Personal injury lawyers face unique marketing and SEO challenges. Most markets across the United States are extremely crowded for injury and accident law firms and, of course, high impact cases tend to be few and far between.
At Juris Digital we’ve been helping personal injury lawyers market their services for the past 10 years.
In this article, I’ve outlined a digital marketing and SEO program for personal injury lawyers which, if executed properly, will produce consistent generation of qualified leads over time.
At the conclusion of the post, I’ve explained 10 of the most essential things that injury lawyers need to know in order to invest in the right marketing and SEO activities and understand common mistakes and pitfalls to avoid.
???? 1. Branding your personal injury law firm
Before you venture into online marketing it’s critical that you establish a memorable brand that your potential clients will find compelling. In my view, your firm’s brand is defined by the following:
Firm name and domain name
Consider carefully what you name your law firm and what domain name you choose. While it can be effective to use your actual name in your law firm’s name, it can also be effective to incorporate relevant keywords or slogans.
For example, if yours is a brand new firm and no one knows about you, it may behoove you to add a keyword descriptor to your business name, for example:
Smith Law: A Personal Injury Law Firm
The Smith Law Firm: Fighting for the Injured
In this case, the domain name you choose might be something like smithinjurylaw.com or smithlawfortheinjured.com.
This type of descriptor not only gives people an immediate sense of what you do, but it also can be beneficial for SEO and other digital marketing channels, as it injects relevant keywords right into your business name.
Logo, fonts, and colors
In order to create a consistent brand, online and off, it’s essential that you invest in a high quality logo design. Your logo ought to help you stand apart from the competition. It also must be adaptable to a variety of platforms; your website, your social media channels, legal directories, etc.
My advice is that you not cut corners. Don’t leave your law firm’s logo design up to your nephew who knows how to use photoshop. Hire a professional designer who has experience creating law firm logos.
Fonts and colors go hand in hand with your logo. A professional designer will define each of these elements and consolidate them in a quick-reference brand guideline document (here is an example of a such a document for one of our clients.)
Without a mission to guide your marketing initiatives, you’re not likely to have much success. All law firms, including personal injury law firms, ought to take the time to define a mission that goes beyond “our mission is to make lots of money”.
For example, this is Sutliff & Stout’s mission statement:
Our mission as personal injury attorneys is to make the communities we serve safer. In the courtroom, we pursue this mission by holding people and organizations accountable when their negligence results in devastating injuries to others. In the Houston and Austin communities, we pursue this mission by offering free cab rides on major drinking holidays. Online, we pursue this mission by providing information and research that helps people make smarter, safer choices.
As you can see, the firm’s marketing initiates dovetail perfectly with their stated mission of helping to create safer communities. This context adds authenticity to marketing campaigns, which improves the likelihood of producing strong results.
Additional resources for law firm branding:
- 8 Tips for Avoiding a Bad Law Firm Logo
- Law Firm Names: What to Consider
- Choosing Your Law Firm’s Domain Name
- Law Firm Branding: Is It Important?
???? 2. Creating your personal injury law firm website
If you’ve taken the time up-front to develop a strong brand with a powerful mission, the job of creating an effective website becomes much easier.
If you’re serious about the long term online marketing success of your firm, it’s critical that you hire a reputable legal website design and development agency to create your website.
Again, it’s great that your nephew knows how to configure a WordPress theme and that he’s offered to build your site for free. But know this: If you go budget, you will get budget results.
The biggest mistake that firms make when creating a website is that they put too much stock into their own design preferences and not nearly enough stock into the long-term content strategy of the site.
Another common mistake we see is law firms using cheap services like Wix, Squarespace or cheap WordPress themes. These slow loading websites will end up hindering your SEO efforts and also reduce conversions from qualified leads.
This is why it’s essential to work with a full-service digital marketing agency who’s capable of not only creating an elegantly designed site but also one that allows for marketing efficacy.
We’ve written extensively on website design and development for law firms so I’m not going to go into to much more detail here on particulars. For more specific information please do explore the articles below.
Important website design and development information:
- Law firm website cost: How much should I pay and what should I expect?
- Should I use one agency for website creation and a different agency for SEO?
- Survey: What Information do Consumers Want to Find on a Law Firm Website?
- 5 Law Firm Website Mistakes You Need To Fix
- How fast does your law firm’s website really need to be?
???? 3. Defining your firm’s most important SEO keywords
Keyword research really needs to be done in tandem with the website creation. Any reputable digital marketing agency will ensure that your law firm’s website design is guided by a defined keyword strategy.
It’s important for personal injury lawyers to understand that not all keywords are created equal. When a human being goes onto a search engine and searches a keyword, that human has an intent, and the keyword that they search reveals a ton about their intent.
For personal injury law firms, navigational keywords are those keywords that people search in order to “navigate” to information about the firm.
In most cases, people who search navigational keywords to find your law firm have already heard of. They’ll search things like your firm’s name or the name of a specific attorney in your firm, in order to find your website.
While navigational keywords are important to optimize for, from an SEO standpoint, it should be relatively easy to achieve high rankings for your firm’s important navigational keywords.
If someone searches [wrongful death statute of limitations in Texas] their intent is to find an answer to that very specific question.
In this case, the person may be searching this keyword because they are considering taking legal action, which would make them a qualified person that you want to have contact your firm.
Alternatively, she may simply be researching the topic for an article they are writing or for a school paper, or just for their own edification.
This is example of an informational keyword. It’s critical that your personal injury firm create an informational keyword strategy. Ranking for these types of keywords is essential for establishing your website as an authority on personal injury law.
Some keywords will produce qualified leads at a much greater rate than others. We call these transactional keywords. Here are a few examples of transactional keywords for personal injury lawyers:
- [personal injury lawyer near me with free consultations]
- [best injury attorney in your city]
- [car accident lawyers open 24 hours]
Transactional keywords are highly valuable, and achieving high rankings in search results for them will produce new, qualified leads at a high rate.
However, these keywords are also highly competitive, especially in large markets. Injury lawyers must understand that, while they should certainly have the goal of achieving top rankings for these keywords, it will take time to get there.
Of course, once you nail down your target keywords, you’ll need to actually write, optimize, publish, and promote the content that will eventually rank for those keywords in search results. The last two articles linked-to below will help you with the content creation part of the process.
Further reading on keyword research content creation:
- Keyword Research For Attorneys: From Start to Finish
- 3 Reasons Lawyers Need an Informational Keyword Strategy
- Using Keyword Data To Increase Traffic
- A Guide to Evergreen Content Marketing for Law Firms
???? 4. Building your local SEO foundation
The overwhelming majority of personal injury law firms are local businesses. Accordingly, it’s essential that PI firms establish a strong foundation which will enable them to be visible when people search for their services locally.
Google My Business
The first step towards building your firm’s local SEO foundation is to claim and optimize your listing on Google My Business.
For your Google My Business listing to “go live” you’ll have to go through Google’s verification process. This almost always involves Google mailing a postcard to your office 5-10 days after you submit your business information.
That postcard will look something like this:
As you can see, the postcard contains a 5 digit PIN number. This PIN must be entered into Google My Business. Once that’s complete, your listing will be live on Google.
Foundational citation building
Once your PI firm is live on Google, you need to create listing across the local search ecosystem. The local search ecosystem is made up by websites and apps like Yelp, Facebook, Foursquare, Citysearch, Tripadvsior, and many more:
These listings (or “citations”) provide Google with proof that your business is legitimate, and constitute one of the key factors for ranking local businesses in search results.
If you are in an especially competitive market, you’ll need to get citations beyond these foundational ones in order to compete, which a reputable digital marketing agency will help you accomplish.
Online reviews are an absolutely essential part of not only local SEO, but your injury firm’s digital marketing in general. In fact, our research on the question of what people care most about when hiring a lawyer indicates that Reputation and Experience top the list:
There is no more effective way for your potential customers to gain confidence in your firm’s reputation and experience than with authentic online reviews from your clients and your peers.
There is a ton of good advice on the web for getting online reviews for your law firm (I’ve linked to a few of our blog posts on the subject of reviews below), so I won’t go into too much detail here.
What I will do is give you my recommendation in terms of which site’s you should prioritize for online reviews:
- Google – Your first priority for online reviews ought to be Google. Google reviews are highly trusted, highly visible, and are typically necessary for achieving high local rankings. The biggest challenge with getting Google reviews is that some folks do not have a Google account, and Google does not allow for anonymous reviews.
- Facebook – Facebook reviews are critical as well. If you can’t get someone to leave you a Google review because they don’t have a Google account, Facebook is a great fallback, as they almost certainly have a Facebook account.
- Yelp – Yelp has a great deal of visibility online and has a high level of trust among most consumers. As with Google, Yelp does not accept anonymous reviews. Furthermore, Yelp is incredibly stringent with their review guidelines and many Yelp reviews get relegated to “Not Recommended” status. So while Yelp reviews are important, they are the toughest to get.
Resources for local SEO for law firms:
- Google My Business Optimization for Law Firms
- Best Local SEO Citations for Law Firms
- [VIDEO] How Attorneys Can Get More Online Reviews
- Click Study: The New 3 Pack & Where Users Are Clicking
- [TOOL] Google Review Link Generator
- [TOOL] Local Business Accuracy Checker
- Are Your Citations Indexed? Are They Helping You?
- Should Each Attorney in the Firm Have a Google My Business Page?
???? 5. Link building to enhance your website’s ranking ability
Link building describes the act of executing tactics that will result in backlinks to your website.
A backlink is a hyperlink on a webpage that links to a page on your website. Here is a real life example of me giving a backlink to one of my clients, a company who provides pre-settlement personal injury lawsuit loans. This image likely makes it more clear than I just did:
Without gaining backlinks it is highly unlikely that your personal injury website will rank highly for your target keywords.
We have written extensively on this site about tactics that law firms can use to build links:
Further reading on law firm link building:
- 21 Practice Law Firm Link Building Tactics
- How Legal Marketers Should Use Forums to Build Links
- Should you be buying links for your law firm website?
- Get 5 New Links a Week
Wrapping it up
Some words of wisdom before you embark on marketing your personal injury law firm:
- Personal injury is wildly competitive. Plan to invest over the long term, and don’t be surprised if one-off advertising investments fall flat.
- You must be willing to wade through bad cases (sometimes lots of them) to get to good ones.
- Pay per click advertising on Google can be effective, but for personal injury especially, it’s going to be really expensive.
- You must insist on having a measurable SEO strategy from the beginning. If you hire an SEO agency, demand that they explain what success will look like and how, specifically, they will get there.
- You’ll have more success if you, as the attorney and subject matter expert, get involved in the content creation for your website.
- Niching is critical for small personal injury firms or solo attorneys with limited resources. In other words, rather than trying to gain new personal injury clients across 20 different accident types, choose a single accident type and become the authority on it.
- Your website must be technically sound. Don’t let your 20 year old nephew “handle it”. Personal injury marketing is simply too crowded to compete with a slow, dysfunctional website.
- You must follow up with leads quickly. This goes for all law firms, and really, all businesses. However, it’s especially crucial for personal injury firms since good cases are few and far between and competition is intense.
- There are no silver bullets. This is a universal marketing truth – it’s not unique to personal injury lawyers. If someone tries to sell you a silver bullet solution for marketing success, look elsewhere.