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FindLaw White Paper: Is Your Website Traffic Report Lying to You?

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By Mark Wilson, Esq. on March 16, 2015 4:55 PM

Internet advertising is great because, unlike traditional methods of advertising, you know exactly how many people are coming to your website. Not only that, but you can know hundreds of other things, like which website they came from, where they live, and even what Web browser they're using.

These metrics aren't the bread and butter of legal marketing; they're more like the restaurant critics. They let you know what you're doing right and wrong. Unless they don't. According to a new FindLaw white paper, your traffic report might be lying to you.

Overreliance on Site Visit Metrics? Inconceivable!

OK, it's not actually that your traffic report is lying. The traffic report isn't doing much of anything other than reporting certain numbers. The lying comes from how you analyze the numbers, and which numbers you pick. It's likely that you're not looking at the right numbers, or you're assigning too much importance to them. For example, you could count the number of people who visit your website and use that to say, "Hey! I'm doing great!"

Wrong answer, according to the white paper. Ten years ago, the number of unique visitors was the most important metric for website success because searching was a matter of phrase, search, click. You ended up on the website you were looking for.

But thanks to search engine tools like Google's Knowledge Graph, "a lot of people get what they need directly from the search engine results page (SERP) without ever navigating to a website." You've probably seen this information box more and more over the last few years: Type "Mandy Patinkin" into Google, for example, and you get a bunch of information about him without ever going to his IMDB profile or his Wikipedia page. If Mandy Patinkin were just assessing his popularity based on visits to those sites, he'd be leaving out a whole host of people who got the information they needed about him straight from the search engine.

How Many Clients Are Breaking Down Your Door?

A website that's properly keyworded and indexed can return a lot of information just on the search results page. Google is smart enough to put together disparate pieces of information, like a firm's name, phone number, website, and even Yelp page, and return the virtual equivalent of a Rolodex card with much of the information a consumer would want to know about a firm.

This isn't to say, of course, that potential clients don't go to lawyer websites and read about all the accolades you have. They certainly do, but they also use means outside the traditional website to contact and research lawyers; what really matters is whether clients come in the door.

So, is your web traffic report lying? If it's all you're using to assess whether your online marketing strategy is a success, then, as Mandy Patinkin might say, "I do not think it means what you think it means."

This revelation is just one of many brought you by the fine folks at FindLaw's Lawyer Marketing. They'll go to any length -- yes, even to the Cliffs of Insanity -- to help you with your legal website needs.

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