Local SEO Case Study: How OTM Ranked a Client #1 for Personal Injury Attorney Terms
How we ranked our attorney #1 on page 1 of Google in 2019
Did you know that nearly 90% of all people DO NOT click past the first page of Google? Shocking right? Well, if you’re looking to get someone on the first page of Google, you’ve come to the right place.
Welcome to our case study! Want to hear how we accomplished this within the first three months? We strongly encourage you to keep on reading!
Related: Ultimate Guide to Local SEO
Phase 1: Analysis of the Current Website
First, we conducted an in-depth SEO analysis that included multiple elements, both onsite and offsite for our client’s website. To achieve this, we went to the essential tools: Screaming Frog, Ahrefs, and Google Search Console. (If you are not using these, what are you really doing with yourself?).
To break it down, these were our main findings:
- Multiple 404 errors
- Page Speed was an appalling 23
- Few Backlinks
- Lack of Local Citations
- Duplicate Content
- Lack of On-Site Optimization (Multiple h1’s)
- Low Competitiveness (in terms of targeted keywords)
Once we had a clear idea of what we were dealing with, we conducted keyword research to determine the best SEO approach. We decided to tackle two niche local key phrases for this attorney and our goal, of course, was page one for both!
Wyoming Personal Injury Attorney | Wyoming Wrongful Death Lawyer
Phase 2 : Developing the SEO Strategy
We broke down our strategy into three major action items, which we will be discussing in detail:
- Onsite Optimizations and Technical Fixes
- Backlink Profile Improvements and Local Citations
- Content Improvements and Restructuring
Onsite Optimization and Technical Fixes
NEVER underestimate the importance of good on-site optimization. It is the cornerstone of any good SEO practice. WHY you may ask? Well let’s just put it this way: your title tags and headings are the first things the Google bots are going to crawl when landing upon your site. Our poor client had multiple H1 headings across multiple pages and their title tag across the whole site was simply, uniquely, and uninteresting (at least to Google bots) their Law Firm name. See Examples below:
❌Bad Title Tag: Law Firm’s Name
❌Bad H1: Injury
✅Good Title Tag: “:Location” Personal Injury Lawyer | “Law Firm’s Name”
✅Good H1: “Locations” Personal Injury Lawyer
We went ahead and optimized their basic headings and title tags as well as their meta descriptions. Next, we proceeded to work on the site structure. We needed to restructure the website in a way the search engine bots would understand it better, so we added contextual links. Next were the technical improvements. We started with a huge ranking issue: the page speed. In collaboration with our development team, we managed to optimize the page speed. We removed unnecessary plugins that were rendering the page speed and installed caching. See results below:
Before Page Speed Optimization:
After Page Speed Optimization:That’s an increase of over 152%! Page speed is an important aspect of SEO and Google has openly indicated that it is part of the algorithm.
Furthermore, we proceeded to remove the 404 errors that we’d found. While many of you may currently be thinking, “Are the 404 errors really significant for ranking improvements?” Let us set the record straight on this matter once and for all: if you DO NOT remove all of those broken pages, the Google bots waste time by trying to crawl an invalid URL. This leads to a significant loss on crawl time for other valid pages on your website. That means that the crawler might NOT get to the valid and essential content you would like it to. This negatively impacts indexing and ranking over time. So, next time someone tries to tell you to ignore the 404’s, you may want to think about it twice.
Last but not least were the site’s images. Many people overlook the importance of image optimization. Don’t make that mistake. Make certain your images describe the intent of the page, and don’t forget to add the alt tag and a title. It all will lead to better user experience and improved rankings.
Backlink Profile and Local Directories
The second part of the strategy is probably the most talked about in the SEO world and its links. We first took a look at the existing link profile. The purpose of this inspection was to determine whether the backlinks were valid or whether they were harming our client’s website authority. Some things inspect are:
- The Social Metric Distributions
- The Page Rank Distribution
- Whether the backlinks domains have actual traffic
In the case of this client, we needed to actually remove/disavow some links that were harming the website. Once we cleaned those up, we allocated some guest posts. This is a classic approach to link-building. Since our attorney-client is an industry expert, his experience and opinions hold true value, and therefore, can be shared. Below is the overall increase we received by our outreach:
Aside from link-building, we also worked on local citation improvement. This is also a crucial point as we were aiming for LOCAL ranking results. Consequently, it is important to have consistent NAP+W throughout all local citations. By presenting a consistent NAP across several local citations, the webpage sends signals to the search engine of a trustworthy reputation, improving the chance of better rankings.
We categorized each content page as an Authoritative Page (AP) or an (SP) Supporting Page. Here is the content structure we came up with:
(AP) Wyoming Personal Injury Lawyer Page | (3,000 words of content)
(SP) Wyoming Wrongful Death Lawyer | (800 -1,000 words of content)
(SP) Wyoming Car Accident Attorney | (800 -1,000 words of content)
(SP) Wyoming Truck Accident Attorney | (800 -1,000 words of content)
(SP) Wyoming Motorcycle Accident Attorney | (800 -1,000 words of content)
(SP) Oil, Gas, and Mining Accident Attorney in Wyoming | (800 -1,000 words of content)
(SP) Wyoming Dog Bite Attorney | (800 -1,000 words of content)
(SP) Wyoming Slip & Fall Attorney | (800 -1,000 words of content)
Apart from the authority page and supporting pages, we allocated 900 words of content towards a FAQ section about personal injury lawyer marketing in Wyoming.
Creating a topic cluster that makes logical sense is essential. Tip number one would be to see what your competitor is doing, meaning how they structure content. Secondly, plan a topic or topics. You can always use mind-mapping tools that can come in handy when you need to combine creativity and planning.
PHASE 3: Campaign Outcomes (Comparison to Initial)
RESULTS RESULTS RESULTS! We achieved page one position one for keyword “Wyoming wrongful death attorney” and page one position 4 for “Wyoming personal injury lawyer”! The entire process took about three months to achieve, which exceeded our expectations! We worked hard moving these phases from page three and four to page one and our and were elated to see that our efforts paid off.
There are certainly no guarantees when it pertains to SEO. Ranking on page one of Google does not mean you will stay there forever. Continuous analyses and optimizations are required in order to stay on top. Outside elements, such as what your competition is doing and Google’s continuous updates to their algorithm, are also a factor to consider when seeing fluctuations in the rankings. Our main takeaways from this case study are the following:
- Perform thorough Keyword Research and Competitive Analysis
- Make sure to create a nice Topic Cluster
- On-Page SEO is the foundation, so make sure all new content is perfectly optimized
- Build Solid Links!
Good luck, and may the SEO gods be in your favor! -Vale & Anete ????
Article by Valeria Nunez
I graduated in international business and marketing from Florida international university before starting as a CSM and SEO account manager at On The Map Marketing in 2017. Now I’m the client strategy director, leading a team of eight customer success managers — and have overseen hundreds of successful SEO campaigns for our clients. Outside of marketing, I love playing Tennis, watching sports, traveling, and meeting new people.
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