By Lea Pachta

Greenlight, the UK’s leading independent specialist search engine optimisation (SEO) and pay per click (PPC) consulting firm, has released its first quarterly integrated research report for the legal sector, ‘Legal Sector Report — Issue 1 February 2010’.

This research is based on 1.2 million consumer online searches in Google performed in February 2010, for legal-related keywords, with a focus on generic keywords, business law, family law, finance law and negligence. The data was then used to rank the 60 most visible websites and aggregators on page one of Google’s search results in both natural and paid search.

Using industry data, Greenlight’s research identified and analysed 1,000 of the most popular search terms used by consumers to find legal services in February 2010. Generic keyword searches for legal services were the most searched for, accounting for 729,000 searches which was 60% of the total volume. This according to Greenlight, indicates that multi-channel legal firms should consider these terms in order to capture a large share of the overall market. Negligence-related legal searches followed with 303,391 (25%). With a 9% share, family law followed with 111,480 queries (9%).

In natural search, Wikipedia, and were the three most visible websites, achieving 56%, 48% and 38% share of voice, respectively. Only ten websites were visible for more than 11% of legal-related searches, which according to Greenlight indicates there are massive gains to be made for many players within the online market.

The paid search section of the report determined an advertiser’s share of voice based on how often they appeared on Google, which ad position they bid for and the search volume generated for the keywords they bid on. The ranking represents visibility across the top five keywords in February 2010.

NationalAccidentHelpline was the most visible advertiser, attaining 68% visibility. It was followed by ContactLaw with 47% then AccidentsDirect with 42%. Of the top ten advertisers, four were negligence law firms, three were lawyer and law firm directories, two were multi-channel firms and one was a conveyancing service.

No site or advertiser achieved strong visibility across both mediums. It appears that online legal services focused on either natural or paid search, not both.

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