We've been talking about Rankings ≠ Traffic ≠ Inquiries ≠ Clients for about as long as I can remember. And yet, we still regularly run into vendors pitching rankings and traffic. The truth is, most of the time most meaningful gains don't come from "rankings" per se, or even traffic. They come from conversion rate optimization improvements.
In fairness, there's a lot of overlap between rankings, traffic, and conversion improvement. Obviously, one way to improve conversion rates is to earn rankings and traffic for queries that match the right search intent. But let's put that aside for a moment. What I'm talking about are things you can do on your pages to increase the number of people who take the desired action once they've already arrived.
No, we're not talking about the intentional tort. In the context of digital marketing, a conversion is:
A conversion is the general term for a visitor completing a site goal. Goals come in many shapes and sizes. If you use your website to sell products, the primary goal (known as the macro-conversion) is for the user to make a purchase. There are smaller conversions that can happen before a user completes a macro-conversion, such as signing up to receive emails. These are called micro-conversions.- Moz
For law firms, we usually talk about the following goal conversions:
We also talk about the following micro-conversions:
Put simply, conversion rate optimization includes all the stuff you can do to get more people who visit your pages to call or otherwise contact you to become a client.
Unless you and your vendor are just going to guess, there are two reliable ways to improve conversion:
You can read more about each of these at the Moz post linked-above. I'm going to briefly focus on quantitative research here. Put simply, we're talking Google Analytics Goals. Here's a video from Google:
Like I said, we tend to focus on phone calls, forms, and live chat requests. For this post, I'm going to stick with phone calls. Which means you need to have a call tracking goal configured. We prefer visitor-level call tracking. I also prefer to filter our GA goal to first-time callers. That helps weed-out a lot of the regular "noise" calls that you might get. Keep in mind it's a not perfect 1-to-1 that all first-time callers are potential clients. However, directionally, this is a pretty good metric for conversion rate optimization (CRO).
Combine first-time call tracking with UTMs in your GMB profiles and you can track the number of phone calls that originate from people who clicked-through your GMB listing from a Google search. 🔥
Now we have to "do stuff" to our pages to try to get more of the people who visit our pages to call us. Here are some things we might try:
Of course, the key here is to track the impact of these changes over time. Assume nothing. Sure, start with best practices, but actually test those best practices for yourself. What your target audience prefers on your site isn't necessarily what "the industry" says works. Test outside the box. Maybe they don't want to call you at all!
In any event, if you're in a competitive online landscape (practice area and/or location), you're probably spending quite a bit of time and money "doing stuff" to get more people to your pages. This year, take a step back and analyze your data. Consider deploying more resources on improving conversion, not just rankings and traffic.