Website Structure for Personal Injury Lawyers

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when building a website for your personal injury law firm is to start with the basics – home page, about us, contact us, etc. Then one day saying to yourself:


Similar to when an author is going to write a book, they write the outline of the book first. Having a well thought out structure to your website is vital. The best way I can think of to conceptualize the idea of your website structure is to think of a folder on your computer. Within that folder there are a bunch of .txt files. These text files contain a diary of your life that you’ve written every day. Now imagine two different scenarios:

  • Scenario 1: you went out of your way to never refer to any person or place by their common name. You named the files randomly like ‘uityuiyeiuythjke332fjhkf.txt’ and they’re all just sitting in the main folder so there’s literally thousands of them.
  • Scenario 2: you organized each file into a sub folder by year/month. You labeled each file with the date and a descriptive title. Within each file you broke them down into chapters where necessary with headers. Last but not least you purposely used common words knowing that if you wanted to find something later it’d be easier to search for them.

Now in this scenario, if someone else who didn’t know your life needed to find a specific moment in your life imagine just how difficult it would be for them to find it in scenario 1 vs scenario 2.

Google’s algorithm is freakishly good at understanding the content on the web. You might hear from one guru or another that you need a certain URL structure or that your website is doomed unless you use a certain keyword density in your H1 tags. That may have been the case yesteryear but the truth is that if Google heavily preferred one structure over another, there’s a high chance that for a large percentage of searches the best content to fill the searcher’s intent wouldn’t be displayed because that content wasn’t organized the ‘best’ way.

Because of this, Google has developed their algorithm to understand different website structures and organizational hierarchies. So while I’ll get into what I believe the best way to organize your website structure, it’s important to understand that it just needs to be organized. You don’t want your website to be helter skelter.

What are the main factors when determining website structure?

There are two main considerations you should always have in mind when designing your website structure:

  1. User experience.
    Your main goal should always be that when people come to your website, they’re able to easily navigate and understand the structure of it. If you concoct some radical website structure that’s impossible for anybody else to understand, it might have merit to you but unless others can follow it, it won’t serve it’s most basic purpose.
  2. What is the competition is doing?
    The beauty of search engine optimization for personal injury lawyers or any other type of website is that Google shows you what they currently think is best. The websites which are currently ranking for the keywords you want to rank for are right there in plain sight. You can reverse engineer what they’ve done and learn from it.

What are the main components website architecture?

Some might argue this could have been at the top of this page.  They wouldn’t be wrong, but alas, what are we talking about when we discuss website architecture and website structure?

  1. The pages on your website.
    Obviously you’re going to have a homepage, about us, contact us etc. Are you also going to include a blog? If you plan on ranking in Google for keywords related to the types of cases you handle, chances are you’ll also want to build out pages for each practice area. How do you organize those pages? This is what we’re talking about on this page.
  2. The URL structure of your website.
    Let’s say your website is ‘’. Your URL for your ‘car accidents’ page might be ‘’ or it could be ‘’. What you choose for your URL structure can have a large affect on your website’s rankings so taking a couple moments to think it out and do it with purpose can save you a lot of headache down the road.
  3. The internal linking of your website.
    Does every page link to every other page on your site? Are all pages of equal importance on your website? As we discuss on the page link building for personal injury lawyers, links are very important to Google’s algorithm and internal links are often overlooked but also very important. Again, taking the time to organize your internal links with purpose can do wonders.

These three components have a major effect on Google’s understanding (and evaluation) of your website’s content.

The Pages Personal Injury Lawyers Should Have

The pages of your website are important because of user intent. Chances are you have personal experience with this. You searched for something and the #1 result in Google wasn’t as relevant to what you were searching for as you had hoped when you put the keywords into the search bar. If you remember how you felt, it was probably associated with disappointment. When people are disappointed with their search results, the vast majority of us get frustrated and immediately search again or give up. Google wants to avoid this at all costs.

As marketers or business owners our first reaction might be to get frustrated at users for not engaging with our content, but the best thing to do is to understand why people aren’t reacting the intended way when landing on our pages. If you make a page about car accidents and you cover motorcycle accidents on the page but it’s buried below the fold and hard to find, you’re not going to rank for ‘motorcycle accident attorneys’ because the user experience of your page for people searching for that is going to be subpar. A competing firm that has a page dedicated to motorcycle accidents will be more aligned with what the user is looking for and provide them with a better experience.

The better you can create targeted pages for different practice areas, the better the experience will be for searchers coming to your page. With that being said, there are diminishing returns when it comes to creating new pages. If you have a page for slip and fall accidents, you probably don’t also need a page for trips and falls. Someone who is searching for ‘trip and fall lawyers’ and ends up on your page that is for slip and falls probably won’t be frustrated that you’re off topic.

Personal Injury Practice Areas & Keyword Cannibalization

Another reason why there’s diminishing returns on building out new pages is because of keyword cannibalization. Like the label implies, this is used to describe when one keyword is so closely related to another that they’re eating each other’s authority. Let’s say your website has a ton of authority with Google and they have no problem displaying your website at the top of the search results for keywords that they know your website relevant for. You’ve decided to make a page for premises liability and under premises liability, you further broke it down to include a page on ‘Elevator Accidents’ and ‘Negligent Elevator Maintenance’.

Now let’s assume that an elevator was improperly maintained and that negligence caused an accident. The person involved in this accident is now searching google for “elevator accident lawyer” and Google has to decide which page to send them to. Their algorithm doesn’t know what the cause of the accident was. On the topic of elevator accidents, they assign a certain amount of your site’s authority to the elevator accident page and the rest of the authority goes to the negligent elevator maintenance page. Your competition on the other hand has less authority, but they only have one page on elevator accidents. Google then considers that page, although it has less authority overall, to be a more clear-cut winner.

Another example of keyword cannibalization that I see personal injury attorneys making is they’ll have a practice page for car accidents but then they’ll also have a blog category for car accidents. On the blog category for car accidents, they’ll optimize the title of the page for the same keyword that they’re optimizing their practice page for. So say for example this PI firm is located in Pasadena, their practice page will have a title like “Pasadena Car Accident Lawyers” and then their blog category page has the exact same time or something similar. This is sending mixed signals to Google, should they send people who are searching for a Pasadena car accident lawyer to the practice page or the blog post category?

You can avoid this mistake by making sure you label all of your pages with unique titles. For example, the blog category page for car accidents should have a title something like ‘Posts & info related to car accidents in STATE by FIRM NAME’. Now that’s not an automatic copy/paste for anyone reading this, because as discussed in the website optimization for personal injury lawyers page, your page titles are limited to a certain amount of characters and so if your firm has 30 characters in it, you’d need to make adjustments. The point is that you need to make sure your pages are titled appropriately and you’re not sending Google mixed signals.

Example Page Structure/Hierarchy for Personal Injury Lawyers

We’ve put together a spreadsheet that has all of the practice areas for personal injury lawyers. When we onboard a new client we go through all of the practice areas as a checklist with new clients asking them what it is they do and don’t do. For all of the practice areas that they do, we create a page for them. If you’d like a copy of this spreadsheet, simply shoot me an email at and I’ll send it over to you, no strings attached.

What’s the best URL structure for personal injury lawyers?

This used to be a lot more important, but at the very least it’s still worth some consideration from a user experience standpoint alone. The easiest way to do this is run through some best practices with an explanation on them so that’s how I’ll do this. With that being said there is one major consideration that you should understand. Google likes short URLs. If you follow my best practices yu might end up with a structure that resembles this:

From an organizational perspective, if you practice law internationally and needed to account for multiple countries/stats/cities/practice areas then this would be a sexy setup. However taking a quick look at it, you can see it’s overly complicated/detailed. On the other hand if you had a page like:

It’s very straight forward and to the point, but if you practice law in more than one city or state, and you have a ton of practice pages you’d quickly end up with an insane amount of root pages which might cause the site to be less user friendly. Finding a balance between the two approaches should be achieved by (a) deciding how many pages you’re going to have and what your competition is currently doing.

With that being said here’s the best practices in no particular order. Keep in mind these are best practices, but by no means am I saying they’re necessary. Some of them are even just nitpicking.

  1. Remove the www. Like I mentioned above shorter URLs are generally better than longer URLs so I prefer to remove the www from urls to make them shorter, especially if your website has a long url.
  2. Include hyphens. Rather than making your url it’s best to do For one it’s more aesthetically pleasing and therefore more user friendly, but secondly you want to include your keywords in urls. Google sees hyphens as the equivalent of a space. By including them you’ll have an exact match keyword, where if there’s no spaces it wouldn’t be.
  3. Use permalinks. If you’re using wordpress it’s under Settings -> Permalinks. If you’re using another CMS then you’ll need to figure out how to use permalinks, but the point is you don’t want URLs with session IDs or queries in the URL string.
  4. Use a hierarchy where possible. A page with lots of sub pages has more internal importance than a page with none. If you have a page on your site that’s very important, like your car accidents page, the more sub pages or sub topics it has the more it will help it. For example hit and runs, distracted driving etc.
  5. Make your most important pages root pages. In direct contradiction to above, if your firm’s bread and butter are distracted driving cases, you don’t want to make it a sub sub sub page as the further you bury it in your organizational hierarchy the less important it is in the overall structure. Think of it as though you have several cups to fill and you have a jug of water to fill them all. You can’t fill them all to the top, you have to distribute the water somehow over all of the cups. By making all your pages root pages, your putting less water in each cup.
  6. Don’t stuff keywords. You can quite literally penalize your site by adding too many keywords. Something like is not only too long, it’s also got phoenix and lawyers in there three times which is way too much. You want to limit your keywords to one.
  7. Don’t include unnecessary words. I see countless firms using unnecessary keywords in their URL structure, for example: or If all of your functional pages like about us and contact us are root pages, then you have all your practice areas under one main page it’s diluting the importance of all your practice area pages which are the ones that make you the most amount of money.
  8. Don’t optimize for state and city, choose one. If you want to optimize for both, create separate pages.

What’s the best internal linking structure for personal injury lawyers?

As a rule of thumb, your internal linking structure should always be optimized for user experience. If you have a drop down that links to 10+ different practice areas and someone on mobile needs to scroll several times in order to see the whole list, you’re doing it wrong. You want to link in your main navigation to your main practice area pages then when people are there they should be able to navigate to sub pages with relative ease.

One of the biggest mistakes a lot of personal injury lawyers make is they think that each instance in their main navigation needs to be keyword optimized. When it comes to internal linking, the anchor text can have a lot of importance but not in the navigation. The navigation has importance in terms of telling Google which pages on your site are most important, but the anchor text has little to no importance. The anchor text of in-content links, meaning links from within your blog posts or practice pages, are important and should be taken into consideration.

If you look at the image to the left you can see, it just looks cheap and an obvious attempt at trying to manipulate search engines. No one would naturally list all the pages of their site in such a manner. For the main navigation all you want to do is link to the pages in the most natural way possible.

For the in-content links, you want to use keyword anchor text but you also don’t want to over do it. Here are some pointers to keep you out of trouble:

    1. Only link out to a page once per page.
      You don’t want to link to your car accident 15 times from your motorcycle accident page. That’s considered overkill. Stick to just linking once or twice per page.
    2. Vary the anchor text.
      If every single in-content link has the exact same anchor text, it can be considered over optimization. It’s not going to get you penalized but it can lessen the value of your anchor texts. Rather than linking with “car accident lawyers” every time, switch it up using “car accident attorneys”, “car accident law firms” etc.
    3. Limit the amount of total outbound links per page.
      You don’t want every other word to be linked out to a page. Try to limit your in-content links to 10-15 per page assuming you have at least 1000 words on the page.
    4. Make sure your links are topically relevant.
      Don’t link to your home page with the anchor text “car accident lawyers” when you have a page for car accident lawyers. You don’t want to send mixed signals to Google about which page is most relevant for your keywords.
    5. Link to your most important pages the most.
      Internal in-content links can be super powerful if done properly. If you’re ranking on the second page of Google and go through your site and add some internal links to that page, it can shoot you onto the first page. Don’t waste a bunch of internal links sending them to pages that you don’t care about or that don’t make you money.

By following the above five tips, your internal linking game will be strong. We’ve put together a spreadsheet that has all of the practice areas for personal injury lawyers including the URL structures. When we onboard a new client we go through all of the practice areas as a checklist with new clients asking them what it is they do and don’t do. For all of the practice areas that they do, we create a page for them. If you’d like a copy of this spreadsheet, simply shoot me an email at and I’ll send it over to you, no strings attached.

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