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SEO for Criminal Defense Lawyers

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Table of Contents

What is Criminal Defense Lawyer Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

Criminal defense SEO is a digital marketing strategy to increase your defense website’s visibility in search engine results for keywords your target audience is searching. You want to be among the first criminal defense firms that appear in SERPS so that your prospects become aware of you. And ideally get in touch with you to enquire about your criminal defense legal services.

But where do you begin? Below is a crash course on SEO for criminal defense law firms.

Let’s get started.

8 SEO Tips For Criminal Defense Lawyers 

Without further ado, here are eight proven SEO strategies that will skyrocket your criminal defense website’s rankings and organic traffic: 

1. Set Up Your Google Business Profile

Here’s the deal: every law firm website should have a properly optimized Google Business Profile. 

Listing your criminal defense firm in Google will not only help establish your credibility through user reviews and ratings. It also presents an opportunity to appear in Google’s “Local Pack.” This is a section that appears right on top of Google’s search results, including an interactive map to help prospects find your location. 

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To set up your Google Business Profile, head to their website and fill in the required details, like your business name, business category, practice areas, and business hours. 

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We recommend entering as much information about your business as possible. Don’t forget key details like your business phone number, website, and legal practice areas to encourage prospective clients to reach out. 

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Certain details, like your mailing address, are also required for verification. This is a crucial step in enabling the visibility of your website in local search results. 

In addition to the tips above, here are important things to remember when setting up your Google Business Profile:

  • Include relevant, high-quality images. Upload legal portraits and other photos that give prospects a sneak peek into your law firm. You should also include images that help them find your office, including your office’s main entrance and street landmarks. 
  • Regularly update your business hours. The last thing you want are disappointed prospects who turn up to your office — only to find out that you’re closed for the day. As such, update your business hours ahead of time, especially with Holidays or other events coming up. 
  • Use the Q&A feature. Google Business Profile lets users post questions to verified businesses. Take this opportunity to prove your expertise and build your prospects’ confidence in your legal assistance. 

Our Google Business Profile guide discusses more tips on optimizing your business listing.

2. Kick Off Local SEO

A successful local SEO strategy is multifaceted, and setting up your Google Business Profile is just the beginning. 

Local SEO is an important piece of the criminal defense attorney marketing puzzle. It requires your presence in legal directories, citation sites, and review platforms. Some examples are Trustpilot, FindLaw, and Avvo. 

These websites can help users find criminal lawyers who match their preferences. Be sure you have a complete profile that highlights your strengths, achievements, and practice areas. More importantly, it should show prospects know how to get in touch. 

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Use accurate and consistent NAP (Name, Address, and Phone number) across your business listings. Doing so reassures prospects that they’re dealing with a real, active law firm that they can trust. 

Criminal defense lawyer directories are also a great source of inbound links or “backlinks,” which are the second most important factor in local SEO for criminal defense lawyers. This leads us to the next tip.

3. Create a Criminal Defense SEO Website

Think of your criminal defense website as a virtual office that prospects and clients can visit to ask questions, learn more about your firm, or book a consultation. 

The process of creating a website can be broken down into three simple steps:

  • Register your domain and pay for hosting.
  • Install a theme and build your web pages.
  • Start publishing high-quality content.

These steps are actually easy to do yourself if you know how websites work. With a little patience, you’ll have a well-optimized website that’s ready to rank on Google’s first page within a month.

But if you want to accomplish better results faster, the practical solution is to hire a website design agency. Look for companies with a proven track record in handling website development projects for criminal defense law firms. 

When designing your website, your top priority is to ensure your visitors get a smooth and convincing experience — just like they would in your physical office. Start by ensuring consistent design and branding across your website’s theme, fonts, colors, and navigation. 

Here’s what a law firm website with a streamlined and consistent design looks like:

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There are several other website design best practices to remember for criminal defense SEO. All of which are meant to provide a user-friendly and actionable experience to your target audience, like:

  • Improve your website’s loading speed. A fast-loading website ensures a smooth and satisfying experience for your potential clients. Website performance is also a well-known on-page SEO ranking factor, rewarding you with long-term recurring traffic.
  • Focus on readability. Flashy design elements are useless if they impede your visitors’ ability to read and understand your website’s content. Choose a readable font (avoid “script” or “handwriting” fonts), use large text, implement contrasting colors, and utilize white space to reduce visual clutter. 
  • Publish keyword-optimized, user-focused content. The main “meat” of your criminal defense law firm’s website are the content pieces on your pages and blog posts. Make sure they’re optimized for your target keywords and built to provide prospects with relevant, valuable information. 
  • Insert strong Calls-To-Action (CTAs). Law firm websites need CTAs that invite users to take action, like booking a consultation, sending an email, or subscribing to your newsletter. Just remember to use CTAs smartly — that is, only insert them if they benefit the user experience and help visitors with their objectives. 

As the cherry on top, invest in professional legal portraits for your criminal defense attorney bios and page backgrounds. 

Professional portraits help establish a more personal and emotional connection with your prospects. This makes it easier for them to trust you and feel more confident in your legal services.

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Again, unless you’re highly skilled in photography yourself, it’s better to let professionals be in charge. Read about our legal portrait services to learn what it takes to capture eye-catching lawyer headshots and check out some examples. 

4. Craft Optimized Practice Area Pages

With your website up and running, the next order of business is to create dedicated landing pages for criminal defense practice areas.

A landing page’s sole purpose is to give prospects an overview of your practice, what they need to know, and how to move forward. Law firms usually include multiple landing pages dedicated to each practice area and office location. 

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As a criminal defense lawyer, it pays to have a separate landing page for each specific type of case under your practice — be it felonies, misdemeanors, drug crimes, fraud, and so on. This is a great way to showcase your expertise and experience, improving your chances of converting leads into paying clients.  


Creating dedicated landing pages for specific criminal case types also benefits your keyword optimization efforts. By narrowing down the focus of your page, you can optimize for more specific, low-competition keywords that are easier to rank for. 

Just be sure to naturally insert your target keywords into the following page elements:

  • Page title tags
  • Subheadings
  • Body content
  • Page URL
  • CTAs 

For the actual landing page content, get straight to the point and cover everything a client wants to know. This includes descriptions of criminal charges and the penalties they may face. Of course, your landing page should also contain CTAs, links, and forms that help prospects take the next step. 

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5. Answer Questions of Your Prospects on Your Blog

The best kind of landing pages are impactful, well-designed, and concise. To make sure prospects get all the information they’re looking for, start publishing blog posts about important topics.

Legal blogging not only highlights your knowledge of the complex criminal law practice. With an effective SEO strategy, content planning, and link building, blogging also leads to improved search engine rankings over time. 


Setting up a legal blog involves multiple steps:

  • Step #1: Research content ideas. Brainstorm interesting criminal defense topics or use advanced tools like Semrush, Ahrefs, and AnswerThePublic to find relevant topic ideas. Another strategy is to analyze your competitor’s website to uncover topics that prospects are looking for. 
  • Step #2: Conduct comprehensive keyword research. Use keyword research to verify the SEO value of your content ideas. The goal is to determine if people are searching for the topics you want to blog about.
  • Step #3: Develop a content strategy. To maximize your SEO efforts, group related topics together into a “content cluster.” This is a network of related blog posts connected via internal links and an overarching pillar page.
  • Step #4: Create blog posts. Criminal defense attorneys should publish a minimum of 2-4 blog posts per week to build a readership. You can dial down your blogging frequency once you start getting recurring organic traffic. 
  • Step #5: Track and analyze your legal blogging results. Constantly monitor your blog’s performance to identify strategies that work. Double down on topics and content types that get positive results to make the most out of your blog.

While legal blogging is pivotal to law firm SEO success, it’s a time-consuming strategy that involves tons of research, writing, and optimization. You also need years’ worth of experience to plan and execute a successful SEO strategy. 

That’s why most criminal defense firms rely on SEO content writing services that specialize in the legal industry. 

Make sure you get your money’s worth by looking at the company’s portfolio and case studies. See to it that they can actually put your firm into the top organic search results. 

6. Start a Link Building Campaign

Publishing 100% original blog posts has a hidden perk: it lets you generate natural, high-quality backlinks over time. This is where the bulk of your off-page SEO efforts go.

However, sitting around while your top competitors are relentlessly building quality backlinks won’t end well for your rankings. 

If you want to outrank competitors, pick up the pace with link building strategies that target quality backlinks over quantity. Guest blogging, for one, is a surefire strategy that guarantees quality backlinks — as long as you do it right. 

Start by looking for other websites that accept guest posts in the legal industry. To do this, run a Google search using relevant keywords along with phrases like “write for us” and “guest post by.”

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Google’s first page should be stacked with popular, relevant websites that accept guest posts. Just be careful not to pick criminal defense websites owned by your direct competitors. 


Once you find these websites, read their guest posting guidelines carefully and check for any restrictions when it comes to links. After all, submitting articles to websites that don’t allow links defeats the purpose of guest blogging for link building.

Another way to look for potential backlink sources is competitor analysis. For this, you’ll need an SEO tool with backlink profile analysis capabilities.

Semrush, for example, can reveal your competitors’ backlink sources or “referring domains.” 

Competitor analysis lets you uncover your competitor’s best backlink sources. The drawback is, there’s no guarantee that these websites are currently accepting guest posts. 

You may also find referring domains that aren’t relevant to criminal defense, including content syndication services and other law firms. With all that being said, you shouldn’t rely solely on your competitor’s backlink profile when planning your link building strategy. 

Don’t worry — there are plenty of other law firm link building opportunities that can elevate your rankings. Some examples are:

  • Publish “linkable” assets, like infographics, case studies, and surveys.
  • Sign up as an information source at Help A Reporter Out (HARO)
  • Get listed on your alma mater’s website.
  • Run local events and get online mentions.

7. Improve Your E-E-A-T

E-E-A-T stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. It’s an acronym created by Google to help their human Search Quality Raters evaluate Search Engine Results Pages or SERPs.

Observing E-E-A-T in every aspect of your criminal defense law firm SEO will boost your rankings in the long run. First, you need to understand what it’s all about:

  • Experience: Sharing your first-hand experience in criminal defense.
  • Expertise: Highlighting your competency in handling (and winning) your cases.
  • Authoritativeness: Proving your credibility as an information source through your website.
  • Trust: Upholding accuracy and honesty when sharing facts.

Adopting E-E-A-T as a guideline in your criminal defense SEO strategy can be done in different ways. Publishing case studies and client success stories, in particular, will check all the boxes. This will do wonders for your rankings down the line.

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You can also communicate your experience and expertise through a well-designed criminal defense attorney bio. That’s where you can naturally show off your professional achievements, awards, educational background, and case results.

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Finally, you should observe E-E-A-T through all your criminal defense marketing and content creation activities — be it on your landing page, blog, or guest posts. Treat every piece of content as a building block of your law firm’s online reputation. This will help you establish an online brand trusted by prospects and search engines alike. 

8. Invest in Video Marketing for Criminal Defense Law Firms

Video marketing and modern SEO go hand in hand. 

Compared to text-based content, videos are more engaging and easier to spread on social media, leading to more backlinks. They can also provide more exposure through video sharing platforms like YouTube and Instagram Reels. 

Below are examples of video content types that criminal defense lawyers need for a comprehensive SEO strategy:

  • Explainer videos
  • Q&A sessions
  • Client testimonials
  • Case studies
  • Event announcements
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Aside from the SEO benefits of video content, they’re also very effective in grabbing your prospects’ attention. This, in turn, could turn your practice area landing pages into well-oiled lead generation machines. 

The only problem is, high-quality videos are much harder to create than written content. You either assemble an in-house video production team, purchase the equipment, and work on the script yourself — or hire seasoned video marketing experts to get the job done. 

Either way, videos will help set your law firm apart from the competition. 

Can You Do SEO For Your Criminal Defense Law Firm Yourself?

As mentioned throughout this post, it’s entirely possible to conduct a full-blown criminal defense SEO project yourself. However, it may not be the most effective or practical option.

Criminal defense is considered a highly complicated area of law. With so much on the line, criminal defense attorneys spend countless hours researching and building a case — sometimes, drawing the line between life and death for their clients.

Splitting your attention between your firm and SEO campaign could debilitate not just your productivity, but also your work quality. The good news is, you don’t need to do everything yourself. We’re here to help.

Hire Criminal Defense SEO Services to Fast Track Your Results

Just like criminal defense, SEO is an extremely time-consuming and painstaking job. That’s why it’s important to hire an agency you can trust — backed by a committed team with proven results in the legal landscape.

On The Map Marketing takes pride in having a proof of efficacy in the most competitive SEO markets of the nation — including criminal defense.

Contact us to get a free audit of your firm’s website and get a customized quote for our criminal defense SEO services.

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