At the risk of stating the obvious, personal injury is one of the most competitive search engine optimization (SEO) practice areas. With the potential for big fees, comes fierce competition. It might be time to ask yourself whether your firm's SEO agency is up to the task.
This post will likely read more ranty than usual, which I recognize, is saying something (yay self-awareness). But if you're a personal injury lawyer and you're serious about your firm's search engine rankings, updating title tags, migrating to WordPress, and creating yet another "car accident lawyer" practice area page simply isn't going to cut it. You want new clients from Google organic search? You're going to need to up your SEO strategy.
Any law firm that has tried to rank for competitive personal injury keywords knows just how difficult it can be. While not perfect, Google has come a long way in identifying some of the most obvious SEO spam. The days of exact match domains ranking for competitive personal injury search terms are (mostly) over. As are the massive comment spam and social bookmark link building campaigns. Personal injury lawyers and their internet marketing companies have had to become much more creative in content marketing campaigns that deliver qualified potential clients. Today, personal injury law firm seo campaigns require knowledge in a variety of areas, including:
This is part of the reason that so many personal injury law firms become frustrated with their in-house internet marketing people. Building a team that has all of these skillsets and experience driving results in a competitive market isn't easy.
In our experience, one of the most significant trends we've seen impacting SEO is website design. While it might not be intuitive at first, there are a variety of ways that web design and development significantly impact a personal injury attorney website's ability to appear prominently in Google.
First, let's consider the most obvious: speed. How your site is designed and developed has a significant impact on how fast your pages will load. As Google announced back in January of 2018:
"Today we’re announcing that starting in July 2018, page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches."
Put simply, speed (or lack thereof) impacts rankings. This is one of the most common issues we confront with personal injury law firm websites.
Second, too many personal injury law firm websites have other technical issues that negatively impact a search engine's ability to crawl and properly index their pages. This leads to a variety of unintended consequences that harm the site's SEO performance.
Third, and this one is admittedly a bit more nuanced, is the impact of design on "share-ability" and "link-ability." For a variety of reasons, personal injury attorneys tend to have websites built that people don't want to share and link to. Some of it is due to ego. Some of it is due to bad advice. But a lot of it is a result of misunderstanding conversion optimization. In other words, in their quest to persuade potential clients to contact them, law firms build sites that won't earn backlinks to and are unlikely to be shared, which both play a significant role in how well they'll rank in Google.
These are just a few of the most common issues we see every day.
The failure to recognize the interplay between law firm website design and law firm SEO might be the single biggest mistake committed by the average digital marketing company. Want to know whether you're working with SEO experts? Ask them about the ways that your law firm's website design is impacting search engine results. If they're not talking about the impact of design and earning backlinks, you might consider other options.
But there are probably a hundred other signs that it's time to consider making a change. For example, if they don't focus on law firm SEO, it's unlikely that they're going to deliver results in a competitive market. In fact, even SEO companies that have experience working with law firms in other practice areas will likely put you at a competitive disadvantage.
I'm regularly perplexed by law firm marketing companies that pitch personal injury firms on SEO services. They'll say things like, "update your title tags." Or "do keyword research." Or "create quality content." Good luck with that.
Even worse, are other lawyers giving SEO advice when their own sites don't rank for any of the search terms their pages are optimized for. In fact, many of them haven't even done the law firm SEO 101 stuff. You know who you are.
Online marketing for personal injury legal services requires some serious marketing strategy. Don't believe me? Pop open your Google Analytics acquisition report for goal conversions solely from Google / organic search. You seeing regular growth? Wait, your law firm SEO agency doesn't even have that configured?
I rest my case (for now).