Our friends at Custom Legal Marketing (CLM) recently released a report that examined the highest-ranking personal injury law firms in America's major cities.
They chose keywords related to car accidents to conduct the study, which focused on the actual website designs of the top two websites for those keywords in cities across the country. It's an interesting perspective, since ranking studies usually look at other factors -- like links, local citations and offsite elements.
The report also measured how the popular do-it-yourself website builders performed in a highly competitive landscape.
Here is what CLM was looking for:
Newer Site Design: How many websites have designs that are less than two years old?
Custom Site Design: How many top-ranking websites were custom-designed for the firm?
Responsiveness: What percentage of these websites have responsive designs?
WordPress CMS: What percentage of high-ranking law firms use WordPress?
Premade Elements: What percentage use pre-made themes or templates?
DIY Site Builders: What percentage use DIY website tools like Squarespace, Wix, Weebly or the hosted WordPress.com solution?
And here is what they found:
Newer Site Design (less than 2 years): 65 percent
Custom Site Design: 80 percent
Responsiveness: 70 percent
WordPress CMS: 50 percent
Premade Elements: 15 percent
DIY Site Builders: 5 percent
The CLM Lab study discusses details related to each of those sectors in its full report, but here's a brief overview:
Newer Site Design: More than half of the reviewed personal injury websites had newer designs.
Custom Site Design: Custom is king in the top tier of Google search results. With 80 percent of top-ranking injury sites being fully custom, it’s obvious that most of the top sites have taken their competitive position very seriously.
Responsiveness: Most of the websites that made the cut were responsive, and the majority of the sites that were not responsive did at least offer a mobile-friendly version.
WordPress CMS: Half of today’s top-ranked firms are letting WordPress power their websites. The other half is not dominated by any single application.
Premade Elements: Some high-ranking law firms did opt for template or premade- theme-based websites. These sites account for 15% of the top-ranking personal injury sites. Researches pointed out that this strategy primarily works in smaller cities. We should note that a template-based website is very different from our SEO | Law Firm Semi-Custom websites. Those are considered customized designs, built on a framework, not cookie-cutter templates that are installed and edited in a few hours.
DIY Site Builders: In this group, making up just 5 percent of the results, the most popular solution was the hosted WordPress solution offered by Automattic. These sites required a lot of extra work to get to the top, and they were only found in cities that had approximately 380,000 residents or less.
Our friends at Custom Legal Marketing have provided us with some valuable insight which shows us what the top of the Google search results page looks like for the most competitive keyphrase in the country.