Consumer search for legal services up 25% on February levels


London, 28 July, 2010 - The number of UK consumer online searches for legal-related services in May was up 25% from 1.2 million in February to 1.5 million, reveals the latest quarterly analysis of online search data by leading independent search and social marketing consulting and technology firm, Greenlight. The agency's quarterly 'Legal Sector Report May 2010', also reveals that totaling 1 million (65% of May volumes), generic keyword searches were the most queried with the terms 'solicitor' and 'solicitors' making up over 50% of these, the former term having increased markedly month-on-month since September 2009.

Greenlight used industry data and proprietary technology to identify and classify 1,000 of the most popular search terms used by UK consumers when they went online to find law firms for family, finance, business and negligence related matters. The data was also used to compile Greenlight's quarterly league tables. These rank the top 60 performing legal companies and aggregators visibility-wise, in both natural* and paid search**. Greenlight's research also ranked the 15 most proactive brands in social media.

Some key findings reveal:

  • Negligence keywords (including compensation claim terms) accounted for 320,722 searches in May (21%). 8% of searches for negligence keywords were for the terms 'Accident claims' and 'No win no fee'. Claims4free ranked at position one with a 70% share of visibility in natural search. YouClaim followed with 47%. A notable mover was FirstPersonalInjury. It increased its share of voice by 12% since Greenlight's February report which saw it ascend from position eight to four in Greenlight's league table
  • In finance law, the term 'Wills' and Conveyancing' accounted for 42% of the total search volume (71,000 in May). Wikipedia was the most visible site, increasing its share of voice by 20% since February. DirectGov followed although it lost 16% visibility over the same period
  • In family law, the most searched for term was 'Divorce' accounting for 33,100 searches in May. Of the top 20 websites, 15 were specialist online family solicitors or divorce advice websites
  • In business law, (including commercial finance and corporate dispute terms), RussellJones&Walker was the most visible firm, achieving 31% share of voice. Overall, search visibility for the top 20 websites in this segment was relatively low, compared to others. This according to Greenlight, indicates there is considerable market share to be gained in the online industry for many firms
  • NationalAccidentHelpline was the most visible advertiser in paid search in May. It attained 71% visibility, a 3% increase since February
  • As with natural search rankings, only 15 advertiser's websites in paid search were visible for more than 10% of legal-related searches in May indicating the massive gains to be made for many advertisers in the market

(Table 1 below shows Greenlight's top 10 of the 60 most visible legal websites in both natural and paid search. If you are unable to view it please contact the press office)

Table 1: Top 10 of the 60 most visible legal websites in both in natural and paid search, UK

No. Website/Advertiser Natural Search Paid Search
1 8% 71%
2 66% 0%
3 3% 55%
4 54% 0%
5 42% 0%
6 42% 0%
7 0% 41%
8 38% 0%
9 21% 17%
10 35% 0%

Source: Greenlight

To gauge social media interaction with brands, Greenlight monitored the Facebook and Twitter accounts of the top 15 brands in its integrated league table (Table 1, above), in order to assess how many 'fans' and 'followers' each has. Greenlight ranked brands based on the cumulative value of their 'fans' and 'followers', a score which it terms the Social Media Popularity Index (SMPI). It further analysed the proactivity of brands by considering the number of 'posts' and 'tweets' brands produced for consumers to interact with in May. Greenlight's SMPI reveals:

  • JustAnswer was the most followed brand in social media, with a combined following of over 36,000 on Facebook and Twitter; however, as it is a multi-channel brand, some content related to non-legal issues, such as veterinary advice
  • Prospects was the most interactive brand
  • QualitySolicitors utilised its Facebook and Twitter accounts as a point of contact for social media consumers to ask direct legal-related questions
  • Many legal brands utilised social networking relatively little; NationalAccidentHelpline and ContactLaw currently do not have official Facebook or Twitter accounts therefore both are missing out on vital interaction with social media consumers

(Table 2 below shows the most visible legal brands in social media s. If you are unable to read it, please contact the press office)

Table 2: Top 5 of 15 most visible legal brands in social media, UK

No. Brand Greenlight SMPI Facebook Post Per Month Twitter Tweets Per Month
1 374,411 6 11
2 36,249 36 10
3 2,343 1 56
4 1,005 N/A 30
5 284 0 25

Source: Greenlight

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