Personal Injury SEO

Let’s talk about SEO for personal injury lawyers

Are you a personal injury lawyer who wants to improve the SEO performance of your law firm’s website? I am also a personal injury lawyer and I’ve spent the last 15 years trying to figure out how to get found online.

My journey started in 2009 when I decided to practice bankruptcy law while the country was in the throes of the 2008 financial crisis.  We paid a Texas company to build a nice website and paid them each month to post content.  Within a couple of months, we had the number one bankruptcy website on Google.

We were a new law firm with a new website and had outranked every other bankruptcy firm on Google that had been around for years.  Why?

Because our relative competition was not very competitive.   Our local bankruptcy attorney competitors had old, outdated websites with no blog and virtually no content.

Also, bankruptcy cases are low value so there isn’t nearly as much competition for the online space.  In other words, there weren’t a lot of bankruptcy law firms online.

The Personal injury SEO experts steered me wrong…

The problem with having the number one bankruptcy law website in New Orleans was that you couldn’t make a living with bankruptcy cases.  When I decided to switch to personal injury law, where the real lawyer money is, things became much, much harder.  That’s because basically every single lawyer out there advertises themselves as a “personal injury firm” even if they only handle one car wreck case a year.

I hired a more affordable company to build a personal injury website bcause my old SEO company was just too expensive when it came to personal injury lawyer marketing.

The new marketing company built us landing pages.  We bought some PPC ads.  I got a few cases.  And then I stopped getting cases after a few months.  Why?  “Google changed their algorithm,” they said.  Apparently, what worked in 2009 stopped working in 2015.  And what worked in 2016 doesn’t work today.  Landing pages with PPC ads directed towards them used to work, but don’t work any longer.

I talked to other SEO companies.  They explained that having good SEO on your website would be “the gift that keeps on giving.”  “Free advertising” is how the SEO company would sell me on it.  Why pay for PPC ads when you can simply rank for free?

We tried some different techniques, but nothing seemed to work.  I gave up. I just couldn’t understand how I could rank one month and then lose all that momentum the next.

I then spoke to lots of SEO “experts.”  The SEO experts would tell me that 2/3 of people scroll past paid ads down to the organic results.  If I only gave them $1,700 a month, they could get me to the first page on Google.  How would they do that?  They would build me another website and then work their SEO magic and the cases would come flying in.

The SEO companies I worked with, however, never would tell me truthfully and transparently what they were doing for me.  They never fully explained how backlinks worked together with the new content on my website.  They all said something different and that drove me crazy.

We hired one company to do SEO work for about $2,500 a month and after several months saw no results at all.  I was done with this nonsense.  I hate throwing money away.  I understand you must market but how do you know what you’re throwing money at is working?

Paid ads would be an instant way to get car accident cases. But PPC ads for personal injury lawyers are WAY out of my budget.  At $300 or more a click, I just can’t afford them.

So I kept trying to figure out SEO so that I could get on the first page of Google.  But nothing seemed to work.  What was the problem?  Why couldn’t I rank organically for my law firm?  What was I doing wrong?  What could I do to fix this?

I’ve spent years of my life and hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to figure out the so-called “secrets” of SEO because I wanted my website to rank for free when people searched for the legal services I provided.

But nobody told me the truth about how search engine optimization really works.  Nobody told me some services are easy to rank for while others are almost impossible.  Nobody told me any kind of intelligible and replicatable process I could use to promote myself online.

I resolved to figure out SEO for personal injury on my own

After hiring various SEO companies throughout the country (and around the world), and getting mixed results each time, I decided I was going to figure out SEO on my own if it was the last thing I ever did.

I experimented with different techniques such as changing all the blog post URLs to a specific long-tail keyword.  That will show Google I’m serious about ranking organically! Google will see my keywords in my URL and “Presto!” I’ll be in the local “three-pack” when someone searches for a “car accident lawyer.”  That didn’t work although I did see a little movement in my local rankings.

Next, I put links all over my home page with the town’s name and “car accident lawyer” or something similar hoping it would tell Google I handle car accidents in all the small towns near my office.  Yeah, that didn’t do much for my SEO either.  One SEO guy told me that I shouldn’t use WordPress because it interferes with SEO.

He explained he wrote all his client websites in straight HTML because Google could “read it easier” because “Google doesn’t have to pull the text from a database; the text is directly in the HTML.”  This seemed to make sense to me intuitively, but I also knew that the biggest PI law firms in the country used WordPress websites.  Surely the big firms like Morris Bart and Morgan and Morgan are on the bleeding edge of SEO techniques.

I then wrote lots of blog articles of around 500 words each that would discuss generic personal injury or car wreck terms.  The blog titles might be “What to do if you’re in a car accident” or “How do I get compensation if I’ve been injured in a car wreck?”  Those got no clicks and no organic rankings.

Then I learned about internal linking and installed plugins that would automatically link internal pages of my website.  I was going to have a network within a network — my law office website would be pulling double duty!

I then learned about having outbound links on your website that link to trusted resource websites.  This is supposed to show Google that your website is trustworthy because you are linking to other trustworthy sources.   I was optimizing my website with in-bound and outbound links.

I worked on my XML sitemaps.  I submitted my optimized site maps to Google.  I learned everything I could about Google Search Console.  I manually indexed my website pages which is a slow and painstakingly tedious process.  I monitored Google impressions and clicks.  Impressions are up a little…but still no clicks or calls.

I learned about building a mobile-friendly site with optimized loading speeds because I was told that “Google likes a fast-loading website.”  I optimized my website’s CSS and images so that they loaded quickly.  I even added alt text to each website picture to spur those organic rankings along.  I used free “SEO website audit” sites and manually adjusted by site each day until I got an A+ score.  Still no clicks or calls.

Next, I created my Google My Business page and started posting random personal injury and medical malpractice posts nearly every day.  I put pictures on my GMB pages, ran coupons, you name it, I tried it.  Still nothing.

I was then told that Google ranked you according to the number and quality of reviews you had.  I immediately contacted my old clients asking for Google reviews.  And I did this type of stuff day after day after day.

And you know what?  None of it seemed to make much difference to my online presence.  I maybe got one more call a month for a random med mal case but rarely for a decent car accident case.  What was going on?  My inability to figure out how to get found online was driving me insane!

I came to hate SEO and everything it represented.  Google hates small law offices I concluded.  It just made no sense to me.

So I went back to the drawing board.  I contacted freelancers on Fiverr and asked them to handle SEO for me.  Usually, they would “correct” the Title and Meta Tags on my website or just rebuild the entire site altogether.

They would add short blog posts on site and off site.  The rankings seemed to move a little bit, but not enough to make the phone ring.  And still not enough to justify their relatively affordable price to keep paying them.  I could see some movement, but wasn’t quite sure what part of what they were doing was actually working.

Some of these freelancers would tell me just give them time (pro tip: they ALL say that) and others would show me they were ranking me for certain keywords.  But the problem was the keywords they were ranking me for were so obscure that nobody (no prospective client anyway) ever typed them into the search bar.

I came to the cold, hard reality about SEO.  It’s about quality over quantity.

After questioning various SEO gurus, watching videos and reading detailed white papers by the search engine optimization giants like Ahrefs, Semrush and Moz, I went back to the drawing board and started to try and figure out what does Google have to say about all this SEO business?  Is it all just sorcery or can it really be achieved if you follow Google’s rules?

Google does not publish how or why they rank websites the way they do.   Instead, they give you general guidelines that strongly suggest they are trying to rank quality websites (read, quality information on the website) that are also trustworthy.  This is known as Google’s recently updated “E-E-A-T” guidelines.  (i.e, Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness.)

This time, I had Google’s perspective on what they want.  And what Google wants is what most SEO companies aren’t able to provide — very high quality content with very high quality backlinks.  This was the “secret!”  But really, it was the revelation that SEO requires actually doing the hard work to write a really great article and then get a reputable site to link back to it.

I learned how to search for keyword volume, but more importantly, how to figure out how difficult a given keyword would be to rank for.  And, what all it would take to rank for that keyword.   No SEO company told me how to do this!  But this step is key to SEO success!

You need to know in advance how difficult it’s going to be to rank for the search terms you want to rank for.  This is called transparency and it is what no SEO company gave me.  But I’m going to give it to you.  This is personal to me at this point.

I found that through perseverance and doing SEO the right way, that you could rank in the world’s most competitive online environment and start getting your site up to the first page.  I finally started to see some real results.  The small results I started to see gave me the faintest glimmer of hope.

Now I am going to share everything I’ve learned with you.

Let’s talk about how you can solve the personal injury SEO problem

SEO for personal injury lawyers is easily the hardest SEO work that can be done on the internet.  Seriously, there is no other industry that is more competitive online than personal injury lawyers.

Pay-per-click ads for personal injury lawyers are also the most expensive of all industries.  It’s therefore logical that ranking high organically for your personal injury law firm will seem as difficult as climbing Mt. Everest.

The truth is that is hard — very hard — to get found on the first page of Google if someone types in “car accident lawyer.”  On the other hand, it’s not nearly as hard to rank for Chapter 7 lawyer.  Why?  Competition.

The “big dogs” aren’t paying big bucks to rank for chapter 7 bankruptcy cases because those firms can’t make any money on those cases.  But they will pay a fortune to rank for a truck accident case because they can make a fortune on one single truck accident case.

In other words, ranking online organically (SEO) for personal injury cases is very hard, but not impossible.  Let me explain…

The size of the World Wide Web (The Internet) contains at least 5.83 billion pages as of Saturday, May 11, 2024.   That’s a lot!  Every day new pages are added to Google’s index.  If Google website pages were shares of stock, we would call this dilution.  Your shares (website pages) are being diluted each day another firm posts content about personal injury law.

In 2024, there were about 1.09 billion websites. Every day sees 252,000 new websites, added to the internet.

And if you type in “personal injury lawyer,” Google will show under “Tools” that it came back with 175,000,000 results!  Yikes!

What do you do?  Let me show you what I did to start moving the needle.

Common SEO knowledge is that you need a great, mobile responsive WordPress website with few site errors and that loads fast.  Okay.  From there, the SEO gurus will tell you that you need lots of content and lots of backlinks.  (Some companies don’t even mention backlinks which is a mistake).

What these digital marketing companies don’t tell you (or at least they never told me) is that you need AMAZING content with lots of AMAZING backlinks to begin to gain traction for organic search.  Quality over quantity in other words.

THIS strategy WILL move the needle because it’s what Google wants and it’s what other personal injury lawyers are NOT doing.

Your website articles need to be literally great

By high quality articles I don’t mean 700-word generic articles about “What to do if you’re in a car wreck” and “How our firm will fight for you if you’ve been injured.”   The web is littered with millions of web pages with generic and boring content like this.  Nobody reads this junk, not even Google.

Many of these articles were created by a free ChatGPT account.   This leads to even more generic garbage content.

If you want to get ahead and rank organically, you’re going to have to write White Paper level articles with linked references to trustworthy sources.  The articles need to be at least 2,500 words long and preferably 3,000 words long or longer in order to potentially get organic contextual backlinks.

Why do your articles have to be so long?  Because the internet is filled with low quality garbage content — precisely the kind of content you will find on the typical personal injury lawyer website.  Google is smart.  They hire the smartest people on the planet.  And their algos combined with their AI means they can spot nonsense articles instantly and can, and will, lower your rankings if you put bad articles on your website.

If you want to get ahead with your personal injury law practice through effective SEO practices, you’re going to have to do things differently than your competitors.  And by different, you MUST focus on quality first, then quantity.

Our values drive our approach to SEO and that’s why we focus on QUALITY over quantity

We believe creating 1) well-written, 2) well-researched, 3) well-referenced and 4) personalized articles will give you the best shot at increasing your SEO results for your law practice.   We believe personalized articles will win the day due to the proliferation of easily generated content by AI.

High quality articles have the best chance at getting natural, contextual backlinks, and these are the kinds of links you really want as they are truly the best kind.

You have to know how to do smart keyword research (don’t worry, we’ll show you how).

You’re asking: What do I write articles about?   This is the second part of the equation.  You have to also do smart keyword volume research AND keyword difficulty research in order to know what subjects you should be writing about.

Can you use AI to help you write high quality articles?  Yes!  But, you’re not going to be able to get away with simply posting an AI generated article about seatbelt laws and post it and expect results.  You’re going to have to be thoughtful and put forth some time into making the article really good and personalized (Did you have a case involving a seatbelt?  If so, talk about it).

In other words, the solution is that you need to be not only better, but also different in how you approach your content creation.

 

In my Personal Injury SEO course I will show you how to:

  • Do keyword volume research (for free)
  • Do keyword difficulty research (for free)
  • How to use AI properly so you can leverage your time and resources to create amazing content
  • How to structure and write your amazing website articles for maximum SEO impact
  • How to get high quality backlinks to your articles and website

I will also show you how to get quality backlinks and how to go about finding a reputable backlink provider.

I will teach you about white hat techniques and how to avoid black hat practices so you can avoid having Google blacklist your website.

I wish someone would have taught me all of this years ago as it would have save me an enormous amount of time and money!

But you can do SEO yourself if you follow the best practices and learn from my mistakes and successes.   Of course, we can help you too so just contact us if you need help writing great articles for your website.

Sign up today for our Personal Injury Lawyer SEO course!

 

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