Recently I have gotten several requests for clients who want to compete in the Los Angeles market. The LA market is appealing based on the sheer number of people in the city and it’s a great center to sign a lot of new personal injury cases for injury attorneys. But competing in such a market can also be very difficult and an uphill battle.
In this article, we will explore the law firms in the LA Market, what the competition is, and how your firm can succeed in such a saturated market. But to get started, let’s take a quick look at what you might be up against.
What Firms Are Marketing In Los Angeles?
Los Angeles is the biggest city in California with over 3,862,210 residents, more than twice the population of the next biggest city, San Diego. There are also 55,722 licensed attorneys in Los Angeles County under district two according to the California State Bar. This puts a lot of attorneys in a single market, many of whom operate solo or small law firms. But in addition to the smaller guys, there are also bigger law firms.
The Los Angeles County market also has a lot of “powerhouse” firms that have large marketing budgets with firms like:
- The Cochran Firm
- G Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher
- Irell & Manella
- K Kabateck Brown Kellner
- Kiesel Boucher
- Latham & Watkins
- Larry H Parker
Bigger firms mean bigger budgets and my research shows some personal injury attorneys spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a month trying to get in front of as many potential clients as possible.
What You Need to Know About Marketing in Los Angeles
When you choose to build your practice in a city like Los Angeles it’s important to know that while you can market here effectively you need to find the right strategy for your budget. Recently I had a conversation with a firm who wanted to dominate Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego but they only had a monthly spend of $4,000.
This dollar amount is significant because if you’re trying to rank number one for important search keywords that are going to bring in new business you have to catch up to the authority level that some of these websites have. While there is a lot of bad SEO out there, there are also law firms who are doing it the right way and investing in the right resources. This means that in this market you are competing against firms who have spent thousands of hours building strong websites and potentially millions of dollars to get where they are.
This has to be considered when you’re looking to compete in this market and it’s essential to create a plan that will give you the most bang for your buck.
What is the Best Strategy For Marketing a Firm in the LA Market?
The best strategy really depends on your short-term and long-term goals. If you’re looking to generate clients quickly I would point you to pay per click. Now since there are a lot of advertisers in this market this may not come cheap, but that’s why I also encourage a strong local and organic strategy. Below are examples of the real estate you have on a typical Google Search. I used the search term “personal injury lawyer” for this example.
Pay Per Click
The benefit of Pay Per Click is that you can turn the ads on right away. You pay each time someone clicks on your ad. Unfortunately personal injury ads are very expensive in Los Angeles and can cost $100+ each time someone clicks on your ad.
If you have a physical office in the area you’re trying to rank in you’re eligible to rank in the 3 pack (shown below). These show up for over 50% of searches. It will take time for you to overcome the competition here, but when you do you will know because your phone will start ringing.
Organic results are your biggest area of opportunity because organic results show up for 100% of searches. These will also take some time to rank for.
When you’re trying to be seen as an authority it’s best when your website, content, and links are aligned towards a single goal. If your office is in Encino, for example, and you focus on personal injury you could take the approach of being the best recognized Encino Personal Injury Lawyer as opposed to a firm that has a lot of practice areas and is trying to dominate multiple markets.
While it’s possible to compete in multiple markets you will see the better results faster by focusing your efforts on one geographic area and one practice area. Once you dominate this you can then think about how you want to expand (but you also may not need to).
Local Search Creates Opportunites
In the old days a law firm used to be able to rank for all keywords on a national level. These days though search is highly localized. Google knows your location whether you’re on a phone, tablet, or computer and they serve local results because they know searches usually have local intent. In the old days if I clicked on the first result for personal injury attorney I might get one in New York.
Now the results you see may differ from someone doing the same search down the block from you.
This creates more opportunities though for law firms than previously existed. Now proximity has an impact in where your law firm ranks. This is especially true for searches that contain a modifier like “near me”. (e.g.: bankruptcy attorney near me).
Since this is now the case and both organic and local results are localized you can really take advantage of my ideal strategy of trying to be recognized as an expert in one area. The other good news is that if you take this approach you can get the business your firm needs to thrive without the budget that might bankrupt it.
How Long Will It Take to Rank Organically in Los Angeles?
How long it takes to rank in LA will really depend on your marketing goals. If you’re more localized and specialized the results will come sooner. However, if you want a stronger presence across the city it will take time.
If you are a new firm starting with a new website you are looking at about a year of white hat SEO before you will start seeing results in the market. Although Google does not officially admit it evidence points to Google not providing a lot of ranking opportunities for new websites in competitive markets. You have to earn trust to rank well and build it up over time. You will start seeing very strong results with 2+ years of organic SEO efforts.
Looking to Compete in the Los Angeles Market?
At Juris Digital we have extensive experience helping our clients sign more cases in the most competitive areas. If you’re looking for help growing your firm and increasing your lead volume give us a call or shoot us an email for a free market evaluation.