YouTube SEO: Strategies for Family & Divorce Lawyers

What is YouTube SEO? How does it work? And what does it take to rank videos for search on YouTube?

We’ll drill down what it takes for attorneys to rank on YouTube. Even though we’ll be speaking as to how this applies to law firms, the answer is yes – these methods apply to other industries as well!

It is not as difficult as one may think to be found on YouTube. There are a multitude of tried and true marketing strategies that have helped our own divorce and family law firms grow from $5,750,000 in revenue to over $20,000,000 in just 5 years – and video has been a major component to that success. We’re here to give you the straight-up, transparent advice, and tips that have worked for Cardinal Concepts.

How to Rank Videos on YouTube with SEO

To get your videos ranked on YouTube, you must first understand the YouTube’s algorithm ranking factors and SEO in general. Simply put, SEO is entirely literal with some room for creativity depending on the circumstance.

All search engines are designed to give the user the most relevant search results for their queries. If someone searches for “how to make a smoothie”, YouTube won’t deliver a video titled “how to make a milkshake” because the queries are different.

For example, at a previous agency back when I started in SEO, I had a real estate lead who made a lot of his text reflect “There’s No Place Like Home” – including the important SEO parts of his website. Want to guess what he ranked for? 

  • “There’s no place like home”
  • Minimal “Wizard of Oz” terms

That’s why he wasn’t getting any leads! Additionally, those rankings were low because he was a local real estate agent competing with the entertainment industry by that keyword targeting. This same mentality applies to YouTube’s SEO algorithm because it’s owned by Google.

Ranking on Youtube for Divorce Lawyers

When it comes to divorce terms, since the market here is still fairly unsaturated, if someone were to search “how to file for divorce” we’ll get some more varying results, but many of the YouTube titles will still contain “divorce”. Any video titled exactly with that search query will have a greater chance of ranking first. 

And if you’re wondering if it’s worth optimizing videos for YouTube search, the answer is a resounding YES. It does not matter if you have a lot of or a little competition, any optimization made to rank on YouTube is well spent time and effort. The more literal you can get to the query people are searching for that you want to sell under, the better.

Does Embedding Video on Your Website Help Legal SEO?

This is the millionaire dollar question everyone wants to know. It’s not about “does it improve” it’s about “how it improves” your SEO because Google will not give a direct answer on this. So we will cover this, both with facts and the assumed outcome based on what we’ve seen generate success for our firms over the years.


Google has these little bits in their algorithm called “crawlers”, which crawl every website for their consumer-facing content through HTML files. A video file, like an MP4 or MOV, or a link from their sister company YouTube would get crawled easily in the HTML.

We all know video is powerful, as hundreds of millions people across the world literally scroll for hours each day. Google essentially measures this scrolling as “engagement time” data in their reports, on any given website, including YouTube.

If you search for most “how to” queries on Google nowadays, you’re likely going to get video instruction. This is because Google wants you engaged, and more importantly, they want you to see the video ads on YouTube because it means more money for them. So they serve these videos first.

In conclusion, adding YouTube video links to your webpages will be:

  1. Noticed by Google Crawlers in the HTML code
  2. Increase user engagement time when people visit your page
  3. That increased engagement will indicate to crawlers you provide valuable information
  4. Your ranking will get better

This process works in a loop, as Google Crawlers are crawling your site almost every day to recollect and reanalyze data to change your rankings constantly.

Assumed Outcome

Simply putting a video on doesn’t mean you’re soaring to the top of search results – but it helps greatly with some fine tuning. It’s mostly how people engage with that video and webpage that determines your rank. Ask yourself these questions:

  • How long do people watch the video?
  • How much of the content are they reading/is there to read?
  • Are you providing the exact answer people are looking for?
  • Are there internal links from that page to other areas on your website?
  • Are you increasing the time on this page and overall your website?

These are a few of many ranking factors that are being determined daily on your website.

YouTube Strategy for Lawyers

Since YouTube is owned by Google, it has a similar search algorithm, designed to provide the user with the most relevant results for their queries. In order to be successful, you need to have a clear goal and a solid understanding of the easy-wins on YouTube.

These easy-win elements include:

  • Video title
  • Video description
  • Metadata
    • Tags, Captions, Your Bio, Etc
  • View count, comments and likes
  • Watch time

The algorithm also considers past activity of the user to provide the most relevant search results for personalization.

Develop a Plan for Your Law Firm

Thanks to the limited content for divorce and family law, now is the best possible time to get started – and target top queries your clients are searching for in your state or area. Oftentimes these are questions people are asking you, what questions can you answer in a video that’ll help them before they reach out?

When optimizing locally, you should add in your state you practice in, like Massachusetts or California. This will let Google know some additional indicators that’ll help narrow down your target so you get more local clients.

YouTube SEO Tips for Attorneys

  1. Use a target keyword when renaming your video file.
  2. Optimize the video description with relevant information.
  3. Tag the video with popular keywords related to the content.
  4. Categorize the video appropriately.
  5. Upload a custom thumbnail image with a CTA.
  6. Incorporate subtitles and closed captions.
  7. Enhance viewership by incorporating Cards and End Screens on your YouTube channel.
  8. Increase reach by adding relevant hashtags.
  9. Experiment with varying video lengths to gauge audience engagement.
  10. Include a call-to-action (CTA) in both the video and description.

Use a target keyword when renaming your video file

Just like with written content, you want your videos to match your target keyword focus after some thorough SEO keyword research.

When you identify the target keyword you want to use, you’ll want to use it in your video filename before you even upload it to YouTube. So rather than your filename being “my_videoFINAL.mp4” – use your target keyword. If that keyword happens to be “how to file for divorce in california” then you want your filename to be “how-to-file-for-divorce-in-california.mp4” – and it is better to use dashes (-) rather than underscores (_), both in filenames and in alt tags.

MP4, MOV and WMV are some of the most common file types used on YouTube.

If you would like a targeted YouTube SEO approach that grows your channels quickly, reach out to our experts at Cardinal Concepts.

Optimize the video description with relevant information

Even though Google allows a 1,000 character limit on post descriptions, they only show the first 100 characters. After that, viewers need to click “show more” to see additional information. Secondly, your users are there to watch your video. You want to utilize those first 100 characters with the most important information, like CTAs or links for your bottom line.

After those 100 characters, it’s a good idea to add additional information to the video. That way users and YouTube will know more about the topic being covered.

Lastly, you should add a transcript of the video. This will help YouTube get a better idea of what the content covers and help your video appear in more areas organically across their search engine due to the sheer keyword reach provided in transcripts.

Tag the video with popular keywords related to the content

YouTube recommends using tags not only to inform viewers about your video’s content but also to inform YouTube itself. Tags help YouTube understand the content and context of your video, aiding in associating it with similar content and expanding its reach.

However, it’s crucial to select tags thoughtfully. Using irrelevant tags to attract more views may result in penalties from Google. Similar to crafting your video description, prioritize important keywords in your tags, including a balanced mix of common and long-tail keywords that address specific queries, such as “how do I?” Follow these straightforward guidelines to effectively utilize tags in your YouTube videos.

Categorize the video appropriately

After uploading a video, you have the option to categorize it within the “Advanced settings.” Selecting a category provides another means of grouping your video with similar content on YouTube, allowing it to be included in various playlists and exposed to a broader audience that resonates with your content.

However, categorizing your video isn’t necessarily straightforward. It’s crucial to undergo a thorough process to determine the most appropriate category for each video. Consider questions such as:

  • Who are the leading creators in this category, and what are their distinguishing characteristics and strengths?
  • Are there any commonalities among the audiences of similar channels within the same category?
  • Do videos within the same category share attributes like production quality, duration, or format?

At this time there’s no specific category for legal, so we recommend the default of “People & Blogs” because your videos are essentially going to be serving the people searching for advice.

Upload a custom thumbnail image with a CTA

The thumbnail is the main picture you see when you’re scrolling through videos. It, along with the video title, tells you what the video is about and affects how many people click on it.

YouTube gives you some pictures to choose from, but it’s better to make your own thumbnail. They say it should be 1280×720 pixels, saved as a .jpg, .gif, .bmp, or .png file, and not bigger than 2MB. This way, your thumbnail will look good on different devices.

Incorporate subtitles and closed captions

Just like we’ve talked about before, using subtitles and closed captions can make your YouTube videos easier to find by emphasizing important words.

To put subtitles or closed captions in your video, you need to upload a text transcript or a file with timed subtitles. If you prefer, you can also type the transcript directly to make it sync with your video automatically.

Adding subtitles is similar, but you can decide how much text you want to show. To do this, go to your video manager and click on “Videos.” Find the video you want to add subtitles to, click the drop-down arrow next to the edit button, and select “Subtitles/CC.” Then, you can choose how you want to add them.

Increase viewership by incorporating Cards and End Screens on your YouTube videos


Have you ever noticed those little icons or text bars that pop up while you’re watching a YouTube video? They’re called Cards, and they’re like pre-made notifications that can show up on both computers and phones. You can add up to five Cards to a video, and they come in different types: 

1. Channel cards that link to another channel.

2. Donation cards to support nonprofit fundraising.

3. Fan funding to ask viewers for help in making more videos.

4. Link cards that send viewers to other websites or crowdfunding platforms.

5. Poll cards that let viewers vote on questions.

6. Video or playlist cards that link to other YouTube videos.

End Screens

Then there are End Screens, which are similar to Cards but they only show up after a video ends. They’re more visually detailed and can include things like images and clickable links. 

Adding End Screens can be a bit more complex, depending on what platform you’re using and what type of content you’re making. YouTube is always testing End Screens to make sure they work well for viewers, so sometimes they might not appear as expected.

Even though all this might seem like a lot to deal with, remember that more and more people are watching YouTube on their TVs these days. By using Cards and End Screens, you can make your videos more discoverable and increase your chances of reaching a bigger audience.

Improve reach with a small amount of hashtags

Hashtags on YouTube are like the ones you use on platforms such as LinkedIn or Instagram. They’re a way to add related terms to your content, making it easier for people to find. These hashtags appear right above your video title, allowing viewers to click on them for more content related to that topic.

When using hashtags in your YouTube description, it’s important not to overdo it. The YouTube algorithm keeps an eye out for spam, so using too many hashtags could get your video flagged unintentionally. Instead of using a bunch of hashtags, pick 2-3 that best describe your video to avoid any issues.

Experiment with video length

The longer viewers spend watching your videos, the more it benefits your SEO. However, not everyone will stay engaged for extended periods, especially on platforms like YouTube where over 70% of watch time occurs on mobile devices. This highlights the significance of understanding your audience’s preferences.

To determine the ideal duration for your videos, experiment with different lengths, and especially try out the 60-second YouTube shorts. Analyze metrics like watch time, average view duration, and audience retention for each video to fine-tune your approach and cater to your audience’s preferences effectively.

Include a call-to-action (CTA) in your video and video description

CTAs are effective in encouraging viewer engagement, such as likes, subscribes, and shares, which can improve your video’s visibility in search results and suggested video features. Vary your CTAs to maximize their impact. For example, in one video, verbally prompt viewers to like, subscribe, or share, while in another, encourage them to bookmark the video or click on shared links in the description. Also, encourage viewers to leave comments and feedback, as these interactions not only enhance user experience but also signal to YouTube that your video is engaging and valuable to viewers. Explore different CTA examples for inspiration.

Family & Divorce Legal Marketing Experts

YouTube is an important part of your digital marketing strategy, but at the end of the day, it’s the amalgamation of marketing efforts that gets your family law firm to grow. If you need a powerhouse team to lift the weight off your shoulders, contact Cardinal Concepts – A dynamic legal digital marketing agency that can help improve your law firm’s marketing strategy regardless of where you are at.

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