SEO for Personal Injury Lawyers: Why it’s Better Than a Billboard

Law firm billboards are a staple of personal injury marketing. Anyone who has spent more than ten minutes on an American highway has come across a billboard asking if they’ve been injured. They range from benign call-to-actions (Injured? Call 1-800-LAWYERS) to goofy rhymes or even the literal least amount of effort possible.


billboards vs seo for personal injury lawyers - an example


While these billboards can be mildly entertaining or even sometimes an irritating eyesore, we can’t speak to their effectiveness. Can they grab your attention? Sure. Does that result in new business? Usually, but it can often feel like these progressively silly ads are more ego than strategy.


If you’re looking for an ROI-driven channel for your marketing efforts, consider investing in law firm SEO. SEO for personal injury lawyers is a more surgical, thoughtful, and cost-effective means of marketing. It yields better results than any goofy roadside rhymes and catchphrases.


A Brief History of Legal Advertising

Up until 1977, legal advertising was banned in the United States. It wasn’t until the Supreme Court in Bates v. State Bar of Arizona ruled that a ban on legal advertising was a violation of the First Amendment. 


While many lawyers find the aspect of advertising a stain on the sober professionalism that is practicing law, you can’t argue with the results. A law firm is a business that needs to be advertised like other businesses. Word-of-mouth is great, but it only goes so far. If you want to scale and grow your firm, you need to promote it. 


How Effective Are Legal Billboards?

There are a few reasons why law firms still use billboards. They can cast a decently wide net if they’re placed in a high-traffic area. For another, they’re familiar. Legal billboards have become so prevalent in the field that it’s almost strange for a personal injury lawyer not to use them. If your competition is renting billboard space, you will feel an urge to join in and rent space of your own. 


Lawyer billboards provide great brand value, too. A recognizable and persistent brand sticks in people’s minds like peanut butter on the roof of your mouth. Take Connecticut attorney Brooke Goff’s aggressive billboards, for example. The showy personal injury attorney has plastered her image all over anywhere that gets eyes (even featuring rapper Vanilla Ice with a pun about slipping on ice).


how effective are legal billboards- an example

They can be viewed as overly persistent, but that’s also part of the purpose, in Goff’s eyes. When you’re injured, who do you think of? If Goff did her job right, you’d think of her.


Even so, like phone book advertising, billboard advertising is slowly on its way out. If these law firm billboards were still as effective as they’ve ever been, would big law behemoth Morgan & Morgan need to vandalize its own billboards in a bid for attention? Probably not. An action like that in advertising is much closer to an online strategy than a traditional one.


Law firm SEO is the Present and Future of Legal Advertising


law firm seo is the present and future of legal advertising


Despite billboard popularity, there are far more effective means of advertising a personal injury law firm. Thanks to the internet, SEO marketing for law firms has a far greater reach than any billboard. Billboards are restricted to specific locations, and the same commuters likely encounter them repeatedly. However, a well-optimized website can be found by commuters and non-commuters alike. 


Consumer habits have evolved post-internet. Even if people see your billboard, they’ll likely search for your law firm online to learn more about your services. Having a poor online presence means you’ll miss out on the chance to capture potential clients. 


While one attorney may blanket the city in billboards and bus banners, another is dominating the SERPs and taking all the business. One attorney appears intentionally unserious but memorable, another has tactically positioned themselves and their site to be more visible online. Only one of these attorneys is looking toward the future.


Personal Injury Law Firm SEO Tips

A billboard might bring a prospective client to Google, but your site being the top link might be what hooks them. Here are a few tips for optimizing your law firm’s online visibility: 


1. Create a User-Friendly Website

If your prospective client has a hard time navigating your site, they’re not going to call you. In the personal injury space, this is crucial as prospective clients may be in distress, facing disabilities, or in need of urgent assistance. The easier your site is to navigate, the easier your law firm will snag some business.


This also counts for mobile users. As Gen Z settles into adulthood, you will find more and more clients relying on their phones for internet browsing. It’s crucial for personal injury attorney SEO to be optimized for mobile and local queries, or you will lose clients to competition.


Learn more: What’s the difference between desktop and mobile SEO? 


2. Google Maps is Your Friend


local search visibility is key to a personal injury law firm's growth


Local search visibility is key to a law firm’s growth. Because attorneys are licensed by state, they can only advertise in the state where they practice. An attorney in New Jersey isn’t a good fit for someone who has just had an accident in Pennsylvania (unless, of course, the driver or trucking company is located in New Jersey). 


Since the likelihood of someone searching “personal injury lawyer near me” or “personal injury lawyer in [city or state]” is quite high, optimizing your Google Maps listing can drive more traffic to your site. Another feature is Google Maps’ ability to integrate with Google My Business. A fully optimized GMB profile can make a difference in a firm site’s ability to rank higher.


Additionally, you can use a local rank tracker to monitor and optimize your site’s performance for relevant keywords in your state. 


3. Get Some Good Reviews Up

If you’re searching a business’s profile, you’re almost certainly reading reviews. These reviews build credibility among your prospective clients. They want to get a sneak peek of the experience they may have with their new lawyer. Trust is critical for successful SEO, as the algorithm rewards businesses that have good, authentic reviews.


Consider using a social media aggregator to pull customer reviews from social media channels and third-party apps and display them on your personal injury law firm website. 


4. Content is Still King

If you have spent even a moment near marketers, you’ve heard that “content is king.” Google loves high-quality content, especially after the seemingly never-ending rollercoaster of algorithm updates since July 2021. 


Having your site filled with relevant, authoritative content raises credibility among prospective clients and can even attract new ones. If you’ve got a fresh take on old data, for example, you may even attract the interest of the media and have your page referenced in an article on the subject. That kind of connection can make a huge difference in building up a site’s profile.


It’s Time for Personal Injury Lawyer Billboards to Go


seo for personal injury law firms works subtly but actively


Google gets more eyes than any law firm billboard could possibly grab. While a billboard works passively, relying on the mere hope that it catches enough eyes and sticks in a driver’s memory long enough for them to make a call, SEO for law firms works subtly but actively. 


SEO marketing for law firms allows for a more targeted outreach in specific geographic areas, ready to snag anyone who searches for a “personal injury lawyer near me.” It’s more cost-effective as a long-term strategy: once the bulk of the work is completed, organic traffic becomes much easier to attract. You’ll never know how many eyes saw a billboard and didn’t call you. However, with SEO, you can track your success and make adjustments to your strategy as necessary.


In every single aspect, law firm SEO is far superior to the average billboard and is undoubtedly the future of legal marketing. A few of those billboards may be amusing but not as effective as they once were. As personal injury lawyers work to grow and scale their firms, they should look towards robust digital marketing strategies, not the cringe rhymes on a goofy law firm billboard.


About the author

Chris Blondell is a Philadelphia-based writer covering tech, business, law, true crime, and anything else that pays the mortgage.