It has become increasingly important to develop and implement an omnichannel marketing strategy to attract high quality personal injury leads. Perhaps the most important tool in the personal injury lawyer’s digital marketing toolbox is search engine optimization (SEO). In fact, according to one report, organic search accounts for 53.3% of all website traffic.
In a highly competitive industry like personal injury law, success with organic marketing means consistently appearing towards the top of the search rankings. Yet just 5.7% of pages will rank in the top 10 search results within a year of publication. Moreover, approximately 90% of web pages get no organic search traffic from Google.
To stand out in the search rankings and grow your practice through high quality personal injury leads, you need to implement SEO best practices. In this article, we will focus on several strategies that you can start using today to improve your site’s performance in the search rankings.
Backlinks: What they are, why they are important, and how to get them
Backlinks are simply links from a page on one website to another. If someone uses a link from your personal injury website on their site, then that is a backlink. Since Google accounts for 92.47% of the search engine market, marketers need to focus on how Google ranks webpages.
While Google is notoriously secretive when it comes to their algorithms, in 2016, Andrey Lipattsev, a Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google, shed some light on the subject in a Q&A session. According to Lipattsev, the top three ranking signals in Google’s search algorithm are backlinks, content, and RankBrain.
Of the three, backlinks are probably the most important. But not all backlinks are created equal. As a general rule, higher quality backlinks will improve a page’s organic ranking. Some factors that influence quality include:
- Location. The most valuable backlinks appear within the body of content and are used organically.
- Authority. As a general rule, a backlink from a high authority domain carries more weight than a lower authority domain. For example, using the free domain analysis tool from Moz, we can see that the popular legal directory website Avvo.com has a domain authority of 71. Anything over 60 is considered excellent, so all things being equal, a backlink from Avvo offers value from an SEO perspective.
- Number of outgoing links. A backlink from a website that links to hundreds or thousands of other URLs is less valuable than a link from a website with a lower number of outgoing links.
Thus, an effective SEO strategy incorporates backlink building strategies. Yet an estimated 66% of all webpages do not have a single backlink. Firms that consistently acquire high quality backlinks perform better in the search rankings helping them to generate more personal injury leads.
Creating quality content starts with effective keyword research
Keyword research is important for every organization’s SEO efforts. For personal injury firms, however, keyword research is especially important. The reason is that personal injury search queries need to account for and align with the intent of personal injury and auto accident leads.
For example, a prospective client that was recently involved in a car accident will likely search for content that educates the client on things like potential causes of action, types of damages, and how a car accident settlement works. Legal leads further along in the customer journey and ready to hire an attorney will use more specific action orientated search terms like “hire a car accident lawyer near me.”
So, effective keyword research will identify high value terms for each stage of the customer journey. There are many ways to conduct keyword research. Some of the more common techniques and tools used by personal injury lawyers are:
- Google Keyword Planner. This free tool makes it easy to find keywords and view important historical metrics such as search volume and competition. As a general rule, you want keywords with a high search volume and low level of competition to ensure that your content will reach enough personal injury leads and that you will be able to rank well for the term.
- Competitor Analysis. Visit the websites of your competitors to see what pages and blog posts they are creating. Make a list of terms that you identify. In the alternative, you could use a tool like Semrush for competitor research.
- Avvo. Avvo offers a Q&A forum for attorneys to respond to questions from prospective clients. Make a list of questions and topics that seem relevant to your practice area.
- Ubersuggest is a great free keyword research tool that provides useful metrics and recommended keywords.
- Use Google. Enter each term that you identified in the search bar on Google. For example, suppose you identified the term “car accident lawyer.” In the image below, you can see the related search terms that Google recommends. You could potentially use each of these keywords when creating practice area pages or blog posts.
Once your keyword research is complete, you are ready to start creating quality content that drives high quality personal injury leads to your website.
Creating quality content for high quality personal injury leads
To rank well on Google, you need to produce quality content. There are two general types of legal web content: blog articles and page content (i.e., practice area pages). To rank well, content should be:
- Relevant. Content must be useful to the audience that you are targeting.
- Keyword optimized. The primary keyword needs to appear in the title, headings, body of the article, and in link anchor text.
- Supported. Rely on high quality sources and provide links to both internal and external webpages.
- User-friendly. Content should be organized and easy to follow, allowing the reader to quickly scan through the page.
- Useful. All content should provide value to the user and encourage readers to link back to the page.
In terms of practice area pages, it is important to limit each page to a single practice area. For example, a personal injury attorney would create separate pages for “Car Accidents” and “Motorcycle Accidents.” Moreover, the page should include multiple calls to action, be location specific, and possibly include a video.
Blog articles are used as top of the funnel content to acquire personal injury leads. Unlike practice area pages, blog articles educate readers, generally drive more traffic to a website, and are more likely to get backlinks, offering a significant SEO benefit.
There is a lot of confusion over the ideal length of content. The general consensus is that longer form content ranks better (i.e., between 1,000 and 2,500 words). There are several reasons for this. Longer content includes your target keyword more frequently than shorter content. You can also incorporate more related keyphrases, add more headings, links, and alt image tags, all of which help your page to rank better.
SEO is a rewarding, albeit challenging, long-term digital marketing strategy. There is a lot that goes into a successful SEO campaign. Incorporating the tips above and adopting other SEO best practices will help your firm acquire more high quality legal leads.