Personal Injury Lawyer SEO – How To Build Your Practice

by Toby

July 31, 2016

Personal Injury Attorney SEO Growth

Never Again Struggle For New PI Legal Cases

SEO For Personal Injury Attorneys
Personal Injury SEO

We all know that new legal cases are key to your law practice growth. However, how do you build your practice and get more personal injury clients without breaking the bank on marketing expenses? (a related post here on lead generation using Google’s Local Service Ads for attorneys)

Why Does SEO For Personal Injury Lawyers Matter?

  • Google organic is always on 24 hours per day, 7 days a week, 365 days per year
  • Leads are warm, pre-qualified
  • ROI from SEO marketing is one of the highest out of any marketing tactics
  • SEO is not dependent on whether you run ads or not
  • Improves brand presence
  • Combined with Google Ads, you receive incrementally more qualified
  • clicks running both SEO and Google Ads

What Is Personal Injury SEO?

Personal injury lawyer SEO is a long-term process implemented by an experienced digital marketer with the goal of ranking a website for PI search terms that potential clients are searching for in Google. Personal injury search engine optimization involves both technical website optimization strategies and creative content creation.

There are many competing marketing options available to you  as a lawyer to grow leads for your law firm:

  • Online legal directories
  • Yelp Ads
  • Billboards
  • Bus bench ads
  • Radio
  • Referrals
  • TV
  • SEO (search engine optimization)
  • SEM (search engine marketing), and many other choices.

However, not all of these deliver equal value. I believe we can all agree that traditional marketing tactics are incredibly expensive, and they deliver inconsistent results with a very high cost per lead. Traditional marketing is wasteful – it’s old school and inefficient carpet bombing.

In comparison, SEO for personal injury attorneys or law firms as a marketing tactic reaches your future customers right when they are searching for you and right when they need your services.

Here’s a realistic scenario of how a client might find you:
The future client rushes out the door in the morning to go to work after dropping the kids off at school and is T-boned in an intersection by another driver and suffers a whiplash injury. Instead of going to the Yellow Pages, she pulls out her phone and uses Google to search for an injury attorney. Google refers to these instances as the ZMOT – zero moment of truth.

“Warm”, Pre-qualified Leads
These people are “warm” leads because they are actively searching for your legal services – no other marketing tactic can pre-qualify leads quite like SEO. Leads from search marketing are pre-qualified because the searcher had to type in the query of the legal service they are looking for so we know they need you – for personal injury firms, no other marketing tactic delivers “warm” leads (short of handing out business cards in the emergency room). Search engines are one of the first places consumers go to find attorneys.

The biggest benefit of SEO though is that it produces a consistent always on flow (24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year) of new customers. And out of all the marketing tactics you can utilize to build and market your law firm, SEO produces leads at the lowest cost.

What Do Results Look Like?

Below is a line chart showing growth in organic visits for a personal injury lawyer website focused in a particular metro area. The growth in Google organic traffic comes from a steady and consistent effort over time. In this particular case, there is a 245% growth in organic traffic. And of all that traffic, there were more than 285 variations of “personal injury attorney” or lawyer phrases used by potential customers to find the site, 75 of which were ranked between positions 1 – 3 in Google.

Value of Organic SEO

Think about the value of that organic traffic? What’s the average case worth? What about the value of a big case? And think about what it would cost to buy that Google organic traffic in Adwords – personal injury-related terms range from $80 – $200+ per click or more! That cost per click shows you exactly the economic value of a lead and how competitive the niche is.

Personal Injury Attorney SEO Growth
Google Organic SEO Traffic Growth – Personal Injury Attorney Website

So How Do You Achieve Success?

There are many components to a successful SEO campaign, but the two broad areas for optimization include Local SEO and Traditional SEO.

Components Of A Successful SEO Campaign

Local SEO

Local SEO efforts refer to ranking in the 3-pack of results that Google shows in its search results, like this:

Local Pack of Google Results for Personal Injury Query

Success in local SEO (i.e. 3-pack) for personal injury is dependent on many different variables, some of which I list here (this is not meant to be an exhaustive list of all the variables that contribute to ranking, but rather some of the more important one’s unique to local SEO for your law practice). We wrote a more in-depth article here on what is local SEO?

Your Physical Location

Most importantly to ranking locally, however, is the physical location of your office. Google defines cities and towns in its own way. If your law office is not physically located within the boundaries that Google has drawn, you have lower chances, regardless of the effort, of ranking in the local 3-pack of results – if you’re a new personal injury practice, think long and hard about where to locate your business if Google organic is going to be important to you (which it should be).

I’ve discussed this issue with my peers at numerous online marketing conferences, and the consensus is if you’re not located in the city or town most important to you per how Google defines it – move your office!

NAP – Name, Address, Phone

Consistency in your law firm’s name, address, and phone number throughout the web is a big component of Google’s local ranking algorithm.

Google uses other sites, such as Yelp, Superpages, other legal directories, etc, as third-party validations that you are whom you say you are and your location is accurate. When Google visits these other sites and finds information about you, is it consistent? The last thing Google wants to do is serve a result in a local 3-pack that could be potentially incorrect because that would lead to a poor user experience for the searcher. (if you’re local to Temecula, reach out to us).

Considerations for Established Law Firms

If your legal practice has been around for quite some time, chances are there are dozens of inconsistent variations of your NAP – identifying these sites and cleaning them up is best done by an experienced agency. If you fail to do this step, ranking in a Google local pack will be difficult.

Traditional SEO

Traditional results refer to the listings below the local 3- pack of results that I presented above. Ranking here depends on somewhat different variables (although ranking factors do overlap between local and traditional), such as site and page authority, keywords, content, site architecture, links, relevancy, and more (read our comprehensive post on How To Get Your Website On Google’s First Page for more detailed tactics and strategies).

Content is necessary on your site. Content in the form of textual content, images, and infographics, and video. Without content, you have very little hope of ranking well.

However, content has to be produced with a well-thought-out strategy that is data-driven, but at the same time takes into consideration the searcher and what information he is looking for. Producing content for the sake of content will never benefit you. Moreover, gone are the days of doing simple keyword research and writing 500 words of text hoping you rank well – marketing your law firm through search requires a more detailed approach. Google has become much more sophisticated than ranking pages based solely on the keywords that appear on the page.

Here’s a related SEO case study of a site that used a well-developed content strategy, internal linking, and YouTube video embeds to rank 750 different terms on the first page of Google – traffic that would have cost $50,000 to buy per month. While the industry is different from personal injury, the SEO principles still apply. 

Keyword Concepts:
Instead, effective personal injury SEO revolves around a concept or topical theme of a keyword, not just a particular keyword. Google is trying to deliver quality sites and pages to searchers that answer their questions. What are the most common questions or information bits that people are searching for around a keyword? Are you answering those questions with your content and delivering the information people are searching for related to that keyword phrase? Yes, keyword research is still necessary, but now you have to broaden the writing to a topical concept.

Silos Of Related Content:
Siloing content is an SEO strategy that organizes content on your website around a particular topic. Silos of content on a website can be thought of like chapters in a book – if you were writing a book about motor vehicle accidents you would have a chapter dedicated to car accidents, then truck accidents, 18-wheeler accidents, rollover accidents, and more. All these topics are related – this helps search engines understand you and perhaps even see you as a more authoritative site.

In addition to the related content pieces, there are also technical considerations with silos of content and how to implement this on a site – through the menu structure, URL structures, internal linking, sitemaps, and more.

Rounding It All Up

SEO is by far one of the most important marketing tactics in your media mix of how you market your personal injury law firm.

It’s no surprise that smartphones are ubiquitous – people have access to information whenever they want day or night. And some studies indicate that people check their phones 150 times or more per day.

SEO captures people at the precise moment they are searching for your services. Is your website positioned well in Google to capture this traffic? If you think you need help in growing new legal cases, we can help develop a comprehensive SEO strategy that will grow your law practice’s exposure in Google organic search results for dozens of relevant searches. We have years of successful law firm marketing experience and were ranked by the Personal Injury Lawyers Marketing & Management Association as one of the top agencies.

Call us today to find out how we can help you!

About the author 


Toby is the co-founder of 39 Celsius. He has over 20 years of digital marketing experience and has started several companies throughout his career. He's an expert in SEO, Social Media Ads, Google Ads, Marketing Automation, and more. He has a BA in Chemistry/Biochemistry from UC San Diego and an MBA from SDSU.

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