One of the biggest mistakes that law firms make when launching SEO campaigns is failing to define how they will measure and track the effectiveness of their campaigns. And those that do track "something," too often track the wrong something.
As I have said before, while I think “more data” is generally a good thing, people often concentrate on the wrong metrics.
On the internet, you can measure just about anything. There are a variety of tools you can use to measure your law firm SEO efforts. But not everything you measure will move the dial in terms generating return on investment.
You might think that tracking your law firm SEO campaign's rankings would be a decent indicator of effectiveness. But there are actually several problems with rank tracking that are making this metric less and less valuable.
First, search engines are constantly evolving. As part of this evolution, they are becoming better at serving personalized results to users based upon a variety of factors. Some of these factors relate to location. Others relate to social signals. The point is that there really is no such thing as a completely accurate ranking report. Ranking reports may be helpful to observe general trends in search engine positions, but they're not a key performance indicator of success of your campaign.
Second, rankings do not necessarily translate into traffic, inquiries or new business. If no one is searching for the keywords for which you rank, you will not get more traffic. Generally speaking, SEO does not create search demand (with a few very limited exceptions, think Santorum & Bush JR). I've seen SEOs that promise to get their clients to rank in extremely unrealistic time periods. Their "trick" is that they get clients to rank for keywords that have very low competition. And with that low competition comes very low to non-existent search volume. Which means no traffic.
You might also think that tracking the traffic generated by your firm's SEO campaign makes sense. And you'd be right. But like rankings, not all traffic is created equal.
First, you need to make sure that you are properly attributing your traffic to the correct source. In other words, don't judge the effectiveness of your organic efforts by measuring your traffic from paid search marketing (like Adwords).
Second, not even all organic search traffic is created equal. If you have an injury practice in Texas, chances are that those hundreds of visitors from Russia don't have injury cases in your state. You need to get down to your real traffic by filtering out traffic from places that aren't likely to be qualified visitors.
Finally, even after filtering down to your target location(s), the real analysis doesn't begin until you understand how the people that actually become inquiries and clients found your site. What words did they use to find you? What similar methods might other clients use to find you?
Track traffic? Yes. But make sure you understand what your visitor traffic is telling you.
Tracking conversions, actions and inquiries is a no-brainer. Motivating someone to take action in the real world is a critical component to web marketing for business.
I am constantly amazed by how many law firm SEO companies don't track and report on conversions. Whether it's phone calls, form submissions, emails, downloads or some other form of action, it's impossible to measure the effectiveness of your campaign without measuring the number and types of actions that visitors are taking when they arrive to your site from organic search results.
You may think it silly that this is even a question. Of course track new clients. But don't just track your number of open cases. Connect the dots.
Start with a new client. Think about the financial ramifications of taking on this client. Understand how that client found you. Calculate what you invested to acquire that client.
If, over time, the economic value of the clients that contacted you after finding you from organic search results exceeds the time and money that you have invested in your law firm SEO campaign, it's working. And that's what you should be tracking.
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