Whether in the courtroom or the boardroom, lawyers are always searching for a competitive edge. The competitive market is especially fierce, since there’s a limited pool of new clients for multiple law firms in a location and practice area, so every client counts.
One of the best ways to gain an advantage is with search engine optimization (SEO) for personal injury lawyers. Traditional law firm marketing strategies are becoming less effective as clients seek out legal information and lawyers online.
SEO is a tactic to improve the visibility of your website in the search engine results pages by improving your law firm’s website ranking. Because most users click on the results on the first page, having your website appear higher on the page helps you attract more visitors, and by extension, earn more business.
As the legal industry becomes more competitive, organic search and personal injury law firm SEO are more important than ever for lawyers looking to grow their practice. Based on the Google Consumer Survey, 96% of people seeking legal advice use a search engine.
Furthermore, 74% of prospects begin a search online and end up contacting the law firm by phone, according to the FindLaw U.S. Consumer Legal Needs Survey.
SEO attracts these visitors to the website, ultimately converting leads into clients. Properly done, SEO also helps lawyers build trust and credibility with potential clients by positioning them as experts in their field.
SEO may seem overwhelming, but it’s vital for law firms that want to stand out in a crowded market. The upfront effort now will pay off in the long term, earning you traffic, authority, and awareness for months or years to come.
Search engine algorithms are constantly changing and updating, so it can be difficult to determine which factors have the most influence and how to prioritize them. Still, there are some best practices that apply to SEO for every business, from SEO for lawyers to drug rehab SEO to SEO for plastic surgeons.
Search engines consider the website’s design and structure when determining a ranking. A well-designed site is easy for a user to navigate, giving it a higher ranking as more users visit and browse.
The structure of your website also has a significant impact. Search engines crawl websites to index them and determine their relevance to a user’s search query. If your website doesn’t have a clear structure, the crawler may have difficulty understanding and properly indexing it.
If it can’t index it, more relevant results will take the higher ranking, putting your website lower in the search results.
Your website’s structure involves both its physical structure and the way it’s organized. These factors are important for the search engine crawler to index. A logical hierarchy provides an intuitive experience for users and helps Google understand what pages are most important.
Content is still king for SEO. Websites that offer a lot of high-quality content earn higher rankings than those with low-quality content. This means the content is relevant to your audience, up to date, well written and organized, and above all, provides value to the user instead of pure promotion.
This is especially true for personal injury attorney SEO or legal SEO. Many clients begin with a legal client and search for information before they search for a specific law firm to help. They may search phrases like “do I need a lawyer for my car accident injury.” When they find content that gives them answers to their pressing legal questions, they’re more likely to seek out more content from that brand (you!) and possibly schedule a consultation.
Page speed has been a leading SEO factor for years. Google wants to provide the best possible experience for users, and fast-loading web pages are a big part of that. As more users access information through their mobile devices, fast load times will become more and more important.
Google’s PageSpeed Insights helps you monitor your page’s performance and learn how to make them faster. And because it’s a Google test, it considers the same factors that the search engine considers in determining ranking.
Speaking of mobile devices, having a mobile-friendly site is essential for SEO. Google uses a mobile-first index, which means it draws results from mobile-optimized sites first to ensure users have the best experience. If your site isn’t mobile-optimized, you could lose your ranking.
Google offers a Mobile-Friendly Test that reveals how easily a visitor can access your page on a mobile device and what issues you may need to correct.
According to data from Ahrefs, nearly 60% of sites that have a top ten Google search ranking are three years old or more. While there’s nothing you can do to make the time pass faster, if you’ve already had your site for a while and optimize it, you’re at an advantage.
For some, the domain name matters. Google will penalize exact-match domains, but that usually applies to sites with a lot of spam and low-quality content. If your exact match is relevant, valuable, and high-quality, you may see a ranking boost because of it.
If you have an established website, you won’t need an exact-match domain to improve your personal injury practice website. It’s best to focus on a URL that reflects the nature of your practice, then optimize it.
When users type a question into Google, the search engine attempts to give them an answer with the “answer box.”
If you’re trying to target the answer box, you can do so by:
Getting the answer box is great, but there is one caveat. If the answer is there in plain sight, the user may not click on your site. They’ve gotten the answer they need.
Still, earning this high of a spot means Google regards your content as valuable and authoritative, and it helps your brand recognition. Someone has to take the answer box, so it may as well be you!
Though more and more lawyers are working remotely, it’s still a largely local industry. Lawyers must be visible to potential clients in the local community to drive business, and that takes local SEO.
Local SEO is the process of optimizing your online presence to target users in your geographic area. Users search for local information, such as “personal injury law firm near me,” and find you in the results pages.
In addition to Google’s usual ranking factors, the local search algorithm considers:
Google displays two results for the local search: the Snack Pack and organic search results.
The Snack Pack, local pack, or map pack, is a specific Google feature that shows the top local business listings with the map.
The key is that Google will show these results whether you have a specific town, city, state, or “near me” keyword. If Google interprets the search as local, it will display some local results – which is important for a location-bound business like a law firm.
Below the Snack Pack is the organic search results, which are the usual results you see when you type in a search query.
Keyword research for local SEO involves finding keywords that people use when they search for local services, driving highly targeted traffic to your site.
Along with normal keyword research, the Google autocomplete feature in the search can help you find valuable long-tail keywords. This feature is designed to save users time, but it offers interesting insights for you because some predictions are determined by location.
For example, if you’re in Boise, Idaho, and you type in “lawyers in,” you’ll get something like this:
Notice that the locations are within a reasonable distance of Boise. So, to find keywords like this, start typing in relevant keywords like “personal injury lawyer in” or “personal injury attorney in” to get keyword suggestions.
Your Google My Business Page is a free business listing with information about your business. You can add details like your business name, location, service categories, hours, and common questions.
According to Google, optimizing your profile is the most important local SEO ranking factor, and you need this profile if you want to make it into the Snack Pack at all.
Here’s how you can optimize it:
Your name, address, and phone number (NAP) citations are important to ensure that the information about your business is consistent across directories and profiles. Google uses NAP citations to provide the most accurate information to searchers.
The more Google sees a NAP citation for your business, the more confident it is that your business information is correct and that users will find value in the information. Because of this, you want as many consistent NAP citations as possible.
It’s not enough to just include the information. Make sure it’s the exact same across every directory and profile, including the big aggregators like Apple Maps, Bing Places, and Yelp, and avoid any discrepancies like misspellings or abbreviations.
Reviews and testimonials are vital to building client trust and validating your expertise. Many consumers read reviews and weigh them in their purchasing decisions, especially with high-value or high-stakes decisions like choosing a lawyer for a personal injury case.
If you already have reviews on popular directories, take the time to respond to them. Even negative reviews are an opportunity to build a good relationship and show your dedication to your clients. You may not change that one client’s opinion, but how you handle the situation shows prospective clients what they can expect from you.
Link building, or building backlinks, are links from other sites that link back to yours. When they come from an authoritative source, backlinks are among the strongest ranking signals in the Google search algorithm.
Fortunately, link-building strategies work well for both general SEO and local SEO. You can find linking opportunities by contacting your local newspaper or news sites to pitch stories about your firm and gain more exposure. Another option is to sponsor local events, such as sports, or offer a scholarship for local students.
There’s a lot that goes into personal injury lawyer SEO but remember that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. You won’t see an overnight improvement in your ranking, but if you keep working at your content, user experience, and linking strategies, you will see your ranking – and traffic – improve.
Any business that wants to succeed in a competitive, ever-evolving market needs to invest in SEO, especially businesses with a local presence like a law firm. SEO is an essential part of driving brand awareness and organic traffic by optimizing the website for search engines.
Yes! According to a 2022 research study by Brandmuscle, 79% of law firms consider SEO to be the most effective marketing tactic. This is because Google is the primary driver of organic traffic for all types of local businesses. In fact, businesses that earn a number-one ranking in Google see an average click-through rate of over 30%. This means that about a third of all users click on the first search result instead of results further down the page. In addition, local and organic searches make up about 60% of all digital traffic, based on a study by Milestone Research. Local businesses that employed local SEO by optimizing based on location earned more website traffic.
SEO involves a lot of processes and tactics, but the three pillars are authority, relevance, and experience. These pillars increase the opportunities for content and make it easier to earn valuable links, thereby increasing your authority to search engines.
The legal services industry is highly competitive, since all law firms offer the same type of service – more or less. This makes it difficult for prospects to know which law firm is the best for them. Legal SEO makes your law firm more visible online and improves your authority and credibility as a trusted source. When users search for legal services over the internet, they are more likely to trust law firms that appear on the first page of the search results. Appearing in those spots gets more qualified and organic traffic.
Personal injury attorney SEO involves a lot of activities to boost your ranking, but that’s not the only benefit. By extension, legal SEO improves your visibility and credibility to make your firm more competitive. It also improves your exposure and authority in your industry, making you a more likely choice for a user when it comes time to contact a firm for a consultation.
Though some aspects of SEO are tailored for car accident lawyers and personal injury attorneys, the general principles are the same whether it’s law firm SEO, SEO for dentists, SEO for doctors, HVAC SEO, real estate SEO, or SEO for roofers. Include the most relevant keywords in titles, descriptions, and content Optimize your site’s loading speed Use internal linking Build external links to authoritative sources Publish high-quality, valuable content that’s aligned with search intent Optimize for local searches If this strategy seems overwhelming, you can work with an SEO company or hire an expert for SEO services like technical SEO to boost your search engine ranking.
Some attorneys believe that all they need to rank well are content marketing and a digital marketing strategy. They invest in some content and hope they provide the SEO value and outcomes they’re looking for with just a bit of keyword research, but that’s often not enough. Content needs to be written strategically for SEO, considering everything from backlinks to on-page SEO to local SEO strategy. Unless you want to invest time into learning all the nuances of SEO, it’s best to work with a knowledgeable SEO expert for personal injury lawyer SEO.