There are many bad actors out there that know law firms are bringing in good money and are ready to pounce to take advantage of that. Having an understanding of some of these metrics can keep you from being preyed upon by those with malicious intentions. It’s easy to present some BS metrics and skew information. Precision Legal Marketing and Rank Ranger have teamed up to dispel some of that bad information.
In fact, legal marketing is a totally different playing field from traditional marketing or ecommerce marketing. So, what search metrics matter and which are just fluff? How do you determine conversions for law firms? Steve and Mordy have provided us with some great information.
If you’re in the marketing industry you know how valuable a good (low) bounce rate is for a website. If you’re a lawyer just trying to understand what’s what, a bounce rate is a metric found in Google Analytics. It is a term used in web traffic representing the percentage of visitors who visit your website and then leave after viewing only one page on your site rather than clicking off to view other pages on your website.
In the above image we can see that over the last month there were 5,318 users and of those 5,318 users 66.7% of them clicked off of the website after viewing only one page. These numbers are pretty normal for a law firm.
A high bounce rate is not a good thing and is usually indicative that a website’s home page or landing page aren’t relevant to your visitors or that your website isn’t user friendly. A common misconception is that a high bounce rate can lead to a lower ranking in the search engines. The truth is the bracket for a “good” bounce rate will vary based on the industry. For law firms, bounce rates tend to average between 50 to 70 percent.
Precision Legal Marketing founder Steve Long explains why:
“…the fact is when people look for legal services, it’s kind of like when you buy a car. They’re doing a little bit of research first and then they’re making a decision. The stats are out there that people look at 3-4 attorneys online before making a choice, so you see that pop up in the metrics. You see a high bounce rate; you see time on site of one and a half to two minutes. People just don’t spend a lot of (actual)time researching, they try to solve their problem quickly.
Well, we’re not in the e-commerce business, so our conversion rate is very different. One of the things that’s unique about law firms is you can never really go into Google Analytics and set up a conversion goal that has any dollar amount attached to it. To a lot of people (in the SEO world), that’s a totally foreign concept. How do you measure ROI? You measure ROI by being communicative with your client trying to find out who of their leads turn into a case. So, I think that’s unique in our business. We spend a lot of time with our clients educating them on what a conversion is and how to follow that conversion path from an SEO perspective all the way down into a law firm business perspective.”
How Do Law Firms Measure Conversions?
Conversions for law firms aren’t going to measure the same way as traditional marketing likes to determine. You’re not going to find accurate conversion rates in your Google Analytics account for your law firm as you’re not (normally) selling anything through your website. So, how do you measure conversions for law firms – or any other similarly positioned business in the services industry?
The answer to this comes down to communication between the marketing agency and the client. Well, that and a few other services. Precision Legal Marketing offers clients a live chat service in addition to call tracking services. Many law firms are turning to offering chat services on their website, but where does it go? Are they talking to a human when they chat? What do those representatives say to the leads? Similarly, the call tracking feature allows your marketing team to see how people are finding your law firm, allowing further conversion analysis. As covered in our FindLaw series, many marketing companies will simply try and count every phone call as a conversion they were responsible for. This is wrong and has long term effects on a firms marketing abilities.
The most legitimate method to measure conversions is to integrate the firms marketing with their case management software. This way you can at least track conversions that turn into a consult and then into a case. This works well for some but not all practice areas. For PI, this is a slam dunk; you can even extract (over time) the value of the case. But with other practice areas it’s just not possible.
There are a lot of innovative ways in which you can measure conversions for law firms, but without having good communication with your client, it’s all kind of a stalemate.
Keywords and SEO – Search Engine Ranking
Many law firms understand the value of a blog section on their website. It’s one way of continuing to build on those valuable keywords to drive your website to a coveted top position in the search engines, like Google. When someone queries “divorce lawyer in Virginia Beach”, where will your ‘family law’ practicing law firm show up? Page 1 or page 10? Most users won’t go past page one and if they do, statistics show they don’t typically go past page three at all.
What is the overall goal to search engine ranking though? To drive traffic. It’s not enough to simply rank well on the search engines, you want those rankings to drive traffic to your website and hopefully convert those users to clients.
Are you ranking for keywords that your potential clients are actually using? Mordy made an excellent point during the podcast when he said:
“Rank is a joke. I remember, during the height of the COVID-19 crisis, I was looking at some travel keywords and all these sites are ranking number one for keywords that no one is entering into Google. Where are you traveling to? What hotel are you booking?”
The legal industry saw exactly the same thing. During COVID-19, the legal industry saw spikes in domestic violence, divorces, child support issues for those facing financial hardship as well as child custody disputes, to name a few. What happens if the parent who has full custody was a healthcare worker on the frontlines of the pandemic? By answering questions that users were actually searching for several law firms were able to find a huge increase in traffic during all of this. The below chart documents many indices, but key in on the overall traffic increase of the Covid related content.
Ranking for keywords can be challenging. Broad keywords such as “divorce lawyer” can be difficult to rank for – especially as a smaller, local law firm. Steve had this to say on it:
“The key thing to keep in mind for anybody out there, either in the SEO business or small business owners listening; these keywords that we’re playing with are extremely difficult to rank for. So as a local law firm owner, you have to wade in the same water as all the other big fish. It’s this small law firm and the medium-sized local law firm that may have three, four, or five offices. If you’re a solo guy sitting up the street in your 2000 square foot office, you’ve got to compete against the depth and breadth of that law firm. And that’s really difficult because they’re all the same keywords.”
Optimize It or Disavow It?
In marketing for the legal sector, there’s a right way and a wrong way. The wrong way could get your website flagged as “spammy” causing you to face penalties with the search engines. In fact, it’s possible for your Google My Business listing to get flagged as spammy and with everything that’s going on right now, it could take around 45 days for your account to be unsuspended. It is 100% worth it to do things right the first time.
After a law firm has been burned by a marketing agency who charged a fortune but delivered very little, it can be difficult to show them that there is value in marketing – when done correctly. Steve had this to say:
“I can’t tell you how many situations I’ve been in where we’ll get called in to consult and it’s the same old thing. They’re looking for an SEO agency and they want a top-down analysis of what they have. So, we look at what they’ve been doing in the past and we show them a backlink report, we show them traffic metrics, and we’re really digging under the hood. They have no idea. And it’s not their fault. Mordy, we’re like doctors. We’re doing a CT scan on their website. So, sometimes you have to have tough conversations with folks.”
To receive a complimentary scan of your website, get in touch today. We believe in marketing the right way and have a proven track record. Get in touch today by calling 1-877-602-7510 or by sending us a secure message through our website. We even have a live chat feature for those who are so inclined.