Whether you’re a professional digital marketer or simply an attorney monitoring the performance of your website, Google Analytics is a critical tool to utilize in your assessments.
Google offers training such as the Google Analytics Academy for Beginners and other programs for advanced users, but attorneys often lack the time to undergo this type of program. Further, understanding the reports provided by Google Analytics is also not the same thing as recognizing how to improve what the report is showing.
Accordingly, this article outlines three of the most important aspects of Google Analytics to understand and offers tips for improving or building upon the reported data concerning your law firm’s website.
This may be one of the most self-explanatory pieces of data, but the implications could be particularly useful. Law firms should track to see how many page views their individual pages are getting, but some pages are more important than others.
The most visited pages are often the homepage and the attorney bio pages. Low page views for these URLs are indicators that you are not coming up in Google searches, nor are your attorneys registered in enough directories. Your most important practice area pages should also be showing some activity. Though a homepage or bio may be all a potential client needs to see before determining if you should be hired, a potential client may review your practice area pages to determine if you handle their specific claim.
There’s not necessarily a benchmark for page views, yet if you’re a personal injury lawyer, for example, and your car accident page isn’t getting many views, then there is a good chance that you need a search engine optimization campaign – i.e., an SEO plan.
Of course, if your phone is ringing off the hook or you have substantial contact form completions, then an aggressive marketing plan may not be needed. The low page views could simply be noted as a reminder for what to improve if your business seems to have lost steam.
Lastly, another important use of your page view data is to see what content pages are most popular. Though attorneys often minimize the importance of blog posts, the pages often have some of the highest page views. Though some blogs are purely clickbait, identifying the subject matter of the most viewed content could help you brainstorm further blog posts.
Additionally, make sure your blog posts and core content match up. If, for example, you’re a criminal lawyer with a highly viewed post about weapon offenses, be sure that your core content also has a section – or preferably a page – on these crimes.
Going hand-in-hand with your page views is the Google Analytics data behind the acquisitions to your site. Specifically, this means how site visitors came to your site.
Law firms typically see visitors acquired from the following channels:
- Direct search – site visitors who specifically typed in your URL.
- Organic search – visitors who found your site via search engine.
- Paid search – visitors who clicked on your paid ad (PPC) to enter your site.
- Social media – Facebook, Twitter, etc.
- Referrals – visitors who found your site by a referring domain such as a directory listing or backlink.
This data provides substantial insight as to where your marketing efforts may be lacking. For example, if you have an SEO campaign with low activity from the organic channel, it may be time to hire/switch agencies or get outside help if you’re managing it on your own. The same is true for PPC.
Data concerning your referrals is a bit more complicated to ascertain. For example, simply having a link from a website with a high domain authority can boost your Google rankings. (This is why link-building is an important aspect of SEO.) Accordingly, you may not need many site visits from that website if it is enhancing your website’s performance in other ways.
That said, if you’re paying a large amount of money for some directories or paid backlinks and do not see a high return of visitors, you may want to consider paying for other high authority sites at a lesser cost.
Social media is perhaps the least important data when it comes to viewing your performance via Google Analytics. The reason for this is that many social media campaigns are designed to increase branding and exposure – not necessarily conversions. For example, an effective and likable social media campaign could mean your law firm is memorable even if the follower is not actively pursuing a lawyer. When the time comes, however, if your campaign was successful, your potential client may type in your URL directly rather than go back to the social media channel to access your site.
Though there are several viable options for the third, most important element of Google Analytics data – page speed, for example, narrowly missed the selection. Nevertheless, bounce rate earned the spot as it is a strong indicator that a content overhaul is needed. Further, lawyers often earn themselves a high bounce rate by way of poor marketing choices.
In simple terms, your bounce rate measures how many potential clients view a page of your site and choose to leave and not contact your firm. They also did not explore any other page of your site.
Many authority sites tout a “good” bounce rate for websites between 20-40%. This means that only 20-40% of your site visitors left your site without another page view or conversion. For law firms, the criteria for bounce rate is a bit lower. Many marketing firms are comfortable with a bounce rate in the range of 60% for a specific page, provided there are a strong number of conversions overall.
For attorneys, a high bounce rate is often a sign of bad content. The page does not answer the questions of potential clients, nor does it inspire the reader to view additional pages of your site. In truth, lawyers frequently create content that is heavy on legalese and is simply too theoretical or complex for a potential client to wade through.
Law firm content needs to inspire a site visitor to call your firm. Explain claims or the law to your potential clients. Answer FAQs. Identify the steps you will take to walk your client through the process.
Yes, it’s important to have areas of your site that show you are a legal expert. Providing legal treatises and overly complex content, however, will more than likely send your potential client to another firm that has a more user-friendly site.
As with everything else, there is an exception when analyzing your date. Blog posts don’t necessarily need to have a low bounce rate to be valuable contributions to your site. A particularly helpful post can help establish your legal authority, further your brand and win a potential client’s favor. For example, posts on topics such as “understanding your rights at a traffic stop” or “how to explain your divorce to your children” can provide helpful information to readers, earn shares on social media and present your brand to potential clients. Thus, people may read the content and leave, but the content still had a positive effect on your site.
Overall, law firms need to view their Google Analytics data at least once a month as a “check-up” for their website. If you have a website for your law firm, you’re only harming yourself by not taking the time to ensure that it is meeting your marketing needs and serving to gain new clients and cases.