Author: Sam Borrett | Date: 6 June 2019

Law Firms Affected By Latest Google Updates

Slater and Gordon, Injury Lawyers 4U, and NAH suffer big losses in latest Google updates.

Has your business been hit by the new Google update?  Many legal sector websites have suffered as a result of the ongoing rollout of Google’s latest algorithm changes this month.

We track 100 of the top personal injury keyword searches and can see the affects on some of the biggest players in the market.

Among the losers are National Accident Helpline, Slater and Gordon, and Injury Lawyers 4 U.  The firms to benefit from the change include Wright Hassall, First 4 Lawyers, and Digby Brown.

As you can see the search sensors have been volatile over the last week or so and in June the legal sector was particularly affected due to the way Google targeted specific types of content.

Your Money or Your Life

Web pages that focus on money issues or personal issues (legal advice, personal injury, financial advice etc) are referred to as YMYL pages – Your Money or Your Life.

These would include personal injury websites and law firms in general of course.

Google considers the following as examples of YMYL content:

  • Shopping websites or those with financial transaction functionality
  • Financial information such as investments or tax advice
  • Medical and health information
  • Legal information

Google also considers the impact of providing low quality advice and information so the emphasis on EAT content (expertise, authority, trust) is even greater.

Interestingly two of the biggest losers based on industry data are My Lawyer and Rocket Lawyer – something ‘traditional’ law firms might like to know.

How Injured is the Personal Injury Sector?

Most of the law firms have seen at least slight increases in visibility in the last week with Wright Hassall leading that charge and enjoying a 50% improvement in visibility.

We track 20 of the main personal injury websites – a combination of law firms and marketing companies – across the top 100 personal injury search terms.

Our data (collected through SEMrush) shows some significant gains and some substantial drops in the search rankings across these terms since the Google update began its roll out at the beginning of June 2019.

The data is based on visibility of that website across all the search terms we’re tracking.  Some of these keyword searches include:

  • No win no fee solicitors – 5,400 searches per month
  • Claim whiplash – 4,400 searches per month
  • Personal injury claim – 4,400 searches per month
  • Injury lawyers – 3,600 searches per month
  • Personal injury solicitor – 2,400 searches per month

The table below shows the percentage change in visibility between 31 May and 6 June for each of the companies we’re monitoring.

We’ve also broken down the 20 firms and grouped them based on their total visibility so you can compare and contrast their performance.

The first chart shows the dichotomy of fortunes among the better performing websites.  These five enjoy the best level of visibility across the 100 personal injury keywords we monitor.

While National Accident Helpline see huge falls and Slater and Gordon drop to a lesser extent, Accident Claims Advice benefits from a nice bump in rankings.  Bott and Co and Irwin Mitchell both see slight gains.

The winners in this chart below are Digby Brown and First 4 Lawyers, who see a bigger increase in percentage terms than Digby Brown but are still below them in terms of overall visibility.

We have six firms in this chart as they are all performing at a similar level since the update.  However, the mood in the Wright Hassall office will be better than the mood at Injury Lawyers 4U – who will no doubt see this Google change as a ‘right hassle’ (sorry).

There is less fluctuation with the remaining four firms with Simpson Millar and Stephensons enjoying welcome gains and an unwelcome drop for Leigh Day.

What Does the Google Update Mean For My Law Firm?

A drop in rankings from the top of page 1 to the bottom, or further down, can be significant to the bottom line in terms of generating claims through your website.

Traffic will decrease, claim intake will decrease, and revenue will be affected.

Even those firms with slight increases, if they are not in the top 4 or 5 positions in Google then traffic levels will be considerably lower.

If you rely on traffic from Google for any amount of claim intake then you are vulnerable to Google’s continual updates.

To mitigate this risk you should make sure you are always following SEO best practice and consider working on building your brand through content marketing, social media, and PR – all good alternative sources of website traffic if your rankings do take a hit.

If you want to know more about the recent Google updates or how your site can improve in rankings, conversions, and law firm marketing performance in general, then get in touch and we’ll help you out.