Calling Out Names: SEO for Your Name

Jeremy Hessing-Lewis

A Forest of Names

I have a distinctive hyphenated last name. Despite it being a mild annoyance for a litany of administrative details (e.g. repeatedly spelling my name to call centre staff), I can be found on-line particularly easily. Others are not so (un)lucky. Some Vancouver business lawyers even deliberately choose generic names.

A review of almost any law firm’s website analytics will generally reveal that, second only to the firm’s name, the names of the lawyers at the firm will be the top organic search queries. One of the most important functional aspects of a law firm’s website is to provide direct contact information. This fact gets lost amidst SEO strategies focused on bringing-in traffic for generic practice related searches (e.g. “Vancouver Personal Injury Lawyer”).

People are regularly looking to contact lawyers, whether clients, opposing counsel, or simply parents on their kid’s soccer team trying to organize a carpool. To do this, they google your name.

In most cases, lawyers want to be found. This creates challenges if you practice in a large city or if your name is particularly generic. Considering that most people can’t control their name, what can you do for SEO to ensure that the right people find you?

Tips for Helping People Find You:

  • Make sure you have a detailed bio page on your firm’s website. If there are multiple competing search results for the same name, you want people to know that they have found the right one.
  • Include links back to your profile on anything you post/publish online. This includes blog posts and social media profiles. The fabric of the world wide web is based on links. Use them.
  • Identify yourself as a lawyer. As a keyword “lawyer” will consistently be appended to your name as a descriptive element. Similarly, you’ll want to associate your name with where you live. For example, I might have my profile listed as Jeremy Hessing-Lewis, Lawyer, Vancouver.
  • If your name is particularly common, consider using a middle initial or nickname. Use it consistently across all your profiles.
  • In especially challenging cases, consider buying a vanity URL and direct it to your profile. A vanity URL might look like

If this sounds like a lot of work, keep in mind that if you don’t own your professional name, someone else may.

If you need some help, just Google me, that’s H-E-S-S-I-N-G–L-E-W-I-S.


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