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“Rankings.io outperformed all of my expectations. Even on the best day, I didn’t expect them to do this well.”
- Matthew Dolman, Esq. Owner, Dolman Law Group
2022: Our work and the success of this firm continues. You’ll find updated results and details at the end of this case study.
Sketchy SEO firms fail to deliver results
Few SEO niches are as challenging and cutthroat as personal injury and civil litigation.
It’s a fact that Matthew Dolman, owner at Dolman Law Group, knows all too well. For years, his firm had been battling for clients and rankings against big-name competitors.
But unlike the volume-oriented “settlement mills” that dominated the space, Dolman Law Group was known as a team of litigation bulldogs, with trial-tested attorneys giving every case personal attention to win its full worth.
Still, Matthew knew that in order to grow, the firm couldn’t continue to rely on word of mouth or professional referrals.
He also knew that he didn’t want to spend six figures on billboard, radio, and TV ads which are difficult to track in an already- saturated market.
Nor did the expense and volatility of an online pay-per-click campaign appeal to him, making search engine optimization (SEO) the most attractive option.
But after numerous years—and multiple tries—working with different SEO companies, Dolman’s online presence was a total mess.
Past vendors—and unscrupulous competitors—had built thousands of spammy links to Dolman’s site, badly damaging Google’s trust in the domain and dragging down its rankings to the point where the site was at serious risk of being penalized.
The site’s architecture was jumbled and confusing, making it difficult to navigate. This frustrated leads and dampened Dolman’s search rankings even further.
Even when the site DID rank, the keywords being targeted weren’t attracting the right types of visitors.
And, as one SEO firm after another tinkered with their content in an attempt to rank, the knowledgeable, helpful tone with which Dolman treats its clients was completely destroyed.
Things got so bad, Matthew had to invest his own limited time and energy into trying to learn SEO so he could understand what was being done—or not being done—by those he’d hired.
“I’ve had to teach myself about search engine rankings. It’s like a whole different language,” explains Matthew. “It’s like meeting a mechanic when you know nothing about cars... you nod your head, but you don’t really know what they’re talking about."
“And that’s how I felt after a while. I was being charged for things that were redundant. Some things were not being done, they were taking advantage of consumers who didn’t know any better. I was feeling really ripped off.”
Despite having been burned before, Matthew’s hopes were renewed when he heard through the grapevine of an SEO firm that specialized solely in website optimization for attorneys.
Matthew reached out to Chris Dreyer and his team at Rankings.io, hoping they could provide the same type of service Dolman offers its clients: winning results with a personal touch.
“[Unethical SEOs] were taking advantage of consumers who didn’t know any better. I was feeling really ripped off.”
Dolman Law Group
A transparent partner with a proven, ethical approach
Specializing in attorney websites, SEO firm Rankings.io uses a customized Attorney Ranking System methodology to get legal websites on the front page of search rankings.
Chris and his team immediately offered two things to Matthew that other firms hadn’t: a clear process and transparency.
Rankings.io promised to let Matthew know what they were doing and how they were doing it, with regular reporting on results—the clarity Matthew craved, which past firms couldn’t provide. Rankings.io would also encourage the Dolman team to get involved in the process.
Satisfied that he wouldn’t be left in the dark or charged for ineffective work, Matthew signed on.
“We were looking for the entire gamut—everything from organic rankings, to amplifying our blogs, to increasing our social media presence,” Matthew says.
“Rankings.io was able to help us in all those areas—increasing the domain authority of our website on page ranking sites and really strengthening our website.”
Rankings.io implemented a process they have perfected over the past half-decade and customized for the unique challenges facing attorneys in different areas of practice.
Here’s what they did:
- An SEO audit: unearthing the site’s core issues and clearly explaining them to the client.
- Onsite SEO: optimizing the site’s content for keywords that would actually convert visitors and bring in qualified leads—one of Dolman’s main goals.
- A Customized Link-Building Strategy: cleaning up spam links so newly built links wouldn't be drowned out by years of unethical ones.
- Authority-Building: producing and syndicating strategic content for the niche, building Dolman’s online voice and giving them a reputation for subject matter expertise online.
- Editing Local Listings: cleaning up local listings and helped Dolman Law earn consistent citations across the web.
- Impeccable Communication: Throughout the entire process, Dolman received regular reports written in plain English that showed how each step of the plan was being executed legitimately and with purpose.
- Empowering Education: Rankings.io also taught Dolman's team how to use tools like Ahrefs and Moz's Open Site Explorer. This allowed them to get a real-time look at how their link count and domain authority were changing over time. With this training, Dolman no longer had to take SEO agencies at their word (as is expected among less reputable SEO “experts”), and could monitor the results for themselves.
It was seamless. I’d known companies who’d hired other firms with all kinds of issues. We really didn’t have any problems whatsoever.
Dolman Law Group
400% more organic cases from search engines
Dolman Law Group won multiple first-page rankings for location-based keywords and phrases, including “car accident lawyer” and “car accident attorney.”
Year over year, organic traffic skyrocketed from just 3,076 sessions to over 13,000—more than quadruple the volume.
But it wasn’t just volume: that traffic generated high-quality leads from discerning customers.
In fact, Dolman began welcoming 20 or more new cases per month from the site, versus 3–5 in years prior. That 400% greater intake represents up to $170,000 in added attorney fees billed per month.
Dolman’s rankings have also drastically improved on account of the successful link-building and authoritative content creation.
When Matthew compares the ROI he’s getting from Rankings.io against virtually any other channel, SEO is the winner by a mile.
“If you look at big firms that are putting tons of advertising money, commercials across all different mediums ... small firms often can’t keep up with that,” Matthew says.
“But we’re getting a bigger bang for our buck with organic search results. If we’re spending 15 or 20 cents to every dollar, my competitors are probably spending 90 cents on traditional media like billboards, radio and TV. It just can’t compare.”
Plus, he adds, “These are clients that have an inherent level of trust in you—they’ve researched you, and they come in knowing they can trust you.”
That existing level of trust means Dolman’s team doesn’t have to work as hard to close the deal and can focus on customer care instead of sales.
Best of all, the Dolman team feels empowered.
“Rankings.io made us feel like part of the process. They don’t do anything without explaining it to us or showing us follow- up reports. And not only is the communication better, the quality of work is better too.”
Dolman Law Group
Update 2022: An Experiment That Proved the Worth of Rankings.io
After seven years with Rankings.io, Dolman Law Group got lured away by another SEO firm. Hearing them promise to blow Rankings’ results out of the water, Matt was curious.
But he soon found out their claims didn’t hold up.
The other agency didn’t understand the customized strategy that Rankings had developed for Dolman Law Group. Using data-backed approaches, Chris and his team had spent years optimizing iterations to help Google perceive the firm’s website as a high-value resource.
Without that understanding, the new agency made ill-advised changes that gravely hurt the firm’s rankings. Within just five months, organic traffic, leads from organic search, and Ahrefs value had plummeted.
Most analysts would expect it to take at least 6 months to see the results of the new agency’s changes. But because Dolman’s site was so large and had a strong SEO history, it was crawled frequently, and the indexes caught the downturn sooner.
Knowing that 80% of Dolman Law Group’s signings came from Google search, Matt reached out to Rankings and asked them to set things right.
What Went Wrong
Rankings performed an audit and identified seven mistakes the other agency was making that were tanking Dolman Law Group’s SEO results:
- Breadcrumbs linking to irrelevant pages
- Indexing tag, category, and archive pages
- Incorrectly editing over 100 of the firm’s top title tags
- Removing popular pages from menus
- Failing to fix 4 suspended locations on Google Maps
- Uploading an unnecessary disavow file
- Letting top-ranked linkable assets fall out of sight
How Rankings Made It Right
The Rankings team worked quickly to correct the mistakes and get Dolman Law Group back on top of the search page. They updated the indexing, fixed the menus, and worked with Google to make sure all locations were verified.
They also refreshed the firm’s previous 200 top-ranking pages with new copy, new title tags, and improved internal links. Finally, they restarted their strategy of high-value link-building, making sure to increase both quality and quantity to rebuild the firm’s powerful SEO real estate.
Back to Flourishing in SEO
Within just four months, Rankings restored and even surpassed Dolman Law Group’s previous SEO success:
- 310% increase in Ahrefs traffic value
- 42% increase in phone calls from organic SEO
- 220% increase in visitors from organic traffic
Again, Rankings’ fixes disproved the industry lore about a 6-month delay to see SEO results. Because Dolman Law Group’s site was well-established and crawled frequently, the efforts brought swift returns.
Matt was thrilled to have their organic lead pipeline restored. Although his client intake department got momentarily overwhelmed with demand, he knew it was the right thing for the future of Dolman Law Group. He’s already planning next steps with Rankings.io, including strategic initiatives around Camp Lejeune and other new mass torts, and promoting new locations throughout the state of Florida.
Dolman Law Group’s Results with Rankings vs. the other agency