Online presence is so essential for law firms these days. For personal injury attorneys, competition in law firm digital marketing is intense. There are a limited number of “good” cases, and the contingency fee nature of personal injury claims makes quality leads hot commodities. When leads are potentially worth thousands of dollars, personal injury lawyer marketing becomes a priority. Obtaining quality cases is one of the biggest challenges in practicing personal injury law.
In competitive markets, lawyers are willing to invest significant amounts of money in digital marketing. This includes a modern, high-performance website for your personal injury law firm, Pay-Per-Click advertising, social media marketing, and of course, search engine optimization.
Even in today’s era of daily use of social media, search engine optimization still reigns supreme. SEO is still the best value for your advertising money. During COVID-19, search behavior changed, and people spent more time online and made more searches in Google.
Because of the significant time investment of achieving results, following best practices is critical. SEO does not work overnight - it is a long-term strategy. If you’re looking to get maximum results with your personal injury lawyer SEO strategies, this guide of best practices and solutions is for you.
What Is SEO?
In the most simple terms, search engine optimization (SEO) refers to the activities and practices completed to show up in the results when people search for specific keywords in search engines.
Placing high in search engines means that more people will see your listing in search rankings, visit your website, and ideally, contact your law firm for a consultation. One of the biggest elements of SEO is creating content that is posted on websites and law firm social media.
Benefits Of SEO for Personal Injury Lawyers
Because people that hire a personal injury lawyer usually do so only once, lawyers need to have a pipeline of new clients. It is relatively unlikely that your existing clients will hire you in the future. Brand awareness marketing can be beneficial because it is possible that your existing and former clients will refer you to friends or relatives in the future.
SEO is a solution to find new prospective clients who are not familiar with you to discover your practice. SEO for personal injury lawyer marketing is an investment in bettering your website, and your website is a representation of your law firm. If you buy leads through pay-per-click or pay-per-lead services, your law firm will not receive any visibility (or even traffic to your website) after you acquire the lead, unless you pay for more leads.
On the other hand, visibility in search engine results pages can get you lead after lead after lead, only costing you your SEO efforts - either paying your in-house team or SEO specialists for lawyers at SEO companies.
Organic Results Increase
If your personal injury lawyer SEO is effective, you can literally get in front of your competition by ranking higher in search engines. Personal injury lawyer SEO optimizes your practice area content and legal blog posts so that they actually show up for people searching for them. On the other hand, if your website is not on the first page of search engine results, your law firm simply will not have the visibility, traffic, and, ultimately, personal injury lead generation.
Generating Personal Injury Leads
Consider a scenario: Two personal injury lawyers took $10,000 at the beginning of the year to invest in law firm marketing, and one (Lawyer A) spent the money on a website and organic SEO, and the other (Lawyer B) spent the money on Google ads (pay-per-click).
A year later, which lawyer is still getting leads? Lawyer A, who invested in personal injury SEO, will still be able to continue to have their website show in the search engine result pages. Lawyer B, who spent the money on paid ads, some legal marketing leads immediately. But once the funds in his ad campaign budget were exhausted, his traction vanished.
The average person makes 3-4 searches on Google each day. It is common for people to research their legal issues before contacting a personal injury law firm. A specific SEO strategy that includes consistent content generation, keyword research, and local SEO can generate a large volume of leads for a law firm. Many personal injury, car accident, and medical malpractice lawyers who are successful in SEO can generate more leads than they can handle in-house, and may establish a separate stream of income from case referrals to other qualified attorneys.
It’s the Best Way to Measure Your Results
SEO campaigns are easier to measure than traditional forms of marketing like radio or billboard advertisements. Metrics like vanity phone numbers are available but may not be effective with adapting technology and are losing their value in the digital age.
On the other hand, SEO for lawyers is highly measurable, offering increasingly advanced performance indicators. Using analytics tools, you can assess the effectiveness of your law firm’s SEO and online marketing through multiple metrics:
- Organic traffic
- Keyword ratings
- Conversion rate
- Bounce rate
Analytics and SEO reporting is more than just tracking the number of visitors clicking on your website. Because SEO efforts in legal marketing can take months to kick in, it’s very helpful to look at trends. SEO analytics can be especially useful in understanding your website visitor activity when you need to figure out why visitors aren’t converting.
Why Your Law Firm Personal Injury Website Is a Great Base for SEO?
All of your personal injury marketing efforts (SEO, social media, pay per click, lawyer directories, etc.) will drive prospective clients to your website. Of all of these, your SEO is the biggest source of traffic of potential clients to your website. Your website should look modern and professional, and be easy to navigate. It is your one chance to make a first impression.
For potential clients that find you online, your website will introduce them to your law firm, your legal team, and your services. Keep in mind, your website visitors don’t know you yet - nor do they know your competitors. Rather than actually sit down and interview multiple attorneys, your potential clients are more likely to spend time comparing your website to your competitors' website. Your website should have information that you would share in a “why should I hire you?” question. Don’t forget about client testimonials and case results.
Once your website is built, you must continue to add content to it. Your website should be redesigned and updated every 2-5 years or as needed to stay current. If technology adapts and your website begins to look dated or experiences navigation issues, you should turn to website services for lawyers as soon as possible.
Understanding Your Target Audience
With digital marketing campaigns, understanding your target audience is important in narrowing your focus on a specific age group or demographic. With personal injury attorney marketing, targeting your audience can be challenging, as anyone at any stage of life can be impacted by a vehicle accident or catastrophic injury. Serious accidents do not discriminate. However, your target audience may be in a geographic location. If you specialize in a niche area, you may target people with a specific interest, such as riding motorcycles.
Understanding your target audience for organic SEO is different from PPC campaigns, where you are showing ads to specific demographics. For your organic personal injury marketing efforts, your content will be shown to everyone searching for your legal services. By thinking about your target audiences’ needs and questions, you can create comprehensive web pages that address the issues and concerns of all of your potential clients.
Analyzing Your Competitors
Before you dive headfirst into SEO or content marketing efforts, take a good, long look at your competition. Personal injury lawyer SEO is fiercely competitive - and lawyers and law firms are willing to invest large amounts of money and retain top talent writers and SEO specialists to meet their goals and get personal injury clients. When looking at your competition, evaluate what they are doing for:
- Practice area pages
- Blog content / articles
- FAQ pages
- Lawyer profile pages
- Social media Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn
- Videos (on-site or on Youtube)
- Off-site client reviews
- On-site client testimonials
One of our favorite tools for competitor analysis is Ahrefs, an SEO software suite. This starts at $199 / month for a standard plan, but the information it provides is well worth the investment. The Content Gap tool highlights keywords that your competitors rank for, but you don’t. Armed with this information, you can target your content marketing efforts to specific keywords. The Link Intersect tool reveals sites that link to your competitors but not to you. This can help you discover legal directories you may not have considered, or even community websites that will offer a link to your law firm if you ask.
Keyword optimization is necessary to connect your website’s content with your prospective clients’ search queries. It generally involves examining three main factors:
#1 Keyword Search Volume
A major component of keyword optimization is understanding the number of searches, and types of searches, a particular keyword gets. A query that receives a lot of searches may not be attainable to be competitive. For example, having the goal of ranking on the first page of Google for the keyword “lawyer” is not realistic.
#2 Keyword Search Competition
Seeing what other attorneys and law firms rank for keywords provides insight into whether particular keywords are worth pursuing. Long-tail keywords can be ideal initial targets for new websites - as the competition is low and achieving high placement in results pages is attainable.
#3 Keyword Search Relevance
If your attorney website content is not relevant to what your prospective clients are searching for, it is unlikely you will be able to convert them. One of the basic signals in Google’s algorithm are the keywords on your page. However, Google’s “relevancy” extends well beyond keyword mentions and includes the intent of your content and what the search engine understands you to be looking for. For example, a search for “personal injury lawyer salary” would yield very different results than a search for “personal injury lawyer San Diego.”
Google’s main goal is to organize all the information available on the internet and make it accessible and useful. SEO is so important as it sets up your content for Google’s algorithm, and keyword optimization. If you have useful information, but your prospective clients cannot find it, the time and money you spent to create the content are wasted.
Local SEO for personal injury lawyer marketing makes a lot of sense - but is often overlooked. Because personal injury lawyers generally need to market their services locally and not nationally, it is a good to tailor your SEO strategy accordingly. With this in mind target your digital marketing and lead generation to a specific city, county, or geographic area, like North Texas or South Florida. Since clients come from a local area (and perhaps surrounding areas), local SEO for lawyers can simultaneously garner results and be cost-effective.
Another benefit of local SEO is intent. People searching for a lawyer in their area are much more likely to convert - and become a customer. For example, someone searching for a “plumber + your city ” or a “tree trimmer + your city” is probably searching for that because they actually need those services. More generally, non-local searches are less likely to convert to an actual customer within a short period of time. The same is true for local searches for attorneys.
The quality of your website is not just measured by user experience and content on the site. The way your website is structured for Google and other engines is critical. Technical SEO refers to the activities you do for your website other than your content, including:
- Site security (an HTTPS secure site is industry standard - having an unsecured site is problematic)
- Fixing broken links
- Monitoring website speed and fixing page loading issues
- Optimizing images/li>
- Optimizing your website for mobile and tablet browsers
There are a number of tools available to analyze technical SEO. The W3C Link Checker can identify issues or problems in links, anchors and referenced objects on your website. You can get your PageSpeed score and review PageSpeed suggestions to make your website faster with Google’s online PageSpeed Insights tool.
A Finer UX
The term “UX” is a broad term that designers use to include user experience while navigating your website. Your UX may be the deciding factor between your website visitors spending time on your website and requesting a case evaluation.
When looking at your website, don’t just think about how it looks to you. Think about how your website looks to injury victims - your prospective clients. Is your lawyer website design helpful, is it user friendly, and does it establish credibility? Does the right tone come across? Finally, compare your website to other personal injury lawyers that you know to be your competition. If your website looks and feels like it is 10 years old, your potential clients may be more drawn to a competitor’s newer looking website, that is easier to navigate.
Optimized and Compelling Content
Although Google’s algorithm isn’t published, Google’s SEO Starter guide provides numerous best practices to both optimize content for search and provide relevant, valuable information on your website. In other words, Google wants to see your page the same way a website visitor sees it. Some of Google’s recommended actions include:
- Using the meta description tag to describe the subject matter of the page
- Using heading tags to organize your content and outline the important points
- Use relevant words in URLs (avoid keyword stuffing or page names like page1.html.)
- Optimize images using HTML markup and the alt attribute description for images.
Google also provides techniques to avoid, such as link schemes, sneaky redirects, using “scraped content” copied from other websites, and using automatically generated content. As search engine crawlers and algorithms are increasingly sophisticated, and shortcuts or “black hat” SEO techniques that go against search engine guidelines should be avoided.
Creating a Better Practice Area
The content on your page is a major factor in your website’s ranking in search engines. Practice area pages provide information to your prospective clients visiting your website, but they also are a major determining factor for search engines to measure relevance and value.
Personal injury SEO cannot succeed without effective practice area pages with quality content. You should have a dedicated practice area page for each practice area you handle. But don’t stop there. In order to achieve ranking in search results, your content should be full-scope and answer the questions that your potential clients have. If you are a car accident lawyer, you may have nested/sub practice area pages for different types of traffic accidents you handle:
- Distracted driving
- Head-on-collision accidents
- Hit-and-run accidents
- Left-turn accidents
- DUI accident victim accidents
- SUV rollover accidents
- Uber/Lyft accidents.
Think about your website from the perspective of someone who needs your services, but doesn’t know the technical aspects of insurance claims or how personal injury firms work. Does your website have information and resources that explain contingency fees, insurance policy limits, settling a case vs. going to trial, and statutes of limitations? There are many opportunities for adding information to your personal injury attorney website. Blogs covering local news and accidents can explore legal issues and link to relevant practice area pages on your law firm’s website.
Nailing Down Your NAP
Your NAP is your Name, Address, and Phone number - and should be consistently the same everywhere that your law firm’s information can be found online. If old business listings have obsolete addresses or phone numbers, Google can become confused and your local businesses listing may either show inaccurate information or not show at all. If you change your address, website URL, or phone, take the time to thoroughly update listings everywhere they can be found online. Your NAP is a major component of off-page SEO and local SEO.
Tools That Provide a Better Understanding of SEO
Measurable goals are necessary in order for you to understand what is working, and what is not. Goals pertaining to SEO strategy can relate to rankings in search engine results pages, and in website traffic and performance. Fortunately, there are many tools available to track your progress. Google provides tools to track the performance of your website and business profile:
It is worth it to spend time learning to use Google’s tools, and which KPIs (key performance indicators) you need to track your success.
If you do your SEO in-house, keep in mind additional steps beyond measuring goals. Tools like Google Analytics provide valuable information and trends, but they don’t give reasons for performance. For example, if your page has a slow load speed, or your website has a high bounce rate - the reasons for these issues are not explained in Analytics. It is up to you to investigate and find solutions.
Learning SEO or Hiring for SEO?
Perhaps you’ve heard the old Chinese proverb, “There are many paths to the top of the mountain, but the view is always the same.” It applies to search engine optimization, search engine marketing, and the highly competitive digital marketing space.
Let’s say your goal is to get in the number one spot for a highly competitive search keyword in a major city. To dominate SEO you can spend one amount doing everything correctly the first time. You can also spend five times as much, and take five times as long hiring an in house marketing team. Is it worth it to do it yourself, in house, if you can reach that goal faster and cheaper, by bringing on a qualified expert? Hiring an agency that handles SEO is the fastest and most cost-effective means of getting the best results in personal injury lawyer SEO.
SEO vs. PPC
SEO and PPC are two different marketing strategies with their own pros and cons. Choosing SEO vs. PPC can be made into a classic time (SEO) vs. money (PPC) argument. How much money depends on your competition and how much other law firms are willing to bid for keywords you are targeting. However, you do not have to exclusively do one or the other.
In the early days of Google Ads and PPC campaigns, law firms tended to pick one avenue for their marketing budget and double down. Many law firms that had high budget PPC campaigns neglected organic content creation, while websites that ranked well organically didn’t touch Google Ads. Today, it is more common for law firms to do a balance of organic SEO and PPC. PPC for lawyers can be used to highlight a targeted practice area page in the event of a major accident, such as a multi-vehicle interstate pileup, or a train derailment.
Once your professional, competitive-grade website is built, PPC and paid social media ads can bring immediate traffic to your website and generate quality leads to keep you busy. In the meantime, your SEO team can be hard at work behind the scenes, building content, creating backlinks, and getting reviews. If your website ever fails to perform organically due to changes in an algorithm, PPC can get you leads fast (think of a generator during a power outage).
Targeted PPC Advertising Using Long-Tail Keywords
SEO efforts in the highly competitive legal marketing space can effectively utilize PPC to generate leads by targeting less competitive and more affordable long-tail keywords. For example, instead of “Los Angeles personal injury lawyer,” you can focus on long-tail keywords such as:
- Pedestrian accident attorney Long Beach
- Cerritos motorcycle accident lawyer
- Compton truck accident attorney.
By their nature, long-tail keywords are searched less frequently than shorter keywords, but they account for a large part of search behavior. Along with PPC advertising, your organic SEO marketing efforts can also effectively target these long-tail keywords.
Scale-Up Your Personal Injury Legal Marketing
There are many ways for personal injury law firms to get leads and cases. Attorneys may not even understand the full scope of options they have in personal injury marketing, SEO, and lead generation. This is only natural because, as an attorney, your primary expertise is in litigation matters, not personal injury advertising.
Personal injury lawyers often consult experts on all issues of a case, from calculating damages to breaking down the full impact of a catastrophic injury. In this vein, attorneys can benefit significantly from consulting experts in legal marketing to accomplish their goals. An experienced personal injury law firm marketing agency with a pulse on trends and best practices can balance efforts and budget on a legal marketing campaign, making the campaign as cost-effective as possible.
If you’re ready to scale up your personal injury lawyer SEO and want to see how a high-performance digital marketing agency for law firms can help you, Grow Law Firm is here for you. Contact us to see how your law firm can benefit from our targeted, measurable marketing strategies.