Thursday, September 26, 2013

Say Goodbye To #attorney Website Keyword Analysis

There is an old saying in business that you cannot manage what you cannot measure. If you are an attorney and look at your website analytics, you may have noticed something dramatically different over the past few months.  Over the years, most attorneys will do a quick read of their website analytics and look at things such as overall website traffic, search traffic, bounce rates, content page performance and keywords.  Keywords took a particular interest to many because it provided a simple insight as to what people where typing into the search engines when they landed on a website. The problem is what Google has changed the game …again.


When reviewing search keyword performance, many #attorneys have noticed a trend over the past few years where (not provided) has continued to increase and now dwarf the other keywords listed. Google started by “hiding” this information in 2011 for signed-in search users and just a few months ago and now extended this to all users – even those who are not signed-in to Google.  What does this mean? According to Search Engine Land, upwards of 74% of all keyword data is now “Not Provided” by Google. I ran a similar test on a couple of my client sites (see example) and noticed that over the past year-over-year comparison, I have seen a roughly 75% increased in (not provided) traffic data. When I isolate this data down to just Google, I am seeing similar results as the study provided above.


As we have pointed out many times before, Google is not in the business to help anybody more than Google.  95+% of their revenues come from paid advertising, which you buy directly or indirectly from Google by the way. Google’s major competition is from organic search results which typically provide a higher ROI and they know it – that is why they are trying to shrink it down to oblivion.  The fact that they are now not providing keyword search data is yet another in a long line of trends to confuse and frustrate advertisers to a point where they end up buying more paid advertising…from Google of course.


If you are active in #attorneymarketing online, there are a few things to consider moving forward:

1.) Stop relying on search keyword data to measure performance.  The 665 changes Google made to their search algorithm in 2012 should be a clear indicator that keyword chasing and ranking is heavily frowned upon and now can be severely penalized.  Attorneys would be much wiser to focus in on analyzing practice area entry page data, traffic sources, conversion rates, and overall ROI. After all, why advertise in the first place

without ROI? What does a keyword really do for you beyond measuring a tanker by staring at its wake?

2.) If you have to rely on keyword data, draw it from the places that continue to provide it such as from Yahoo and Bing. If you run PPC, make sure to connect it with your Google analytics because, surprise, Google WILL provide you with keyword data from advertising spending with Google. Isn’t that nice of them! Depending on the level of PPC spending you do, this data can be helpful but in not a complete answer for keyword performance in organic search.

3.) Create more of a focus on localized and mobile search. The two most dramatic changes taking place online are the impacts that local optimization is having on attorney search and in what devices your clients are using to find you through.

4.) Create more and better content and win in the long-tail. Attorney search is becoming much more competitive and sophisticated and your website strategy needs to adjust to this new reality.

#attorneymarketing  #ppc  #lawyermarketing  #keywords

Monday, September 9, 2013

Long Tail Search Tools - Making The Most Of Your #lawyermarketing Dollars

Everything online is a function of competition. When attorneys want to compete with other attorneys for new cases and clients online, they commonly and mistakenly feel that they need to go toe-to-toe with every other attorney based on vanity search terms like "Omaha Real Estate Attorney", Phoenix Personal Injury Lawyer", Denver Divorce Lawyer," etc.

Many attorneys want to compete with have long-established attorney websites that have actively been building up authority for a number of years. In short, starting out from behind creates an "authority gap" that needs to be closed in order to compete. The challenge with this strategy includes many hurdles including:
  • Authority building must look natural to Google otherwise you can get penalized. Build up authority too rapidly and against Google rules and you put your firm and your future at risk.
  • The best attorney websites will continue to extend their lead while you try to catch up with them. This is like trying to hit a rapidly moving target.
  • Most attorney searches online that convert into clients and cases ARE NOT from vanity search terms. Over time people are becoming increasingly more sophisticated in how they search and simple "head term" searches like "Omaha Estate Planning Attorney" are simply not specific to most client searches any longer. People are becoming more sophisticated online and so must your search marketing techniques to match it.
  • Most attorneys simply do not have the budget to compete at the levels of many of the top vanity search terms attorneys in most metropolitan areas. 
As we have discussed before, long-tail attorney searches are considered to be "money searches"and are largely created through an active content strategy. The problem with this strategy is that many attorneys either hit a writer's block, do not know how to properly structure and distribute content,  and/or simply do not know how to research long-tail terms.

For those struggling with direction in long-tail search, there is one tool I would recommend: This tool takes a lot of guess work out of the equation and for a small monthly subscription fee, can provide a high level of value for your firm. It should be noted that this should not be a substitute for a more detailed and strategic case generating process. Rather, this should help in assisting with the process of creating more unique and relevant search results in areas of lesser competition and authority.

As they say, there is more than one way to skin a cat and when it comes to attorney search online, this is especially so. Try to tool and tell us if you see the value...

#lawyermarketing #longtail #SEO