From out of all of the plaintiff personal injury firms in America, only a small number sit at the top of search engine rankings. They have figured out the precise set of keywords, content and terms that potential clients use when searching to give them more traffic than any other firms.
In this first of a series of blog posts I’ll address recent findings based on independent data that demonstrates precisely what’s working and what isn’t — and will help firms ask the right questions as they hone their online marketing strategies for a new era of lead generation, client acquisition and online visibility.
Top 5 PI Firms in Top Cities
My research identifies the top 5 personal injury law firms in the top 5 metro areas for personal injury lawyers (Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, Houston and Dallas Ft. Worth) ranked by website traffic.
The results are filled with valuable insights. Note that only the top 10 personal injury keywords for search volume within each metro area were used for the top 5 personal injury law firms. The graphic below describes the four- step process that was used to generate the top 5 lists.
The top 5 law firms for traffic independent of metro area in this analysis are:
You will want to drill down in each market, and below is the detailed list of every law firm in each of the 5 metro areas that made the list and their lawyer marketing firm, if it is specified on their website.
What we know:
- Personal injury law firms should consider a wider range of keywords where the searcher is signaling that they are ready to hire a lawyer for a practice area within their metro market. For example, a highly value keyword in Dallas isn’t always the same as for New York, and search intent is an underestimated weapon in purchasing keywords that will move the needle.
- If your firm isn’t among the top few positions, you won’t generate many clicks. Traffic drops off dramatically after the top 5. Personal injury practice is hyper local and Google just made it harder to rank for local search when they decreased the number of results they show from 7 to 3. Accordingly, inclusion of a city and market by a searcher will not have the same impact as prior to this change. And don’t forget – “Find a Lawyer” directories like Avvo and others often get a very high number of clicks through their SEO strength.
- A very small percentage of personal injury law firms are getting the vast majority of traffic volume. How to combat this? Consider focusng on a small number of lower traffic keywords that are driving more valuable traffic than more expensive choices. Examples include small firms that focused on reinforcing related keywords like “work injury lawyer,” “work injury lawyers,” “work injury lawyer,” “work injury attorney” and “work injury attorneys” instead of the highly competitive “personal injury lawyer.” Cluster the keywords and you can leverage your smaller stature successfully. Another example is lower cost, underutilized keywords like “medical malpractice” that have high search volume but have a much lower average bid price than accident or injury terms.
- Most of the searches we examined do NOT include a specific location reference (“Personal Injury Lawyer” versus “Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer”). If the searcher’s intent and your keywords don’t mesh, don’t expect a high rate of success.
- The business of building high quality online leads is hyperlocal and you must be focusing and working in collaboration with your online marketing vendor on ensuring top positions in your search results in Google. For example, position 1 generates close to a 40% clickthrough rate, while position 7 generated only 3.5% clickthrough rates. The clickthrough rate percentages are based on excellent research presented in The Futility of Chasing Silver Bullets. Without an assessment of your online marketing firm’s efficacy, adjusting spend and strategy is impossible. The industry is in need of benchmarking tools and a scoring mechanism that helps derive the doers from the talkers, and soon.
Online marketing firms for top 10 firms
Many of the top 10 firms did not identify their online marketing firm and many that did worked with small firms. Without transparency into what your online marketing efforts are driving, bigger isn’t always better. Below is the list of online marketing firms that had at least one client with a top 10 ranking on one of the 10 keywords in the metro area. Many are smaller online marketing firms.
|● Apricot Law|
|● Best Dallas SEO|
|● Big Voodoo Interactive|
|● Bradley SEO Marketing|
|● Custom Legal Marketing|
|● Epic Digital Publicity|
|● Foster Web Marketing|
|● Giant Gorilla Marketing|
|● Internet E-Business|
|● Miller Ad Agency|
|● Net Midas|
|● NewFire Media|
|● Night Ideas|
|● PaperStreet Web Design|
|● SLS Consulting|
|● Social Firestarter|
|● Studio III Marketing|
|● The Search Engine Guys|
|● USA Optimization Group|
- One New York City law firm, Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, had three different websites with three different online marketing vendors that each had at least 1 top 10 ranking.
- In Dallas one law firm, Eberstein & Witherite, had two different websites that both made the top 5 list.
If you would like access to the detailed keyword click analysis for each of the 5 metro areas please email me at email@example.com and I will be happy to provide the spreadsheet. I welcome any feedback on the calculations.
Dan Weeks is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Lawyer Marketing Score in San Luis Obispo, California.
Like Consumer Reports© for online marketing, Lawyer Marketing Score at www.LawyerMarketingScore.com currently in private beta provides small personal injury law firms with a new and neutral benchmark for measuring the efficacy of their online marketing efforts. Products specific to criminal defense and DUI practices will follow in the near horizon.
The LMS measures each personal injury law firm’s clicks from search engines and law firm directories to the clicks nearby competitors are getting. In addition to comparing clicks, LMS maps out the top web site issues that could be limiting web traffic. For personal injury law firms utilizing online marketing vendors, the free LMS report card is a welcome source of accountability and transparency.
Many law firms find their current vendor is doing a great job but others may find the opposite. For the first time ever, online marketing results for personal injury law firms can be discussed in context with other similar local law firms. The LMS is powered by Internet Marketing Fiduciaries, a digital marketing information company that brings transparency and accountability to online marketing efforts through big data benchmarking with a vision to disrupt and transform other verticals in the professional services sector.