[Exposed] How Law Firm SEO Agencies Use “Organic Traffic” Metrics To Fool You

Josh Brown - SEO Consultant

Written by: Josh Brown

Table of Contents

At a Glance:

  • Attorney SEO agencies sometimes take desperate measures to provide positive deliverables
  • Not all organic traffic is created equal
  • Be on the lookout for organic traffic increases from worthless blogs masqueraded as “wins”

In this piece, I’m going to blow the lid off a secret industry tactic used by SEO agencies to retain clients under the auspices of running successful organic campaigns.

Understanding Content

To understand the problem, we must first delve a taste into what content actually is. Hang with me here.

Informational Keywords

Informational content (or the keywords that power them) make up the majority of the Internet. Known as “BOFU” (bottom of the funnel), informational content is not only evergreen, it makes a tasty choice for content distribution. However, and this is a huge however, your content will live and die on the skill of your SEO operator.

You see, the quality of the keyword research conducted on your campaign is absolutely critical. It’s the same with backlinks. A link isn’t a link. Likewise for keywords.

An example of informational content might be [i got rear ended how much money will i get]. This one fetches a solid 390 monthly searches with an alarming $23 CPC.

Pros

  • Lower competition, easier to rank for than transactional keyword brethren
  • Usually evergreen, is not dated content and can be applicable to its subject matter for a long time period
  • With proper keyword research to identify searcher intent, informational content may generate leads
  • Has SEO benefits for internal linking purposes

Cons

  • Google’s algorithm has not yet localized all informational queries, so you’re likely to acquire traffic outside your area (see Matt Green’s piece on how a way to address this)
  • Despite its high search volume, its lead conversion rate may be low
  • Can be used for baseless enhancement purposes (boosting traffic or publishing content with poor intent)
  • Content distribution can be expensive
  • Blogging can be a redundant deliverable unless harnessed properly

Transactional Keywords

Transactional content is where the money is really at. Keywords like [miami injury lawyer] and the like may bring in prospects at the “TOFU” (top of funnel): they actively seeking legal representation in your area right now.

Pros

  • Extremely effective at acquiring marketshare, leads and cases

Cons

  • Hyper competitive
  • Expensive to acquire (links + supporting content)
  • Barrier to entry for solo attorneys or new firms

The Problem: A Road To Nowhere

Law firm SEO is without question the most competitive and most difficult service-based vertical on God’s green earth. Delivering results every single month can be very challenging. I speak from experience. I’ve worked for the some of the top lawyer SEO agencies for closing in on almost 10 years now. Because I worked for such a varied basket of agencies, I’ve been made privy to an assortment of strategies ranging from the stellar to the shady.

Here’s one of the biggest problems serving attorneys like yourself: we sometimes fall short.

Why, you might ask?

Because agency owners over work their employees.

Never mind the prevalent lack of skill circulating overhead–this is an industry wide issue that I’ll save for another article–but the biggest problem is the workload. Many agencies run their SEO operators this way. In terms of production, operators are the golden geese of the org chart. So, management will push, push and push some more to maximize profitability.

Good agencies never want a client to leave (aka “churn”) but if you were ever a fat fly on the wall of a leadership meeting, the question isn’t, How can we better serve our existing clients? It’s, how do we get more clients?

The problem is cyclical in nature. Due to the high-pressure demands involved, and other issues such as lack of link budget (yes, let’s be adults here; agencies pay for links, too), results may fall to the wayside for a month or month-over-month.

Dun Dun Dun Dun: End of Month Reporting

Amid all of the chaos, the pressure is unsustainable. Something is bound to fall through the cracks. That “something” is your firm.

The operator is now under even more pressure to provide glowing reports at the month end. What to do?

Publish.

Yes, publish. You see, by publishing low competition, BOFU (bottom of funnel), informational content (call it what you will), your organic traffic numbers will rise.

Well, here’s the catch.

It doesn’t matter what the topic of that content is about. It could be about [common names of trucks] versus [average settlements of tampa truck accidents]. The latter keyword being of value, the former being worthless in intent. However, if you only see the total organic traffic numbers on your report (and not a breakdown), you’ll never know the difference.

How To Outsmart Your Agency

It’s time to fight back! Here’s how.

Demand a breakdown from Google Analytics on your organic traffic. If your agency is unsure how to do it, this is how.

After logging into Google Analytics, browse the left-hand menu to Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels.

This screen (below) will display your organic traffic.

Now it’s time to apply a segment / filter to make sure everything we see from here on will be organic traffic only. First, browse to the top of the screen. Look for “Channels” in the middle and click on “All Users”.

A new dialog box will appear. Uncheck “All Users” and then tick “Organic Traffic”. Click the “Apply” button.

Image of Google Analytics segment area

Good job! You’ve laid the foundation. Now it’s finally time to see where all your organic traffic is going. To do this we’ll need to review our landing pages.

Browse to the left-hand navigation and select Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages.

Voila!

You now have access to every document on your site arranged by organic traffic. 🙂

Closing Thoughts

Not all organic traffic is created equal. Holding your agency accountable is a worthwhile exercise. Sometimes agencies are in their own journey of sorts and it takes the right client to partner to help push them along so their campaign gets the right attention.

If you’ve grown tired of your agency situation, level up by considering an SEO consultant.

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