Google has stopped Irwin Mitchell from appearing in its search results, apparently because of the firm's marketing tactics.

The personal injury firm's paid-for advert still pops up if people search for its name. But Irwin Mitchell doesn't appear in Google's normal search results. Nor, at the time of going to press, does it appear when users type in key terms like "Medical Negligence Solicitors", which used to bring up Irwin Mitchell first. Now Google suggests rival PI firm Slater & Gordon instead. Ouch.

An insider tells RollOnFriday this has created "massive panic" in the firm because, as its BD Director said in December, a "significant proportion" of Irwin Mitchell's personal injury business flows through its website. Or it did, until Google turned off the tap.

    Irwin Mitchell losing at the internet yesterday

IM's headache appears to be due to an, ahem, innovative digital marketing campaign which involved spraying the web with links to the firm in spammy blogs, comments and forum posts, such as this:


In the past, the more links there were to a website from other sites, the higher it ranked on Google. But when Google noticed that vendors of fake Louboutins and penis enlargement solutions, and, erm, a PI law firm, seemed to be using such strategies to artificially inflate their prominence, it changed its algorithm and started to penalise the guilty parties by booting them off its search results.

A spokesman for Irwin Mitchell recommended using Bing instead said, "we are aware of the situation and are working closely with our digital agency to deal with it".

Tip Off ROF


Anonymous 31 January 14 08:21

A sign of sheer desperation. It is costing them more and more to get cases through the door so they are prepared to resort to this sort of thing. I cannot see how this firm can maintain its ranking because the Jackson reforms have dealt it a hammer blow and the work pipeline is now being slowed to some dubious marketing. There does not seem to be a plan B so one can only conclude that the firm is only going to go one way.

Anonymous 31 January 14 08:48

"I'm with Irwin Mitchell (banned by Google)".
On a day management ought to be congratulating themselves on not retaining the Golden Turd award they will be trying to find a way to appease Google. In the meantime Slater & Gordon are hoovering up the internet based PI leads.
This smacks of a lack of focus and control at senior management level and the retirement of key individuals at the firm seems to be taking its toll.

Anonymous 31 January 14 13:07

I can't believe that the BD director 'Ian the power Powell' let this happen, costing the firm £ms seem to be his hobby... Advert with a bloke in a wheel chair to the music... stand by me. I'm with Irwin Mitchell, just can't find them.

Anonymous 31 January 14 15:13

It's pointless people at I'm with Irwin Mitchell pointing fingers at the BD Director, they must have some form of head of digital? Someone looking after the deal with the agency. Then again who made the final choice of agency?

IM or is that I'm, made unbelievable moves into digital early on they were one of the first to look at PPC and pushed SEO, and nothing like this happened, perhaps the other agency played by the rules.

Seems like the new agency did a great job initially but were caught out by Google, the pressure to get to number one is massive and so is the pressure to use dodgy techniques is massive.

I wonder how much money this is costing though? Bet it will have an affect on the bottom line.

Anonymous 31 January 14 19:32

The firm has lots of "heads" but no heads will roll over this as there is no accountability

Anonymous 31 January 14 19:54

Anonymous user

At some point someone will have to take hold of the issue, this is costing them, any manager / director who oversees such an historical bollocks should walk, they have no credibility left.

This is a Ratner moment, the Hoover offer disaster, it's 'New Coke', it's OMG,what a mess, who the hell can I blame! Reputations in tatters.

Anonymous 31 January 14 21:30

You are not going to be the top PI firm for long if you fail to look after your core business. Maybe too busy focussing on the sub scale business division? Whatever the reason the firm seems to be losing its way and it's a good job the PE boys didn't invest as they wouldn't have tolerated this and there would have been a clear out.

Anonymous 01 February 14 08:26

I shall put "injury" into my search engine every day and laugh each time the second biggest PI firm in the country fails to appear

Anonymous 01 February 14 14:53

Being someone that works at IM (and that's Irwin Mitchell, not I'm), this is an issues that will be sorted, our head of BD is a decent bloke and I have never had issues with him.

All these negative comments are for people who probably work in smaller and not at the same grade as we are.

Anonymous 01 February 14 19:40

We might work at smaller firms but at least we feature when injury is typed into Google! Big and daft? Small and shrewd? Take your pick

Anonymous 01 February 14 19:54

The head of IT might have an issue with you if he was a grammatical pedant! I'm laughing at the mess you are making if your business. The work is drying up due to google banning you, who do you think will suffer? Those at the top or the grunts at the bottom?

Anonymous 02 February 14 10:12

Doesn't the firm get most of its work from insurers referring cases to them? The loss of the on line profile will hurt but doesn't most of the work come down the referral route? How do you get listed again? How long does it take?

Anonymous 02 February 14 11:53

Yes a lot of the PI work comes via the insurance network, but that is more low value PI RTA work. The real money making work is the clin neg work and a massive amount of that is driven by searches online, it's why PPC for these terms cost between £10 and £100 that's each click! If a cases is worth £90k, worth it.

Getting back on Google 3 to 6 months usually. IM will be losing about £750k a week on organic, so 3 months about £9m or about 4% of turnover, now that would cost someone their job in the real world, being a law firm the BD director will blame someone else rather than doing the right thing.

It is a hell of a lot of work, it's cleaning up the back link profile, checking all the links that point to their site, making sure they are from good quality and relivant sites.

Sad thing is IM are sacking some of the BD team to try and keep revenue close to £2m, they will have to lay a lot off to save the £9m they are probably going to lose.

Anonymous 02 February 14 16:03

I don't think a lot of people realise that jobs and reputations lay in tatters because of this, the digital team at IM is always going to be the laughing stock of the digital world. The B2C legal world is very competitive, not in the same league as travel but it's very competitive and the poor digital team at IM are tarred by this big time. The people that should face the music will get away with this farce, the head of BD.

Anonymous 02 February 14 16:18

That's the cash cost but what about the reputation all cost and more importantly the cost of your competitors stealing a march on you. I just don't understand why they would take a business risk like this.

Anonymous 03 February 14 08:32

Yes reputations lay in tatters but calling for heads is harsh, so Irwim Mitchell don't appear on Google anymore even when you search for their name. What they should stick with is advertising in the yellow pages, sure that's a5 a level even the head of BD can manage.

I do feel sorry for all the partners knowing that they will probably be 20% down, good job it's not a plc.

Anonymous 03 February 14 15:33

Shows a real lack of direction, headless chickens, where is the decisive action, where is the response to the news that the firm is no longer showing on Google, they are working on it with the blo**y agency that got them into this mess in the first place.

If I worked there I would want a response from the BD Director, what is being done, this is eating into my kids private school fees for Christ sake, if this was a football team and the manager had screwed up so badly he would be out.

Can anyone remember the days when people took responsibility for messing up, it seems like a long time ago when someone held up their hands, accepted the blame and did the right thing.

Anonymous 03 February 14 22:38

This is all a bit of a storm in a tea cup, why losing 8/9% of your turnover would be a problem to the cash starved partners at Irwin Mitchell !!! Laugh, this is the funnest story for a while, just a shame they missed out on the turd.

Partners at IM what would a 8% drop mean to you? You won't hit £200m this year, not without cooking the books in some way.

Head of BD, he won't be bothered, he hasn't got a clue, he is like that bloke from Father Ted... The partners wont get rid of him, it will be the ecomms head that will take this one, Teflon Powell never lets anything stick to him. The lights are on but no one at home.

Anonymous 04 February 14 23:08

Surely RoF should run the "IM back on Google" book with the winner successfully predicting how long the PI giant will remain in the cyber wilderness. The winner could perhaps be invited into the IM trophy room to view the golden turd and meet key individuals behind this latest debacle. I will go first. I think the firm will spend 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness whilst being tempted by thoughts of a merger in the hope that a merger would go some way to helping everybody forget what a huge mess this is.

Anonymous 15 February 14 17:42

The story is all over the internet with geek sorts getting very excited about it. Why would a law firm do this? Do they have no appreciation of the value of their name and brand? It portrays them as underhand, unscrupulous and frankly grubby. Whilst this will be hitting them in the pocket the long term reputational damage as people recall the PI firm banned by Google will be immeasurable. Either those managing the firm new it was going on and should be removed because they endorsed it or they should be removed because they don't know what's going on under their noses.

Anonymous 13 November 15 22:22

"Reputation in tatters" what reputation?! You can't polish a turd unless it's a golden one...