Case Study of How We Blew up the Rankings for Highly Competetive Keywords in the Legal Niche

Hey folks,

We know that Google is the place to go to Generate High Intent, Ready-To-Buy Leads.

In this case study, I am going to teach you how to transition from paying hundreds to thousands of dollars a month to Google in exchange for clicks and leads … to paying virtually nothing.

So here’s a breakdown of all we did..

(and continue to do) to get one of our PI lawyer clients some insane rankings for some of the most competitive keywords. I won’t go too much into the basics, as the basics are covered in a different ebook.

This was a whitelabel SEO client – so basically a digital marketing agency approached me to see if we can perform SEO for one of their largest Personal Injury lawyer clients (we have been providing whitelabel SEO for some of their more small and medium sized clients for couple of years now and they knew our results were stellar.)

This client operated in multiple states , and after initial discussions , it was agreed we will start work on 10 major cities – so rank for PI and PI related keywords in 10 major cities they operated in (almost all were in the top 20 largest cities by population in the USA).

Here is a list of services we were tasked with ranking (so for each of the below services, we need to rank for all variations . eg . for the service/keyword “Personal injury”, we were to rank for as many variations of the keyword (personal injury lawyer, personal injury attorney, personal injury lawyer city, city personal injury attorney, injury lawyer, best injury lawyer, personal injury lawyers…) – you get the idea

So the main services we went after included

Here is a step by step detailed breakdown of the process we performed – for each Location and Service page.

Rankings Check

One of the first things we did was analyze the existing site for current rankings. We used Ahrefs.com and also connected the site to Google Search Console. 

Tasks Performed

Once we had a list of page URLs that were ranking for some good keywords (ranking on page 2 to 10), we knew one important element

What keyword(s) did Google think this page was best optimized for.

We want to give Google what Google likes, we don’t want to go against the grain. After all , if we play by Google’s rules, we will win!

This also meant that with some good on-page optimization alone we could move up these keywords to page 1 or near page 1 (and if we still need more juice, we will build some relevant backlinks – more on that later).

On-page optimization included adding more relevant content, optimizing keywords in title tag, adding LSI and long tail keywords in H1, H2 elements, and meta description, among a few other things.

We then Setup Google Search Console Account to identify more search phrases that were already bringing in some traffic. Search Console is great for seeing which pages and keywords bring in the most clicks..

Site Audit/URL Checker

Notice that site audit comes 2nd. The reason is because I have seen from experience that sometimes web pages may be ranking on or near page 1 for some good keywords even with “bad/broken/incorrect” url nomenclature – and in our “SEO correctness”, we don’t want to hurt those existing rankings.

Tasks Performed

Eg. the client website had two different pages – www.website.com/locations/tampa/ and www.website.com/locations/tampa/injury and both were being picked up for the same “personal injury lawyer tampa” keywords (one URL was ranking on page 3 and another on page 4 for the same “personal injury lawyer Tampa” keyword.

It’s best not to confuse google, rather let google know unequivocally what a specific page is about.

So in this case it was best to rank one page for all “personal injury lawyer” keywords and one for “birth injury lawyer” keywords.

So in this case, we optimized the www.website.com/locations/tampa/injury for “birth injury” and “birth trauma” keywords (as www.website.com/locations/tampa was connected to their Tampa GMB and “personal injury” keyword was obviously a bigger/more important keyword to optimize that URL for).

We also created separate pages optimized for “personal injury lawyer” and “car accident lawyer” – not a specific geo/city, but generic – goal was to rank these keywords at a national level.

Keep these pages in mind as you go through the rest of this case study.

Citations Checker

Tasks Performed

Google My Business Optimization

Tasks Performed

The last Google update that rolled out in May 2021 brought about more prominence in reviews. It’s almost as if the more reviews your GMB has, the higher the GMB ranks. We notice more reviews being prominently displayed in the map pack.

How do you rank multiple keywords in the map pack?

Ranking in the map pack depends largely on the onpage optimization of the Website. If the website contains keywords, and the on-page is on point, and then you power it up properly (more on off-page optimization below), your GMB and website will come up in the map pack for multiple keywords.
Google actually confirms this by saying something like “Their website mentions this keyword”.

For eg., in the below image, even though there was a separate page all about medical malpractice and optimized just for that keyword (medical malpractice) in all these websites, notice how in the map pack the GMB is ranking (and the website URL attached to the GMB is the homepage – in our case the specific city page – and not the medical malpractice page of the city).

Most SEO experts have no idea how to rank one GMB for multiple keywords!

I am not going too deep into this in this case study, but I show how to do this in my course if you are interested 🙂

Keyword Research / Gap Analysis

Tasks Performed

Here’s why we do deep keyword research and scoop up a lot of keywords that 99% of marketers miss.

One of the competitors was ranking for a keyword “car wreck in dallas” (not an attorney word – didn’t have the keyword “attorney” or “lawyer” in this search phrase). 

But there are 800 searches a month just in dallas.

Now 99.99% of the lawyers who run ads will miss this keyword – in fact if you search this, you won’t find any ads triggered!

But if someone’s searching for this keyword, chances are out of the 800 people searching , even if only 1% is looking for a lawyer because they got involved in an accident, that’s 8 potential clients!

Burn this into your mind

Only 30% of the search traffic comes from “money keywords”. 70% comes from LSI, long tail keywords.

Basically only 30% of the people search for the solution. 70% search the problem

Google My Business Optimization

Tasks Performed

On Page Optimization

Tasks Performed

Added sub pages to each service page (main service pages) and linked to them (see image below for a high level linking structure we did).

Added sub pages to each service page (main service pages) and linked to them (see image below for a high level linking structure we did).

One other addition we did was add blog pages. Most SEOs put up just the main keywords/ services and try to rank for it. But often google tells us what else people are actively searching for.

We created blog pages for some of the questions people asked (see image above) and created our own content. We then linked from these pages to the various city pages and also one outbound authority link (link to a high DA site like wikipedia or gov site in the same niche).

Two weeks after doing this, we noticed the various city pages / GMBs pop up in the map pack for multiple long tail keywords as well!

Off Page Optimization

Tasks Performed

Our main go to for backlinks to power up the site has been PBNs. PBNs has been topic of confusion in the SEO space. Some swear by it, some avoid it like the plague. 

If used the right way, PBNs can be very powerful. 

I am not going to cover in depth here, but finding the right PBN (should not be spammy, have good power), and then theming them to our niche (theming them in a way Google bot understands, not humans), is key. 

PBNs is something my course covers in detail, if you are interested.

We linked to the homepage and main pages from PBNs using appropriate anchor texts (my rank and rent ebook in the files section of the FB group actually goes over this).

Once we did all this, most of the city pages and service pages were ranking (over a few months) on page 1 of the SERPs.

Now  remember the pages we created with the intention to rank at a national level (see page #3 highlighted in yellow).

Here is what we then did to rank for some national keywords.

As we worked on the various city pages, we linked from the various PI pages to the generic PI page, and linked from the various car accident pages to the generic car accident lawyer page!

(see image below)

This link building is not the only way to do it , nor am I saying it’s the right way to do it.

But you can see that link juice from various pages flows to the page, as it’s a stacked link-building structure (tier 1, tier 2, tier 3 backlinks – so becomes quite powerful).

And in about 3-4 months these pages popped into page 1 for national keywords. If you think about it , it made sense as these pages had trust (we had sent some generic links with URL anchor text as soon as the pages were indexed), relevance (links from relevant pages), power (the pages linking to these pages had powerful PBN backlinks themselves and the link juice flowed here) and age (we had created these national pages month 2 of the SEO campaign)!

By national , I mean if you search for the keywords from anywhere in the US they would come up on page 1 of the search results.

Some of the other tasks we performed are below. I am not going into detail with these.

Mobile Optimized/Responsive

Conversions / Usability

Other marketing strategies that to be omni-present

We suggested these to the client and they were impressed (not sure if they implemented any though!!)

I hope this case study has provided you a more of a clear path to ranking competitive keywords. LIke I mentioned , this is not the only way to do it nor is the best way, but it sure works!!

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Lets crush 2022!!

Saravanan Ganesh

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