Understanding Website Traffic (Part 2)

Do you think most of your online visitors find you after searching your firm’s name or by some other phrase such as “truck driver DUI California?” A vital factor in building your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy starts with an understanding of where your traffic and contacts come from. From that foundation, you can optimize your SEO program more soundly.

This series is based on FindLaw’s latest white paper which looks at how consumers search for law firms. In part one we talked about the big picture of traffic to firm websites, and today we’ll look specifically at traffic from search engines.

Non-Branded Search 101

With non-branded search, consumers usually do not have a particular law firm in mind. They are looking for any firm that can convince them it can competently address their issue. This represents an opportunity for firms to expand their client bases by attracting prospects who have likely never heard of them. That means non-branded search should be a strong focus of your SEO strategy — but you first must know where the searches are coming from.

3 Sources of Non-Branded Search

1. Research Queries.

These are searches for legal information with no expressed intent to find an attorney – for example, “DUI laws in California.” While the user might eventually choose to hire an attorney to help with a DUI case, he or she could also be doing research for a school paper and have no intention of hiring a lawyer. In our study, research queries accounted for 67% of traffic.

2. Long-Tail Queries with Lawyer Intent.

These queries often contain a larger number of words. They’re basically a consumer’s best attempt to describe their legal problem — i.e., “drunk driving lawyer in Santa Barbara that handles cases with motorcycles.” While this particular search is hard to predict and unlikely to be used more than once, they still make up a sizeable amount of queries. They accounted for 32% of traffic.

3. Head-Term Queries with Lawyer Intent.

These are generally succinct and well-structured, containing a location, practice area and either “attorney,” “lawyer” or “law firm.” An example is “St. Louis car accident lawyer.” Though many law firms judge the success of their SEO programs based on performance for these types of queries, they only account for 1% of their traffic.

Of course, traffic is not the end of the story. The more important question is where contacts are coming from. The answer to this question points us in a very clear direction: 71% of a firm’s contacts come from long-tail queries; 26% from research queries; and only 3% from head-term queries.

The implications of these findings are clear. Winning SEO strategies should be built around long-tail queries. Regularly generating quality content that addresses the questions and concerns of a firm’s prospects is the best way to get found.

By implementing SEO strategies, you can change your firm’s website from a source of information, to a source of new business. Sound interesting? Read part three in this series or download the free white paper.

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