Personal injury law is one of the most competitive markets when it comes to Internet marketing and search engine optimization (SEO)- not just in the legal field- but in general. Personal injury keywords related to auto accidents, mesothelioma, and other types of personal injury cases like defective products and recalls are always the most expensive keywords on Google Adwords, and breaking into page one of Google, Bing, or Yahoo! on the organic side for statewide personal injury search terms is becoming more difficult as each year passes by.
It’s no secret that the compensation for an attorney who obtains a personal injury settlement for their client is higher than practically any other type of practice area, so, naturally, this means that law firms are willing to spend more time, money, and resources on marketing the personal injury side of their practice if this means that they’ll receive a positive ROI (return on investment).
Before last year, ranking on Google organic for city and state-wide personal injury search terms like:
was largely based on the website’s content, how well it’s on-page factors like page titles, meta descriptions, and headings were optimized for those keywords, and how many quality inbound links it had from other websites.
However, the game continues to changes, Google continues to evolve, and search engine optimization for personal injury law firms becomes increasingly difficult.
In 2011 and 2012, Google implemented a number of changes which have affected the way that they rank websites for geo-based search terms like the ones we mentioned above:
1) Blended search results
Google no longer looks solely at traditional organic SEO factors like on-page optimization and the amount of authority (aka “link juice”) a legal website has when deciding which law firm websites rank well for specific search terms on their organic search queries. They now take into account Google+Local (formally known as Google Local and Google Places) factors which includes ranking factors such as:
For these geo-based search terms, you’ll likely see the top results with a red “pin” next to them. These are called the “blended results” which are based on a combination of traditional organic search factors and more modern Google+ Local factors.
2) Google Penguin
Google also announced, in April of 2012, an update to its algorithm which penalizes websites which have too many anchor-text heavy links coming in from other websites.
Prior to this, a personal injury law firm’s website could rank well for a search term like “Maryland auto accident attorney” simply by obtaining a large number of links from other websites which included these particular keywords in the anchor text of the links.
The announcement of the penalty has left webmasters and SEO’ers everywhere scrambling to review their inbound links and to request changes in order to get back in Google’s good graces.
We’re an SEO firm first and a design firm second. This means that we’re able to keep up with these types of changes and implement strategies and methods which are cutting-edge, and which will keep you ahead of your competitors.
Larger legal SEO firms have hundreds of clients, which means that by the time they get around to making the necessary changes to your website and SEO strategy in order to adjust to recent changes, your competitors will already by on the ball and stealing your personal injury clients.
For more information on how we can improve your personal injury website’s search engine rankings, visits, leads, and cases, contact us or request a free and comprehensive legal SEO audit which will tell you what your website is missing.