7 min read
Updated: June 25, 2021

How Long Does It Take Law Firms to See Results from SEO Efforts

Most lawyers know SEO is a marathon and not a sprint, but how long does it really take to start seeing results? Here’s the answer.

A few days ago we met a potential client, an attorney interested in marketing for his law firm, who asked us a lot of excellent questions that no one has asked us before. One of them was “If I decide to pay for SEO, how long before I start getting new clients?”

As with anything complex, the answer is: it depends. Here are the factors that define the start-to-success SEO time frame.

How long does it take for SEO for lawyers to work

Factor 1: Competition

SEO for law firms is competitive in two ways: there are competitive geo markets and there are competitive practice areas.

  • Competitive geo markets.When a prospect looks for a lawyer or searches for information related to a legal issue, Google considers where they’re located at the time of search and prioritizes/shows local results. If you practice in a small town, where there are fewer attorneys, your website can reach high ranking faster and with less effort.If you’re in Chicago or any other big city, there’s a lot of competition for those top search results and, it would take a bit longer to start seeing results from SEO efforts.

How long does it take for SEO for lawyers to work

  • Competitive practice areaYou’d get results from SEO much faster if you focus narrowly on a practice area that is not highly competitive. So, if you focus on workman’s comp, your marketing firm can probably get your website page one (not guaranteed) position with less effort than if you were a general practitioner or focused on personal injury, a much more competitive field.

Competitive practice area

Factor 2: Starting Point

Let’s use a metaphor to explain this one. If you start going to the gym to reach a certain body weight and look, the first thing your personal trainer would consider when designing a workout program is your starting point. If you’ve trained for a while before, eat healthy, and are in overall good shape, you’ll probably achieve your goals fairly soon. If you’re 60 pounds overweight, the process would take a lot longer and would involve a very different approach at first.

It’s the same with SEO. What is the current state of your website? Is it new or has it been live for 10 years? Was it ever optimized? Does it feature relevant content that people search for? Do you regularly upload new content? The answers to these questions will determine how long it would take an SEO expert to get your website to page one (again, no one can guarantee the result, but we have plenty of case studies proving that this can be done).

Factor 3: Effort

Amount of effort that goes into SEO is crucial to the speed of achieving results.

How much effort are you willing to allocate to SEO? If you’re planning to invest in SEO services for lawyers $500 per month, I can tell you right now that it won’t work. It’s not enough money for creating quality content and for distributing it. Speak with any lawyer that pays that much for SEO and they will tell you a tale about wasted money. Why? Because your competitors will outspend you and take the clients that you want.

Amount of effort that goes into SEO is crucial to the speed of achieving results.

If you invest more in SEO for law firms — anywhere between $2500-$5000 per month — your website could earn one of those coveted top 5 Google positions much faster. You’ll get a lot of well-researched, relevant, keyword-rich, high-quality content created and distributed to other relevant websites, and more of your prospects will read or watch it.

Read this to understand more about how SEO for lawyers works, so you can make an educated decision about your marketing investment.

What to expect from quality SEO services for lawyers


If you work with an experienced, preferably US-based digital marketing agency, these are the approximate timeframes for achieving results with SEO (keep in mind that there are no guarantees):

  • Within 3 months, you’ll start seeing some results. If you started on page 34, these results may be moving up to page 30. If you started on page 2, then you’ll probably move up to page one.
  • Within 4-6 months, you’ll start seeing a considerable and consistent increase in traffic.
  • After that, you’ll start getting more phone calls or filled out contact forms

SEO Timeframe


We’d recommend you spend $4000-$5000 per month on SEO for attorneys. This should buy you a lot of SEO firepower! Yes, $60 000 per year on SEO alone may sound like a lot of money, but consider an average client value. If it’s $5000, then you break even on your SEO investment with just the first 12 clients, and you should have enough leads to sign many more.

For more detailed information about how to decide on the right marketing budget and what returns to expect, read this blog post.

And one last thing: the sooner you get someone to optimize your website for Google, the sooner you’ll see results. You start now: contact us here.

Need a high-performance website for your law firm?
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Comrade is a Chicago based digital marketing company that specializes in website design and marketing for attorneys. Read more about our content marketing service for law firms.

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

If you would like to discuss your project, reach out to our specialists.

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About the Author
Sasha Berson
Sasha serves as Managing Partner and VP of Client Solutions for Comrade Digital Marketing, a Chicago-based marketing agency dedicated to solving client’s most pressing digital challenges.
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