Whether you’re implementing a search engine optimization or pay-per-click strategy, having the right keywords to promote your criminal defense law firm is important to ensure that your campaigns are as highly effective and targeted as possible.

Below, we’ll go over the top criminal defense keywords for SEO and PPC that have been proven to drive more traffic and sign up clients for attorneys.

The search terms listed below are optimal for both organic and paid search, but not all keywords share this overlap. We’ll go over what to look for in organic search terms to increase your traffic as well as why they’re more suitable for organic than paid search traffic. Because these are the top keywords in across the country, we’ll also go over some important guidance and details when it comes to finding keywords for your local market.

Best Criminal Defense Attorney Keywords for SEO & Paid Search

There’s a good amount of overlap when it comes to the best SEO and PPC keywords for driving more valuable traffic that will convert into more leads and clients.

Here are the top keywords for both organic and paid search. Below the list, we’ll explore what makes them so great for both strategies as well as when organic keywords aren’t suitable for PPC ads.

Top 60+ Criminal Defense Keywords

KeywordCompetitionTop of page bid (Average)
appeals lawyerMedium$10.46
assault attorneysMedium$33.91
best criminal attorneysLow$26.31
best criminal defense attorneyMedium$26.27
best criminal defense attorney near meMedium$24.33
best criminal defense lawyerLow$30.69
best criminal lawyerMedium$28.22
best criminal lawyers near meMedium$23.85
crime lawyerMedium$36.01
criminal attorneyLow$38.66
criminal attorney near meMedium$43.20
criminal defence lawyerLow$32.40
criminal defenseLow$17.71
criminal defense attorneyMedium$37.98
criminal defense attorney near meMedium$37.66
criminal defense lawyerLow$34.82
criminal defense lawyer near meLow$34.73
criminal defense lawyersLow$33.61
criminal justice attorneyLow$32.85
criminal justice lawyerLow$30.25
criminal law attorneyLow$37.34
criminal law attorney near meMedium$35.89
criminal law lawyerLow$35.69
criminal law officeLow$15.71
criminal lawyerMedium$35.64
criminal lawyers near meMedium$42.27
defense attorneyMedium$31.48
defense attorney near meMedium$36.26
defense lawyerMedium$31.38
defense lawyers near meMedium$36.88
domestic lawyerLow$11.64
domestic violence attorneyMedium$41.34
domestic violence attorney near meMedium$36.85
domestic violence lawyer near meMedium$37.40
domestic violence lawyersMedium$39.45
drug charge lawyerLow$17.39
drug crime lawyerLow$30.23
drug crimes attorneyLow$43.66
drug defense attorneyLow$31.21
drug defense lawyerLow$32.50
drug lawyerLow$32.23
drug possession lawyerLow$30.85
embezzlement lawyerLow$10.98
expungement lawyers near meMedium$8.07
federal criminal attorneyLow$41.98
federal criminal defense attorneyLow$30.06
federal criminal defense lawyerMedium$35.32
federal criminal lawyerLow$32.79
federal defense attorneyMedium$28.64
federal defense lawyerLow$23.14
federal lawyersMedium$17.97
federal lawyers near meHigh$15.79
felony lawyerLow$20.17
juvenile lawyerLow$8.90
lawyer civil caseHigh$8.34
lawyer for assaultLow$33.83
lawyers for criminal casesMedium$36.55
misdemeanor lawyerMedium$11.60
sex crimes attorneyLow$13.18
theft lawyersLow$14.40
top criminal lawyersLow$26.50
white collar crime lawyersLow$26.20
Keywords for Criminal Defense Attorneys and related terms from Google Keywords Planner Tool with the Highest search volume in the United States along with average CPC bids averaged for top of page low and high range bids.

This list is by no means exhaustive and there are many other wonderful search terms that we could have included. However, the list is designed to show you the top keywords words both in terms of profit potential as well as ranking them by higher monthly search volume.

Many keywords may also seem to be duplicates or close variants, such as “criminal defense attorney” and “criminal defense lawyer”, where terms are synonymous. This is true, many synonyms exist, however, Google is simply providing data on what people are searching for. So in this example, some search with the term “lawyer”, while others use “attorney”.

Lawyers focused on generating the highest returns will focus on more specific terms that will target more profitable cases and larger retainers. This includes terms such as sex, drug and federal crimes. Therefore, using terms from this list that focus on those may be your best strategy for your defense firm.

Others may not like working some of those cases as much and prefer to exclude a certain category of keywords and focus on domestic violence charges or criminal charges in general.

How to Find the Top Local Criminal Defense Keywords

The list we’ve gone over represents the best keywords across the US. However, defense lawyers will want a list targeted to their local market. It’s quite simple to come up with local criminal law keywords.

Compile a list of the counties and cities you serve. If your law firm serves clients across the state, then you can add the state name and abbreviation to the list. Once you have your list, you can take advantage of our keyword combiner tool to speed up the process of creating local keywords for your law firm (example shown in the image above)

Be advised that the competition and bid prices for your local search terms will vary from the national averages. Some markets are more competitive than others. Use the Keyword Planner as well as search engine tools like Ahrefs (used above) to map your local competition and determine your costs for both PPC and SEO campaigns.

SEO vs PPC Keywords for Criminal Defense Lawyers

Not all keywords that you target for organic search traffic will be suitable for paid search ads. The reason being that many people are searching for information and conducting research ahead of when they will contact a lawyer.

The terms listed above are what are known as transactional keywords. This means that the intent behind the users searching for these is more likely to be that they’re ready to get in touch with a lawyer about criminal charges they might be facing. This is what separates search terms that you want to bid on from ones that you do not.

Many of these keywords will still drive traffic that will convert into leads and clients. However, when it comes to controlling your PPC budget, it can be costly to target these terms. Focus on transactional keywords for your paid search traffic needs while expanding into informational queries for organic search marketing.

When looking at a comprehensive SEO strategy, many of these informational and research based searches are excellent to target. With organic search, you don’t pay for every individual click as is the case with PPC. When properly executed, organic traffic to these types of terms can be very profitable and worth targeting.

If you’re in a highly competitive market where it’s difficult to rank for the transactional queries in a reasonable period of time, publishing optimized content that targets these informational keywords can be an excellent way to get started.