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Immigration Law Digital Marketing Basics: Why Keywords Are Key

When your potential clients need an immigration lawyer, they will turn to search engines for answers. Learn how your firm can appear at the top of those search engines and help your clients when they need your services.

Type the words “immigration law attorney” into Google’s search and it will take 0.96 seconds to return about 163,000 results. Those who have paid to appear first for a search on those words are at the top of the search results. A few scrolls down, the non-paid results begin.

That’s a lot of results on a broad search. So, how does an immigration law firm rise to the top of a Google search engine result page, or SERP?

Keywords are the key to appearing high on a SERP. Simply put, keywords are the terms that people type into search engines AND the words or phrases on an immigration law firm’s website. The idea is that a search with those terms matches up with the same terms on the website, making that website page appear high up on the SERP. There are a lot of statistics regarding the importance of appearing high on a SERP, like 90% of one survey’s respondents say they were likely to click on the first set of results they see after a search. Suffice it to say, it’s a very widely accepted notion that ranking high on SERPs generates more clicks and, thus, more business leads.

A keyword strategy is used in conjunction with an immigration law firm’s content marketing and digital marketing strategies. Keywords are an integral part of both an overall law firm marketing strategy and any legal marketing campaign. Keywords are search engine gasoline — a search engine optimization strategy can’t run without them.

Keywords and SEO

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the way to game a search engine so that an immigration law firm’s website pages appear high in SERPs. SEO is generally in two categories: Organic and pay-per-click.

Organic SEO means the website pages are found because the keywords match the search terms. Ensuring that the law firm’s website has content that is keyword-rich, informational, and useful leads to a successful organic SEO strategy. There is no cost to this approach other than the time it takes to identify the right keywords and create the content around them.

Pay-per-click involves buying digital advertising that utilizes keywords to target audiences. Compared with organic search results, PPC costs money but the results are usually quicker.

Location is also a big factor in SEO, as most people are searching for an immigration law attorney nearby. We discuss some specific local SEO strategies that an immigration law firm could use in Why Local Marketing Matters For Criminal Law Attorneys.

Types of Keywords

Before we discuss how to create a list of keywords to create content around, it’s important to note that there are three types of keyword searches and how they each relate to business development:

  • Head terms 

These are generally searches of three words or less and based on broad terms, like “immigration attorney” or “green card expired.” These types of searches are usually done by people early in what is known as the “buyer’s journey” who are mostly researching. Head term searches are shown to drive a lot of traffic, but do not translate into paying clients.

  • Body terms 

These are slightly longer searches, perhaps four to six words, and include a little more detail, such as “marriage length for spouse visa” or “can criminal charges lead to deportation?” Body term searches yield middle ranges on both clicks and business development.

  • Long-tail keywords 

As the name suggests, long-tail keyword searches are longer — more than six words. These are specific and often appear as questions. For example: “How long do I have to be married for my spouse to get a green card?” or “Can I transfer jobs on an H1B visa?” Searches like these are generally conducted by people who have an immediate issue and are looking for a solution. These searches generate high volumes for both website clicks and client conversions.

How to Find the Right Keywords

The keywords to focus on will depend on what is being promoted. Whether it’s to build business for the immigration law firm as a whole or a targeted campaign focused on a niche practice, the keyword strategy will depend on identifying the product, the audience, and the value proposition.

After that, the next step is to research keywords. There are some tools available, both free and more robust platforms that cost money, that create a deep dive into keyword usage in searches. There are also experts available to conduct this research on behalf of the firm and report back recommendations.

Here are some other ways to conduct keyword research:

  • Think about the questions and issues that clients frequently raise. Chances are if they’re worried about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program’s future or unsure of green card requirements, others are too.

  • Visit competitors’ websites and see what topics are addressed in their content.

  • Review legal forums, like Avvo, lawyers.com, and Justia to see what immigration law questions people are asking about frequently.

  • Google is a valuable resource for researching keywords. Here are a few ways to utilize its features:

    • Using the search bar, start typing a query and see how it auto-fills. For example, typing “green card divorce…” prompts suggestions for searches that end with “alimony,” “and remarriage,” and “adultery.”

    • Once the search is entered, Google provides additional resources for keyword research, such as the “People also ask…” and “Related searches” sections. In the “green card divorce” search, the people also ask section includes: “What happens if a green card holder gets divorced?” Some of the related searches are “my wife left me after she got her green card” and “what happens if you divorce after green card interview.”

    • Activate Google Search Console for the firm’s website. This provides a look at the queries that led to the website, including how many times the website appears in search results (impressions) and how many times the query resulted in a click.

    • Google Trends shows how a keyword or phrase is performing by region or topic. Entering “green card” into the tool shows related topics, like “parole” and “travel visa,” as well as related queries, including “green card renewal fee 2022.”

The topics and words that come up frequently in this research then become the basis for content on the firm’s website. Of course, be sure to monitor and measure to see how the keywords are performing.


Scorpion’s technology helps law firms rank higher in search engines. Learn more!