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SEO for Criminal Defense Lawyers

The legal industry is a competitive industry, with a growing market size of $397.1 billion. Data shows that the US has 449,633 registered law firms, representing a 0.7 percent increase from 2022. This means that increasing visibility is vital to attracting more clients. 

Search engine optimization (SEO) is an effective strategy for gaining online traction. A carefully executed SEO strategy can help criminal defense law firms appear on the search engine and attract new clients. 

However, it’s tricky. Law firms aren’t simply selling a product. You’re offering a service that can change the life of an individual. Ensuring that any law firm promotion aligns with practice areas and expertise can make a huge difference. One winning case can mean a lot to a client. But most cases remain within the walls of the courtroom. How do you prove that your law firm is worth taking a shot at?

Law firm SEO is one strategy to achieve this. Getting a reliable criminal defense attorney is top of mind for clients with serious legal woes. They will want a service worth their time, money, and effort. They will review client testimonials to gauge how well your legal team can help them. Your website is how you will communicate that your law firm is the one that answers their queries. But if your site isn’t coming up on search engines, there’s no way for them to know. Even if they see you, why would they trust your site?

How do you earn the trust of criminal defense clients? Work with Grey Smoke Media.

End to End Solutions for
Law Firms

Grey Smoke Media is North America’s only full-service legal marketing firm, offering:

Media Buying

radio, tv, Out of Home

Digital Marketing

with a heavy focus on SEO

Content Production

Reputation Management

Management Consulting

We elevate law firms to the highest echelon through a multi-pronged, unified approach.
Jordan Power

Our Results

Grey Smoke
Media grew an
injury firm

from less than
30 employees

to over
350 employees

Tripled a divorce
firm’s traffic in just

11 months

3 xgrowth

Our agency has
handled international

for over
$3 billion in class action lawsuits.

Our agency has
negotiated legal ad

with over
100different publishers across North America.

Grey Smoke Media has
negotiated brand
partnerships between law
firms and major sporting franchises such as

Our founders
have provided
to over

television and radio
stations, podcasts, and
newspapers globally.

They have given speeches
on digital marketing to over

What is law firm marketing?

What is Law Firm Marketing
Image by Pixabay on Pexels

Law firm marketing refers to attracting new clients to visit a law firm’s website. This strategy encourages target audiences to explore the website and engage with the lawyers to avail them of their services. It involves combining digital marketing, on-page SEO, content marketing, link building, and Google ads, such as pay-per-click (PPC) ads. 

All these marketing strategies help law firms land on the top page of Google search engine results pages (SERPs), helping them attract more people. It isn’t a one-time process. It’s an ongoing and ever-evolving process requiring regular updates and careful attention. 

It’s a lot of work beyond the scope of criminal defense lawyers.  Your law firm can best leverage an SEO agency’s expertise for this. 

Learn how Grey Smoke Media can help. 

Grey Smoke Media
in the Press

Jordan Whelan, a spokesperson for Diamond Lawyers and president of public relations agency Grey Smoke Media, told the Star Thursday night that “after consulting with counsel, we will be appealing the decision.”

Having worked with many brands in Canada, however, Jordan Whelan, president of Toronto-based Grey Smoke Media, doubts that his clients would embrace a programmatic exchange for podcast ads.
“Media buyers and marketing companies don’t want to stray from what’s working,” he said. As a media buyer for major Canadian brands, Whelan said that many are skeptical compared to similar media, such as radio.

I spoke to Jordan Whelan, Toronto Media Buyer at Grey Smoke Media and client of mine, who builds customized media campaigns. According to him, “ I’ve tested campaigns on Twitter that received more clicks but resulted in low conversions. Facebook capitalized on user psychology in a way that reached your target customer, despite the higher CPC.”

Featured in The Toronto Star

“‘We’ll get a client a media hit in a major news outlet and then also parlay that into getting them on page one of Google,’ he says, collaborating with search-engine-optimization experts in tandem.”

Read the full feature here >

Political clients (say John Tory for Mayor campaign) and leading law firms, including Personal Injury
Powerhouse and Diamond & Diamond Lawyers, trust Grey Smoke Media.

Components of SEO for Criminal Defense Lawyers Search Page

Despite the proven benefits of SEO, many law firm websites are still yet to do any sort of legal marketing. According to Finances Online, 70 percent of law firms booked their new cases through their website. 

Interestingly, data shows that 70 percent of these law firms don’t have a CTA, and only 15 percent promote their website to prospective clients. When clients search for law firms online, they must know what their search engine will show them.

It’s worth noting that potential clients will most likely ask for recommendations from relatives. Still, 57 percent will search for lawyers through an online search engine. With thousands of law firms online, competing with all of them can be a struggle. 

Here are three components of a typical search engine page and how to leverage it to your advantage. 

Google My Business

Criminal defense lawyers should understand that one effective digital marketing strategy they can do is to focus on their practice areas. Hence, one strategy that law firms can do to increase their visibility is local SEO. Local SEO can help law firms attract a more targeted audience that aligns with their goals. 

With a solid local SEO strategy, criminal defense law firms reduce the level of competition, since the area of focus is more concentrated. The chance for ranking is higher for a keyword, such as “criminal defense lawyer in California,” which has a keyword difficulty of 23. This number means they only need about 26 backlinks to their site to rank, something doable. 

One way to do this is through Google My Business. It’s a free listing service that your business can leverage to land on the first page of the search results. This listing will provide clients with more information about your business, including business hours, address, contact information, and a link to the website. When you optimize your local digital marketing strategy, you can expect to field phone calls from prospective clients. 

For example, if the potential client searches for criminal defense lawyers in New York, the results page will appear like this screenshot below:

Google Map listings for Criminal Defence Lawyers
Screenshot taken from Google search results

Aside from the details, the map will also show pinned locations of the law firms in New York. The listing will list (for free) the top three optimized websites. Note: the first result is a sponsored post. 

Organic search

Most organizations, regardless of their industry, will aim to have as many organic search results as possible. Organic search results are challenging to achieve but provide the most return on investment (ROI). What they bring to websites are long-term benefits. 

It isn’t easy. Websites need excellent on-site optimization to land on the first page of the SERPs. It involves exhaustive keyword research optimized for the personal injury lawyer or law firm practice area, such as driving under the influence (DUI) or car accidents. 

Most prefer doing organic search optimization because doing ads costs money. Note that the most expensive keywords are related to criminal defense law because they often get the most clicks. 

Featured snippets

Featured snippets appear as special boxes on a search engine. They follow a reverse of the regular search format, wherein the descriptive snippet shows first. They provide concise details about what the website contains. 

They help boost SEO campaigns by providing a website with additional real estate on the SERPs. This allows for greater visibility and promotes brand recognition. In the case of a law firm, it can highlight legal services offered by a criminal lawyer. 

Strengthen your legal marketing strategy today. Contact Grey Smoke Media.

The Marketing Agency of Canada’s Largest Personal Injury Firm


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5 Tips for Implementing Law Firm SEO

SEO is the process of having your website noticed by search engines like Google. Law firms must have an SEO strategy to help them get in front of more clients. 

Get a head start with your SEO strategies. Here are five tips to help you amplify your marketing campaigns. 

1. Develop a user-friendly website design

Your website is the first place potential clients will see your law firm, so it needs to be the best it can be. Your website design should be mobile-friendly and easy to navigate. It also needs to be optimized for search engines to crawl and index. 

However, law firm web page design and layout must also appeal to clients. Go for a simple but intuitive user interface (UI). Remember, the target audience has specific answers they’re looking for, so ensure they can easily find them on your site. 

Images matter for your web design. They say a lot about your brand’s visibility and recognition. You’ll be seen as a more reputable site. Start by selecting appropriate images. Choose those that look professional and polished. 

You can use stock photos, but it would be much better to have professional photos taken. The same is true for showcasing your team. Get professional headshots taken, as this will reveal the brand that you’re building. 

Ensure that the images don’t affect the website’s loading speed. If so, you might want to do lossless compression, so that the pictures remain high definition but load faster. 

Study competitors, find what you can improve, and apply it to your website. Highlight areas that appeal to clients. 

“Marketing tactics of the
elite class”

2. Invest in on-page SEO

Anyone can do on-page SEO. However, the execution must be appropriate for your site to rank well in search results. A structured content strategy is a good starting point. Focus on informational articles and blog posts that speak to your target audience. 

Start with evergreens content. This strategy is the most important thing you can do for your SEO. You want to create content that answers the questions and concerns of potential clients, not Google.

Your content must be easy to read, understand, and share with others. The more relevant it is to your audience, the better your chance of converting them into leads or clients.

Identify the relevant and applicable keywords to your practice area and industry. This is a crucial step because it will help you determine your content strategy. Do an online search for terms related to the keywords you’ve chosen. 

If there are no results for any terms used in the title or URL, consider adding these words as synonyms for other common phrases (e..g., “personal injury attorney” instead of just “attorney”).

Next, look at each result page from Google’s organic search results and see if they contain any relevant information about their services. Find out how you can translate this into your website content. 

When it comes to optimizing your blogs, use WordPress or any content management system plug-in to help with your SEO strategies. It will tell you if you need to change your title tags, update meta descriptions, or add more keywords. 

After this, look at your technical SEO. See if any issues affect your website performance. Some aspects to focus on include sitemaps, robots.txt, and duplicate content.

Clients deserve to make an informed decision when choosing the law firm to represent them. Your on-page SEO campaign should reflect this.

Our Testimonials

“Grey Smoke Media is exceptional and in a league of its own. Jordan has played a pivotal role in our explosive growth over the past decade. His raw creativity is inspiring.”

Jeremy Diamond
Senior Partner,Diamond and Diamond Lawyers

“Grey Smoke Media took me from 50 keywords on page one to over 250, more than doubling my traffic, in just 8 months. They are more than an agency. They are a business partner that I can depend on at 10pm on a Sunday. Their work is beyond reproach.

Barry Nussbaum
Owner of Nussbaum Family Law

“In short, Grey Smoke Media is outstanding. We came to them with a reputation management problem that two other agencies failed to solve and they had a custom plan to us in 24 hours. They played an enormous role in our 2021 revenue rebound and we are forever grateful.”

publicly traded pharmaceutical company

“Fantastic work”

Thomas Grajek
Criminal Defense Attorney

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We have secured links for our clients on some of the largest media outlets in the world. This marriage of traditional PR outreach and SEO has resulted in an indisputable and inimitable advantage for our clients.

3. Focus on mobile responsiveness

Optimize your site for mobile devices. Mobile SEO is a growing trend, with more and more people using their phones to access the internet. Currently, mobile traffic constitutes 60.9 percent of all internet traffic. 

If your law firm website isn’t mobile responsive, you’ll miss out on this percentage of users. With tons of options, there’s no stopping them from looking where they can get the best value. 

Make sure that all elements of your website are optimized for mobile users. This feature ensures that your website is accessible to anyone at any time. It’s also worth considering that Google now prioritizes mobile-first indexing. Google will crawl, index, and rank websites that are mobile responsive. 

Here are some things to consider:

  • Make sure all images are optimized for retina display sizes (1024 pixels wide). This will help improve image quality and reduce loading time for users who have large-screened smartphones or tablets.
  • Use HTML5 markup instead of Flash content when possible. This allows you to create a compelling user experience even if many users view your site. HTML5 doesn’t consume as much processing power as Flash, allowing sites to load faster.

Before making your website live, your developers should test it out on different devices and browsers. No matter how much they tweak the code, it won’t offer much value if it can’t translate to an actual device.

You’d want to verify if the design and other elements on the staging site would look the same to end users. 

4. Strengthen backlinks

Link building is also a critical aspect of lawyer SEO strategy. Backlinks are a way of telling search engines that your website is relevant. In other words, they’re links from other websites and pages that point to your site.

Backlinks are vital because they help search engines understand what your website is about. They have more context about what you do, helping rank your site higher based on what people search for. The more backlinks you have directing to your site, the more traffic you’ll get from Google and other search engines.

Your backlink profile establishes your authority on criminal defense, allowing you to earn the trust of your potential clients. It’s possible to earn these backlinks; for example, when you publish an engaging or informative content that gets noticed by other sites. 

It’s also possible to earn these links proactively. Here are some tips to get this right:

  • Get backlinks by listing on legal web directories. You can reach out to alum pages that feature their graduates. If you’re part of a legal organization, you can also list your website and earn a backlink. Some of these directories follow an algorithm based on user keyword searches to provide a law firm recommendation.
  • When doing directory listings, focus on your locality. Again, improve your local SEO to get relevant traffic based on your practice areas. 
  • Social media marketing is another way to increase backlink profiles. While most links are nofollow, they can still bring traffic to your site. Sometimes, even a social media mention is enough to entice clients to head to your site. Think of social media mentions as indirect recommendations from their peers. They help you gain their trust. 

After doing your backlink strategy, remember to audit them periodically. Clean your backlink profile from any spammy or poor-quality links.

“Legal marketing powerhouse”

5. Work With SEO Experts

Hiring an SEO expert can be expensive, but it’s certainly worth it. After all, you don’t want to spend your time and money on useless efforts that will not affect your site’s ranking in Google.

Criminal defense attorneys defend their clients. This is their area of expertise. You wouldn’t want a doctor to give legal advice to people, right? The same applies to SEO and marketing campaigns. It should be left to the experts. 

Outsourcing your SEO campaign to a reliable digital marketing agency brings value to your business. This way, you can focus on winning cases for your criminal defense clients. 

When choosing SEO specialists for your law firm, there are some critical questions you should ask them:

  • What kind of outcomes do they get from working with other companies? 
  • Do they have any experience working with lawyers or legal firms? 
  • How long have they been in business? 
  • What kind of clients do they usually work with?

These questions will give you an idea of their area of expertise. You’ll know what they can bring to the table to help your site and practice grow in reach. 

Since the legal sector is a niche industry, they must clearly understand how law firms work. This way, they can create digital and SEO marketing strategies that bring results specific to lawyers. 

Lessen the hassle of implementing law firm SEO. Leave it to the experts.

Entrust Your Criminal Defense SEO Strategy To the Experts

Law firm SEO brings valuable results and can help you get in front of many more clients. However, it takes time and ongoing effort to implement correctly. Invest in backlinks, on-page SEO, and content creation so that when people search online, they see your site first. 

Criminal defense SEO starts with experts with proven results. Learn how Grey Smoke Media can make a difference.

FAQs on SEO for Criminal Defense Lawyers

One thing you have to remember about legal services is that ethics bind lawyers. There are advertising rules they have to follow to ensure their online promotions don’t violate their ethical obligations.

According to the American Bar Association (ABA) Rule 7.2, lawyers can advertise their services. However, there are certain restrictions they must abide by, such as paying incentives for recommendations.

Digital marketing for law firms refers to the different strategies of legal professionals to advertise and promote their services. It can be through the creation of a legal website, a LinkedIn page, or social media marketing.

It also involves doing search engine marketing (SEM) and SEO. The results will vary depending on the methods used, but the end goal is to boost a legal firm’s success.

Yes, Google Ads can work for law firms. This is an effective way to convert leads to clients. It is an excellent supplementary strategy to an SEO campaign. However, it involves several intricacies that most law firm owners fail to apply. That’s why it’s often best to leave the marketing side of the business to the experts.

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