A Brief Background of the Firm in This Case Study:
A Robust Digital Marketing Presence
Their overall organic keyword profile went from 92 to 1,300 keywords, meaning there are an additional 1,208 keywords that this firm's website is now ranking on Google for without them needing to pay per click on any of those keywords.
More Website Traffic
The organic site traffic for the law firm went from around 6 to about 2,900 users per month, an increase of 48,233%, without paying for a single click.
Improved Ranking for High-Intent Keywords
We identified keywords to drive users looking for legal services to their site (high-intent keywords) and enabled their site to rank organically (not paying for the keywords) at the top of Google for these keywords. The chart below displays a sample of high-intent keywords where the firm’s website was ranking outside of the top 10 pages (100 results) on Google and is now ranking on the 1st page (top 10 results) on Google for these keywords.
*According to data from a study observing 4 million users compiled by Backlink.io, and assisted by SEMrush data: .63% of Google searchers click on something from the 2nd page of Google. In other words, according to this study, 99.37% of Google clicks occur on the first search engine results page.
Digital Marketing For Law Firms, the Way It Should Be
The law firm we will reference in this case study is a small to mid-size law firm located in Colorado, focusing on personal injury law.
When this firm first retained Trial Guides Digital Marketing in October of 2021, it had a nearly non-existent online presence. Like most legal businesses, their website was simple but needed a digital marketing strategy.Other marketers had promised big things but obtained minimal social media engagement, failed to implement essential tracking tools like Google Analytics, and provided little or no work on the firm's website. This website's lack of digital marketing resulted in a limited organic keyword profile and meager site traffic. The website served primarily as a lead validator for referral clients instead of a lead generator for organic leads.
This law firm is located in a small town in rural Colorado. Historically, the law firm focused on personal injury, almost entirely on auto cases. The managing partner is a long-time VIP customer and advisory board member of Trial Guides, so was granted early access to our Marketing Agency services. The firm engaged Trial Guides’ Marketing Agency due to an interest in shifting the firm’s focus from auto cases to truck crash litigation throughout Colorado. The owner recognized that the firm’s historical referral sources would not produce sufficient truck case referrals. So for the first time, they wanted to make a concerted effort to generate cases from their website.
Starting with an old website with very little content and no traffic provided a unique challenge. The website also had no history or content addressing trucking litigation. Colorado receives heavy commercial vehicle traffic as a state serving three US interstates. Consequently, it is also a highly competitive online environment for law firms seeking truck crash cases. Beyond these challenges, the law firm is highly selective in the cases it accepts and did not accept co-counsel referrals. So, our mission is to generate direct traffic for high-value cases without creating a large call volume for cases the firm does not want.
To drive relevant traffic to their site, we needed to help our client rank for terms with high intent, meaning keywords for which the search query comes from someone seeking a personal injury lawyer for a truck accident case. Our ultimate goal was to create a marketing campaign that helped our clients rank highly for those terms around their hometown and throughout Colorado.
Below is a glance at how the website ranked for high-intent truck accident keywords before signing with Trial Guides Digital Marketing Agency. To provide some context around this table, “October 2021 Google Page Position” refers to where the firm’s website shows up on Google’s search engine results page (SERP) when the “Organic Keyword” is searched in Google’s search bar. Showing up on the 1st page of results for Google dramatically improves the probability of your website getting clicked on. Nearly all results occur in the Top 3 positions. Moreover, if you show up outside of the first three pages of Google, your chances of generating a click on your website are less than 1%.
In this instance, the firm was not ranking at all on Google for the following search queries:
To help our client reach their goals, we used a combination of heavy organic content that targeted specific keywords and light PPC (“pay-per-click”: a type of paid online advertising). Due to the very high price on PPC keywords related to truck crash lawyers, the customer did not have interest in spending heavily to “rent” keywords, as Trial Guides already knew that PPC has consistently failed to provide a positive Return on Investment (“ROI”) for trucking lawyers with highly-specified case preferences.
With a focus on driving traffic to their website for truck accident cases in Colorado—a challenging goal given the highly competitive environment—we recommended a robust initial focus on SEO with light Google Ad spend.
The rationale for this decision was based on two primary factors:
With a hyper-competitive online environment, it’s always better to “own” the keywords that send users to your website instead of “rent” them through paid ads. The reason here is simple: when you spend money on Google Ads, you are effectively “renting” these keywords and will continue to have to “pay rent” if you want to maintain site performance. In a highly competitive landscape, the future of your site performance is never certain; keywords could get more expensive, or new competition could come in with a high ad spend and take your site traffic. This is particularly true as large national firms with significant digital marketing budgets are moving into Colorado.
SEO work—generally slower in showing results—enables websites to “own” their keywords. This is because, with SEO marketing, you work with Google to have the search engine more permanently associate your website with topics and keywords you want your site to rank for. Although this takes time- when you do this well, Google will rank your website through its algorithm (organically) at the top of its search engine results page (SERP) for the keywords you choose to optimize your website for.
Remember that Google wants to provide the best possible experience for its users, so when your website starts to rank highly for a keyword, Google decides that your site is providing a good experience for users searching those keywords. This means that if competition moves in, they have to convince Google that their site is a better experience for the end user than yours, and it will be more difficult for them to siphon site traffic—and if we notice they are, we have time to react.
The website had virtually no SEO work done in the past. This meant ample opportunity to increase website performance for this law firm by focusing on driving organic traffic to the website. This, combined with the high cost of truck crash Pay-Per-Click (“PPC”) advertising, is why we recommended a low ad spend for this firm. We have noticed a positive correlation in organic traffic when a website spends money with Google Ads, especially in the early stages of paid promotion. So, by quickly getting SEO-optimized content on their website, letting it register with Google’s index, and then putting ad spend towards the website, we can immediately drive relevant paid traffic to the website and expedite the performance of the organic content already in place.
Digital marketing is not a one-size-fits-all service; different components must be considered for different legal businesses. A law firm’s size, practice type, case selection criteria, competitive landscape, budget, and keyword difficulty all affect digital marketing strategy. As a company focused on lawyers and legal practice with a 20-year history in digital marketing, we consider your objectives differently than a company that comes to this field from the marketing field and considers your legal practice as a secondary issue. Our job is to work with you to identify and refine that digital marketing mix for your business and eventually drive more cases to your practice.
What does this look like in practice?
After implementing Google Analytics and then being able to see the firm's dismal traffic, then working through a few technical website fixes necessary to get the most out of the SEO content work we planned to deploy, we worked with the decision-makers at the law firm to determine which truck accident-focused pages we wanted to create. Once the pages were solidified, we conducted keyword research to determine search queries and keyword strings that we wanted the website to start to rank for on Google and created SEO-optimized content based on the results of this research.
Another unique challenge to this firm was that this law firm is located in an area with a high density of citizens with advanced educational degrees, with many of its clients and jurors having a Masters or Doctorate degree. So potential clients or their family members seek high-quality writing and content. Our legal SEO content experts worked with the team at the law firm to refine the content we created to fit their brand and preferences and then got that content in its proper place on the website. A great deal of work was needed to balance what would rank best with Google’s algorithm (prioritizing basic language) while still reflecting well on the law firm with highly educated readers for a low-volume / high-value law firm where nearly all of the cases are litigated, and a high percentage go to trial. This understanding of the potential impact on jurors (who should not be viewing a lawyer’s website but do) is an example of what makes our services unique – we consider the potential real-world impact on the client in a way that other marketing firms will not.
Investing in digital marketing, particularly in SEO, pays off over time.
This client is now driving ~2,900 monthly users to their website (without paying per click) through an organic keyword profile filled with keywords relevant to their business's bottom line.
Stagnation is your biggest enemy.
By acting in 2021, this law firm now has a robust online presence and a strong marketing baseline that has elevated its business. They now have more options within their marketing strategy and understand how to better drive business to their firm. Moreover, they have the freedom to test new growth and marketing initiatives to continue driving results as efficiently as possible.
We strongly recommend against ignoring your website and digital marketing efforts. Large national law firms are expanding rapidly. With their expansion, they bring websites with massive organic content, sophisticated digital marketing methods, social media presence, and hundreds or thousands of Google reviews into your area. Ignoring the potential impact of this well-established competition could substantially impact your business.
Your marketing problems are solvable.
Digital marketing for law firms can be complex, but most challenges—even ones like this—are entirely solvable. It requires precise and frequent communication and a partnership between the agency and the law firm to execute at the highest level.
Strong marketing means ongoing effort.
Digital marketing is not a one-time expenditure, especially for SEO. Google looks for frequent website updates to maintain SEO performance; competition is fluid. To illustrate this point, while we were providing services to this lawyer, a much larger firm in Denver tripled its content - improving its reach for other types of legal cases. Law firm websites with minimal SEO work, such as this site, usually require a heavy upfront SEO focus and an ongoing SEO focus once a strong baseline is established.
Your mid to long-term marketing strategy should be flexible.
Your marketing goals may be clear—more calls or better cases—but your marketing strategy needs to allow time for results in an ever-changing digital landscape. Digital marketing is fluid, and a law firm's digital marketing mix will and ought to change with the business over time.
Marketing for lawyers should be done by those with legal experience.
Trial Guides is one of the leading brand names in the legal profession. We have provided exceptional quality and innovation to lawyers for over 20 years. Throughout that time, we pioneered digital marketing to lawyers and have tested both traditional and digital marketing methods to determine the most effective methods of reaching customers. Trial Guides Digital Marketing agency now provides that same commitment to exceptional results and innovation to help you grow your business. Our legal SEO service offerings are fueled by our background in legal content, proven marketing strategies and technology that have proven results. Our team boasts a unique fusion of knowledge of the practice of law and digital marketing to help you achieve your business goals.