Link Building For Personal Injury Lawyers

Link building in a competitive industry like personal injury law can be very complex. I’ve broken down the link building section into various sections so that I can do a deep dive into certain methods. On this page I am first going to explain what I look for in a backlink for our clients and then I’ll break down some simpler types of backlinks that you can acquire.

What do we look for in a backlink for our personal injury clients?

Not all backlinks are created equal. If you want me to do a full breakdown on backlinks, what they are, the history of them etc let me know in the comments and I’ll broaden the scope of this page to include a beginners crash course but for now I am going to dive into this assuming that you know what a backlink is. The problem is that I often get asked, even by seasoned SEO pros, to evaluate a potential backlink opportunity.

Sometimes you need to evaluate a backlink to determine whether you want a link from that page or not. Other times there’s costs involved and you need to determine whether the cost of it is worthwhile. At the end of the day when I or my team are determining a backlink opportunity we follow a very simple process to determine whether we want to pursue it or not.

  1. Traffic.
    The most important metric by far now a days is whether or not the site gets traffic. Assuming it’s brand new, if a site doesn’t get any traffic, then there’s a big red flag. There are exceptions, for example if it’s an official website for mothers who go on bike rides and you’re able to get a link to your bicycle accident practice area page, then I’d go for it even if it doesn’t get much traffic. However if it’s a directory and the site gets no traffic, I don’t care what the metrics are or how many backlinks it has. Chances are there’s something off and I don’t want to be associated with it.
  2. The neighborhood.
    The second most important thing is the neighborhood of other sites that the link opportunity links to. If they link to a bunch of gambling or p*rn websites, it’s a hard pass. If they link to a bunch of low quality sites that your competitors setup, again, it’s a hard pass. On the other hand if they link to your competitors that are at the top of search engines, then it’s highly valuable.
  3. The amount of outbound links.
    If there’s a resource page with 1000 links on it, I’m not interested in being the 1001st link on the page. It won’t pass any juice along and normally pages with that amount of links are unmoderated or the moderation process has very low standards. The absolute maximum outbound links any page should have is 100. If the link costs money to acquire, I’m looking for under 50 outbound links on the page.
  4. Relevance.
    A link can be relevant in many different ways, but it must be relevant. It can be relevant because it’s a tourism blog of your city/state. It can be an association that’s targeted to victims of one of your practice areas. It can be a law related site. But there’s no way you can convince me that a site that posts cute cat pictures and gets tons of traffic is relevant to a personal injury firm in Toledo.
  5. Metrics. 
    Last and least, I’ll look at the metrics. I use Ahrefs metrics but I’ll use Majestic‘s and Moz‘s metrics on occasion when I’m taking a deeper dive. These metrics are algorithms that go through a site’s backlinks and based on their authority/relevance they’ll give them a score on 100. If a site has dog sh*t metrics but the other four factors mentioned above pass the test, I’ll still pursue the opportunity. However if I have a ton of links that I need to evaluate, I’m not going to go through them one by one and eyeball it. I’ll use Ahrefs’ metrics to determine which sites are quality.

Now that we know how to evaluate the quality of links, let’s dive into how we go about building links for our clients.

Press Releases

Especially for a client with a brand new website, the first type of link we’ll acquire is press release links. These links are perfectly fine in accordance with Google’s webmaster guidelines. I don’t try to get ranked for any specific keywords using these links, we simply just want to build up some authority to the domain. Not all press releases are built equally, if you use some gig on chances are you won’t get anything out of it and it’s a waste of money. However if you use a reputable service like you’ll get a lot of backlinks out of it which makes it worth while. Here are some topics that personal injury lawyers can do a press release for:

  • New settlements
  • Hire someone new, even if it’s office staff
  • Open a new location
  • Announcing a community sponsorship

The point is it doesn’t need to be earth shattering news. I wouldn’t send out a new press release because your son got an A+ in gym class, but anytime there’s something new going on with your business you can use it as an opportunity to send out a press release.

If you’re using, I would almost always use their ‘Standard’ option. The only time I would select their ‘Advanced’ or ‘Premium’ options is if it was for a story that was truly remarkable. The ‘Standard’ option gets you the backlinks you’re after. The ‘Advanced’ option is for actual real news stories, something you’d see in yours news feed and wouldn’t consider it out of place. “Morgan & Morgan open a new office in Gainesville, Florida” is worthy of a press release distributed online but if you saw that in your news feed you’d right away assume it’s an ad. “New York Public Housing Has a Lead Paint Crisis” with direct quotes from the lead attorney on a peculiarly egregious case would be more likely to get picked up by news agencies and would be worth doing a ‘Premium’ release.

Sponsorship Opportunities

These can be really great ways of giving back to your community while also acquiring a backlink in the process. The basic idea here is that there’s a local association or club of some sort and they have a website that links to all of their sponsors. If the cost of sponsoring them is worth the cost of acquiring the link, then it’s a good opportunity and you reach out to them.

I’d stick to sites with the same principles as outlined at the top of this post in terms of traffic, neighborhood, amount of outbound links, relevance and metrics. The other thing to keep in mind is that buying links is against Google’s webmaster guidelines. Being a sponsor is more of a grey area, so don’t go crazy with it and make it overly obvious. If the only type of link building you did was sponsorships, it might raise some eyebrows. If you’re in Seattle and you’re sponsoring a little league team in El Paso and that little league team is linking to spammy sites, it’s probably not a good idea.

With that being said, here’s some methods on how to find these types of opportunities:

Method #1
For our agency our onboarding process includes using Zipsprout’s Local Sponsorship Finder. They’ve made it really easy, all you need to do is put in your city and hit search and it comes back with a list of potential opportunities that you can follow up with. For the most part, they’re impressive results and very accurate.

Method #2
By going through your competitor’s backlinks. This is covered in the competitor analysis page in terms of how to find your competitor’s backlinks but the idea is once you’ve gone through their backlinks you’ll know which ones are sponsorships by the nature of the page. At that point you can evaluate them and decide whether you’d like to acquire the link as well.

Method #3
Using advanced search operators AKA boolean search. You can use the following boolean searches to get targeted results:

  • inurl:sponsors – this only returns results that have the word sponsors in the url of the page.
  • intitle:sponsors – same as above but for the title of the page.
  • “become a sponsor” – replace ‘become a sponsor’ with different variations like our sponsors, our donors, etc.
  • AND – if you want to combine two of the above use the AND operator. It needs to be capitalized.

An example would be something like ‘inurl:sponsors’ AND “become a sponsor” AND “new york”‘. I’m not going to say this will lead to 1000’s and 1000’s of backlinks on the cheap, but if you’ve got the time or perhaps can outsource it to someone it can be worthwhile in finding some opportunities.

Method #4
Use your current network. If you’re currently supporting a local group then it might be worth it to find out if they have a website and if they do if they’d be willing to throw up a link. Don’t talk to them about backlinks and SEO benefits, etc just simply ask them for a link from their site and they’d be most likely happy to oblige.

Scholarship Backlinks

By providing a scholarship you can get a bunch of links from some very powerful websites. The idea is simple, you setup a scholarship page on your site explaining the scholarship, the criteria, the application process etc and then you reach out to sites and ask them to link to your page to create awareness. I’m going to tackle this in an FAQ style:

How much should the scholarship be for?
There’s no definitive answer on this but obviously the more generous you are the better it is for the optics and in terms of people taking you seriously when you contact them. I’ve seen some for as little as $500 but for a law firm they’re usually between $2500-$5000.

How do I find sites that will link to me?
Our method for finding sites to contact for our clients is by looking up other firms with scholarship pages. For example, if you’re in Detroit, look up “detroit personal injury lawyers” and then go through each one in google searching “ scholarship”. Once you have their scholarship firm pop it into and look at that specific page’s backlinks. You can export them to a CSV and if you do that for all of the top law firms you should have a decent list.

We also try to find other link opportunities by searching for high schools or scholarship directories that might link to the page. You can go to Google Maps and search for high schools in the area. Open up their websites in new tabs and then search the website in Google for “Scholarships” by searching this “ scholarships”. It’ll return the school’s scholarship page if they have one and you can throw that into a spreadsheet.

How do I get these sites to link to my scholarship page? 
The important thing to understand is that if you reach out to them like an SEO pro looking for a backlink your chances of getting a link are very low. On the other hand if you have LinkedIn Sales Navigator and Inmail the people who are in charge of the website/financial aid for these institutions and send them a message saying something like “We’re super excited to be offering the inaugural Future Ambulance Chaser Scholarship and I was wondering, what’s the best way to get the word out to your students of it’s availability? Do you know how most students seeking financial aid locate the available scholarships? Any help would be greatly appreciated!”.  When we send a message like this on LinkedIn the response rate is usually over 70%. When we send the same message via email it’s closer to 40%. If you’re going to be sending a lot of emails for this, check out our page on content marketing as it covers outreach and how to avoid the spam box.

If they’re linking to my scholarship page, how does that help me?
True that the links won’t be pointed directly at your ‘wrongful death due to the negligence of someone else and need a lawyer’ page but if you can get a bunch of links pointing to that page, you can then link that page to your ‘wrongful death due to the negligence of someone else and need a lawyer’ page and it will pass along some juice.

Law Directories

Law Directories are what I consider foundational links. They’ll give your website the theme related authority that it needs in order to rank. We think it’s best to submit your site to as many of these as possible. In some cases we’ll decline to submit our clients to a law directory if it’s overly spammy, for example, if it links to all kinds of sites including non-lawyers. Or if it lists lawyers in Pakistan alongside lawyers in NYC. However if the law directory is organized, maintained and clean, we’ll submit our clients to as many as possible.

Here’s some best practices for when submitting your site to a law directory:

  • Write unique descriptions for each directory. It’s a pain in the a** but it’s totally worth it. If you have the same generic copy/paste content on every site the chances of Google indexing those pages and spending all the time to submit your site to all these directories could be a big waste. By writing unique content you’re greatly increasing the chances of getting the profiles indexed.
  • Get to know each directory and use all of their features. Don’t just have a checklist of website, address, pictures, social media, description – done. Rather if a directory allows you to enter your practice areas or lets you link to your other profiles or include subcategories etc take the time to do so. Make your profile the most robust and complete on the directory.
  • Pay for upgrades that make sense. If you have the budget to do it, spending $2000-$3000/year can have a great effect on your backlink profile. By paying for a featured placement rather than being on page 74 can greatly increase the chances of your profile being indexed. It’s also possible you get leads from these directories.
  •  Keep organized. However you do it, even if it’s just a spreadsheet, keep everything organized. You should have all of your login information, link to the profile, the date it was submitted, whether or not it’s cached by Google, notes etc everything kept in one place so that you know exactly where you are with it.
  • Submit all the attorneys in your firm.  The more attorneys you have listed the more backlinks you get to your website. Don’t just submit yourself or the partners, if you have 50 lawyers literally take the time to submit each one or better yet do the first couple and then train someone in your office to do the rest.

General Directories

In addition to law directories it’s also important to submit your website to the general directories. There’s some basic ones that are aggregators, by submitting your business to the aggregator you end up on 100s if not 1000s of other directories. I’d take care of those first but secondly I’d go through the other major ones like Yelp, Apple Maps, Map Quest, Tom Tom etc and fill them out with the same zeal mentioned above in the law directories section of this page.

The best thing about general directories is that they’re an easy way to get a bunch of branded, non-descriptive and naked anchor text links. If you have 100s or 1000s of these it’s easier to slip in some random keyword anchor texts that boost your rankings.

I would, however, highly recommend you exercise caution. If a general directory is a dumpster fire, unorganized, low backlinks, etc then just move along. Exercise a higher level of scrutiny than you would a law directory. You want to submit your site to the best directories that have established authority and stay as far away as possible from the spammier counterparts.

Local Directories

While law directories establish authority for the website’s subject matter (law) and general directories establish general website authority, local directories establish… LOCAL authority. Local authority is super important for Google Maps ranking and also organic rankings in general. The way we find local directories for our clients is to three fold:

  1. By looking at their competitor’s backlinks and see which ones they’re listed in. This isn’t just the top 3 or 5, but rather go through all the main practice areas like car accidents, slip and fall, etc and get a list of all of the local law firms that rank in the top 100 and go through all of their backlinks looking for local directories.
  2. Do the same except for other competitive industries like plumbing, real estate agents, etc.
  3. Search Google for “city name business directory” and other variations.

By doing all of the above you should have a healthy list of local directories that you can submit your site.

Paid Advertising

Paying for links themselves is against Google’s webmaster guidelines and for the most part we respect that, but sometimes there’s a local newspaper or blog that covers local events and they offer banner advertising on their site that are hard linked and count as backlinks. The key to this is making sure that they have traffic and that they’re real websites with a real following. You should see referring traffic coming from them in your Google Analytics. If you can pay for a banner ad on a couple of websites and in the meantime get some strong backlinks out of the deal then it’s definitely worth it.

You can find sites to advertise on by again, going through your competitor’s backlinks and the backlinks of other competitive industries in your city. You can also google “city name news” or “neighborhood city news”. Usually the first page is your typical large news organizations that serve ads through an ad manager, but if you go to pages 2-10 you can find a lot of smaller community newspapers or blogs that offer some really inexpensive advertising options.


There’s no secret that podcasts are exploding right now in popularity. Unlike a short time ago, there’s a ton of podcasts that feature guests in almost any industry. Beyond the lawyer podcasts, you can also reach out to small business podcasts and other related themes. Not only does podcasting increase your brand but most appearances will also garner a backlink from the podcast host. On the other end of things you can also start your own podcast, you’d be surprised at the amount of people who are willing to come on your podcast even if you have a very small audience. When people are featured on your podcast they’re likely to link to it from their own sites and social media accounts. There’s also a bunch of podcast directories where you can get links from.

Related posts