Link Building for Personal Injury Lawyers

Last updated on July 21, 2023

For personal injury attorneys, link building is one of the most important — and most difficult — SEO concepts.

It sounds simple:

Link building is the process of convincing other websites to create links that point to YOUR website.

But it’s not simple. And it’s not something you can ignore, either.

Why? Because link building is the backbone of SEO. And injury law SEO is the backbone of getting clients online as a personal injury lawyer.

So, you have to figure it out. Or pay someone who can do it for you.

This guide is going to help you understand link building in the personal injury niche. That way, you’re equipped to either build links yourself to boost your SEO or pay the RIGHT person to do it for you.

Ready? Let’s go.

Why Personal Injury Lawyers HAVE TO Build Backlinks

Links and content. Content and links.

If you boil SEO down to its absolute essence, you end up with those two things.

We’re not talking about content today. But suffice it to say: You NEED great content in order to build great backlinks.

After all, you have to give other websites something they actually want to link to.

Notice I said “have to” in that last sentence. But do you really have to build backlinks to move the SEO needle as a personal injury lawyer?

Yep. Absolutely. I’ll tell you why:

Personal injury SEO is THE most competitive SEO vertical. Hands down.

You’ve got dozens of competitors in every single city. And many of them have multi-million-dollar annual marketing budgets.

And many of them are devoting a fair amount of that budget to SEO. The average law firm in the United States devotes roughly $150,000 per year to SEO.

Like I said earlier: You can boil SEO down to content and links. And you can bet that most of those SEO budgets, if they’re done right, are going toward link building.

You need backlinks just to stay in the game. You need GREAT backlinks to outrank your competitors.

But let’s step back: Why does Google care about backlinks?

This goes way back to the early days of Google. The very first algorithm the search engine was built on relied on links as “votes of confidence.”

In other words: If a site is getting linked to on other sites, that’s a great sign that the site is worth showing in search results.

Since then, Google’s search algorithms have gotten A LOT more complicated. But guess what? They STILL rely on links as one of the primary ways to rank websites.

If you don’t have backlinks and your competitors do, your competitors are going to outrank you. Plain and simple.

And if they outrank you, they’ll get the clicks from all of your potential clients who are searching for injury attorneys.

And they’ll get those cases. And you won’t. You see where this is heading.

That’s why you have to build backlinks. But I’m here to tell you that this doesn’t have to be the most difficult or expensive part of your marketing budget.

Let’s get into the specifics.

Types of Backlinks (and Why They Matter)

There are TONS of “types” of backlinks. But all backlinks fall into one of two broad categories:

  • DoFollow (or just “follow”)
  • NoFollow

This has to do with how the links are coded in HTML. And that coding tells search engines how to interpret the links.

DoFollow Links

DoFollow links tell search engines that the link SHOULD confer some ranking authority (link juice, ranking power, whatever you want to call it).

In other words, if a site builds a DoFollow link to your site, that site is telling Google that the link is, basically, an endorsement of the quality of your injury firm’s website.

You want the majority of the backlinks you build to be DoFollow links.

NoFollow Links

NoFollow links tell search engines that the link DOES NOT act as an endorsement of the quality of the site being linked to.

It’s not a bad thing. But it’s not the best thing for your SEO efforts either.

Still, you want some NoFollow links in your backlink profile as an injury attorney. Why?

First, because it’s natural to get NoFollow links. Major websites use NoFollow as a rule when linking to other sites.

You want your backlink profile to look natural to Google. Otherwise, you risk getting penalized for trying to manipulate search results.

Second, Google has finally admitted that NoFollow links CAN pass some ranking authority. Which lends credence to the many SEOs I’ve known who would’ve committed a felony to secure a NoFollow link from Wikipedia or The New York Times.

Good vs. Bad Backlinks

Follow vs. NoFollow does not decide what makes a backlink good or bad for your personal injury firm’s website. It’s more complicated than that.

So, what DOES constitute a good backlink?

A few factors can tell you whether a backlink is worth pursuing or paying for:

  • Relevance. The site linking to your website should be relevant to your website. In other words, it should have some sort of connection to law and the personal injury practice area. If not, why would the site be linking to you in the first place?
  • Organic traffic. If you have backlinks from webpages that don’t rank in search engines and get traffic from them, those backlinks aren’t helping you much. Many SEOs disagree with me here, but I’m confident that organic traffic is one of the most important measures of a backlink’s quality. (And you can use any number of common SEO tools, like Semrush or Ahrefs, to see whether a webpage is getting organic traffic.)
  • Anchor text relevance. Anchor text is the text used with the link. If it contains keywords you want to rank for, that’s as good as it gets. If it contains something generic, like “click here,” that’s OK, but it’s not nearly as helpful as anchor text like “best personal injury lawyer in NYC.”

You could devote years to understanding what makes one backlink better than the other, but if you focus on those three metrics, you’re off to a great start.

Keep those metrics in mind as you try out any of the link building methods I’m going to show you below.

10 Link Building Methods for Personal Injury Lawyers

Building backlinks is non-negotiable for personal injury lawyers. But what IS negotiable is how you decide to go about it.
I’m going to outline 10 proven link building methods any injury attorney can use below. I recommend trying them all and doubling-down on what works.

Let’s dive in.

1. Legal Directory Links

For attorneys, legal directories are one of the easiest sources of backlinks. I’m talking about:

  • Avvo
  • FindLaw
  • Justia
  • Nolo
  • Martindale-Hubbell

Oh, and let’s not forget my personal favorite: Serve The Injured 😉

Now, the first question I always get is something like this: Which legal directories are worth pursuing? Which ones are worth paying for?

Start with ALL of the free ones. There’s no harm in getting a directory backlink for free as long as the directory is not spammy and relevant to law.

As for the paid ones, do what you can afford. But first prioritize the ones that allow you to control the anchor text.

In other words, if they let you add your OWN link, with whatever text you choose, do those first. And make the anchor text you choose keyword-rich — meaning relevant to and descriptive of your practice area and service area.

From there, prioritize based on price and brand recognition. If you can afford them all, great. With backlinks, you balance quality and quantity, but if you can get both — which is the case for most well-known legal directories — absolutely do so.

2. Guest Posts

Don’t let the naysayers trick you. Guest posts are one of the most sustainable and effective ways to build backlinks in 2023.

I’m referring, of course, to the process of submitting an article you wrote to another website that’s relevant to the law. And in that article, there’s a link back to your website. So, when the article is published, you get a backlink.

Yes, if you do guest posts wrong, you run the risk of a Google penalty. That’s true.

But you’re smart enough to not make that mistake. You’re smart enough to do guest posting the RIGHT way for your injury law firm’s website.

Here’s how:

Start by making a list of websites that meet the following criteria:

  • They’re relevant to the law and, even better, personal injury law specifically.
  • They’re not spammy looking, meaning they look like legitimate websites with a real purpose OTHER than publishing guest posts/link building.
  • They have measurable traffic from search engines. If search engines are ranking these sites, they are likely of high quality.

Then, compile the contact information for each of the sites on your list.

From there, start reading. Check out what the sites have covered and, importantly, what they HAVEN’T covered.

Find a gap and offer to fill it.

For example, if you find a blog about personal injury law that hasn’t covered the nuances of the dog bite law in your state, pitch that to the editor or publisher of the site.

That’s how you add value. Highlight who you are and why you’re qualified to write about this.

Lather, rinse, and repeat for all the sites on your list. And follow up when you don’t hear back.

Before long, you’ll get an acceptance. And then two, three, four, and so on. Soon, you’ll have a sustainable guest post publishing pipeline.

3. Link Insertions

A link insertion is when a website inserts a link to your website in an EXISTING article on their site.

It’s similar to guest posting, but guest posting is about creating new content with backlinks to your site. Link insertions target older, existing content.

That’s an advantage because those articles are likely already indexed in Google. Meaning backlinks in them will pack an SEO punch for you a lot faster.

To find sites for link insertions, you’ll still want to follow the same steps you did to build your guest posting sites list. Look for relevance, legitimacy, and traffic.

But then, instead of looking for entirely new content to pitch to them, look for resource gaps in existing content.

For example, if they have an article that briefly mentions the concept of “no-fault insurance,” and you have a blog post that covers no-fault insurance in depth, you could reach out. Tell them you’ve got a great resource that could provide more information and helpful context to their readers.

You won’t hear back from the majority of sites you reach out to. But if you keep at it, you’ll start hearing “yes” more often. And each yes means you get a backlink.

4. Unlinked Mentions

An unlinked mention is when a website other than your own says the name of your firm but doesn’t include a link to your firm’s website.

On their own, unlinked mentions can be helpful for SEO. But they’re a lot more helpful when they’re turned into backlinks.

So, look for unlinked mentions of your injury firm. And then reach out to the websites where those mentions occur to ask for them to link to you if they’re going to mention you.

For whatever reason, people are A LOT more likely to respond favorably to this link building tactic. I guess it feels fair to them since they’re already mentioning your brand name.

In any case, here’s how to find unlinked mentions of your brand with a simple Google search:

Go to Google and type the name of your law firm in quotation marks. The results will show you exact-match mentions of your law firm’s name.

Check each result and make note of the ones that don’t link to you. Then, reach out to them to ask for the link.

5. HARO Outreach

Have you heard of HARO? It stands for Help a Reporter Out. And it’s a growing link building method that many personal injury lawyers are starting to take advantage of.

Here’s the idea:

Journalists and bloggers use HARO to find experts to interview and quote for their articles. They submit pitch requests to HARO for the articles they’re working on.

Experts, such as injury attorneys, respond to those pitch requests. They answer questions and add value.

Then, journalists and bloggers receive those pitches and decide whether to use them in their articles.

While it’s not guaranteed, it’s fairly standard practice for journalists who quote you to include a link to your website. There’s the backlink.

This is a completely free service that will email you with pitch requests as much as three times per day. But it does take some work — as well as some practice to learn how to write quotable pitches.

But the payoff is huge. Some of the biggest websites in the world use HARO for their articles. I’m talking about The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and so on.

Don’t stop with HARO, either. There are many HARO alternatives that are much less competitive, such as Qwoted, SourceBottle, PressPlugs, and Featured.

6. Digital PR

Digital PR is a growing category that has a TON of potential for personal injury lawyers’ link building campaigns.

Despite the name, it’s not really about PR in the traditional sense. It’s about finding or producing something newsworthy and then giving that story to media outlets.

If they pick up the story, they usually include a link to your website to credit you.

Personal injury is a fantastic niche to be in if you want to do digital PR. Let me walk you through an example to illustrate why:

You dig into your state’s car accident data. You’re looking for a takeaway that people might not know.

You see that the number of car accidents in your state has risen back to pre-pandemic levels, after experiencing a sharp decline right around when COVID-19 hit.

That’s newsworthy. You write up a press release and quote yourself offering some helpful insights from a personal injury attorney.

Then, you use a press service to distribute the press release to dozens, maybe hundreds, of journalists who have covered stories similar to yours in the past.

A day or two later, the links start rolling in. It’s a beautiful thing.

7. Skyscraper Link Building

Coined by Brian Dean, the term “skyscraper link building” refers to finding content that is getting a lot of backlinks and creating something better. Then, you reach out to the sites linking to the original content and ask them to link to your new, better content instead.

I’ll be honest: This used to work insanely well. Now, it’s less effective because a lot of website owners have caught on or simply gotten tired of getting the pitch emails you send as part of this technique.

Still, it’s worth exploring. Done right, skyscraper link building can yield a ton of great backlinks. But don’t be surprised if you encounter some resistance.

8. Broken Link Building

Broken link building can get you a ton of backlinks pretty fast. So it’s worth trying out.

Here’s how it works:

You find websites that talk about subjects related to personal injury law. Then, you find places where those websites have linked to OTHER websites, but the links are now broken.

By “broken,” I mean they go to a 404 page or “access denied” page when you click on them.

Then, you email the website to let them know they have broken links on their page. And offer your relevant blog post or practice area page as a replacement to link to instead.

But how do you find broken links?

You can look manually if you want to waste thousands of hours of your precious time. Or you can use a Chrome extension like Check My Links.

It’ll highlight all the broken links on any page you ask it to.

9. Podcast Appearances

If you’re looking for a low-effort way to build powerful backlinks as a personal injury lawyer, this is it.

But you DO have to do some footwork to find podcasts willing to have you on.

How do podcast appearances translate to backlinks? Simple:

When you appear as a guest on the podcast, the podcast adds your information — including a link to your website — to the episode description.

That means you get a link on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and similar sites.

But there’s more:

Then, most podcasts publish “show notes” for each episode they release. Those usually are in article form on the podcast’s official website. That’s another backlink.

So, in general, the more podcasts you appear on, the more backlinks you get.

10. Publishing ‘Link Bait’

This is the “content-first” link building strategy. If you have a great writer on your team, or are a great writer yourself, this is worth trying out.

But there’s a catch:

Backlinks are NOT guaranteed with this method. And they can take a while to start showing up.

But if you do this right, you’ve identified a high-return content investment that can yield backlinks for years to come.

What am I talking about? I’m talking about publishing so-called “link bait” — content that people WANT to link to.

Here’s an example: You could publish a blog post on your site covering car accident statistics in your state.

But don’t just rehash what’s already out there. Use original data to find new stats. And make your list of stats the most comprehensive one available via Google.

That way, when a blogger or journalist Googles “car accident statistics,” your post shows up. They get what they need from it. And they link back to it to cite your article as a source.

Boom — that’s a backlink. And it can happen dozens and dozens of times.

Link Building Is Essential for Injury Lawyers. Start Today.

Link building for personal injury lawyers isn’t easy, but it IS essential.

Don’t waste any more time. You NEED a link building strategy to succeed in this vertical. And you WILL fall behind your competitors if you ignore this.

Try all of the link building methods above. Do more of the ones that work for you. And keep going until your rankings are where they need to be. Good luck.

Choosing an SEO Provider

Here are some things to consider when seeking an SEO company:
- Extensive Injury Law SEO Experience
- Prior Injury Law Ranking Results
- Relevant Link Building Emphasis
- Interaction, Communication, and Response Time
- Reliability and Compatibility

Injury Law SEO Course: DIY And Save Thousands Per Month

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