Man in a suit holding an seo button

In this article, I’ll be discussing whether lawyers should choose lawyer-specific domain names and how it matters.

Buying a domain is the starting point for a law firm’s website. When choosing your domain, there are some standard practices and some things you should and shouldn’t do.

While a domain name won’t directly affect how your law firm’s website does in organic search, it plays a role in branding. 

Let’s start by learning what a TLD is, and why it matters for attorneys choosing a domain name.

WHAT IS A TLD?

TLD stands for “top-level domain” and is the end of a domain name separated from the rest of the name by a dot.

You’re probably familiar with the most generic ones that have been around the longest like:

  • .com
  • .net
  • .org

The purpose of top-level domains is to help categorize a website. For example, an educational website will often have a “.edu” TLD, to help signal to the user the purpose of the website.

Now, let’s talk about which TLDs are available for attorneys.

AVAILABLE TLDs FOR LAWYERS

Several new types of domains have become available to the legal community since the dot-com era. These new domains include those ending in “.law,” “.abogado,” “.lawyer,” and “.attorney.” This gives law firms more options than just dot-com domains (which are still widely used and acceptable).

When these TLDs first became available, it opened a discussion on whether law firms should migrate to these new domains, or if it doesn’t even matter.

It’s essential to note that two of the TLDs that I named come with a significant difference. Anyone (regardless of credibility) can purchase a “.lawyer,” and “.attorney” domain. However, the “.law” and “.abogado” domain names can only be registered by law firms, lawyers, law schools, and legal regulators.

DOES YOUR LAW FIRM’S WEBSITE DOMAIN IMPACT SEO?

That brings us to the biggest question — and debate — surrounding these newer domain names: Are these domains going to help you dominate the SERPs? The answer is an easy no.

If you’re choosing one of these domains in the hope of better search engine rankings, you would be better off focusing your energy elsewhere. 

Google is smart enough to know the purpose of your firm’s website, especially after it’s categorized, registered with Google My Business, and Google’s crawlers crawl the website’s content.

When it comes to TLDs, Google doesn’t discriminate in the SERPs. Google has even said it themselves.

“Using a new domain ending won’t hurt your search presence.”

And choosing an alternative to “.com” won’t boost your rankings either.

If you want your website to get more organic leads, you’ll need to make sure you have a well-rounded SEO strategy.

THE ARGUMENT FOR HOW IT COULD AFFECT SEO

There is a theory out there that explains how these newer lawyer domains could positively affect search rankings. The main argument for lawyer-specific TLDs from an SEO standpoint is that it could help Google categorize your website.

However, as of 2020, most law firm websites still use “.com” domains, and Google can still index a site according to its purpose thanks to Google My Business, meta titles, and other on-site SEO structuring.

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF .LAW, .LAWYER, AND .ATTORNEY DOMAINS?

So if they don’t directly impact search, why would any attorney go with one of these specialized TLDs? The truth is, it mainly comes down to branding.

BRANDING, AVAILABILITY, & MEMORABILITY

Branding is possibly the biggest reason why a firm would choose a newer TLD. Since fewer of these domains are being used, it can allow you to stand out with a brand name that’s more directly correlated with your domain name and website. And in today’s digital day-in-age, it’s only making more and more sense to do so.

A “.lawyer” TLD could have a higher chance of being remembered since there are fewer of them out there. 

When a searcher sees your website’s domain name in the search results, it’ll also further clarify the purpose of your website.

Firms using the “xyx.com” domain name, may also want to buy the “xyz.lawyer,” and similar domains to avoid any confusion between other firms with similar names. This will help protect their brand name or help rebrand their website.

The Basics of Choosing a Domain Name for Law Firms

Now that you know points to consider before choosing your firm’s TLD — let’s look at other tips for selecting the rest of your domain name.

  • Keep it concise — It’s usually best to keep a domain’s name under 15 characters. And the reason for this is, longer domain names are harder to remember. Shorter domain names are easier to remember, share, and type without typos.
  • Don’t try keyword stuffing domains — You don’t need to insert keywords that you’d like to rank for into your domain name. If it’s part of your brand, that’s fine, but your domain won’t directly impact your ranking for a keyword.
  • Avoid less common TLDs Google has said that certain TLDs don’t have any advantages over less common ones in the algorithms. However, since domains are more about branding than SEO, avoiding less common or TLDs could make your brand more memorable. Remember, though, the on-page content and user-experience is the most important factor for helping Google index sites accordingly.

HOW TO BUY .ATTORNEY & .LAWYER DOMAINS

  1. Visit a website domain store. We typically recommend Namecheap.
  2. Search for the domains you wish to purchase and add them to your cart.
  3. Search for any other additional domains you wish to purchase and add them to your cart as well.
  4. Once you have selected all the domains you wish to purchase, click “Continue To Cart.”
  5. You will be asked if you want to add privacy to your domains. Ownership is a public record unless you choose the privacy option. Many businesses leave this information public but it is up to you.
  6. You will also be provided with the option to purchase other products/services. If you are just starting up, and wish to build your own website, then you may require the website builder plan and/or hosting. If you wish to add an email account to your new domain, you may do so. It’s usually helpful to purchase an SSL for your website while you’re at it.
  7. Create your account, enter your login information if you have previously created an account, and complete your purchase.
  8. You will receive an email verifying that you now own the domains.