Building a beautiful website for your law firm is great. Stocking it with compelling content, gorgeous graphics, and killer videos doesn’t hurt, either. But, when it’s all said and done, is that beautiful website actually doing everything for your law firm that you hoped it would do?
One of the toughest parts of having a website and using it for your digital marketing strategy is actually figuring out HOW to measure its performance. To be honest, sometimes it’s hard to even know where to start!
We see bewildered faces every day from lawyers asking questions like:
- What metrics signal growth for my law firm’s website?
- What do traffic numbers really tell me?
- How much weight does bounce rate have in comparison to sessions?
- Do bounce rate or sessions hold more importance than the other?
- What are “bounce rate” and “sessions” anyway?
- Do I REALLY have to care about any of this?
There are all kinds of questions that arise when figuring out if your website is growing and bringing you the cases and clients you want. Unfortunately, figuring out what to look at and why can be a massive headache.
Never fear, though. If all those confusing numbers in Google Analytics are getting you down, consider the tips below your quick field guide to the handful of website metrics that really matter.
Thinking about building a more powerful website that’s ready for the future? While you’re here, don’t miss out on these 21 top tips for law firm website design in 2021.
Metric #1: Conversions on Your Law Firm’s Website
When users complete an action on your website, like filling out a contact form, that’s a “conversion.” Those users have now become leads for you to follow up on and eventually schedule a conversation with.
So, remember that conversions equal conversations with potential clients.
That’s why conversions are one of the top metrics you should be paying attention to when it comes to website growth!
Conversions should be analyzed over a set period of time to get a clear idea of what’s really going on. While there are several different types of conversions that can occur, depending on what you have set up and your goals as a business, any increase in conversions typically signals an increase in your website’s growth. So, that’s a positive sign!
Metric #2: Website Traffic
Your “website traffic” is a more general metric that refers to the number of users that visit your law firm’s website. If your website’s traffic is increasing month over month, it’s usually a good sign. Increasing traffic to a website often signals that the website has valuable information that resonates with users, and that can give search engines a sign that your website’s information should be served up to other searchers.
There are a few different types of traffic numbers that are worth paying attention to, including:
- “Organic Traffic.” This type of traffic comes from search engines and is based on keyword searches. When a user types a keyword into the search box, the search engine serves up content and pages that are most relevant to that keyword. If the user clicks on your page from that search results page, then your “organic traffic” essentially just went up by one! There are a few factors that determine where you rank in search results and how much traffic you get, including good website design, the technical health of your law firm’s website, if your content was created with the user in mind, and more. Seeing low organic traffic numbers? You should be able to improve it with better search engine optimization (SEO) tactics.
- “Direct Traffic.” Direct traffic comes from users typing your exact webpage address into their preferred search engine’s browser bar. For example, a user would go to their Chrome browser and search for “www.fosterwebmarketing.com.” People usually perform these kinds of searches when they’ve heard about you through print advertisements, word-of-mouth referrals, or vanity URLs that are easy to remember. So, if your direct traffic is increasing, it’s often a sign that your print advertising and referral network are working well and doing what they should do.
- “Referral Traffic.” This type of traffic comes from external sources, like online directories or resource websites. For example, if you have an online profile on Yellow Pages or GetLegal.com, any users that click the link back to your website would be “referral traffic” for you. You can increase this type of traffic by growing your website’s backlink profile, which we’ll talk about below. If you see your referral traffic increasing, it usually means that your backlink profile is getting stronger, and your website is increasing in authority and trust.
Now, speaking of backlink profiles, let’s get into our third metric for judging the growth of your law firm’s website.
Metric #3: Backlink Profiles
You may have heard the term “backlink” used frequently in conversations about website health, and it’s worth paying it some attention. A “backlink” is simply a link on an external website that links back to your website. Just like we said above, backlinks are tied to your referral traffic, and each good backlink you get is like a vote of confidence for your website in the eyes of search engines. Basically, if another website or entity thinks your information is worth linking to, then the search engines reason that it must be something useful and worth sharing. The more authoritative the external websites are that link to you, the better it is for your website and rankings.
If your backlink profile is brimming with links back from other authoritative websites, it’s a big sign that your website is performing well. Backlinks often signal that your network of referrals is growing, and there’s lots of “buzz” about your website and content. Ultimately, the stronger your backlink profile gets, the more users and traffic you will receive. And that results in more conversions! (Or, like we said above, more conversations with potential clients!)
Metric #4: “Visibility” a.k.a. Search Engine Rankings
A website’s overall stance in the search engine results is something we like to call “visibility.” We can measure a website’s “visibility” based on the number of keywords the site is ranking highly for.
However, ranking highly for keywords isn’t necessarily the best indicator of a website’s health—at least, not alone. It’s possible to rank highly for keywords that aren’t helpful for your business. It’s possible to rank in the middle for lots of keywords and not have much to show for it. That’s why it’s so important to look at all these metrics together and get a “big picture” of what your website is really doing for you.
But, if you rank highly for all your main keywords, it’s a good sign that your potential clients are seeing your website pages on their search results pages. It’s also a good sign that what you’re doing with your website’s content and design is working really well.
Metric #5: Local Search Activity
“Local search activity” shows how much of your traffic is coming from your law firm’s geographic region. It is calculated by looking at things like search intent (for example, searches for lawyers in a specific city), activity in local packs (the list of local business results that appear above organic results in some local searches), and map views (clicks that come to your website through Google Maps results).
“Local search activity” measures something a little different than “organic traffic,” all because of location, location, location! While all your local search activity is probably organic, not all your organic traffic is local. Make sense?
This is important because a law firm website that ranks highly in local search is a healthy website. Website users tend to take action on local searches, and that action is usually to complete a conversion goal, like calling or filling out your contact form. The user can call, text, message, get directions, etc.—all from using local search. That’s a big deal!
If you want to increase the local search footprint for your law firm, start by paying attention to your reviews. The more honest reviews you can get, the better. It shows that your law firm is a real and local business, and you’ve resolved problems for real people.
You also need to make sure that your name, address, and phone number are accurate across the Web, and your physical address is on your website. A lot of search engines, like Google, Bing, and Yahoo, have local dashboards where you can check if your location is accurate and review the activity for your profile—or you can do it with the tools in DSS.
If your local visits, activity, and engagement are increasing, it’s definitely a strong signal of website growth!
What Lawyers Need to Know About Website Key Performance Indicators as a Whole
The five key metrics of website growth that we mentioned above are important, but keep in mind that there are several other metrics that can and should be reviewed. It’s also important that your website’s data is analyzed over a longer time period than just a day or two—or even a month or two.
As with anything, the more data you have to analyze, the better picture you’re going to get of the performance. The metrics we talked about above can’t be taken out of context, and they can’t be analyzed in a vacuum. You have to look at the whole and understand how that impacts your actual, real-life goals. And, as always, you have to keep creating website content and pages that are valuable to your potential clients and give your efforts time to work. Good things come to those who wait!
Want to know if your website is positioned for growth? Register for an analysis here and we’ll review the key metrics that could have the biggest impact on the success of your website.