Chapter 8

Tracking & Measuring Law Firm SEO ROI

In an increasingly digital world, law firms must understand the return on investment (ROI) from their SEO efforts. It’s not just about driving traffic; it’s about attracting the right traffic that converts into valuable clients.

This guide provides a deep dive on how to measure SEO performance, including tracking and measuring your law firm’s SEO ROI, essential KPIs, and how to tie conversions to rankings, cases, and case value.

What is SEO Tracking?

SEO tracking plays a pivotal role in measuring the effectiveness of your law firm’s digital strategies. Tracking SEO success involves monitoring and analyzing various key performance indicators (KPIs) to assess the performance and impact of your website on search engine results.

Understanding KPIs

Key Performance Indicators are quantifiable SEO metrics that gauge the success of specific objectives.

In SEO, KPIs provide actionable insights into how well your website attracts and engages potential clients.

These metrics include organic traffic, keyword rankings, conversion rates, and user engagement.

Why Measuring SEO ROI is Crucial for Law Firms

  • Budget Allocation: Understand where every dollar of your SEO is spent and what it’s returning.

  • Strategy Optimization: Identify which strategies yield the best results and focus your efforts accordingly.

  • Client Acquisition Cost: Determine how much it costs to acquire a new client through SEO and ensure it’s a profitable channel.

  • Long-term Planning: Make informed decisions about your firm’s long-term digital marketing and growth strategies.

KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS (kpi) to track

#1: SERPs - Google Keyword Rankings

Your keyword ranking is the specific position your law firm’s website occupies on the search results page for a given keyword. 

For example, if your law firm’s website ranks in position 1 for the keyword “personal injury lawyer,” it means that when someone searches for that term on a search engine like Google, the law firm’s website is listed as the top organic result. 

You can see a search for the “Atlanta Truck Accident Lawyer” keyword. Our client, Rafi Law Firm, ranks in position 1 for this keyword. 

Google keyword rankings are a crucial Key Performance Indicator (KPI) for lawyers tracking SEO ROI for several reasons:

  • Tracking keyword movements over time helps assess the effectiveness of your SEO strategies.
  • Positive changes in rankings indicate that your optimization efforts are yielding results.

 

It is important to mention that not all keywords carry the same weight. Identify and focus on high-intent keywords specific to your legal services. The more targeted the keyword, the higher the potential ROI. Tracking your rankings for high-value keywords is crucial for understanding visibility and potential client reach.

 

For example, If you are a Personal Injury Attorney in Dallas, TX, and your SEO efforts are put toward searches for PI and Car accident attorneys, here are a few keywords you should track:

  • Dallas personal injury attorney
  • Dallas personal injury lawyer
  • Injury attorney Dallas, TX
  • Car accident attorney Dallas
  • Car wreck attorney Dallas
  • Car accident lawyer Dallas, TX
  • Dallas car accident attorney

 

By connecting improved rankings to tangible outcomes, such as new clients or cases, lawyers can calculate the ROI of their SEO investments.

Best Tools to Track Keyword Movement

Google Search Console provides insights into the performance of your focus keywords, helping you refine your SEO strategy for better SERP rankings. It also lets you identify which keywords drive organic search traffic to your website. 

To check keyword rankings in Google Search Console:

> Log in to your GSC account

> On the left-hand side under “Performance,” click “Search Results”

> Select the desired time frame you’d like to analyze

> Click “+ New” above the line chart and select “page,” add in the URL of the page you’d like to see rankings for. 

> Select “Queries” below the line chart to see all of the keywords the specified URL is ranking for and in what position

In GSC you will also find metrics such as impressions, clicks, and click-through rate. These metrics can be page, or keyword specific.

Other tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush provide more advanced insights and competitive analysis.

#2: Local Presence: Map & Local Search Rankings

Google Maps Rankings: Being visible on Google Maps is vital for local businesses, especially law firms. Your ranking here can directly impact how easily potential clients find you.

Tools to Track: Tools like Bright Local and Local Falcon provide detailed insights into your local rankings. Regularly checking your standings in an incognito/private browser is also a practical approach.

#3: Organic Web Traffic

Organic traffic represents visitors who found your website through non-paid search engine results. Monitoring this important metric allows you to measure the direct impact of your SEO efforts on improving your site’s visibility in search engines.

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) offers comprehensive insights into your traffic sources, allowing you to differentiate between organic and other types of traffic. 

 

Here is what a GA4 traffic report looks like:

This traffic report presents various sources like direct, paid, and referral traffic. Given that SEO campaigns focus on improving organic search visibility, it’s essential to concentrate on organic traffic to gauge the effectiveness of your SEO strategies.

When reviewing agency reports, ensure they accurately distinguish organic traffic from other sources. This prevents any misattribution that might skew your assessment of SEO results.

#4: Leads as a Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

Leads are an essential KPI for gauging the Return on Investment (ROI) from SEO activities in the legal sector. Given the high potential value of each client in this field, understanding how your online presence translates into concrete expressions of interest is crucial.

Form Fills:

Track the volume and source of inquiries or contact form submissions on your website. Utilize tools for A/B testing different form designs to optimize conversions. Understanding which pages or keywords drive potential clients to engage can inform your content and SEO strategy more effectively.

Phone Calls:

Implement Call Tracking Metrics to assign tracking numbers to various channels, such as your Google My Business profile, organic search results, and direct visits. 

This granularity helps pinpoint the most compelling aspects of your SEO strategy. For a comprehensive analysis, use tools that offer call listening and qualification features. This provides deeper insight into the quality of leads generated.

Live Chats:

Monitor the frequency and quality of inquiries through live chat. Implement best practices like automated responses for common questions and specialized training for staff to handle complex queries. Analyzing these interactions can offer valuable insights into user needs and the effectiveness of your website’s engagement strategy.

By tracking these leads and their sources, you gain invaluable insights into the performance of specific keywords, pages, and overall SEO strategies. This data reflects user engagement and directly correlates to your firm’s ability to attract potential clients, linking your online visibility to client acquisition.

#5: Revenue - New Cases Signed

The ultimate measure of your law firm’s SEO success lies in its impact on your bottom line. Tracking the revenue attributed to online channels is crucial, linking conversions directly to specific SEO strategies.

Focus on quantifying the number of new cases acquired directly from your online presence and SEO initiatives. This metric offers a tangible measure of your digital marketing effectiveness and helps understand the average revenue per case. By doing so, you can assess the long-term growth and sustainability brought about by your SEO efforts. 

Ensuring Accountability: Navigating the Relationship with Your SEO Agency

When you enlist an SEO agency for your law firm, you trust their expertise to enhance your online presence. However, there’s a risk that agencies might put your firm on autopilot, following a standard process that needs more customized attention that your unique practice requires.

 

Here’s how to ensure your agency is genuinely invested in your success and not just clocking hours:

Autopilot Syndrome

Some agencies slot law firms into a one-size-fits-all strategy, focusing on generic tasks rather than the specific needs and goals of the firm.

This ‘autopilot’ approach neglects the core of effective SEO: continual adaptation, analysis, and customized strategy.

Understanding Misleading SEO KPIs for Law Firms:

When it comes to measuring the success of your law firm’s SEO strategy, you need to choose the right Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Incorrect KPIs can give you a misleading picture of your progress and lead to misinformed decisions. Let’s explore some examples of these incorrect KPIs and discuss their implications.

1. Choosing the Wrong Keywords:

  • Low-Volume Keywords: Targeting keywords specific to a practice area is essential, but if those keywords have little to no search volume, they won’t bring traffic to your site, no matter how high you rank. For instance, a highly specialized term like “left-handed property inheritance lawyer” might accurately describe your niche, but it won’t bring in clients if no one is searching for it.
  • Irrelevant High-Volume Keywords: Conversely, targeting broad, high-volume keywords that aren’t specific to your services can also mislead. For example, ranking for “free legal advice” might bring traffic, but if you’re a high-end divorce attorney, this audience won’t convert into paying clients.

2. Ignoring Seasonality:

Seasonal Fluctuations: Many legal services are subject to seasonal demand. For example, searches for tax attorneys spike during tax season but drop off for the rest of the year. Not accounting for these fluctuations can lead to a misinterpretation of your SEO success. A sudden drop in traffic or leads during the off-season doesn’t necessarily mean your SEO efforts are failing; it might just be the natural ebb and flow of demand.

tracking and measuring seo progress for lawyers

3. Overemphasizing Vanity Metrics:

Rankings for Branded Terms: Ranking highly for your own firm’s name or specific attorney names within the practice might feel rewarding, but these terms generally have lower competition and are often searched by those already aware of your firm. They don’t necessarily indicate successful outreach to new potential clients.

4. Neglecting the Broader Impact:

  • Isolated Keyword Rankings: Focusing too narrowly on the rankings of individual keywords can be misleading. A keyword might have a high ranking but contribute little to overall traffic or leads. Conversely, some keywords might not rank in the top three yet bring in significant traffic due to their high search volume or specific relevance.

     

  • Intrinsic Value of Certain KPIs: Some SEO KPIs have intrinsic value because they contribute to broader goals. For example, an increase in page authority or domain authority might not immediately translate into more clients, but it strengthens your site’s overall visibility and credibility. This can lead to better rankings and more traffic over time. Similarly, an increase in overall SERPs visibility, even for less targeted keywords, can enhance brand awareness and contribute to your reputation as a thought leader in the legal field.
 

Choosing the right KPIs for your law firm’s SEO strategy is about understanding their broader implications. Balancing short-term gains with long-term growth, and quantitative metrics with qualitative insights, will provide the most accurate and helpful understanding of your SEO efforts’ true ROI.

Metrics for Law Firms to Track Agency Performance

To ensure your agency is actively working on improving your firm’s SEO and not just going through the motions, insist on tracking the following metrics:

  • Keyword Rankings Specific to Legal Services: Are you ranking for the high-intent keywords specific to your practice areas? This is fundamental and goes beyond generic keyword performance.

  • Organic Traffic and User Behavior: It’s not just the volume of traffic but the behavior of this traffic. Are users engaging with your content, filling out contact forms, or bouncing off quickly? Your bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who come to your website and leave without clicking on any other pages.

  • Conversion Rate: How many visitors are turning into leads? This might be through phone calls, form submissions, or live chats.

  • Backlink Quality: Are they building high-quality, relevant backlinks that enhance your site’s authority, or are they just increasing backlink quantity with low-quality links?

  • Content Relevance and Quality: Is the agency creating high-quality, relevant content that positions your firm as a thought leader in specific legal areas?

Tool Tracking for Insightful SEO Management

To gain a deeper understanding of how your SEO efforts are performing, make use of the following tools. These platforms provide insights to guide your strategy and help you hold your agency accountable.

 

SEMrush: This tool offers comprehensive keyword research, backlink analysis, and site audits. Understanding which keywords drive traffic to competitors and what backlink strategies they employ can be invaluable for lawyers.

Ahrefs: Known for its robust backlink analysis, Ahrefs is also great for tracking keyword rankings and understanding the content gap between your site and competitors. This can inform content strategies that target gaps in your market.

Google Analytics 4 (GA4): GA4 provides detailed insights into traffic sources, user behavior, and conversion tracking. Lawyers can use GA4 to understand how much traffic they’re getting, how users interact with their site, and which pages are most effective at converting visitors into leads.

Google Search Console: This free tool from Google helps track your site’s performance in search results, understand which queries bring users to your site, and identify any issues affecting your rankings. It’s essential for any law firm looking to understand and improve its SEO performance.

 

Measuring the ROI of your SEO efforts is critical in the competitive legal market. By tracking the right KPIs, using the best tools, and holding your SEO agency accountable, you can ensure that your investment in SEO is contributing to the growth and success of your law firm.

Remember, SEO is a long-term strategy. With patience, persistent, continuous optimizations, your efforts will translate into tangible results and more substantial significance for your firm.