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Law Firm SEO Pricing: How Much Do Lawyer SEO Services Cost Each Month?

If you’re wondering how much you can expect to pay for SEO services for your law firm, the answer varies widely. A typical SEO investment can range from $1,000 to $20,000 per month, depending on factors such as your firm’s size, competition level, and geographic location. In this article, we’ll break down these costs and the key elements that can impact your monthly SEO budget.

Key Takeaways

  • The monthly cost of SEO services for law firms varies significantly. Key factors include the competitiveness of the practice area, geographic location, and the current state of the firm’s website.
  • Law firm SEO costs typically range from $1,000 to $20,000 per month or more, with small firms spending around $3,000, medium-sized firms between $3,000 and $15,000, and large firms up to $15,000 or more.
  • Key metrics for evaluating the effectiveness of your SEO investment include keyword rankings, organic traffic, domain authority and asset value, conversion rates, and new client acquisition.

Introduction

Understanding the factors that affect monthly SEO expenses for law firms is important. These costs can vary dramatically depending on several key factors, such as:

  • What SEO optimizations have been done to date
  • The quality and quantity of content being produced
  • Backlinks acquired, built or attracted
  • The number of properties being managed
  • Website design and development work required
  • Technical SEO work required
  • Existing reputation in the marketplace 
  • Your law firm’s timeline and goals
  • The level of personalized attention required

Let’s discuss each factor in more detail.

Key Factors Influencing Monthly Law Firm SEO Costs

What SEO work has been done to date

If nothing has been done to a domain, either since you’ve owned it or prior, that is oftentimes better than having done cheap work, or the wrong work, in an effort to improve online visibility and Google search engine rankings.

If you’ve been investing in SEO for years and optimizations have been consistently made to your site, not ranking as well as you’d like might be a sign of a deeper issue.

Has the content published on your site been high quality and useful to your ideal clients? 

If your site is filled with thin pages (pages and posts containing less that 250 words), those pages will need content expansions.

If your site is filled with irrelevant content that’s attracting information seekers, tire-kickers, or people that are not looking for the services you offer, reversing course can be a big job. 

Google already thinks of your site as one thing (maybe a news site that posts about recent accidents in your local area) and changing that perception can be like turning around an aircraft carrier. You must first stop moving in one direction, reverse course, and then start moving in the opposite direction. This will take more time and effort than if you’re starting from a standstill or if your site is still small. 

If a domain is clean and not on Google’s naughty list, and Google doesn’t have the wrong perception of your website, you need to determine the gap between you and your top ranking competitors (those law firms optimizing their websites for the same target keywords as you). 

Specifically, there are two elements to look at when analyzing that gap. 

  1. Content – the number of pages and posts on each site and 
  2. Backlinks – the number of other websites linking to each site.

The quality and quantity of content being produced

Let’s say, for example, your top competitors have between 800 and 1,000 pages on their sites. By comparison, you have 100 pages on your website. In order to close the gap and to cover your topic (your practice areas) at least as well as your competitors do, you can expect to publish a minimum of 700 additional pages and/or posts on your website.

Backlinks acquired, built or attracted

One key metric for backlinks is the number of Referring Domains a website has. Referring Domains are the number of unique domains, or websites, linking to another website or domain. Using a tool like AHREFs, you can see how many Referring Domains a website has. 

If, for example, your top competitors’ websites have between 500 and 600 Referring Domains and your website has 100 Referring Domains, you can expect to build a minimum of 400 new links before Google will trust your site as much as they do your competitors’.

The number of properties being managed

A typical SEO campaign will consist of a Marketing Agency managing and optimizing one law firm website and one Google Business Profile. If you have multiple websites and multiple office locations with separate Google Business Profiles, optimizing all of your digital assets for Google Search will require more work, and therefore, a bigger budget.

Website design and development work required

If you’ve recently invested in a website redesign, it’s completely understandable that you don’t want to redesign your site again to work with a new SEO Agency. 

As long as it is easy and straightforward to publish new content, and to make contextual changes to your website’s existing content, your new SEO Agency can spend all of its time on the most impactful SEO work. 

If your website is built on one of the popular Content Management Systems (CMS) like WordPress, publishing new content should be easy and straightforward.

If you don’t know if your website is built on WordPress, you can check in a few easy steps. 

How to check if your website is built on WordPress

  • Bring up your homepage
  • Right click anywhere on the page
  • Select View Page Source from the popup menu 
  • Search (Control+F) for the following: wp-content
  • If this string of characters appears in dozens of instances in the code, yes, your site was built on the WordPress CMS

Conversely, if your website is not built on WordPress, or another popular CMS, publishing a new piece of content can take five times as long. In this case, you will have to decide if it’s worth biting the bullet and paying for a full redesign so that subsequent work and publishing can be done more efficiently. 

Although a redesign can cost you between $10,000 and $20,000 up front, you’ll be able to publish five times as much content each month (on the same budget) and close the gap between you and your competition that much faster.

Another factor that could lead to additional development work before your new SEO Agency can publish and optimize freely is if your website has technical errors preventing your site from loading quickly and properly. This is regardless of the CMS the site was built on.

If your site takes a few minutes to load after every change made, publishing and optimizing content can be slowed to a frustrating pace. Again, these technical errors will limit the amount of content published and work that can be accomplished on your site each month.

It should be noted that a slow loading website is also a negative ranking factor that will limit the amount of traffic Google sends your way. 

Tools like Google PageSpeed Insights can help evaluate and improve your site’s page speed and performance.

Technical SEO work required

Illustration of on-page SEO elements with text and images

Here are a few Technical SEO items that can affect your law firm SEO costs. These things will need to be addressed so your law firm SEO agency can focus the majority of its efforts on the high impact activities of content creation and link building.

  • Crawl errors – is Google having trouble crawling your site and pages?
  • Broken links – are there links on your site that lead to dead or not-found pages?
  • Duplicate pages – are there a number of duplicate pages on your site with unique URLs, or web addresses?
  • Duplicate content across multiple pages – are there blocks of content on your site that has been copied and pasted and used on a number of pages, posts and/or sections of your website?
  • Irrelevant content – is there a bunch of content on your site that’s attracting the wrong audience and giving Google the wrong idea of your website?
  • Incomplete menus – are your site’s menus in place and well-structured? 
  • Missing tracking and conversion elements – are the following in place on your website: call tracking, pixel tracking, visitor analytics, chat popups, a sitewide call to action bar on mobile should all be in place on your site?
  • Website load times – does your website take a long time to load? 

If these errors exist on your website, you’ll want to rectify them first so they don’t stand in the way of the success of your SEO campaign. Fixing these issues up front will, again, stack the odds in your favor by allowing your agency to focus on the most important SEO activities of content creation and link building.

Existing reputation in the marketplace 

Google’s EEAT algorithm is a measure of how much Google can trust your firm before referring visitors to your website. EEAT stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. Your firm’s existing reputation in the marketplace, or lack thereof, will determine how much effort will be required to rank your site in Google and how likely Google is to refer visitors to your website.

If your firm has been in business for decades, has helped countless people with similar legal challenges and has received awards and recognition for your work, it’s a matter of displaying those EEAT factors on your website and around the web in such a way that shows Google, you are the best choice for relevant search queries. 

High EEAT may not reduce the cost of Law Firm SEO but it will give you a head start and stack the odds in your favor that Google will show your site to its searchers.

If your firm does not have EEAT factors to show off, you’ll have to acquire and compile those over time and you’ll have to work extra hard on the content, links and technical SEO side of things.

Low EEAT will likely increase the cost of Law Firm SEO because of the additional work needed to make up for your lack of experience and trust signals.

Let’s discuss some of the specific EEAT factors and how they can affect the monthly price you can expect to pay for Law Firm SEO.

Number of reviews

How does your law firm stack up against your top ranking competitors with regard to aggregate star rating and total number of reviews on Google. Aggregate rating is the number, out of 5, displayed below your law firm’s name on your Google Business Profile. Right next to the aggregate rating, you’ll see the total number of reviews your Google Business Profile has so far.

Is there a review-generation process in place?

Recency and consistency of new reviews being posted might be as important as, and sometimes more important than, the total number of Google reviews your law firm has. Countless times we have seen smaller law firms take cases and clients away from mega firms once they started asking for and acquiring Google reviews consistently week in and week out. This is one of the most impactful things you can do to contribute to the online success of your law firm and, once again, stack the odds in your favor.

Certifications, awards and affiliations

Have you been featured on any “Best of” lists? Are you a member of any prestigious legal clubs or associations? These are important “credibility indicators” that can be used on various parts of your website – to show Google and visitors your firm is trustworthy.

Case studies, success stories and testimonials

Slightly different than reviews, case studies, success stories and testimonials describe your previous work in more detail. These pieces of proof make up a few of the core pages Google and visitors want to see on your website 

Again, some of these EEAT elements, a.k.a. trust factors, will not directly impact how much you end up paying for monthly law firm SEO services. The more you have in place though, the more likely a successful outcome will be and the greater portion of your monthly budget can go into the highest impact activities of content creation and link building.

Your law firm’s timeline and goals

Once we determine a plan to close the gap between you and your competition, and the work that needs to be done to even start closing that gap, you’ll need to decide how quickly you want to close that gap. 

At the same time, the monthly budget you commit to must not put your firm in a challenging financial position. It will do no one any good if you run out of money before closing the gap between you and your competitors.

We recommend picking a monthly budget you will commit to for at least one year, steadily and consistently improving your site’s trust and credibility, while not putting a strain on the health and stability of your law firm. 

Slow and steady is extremely important. Starting and stopping sends the wrong message to Google. It can make it look as though your site is trending and then forgotten. A stable, trustworthy business builds credibility over time and consistently day after day. Your website should do the same.

The level of personalized attention required

We, at ApricotLaw, like to be available to our clients whenever they want to reach us. Clients have access to one of ApricotLaw’s partners and typically communicate with him via cell phone text or call.

That level of access and communication comes with a price. If you expect the same level of white-glove service for a monthly budget under $1,000, I’m fairly certain you will be disappointed. 

Competitiveness of Your Practice Area

Illustration of a scale with keywords on one side and competition on the other

The amount of competition in your specific practice area significantly impacts your SEO costs. For instance, if you’re in a highly competitive field like personal injury law, you’ll need more content and backlinks to rank high on search engines. This means that law firms in less competitive fields may not need to invest as heavily in SEO practices to attract potential clients.

In competitive practice areas, keyword optimization and search performance are of paramount importance. Law firms must invest in extensive content creation and robust backlink strategies to stay ahead of competitors. As we covered earlier in this article, greater competition for a particular set of keywords leads to an arms race for content and links. 

Geographic Location

Another factor that can sway your SEO costs is your geographic location. Larger cities, such as:

  • Miami
  • New York City
  • Los Angeles
  • Chicago
  • Phoenix
  • Houston

typically require higher SEO budgets due to heightened competition and keyword difficulty in these areas. The increased competition in these metropolitan areas means that law firms must invest more in their SEO efforts to compete and stand out.

Additionally, having multiple office locations for your law firm can lead to increased SEO costs. This can add to the overall expenses of your online marketing efforts. Each location requires dedicated SEO efforts to ensure that your firm’s online presence is strong across all areas. This can significantly increase your overall SEO budget.

In order to compete in these more populated metro areas, we recommend following Apricot’s Layered Momentum Technology to systematically target increasingly competitive terms until you’re “big” enough to win in the uber-competitive markets.

This is the same strategy we employed for our New York City Personal Injury client, Greenstein and Milbauer. They started with one office in Harlem. Once they were ranking in Harlem, they went after the borough of Manhattan. From there they expanded into other boroughs of New York City, both with online pages and with physical office locations. Now they have half a dozen office locations around the city and rank on Google for the most competitive and lucrative terms in New York City personal injury law.

This strategy allowed them to see success and to attract cases every step of the way up the mountain that is New York City personal injury. Compare this strategy to targeting New York City terms exclusively from the beginning and not seeing any progress for the first year. LMT allows you to keep costs down by making incremental progress towards more reasonably competitive terms right in front of you.

Breakdown of Work Involved in an Ongoing SEO Campaign – What Are You Getting for Your Money?

Many of these have been covered above but it’s worth repeating from a different perspective – What am I actually getting for my monthly SEO budget? 

SEO activities performed on a monthly fall into one of four major categories. They are:

  • On-Page SEO
  • Off-Page SEO
  • Local SEO
  • Technical SEO

Each of these elements requires consistent effort for a successful SEO strategy.

On-Page SEO

On-Page SEO involves:

  • Keyword research, which typically includes a back-and-forth with your agency to identify which terms you want to target, which ones you don’t and which ones must be present on your site for topical relevance.
  • Content creation, which can include writing, editing, publishing, optimizing, inter-linking, and repurposing into different formats.
  • Meta tags, which includes the title and description you want Google to display in search results.
  • On-page optimization, which includes optimizing existing content for target terms and inter-linking existing content in a certain way so Google can crawl your site properly.
  • Schema, which is content in your site’s code, not visible to the public, written in a language that Google understands so they understand every element on your site, not just the text.

Tracking the pages or keywords that drive potential clients to engage with your content can refine your overall SEO strategy.

Furthermore, the identification and rectification of hidden website issues like broken links and slow loading speeds, forming a part of technical SEO improvements, are vital for sustaining a rock-solid SEO foundation. These efforts ensure that your website remains competitive in search engine rankings.

Off-Page SEO

Off-Page SEO focuses on building your law firm’s online reputation through link building using genuine, white-hat tactics. This can involve creating original, link-worthy content and conducting outreach and promotion, which are often costly but effective methods.

Types of links you can build, acquire or attract include:

  • Press releases
  • Guest posts
  • Link insertions (into existing content)
  • Directory profiles
  • Comments
  • Scholarships / .EDU posts
  • Publicly accessible cloud links
  • Web 2.0 posts
  • Social media posts
  • Banner ads
  • Sponsored posts
  • User generated content

Local SEO

Illustration of a map with location markers and search results

For law firms, Local SEO is of the utmost importance, focusing on improving visibility in geographically specific searches such as “divorce lawyer near me”. These positions in Google’s results are also knows as the Maps listings and involves optimizing your firm’s Google Business Profile.

Implementing hyper-local strategies, such as creating high-quality content tailored to the local area, can significantly influence your firm’s visibility within its community. However, these efforts can require higher investments, especially in competitive markets.

Factors that impact how your Google Business Profile ranks in Google Maps include:

  • Completing every section of your profile that Google allows you to
  • Installing a reviews-acquisition process in your law firm
  • Building links to your Google Business Profile directly
  • Proximity of your office location to the search query

Technical SEO

Vector art of technical SEO tasks like SSL, sitemaps, and broken links

Technical SEO involves tasks such as:

  • SSL application and management
  • Creating XML sitemaps
  • Optimizing website load times
  • Detecting and fixing broken links

Regular technical SEO audits can identify hidden issues on your website that can affect its rankings, such as slow loading speeds and duplicate content.

Using site audit tools like Ahrefs can provide detailed reports on the health of your law firm’s website, helping to measure SEO progress and plan necessary improvements. These technical augmentations are crucial for sustaining a robust SEO base and guaranteeing top-notch search engine performance.

Average Monthly SEO Pricing Based on Law Firm Size

The typical monthly cost for SEO services for law firms ranges from $1,000 to $20,000 and up. As we’ve covered above, size is not the main determining factor of a law firm’s monthly SEO budget. 

The main determinants of SEO cost, as long as there are no errors standing in the way, are the strength of the top ranking competitors’ sites (measured in links and content), the gap between you and them, and how quickly you want to close that gap.

We recommend Apricot’s Layered Momentum Technology which says to continually target the terms right in front of you, the ones where your odds of winning are high, until your site has the authority to compete for the most competitive terms in your market.

Bootstrapped startup law firms might only have around $1,000 per month to invest into their online presence. We, at ApricotLaw, do not service law firms at this level. We recommend investing everything you comfortably can into consistent content creation and link building until a budget of $3,000 per month or more makes financial sense.

A few tips for those self-implementing SEO. 

  • Get yourself a detailed content and keyword plan and follow it in order of most important to least important pages and topics.
  • Do not settle for low quality anything. It’s not worth it and can cause you unnecessary costs and time delays later on.
  • Outside of having a presentable website that is well-organized and that people can navigate, don’t invest any significant money into design and conversion unless and until you have a good amount of content published and Google is sending you some visitors. Content, links, then design, in that order.

Small law firms and established solo attorneys will typically have $3,000 to $5,000 per month that they can consistently invest into SEO for their websites. With that you, and after any setup and prep work has been completed, you can build a few links and around 8 pages per month. 

This pace will allow you to compete for low-competition terms early on and gradually scale over time.

Medium-sized law firms will typically have between $5,000 and $10,000 per month for their website’s SEO. After setup and prep work, this will allow you to build a handful of good links and up to 14 pages of content per month.

This pace will allow you to compete for low- to mid-competition terms early on and gradually scale over time.

Large law firms will typically have $10,000 or more to invest into their monthly SEO. After setup and prep work, this will allow you to aggressively target all relevant terms. We still recommend continually targeting the terms right in front of you but this size of a budget will allow you to produce enough content to go through that targeted scaling process more quickly.

Evaluating ROI of Monthly SEO Investments

To assess the ROI of your monthly SEO investments, you need to take into account such factors as:

  • Target keyword rankings
  • Total number of keywords your site ranks for
  • Number of unique visitors to your website each calendar month
  • Number of qualified leads received each calendar month (phone calls, chats and form submissions) 
  • Client acquisition (new files opened, clients signed, cases retained)

These metrics are essential for determining the effectiveness of your SEO strategy and justifying the spend.

Measuring Website Traffic and Keyword Rankings

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) such as traffic volume and its sources are essential for tracking SEO success. A reputable SEO agency should provide data on KPIs like website traffic and conversion rates, ensuring that your investment is yielding results. Segmenting traffic by medium in Google Analytics helps focus on the organic traffic generated by SEO efforts specifically.

Tracking the top 10-12 high-value keywords can provide insights into how well your law firm is ranking in search results. Monitoring these metrics allows for continuous refinement of your SEO strategy to maximize website search traffic. 

With Apricot’s Layered Momentum Technology, the keywords you are targeting at any given time will change as your site grows and expands. We typically put the top 60 to 100 relevant terms into Pro Rank Tracker, the organic rank tracking software we use, but our focus will be on the top 8 to 10 terms “right in front of you” at the time. 

Conversion Rates and Client Acquisition

To gauge the success of your SEO strategy, the crucial metrics to consider are conversion rates and client acquisition. Tracking contact form submissions, live chat leads captured, and phone call conversions are primary methods to calculate ROI in terms of client acquisition. Tools like CallRail can track phone call conversions, providing detailed data on which referral sources are driving the most cases.

Dynamic call tracking offers the following benefits:

  • Assigns different phone numbers to each referral source
  • Provides insights into which sources are most effective in acquiring clients
  • Helps refine your SEO strategy by directing you towards the most productive keywords
  • Maximizes ROI by telling us which efforts will be most impactful

This information is invaluable for optimizing your digital marketing efforts. Without it, you are navigating blindly and wasting money throughout your digital marketing funnel.

Choosing the Right SEO Agency for Your Budget

The process of selecting the most suitable SEO agency within your budget entails evaluating the agency’s expertise, their pricing transparency, and their communication. Prioritizing value over cost ensures that your SEO investments align with your firm’s goals and yield the tangible results important to you and your law firm.

Assessing Agency Expertise

It’s vital to check whether the SEO agency has experience in legal markets and if they have successfully ranked websites in comparable markets and for comparable keywords. Ensure the agency’s team members are familiar with the legal industry and can provide a list of clients who can share their experiences and results.

Look for agency case studies or client testimonials that demonstrate past achievements with law firms. A solid track record of delivering results, combined with positive client success stories, ratings, and reviews, are signs of a reliable SEO agency.

Transparent Pricing and Communication

Discussing your budget upfront with the SEO agency you are considering allows them to tailor their efforts to your financial and time constraints. To track progress and ensure alignment of the SEO services with your firm’s objectives, clear communication and frequent updates are crucial.

When considering SEO providers, be cautious of those offering ultra-low rates. They may resort to black-hat tactics (using tools and software to create a high quantity of low quality content and links), which could jeopardize your website’s reputation and leave you worse off than before you made the investment. Instead, focus on the potential return and value of the SEO investment, rather than just the cost.

Summary

Understanding the various factors that influence monthly SEO costs for law firms is essential for making informed decisions about your digital marketing strategy. From the competitiveness of your practice area to the current state of your website and online presence, each element plays a crucial role in determining your SEO budget.

By evaluating the ROI of your SEO investments and choosing the best SEO agency for you, you can ensure that your law firm hits its online visibility targets. Investing in effective SEO strategies not only enhances your firm’s online presence but also drives client acquisition and growth.

Frequently Asked Questions

What factors influence the monthly SEO costs for law firms?

Here are the factors that impact what you can expect to pay for SEO for your law firm’s website on a monthly basis:

  • What SEO optimizations have been done to-date
  • The quality and quantity of content being produced
  • Backlinks acquired, built or attracted
  • The number of properties being managed
  • Website design and development work required
  • Technical SEO work required
  • Existing reputation in the marketplace 
  • Your law firm’s timeline and goals
  • The level of personalized attention required

What is the typical range for monthly SEO costs for law firms?

Monthly SEO costs for law firms typically range from $1,000 to $20,000, depending on factors like firm size, competition level, and geographic location.

What factors influence the cost of SEO services for law firms?

Factors include the firm’s size, the competitiveness of the practice area, geographic location, the current state of the firm’s website, and the level of personalized attention required.

How much do small law firms usually spend on SEO per month?

Small law firms typically spend around $3,000 per month on SEO, but the budget can be as low as a few hundred dollars if they are in less competitive markets.

What are key metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of SEO investment?

Key metrics include keyword rankings, organic traffic, domain authority, conversion rates, and new client acquisition.

Why might a law firm need to invest in additional content creation?

A law firm might need to invest in additional content creation to close the gap with competitors, especially if competitors have significantly more pages and posts on their websites.

How do backlinks impact SEO costs?

Acquiring, building, or attracting backlinks can be costly, especially if competitors have a high number of referring domains. Building quality backlinks is essential for improving site trust and rankings.

What role does website design and development play in SEO pricing?

If a website is not built on a user-friendly CMS like WordPress or has technical errors, it may require significant redesign and development work, which can increase SEO costs.

How does geographic location affect SEO costs for law firms?

Firms in larger cities like New York City or Los Angeles face higher competition and keyword difficulty, leading to higher SEO costs to compete effectively in those markets. However, Apricot’s Layered Momentum Technology can help keep costs down even in the most competitive markets while seeing results along the way.

What is the importance of EEAT (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) in SEO?

EEAT factors are crucial for building trust with Google. High EEAT can give a firm a head start in rankings, while low EEAT will require additional work to establish credibility, impacting SEO costs.

How should law firms assess the ROI of their SEO investments?

Law firms should assess ROI by tracking metrics like target keyword rankings, website traffic, qualified leads, and client acquisition. Tools like Google Analytics and CallRail can help measure these metrics effectively.

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