More People Search for "Attorney" than "Lawyer"

online search, law firm marketing, legal marketing"Hands down, consumers favor the term attorney over lawyer when they are searching," says Mark Sprague, a Boston-based information and software product entrepreneur who writes for the Search Engine Lane blog.

This is a very handy bit of marketing information for lawyers to use when they are writing blogs, online articles, web bios, LinkedIn updates, tweets, Facebook pages and any kind of Internet content. Use the keyword attorney so that you'll turn up in more online searches.

In his analysis, attorney has nearly twice the search traffic of lawyer:

  • There are 20 keyword phrases with the term attorney – 33.8M searches
  • There are 22 keyword phrases with the term lawyer – 24.4M searches

Interesting human behavior is shown when people search for an attorney or lawyer. They begin by researching their legal issue. "They are doing information searches using a lot of vague terms, but you do see specific request for advice, reviews and rankings," Sprague says. This makes sense, because people will search to solve their problem first before deciding to contact a lawyer.

The marketing tip is to fill your blog and website with FAQs which describe a potential client's situation, explore the damages and adverse effects the problem causes, explain how much the solution will cost and spells out how the lawyer will solve the problem. For example, a personal injury lawyer should describe paraplegia, explain how much it costs to live in a wheelchair, and spell out how the attorney will recover those costs.

After people search about their issue, they:

  • Look for a type of attorney, specifying it by practice.
  • Look for a source to help with the selection process. They are using terms such as directory and list. My employer,, is the top cited online legal resource mentioned by consumers who sought an attorney in the past year, following Google.
  • Seek value, looking for lawyers using terms such as top, new and best.
  • Inquire about a particular law firm by name.
  • Look for a law firm by location.

The most sought-after practice are, in order, personal injury, criminal attorney, family law, medical malpractice, bankruptcy, immigration, DUI, accident and divorce.

Knowing this, you can exploit how people search in your website copy and pay-per-click campaigns, Sprague says. "Consumers favor the term attorney over lawyer. You should use both, but attorney should be the dominant term in your web page copy."

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Comments (5) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Basic Business Law - April 11, 2012 12:10 PM

Very interesting! Looks like attorney is what everyone is moving to! Thanks for sharing!

D Trevino - April 12, 2012 7:26 PM

I heard that there is a difference between the people who search using the keyword, "attorney", and the people who search using the keyword, "lawyer". One group is supposed to be more likely to hire an attorney. Do you know of any data to reflect a difference?

Adam - November 28, 2012 2:31 PM

That's true for "Attorney" vs. "Lawyer" but not necessarily for long tail keywords. For example, "divorce lawyer" has a higher search volume than "divorce attorney."

Great post!

myron - December 27, 2012 10:16 PM

Choosing this two is very difficult to choose who the best one is. But this is great to know this. Thanks for the good idea…

Anderson & Thomas - February 5, 2014 12:18 AM

Thanks for sharing this informative and knowledgeable blog. It can really help a lot of people.

Anderson & Thomas

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