Law Firm Web Site Traffic Improvement
By Bob Schwartz, CRS, http://www.sandiegolawyerforyou.com
Is your legal web site generating the traffic and/or actual business you originally thought it would?
Many lawyers are realizing that just having a web site is not a panacea to generating new clients.
Through a very small informal survey, I’ve concluded that the average lawyer’s web site generates
less than 50 unique hits per month and the vast majority of lawyers have not generated any actual new clients from their sites in over a year.
Actual traffic graph from our Las Vegas legal directory site, which went on-line in late April.
In only a few months our unique traffic (not hits) has gone from zero to 783 visitors per month,
and is climbing fast! The traffic for our longer established San Diego legal directory is shown below:
Just in the past six months our unique traffic here has increased by over 1,300 per month!
Don’t despair if your site’s traffic is low. The web is a viable advertising medium.
However, just having a web presence will not, in most cases, pay for your site hosting/maintenance fees.
Below I have outlined ten tips that could improve your web traffic and client generating potential.
#1. Select a URL that incorporates some of your keywords.
Which site do you think would generate more search engine hits: www.bobschwartz.com or www.lasvegaslaw.com?
Even if you have great name recognition in your local neighborhood, a potential client seeking a Las Vegas attorney
will most definitely find the second site before the first. Result: Incorporating key words into your URL will increase your
chances of being found in a key word search. For a free software tool (Domain Name Analyzer) for finding
that perfect domain name for your business or product can be found
Information on an excellent hosting service is at: http://www.websitetrafficbuilders.com/domain-registration.htm
#2. Take a lesson from Yahoo. It’s estimated that Yahoo, the world’s 2nd. most popular search engine, takes only
one out of a hundred sites submitted to its directory. One of their main criteria for submission is useful, informative content.
Is your site just a billboard for you and your firm, or are you really providing useful content?
On the Web, content is king. Without useful content, you will never achieve a good search engine position.
Plus, when submitting your site to search engines, your site should be fully functional without broken links or ‘Under Construction’ signs.
#3. Be wary of placing ‘Free’ content links on your site. Many site enhancements such as links to weather, maps, newsletters, etc.,
take your hard won visitors off your site, and in many cases they never return. Worse yet, when viewing off site information, your potential
clients have a high probability of being exposed to your competition’s ad or banner. All of the ‘Free’ information links earn revenue from selling ads.
The same is true of many banner exchanges. Do you really want to join a banner program where your competitor’s banner is exposed on your site?
#4. Unless you have the time and talent to create a good site, leave it to a professional web designer. Preview their other sites before hiring them.
#5. Read a book! As web site owner, you or your assistant should know how to up-date your site by adding current content, or minor changes.
Updating should be done often to keep your site relevant. With many free and low cost web site programs available, knowledge of HTML is
not necessary. Personally, I would recommend Micosoft’s FrontPage as the best choice.
#6.Major Internet studies have shown that placement of your site within the first three pages of returned search engine results are the real
key to huge traffic. In a study released by ActivMedia Research in September1999, Search Engine Positioning was ranked as the #1 website
promotional method used by eCommerce sites.
Below, I’ve noted the results of another study that appeared in the April 2000 issue of Target Marketing Magazine:
"Top Ways Websites are Discovered"
Banner ads: 1%
Targeted email: 1.2%
TV spots: 1.4%
"By accident": 2.1%
Magazine ads: 4.4%
Random Surfing: 20%
Search Engines: 46%
These and other studies confirm the power of good search engine ranking.
However, just submitting your site to search engines is not enough to insure you a good ranking. In this regard, keep in mind that most site designers are not proficient at search engine keyword placement.
Unlike a yellow pages listing, search engine rankings are not alphabetical. Many ranking criteria are taken into consideration by the various engines and the criteria is constantly changing. The ideas here will help, but if you want to win the search engine placement/traffic race, you should consider hiring a firm that specializes in search engine placement. Only consider a firm that guarantees top placement for the keywords that you specify.
Current opinion on legal websites indicates that it may take thousands of web site hits to translate into an actual new client. Top search engine placement equates to high site traffic. With every site owner hoping to be on page one of the search engine keyword results, if you want to excel here, a professional site placement firm is mandatory.
A more cost effective approach would be to consider a legal directory that is locale specific and ranks high for area specific legal terms. Here is my unabashed plug for our directories operating in California, Texas or Las Vegas . . . You can get a free two month trial listing in our high-traffic legal directories by visiting: http://www.sandiegolawyerforyou.com/sample-listings.htm
#7. There are a number of major pay-for-placement search engines. Just recently, I noted lawyers paying over $10 per each click-through on one keyword. Again, knowing that it could take thousands of visitors to equal a new client, this could be a very expensive proposition.
#8. Beware of the mass legal ‘cookie-cutter’ website design packages. Although relatively low cost, many do not give you up-date control. Plus, except for a page or two of individualized pages, the content of these sites are the same for hundreds of your competitors. Your site will never stand out by going this route.
#9. Many site designers think that Meta tags (internal code to show the search engines your keywords) are the key to good rankings. This is a false assumption. Directories and a number of major search engines do not even use these tags any longer. Meta tags are important, but are just one critera to improve your ranking. Many sites stuff every conceivable legal related keyword into these tags. Often one keyword is repeated a number of times.
Such improper use of these tags is a good way to insure a low position or even having your site excluded from certain search engines. Again, advice from a professional is required here.
#10. Try this: in your favorite browser, type in your URL domain name eg. (http://www.websitetrafficbuilders.com) but, omit the www. prefix! Could you access your site? If not, you probably received a "404 URL NOT FOUND" error message and this means you are losing potential traffic! Top Internet Service Providers (ISP) program their servers to access sites without the www. prefix. If you could not access your site with the above test, a simple call to your ISP should resolve this immediately.
To review further information on search engine positioning, visit: http://www.websitetrafficbuilders.com or http://www.sandiegolawyerforyou.com
Individual law firm websites are an important tool in every firm’s productivity. Like any tool, you must learn how to use it to achieve its full potential.
Copyright 2003 Promotions Unlimited. All rights reserved.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bob Schwartz, is the founder of Promotions Unlimited http://www.websitetrafficbuilders.com an Internet legal directory (CA, TX & Las Vegas ) publisher and search engine placement technology analyst. You can contact Bob via e-mail at email@example.com or visit his San Diego legal directory at: www.sandiegolawyerforyou.com If you firm has a high ranking website, be sure to apply for the free Lawyer Legal Website Excellence Award as it functions as a reciprocal link & will be of great benefit in improving your own firm’s search engine rankings.
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