by: Matt Wetherington
February 13, 2024
Our marketing company data has helped hundreds of law firms save time, money, and headaches. It has also caused frustration for deceptive SEO firms and unbridled joy for legitimate companies. I have received legal threats, bribe offers, and negative reviews from companies that are unhappy with the data presented below. Those efforts have all failed. The data continues to speak for itself and I am proud to present the 2024 edition of our Law Firm Search Engine Company Data. For 2024, we reviewed over 60,000 pages and hundreds of law firm marketing companies. I have a separate article explaining our methodology and tools used to acquire this data that you can read here. We have also put together a showcase of our favorite website designs and the companies behind them here. Finally, I created a video, the Future of SEO, that includes interviews with marketing companies, methods for you to do SEO yourself, and provides examples of using ChatGPT and similar tools to create marketing content.
Methodology & Insights From 20,000 Google Searches
I performed searches for the following practice areas for each city in the 50 most populous metropolitan statistical areas. This resulted in 122 cities searched. For each city, I performed (1) a localized search for [practice areas], (2) a general [practice area] [city] search, and (3) a [practice area] [city] [state] search. I then recorded the ten websites appearing on the first page. This resulted in 183,000 webpages. After de-duping the city and city-state searches, we were left with 61,000 individual pages.
Here are some big picture highlights before we get into the details:
- Some domains have more pages on our list than others. In fact, ten domains accounted for nearly 25% of the total pages identified. (Justia, Superlawyers, Findlaw, Yelp, Expertise, LinkedIn, LawInfo, Indeed, UpCounsel, Justice.gov)
- 80% of the domains identified were not associated with a law firm.
- Only ten law firms cracked the top 100 of most common domains (BoginMunns, ChapmanLawGroup, PriceBenowitz, Klasing-Associates, ArizonaBusinessLawyerAZ, SmithanDeulo, GerbenLaw, BenCrump, ForThePeople).
- 5% of the webpages had a 404 page not found error.
- 60% of identified domains appear only once.
- The average keyword difficulty was 13 out of 100.
- The most difficult keyword was ‘visa services near me’ in Houston, Texas with a keyword difficulty of 92/100. No law firms ranked for this search.
- The average keyword traffic was 124 searches each month.
We then processed every website and excluded domains that were not associated with a single law firm. Meaning, we excluded directories like Findlaw or Yellowpages. This resulted in a list of 12,000 law firm websites. Each page was then evaluated to determine if a marketing company link was placed on the page. Around 4,000 of the domains had a link to a marketing company. This means that more than half of the law firm domains in our study are either not managed by a marketing company OR the marketing company does not place a link on the website. This fact alone means that the tables and data presented below are incomplete and therefore not reliable as an absolute indicator of quality.
Through this process, we identified 800 marketing companies. 500 of the identified marketing companies were responsible for only one domain on our list. The most commonly seen SEO companies are not surprising. However, simply because a company appears multiple times, it does not necessarily mean that they will rocket your law firm to the front page. A company that has 200 clients and all 200 rank well should be a better hire than a company that has 10,000 clients and only 500 rank well. Thus, our next step is to find out how many law firms each of those 800 companies work with and how frequently they obtain “good” rankings for their clients.
We then sought out every law firm client of all 800 companies. We successfully identified an additional 9,000 law firm websites. The process involved identifying law firm websites that link back to the marketing company from the bottom or “footer” of the website. When verifying this data with SEO companies, some claimed that we identified less than half of their clients, while others stated that our listing was accurate. So, this list should not be relied upon as an accurate listing of law firm clients for each company. However, the broad trends are still helpful.
The links provided are to the applicable report* on AHREFS. If you do not have an account, the links will not work. Please keep in mind that companies that do not include a link at the bottom of client pages will not be included in this list. This does not mean that the company is any better or worse than the companies on this list and our methodology for hiring a company will still apply.
Tier = This is a simple score based on whether the company exceeds the average and/or is in the top 10% for each metric tracked. Take this score with a massive grain of salt. There are hundreds of other factors that go into determining whether a company is good, so do not interpret this as anything other than information to help in your search.
Identified Law Firm Clients = Total number of pages I determined were law firms that link back to the company. Because of filtering, this number is likely to be much lower than their real client count.
Average Domain Rating = Average domain rating for all firm websites by the provider. Keep in mind that some providers do not have agreements with firms to upkeep degrading sites, so this number may not be representative of the quality of work they perform.
Monthly Traffic = The past six months of organic traffic averaged.
Clients Lost = Total number of law firm websites that dropped the anchor link to the company. Firms that dissolve and change names will negatively impact this number.
*All images used with the express written consent of Kanye West and the National Football League.
*I chose the website with either the highest domain rating or most pages linking back to the marketing company’s domain. If you own a marketing company and want me to change out your representative client, just email me. For a faster swap-out, please include the DR and page speed.
*Advice on this page should be relied upon for investment purposes. #YOLO
* The links will NOT show the same numbers as shown in the table. This is for three reasons. First, the data I collected was a snapshot as of May 2022 and the SEO world moves fast. Several of the representative pages have improved drastically since my post. Second, I used a lookback period of two and then four years using tightly defined parameters to make absolutely certain I had law firm clients and not directories or blog spam pages. Third, the posted links have been modified to work with a basic AHREFs account that a law firm owner is likely to have.
*Since writing this article, I have several ideas to improve the table and will post an updated article next year. Feel free to email your suggestions. I’m not a smart person and am happy to learn and improve.
*Blue shark digital is a fine marketing company and they were not excluded maliciously. I am not able to accurately track them because they do not use a footer link. As a result, they were breaking the sorting of the table. I’ve reached out to the to see if we can get some data.