Thursday, February 22, 2018

Ah, Those Clicks. But Do You Know What You’re Really Getting?

Everybody loves those clicks. It means your pay-per-click (PPC ) and or Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts are paying off. The more clicks you get, the more prospects you’ll likely  have. And with more prospects comes more clients. And with more clients comes more… well, you get the picture.
But is that picture accurate?
We recently finished a monthly report for a client of ours in which the total number of clicks to their site increased by 49.6% versus the previous month. Now, I like to think we’re good at what we do, but something told me we weren’t THAT good.
A closer look at the analytic data explained why.
Google breaks down traffic to your site into 5 categories. The first is Paid Search – those clicks that come from paid online ads. The second category are those visits which come directly from someone typing in your URL address – ergo, these are called Direct clicks. The third type of traffic is Organic which is the result of the coding of your site, keywords, site content, links to and from other sites and all of the other SEO variables. Social traffic stems from those clicks driven by social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.
And then there is the fifth category – Referrals. This reflects that traffic that comes to one’s website from other, referring websites. Unfortunately, here is where things start to become a little murky.
We provide our clients with a monthly update as to their site traffic. In this particular case, the client had received only 11 referral clicks in the previous month – a figure which suddenly shot up to 125 clicks in the month being analyzed. That’s an increase of 111 clicks from referring sites alone, or to put it another way, an increase over 1000%.
Fortunately, Google Analytics allows one to see from where those clicks are coming and a quick perusal of such indicated that the vast majority of these referrals came from sites such as and If you have never heard of these, that’s okay. They are basically crawler and ghost spam sites and they bring nothing to the table in terms of real, live visitors coming to your web site.
Hence, when I deducted the 111 fake clicks, the total increase versus the previous month was 14% -- still a very healthy increase, and more importantly, a realistic one. 
The lesson worth noting in this is that if something seems out of kilter – it probably is. If we are lulled into a false sense of comfort as to our site’s performance (in this case, these referral clicks accounted for about 30% of site traffic), we may well wind up overlooking important changes that need to be made in order to generate even more site visits. 

Monday, February 12, 2018

Legal Marketing in 2018: Everything Old is New Again

There was a time, not so long ago, when being “innovative” and on the “cutting edge” simply meant having a web site. Really! Then, if you were an early adopter (of which few law firms are), it meant dipping your toe into social media and later, implementing a full throttled social media initiative on Linkedin and Facebook and Twitter. 
All of these platforms were (and still are) quite amazing as they level the playing field in terms of allowing even the smallest of organizations to get the word out and tout their wares. Moreover, unlike the print and broadcast media where one competed in a world of advertising “clutter” at what was often enormous expense, the new media was relatively “cheap” and gave marketers an opportunity to “reach out” to prospects versus waiting for prospects to go searching for them.
Flash forward to today and my, how things are changing. Today, law firms worry that their site is not on the first page of Google, that their click-through rate is dropping, that they are not getting enough “likes” on Facebook or connections on LinkedIn. Readership of their blog is down and the competition to get noticed online is getting more intense.
What’s a well-meaning, sharp, objective-driven law practice to do?
Well, the answer may lie in turning to old friends for help. With newspaper and magazine readership and hence, advertising down, the opportunity to stand out in a crowd is greater than ever. The existence of so many highly targeted cable networks means the ability to attract new business can be had more cost efficiently. Publishers, eager for advertising are more willing to “throw in” article opportunities – especially as their own staffs shrink. 
Yes, one can run a webinar rather easily and cost effectively, but you still have to cut through competitive messages online, and seminars are still the best means for getting prospective clients to meet you face to face. News… real news, is still of interest to the media, making the old reliable press release still a viable means for getting information out there. And for generating awareness and goodwill, what beats becoming involved in a meaningful cause and/or sponsoring a worthwhile event? 
So, in planning how your practice is going to attract new business this year, by all means, update your web site, run posts on your blog and social media, improve your click-through rate, etc. But, if you are looking to truly innovate, consider being a “new” kind of early adopter – one that re-examines past alternatives in light of the present.