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Good Rankings, Poor Conversions: What’s a Law Firm To Do?

When building a new website, many law firms share the same goals — rank well for popular search terms and generate leads. 

Most of the attorneys we work with understand that achieving top spots in the search engine results is no easy feat; search engine optimization (SEO) in the legal industry has grown fiercely competitive, especially in marketing-heavy practice areas like personal injury and divorce law.  What many legal professionals fail to realize, however, is that ranking well doesn’t always lead to more leads. 

If your site is ranking well and receiving significant traffic but you’re not seeing an uptick in leads and, ultimately, new clients, your content strategy, your website, or your intake process may be to blame. Below are key questions and exercises that will help you get to the root of the problem:

Are you attracting the right people at the right time? 

High-traffic content is not always the same as high-converting content.  Let’s explain with a pretty common scenario: 

A Detroit personal injury firm has a marketing agency that writes monthly blog articles for the practice’s website. One of the articles they write shares car accident statistics based on some new data from the local highway authority; traffic is off the charts. In a month, the firm gets over 17,000 hits on the article but not a single lead. 

Why the discrepancy? If traffic increases, wouldn’t it be reasonable to assume that so too should inbound leads? If we take a step back and think about the firm’s ideal prospective client and what they’re searching for following an accident, it probably isn’t whether male or female drivers are more likely to crash in Michigan. Or, how many semis are involved in accidents every year. Instead, they’re more likely to search Google for things like, “how do I know if I can get more money than what my insurance has offered?” or “how long do I have to file a lawsuit after a car accident?” 

If you have content that gets good traffic but is not generating leads, consider whether it really delivers value to individuals in need of your services.

Reevaluate Your Call to Action 

How are you inviting your website visitors to engage with your office? Most often, firms prominently display their phone numbers on the site and expect visitors to call. But is that enough? Have you established credibility with visitors to warrant a call? Have you appropriately set expectations, explaining they will speak directly with an attorney? A more effective call to action might be “Get to Know Us” which helps to showcase your expertise and creates a comfort level, followed by a more direct engagement prompt like “Free Case Evaluation.”

If your call to action is to call your firm, it’s important to also consider visitors who may come to your site after-hours or on weekends; do you have a 24-hour service to help these individuals? If so, share that information. 

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different ways to engage your visitors. In fact, we strongly encourage firms to do A/B testing when one approach isn’t working.

Step Into Your Visitor’s Shoes

Most firms scrutinize their website right before it’s launched and then rarely after. When was the last time you stepped into the shoes of a prospective client and took a look around your site?

As you examine reasons why your site may not be effective in generating leads, it’s important that you test functionality. A few things to consider: 

  • Try visiting your site through the four major browsers: Chrome, Safari, Edge and Firefox. Does it function the same way in each one? Your visitors are using all three (though Chrome is hands-down the most popular). 
  • Access your website on a mobile device, a tablet and a desktop, checking to make sure functionality remains consistent across all three. 
  • Try completing your site’s web forms. You would be amazed at how many times we’ve run into attorney websites where the web forms stopped working (or started performing poorly) and the firm never knew. This can easily cause you to miss out on leads. 
  • Assess how quickly your site loads on mobile and desktop. Did you know that a Google study found that 53% of mobile users will abandon a site if it doesn’t load within 3 seconds? Site speed is crucial when it comes to conversions. Run your site through Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to see if it gets a passing grade.  

Determine if Your Site is Fully Accessible

Millions of Americans use assistive technologies, like screen readers, to access the web. If you’re looking to create a seamless user experience and maximize your site’s reach, having a site that is fully accessible is absolutely critical. While a complete accessibility audit requires both a technical and manual scan of the site, the WAVE tool is a good (free) tool that can highlight certain issues. 

Assess Your Intake Process

Your site plays a major role in helping to generate leads, but it can’t do all the heavy lifting when it comes to getting your firm retained (or, in most cases, even scheduling an initial consultation). All too often, we see firms invest in marketing but overlook the importance of the intake process. 

If you find that you’re getting contact inquiries from your site, but not new clients, it might be time to evaluate how your firm handles intake; this should start with your very first engagement with the prospect which may be an automated email (sent once a web form is submitted) or a conversation with your receptionist.

Try breaking the process down into stages and analyze where drop off is highest. For example, you might find that 60% of site visitors who submit a web form never engage with your firm after submitting the web form; this level of detail will allow you to identify areas of opportunity within each step. As with any business development initiative, let data be your guide. Most CRMs provide this level of granularity and can help your firm better manage the intake process from start to finish.

Unfortunately, there’s no magic bullet to remedy an under-performing website, but ensuring you continue to keep your ideal client profiles and the attorney-selection journey in mind when developing your content and strategy will help to deliver a better user experience and ultimately lead to more conversions.