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Family Law (Divorce) SEO: Step-by-Step Guide [2024]

This is the only guide you need to DOMINATE family law and divorce SEO in 2024.

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Last updated on December 21, 2023

Do this right now:

Open an “incognito” or “safe search” window in your internet browser. Now, search the following on Google:

  • [Your city] family lawyer
  • [Your city] divorce lawyer
  • [Your city] child custody lawyer

Was your website the top Google result for all of those searches? Was your site at the top of the Google Maps listings, too?

I didn’t think so. If it was, you wouldn’t be here.

But I’m going to help you get there. And reap the rewards — clients and revenue — that come with those top rankings.

This is the only guide you need to DOMINATE family law and divorce SEO in 2024. ​​Let’s get right into it.

SEO Matters for Divorce Attorneys. Here’s Why.

I just told you why SEO matters for family law firms:

Done right, it brings your firm a steady pipeline of new clients. That’s exactly what you need to grow your firm. To take it to the next level.

(Remember: If you’re not growing, you’re dying.)

Think about it: Your clients are experiencing acutely emotional life events that they’ve likely NEVER experienced before:

  • Divorces
  • Separations
  • Child custody battles
  • Division of assets
  • Adoptions
  • Alimony disputes

Each one of those issues can bring about literally hundreds of questions. And where is the first place people go when they have questions?

You guessed it right if you said “Google.”

And Google is PRECISELY where you want to be if you want to capture the attention of the people who are going through these life events — life events your firm can help them with, for a fee.

Family law SEO is the art and science of getting your firm’s website to show up in Google when your ideal clients start looking for information or services you can provide them.

So, let’s learn how to do it.

6 Steps to Family Law SEO

I’ve been doing SEO for family law firms for more than a decade. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that it’s hard as hell.

But I promise you — it’s doable. You just have to learn what advice to follow. And what advice to ignore.

See, there are tons of SEO myths and misunderstandings out there. I’ve seen pretty much all of them.

But if you follow the six key steps below, you’ll do all of the good stuff and none of the time-wasting — or even bad — stuff.

Before we dive in, let me clarify one thing:

You DO need to set aside at least a dozen hours, maybe more, each week to focus on SEO if you want to succeed. You DO need to have some technical expertise. And you DO need to invest not just time but money into your website and SEO efforts.

It’s not a faucet you just turn on and the leads come pouring in. It’s hard work, and it’s not something that just anyone can do.

You CAN do it. But if you’re like most attorneys, you’re too busy to. If that’s you, you’re in the right place.

I built Uppercut SEO to serve family and divorce law firms just like yours. It’s done-for-you SEO that grows your firm the way you need it to grow.

If you’re interested in outsourcing your SEO and getting it done right, jump to the section on Uppercut’s SEO services for family law firms.

Or proceed with learning how to DIY it by reading on.

1. Create a Google-Friendly Website

Your website is step one. You’ve got to have a website if you want to rank well in Google Search.

But not just ANY website. You’ve got to have a website that Google can discover, crawl, index, and serve in search results.

That means building a modern website that:

  • Loads when it’s supposed to
  • Doesn’t block Google’s “bots” or “crawlers”
  • Doesn’t direct Google not to index pages
  • Checks all of Google’s boxes for websites that get included in search results

Honestly, this is where SO may family law attorneys make mistakes. They just start slapping something together with a basic website theme on Wix or Weebly and call it a day.

Building websites is an entire field unto itself. But you don’t have to be a web developer to come up with something Google will rank.

(It might be a little ugly, but that’s beside the point for now.)

Here are the basic steps:

  • Buy a domain name. It should be your firm name if possible. If not, get close or go for a keyword related to your practice area, such as austinfamilyattorney.com.
  • Pick a decent web host. I like WP Engine. This is how you’ll actually get your site to show up on the internet.
  • Install WordPress. Not Wix, not Weebly, not Webflow. WordPress. It’s the gold standard for a reason, and it’s free.
  • Pick a website theme. Look for one that’s suited for a professional law firm look. Opt for the “premium” version that lets you fully customize it.
  • Install an SEO plugin. Rank Math and Yoast will both do the trick. Inside the plugin of your choice, make sure you’re not blocking Google with your robots.txt file, set up your XML sitemap, and make sure you’re not marking pages as “noindex.”
  • Publish your site. It’s OK to wait until you’ve gotten the basic homepage and content ready to go.

Boom — you’ve got a Google-friendly website. It may not be the most elegant thing you’ve ever stumbled across online, but it’ll get the SEO juices flowing.

On to the next step.

2. Find the Best Family Law and Divorce Keywords

Search engines are all about keywords. Keywords are phrases that people search for.

You need to identify those phrases — the ones that are relevant to your family law firm — and optimize your website for them.

This is a process called keyword research. It’s simultaneously the simplest and most complicated part of family lawyer SEO.

Why? Because you can easily identify some keywords to target.

But you need to REALLY dig in to find keywords you can actually rank for right out of the gate.

How do you find keywords, exactly? You’ll likely need an SEO tool. Here are some of the most common ones to try:

They all offer some kind of free trial or limited free account. But to use their full keyword research features, they’re going to cost you.

If you insist on doing your own SEO, they’re more than worth the money.

Once you’ve chosen a keyword research tool, it’s time to start actually doing the research.

There are dozens of ways to identify keywords. But I’ll walk you through one of the simplest methods using Semrush.

Let’s say you’re a divorce lawyer in Boston. Head to Semrush’s Keyword Magic Tool and type in the three words that best describe your firm: “Boston divorce lawyer”

Here’s what you’ll see:

Already, you probably see a dozen keywords that would be relevant to your firm. So, how do you prioritize them?

Start with search volume. This is the estimated number of times someone enters a given keyword into Google each month.

The higher the search volume, the higher the potential for relevant search traffic to your site. That is, if you can actually rank for the keyword.

To get an idea of whether it’s feasible to rank for the keyword, take a look at keyword difficulty (KD %).

This is an estimate of how hard it will be to rank on page one of Google for the keyword. It’s on a scale of 0 to 100, with higher numbers denoting more difficult keywords.

You probably don’t want to target anything over a KD of 50 until you’ve got a strong divorce law SEO game going.

Start small by sticking with this one keyword research method. But when you’re ready for something more advanced (to find juicier keywords), check out my advanced keyword research guide.

3. Create Helpful Family Law Content

Now that you’ve got a list of family law keywords to target, you’ve got to actually create the webpages that will target those keywords.

These are the pages that Google will, hopefully, rank for the keywords you hope to rank for.

That means you have to write content to go on those webpages. A lot of divorce attorneys get stuck here because they don’t know what the hell to write.

I get it. But it’s not hard once you find the SEO content rhythm. To help you get started, I’m going to give you some example keywords and the type of content you could write to target each one of them:

Keyword: San Jose divorce attorney

Content: A practice area landing page that shows that you are a San Jose divorce attorney, showcases your services and credentials, and convinces readers to contact you for help with their divorces.

Keyword: What are a father’s rights in Ohio?

Content: A blog post covering fathers’ rights during and after divorces under Ohio law, ending with a call to action to contact your Ohio family law firm for help making sure your rights are respected.

Keyword: Do I need a lawyer for a divorce in Florida?

Content: A blog post directly answering the reader’s question implied by the keyword and exploring the reasons why a lawyer can be so helpful during a divorce in Florida.

Now, let’s look at a real example of one of those keywords to see if I got the corresponding content approach right.

Let’s do “San Jose divorce attorney.”

Here’s the top-ranking attorney webpage for that keyword: https://www.aeschlemanlaw.com/divorce-lawyer-san-jose/

And here’s the content that’s ranking for the keyword:

Nailed it. And you will, too, with practice.

4. Get Your On-Page SEO Right

Keywords identified. Content written. What’s next?

On-page SEO.

This is where we start to get a little technical. (Not too technical, but if you’re not super tech-savvy, you may have to read this section twice.)

On-page SEO is a set of SEO actions you take ON THE PAGE — meaning you make these adjustments on your website to help your content rank for the keywords its targeting.

That includes a lot of stuff. But you just need the basics for now. Here they are:

  • Header tags. These are HTML text elements that create titles and sections within your content. Look up where it says “Get Your On-Page SEO Right.” That’s an H3 (they go from H1 to H6). Google sees what’s in these tags as extra important, so include your keywords in them.
  • Title tags. You can’t see the title tag on the page, but it’s in your code. And where you WILL see it is in Google search results. It’s the title above each listing. You set it on your page, and Google (hopefully) shows it in results. Include your keyword in your title tag for each page, and keep each title tag brief.
  • Meta descriptions. These also show up in search results, and they’re right under the title tag. It’s a snippet of text meant to encourage Google users to click on your listing. Optimize it for conversion and include your keyword.
  • Internal links. These are links between pages on your website. They’re good for SEO and the user experience. So link to relevant pages on your website in each piece of content you publish.
  • External links. These are links from your website to other websites. Never link to crappy websites — just link to authoritative .gov, .edu, and .org sites if possible. Basically, you’re citing your sources and showing Google that your site should be associated with those high-quality websites.

There’s more to on-page SEO for family and divorce lawyers, but start with those basics to get things moving in the right direction.

Pro tip: Use Yoast or Rank Math to easily set title tags and meta descriptions for each page on your website. You don’t have to know how to code. You can do it right in WordPress.

5. Build Relevant, Powerful Backlinks

Google results are built on backlinks. These are links from other websites pointing to yours. Google sees them as votes for your website.

The more relevant backlinks you have from good websites, the better you’ll rank. So, you need to get backlinks.

That’s a process called link building. And it’s our bread and butter here at UppercutSEO.

I could literally write about link building for years (I already have), so rather than walk you through the entire process here, I’ll provide some links to helpful link building guides I’ve written:

Link Building for Beginners
Avoiding Bad Backlinks That Can Get You Penalized
Building vs. Buying Backlinks

I encourage you to read those guides if you plan to try link building yourself. But I also need to warn you:

Building backlinks is incredibly hard. And frustrating. And risky.

It’s hard because you have to convince good websites to link to yours. You don’t control it.

It’s frustrating because you’ll hear “no” about 1,000 times more often than you’ll hear “yes” when you’re first starting out with link building.

And it’s risky because building backlinks the WRONG way is the No. 1 way to get your family law firm’s website penalized by Google.

That’s why so many divorce attorneys work with a professional link builder like me.

6. Nail Your Local SEO

Think you’re done once you’ve got your website, content, and links on lock? Think again.

You’re a family lawyer. That means you want local clients. Which means you can’t sleep on local SEO.

Local SEO is all about appearing higher in Google Maps rankings. So that when someone searches “divorce attorney” in Google Maps in your area, your firm’s Google Business Profile shows up.

That’s not easy to do. Not when you’re in a field as competitive as family law. Here’s how to start:

  • Claim your Google Business Profile.
  • Fill out every available field on your Google Business Profile.
  • Get lots of positive reviews on your Google Business Profile.
  • Post regularly on your Google Business Profile.

Sensing a theme? Local family law SEO is all about your Google Business Profile. So start there (but only after you have a Google-optimized website to point Maps users to).

Read this: Optimize Your Google Business Profile (GBP): Step-By-Step Guide

UppercutSEO: Family Law SEO Done Right

All right — take a minute to catch your breath. We just covered a lot of ground.

Good? Maybe. Ready to drop everything to get this SEO ball rolling for your family law firm?

Probably not. And those were just the basics.

You’re starting to see why so many divorce law firms hire SEO providers to do it all for them. There’s just one problem:

The vast majority of so-called “family law SEO experts” are experts in nothing more than deception. I’m sorry to say it, but so many SEO practitioners aren’t delivering what they promise.

That frustrated me early in my career. And it’s why I built UppercutSEO.

Uppercut is the answer to all the times you’ve been burned by SEO providers in the past. Here’s why:

Custom Dashboard

I build the best SEO dashboard in the game so that family lawyers like you can see EXACTLY where their SEO money is going.

You can order links, content, on-page SEO, and more right inside your dashboard. And see exactly when those deliverables have arrived.

Total Transparency

The dashboard is step one to providing the transparency this industry is so sorely lacking. Step two?

That’s my team.

I have ZERO hesitation when I say we’re the best in the business. We’ve ranked family law firms in the largest, most competitive markets in the U.S. We can rank you, too.

And we’ll tell you precisely how we plan to do it. Any time you have a question, you get a real answer from a real person real fast.

Real Results

The outcome of all this industry-disrupting work Uppercut has done? Real, measurable results for family and divorce law firms.

I’m dead serious — you’ll see rankings, traffic, and leads when you partner with the best family law SEO provider in the game. The longer you wait, the more you’re missing out on.

Ready to get started? Sign up today (no credit card required) or contact me for a free consultation.

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