What does search engine optimization actually mean?

SEO = Search Engine Optimization

So now you obviously understand that SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, but you probably don’t know what exactly it is that needs to be optimized for your website – not to mention how to go about actually doing any of it.

Don’t worry, that makes you pretty normal.

(besides, that’s why there are experts who specialize in SEO for lawyers right?)

So what exactly is it that needs to be optimized in order for your listing to rank at the top of search results so you can start bringing in all those online leads? The ones you’re missing out on every day right now?

Is it the design of your site? Or is it the content? Or maybe it’s the backlinks that point to your website?

Yes, yep, and yes sir (or yes ma’am) – it’s every bit of those things and a lot more. Especially in such a hyper-competitive niche like the legal industry.

Search engine optimization is indeed a process.

But it’s also an art… with a healthy dose of science as well.


What is the goal for any local business website?

You want your GMB listing to rank in Google’s Maps 3-Pack, as well as the organic listings below the local search results. That’s because you won’t have to pay every time someone clicks on your listing to call your office, or visit your website.

The way I like to think about search engine optimization – and hopefully this will help you see through all the confusing technical stuff…


…is that SEO is the process of optimizing the different elements of your site so that search engines LOVE your website, and they WANT to show it at the top of search results because they know YOU are going to make their users happy by giving them what they are searching for.


For any business owner who wants to start bringing in hundreds of new leads and phone calls from online searches every month, here’s a good way to think about SEO…

There are three parties involved in every search for every keyword:

  1. there’s you
  2. there’s the search engine 
  3. and then there’s the person searching for your services. 


If your practice area is DUI representation, and you are located in Chicago… you obviously want Google to show your Maps 3-Pack listing (or your website) as the top result to any searcher looking for someone to defend them – because people search for that keyword 9shown in the screenshot below) between 500 to 600 times per month.


Screenshot of Google search bar showing search volume for Chicago DUI Lawyer


QUICK SIDE NOTE: In case you’re wondering why we focus almost exclusively on Google, it’s because over 94% of all searches on mobile devices are performed on Google.

Yahoo and Bing (together) only account for about 2% of mobile search volume.

Talk about 2nd place not even being close!


chart depicting google share of mobile search market as of august 2019











Search engine optimization is the combination of the art AND the science you need to apply to your website so that Google wants to show your ranking page in the Top 3 results whenever someone searches for valuable keywords related to your legal practice area.


Wait a minute… most digital marketing companies claim they will help you ‘achieve 1st page rankings’ on Google.

Isn’t being on page 1 good enough?


You need to be in the top 5 positions on Page 1 to get any amount of website traffic from organic search results.

You would probably be shocked to learn how many more clicks go to the Top 3 (or even the Top 5) websites vs. the 6th through 10th-ranked sites [combined]!

Or, depending on how many authority/directory sites you’re competing with on Page 1, you at least want to be in the top 2 or 3 actual local businesses on that first page.