms for more than 9 years. It was previously published on the Internet Marketing Geeks (IMG) website, which is a branch of Black Fin designed to help lawyers who are not ready to hire an SEO agency but would like to learn how to achieve results in-house. The article has since been removed from the IMG website so that it could be shared with our readers here on the Black Fin blog. We hope you find it very helpful. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us on Google Plus, Facebook, or Twitter.

We understand that your time and money are precious, and you can’t waste either of them on old marketing techniques that don’t work anymore. We will support and guide you, as you apply our proven SEO methods on your site. We succeed when you succeed and you will see that, with how many details and secrets we’ve given you in our DIY law firm SEO course. Down below you will find our complete first lesson for FREE, whether you take it all in at once or save it for later, either way, this lesson will be here for you. What you will find below is just one of our many courses within our complete training program. We understand that there isn’t always a big budget for digital marketing, especially if your firm is just starting out. We took this into consideration and have put together this easy-to-follow course at an affordable rate so every firm has a chance of succeeding in the digital marketplace.

Module 1: Building a Solid Foundation

Before diving into nitty-gritty SEO work, it’s important that you get a few key things in place first. 

That starts with identifying which tools you’re going to need to get the job done, which can be overwhelming – for every type you need, there are sometimes dozens of options. Luckily, we’ve got you covered.

We’ll help you choose the right ones right out of the gate to help you avoid any unnecessary, time-sucking trial-and-error, and we’ll show you how to use them, to boot.

Also included in this lesson is some history and general information about law firm SEO, as well as how to start with the right mindset, how to research keywords and build a plan, and how to optimize your title tags and meta descriptions.

Who said starting had to be the hardest part?

Getting Started: Video & Information

Other “Must See” Materials:

How Search Works by Google:
Evolution of Search by Google:
How Google Makes Changes to the Algo:
Local Rankings Factors:
Attorney Marketing Trends:
Simple SEO Glossary:

Setting up Yoast

What is it?

The Yoast SEO plugin is the Swiss army knife of onsite SEO for WordPress. Yoast allows users to easily edit their pages meta data (including title tags and meta description tags) without needing any technical knowledge. This is important since the title tag is one of the most essential parts of a page from Google’s standpoint. The free version of Yoast is all you need to curate a solid foundation for your onsite SEO, though the premium version is available and comes with a few extra toys.

How to set it up

1. Install and activate the Yoast SEO plugin




2. Configure Yoast


After clicking on “Open the configuration wizard” you’ll be prompted to answer questions and input information, most of which is self-explanatory.

  • Post type visibility (recommended)
    • Post – visible
    • Page – visible
    • Media – hidden
  • Google search console
    • Can be left blank for now
  • Title settings
    • Title separator
      • Leave as the small dash (-)

Please note: If you don’t see the option to configure Yoast, you may already have it setup. 

3. Enable the cool stuff


By enabling the advanced options, you’ll have more access to Yoast and more options will become available to you from the WP toolbar under the Yoast plugin. The options under these tabs will look very familiar to the information you filled in earlier using the configuration wizard. Just be careful not to push a button before you know what it does! (Check out Yoast’s knowledge base below, under Additional Resources, if you’re not sure.)

Congrats! You have now successfully installed and set up Yoast SEO. Yoast will now appear within the edit mode for your posts and pages.

Getting Geeky – Advanced Tips

Let’s explore some of the advanced settings on Yoast. You can get here by navigating the drop down menu within the WP toolbar under “SEO” > “Titles and Metas.”

Titles and Metas

Title template – This feature can be found within the homepage, post types, taxonomies, and archive tabs. Be default, you’ll see something that looks like this:

%%title%% %%page%% %%sep%% %%sitename%%

These are called variables. You can learn more about them here. Variables can be useful and time saving if your website follows a template for its title tags. Variables can be considered as storage for data.

As a general rule of thumb, we prefer this formula as a variable for law firms:

%%title%% – Your Firm Name

Just so you know “%%title%%” represents the “page title” which is the main headline shown on the page.

You will learn how to create custom title tags for your important pages (homepage, practice area pages…) later in this training, but this will create the right structure for the lesser important pages on your website.

Meta description template – The same can be done for meta descriptions but we would advise not using this feature as it’s more effective to have unique meta descriptions for every important page (homepage, practice area pages…etc).

Common Mistakes

  • Not activating the plugin
  • Having other SEO plugins activated at the same time
  • Changing settings without understanding the impact

Additional Notes

  • There are other plugins out there which handle some of the things Yoast is able to achieve. It would be advisable to disable and remove those plugins so that Yoast does not conflict with an additional plugin. If you use a plugin for your Robots.txt or .htaccess make sure you transfer that code over to Yoast. If you filled in title tag or description tag data in another SEO tool, it’s best to move that over to Yoast before disabling.

Additional Resources

Yoast’s Knowledge Base

Updated: 4-25-17 by Gerrid

Module 2: IMG’s 20 Point Audit

Ready to dig into some real SEO work?

Week 2 is all about understanding the current state of your website and its standing in search engines. This is where you’ll understand which SEO metrics have the greatest weight in search engines, how to establish them, and how to recognize if you’ve got any serious problems.

After all, each site is unique, and it’s impossible to focus your efforts without understanding where you’re at right now. Maybe you’ll need to focus on getting more quality backlinks, or cleaning up the links you already have.

Whatever the case, the processes and tools we use and explain throughout this module will be used throughout your law firm SEO campaign.

It may not be the most exciting process in the world, but hey – at least it has nothing to do with taxes.

IMG’s 20 Point Audi

1. Blogging: Are you updating your blog at least twice per month?

We believe that every law firm website should have a blog that is updated at least twice per month with content that is a minimum of 500 words, but ideally 750-2,500 words.


  • Make sure your blog is being updated at least twice per month. If you publish two posts per month, stagger them so they aren’t published at the same time.

Blogging isn’t one of those things where 100 posts published per month is 50x better than two posts. Quality is very important and if you have the resources, publishing 4-8 posts per month is more than sufficient.

2. Page Speed: Does your site load in under 3.5 seconds?

Site speed is imperative to high rankings in search engines these days. But even if it wasn’t, slow sites are terrible for your prospects. Google does not provide a clear cut answer on how fast your site should load, but we believe it should load in under 3.5 seconds.


  • Check your site on GTmetrix
  • If it does not load in under 3.5 seconds, and you’re using WordPress, consider using one of these companies to speed up your website:
  • If your website is not on WordPress, talk to your provider about options to speed up your website.

3. Mobile Friendly/Responsive: Is your site mobile responsive?

As you can imagine, almost everyone uses their phone or tablet for browsing the web. In the past, having a “mobile website” was really your only option. This was a separate website, usually on a sub-domain (e.g. In 2017, the technology is available to make your regular desktop website show up beautifully on mobile devices. This means your website is “mobile responsive” or “responsive” for short.


If your website isn’t mobile friendly, you will realistically need a new website. It’s often just as expensive to make an old website “mobile friendly” than to just get a new site.

Our sister company, Black Fin, offers web design services that start at $250/month.

4. Duplicate Content Audit: Is duplicate content holding your site back from success?

In a perfect world, all of your pages would be 100% unique. But unfortunately, with billions and billions of pages online, this world isn’t perfect. When your content is duplicated on other sites, sometimes Google doesn’t know who the “owner” of the content is, and your site can be penalized. Do your best to ensure that any content placed on your website is unique and passes a plagiarism check.


As long as your content is 90% unique, you should be fine in Google. If your content is heavily copied by another firm, your best option is to rewrite your content.

5. Link Quality Check

This is probably the trickiest task because to do this right, you need to have a trained eye for spotting crap links. Unless your site is brand new, you probably have a number of other sites that have linked to you over the years. If you’ve hired SEO companies in the past, it’s quite possible that they used underhanded or spammy tactics to help your site rank better in Google. The goal with this task is to make sure you don’t have crap websites linking to you that could harm your efforts with this program. If your site has been penalized with bad links, you must hire a professional to clean up the mess before your site will ever rank.


  • Watch this video to learn how to view your backlinks in Ahrefs

If you see something that looks weird in anyway, we can spot check your links for $50.

6. Anchor Text Check

Another way to test your site for poor quality links is to see what link/anchor text webmasters used to link to your website. Before we dive in, let me share with your our internal language on link/anchor text types:

For the most part, SEO’s use keyword rich link/anchor text, so this is can be spam signal to Google. I don’t want you to feel like you can never link to your website with a keyword rich link/anchor text, but you just can’t go overboard with this. A few keyword rich links here and there are fine. We generally prefer that 85+% of your links are natural (meaning: branded, naked and keyword branded…).

Here’s a screenshot of our sister company’s anchor cloud in Ahrefs:

20 point audit

Nothing spammy about that!

Now, take a look at this:

20 point audit

That’s frightening to me.

You see, Google wants to promote “brands,” and brands don’t promote themselves with spam. Can you imagine if you looked up in Ahrefs and it showed 50% anchor text with “Best Soft Drink”? That would be pretty silly. Google understands that real companies don’t promote themselves that way so they tweak their algorithm to promote companies they feel are providing value through their websites.


  • Run your site through the Site Explorer on ahrefs and make sure the vast majority (again, we shoot for 85+%) of your anchor cloud/anchor text is branded, naked or keyword branded.

7. Auto-Redirects: WWW, non-WWW, HTTP, or HTTPS

If your site structure isn’t setup correctly, you can get hit with duplicate content penalties and not even know it.

Look closely, is there a difference between these two links?

Those pages make look the same and even render the same looking page, but to Google, they are different. It’s imperative that you make sure your URL structure is setup properly so that Google doesn’t get confused on your site.


  • Visit your website.
  • If your site does not have “www” (e.g. type in and make sure it auto-redirects into the non-www version of the site.
  • If your site has “www” (e.g. type in the non-www version of the site and make sure it auto-redirects into the www version of the site.
  • If your URL starts with “https://” type in a non-https version of your site (e.g. and make sure it redirects into the https version of your site


8. Social Media Setup: Is your firm set up on popular social media websites?

Again, going off my point above about Google wanting to promote “brands,” social media is an absolute must for your firm in 2017. Not only for Google and SEO purposes, but also for your prospective clients. Depending on your firm, they may want to connect with you and recommend you on social media. You need to present a professional image by setting up your profiles/pages and making sure they look nice and are updated at least once per week (2-3 times per week is ideal).


  • You should have pages/profiles on the most popular social media websites: Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter
  • Make sure your profiles link back to your website.
  • Make sure your website links back to your social media profiles. If you don’t want it to be prominent, put it in the footer.

9. Sitemap: Does your firm have an accurate, up-to-date sitemap?

A sitemap is a page or pages that includes links to all of the web pages and posts on your website. It’s a great asset that helps Google find all of the pages on your website. Thankfully, with WordPress plugins like Yoast SEO, you can create one with a click of a button.


  • Watch this video to find your sitemap within Yoast SEO:
  • Link to your sitemap from the footer of your site (you may want to have your webmaster handle this, or we can for $50)

10. Footer NAP: Does your footer have your firm’s Name, Address and Phone that matches your Google My Business listing?

If you’ve read any of our materials, you probably know that we believe your map ranking is the most important thing to your firm. You could rank #1 organically in Google, but if you have four ads and three map listings above you, you just don’t have that much visibility. That’s why you need to do all you can to get a #1 ranking in the Maps. One of the factors that’s very important is consistent use of your firm’s name, address and phone (NAP) across your website, Google My Business/Map listing and all of your local directory links (a.k.a citations). In this task, we’re going to make sure your NAP info on your Google My Business listing matches your website.


  • Search Google for your firm name so you can see what shows in your map listing. Your listing will look like this.

20 point audit

  • Now you want to make sure that your firm’s Name, Address and Phone is listed exactly in the same way in the footer of your site. Depending the CMS you’re using, you may want to have your webmaster handle this task.
  • BONUS: Extra credit if your webmaster can use Schema Markup for the NAP info in the footer of your website.

11. Tags & Category Cannibalization: Don’t let too many tags kill your blogs performance.

A tag is considered to be a sub-category within a blog. The perfect blog would have maybe 10 categories and 30-40 tags. Most blogs don’t use tags anymore and frankly, if you haven’t used them, I wouldn’t suggest starting. But if your firm has used them in the past, I would suggest no-indexing those pages since they can cause duplicate content issues on the site.

If you have WordPress setup with Yoast SEO, this process is quite simple.


  • Follow the steps provided in this video:

12. URL Structure: Are your practice area pages too deep within your site?

This is what the URL structure looks like for many websites:

20 point audit

The problem with that structure is that one of your primary practice area pages is three levels deep in your site structure. I have seen time and time again how Google favors web pages/posts that are closest to the root. This means:

Is better than…

Now, there is a ton of controversy online about this and many SEOs and webmasters believe the longer URL structure is better because of the hierarchy created. I totally understand. The problem is, every single time I have changed a URL from one that was multiple levels deep, to one level, the rankings always go up. Every time.

At IMG, we suggest tactics that work and that will move the needle, and this one is no different. If your firm has been stuck on page two or three for some time and you’re having a hard time moving up, this may be a tactic to try.

Warning: What I’m about to share is dangerous and could cause issues on your site if it isn’t handled properly. We’re about to change your URL structure and redirect the old URLs into new URLs. This should only be handled by a webmaster who has experience with these requests.


  • Change the URLs – Watch this video
  • Redirect the URLs – Watch this video:

13. Google Analytics Bounce Rate: Are people leaving your site too quickly?

If you have Google Analytics installed on your website, I would suggest looking at your bounce rate for the homepage and primary practice area pages. Your bounce rate is the percentage of people who visit a page on your site from the search results, but DO NOT visit another page on your website. For example, if 10 people visit your homepage and five of them “bounce” back to Google and five move on to review other pages on your site, that would e a bounce rate of 50%. The lower the bounce rate, the better. A great bounce rate is between 50-75%. If it’s above 85%, that’s cause for concern. There could be an issue with your website or it could just be outdated and not interesting to most users.


  • If you have Google Analytics installed, check your account and watch this video:

14. Homepage Content Length: Is your homepage content long enough?

As you can imagine, content is absolutely critical to the success of your website. Your content will prove to Google whether you’re an authority and deserve high rankings, or if not. As far as I’m concerned, the longer the content the better.


  • Make sure your homepage has at least 750 words. Ideally your homepage would have between 1,000 and 2,000 words.
    • If you’re struggling to add more content, consider adding one of the following sections to your homepage:
      • FAQ section: If you answer five questions at 100 words a piece, you can rack up some words rather quickly.
      • Practice Areas section: Are there 10 common practice areas that your firm handles? Consider writing 100 words about each one and posting it on your homepage in an accordion tab.
    • The best way to add content to your homepage without making it look like it’s four miles long is with accordion tabs. You can hide your content behind a button so that’s only viewable if you click the button.

Here’s an example of an accordion tab:

[accordion autoclose=”true” openfirst=”false” openall=”false” clicktoclose=”false”]

[accordion-item title=”Gerrid Smith – Click to Read More”]


Gerrid has been an entrepreneur since high school, starting multiple businesses while learning more about life and people, in general. His father – who is also an entrepreneur – told him that, in whatever field he chose, he needed to learn from the experts in order to succeed. He has now worked with lawyers for over nine years. As time went on, however, he discovered that many of his clients needed services beyond SEO. As he watched them take their web design, copy, and marketing needs to one-stop shops – inevitably ending up with mediocre results – he realized that he could give them what they needed, but with a much higher level of quality. He has since transitioned his business from simply an SEO firm to what is now Black Fin, a full service Internet marketing company.

He currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio, where he enjoys life with his wife and two sons. In his spare time, he enjoys tennis, hiking, and fishing. If you’re ready to take your firm to the next level, he’s the man.
[accordion-item title=”Jade Hall – Click to Read More”]

Lead Coordinator

As the Lead Coordinator at IMG, Jade’s role incorporates many facets that she is most passionate about in the digital marketing industry. While she focuses on project planning and process development, she also enjoys working closely with IMG’s digital marketing team.

Jade’s background is in marketing and account management, receiving her Bachelor of Science in Marketing and her Master of Science in Business Administration. She enjoys combining her creativity along with her analytical skills each day with IMG.

Originally from Montana, Jade enjoys being in the mountains and spending time with her husband and their very spoiled yorkie. She stays busy with her many hobbies including photography, working out and exploring nearby mountain towns during the summer.
[accordion-item title=”Jon Gimpel – Click to Read More”]

Content Manager

Jon is the Marketing Manager at IMG. He discovered his passion for marketing while an undergrad at The Ohio State University, with a focus in English, and aspires to become masterful with both wordsmithery and content marketing strategy.

He currently resides in Newark, OH with his two cats and 27 lamps.


Here’s some HTML information on accordion tabs.

15. Practice Area Pages Content Length: Are your practice area pages long enough?

Your top practice area pages need to follow the same strategy as your homepage as it relates to word count. Additionally we have listed below an ideal practice area page layout:

1500 Word – The Perfect Page Layout

  • 300-400 words about the practice area and firm
  • 1-2 testimonials (video or written / specific to the practice area is ideal)
  • 5-10 sub practice areas that each have about 50 words listed
  • 4-5 FAQ’s (100 word answers are fine)
  • 150-350 final call to action and info about the firm (Why choose us?)

750 Words – The Perfect Page Layout

  • 300 words about the practice area and firm
  • 1 testimonial (video or written / specific to the practice area is ideal)
  • 5-10 sub practice areas listed as bullet points
  • 2-3 FAQs (100 word answers are fine)
  • 150-250 final call to action and info about the firm (Why choose us?)


  • Make sure your practice area pages are between 750-1,500 words.

16. Low Quality Pages: Are low quality pages eating up your website’s PageRank?

I believe your site is given a certain amount of PageRank in Google’s algorithm. It’s our responsibility as business owners and SEOs to use that PageRank to the best of our ability. PageRank is transferred from page to page on your site via internal linking, but sometimes we link often to pages that aren’t really valuable. When valuable pages eat up PageRank, it takes away from utilizing that PageRank on important pages on the site (e.g. practice area pages).

Unimportant pages that eat up PageRank:

  • Privacy policy pages
  • Disclaimer pages
  • Contact pages
  • Resource pages (sometimes)
  • Tag pages (from your blog)

It’s best to no-index the above pages using the Yoast SEO plugin.


  • Watch the video below:
  • Perform a search
  • Look for pages that you feel are “unimportant” through the first three pages of search results.
  • No-index those pages using the Yoast SEO plugin.

17. Basic Reputation Management: Are negative pages ranking for your firm name?

The second most common search someone will search for your firm behind your actual firm name, is “your firm name reviews.” Reviews are an integral part of the fabric of the web. Most consumers rely on them religiously to determine the value of a product or service. Finding a qualified attorney is no different for many consumers.

You can have the best rankings in Google within your niche, but if a prospect looks for your reviews and finds something negative, they may move forward with a competitor.

Monitor and defend your reputation by regularly reviewing the sites that rank well for your firm name and “firm name reviews” in Google.


  • Search Google for “your firm name” and “your firm name reviews.” What sites are ranking? Can you obtain some 5-star reviews for the sites that currently have lower reviews?
  • Monitor these search results on a monthly basis.

18. MOZ Local: Does your site have many inconsistent local directory listings?

One of the most common issues that will plague your performance in Google My Business/Maps, is inconsistent information on local directory listings such as, and When I say “inconsistent” information, I’m mostly referring to how your firm’s Name, Address and Phone number is displayed on these sites.

Firm Names: These are different.

Smith & Smith
Smith & Smith LLP

Addresses: These are different.

Suite: 205

That’s why whatever is being shown on your Google My Business/Maps listing, you need to make sure that exact same information is shown on your website and on your local directory listings.


  • Search Google for “your firm name in your city” and see exactly what Google is showing in your listing.
    • If you don’t see a listing for your firm, click here.
    • If you see your listing, but you’ve never verified it, and therefore can’t update it if it’s incorrect, click here.
  • Run your site through MOZ Local and check your score.
  • If your site’s score is under 60, purchase MOZ Local for $99/year.
  • If your score is over 60, you will use a more affordable tool later in our program.

19. Broken Links: Does your site have broken links?

Aside of broken links potentially hurting your SEO efforts, they also give your users a poor experience. Before you spend hours over the next few months optimizing your site for Google, make sure you’re providing the best possible experience for your users.


  • Run your site through this tool.
  • Go through the list of broken links and verify they are actually broken. Sometimes sites become unavailable because of a server error for a few seconds. You wouldn’t want to remove links to other sites if the page is really still online.
  • Fix the real broken links.

20. Google Search Console: Does your site have any major crawl errors?

When you’re in a competitive niche, every little thing you do with your site can help or hurt your efforts. Sometimes the difference between ranking #1 and #2 is a slight change in your title tag, or adding a single word to your page, or cleaning up a few pages that are showing 404 errors. Sometimes the little things make a big difference.

One of the big things that I believe kills trust with Google is having too many crawl errors on your website. Most often, a crawl error is created when Google tries to visit a page that no longer exists. You should seek to make sure there are as few crawl errors on your site as possible. If a site no longer exists, redirect it into a page that is online. For example, if you realize you have two dog bite pages on your site and delete one, make sure you use a redirect plugin like “301 Redirects” by Tony Spiro to redirect the duplicate dog bite page into the primary dog bite page.


  • Check Google Search Console for crawl errors:
  • Fix the crawl errors using the 301 Redirect plugin by Tony Spiro.

Module 3: Our Secret Sauce

Everything we’ve covered so far has been pretty standard guidance that every good SEO follows in one way or another. Hopefully we made the process easier than if you had gone it alone, but we’re doubting there were any surprises there. 

That’s about to change.

After all, what separates you – and your results – as an SEO are the things that you’ve figured out that aren’t as common. Or accepted, even. There aren’t many places online where you’ll find these strategies outlined, and they would be ambitious to carry out for a newbie. But that’s what we’re here for!

In this week’s lesson, you’re going to learn a couple of these really useful, needle moving tactics – one related to keywords and one related to backlinks – along with everything you need to know to make it happen.

Let’s do this.

Expired Domain

What is it?

This is one of the most powerful, fast working, SEO tactics you can use in 2017. It’s also highly controversial. Unlike most other tactics referenced in our training program, this would be in a “grey” category in terms of overall acceptance by most SEO experts. Reason being, a number of years ago Google specifically targeted expired domains (also referred to as PBNs) in one of their algorithm updates. The difference between what we’re doing and what others were doing is simple. With our training program, you are building a diverse set of links for your website. You are not dependent on any single tactic. The webmasters and SEOs affected had the following traits in common:

  1. They were dependent on this tactic. They didn’t diversify their links with many different kinds of tactics, like you will with our program.
  2. The sites they obtained links from had links going to many other sites, often they were completely unrelated. For example a law website linking to a diet website, an insurance website, a porn website…etc

If you acquire one or two expired domains (which is what I’m suggesting), I don’t see how you will be negatively affected as this isn’t a footprint big enough for Google to track.

I’m suggesting this tactic because it’s powerful and the risks are relatively small if you are smart and follow my instructions. That being said, I feel it’s important to let you know there is some risk with this tactic.

What makes this important?

It’s important because you’re acquiring links directly on pages that already have high trust and authority in Google. If you create a directory listing on, the page where your link is placed will have no authority for about 6-8 months. When you acquire an expired domain name, the page already has a lot of authority. When you place your link on the page, you are passing a significant amount of link juice directly to your website.

Who is this tactic best for?

If you have an older site with strong rankings, this tactic won’t likely help you very much. However, if you have a newer website (less than a year old) or poor rankings, it’s likely that this tactic (when mixed with all the others discussed in our training program) will be the difference between first page and second page of Google. Or bottom of first page and and top 5 in Google.

This tactic is a game changer as it relates to building authority.

How to acquire domains

Acquire 1-2 expired domains (Tip I don’t recommend buying more than two expired domains from the same source for any one site. In other words, if you’re only buying two domains, buy one from Source A (e.g. SEMjar) and another from Source B (e.g. SERP Champion).

Here are the services we recommend (we have to recommend a few services as some run out of expired domains):

Tips for Ordering:

  • When you link to your site from an expired domain, link to a sub page on your website like a practice area page or blog post that is somewhat to the expired domain.
  • Don’t use keyword rich anchor text/link text (e.g. Cleveland injury lawyer) and don’t allow the domain provider to place the link for you. Use link text that seems natural for the page. Here are some examples:
    • Check out this page on car accident stats
    • Resource for dog bite victims
    • Information on construction accidents
    • Common causes of medical malpractice
      • You would make one of those a link back to your web page or blog post.
  • During the checkout process, the provider will ask for information about your business so he can acquire a related domain name. Don’t just say “law/lawyer.” It’s very hard to find high quality law domains. Instead, give him many related topics to your firm. If you’re a personal injury lawyer, you could provide him with: law, lawyer, dogs (for dog bite), medical/health (for medical malpractice), home/construction (for construction accidents)…etc

Getting Geeky: Advanced Tip

If you can afford to buy more than two domains, I would suggest the following:
Buy two to three domains and link to your Facebook page using keyword rich anchor text (i.e. one of your main keywords).

If you can still afford more domains, buy two to three domains and link to your Yelp page using keyword rich anchor text (i.e. one of your main keywords).
Never link to your site more than once on a single domain. One link is all that’s needed.

Additional Notes:

  • If you decide not to use this tactic for your main website, at the very least buy it to promote your Facebook and Yelp pages.

Ninjas SEO Process

Why is this important?

The ninja SEO process was created for smaller clients who didn’t have a lot of time set aside in the first month for on-page SEO. All this means is making some changes to your homepage and practice area pages, which makes the pages more relevant to Google and gives you the option to focus on the keywords you want to target. We cannot express how important on-page SEO is. If you do it correctly, it can provide a quick boost to your campaign.

Does it work?

When we started doing the Ninja SEO Process, we found that spending 15-20 minutes in the first month allowed us to spend more time on other areas to set the foundation for the campaign. Often times, we would focus on full on-page SEO work in the second month, but with this Ninja SEO Process, it only takes about 15 minutes to make some basic changes that can really impact your site and give you quick results.

So, now what?

With the Ninja SEO Process we are going to update three things on your website:

  1. Site Title (under Settings > General in WordPress)
  2. H1 tags (aka main header tag) on your homepage and practice area pages
  3. Title tags on your homepage and primary practice area pages

Updating Site Title

Once in the General Settings, go to the first option, Site Title, and make sure it is set to your official law firm name. It’s a quick and easy fix that can really help your site’s campaign and can be easily overlooked.

ninja seo process

Homepage Examples

There are two things to note once you are on your homepage edit screen:

  1. The main headline (or otherwise known as Heading 1)
  2. The title tag using Yoast SEO

Note: If you do not have the Yoast SEO plugin installed on your site, you need to install it since it will be critical to the work that you do.

To start, let’s take a look at the Main Heading (or Heading 1) and how it should be formatted.

Homepage H1/Main Header Tag Examples

We are using this formula – {City, ST} {Practice Area} {Attorney}

Personal Injury:

  • Cleveland, OH Personal Injury Attorney


  • Cleveland, OH Bankruptcy Attorney

Estate Planning:

  • Cleveland, OH Estate Planning Attorney

Family Law:

  • Cleveland, OH Divorce Attorney

Homepage Title Tag Examples

We are using this formula: {Firm Name} – {City} {Practice Area} {Lawyer}

Personal Injury:

  • Smith Law Firm – Cleveland Personal Injury Lawyer


  • Smith Law Firm – Cleveland Bankruptcy Lawyer

Estate Planning:

  • Smith Law Firm – Cleveland Estate Planning Lawyer

Family Law:

  • Smith Law Firm – Cleveland Divorce Lawyer

Note: I don’t want us to get too creative right now. You will spend a lot more time later adjusting these tags but for now, follow the simple process above so you can move on to other important changes.

Practice Area Page Examples

Practice Area Page H1/Main Header Tag Examples

We are using this formula – {City, ST} {Practice Area} {Attorney}

Car Accident:

  • Cleveland, OH Car Accident Attorney

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy:

  • Cleveland, OH Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Attorney


  • Cleveland, OH Probate Attorney

Child Support:

  • Cleveland, OH Child Support Attorney

Practice Area Page Title Tag Examples

We are using this formula – {City} {Practice Area} {Lawyer} – {Firm Name}

Car Accident:

  • Cleveland Car Accident Lawyer – Smith Law Firm

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy:

  • Cleveland Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Lawyer – Smith Law Firm


  • Cleveland Probate Lawyer – Smith Law Firm

Child Support:

  • Cleveland Child Support Lawyer – Smith Law Firm

Getting Geeky: Advanced Tips:

  • Use lawyer and attorney interchangeably for your header and title tag to cover both words when people are searching on Google
  • Make sure you always click the “Update” button the side when finished so your work is saved.
  • Once Google indexes those changes you made, you should start to see some results.

Module 4: Getting Your Firm on the Map

If it’s not yet clear, A LOT of current SEO work revolves around Google. It’s the largest search engine there is, by a long shot, but it doesn’t stop there. You’ve already set up Google Analytics and used their Keyword Planner, and if you decide to run paid advertising campaigns (pay-per-click or otherwise), you’re likely going to use Google Adwords for that.

Because of this, it’s immensely important to properly set up and optimize your Google My Business listing (sounds circular, we know, but Google will do that to you).

Your GMB listing is critical to creating and maintaining consistency across your online business listings, and making sure that Google knows who – and where – you are. An improperly set up GMB page can lead to loads of missed traffic, meaning lost leads, meaning lost clients. 

That’s why, on top of lessons to verify and optimize your GMB listing, we also include a lesson on how to remedy one of the biggest issues that pops up, which is duplicate listings.

Also, we’ve added an intro to an online listing tool called Yext, which will help you manage all of your numerous business listings online to ensure consistency and accuracy across the board.

Ready to get your firm on the map?

Verify GMB

verify GMB

What is a GMB page?

GMB (Google My Business) is an easy-to-use marketing tool that anyone can use for free. It’s designed to make life easier for businesses, brands, artists, and organizations to manage their online presence across Google.

What’s the difference between Google My Business, Google Places for Business, and Google+ Pages Dashboard?

Google My Business (GMB) has been integrated with Google+ Local, the business listing that used to appear for local businesses in Google+. If you previously used Google Places for Business or Google+ Pages dashboard to manage your business information, your account has been automatically upgraded to Google My Business.

What is the importance of GMB?

Google My Business helps streamline your business information, such as business name, addresses, phone numbers and business hours across all Google products. AdWords, Insights, Google+, Maps and Search are all closely tied into Google My Business. It simplifies the process of harnessing the power of the Google tools to get more traffic to your business.

“You simply don’t exist if you don’t create a Google My Business page…”

  • It’s one of Google’s primary sources of data

Google collects the information on your Google My Business and put it into a massive server cluster. Together with the information collected from other primary sources (Aggregators, Mapmaker, etc.), these will be reviewed and used to match information of your business listings across the web. It is essential for business owners to set up the information on your GMB correctly before verification.

  • It improves search visibility

Once you create and verify your GMB listing, your most important info will be on display right away, with the rest of your content only a click away from those searching for you. You’ll still be listed in the regular search engine results, but now you’ll also take over the right-hand column, giving you even more exposure.

verify GMB

  • It puts your business on the maps

Google Maps is still accessed on over half of all smartphones in the US as of July 2015. Apple is making great strides with its own mapping app, but there’s no doubt about the current popularity of Google Maps. Therefore, it’s vital that your business – or those of your clients – is listed on the Google Maps platform.

verify GMB

  • It manages business information

GMB dashboard lets you easily manage your business information that Google users see when they search for your business. Being able to update it in one place and have it reflect those changes across the board is an advantage for you. When people find your business on Google Maps and Search, make sure that they have access to information like your phone number, street address, operating hours, website details, photos and other relevant information that might make searches more focused and successful.

verify GMB

  • It connects you with clients

GMB offers a place for customers to leave ratings and reviews about your business. It makes it easier for you to monitor and respond to positive and negative reviews. This allows potential customers to see what others have to say about your services.

verify GMB


After setting up your business listing under your account, you will need to verify the listing to prove that you’re authorized to manage the business listing. This usually takes place by mail or postal verification. Google sends a postcard with a pin number that you will need to enter on the verification page of your listing to prove that you are indeed the business owner.

verify GMB

The Value of a Verified Google My Business Page

  • Builds Trust

A verified Google My Business establishes trust in the eyes of the general population. It can both help customers find you and tell them the story of your business. It’s twice as likely to be considered reputable by everyone.

  • Allows optimization and update of business data

After your business is verified, you’re free to make corrections. Business owners should ensure that their business page stands out and attract new customers. Details should be rechecked from time to time. If possible, owners should try refreshing images or uploading higher res versions.

  • It prevents misinformation

If your business is in a brand-new location, it simply doesn’t exist, but odds are you’re taking over a business space that was previously occupied. Without claiming your business, people will still be seeing the old advertisements for the previous business.

  • Sets proper category

Verified listings get to specify categories that they would like to associate with their business. There can be a difference between an Law Firm and a Personal Injury Attorney, so it’s best not to let Google make the choice for you. Categories should describe the overall core business and should not pertain to other businesses that are nearby or related.

  • Creates opportunities

A verified Google My Business allows you to open yourself up for customer comments, tips, suggestions, and critiques. It would not only help potential customers decide to hire you for your services, but It would also help you see the areas of your business that needs improvement.

Common Mistakes:

  • The business owner made NAP changes in the dashboard while waiting the PIN was already on the process. If this happens, the PIN will be invalid and you will have to redo the process.
  • A secondary request for a PIN is made. The first one to show up will not work and is invalidated once the second one is requested.

Additional Resources:

Optimize GMB

Importance of optimization

  • Google My Business is one of the best marketing resources for local businesses. If well-executed, they can give you a major business boost to your marketing efforts.
  • Google My Business gives local businesses the opportunity to show their customers what their business is all about. It’s more important than ever to make sure that their business stands out among others in search results.

How to optimize GMB page?

  • Make sure that your page follows GOOGLE’S BASIC GUIDELINES
  1. BUSINESS NAME should reflect your business’ real-world name, as used consistently on website, stationery, and as known to customers. Adding unnecessary information to your name is not permitted. Format consistency is critical!
  2. ADDRESS should be precise, accurate address to describe your business location. Suite numbers should be on address line two. Format consistency is critical!
    optimize GMB
  3. PHONE NUMBER should connect to the individual business location directly. Should be specific to a business location.
  4. WEBSITE should represent your individual business location. One URL per location.
  5. Business hours should be set as the regular customer-facing hours of operation.
    Boost your local SEO by choosing the most accurate categories for your business as possible. By doing so, you are clearly communicating to customers (and Google) what kinds of services your business provides. Instead of picking a broad, loosely focused category that describes your business, go for the narrow, specific category. The more specific, the better. This will greatly enhance user experience.

Example Categories (Don’t just select “law firm” unless you have many practice areas:

  • Personal Injury Attorney
  • Bankruptcy Attorney
  • Criminal Justice Attorney
  • Family Law Attorney
  • Estate Planning Attorney

For Businesses with MULTIPLE LOCATIONS

  • There should only be one listing per business location.
  • Each location must have a unique phone number.
  • Locations need to be staffed during business hours. There is a possibility of random Google verification. Staff should provide Google with data that matches with their GMB page.
  • All business listings must have the same name and the same category if they provide the same service. Avoid adding the city on the business name.
    optimize GMB
  • Manage and add high quality photos

Business owners need to upload photos to clearly indicate their brand to consumers. Not only will customers use those photos as a reference when trying to locate a business for the first time, but it also provides Google with more definitive proof that they are in fact a legitimate business. The Manage Photos section of Google My Business includes Identity Photos, Interior Photos, Exterior Photos, Photos at work, Team photos and Additional photos

optimize GMB

    The most important section. Business owner should upload a Profile Photo, a Logo Photo, and a Cover Photo. Once you have all 3 different photos uploaded, you can then select your preferred photo that will show up in similar search results above by doing clicking the 3 vertical dots next to the words.

optimize GMB

The selected photo will be shown in search results and on maps.

optimize GMB

    For owners that would like their customers to understand what it’s like inside their business, make sure to put quality interior photos.
    For owners that would like their customers to know what their place of business looks like from the outside, this would be the place to put recognizable photos so they can find it.
    Let your audience know what you do. Photos capturing the work atmosphere of your business is a good idea.
    The need to be able to put a face to a name is equally important for anybody in the business. This section would help you put pictures of your employees and team members and letting your audience know who they are!

optimize GMB

    Feel free to add any other photos that you think would communicate well with your customers. Photos can help increase your SEO rankings and online authority.

optimize GMB

Additional info:

  • If possible, owners should try refreshing images or uploading higher res versions.
  • At least 5 photos should be uploaded to each business page
  • Photos should show well in the limited 64 x 64 pixel display that Google provides on the front page.
  • Geotagging images can also be done
    • Name the image with long string of custom keywords.
    • Latitude and Longitude should be added. You can use Windows Photo Gallery to Geo-tag and rename images
  • Work on your reviews
  1. There should be at least 5 reviews per business page.

The more reviews you have and the more positive they are, the more people will feel comfortable doing business with you.

  1. Respond to both negative and positive reviews.

It shows that the owner remains abreast of his/her reviews and listing, and also forms the basis of keeping the profile fresh and updated. Replying to reviews can help you establish trust to your customers.

Additional Resources:

Getting Geeky: Advanced Tip

  • Double check Mapmaker – Check map marker location on Mapmaker. If you have a listing already, zoom way in and note where the marker is. Now copy your address without suite into Classic maps and see if it’s correct.

  • You can use Windows Photo Gallery tool to Geotag your images.
  • Name the image with long string of custom keywords.
  • Latitude and Longitude should be added.

GMB Duplicate Removal

How do we consider a listing a duplicate?

When a local business has more than one listing for a single physical location or a business phone number in an online directory, these other listings are considered duplicates. Remember, there should only be:

  1. One listing per business location.
  1. A unique phone number and website for each location.

Below is an example of business having two listings in a single location:

GMB duplicate removal

Why removing duplicates is important?

  • Duplicate Google My Business listings can be one of the greatest threats to any local SEO campaign. A variety of negative outcomes can arise from the presence of duplicate listings, detracting from your local business’s ability to rank well and win customers.
  • If you have duplicates, one of the listings might outrank the others. You may end up ranking the one with an outdated address, a wrong phone number or other issues showing up for your searches instead of your approved, authoritative listing. This may mislead your new customers, causing you to lose business.
  • Reviews will be split amongst several listings including duplicates. Instead of having a single profile with 30 positive reviews, you may end up having some of those under the duplicates. If the duplicate listing with only few reviews shows up under the search results, the great reputation you are building will be invisible to your potential customers.
  • One duplicate listing with bad data can be replicated across multiple platforms. Old listings with incorrect information can end up creating new listings with duplicated errors.
  • Duplicates will confuse Google as to which of your listings to trust. It is essential for business owners to send a single, clear signal about their business to the search engines from each place it is listed.
  • In updating information, you may end up editing the duplicate listings. Your changes may never appear live because you are not updating the correct one that the search engine has decided to be the most authoritative for your business.

How to remove duplicates?

  1. Check Google Thoroughly
  1. See if an existing GMB page is already set up. It’s best to claim an existing one. Pick the strongest one to optimize based on ranking factors & NAP integrity and remove the rest. Make sure it’s claimed, managed and verified. The best place to check for duplicates is now in Google Maps. Google Map Maker was the best place to do duplicate search, but unfortunately, the editing service was officially closed on March 31, 2017. Many of its features are being slowly integrated into Google Maps.
  1. How to check for duplicates:
    • Open your Google Maps
    • Start by searching for your Phone Number + Business Name.
    • Search also for tightest version of Business Name + City.
    • Check main category and tightest version of address with no suite.
    • Then zoom out 3 cities wide and search just for shortest version of the name. (Especially important with attorneys who often set up multiple satellite offices that are in violation.)

Note: Before doing anything listed below, always make sure you check all the listings to see if there are reviews that need to be moved to the one that you should be keeping.

What are the types duplicates?

1. Listings for Businesses at Physical Locations:

a) Two listings for the same business at the same address

What to do:

  • If they are both verified, you will first need to make sure that you have the management for both listings. Follow the steps in this support page, if you need to request for management. As soon as you have the access to both listings, contact Google My Business support and ask them to merge both listings for you.
    • If only one is verified, go into Google Maps and get the short URL of both listings and write them down (save this somewhere).

GMB duplicate removal

  • Make sure that you have management of the verified listing. The verified listing should be the one that you should keep. To remove the unverified listing, you can either report them to Google support or use the Suggest Edit option on the listing page.
    • Reaching out to Google support is much faster. Make sure that you point out the URL of the listing that you would like to keep and the unverified listing that you would like to be removed.

GMB duplicate removal

    • You can also use the Suggest Edit option on the listing page. Click Suggest an Edit and switch the bar for “Place is permanently closed or has never existed” to Yes. Choose “Duplicate” as the reason and click Submit. This will submit a report to Google which will be under review.

GMB duplicate removal

b) Two listings for the same business at different addresses

What to do:

  • If the incorrect address is an old address of the business (they were there at some point in time), contact Google My Business support or reach out to them via Twitter Support (@googlemybiz). Ask them to mark the old listing as moved.
    • If the incorrect address is one that the business has never existed at, use the Suggest Edit option on the listing page and switch the bar for “Place is permanently closed or has never existed” to Yes. Choose “Never Existed” as the reason and click Submit.

GMB duplicate removal

2. Listings for Service Area Businesses (SAB) without storefronts / Virtual offices

a) Two listings for the same business at the same address or different addresses

What to do:

  • If they are both verified, you will first need to make sure that you have the management for both listings. Follow the steps in this support page, if you need to request for management. As soon as you have the access to both listings, contact Google and ask them to merge both listings for you.
  • If only one is verified, go into Google Maps and get the short URL of the unverified listing. Contact Google support to remove the listing. Inform them that the listing is a service area business and is not permitted to be listed on the map.

Note: Unverified listings for SABs should never be marked as closed. They should always be deleted.

3. Professional/Practitioner Duplicates
As much as possible, we need to avoid creating practitioner listings. Overall, it won’t really help with the rankings. There’s even a high chance that it would compete with the main practice listing that you’re trying to rank if it gets more authority through split reviews.

What To Do:

  • For unverified practitioner listings who no longer works at your location, but did at some point, contact Google My Business support and ask them to mark the listing as moved. In order to accomplish this, the practitioner listing *must* be unverified. If it’s currently verified you need to get access to it first and delete it from your Google My Business dashboard to make it unverified.
  • If a listing exists for an employee who never worked at that address, use the Suggest Edit option on the listing page and switch the bar for “Place is permanently closed or has never existed” to Yes. Choose “Never Existed” as the reason and click Submit.
  • In optimizing attorney listings, refrain from claiming the page and do suggest edits instead. Explain the situation in your edit notes without talking about the ranking issue. So explain there is already a practice listing and since this is just an individual attorney listing, the most relevant page is the practice page.
  • For already claimed practitioner listings, avoid using accurate categories of your practice. If possible use a more generalize category. This is necessary to reduce potential chance of hurting the rankings for the main practice listing.
  • Make sure that the page links to the practitioner bio page and not the business home page. Add an image and description to highlight the practitioner, not the practice or main keywords.


What is it?

Yext is essentially a centralized platform that allows you to create, monitor and manage your local presence online from a single dashboard. Different levels of the subscription service allow for additional benefits such as duplicate listing suppressions, as well as claiming of listings that may otherwise be somewhat difficult to claim. The latter is due to the fact that there are listing sites that are fully automated and there is no other way to claim and manage listing but via the Yext platform.

Please note that Yext is not a MUST HAVE marketing tool, but it does offer a solution to address a lot of issues that when conducted manually may take an excessive amount of time and resources in managing, and more so on an ongoing basis.

Why it’s important:

  1. The amount of incorrect data, as well as the low level of data quality, on the internet has a direct impact on your local presence. Incorrect listings that do not coincide with your actual data are literally worthless from two different perspectives:
    • The search engines cannot tie up two sets of different data (here you lose the value of the listings in terms of providing signals to your existing / correct listing).
    • If a prospective client or customer should rely on data that is incorrect you may lose a lead. People searching and shopping online do not go out of their way to try and overcome inaccurate or incorrect data or listings!

Incorrect or incomplete information online causes small businesses to lose potential customers at a cost of $10 billion per year. — Based upon a study commission by YEXT in 2013

How To Setup Your Yext Account

Yext offers a number of different tiers for setting up an account. These range from $199 to $999 per annum. These options are displayed below, in the screenshot:


Assuming you have a Yext account and you are signed into the Yext dashboard. You will need to have the following materials available:

  1. NAP details (name, address and phone number) – it is vital that these are consistent with your existing Google listing.
  2. A set of suitable images for your listings. Including brand and account images which will be detailed below.
  3. Content for your listings.
  4. Be signed in to services that you intend to authorize (eg Google, Facebook and so on).

Bear in mind that the overall purpose of having a Yext account is that you can ensure all data is accurate across as many places as possible online. Although Yext does not offer the entire ‘spectrum’ of sites in terms of citation and listings websites out there, they have access to certain websites that are exclusive to this platform and often the only means of effectively controlling these is via the Yext dashboard and service.

Yext Account Setup

Once you have selected which Yext account you will be subscribing to, the basic setup is the same. Bear in mind that each of these external properties, populated by Yext, will act as an online asset in terms of your digital presence. Hence profiles, details, services and so forth need to be as complete and comprehensive as possible to maximize your firm’s digital presence.

The following screenshot has been obtained from Yext’s marketing materials and serves to illustrate the importance of key information that you should be including in your profile setup.


Below each of the steps in completing a “solid” profile is covered.

  1. Required Business InfoYextThis is pretty self explanatory. The address details should be 100% identical to your Google My Business listing. This accuracy is crucial to ensure that no duplicate or inaccurate listings are created which may result in issues being experienced in terms of overall digital presence, as well as your local marketing efforts.


  • Categories
    Start with your broadest category (eg. Personal Injury Attorneys) and then add 4 or 5 additional categories that are more specific below that (eg Personal Injury Attorneys > Auto Accident etc)Yext
  • Featured Message
    Add a strong call to action with a link to a desired landing page. This will allow for prospective client click throughs as well as a link building effect.
  1. Optional Business InformationYextThis area allows you to customize (and basically improve upon) your business listing. The business description is a key area that will help populate the various listings online with information about your firm and what sets you apart from your competitors. A solid business description will also appear more professional for both a website user as well as the search engines and you will benefit directly from taking the time to fill this part out.Business hours are shown on a lot of the websites where this data will be fed to, including Google My Business, and accurate business hours are essential for the end user.
  1. Email and WebsiteYextSelf-explanatory – here you can add different anchor text for links to your website – branded is recommended (eg John Smith Attorneys, PLC). A functioning email address is recommended.
  1. Photos and Videos
    This serves as another opportunity to showcase your law firm, products, services and offerings. Additional embeds of any videos you may have will contribute to your firms Youtube channel and videos. Select images that are applicable to your practice areas, as well as images of your team, offices and related imagery. Ensure that these are named correctly, and if at all possible that the meta data within the images (usually customized within photo editing software) is aligned with your services and practice areas as well as being geo tagged.Yext
  1. Social Media
    Linking your social media profiles to your business, and your listings allows you to post directly to some of the listings, via the Yext dashboard. Additionally these are signals to the search engines to link your online ‘assets’ and attribute them accordingly.Yext
  1. Google My Business
    This is where you can manage your Google listing attributes and imagery. Self-explanatoryYext
  1. Enhanced Content Lists
    The enhanced content lists offer you the unique opportunity to further build out your online profiles and digital presence. These essentially allow for additional pages and excerpts of your products and services as well as enhanced bios of attorneys (mini about us pages). Many folks do not take advantage of these.Yext
  2. Uber
    This is a new feature from Yext, and allows for Yext advertisers to utilize Uber in terms of advertising on directories and other sites for prospective clients to utilize Uber to get to the business in question. This is arguably geared more towards the restaurant and hospitality sectors, however there is nothing stopping you from using this within your own marketing efforts. There will of course be additional costs related to this sort of advertising where establishments offer the client a ‘free’ ride with an Uber driver.Yext
  1. Additional Attributes
    Again another area that you can use to differentiate your business, services and offerings. Additional information can be added to set your listings apart from your competitors.Yext

Moving Forward

Once you have completed your listing it is important to continually manage it and provided updates and tweaks moving forward. Additionally if you are subscribed to the premium listing, the system will identify duplications and data inaccuracies. These should be investigated and rectified wherever possible, and duplicates should be suppressed.

Yext also offers review management and these can be located within your dashboard, and should also be closely monitored to leverage the positive reviews as much as possible, and address any potential negative reviews that may arise.

Yext is not the be all and end all of listing management software or platforms, however the platform does offer a wide range benefits, as well as a fairly easy to use and manage system that can be used to your advantage in an ever increasing competitive landscape online.



Module 5: Local SEO Citation Blaster

Now that Google knows where you live, it’s time to put some serious effort into your local SEO.

Local SEO is important for both the fact that people typically search for an attorney with their city name, as well as the fact that Google knows where most users are searching from and spit back local results when the search is local, as is the case with a search for a local attorney. Creepy, but true.

The most integral piece is getting your GMB page set up, which is what we covered last week.

This week, we’re going to focus on how to send some juice to your listings to improve your visibility in search engines. The biggest benefit of this is that it can result in Google displaying your firm higher in Maps results, which show up on search results pages for local searches. 

That means more traffic, more clicks, and more reputability before they even land on your site. After all, showing up high in Google does a lot to begin the trust building work with leads.

The key to making this happen? Acquiring citations, the focal point of the solo lesson for this week. (Don’t worry, it has nothing to do with MLA or APA.)

Citation Acquisition

What is a citation?

A citation is often a local directory listing that has the correct “Name,” “Address” and “Phone number” (NAP) for your firm. No link to your website is necessary to be considered a citation source.

An example of a citation would be a listing for your firm on or

citation acquisition

Why are they important?

Citations are a key component to Google’s local algorithm. Generally speaking, the more quality citations you have, the higher chances you have of ranking well in Google’s maps.

citation acquisition

Please notice I said it’s a “key component,” not the only component 🙂  You must have a strong website with great content, quality backlinks, etc. to rank well in the maps.

How do I acquire citations?

Citations are relatively inexpensive to purchase so from a time management/cost consideration, it’s much more productive to purchase citations from these sources. Over the last 10 years I have tried countless providers but these services are very reliable.

  • Get the Data Aggregators for $55
  • Obtain 50 other citations that you don’t currently have for $100 ($2 per citation)
    • Their report will show you the top ranked citations that you don’t have.

  • Buy the $399 package.
    • If budget does not permit, acquire the $199 package.
  • I wouldn’t suggest the $599 package for a newer firm. If you have a large firm or have been around for a very long time (more than 5 years), you can acquire the $599/package if budget permits.

Citations You Need to Acquire

Unfortunately, the best law firm citations are those that only you (or an assistant in-house) can acquire. If you don’t yet have a basic listing on these websites, please work towards obtaining one.

  • FindLaw – You may have to call a rep to have a basic listing created.
    • Opt for a free listing. I do not recommend advertising in FindLaw.
  • – You may have to call a rep to have a basic listing created.
    • Opt for a free listing. I do not recommend advertising on
  • Justia –
  • NOLO – You just need a basic directory listing for the flat annual fee
  • – Free option available. Budget permitting, the $199 yearly fee is worth it
  • AVVO – You probably already have a listing so make sure it’s claimed
  • Local Bar Association – Are you a member? Make sure you get a citation and hopefully a link back to your site.
  • Yelp – It’s not a legal directory but it’s the most important non-legal directory with which you can be listed. Verify this listing yourself.
  • Your local Chamber of Commerce – Also not a legal directory, but a very important citation that you should acquire for yourself.
  • Facebook – Please make sure your Facebook page is completely filled out with accurate NAP info and a link back to your website.
  • Thumbtack – Rapidly growing directory. If they rank well in Google for keywords you feel are important to your business, consider becoming a Pro member.

Common Mistakes

By far, the most common mistake is not using the exact information from your Google My Business/Map listing on your citation source. If your Google Map listing says “Suite 405b” use EXACTLY that same suite information on your citations. I mean EXACTLY. Do not deviate at all from what is on your Map listing.

Additional Notes

  • Maximize your listings by filling them out completely. Citations that are filled out completely do have more power than those with only minimum information.
    • For example, if you have the ability to upload 5 images to a Yelp listing, upload 5 images. Include images of you, your office space and the outside of the building.
  • If you’re feeling ambitious, you can obtain citations that are popular in your local area here

Getting Geeky: Advanced Tip

  • Use a tool like to remember your Name, Address, Phone information so you don’t have to type it into each new site you visit.


Module 6: The Devil’s in the Details

Guess what?

This lesson marks the halfway point of the first 12 weeks of the program – a testament to your dedication and hard work up to this point.

The last few weeks, we’ve been hitting some pretty big points that are hopefully already yielding results. Even if you aren’t ranking very highly at this point for your primary keywords, the fact that everything is in place should definitely be exciting, and is an awesome accomplishment.

This week, we’re going to tone it down a notch with a few straightforward, simple lessons that can help you get your i’s dotted and t’s crossed. These aren’t the things anyone would consider secret, but they can definitely add up to a significant impact on not only your SEO but your website’s user experience (UX), as well. 

After all, the devil might indeed be in the details – but sometimes there are leads in there, too.

Meta Descriptions

What is it?

The meta description is a form of meta data written in HTML which describes the content of the web page. The meta description is used to entice clicks from search engine queries which means the meta description needs to be compelling to users.

It shows up in search engines here:

meta descriptions

Why it’s important

  1. A well optimized meta description can increase your Click Through Rate (CTR) and more clicks leads to more clients.
  2. Without a meta description, search engines will create one for you, often times it’s not a good one.

How to change

Navigate to the page or post you want to edit and go to the yoast panel.

meta descriptions


The meta description needs to be compelling based on the page content and perhaps even have a Call To Action (CTA) within it.

At Example Law Firm we offer FREE consultations for all Boston car accident victims. Give us a call TODAY at 555-555-5555 to schedule your consultation.

STOP! Millions of Americans a year pay for motor accidents that weren’t their fault. Our 10 step guide for what to do after you’re in a car accident will prepare YOU for an accident. Need help? Call 555-555-5555

Getting geeky –  advanced tips:

  • While the meta description can get up to 200 characters, the ideal length is 130-150 characters.
  • The meta description is no longer a ranking factor, so don’t worry about optimizing your description for keywords
  • The occasional all caps word draws attention. The best words to use for this engagement are

Common mistakes

  • Long meta
  • Missing meta
  • Irrelevant meta

Additional notes

  • Every page should have a unique meta description
  • Check the meta descriptions of the page 1 results for your keyword. What do they have in common? What’s good? What’s bad?

Additional resources

Internal Links

What is it?

An internal link is an HTML link that leads to a webpage on your website.

Why it’s important:

  • Allows users to find relevant pages based on the page they’re on
  • Defines your link architecture for search engines to understand what webpages are the most important and how they relate to each other

How To Do It

  1. Go into a page or posts visual editor and select a word, words, or image to be the placeholder for the link (in the case of word(s), the placeholder is called ‘anchor text’).
  2. Click on the chainlink icon to add a link to your selected element

internal links

  1. Enter the URL that you’d like the hyperlink to link to. This can be a relative or absolute URL

internal links

An absolute URL includes the website’s domain, this can link to a page on your website or a page on someone else’s website. Examples are


A relative URL means that the link is relative to the website it’s placed on. These do not require a domain address. Examples are

  • / (root page)
  • /page
  • /page/subpage

Using a relative url such as /page will bring you to meaning that /page on your website is different than /page on another website.

Getting Geeky – Advanced Tip:

  • Internal links should be relevant. If the text is talking about car accidents then it makes sense to link to the car accident or personal injury page (the former is ideal) rather than a workers comp or the homepage.
  • Internal links help define your website’s architecture. In other words, your internal links help users navigate to important pages and it helps crawlers understand how your webpages are connected. If your main practice area is personal injury and you have 3 subpages of car accident, slip & fall, and construction accident then the 3 sub pages should link back to the personal injury page but not other PA’s such as criminal defense or family law.

Common Mistakes

  • Using too many internal links
  • Not defining a link structure to follow
  • Overlinking to few pages

Additional Notes

  • While there’s no exact rule as to how often or how little you should use internal links, a good rule of thumb is 1 link for every 250 words. That does not mean within the body copy every 250 words there’s a link but for a page with 750 words, 3 internal links is acceptable.
  • Internal links helps boost pages that are buried within your website. A webpage thats URL is /practice-area/personal-injury/auto-accident/car-accident is seen as a less important page by default. Internal links help remedy this.

Additional Resources:

XML Sitemap

What is it?

The XML sitemap is an XML file which contains all of your website’s URLs. This file is crawled by search bots so that they can find all of your web pages.

Why it’s important:

  • Search engines expect you to have it
  • Search engines use the XML sitemap to discover all of your webpages from one place

Lucky for you, if Yoast has been set up correctly then you already have your XML sitemap created. To verify navigate to the “XML sitemaps” section of the Yoast plugin toolbar.

Ensure that the sitemap is enabled. To test your sitemap simply click the link “XML sitemap”

XML Sitemap

Getting Geeky – Advanced Tip:

The general, post types, excluded posts, and taxonomies tabs allow you to fully customize your sitemap. If you have your tag pages, for example, set to noindex then you’d want to remove those pages from your sitemap via the taxonomies tab and selecting “not in sitemap”.

Common Mistakes

  • Disabling the XML sitemap
  • Using multiple sitemap plugins
  • Including deindexed pages/posts within the sitemap

Additional Notes

  • The XML sitemap is not what you want to use in your footer. Instead, use an HTML sitemap (include link to previous module about HTML sitemap or mention that it’ll be talked about later on)

Additional Resources:

Module 7: The Rockefeller Method

One of the cool things about SEO is how it overlaps with so many other fields. When it comes to the internal workings of a website and how that relates to search engines, it overlaps with Web Development; when it comes to improving engagement metrics, it overlaps with Design and Content; and there are myriad ways that it overlaps with Social Media.

As search engines – with Google leading the way – take more and more factors into account when ranking websites, this comes as no surprise.

But in this week’s lesson, we have an overlap that you probably didn’t see coming: SEO and Reputation Management. 

Learn how to take control of what Google shows users about you, and make sure that people looking more closely at your firm aren’t surprised by anything unsavory (such as a bad review from an angry blogger).

Don’t worry, this isn’t negative SEO, in the sense that you attempt to bury other sites’ rankings by spamming them; instead, you just promote the good.

Ready to create a monopoly of your branded keywords? Mr. Rockefeller would be proud.

What is it?

The Rockefeller Method is an IMG original where you collect listings that rank for your website and purchase affordable link building services to promote those listings so they rank better in Google providing you with:

  1. Improved rankings for your site
  2. Improved reputation in the search results by promoting positive listings (i.e. negative listings may drop in rank as positive listings are promoted)
  3. These listings may wind up ranking for keywords important to your business (this will only happen after “Round 2” in 60 days when you promote with a PBN link.

I named this method after John Rockefeller because of the monopoly he created in the oil industry and it’s my goal that you’re also able to create a mini monopoly in your local market.

Here’s an example of how it helps your reputation-

Rockefeller Method

If someone searches for our brand name, they will see great/positive results for our company. Part of this reason is because we have built links into many of the listings and videos above.

If you’re in a smaller town, you can have multiple listings ranking for your primary keywords. Here’s an example of a client who has their Yelp page ranking in Google for their primary keyword:

Rockefeller Method

Generally speaking, Yelp listings, Facebook pages and YouTube videos are the easiest to rank.

Why it’s important:

  1. Your reputation is important and you should take measures now to enhance your reputation even if it’s completely positive. One bad review that ranks well can have damaging effects on your business.
  2. Building links into listings that link back to your website can provide a great boost to your own website in about 60-90 days.

Getting started:

  1. Find about 10-20 listings that rank for your law firm’s name and enter those into a Google spreadsheet.
    • If your firm is brand new, wait about 60 days and then perform this method.
    • Go to Google and search for your firm’s name (e.g. Smith Law Firm)
    • Of the listings that rank, only select those that directly link to your website.
    • DO NOT pick your own website. This is ONLY for the promotion of listings and pages that link to your website.

If possible, include your listings on the following sites (these tend to perform well): Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google Plus, Yelp, FindLaw,,, YouTube videos

Note– If you have a newly created law firm, you may not have a listing on the above sites. If at all possible, create a listing or have a page created.

  1. Buy one Fiverr gig to promote each listing
    • It is not necessary to promote a listing with more than one Fiverr gig

Here’s a list of the Fiverr gigs we recommend:

  2. (requires a tweet – use a tagline from information obtained on the client’s website)
  3. (requires a tweet)

If you have more than 9 listings you’re looking to promote, just start back over at the top of this list when you reach the 10th listing.

Getting Geeky – Advanced Tip:

Have unique descriptions written (100-500 words) for all of your listings from TextBroker. Simply provide TextBroker (only hire level 4 writers) with a link to your about page and ask that it be written. This will help your listings rank better in Google because more content generally means more authority. A standard listing with just your name, address and phone number isn’t very much unique information on your law firm.

Common Mistakes

  • Believing you need to buy multiple Fiverr gigs to promote a single listing (e.g. Yelp, FindLaw)
  • Not verifying your unclaimed listings (see below)
  • Not creating a simple video for your firm (even if it’s just you on your iPhone sharing a little about yourself)

Additional Notes

  • If you come across a listing in Google that ranks well for your brand name, but it’s not verified (e.g. Yelp), we recommend you take time to verify your high-ranking listings. Verifying your listing gives you control to edit your listing (and perform the “Getting Geeky” tip above, respond to positive/negative comments (in most cases) and more!
  • If the Fiverr gig asks for “keywords,” use variations of your firm name (e.g. Smith Law Firm, Smith Law Firm LLP)

Module 8: Under the Local SEO Hood

Creeping beneath the surface of the internet are some strange monsters, mostly in the form of seemingly indecipherable codes. While most of these are only of concern to the developers who actually build the web, some occasionally become more common and accepted, and some of us non-coders have to take notice.

Such is the case with schema markup, a coding vocabulary that you can use to tag certain types of information on your website to make it more easily found by search engines. Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo are all sponsors of the project, and millions of websites now use the vocabulary in the back end of their CMS (Content Management System – such as WordPress). 

What’s this got to do with you? While it has a variety of applications, especially as the language continues to be expanded, the most important thing to note is that it’s associated with higher organic rankings in search engines. Essentially, it’s extending an olive branch to search engines – in the form of an agreed-upon code – to help them understand you better, and it in turn makes it easier for your hard SEO work to pay off in the end.

Fair warning: this is on the more technical side of things, and though it may not seem like much (we’ve only included the one lesson for this week), it can be a bit to wrap your mind around.

Lucky for you, we show you how to do it all, and we’ve even developed a markup tool that will make the process as easy as possible on your end.

Time to crack them knuckles and get to work!

Schema Markup

What Is It?

Schema markup is vital for both your business and your website. It allows crawlers (and therefore the search engines) to better understand the website that is being crawled, as well as the key business attributes that are therein defined.

Why It’s Important

  1. Correctly marking up your business, services, products and reviews provides search engines the means to classify, categorize and display your website and related marked up items correctly within the search engine results pages.

The full details in and around schema and the various areas for implementation are contained on the main website: However this can get a little confusing, to say the least.

That’s why using a JSON-LD schema generator, where you can plug in your business details and generate the schema (in JSON format) for implementation into your website, is so valuable. We’ll get into the details of how to use a little later, but go ahead and click here to check out the generator you’ll be using.

Check Existing Schema

Your website may already have schema embedded into it, however it is doubtful that it is comprehensive and complete. Go to and enter your website URL into the provided area:

Schema markup

The results will show the existing structured data on the right and the website source code on the left.

Pro Tip: This tool can be used to analyze what your competitors have in terms of existing structured data on their website.

Assuming you do not have the specific schema in place with respect to, at the very least, your organization/practice address details it’s time to get to work on putting this together.

Make Sure Your NAP is accurate

NAP, which stands for Name, Address and Phone Number, should be identical across all websites that feature these details, including your local directories, aggregators and related services / providers (eg YEXT, Moz etc).

If you have an existing, verified and published listing with Google it is recommended that you use these details. Copy these details from your Google listing and use them as your NAP details on other sites, as well as within your Organization’s published data (on your website) and as well as your schema data. The example below shows where to access your NAP data that is listed on Google (if you do not have this already…).

Schema markup

There are additional details that will be required, and of course this depends on what type of schema you will be generating. In this instance the more information you have the better!

Using the Schema Generator

Go to the schema generator, and select the type of schema you wish to generate, in this module we will be focusing on your business and related properties (such as logo, hours of operation, address, description and so forth).

Schema markup

Step 1: Select Type of Markup

Complete all details as comprehensively as possible, an example is detailed below for reference purposes.

There are several issues you may encounter, and tips for these follows below.

Schema markup

Suggestions and comments

Type of Markup:
Select Local Business and Legal Service (as opposed to Attorney)

Full Business / Law Firm Name

Url is your website address

sameAs URL:
This applies to any social media profile that your firm may have. This includes, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google +, twitter etc

Add the url of your logo image, and any additional image if applicable – this applies to the business.

Description about your firm, including practice areas ….

NB This is where your NAP must match your other online listings.

Longitude and Latitude:
suggested for geographic accuracy (See below)

see below on how to get your map url

Business Hours:
self explanatory

Contact Type:
Suggested ‘Customer Service’

Finding Your logo url

Navigate to your website, and right click on your logo, if there is an option of “Copy image address” per the below, this will suffice. Please note that this may not work in all cases.

Schema markup

Longitude and Latitude

Go to:

Enter your address details, and the longitude and latitude will be generated:

Schema markup

Locating Your Map Link

Navigate to your business / maps listing on Google, from the selection items available, select Share and copy the link from the popup box

Schema markup

Once the preceding steps have been completed you will have a set of schema data in the right box of the schema generator page … this should be highlighted by clicking in the box and selecting Ctrl+A or by placing your cursor before the opening <, click on your mouse and drag to the end so all text is highlighted and then copy it. This can then be pasted directly to the required area on your website or pasted into a text document before transferring over. Please note this must be a text doc, to preserve the code.

Schema markup

Highlight & Copy the Generated Json Script

Schema markup

Paste to a Text Doc

Schema markup

Check your Schema

It is always a good idea to check your Schema with the Google tool mentioned above, located here: , this time select code snippet and paste your newly generated code into the provided area:

Please note that it is possible that incorrect errors or warnings may be generated within this test. And which may require further tweaks or even some web developer input.

Adding the Schema code to your Website

Once you have generated your own json-ld script it is time to add this to your website. There are a number of different ways that this can be implemented, from the manual process to the automated process. The former can be added directly to the head section of your website (webdev suggested) or, if you are working with a WordPress website, this can be done via plugins or theme functionality that allows for such code insertion on the fly. Examples are themes that allow for custom header scripts (Genesis, Divi and a variety of other themes too), to that of plugins that will add this functionality, Header Footer scripts and so on.

Going beyond the perhaps a little more ‘advanced’ implementation defined above is by using plugins designed specifically for the insertion of schema into a wordpress website. Please note that the addition of plugins may add unnecessary overhead to your website and have a direct impact on your pagespeed and overall website performance.

Some of the available plugins for WordPress that can assist you:

Inserting into your website / theme directly
Complete ‘manual’ installation:

Please Note: We cannot openly recommend any specific theme and/or plugin as we do not know what your current setup is. Some themes and plugins do not necessarily function seamlessly together and hence a couple of the more common themes and plugins are highlighted below.

Themes (Certain themes already have a user interface that allows for the insertion of custom scripts and code into the respective header, body or footer area of the website)

Elegant Themes

Genesis Child Themes (Studiopress)

Note: some themes and plugins may conflict with each other

Plugins (for adding scripts/code to the website)

Of course there are many more and these are for illustrative purposes only.

Schema Plugins:

Additional Resources:

Module 9: Optimizing Your Content

While a lot of the SEO work we’ve done so far relates to things that are fairly invisible to your average internet user, there are plenty of best practices for “on-page” SEO work, as well.

What’s especially interesting when it comes to on-page SEO is the ways in which it relates to the tension between writing for search engines and writing for users and leads.

Generally, it’s a good idea, when writing your content, to focus pretty exclusively on what prospective clients would be looking for – since more weight is now placed on how users engage with your content – as opposed to what Google can learn from the content itself. But the latter is still important.

So how do you know what to do with things like title tags, keywords, and headers within your content?

You work through this module, that’s how!

Content Optimization

What is content optimization?

Content optimization isn’t about just stuffing keywords into a page. It is used to make your website page(s) more attractive to search engines as well as providing quality and relevant information to the reader.

Why is it important?

Having optimized content is important to build trust, establish authority, create quality, and to produce a call to action (CTA).

The key to successful content optimization is creating the perfect theme for the practice area you want to promote.

Where does it start?

Perfect content optimization starts with a great page layout. If you don’t include enough quality information on your page, it’s going to be difficult to rank that page. When having content written, it’s important to ask, “How could I make this the most authoritative* page on the Internet for this particular topic?”

*Note: Authoritative pages means it is comprehensive, credible, and has a strong theme.
The next thing we want to do is establish a strong theme around a particular topic. A way you can do this is to search Google for your practice area you are writing about and to find some relevant keywords that should be used on the page.

Beginning your research

After you’ve done some searching in Google, now you want to start your research on how to create the best practice area page imaginable. These pages are only built once, and will be updated every so often, so it’s important to build your page right the first time.

Google is an excellent tool to see what people want to see and if you write about the keywords people are looking for, Google will recognize that and rank you.

Here is an example at the bottom of your Google search (if you were searching car accident attorney) that will be helpful to you to use as a reference:

content optimization

You found keywords to use. Now what?

Now you put all that information you found into the content you will write or have written. Go to the dashboard from your site and click to add a new page. If you already have a page written before you saw this, go through the content you have and see if you use any of the keywords from the Google search.

If you have not already written the page, make sure you include them in the content you are about to write.

If we look at the screenshot above, we can see people are asking about car accident lawyer fees, free consultations, lawyers near them, and much more. An example of this would be a heading that says: “No Win No Fee Guarantee.” If applicable, you could include this in a small section of your page explaining that if you don’t win their case, they don’t have a fee. Google would recognize it and would suggest that page to people who search “car accident lawyer fees.”

If you’re using WordPress and have the Yoast SEO plugin installed, you’ll be able to change your title tag as well. Your heading may say “New York City Motorcycle Accident Attorney” so you may change your title tag to “NYC Motorcycle Injury Lawyer” so that multiple keywords are being picked up by Google.

Note: Do not bold more than one keyword phrase in your page, else it could seem as if you are keyword stuffing and that is not the goal.

Keyword stuffing is using the same words over and over again to try to get ranked for that specific keyword — Google doesn’t like that. Instead, use variations of those words. For example:

  • NYC motorcycle accident lawyer/attorney/law firm
  • New York City motorcycle accident lawyers/attorneys/law firm
  • NYC motorcycle injury lawyer
  • NYC biker injury lawyer
  • Biker injury attorneys in NYC/New York City
  • Motorcycle accident lawyers in New York City

The last thing to do is search your content for those variations of words. You can do this by clicking CTRL + F (Windows) or CMD + F (Mac). Maybe you only used attorney once, but used lawyer three times, you will know to make adjustments and this is the time to do so.


1500 Word – The Perfect Page Layout

  • 300-400 words about the practice area and firm
  • 1-2 testimonials (video or written / specific to the practice area is ideal)
  • 5-10 sub practice areas that each have about 50 words listed
  • 6-10 FAQ’s (50-100 word answers are fine)
  • 150-350 final call to action and info about the firm (Why choose us?)

750 Words – The Perfect Page Layout

  • 300 words about the practice area and firm
  • 1 testimonial (video or written / specific to the practice area is ideal)
  • 5-10 sub practice areas listed as bullet points
  • 4-6 FAQs (50-100 word answers are fine)
  • 150-250 final call to action and info about the firm (Why choose us?)

Additional Tips:

  • Once finished, request that Google recrawl your website (how-to video below)
  • Make sure that your content is useful to your audience
  • Your content should teach the reader instead of selling

Common Mistakes

  • Over-optimizing – it is crucial to mix up your keywords throughout your content
  • Not doing proper keyword research and planning
  • Not optimizing your images (how-to video below)



What is it?

A header is a type of HTML tag which helps both users and search engines interpret what the topic of an entire page is, and the context of specific sections of that page. You can think of headers like taking notes from a textbook. Imagine you’re on Chapter 4: Email clients. And there’s 3 sections to that chapter: Gmail, Yahoo, and Hotmail.

Email clients would be your top level header (h1) and you wouldn’t have any more of these until you made it to the next chapter (web page).

Gmail, Yahoo, and Hotmail would be subheaders (h2’s).

This format helps readers (crawlers) understand “This page is about email clients and this section of the page is about Gmail”.

There are 6 headers (h1, h2, h2, etc) but we’ll be focusing on h1’s and h2’s.

Why it’s important:

  • H1’s specifically are one of the top onpage ranking factors for Google
  • Headers allow users and crawlers determine what a page is about

How to change headers

Changing headers can be dependant on how your WordPress theme is set up. Some themes will allocate the page title (see images below) as the h1, whereas others do not.



If you’re unsure whether your page title is an h1 or not, follow the steps below.

    1. Navigate to the front end of your webpage


    1. Highlight the phrase that’s within your page title. In this case “Sample Page”. Right click, and click “inspect”.headers


  1. This will open the inspector panel and bring you to the section which contains the highlighted phrase. If you see an “<h1…” like you do in the image below, then your page title is your h1.headersIf your h1 is within your page title then for your h1’s you’ll just need to type within the box. Otherwise, you’ll create h1’s the same way you do h2’s.headers


Working a keyword into your homepage h1 is nice but what you want to do is place your selling point or why you’re in business.

“Defending those that others wouldn’t”

“Serving [city]’s community for 50 years”

Depending on your WordPress theme, the h1 for the homepage may be a bit tricky to find. Your homepage may also be within the index.php file.


For your practice area pages, we’re going to leverage the h1’s and h2’s to use as a combination. The general format goes like this:

Imagine this is a personal injury practice area page based in Boston, MA.

H1: Personal Injury
H2: Boston, MA Personal Injury Lawyer

This works in the keyword ‘personal injury’ twice in a natural way without creating a bulky h1. The following is how doing this in WordPress looks.

Getting Geeky: Advanced tips

  • Every webpage should only have 1 h1. There can be exceptions, see below but it’s geeky!
    • To test how many h1’s your webpage has you can run your website through a crawler like Screaming Frog or right click >> view source >> CMD/CTR+F and then type (no quotes) “<h1” and see the count.
  • For websites that run on HTML5, multiple h1’s can be acceptable due to HTML tags like <section> which tell crawlers that this is a new section of the webpage. While this is technically OK – most SEOs still use the 1 per page rule.

Common Mistakes

  • Having multiple h1s on a webpage
  • Headers that lack keywords
  • Marking up an image as a header
  • Not having an h1
  • Not using the h1/h2 combination to your advantage
  • Keyword stuffing headers

Additional notes

  • Every page should have an unique h1
  • If your title tag has ‘lawyer’ then your h2 should have ‘attorney’ and vise versa
  • Do not repeat your title tag within your page copy

Additional Resources

Title Tags

What is it?

The title tag is an HTML element used to briefly describe the topic of a web page and is essential in optimizing your website for both SEO and user experience. The title tag is displayed in two places:

It shows in your browser here-

title tags

It also shows up in the search results here-

title tags

Why it’s important:

  1. Google places a high level of weight in the algorithm for this tag.
  2. It’s highly visible in the search results so it’s not only important for SEO, but also for getting prospects to click on your link to visit your site.

How to change your title tags:

Homepage – What to change your title tags to:

If your firm has multiple practice areas, it can be OK on the homepage to include up to three of them in the title tag. Additionally, whereas we prefer to have the firm name at the end of the title tags on sub pages, it’s actually best to put the firm name first on homepages.

The format would be as follows: “Law Firm Name – [City] [Practice Areas] Attorney”

Homepage Examples:

  • Personal Injury Firm Example: Smith & Whitestocking – NYC Personal Injury & Car Accident Attorney
  • Bankruptcy Firm Example: Smith & Whitestocking – NYC Bankruptcy & Chapter 13 Attorney
  • Divorce Firm Example: Smith & Whitestocking – NYC Divorce & Family Law Attorney
  • Elder Law Firm Example: Smith & Whitestocking – NYC Elder Law, Probate and Estate Planning Attorney
  • Criminal Defense Example: Smith & Whitestocking – NYC Criminal Defense & DWI Attorney

Sub-Page – What to change your title tags to:

The best format for a sub-page title tag is “[City] [Practice Area] Attorney – Law Firm Name”

Sub-Page Examples:

  • Car Accident Page Example: NYC Car Accident Attorney – Smith & Whitestocking
  • Bankruptcy Page Example: NYC Bankruptcy Attorney – Smith & Whitestocking
  • Personal Injury Page Example: NYC Personal Injury Attorney – Smith & Whitestocking
  • Divorce Page Example: NYC Divorce Attorney – Smith & Whitestocking
  • Child Custody Page Example: NYC Child Custody Attorney – Smith & Whitestocking
  • Estate Planning Page Example: NYC Estate Planning Attorney – Smith & Whitestocking
  • Probate Page Example: NYC Car Probate Attorney – Smith & Whitestocking

Getting Geeky – Advanced Tip:

As you will notice in the title tag example above for Black Fin, we used the phrase “Results-Driven” to help differentiate our company from the competition. As you progress in this training, we would suggest you revisit your title tags in 4 months to rewrite them to be more persuasive. Don’t worry, we will remind you of this at the 4 month mark.

Common Mistakes

  • Title tags that are too long
  • Title tags that don’t include the primary keyword
  • Title tags that don’t include the brand name, or the correct brand name per the Google Map (GMB) listing.

Additional Notes

  • Every web page and blog post should have a unique title tag
  • Title tags should be no more than 70 characters (Here’s a character counter tool:
  • We do not suggest using state abbreviations in your title tag. It wastes space. Instead use a state abbreviation in your headline (H1 Tag).
  • While we generally use the hyphen (-) in our title tags, it’s also acceptable to use other separators such as the pipe symbol (|).
  • Always make sure to check your work when finished. If your title tags aren’t updating properly, you may need to “force rewrite” your titles by following the instructions on this page:

Additional Resources:

Module 10: Getting Reviewed

People can get a bit nervous when they go to find an attorney. After all, attorneys unfortunately don’t have the best reputations in the world, often painted as egotistical money-grubbers.

That’s why, whenever you can display good client experiences with your firm, it’s in your best interests to do so.

The most common way to do this is by getting good online reviews. As people continue to turn to the internet to find local services, having feedback from actual past clients displayed wherever you can – most importantly in search results – leads to a boost in intakes. 

Studies have shown that people trust online reviews almost as much as they trust the word of their friends and family, and carry a tremendous amount of weight in purchasing decisions.

Nonetheless, some small businesses get nervous about promoting reviews, concerned that the opposite of what we just described might happen – someone will leave a negative review and permanently disable your online presence.

But don’t worry, there are plenty of great online tools that give you a tremendous amount of control over the online review process.

Let’s get those 5 stars.

Get 5 Reviews This Week

What is it?

Google reviews show up in the “snack pack” (the box above the organic search results with, generally, three map listings). It is imperative that you obtain reviews on a regular basis to build trust with future clients.

What do Map reviews look like in Google?

Google reviews

Of course you would click on Tim Misny’s listing!

Why are Map reviews important?

  • They improve your click-thru-rate (CTR) in the search results.
  • Some experts believe they can increase your rankings in the maps.
  • They build trust for your law firm.

How to create a link directly to your review page (WARNING: only share with those you know love your services):

Tools to help with the process and how they work:

  1. Reputation Stacker
  2. Podium

Google reviews

When a client is finished with your services, you can send them a link through Podium or Reputation Stacker. When they click the link, it will open up a new window with your logo and a place to rate their experience with 1-5 stars.

If they click 1-3 stars, it will open up a new window and will say something, such as, “I’m sorry you were not satisfied with our services. Please let us know how we can use our services better next time.” This will allow them to leave feedback directly for you.

If they click 4 or 5 stars, another window will pop up thanking them for the review and will then ask if they would mind leaving feedback for them on Google, Yelp, or Facebook.

Why is this a good option to use?

This filters out your reviews in some ways, so that the satisfied clients are able to leave a review and the unsatisfied clients will give you feedback on how you can improve your business and services without jeopardizing your public reviews.

A challenge for you and your business:

Get a least 5 reviews this week.


  • Call, text, or email past clients
  • Get the word out that you are looking for reviews
  • Focus on the people you know love your services for positive reviews
  • Use the link above with your own personal URL for reviewing for easy access

Getting Geeky – Advanced Tip:

Respond to all reviews. If the review is positive, thank them. If it’s negative, explain how you are constantly trying to improve every aspect of your business and you are working hard to fix whatever may have failed for that client.


  • In order to get 5 reviews, you may need to ask about 20 “happy” clients for a review. Many clients will tell you they can leave a review, but fail to do so. That’s the nature of the process, unfortunately.
  • This is not a one-time thing and it should be an ongoing part of your business. You have to get reviews for your business on a regular basis. A way you can do this is by putting someone in charge of handling your reviews and putting processes in place. If that’s not within your budget, set aside some time yourself every month to focus on this and generate reviews.

Module 11: Advanced Audits & Troubleshooting

Google has a bit of a strange relationship to SEO.

While they aren’t opposed to it, being that there are clear benefits to optimizing your site for search engines, they aren’t the biggest fan, either. SEOs trying to “crack the code” of Google’s algorithm, sometimes successfully, is a large reason why Google has had to become so sophisticated with their algorithms, and they preach a lot of caution when working with SEOs (which, to be fair, we do too).

That being said, there’s also plenty of merit to the notion that Google is primarily concerned with its own product, and that you shouldn’t trust them implicitly when it comes to their perspective on SEO. Which is why few of the actual SEO-metrics-related tools that we’ve used so far have had little to do with Google’s many products.

But Google does have a platform – Google Search Console (GSC), formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools – that analyzes a wide array of SEO-related factors.

While we don’t see it as a starting point for nitty-gritty SEO work, there are some definite benefits to using the platform, especially when it comes to recognizing big issues within Google, as well as troubleshooting.

In this lesson, learn what to pay attention to in GSC, as well as how to address problems that might arise. We also take a deeper dive into Majestic’s platform to further analyze and fine-tune your SEO. 

Module 12: Optimizing Your Law Directory Profiles

Some of the things done with SEO are elegant, technical, and just totally geeky. On the other hand, some are brute force, pushing your site to the top by simply doing more than your competitors. This lesson falls into the latter category.

While you’re certainly aware of the major law firm listing sites out there – and we’ve already talked about a number of them – having as many high-quality directory listings as possible can also be a big boost to your rankings.

After all, most of your competition is already using Avvo and Justia and Findlaw. While those types of mainstream listing sites are the most important, there are plenty more that, when completed in concert, can also be an important source of backlink juice.

In other words, this lesson shows you how to make sure the internet never forgets your firm’s name, and that when it comes to the competition, you simply outwork them.

Directory Submission

What is a directory submission?

Directory submission is the process of listing your site to various directories or databases under the correct category or sub category.

Why they are important?

They are important for strong link building as well as driving traffic to your site.

Steps to take:

  1. Create new Google Spreadsheet and copy all information from this sheet to your own
  2. Start with paid directories if you can afford it
  3. Then go with the directories that require your bar information
  4. Free directories are next
    • I would suggest you hire a VA (virtual assistant) from in the Philippines to handle this work. It will only cost about $5/hour and they should be able to acquire a few free links per hour.
  5. Budget permitting, go to and purchase rewrites of your about page content (100-500 words / Only hire level 4 writers) and have your VA upload the uniquely written content to each of your profiles
  6. Once finished and all listings are created, purchase this service to make sure all of your listings get indexed in Google

Common Mistakes

The most common mistake is not using the exact information from your Google My Business/Map listing.

Additional Notes

  • Find niche-related directories
  • Completely fill out all directory submissions

Getting Geeky – Advanced Tip:

  • Use a tool like to remember your Name, Address, Phone information so you don’t have to type it into each new site you visit.

Module 13: Local Outreach

Backlinks are key to the success of your firm’s SEO.

Local outreach is a great way to build backlinks to your site while simultaneously supporting local causes, charities or events in your area. And another bonus: this method can be tax deductible if you’re donating to a non-profit.

Oftentimes, donors/sponsors will be recognized on an organization’s site with a link back to them, thus, giving you a backlink to your own firm’s site.

But not all backlinks are created equal! Some are better than other in the eyes of Google. In this lesson we show you how to determine what local opportunities will be the best to invest in within your budget that will contribute to boosting your rankings. We’ve found that the best budget for local outreach is usually between $400 and $750.

With a little bit of local research and a few emails sent to local organizations, you can have acquire a backlink or two in no time! 

Local Outreach Research and Evaluation

What is it?

Oftentimes, a simple donation or sponsorship to an organization can get you a link back to your site. Most organizations have some form of donor recognition page where they will either list names or display donor’s logos with a link back to their websites.

Why it’s important:

Backlinks play a HUGE factor in your site’s SEO. And Google views links coming from certain sites as being more valuable than others. Finding THE best opportunity to sponsor in your area not only makes your investment more valuable, but will also have greater impact on your rankings.

How to perform local outreach research:

Before you seek new opportunities, first think of any causes you might already give to and if you’re not being recognized with a link back to you, just ask! Many times organizations are happy to do this, especially if you are an existing donor. If you are a member of your local Chamber of Commerce, this is great too. Make sure they have your firm’s url and take a moment to verify your information is correct and that you have a link back to your site.

If you’re ready to seek new opportunities to sponsor or donate locally, there are a few key steps to take:

Before you begin, create a Google Spreadsheet that you can use to compile your research.

Categories in your spreadsheet should include:

  • Organization Name
  • Homepage URL
  • Description
  • Location
  • Recognition Page URL
  • Trust Flow
  • Citation Flow
  • Domain Authority
  • Page Authority
  • Notes/Cost/Contact
  • Move Forward? Yes/No

Getting Started:

Perform a simple Google search to find opportunities in your area. All of your searches should be local so including your city and state with each search is important to get relevant results. A simple search like “Event Sponsorships City, State” is great to start with. Other recommended searches to try in place of event sponsorships are: festivals, events, professional organizations, non-profits, music festivals, art festivals, etc.

Begin clicking through your results and the visit organizations’ websites.

Look for a donor/sponsor recognition page. Many times sponsors are recognized on the homepage.

If you find a donor recognition page, verify that the names or logos are linked back to the donor’s website. If they are, great! We will document this opportunity as viable. If it does not link back to the donor’s site, it is still a good idea to put this under a non-viable tab in your spreadsheet so you know you’ve already looked into it.

Document Your Results:

For the viable opportunities that do include in a link back to the sponsor’s website, begin filling out your spreadsheet with the relevant information. Sometimes organizations will have set sponsorship levels or tiers that they will list on their website. If you find this information, note down the cost to sponsor in this column for you to reference later.

It’s also helpful to search for contact information and document that in your notes area of your spreadsheet. This saves time and avoids having to revisit the site when you start going through opportunities and decide to reach out to them.

Check the Metrics:

At this point we want to check the Trust Flow, Citation Flow, Domain Authority and Page Authority of the opportunity you just found.

Begin by checking Trust Flow and Citation Flow by visiting Majestic is a tool used in previous modules that you should already have a free account set up with. If you don’t go ahead and take a moment to create a free account now.

Enter the url of the donor/sponsor recognition page (might be the homepage) in the bar. We use this url because we want to evaluate how Google views the exact page that your url will sit.  If you link would appear on the homepage AND an inner recognition page, use the homepage url to check the metrics; the homepage will often have higher metrics than an inner page so you will want an accurate idea of the true value of a link coming from the site.

After you’ve entered the url and clicked “search”, the Trust Flow and Citation Flow metrics will appear below. Enter these into your spreadsheet.

Next, visit where you should also have a free account set up from previous modules. Once logged in, navigate to the Open Explorer tool.

Again, enter the url of the donor/sponsor recognition page to find the metrics for Domain Authority and Page Authority. Document these numbers in your spreadsheet.

Build Your List:

Continue this process of performing different local searches, checking out an organization’s website and documenting basic information as well as the metrics in your spreadsheet until you build a list of at least 10+ opportunities.

Evaluate your Findings

Before you can begin evaluating your findings, it’s important to have all information regarding the cost of sponsorship documented in your spreadsheet. This may mean that before you evaluate your findings, you reach out via email or phone call to inquire about sponsorship and request that the organization send you information on becoming a sponsor. This will give you an idea of how much of an investment each opportunity is going to be.

After you’ve documented all pertinent information, it’s time to find the BEST opportunities within your budget.

If you have a set budget, sort your results so that all of the opportunities within your budget are grouped together. Skip this step if budget is irrelevant.

Next, search through the column labeled “trust flow” to determine which opportunities have the highest TF score. The goal is to acquire the highest TF possible within your budget. This can mean investing in one or more opportunities to reach the highest cumulative trust flow within your budget.


  • Sponsorship A has a trust flow score of 44 and costs $800
  • Sponsorship B has a trust flow score of 26 and costs $450
  • Sponsorship C has a trust flow score of 20 and costs $300

In this example, Sponsorship A has the highest trust flow, BUT combined, Sponsorship B and C have a cumulative trust flow that is greater than sponsorship A and costs less money. Provided they are all annual opportunities where the link will stay up for one year, sponsoring B and C would be the best choice.

If you have several opportunities with very similar trust flow scores, then you will need to look at the other metrics we documented. The higher the metrics, the better the opportunity.

When choosing an opportunity, Trust Flow is the single most important metric to look for. Any opportunity with a Trust Flow below 10 is not worth the investment. If you find an opportunity that scores below 10 or that produces no results when entered into, move this to your non-viable tab in your spreadsheet.

Also, consider the length of time that your link will remain live. If some opportunities are annual, while others will be live 9 or 10 months, you will want to consider this when deciding what to invest in.

In Summary:

Evaluating the best opportunities can seem somewhat objective. There are many variables to consider: budget, length of time the link is live, Trust Flow score, other metric scores.

Trust Flow is the first and most important of these factors that needs to be top-of-mind when choosing an opportunity to sponsor or donate to.

Module 14: Guest Posts

Purchasing guest posts is another tactic we recommend to build backlinks to your site. As you know, a strong backlink portfolio holds a lot of weight in Google’s eyes and can help significantly in your quest to reach the top of search results in your practice area. The budget for this tactic can greatly vary depending on the authority of the websites your writer is posting to.

Essentially, a guest post is an article written by a freelance writer (most of the time) who submits the written piece to an online publication where it is then published and contains a link back to your firm’s website within the body of the text.

In this lesson, we will cover how to build a successful guest post strategy, how to find writers and how to evaluate which sites are best to have your guest post published on.

By putting a little bit of time in on the front-end to find credible guest post writers/vendors and analyze the websites they post to, you will set yourself up to quickly and easily order guest posts whenever you’d like. We recommend setting aside a monthly budget for building backlinks to your site and guest posts are an easy way to consistently improve your SEO! 

Finding a Guest Post Writer

What is it?

Guest posts are another way to build your site’s backlink portfolio. Simply put, a guest post is an article, existing or newly written, that is relevant to your firm or practice area. It is published on a high authority site and provides a link back to your website within the body of the article itself.

Why it’s important

A strong backlink portfolio holds a lot of weight in Google’s eyes and can help significantly in your quest to reach the top of search results. Having a variety of backlinks is key to diversifying your portfolio and using the guest post tactic is a great way to do this.

How to find guest post writers/vendors

There are a few steps to find credible, high authority sites to have a guest post published on.

The first and most crucial step is to find freelancers that have ties with different online publications. We recommend using UpWork to do this. UpWork is a hub for freelancers in many different industries to find work and connect with companies worldwide. As a law firm, you can create a job posting looking for freelance writers who can write and submit guest posts.

You’ll need to create an account on UpWork and follow the process to post a job. We recommend including the following details in your job posting:

Looking for Freelance Writers to Cover our Story

We’re looking for people with law blogs and related sites to cover one of our stories. You either need to run a relevant blog or write/edit for a relevant publication.

Specifically, we want you to refer and link to one of our blog articles within the body of your post. You have the freedom to pick whichever article you want to cover. Alternatively, we can make recommendations. Here is the blog page:

Here are two popular articles we recommend:

Please let me know what your credentials are and which websites you plan on posting to.

As you can see, this is a very simple job posting that you can use to find writers on UpWork. Keep in mind, you will want to replace the links above with links to your own website or blog.

We highly recommend you go through the process of seeking out writers and creating a database with their contact information and the websites they offer to post to. If you regularly imbeastplement a guest post strategy to build backlinks to your site, you will want a wide variety of writers and websites to choose from so that you avoid multiple posts on the same site.

To get you started, we’ve included a few of our favorite writers/vendors which we found on We highly recommend any of them to get you started ordering guest posts. Their names are linked to their UpWork profiles. You’ll need to create an account on UpWork before viewing.

  1. Joost S.
  2. Einstein S.
  3. Mathew M.
  4. David J. 

Evaluate Your Guest Post Submissions

Advanced Law Firm SEO Audit

This module is all about understanding the current state of your website and its standing in search engines. This is where you’ll understand which SEO metrics have the greatest weight in search engines, how to establish them, and how to recognize if you’ve got any serious problems.

After all, each site is unique, and it’s impossible to focus your efforts without understanding where you’re at right now. Maybe you’ll need to focus on getting more quality backlinks, or cleaning up the links you already have.

Whatever the case, the processes and tools we use and explain throughout this module will be used throughout your SEO campaign.

Tag: GUIDE: Ninja Law Firm SEO Training Tips for Lawyers – Black Fin

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