While doing a webinar on Advanced SEM, some SEO & PPC questions were asked that I thought deserved to be answered here on this public forum. These will be published in part or in whole on the LexisNexis site at some point, I believe, but here’s a sneak peek at this SEM Q&A session:
What are the most important metrics to track using web analytics software?
- Unique visitors per day or per month
- Page Views per visitor
- Time on Site per visitor
- Referring URLs
- Referring Keywords
Why do you recommend a 300-word per-page max. for content? If I have a 4000 word article, I must break it up into 15 pages will people read it?
300 words per page is a general recommendation for keeping the content to a length that’s able to be digested by viewers and the search engines. It’s not a hard and fast rule, though. If you have a 4000 word article, I would likely break it up into 4-8 pages OR, better yet, break it up into pages according to the sub-topics within that 4000 word article.
Another way to look at it: you’ll have better luck targeting 10 keywords with 10 pages about each of those topics than 10 keywords against 1 page of content.
Does subscription to an article publishing service who post links back, constitute buying or selling links that pass PageRank?
Without knowing more, it’s difficult to say – they could be distributing your work to hundreds of websites in a spammy way or they could be simply distributing your article to a select few publishers, which would be fine. Either way, article publishing services wouldn’t really be viewed as a paid link but it might fall under scrutiny because of a propensity to post to too many places too quickly.
re. link building, would link referrals to other atty that practice other practice areas be o.k.? what about having a reciprical link from that atty?
As part of a larger link development strategy, reciprocal linking between quality websites is just fine and will help rankings a bit. Reciprocal links aren’t as valuable as 1 way links and make sure the sites you’re linking to are reputable.
Is it better to have an independent blog that links to your website or integrate the blog on your website?
Depending on the circumstances of the firm, either approach can help drive clients to the law firm. But my short answer is, ultimately, the best place to have a blog is as a directory within your larger website. (www.firmname.com/blog/) This is because that blog’s posts will grow your larger site’s breadth and, importantly, your main URL will be the one people cite when they talk about your blog.
Any suggestions for the best approach to obtaining links from EDU sites such as local law schools? My experience is they are fairly resistant to requests from local law firms.
EDU links are tough to get, so I don’t have a great answer for you. Leverage relationships you may still have with professors for a backlink. Develop content that’s useful to a group of professors and let them know about it in hopes that they’ll link to it. Look for EDU blogs that allow comments or post trackbacks.
I work for a large family law firm that focuses on clientele with large assets and complex financial matters – what is the best way to market to this demographic when typical people online do not represent our intended client. Should we avoid PPC?
Given the description of your clientele, it’s likely that referrals, networking and word of mouth advertising generate the most business for your firm. Many “B2B” firms are in a similar position. For niches like this, I’d first suggest that you continue to build those personal networks that have proven to work in the past. Consider B2B tools like Martindale.com to improve your referrals. Perhaps social networking through LinkedIn can help extend your contacts to new clients. Of course local advertising and face to face communication are great ideas too. But don’t forget about PPC quite yet.
The great thing about PPC is that you only pay for the visitors that click on your ad. Let’s say you bid on a keyword that only gets searched a few times a month and costs almost nothing per click… but it’s something your firm does extremely well and at a high margin. Let’s say “million dollar estate settlement lawyer” is that phrase. PPC would make sense for your firm to use so they can make sure that IF a potential client for that “rich” keyword does do an Internet search, they see your firm’s ad. If it rakes in the clients, great, if not, you’re not paying for much anyway. The only mistake would be to bid on too-general keywords or keywords for services that don’t yield much profit.
How can you prevent ‘phantom’ clicking on a PPC campaign? I once knew a guy whose full time job was to surf the web and click on websites to trigger ‘PPC’ entries. He was paid for each one he found (from a list) – is this still being done?
There are always going to be scammers who set out to defraud the PPC systems by clicking on ads with no intent to buy/transact. Some click fraud is from organized crime, other simply from over-zealous competitors. The major pay per click systems (like Google, Yahoo and Bing) are the group doing the most to fight this sort of activity by tracking clicks per IP address and “hundreds of different factors”. A great resource to give in-depth answers about click fraud prevention can be found here: http://www.google.com/adwords/adtrafficquality/. You can also report suspected click fraud if you supply the PPC ad system with details of the suspicious activity.
how do you find out they are bouncing?
Defined, “bounce rate” measures the percentage of web site visitors who arrive at a web site entry page, then leave without going any deeper into the site. This is a metric that’s available on the front page of the Google Analytics reporting panel. For systems that don’t specifically report “bounce rate”, an effective metric for judging visitor engagement is number of page views per visitor.
What is the cost/benefit analysis for pay for click? How much can you expect to spend to make pay for click worthwhile?
I’m afraid the answer is… it depends by industry, by competitiveness of the keywords and by the quality of the website to which you’re sending the PPC traffic. Of course, the margin on the product or service you sell also comes into play when you’re talking profitability.
Let me paint a typical scenario, though.
- I’m a widget manufacturer.
- My widget average sale value is $500 and, on that, I make $350 profit.
- I can use PPC to pay $5.00 per click to my website.
- My website typically can turn every 100 clicks/visitors into 1 sale.
Q: Is this PPC campaign worthwhile?
A: you paid $500 for those 100 clicks. At a 1% conversion rate (1 sale out of 100 clicks), you’ve only made $350.00. No, the PPC campaign wasn’t worthwhile, unless you start to work to increase your conversion rate and reduce your keyword costs. If you could just change it so 2 customers out of every 100 made a purchase, you’d make $700 on your $500 PPC investment.
Most lawyers have a low visitor-to-client conversion rate but a very, very high conversion value per client. As a lawyer, you have to know the value of the average new client and balance that against your PPC spend. If each new client was worth $1,000 to you and your website gets %0.25 conversion, the PPC campaign is still worth while if you’re able to drive 40 visitors for under $1,000.
Do people really like contact forms? It seems to be impersonal to me.
We’ve found that three to four times more people tend to pick up the phone and call a law firm from their website rather than fill out a web contact form. That’s why we stress the importance of using a unique call tracking number on our SEO clients’ websites: to enable firms to track the phone as well as web contact form submissions.
Our web developer raised concerns about Google Analytics visitor privacy and accuracy. Is this something that we should be concerned about?
I haven’t heard anything major about Google Analytics privacy concerns beyond the standard: they aggregate data from Analytics, the Google Toolbar, your sign-in history, etc. With all of those things, they can paint a pretty accurate picture of a user by their behavior. (But then again, doesn’t your grocery store “savers club” card invade privacy more???)
As far as accuracy: their system is as accurate as web analytics is able to be. There may be differences in how they count a “unique visitor” as opposed to how WebTrends counts them but I haven’t read anything about Google Analytics being inherently inaccurate.
How many blog posts per day are recommended?
I’ve seen blogs gain readership and SEO rankings by blogging as little as once a month but I’d recommend once a week posts. Once a day posting is a great goal, but probably not attainable given many lawyers’ schedule.
Any thoughts about using Facebook & Twitter in a SEM/SEO campaign?
I’ve personally never seen Facebook do much for anyone but sports, music and entertainment lawyers. As far as Twitter goes: it’s a large investment in time, but can pay off very well. See http://legalblogwatch.typepad.com/legal_blog_watch/2009/09/im-a-fan-of-twitter-and-have-been-using-the-service-since-early-this-year-both-personally-brucecarton-and-as-a-news-feed.html
How is a “blog” different than what we used to call a bulletin board?
Ah! I remember the old BBS days. They were the greatest: a place where a network of users could post files, programs, etc. I suppose they’re similar in that they both encourage two way conversations (post/reply) and they both operate with the idea of a “community” behind them. The same could be said of the best phpBB “discussion forums” today.
But blogs differ significantly in that i) they’re available with little/no barrier to entry, so a wider audience can create blogs and/or participate; ii) blogs are focused more on topical articles than on single ideas or items; iii) blogs carry better META information than BBS systems did so they’re more accessible and iv) RSS feeds, trackbacks, pings, plugins, etc. all make the functionality of blogs far more extend-able than BBS or phpBB systems. It’s a great topic for further consideration, though.
is a 60% a reasonable bounce rate?
Short answer: as an overall number, for “organic” traffic, yes, 60% is reasonable. 70% or more would indicate poorly targeted traffic. Bounce rates in the 40-60% range usually indicate that tweaking your content, layout or load time would make for a better experience.
For PPC traffic (where you’re paying for every click and directly determine the targeting, ad copy and landing page of the campaign) I’d expect my bounce rate to be in the 40% range or less.
I was approached by a marketing/advertising company last week regarding” Google Top Ten List” – Provided information that to maintain a position on the first page of a Google search, $2500 yr. Is this a new market for Google? I am assuming that this is not accurate; however, is there a possibility in the future?
Easy answer, do not trust any company guaranteeing you top results in Google, particularly for “organic” or natural traffic. Sure, they can pay to get top spots in PPC listings and perhaps take payment to optimize your website and Google Local profile but their guarantee to attain, if not maintain, those rankings inevitably will have an “out” for the firm. http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=35291
“Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a “special relationship” with Google, or advertise a “priority submit” to Google. There is no priority submit for Google.”
Hope these questions and answers helped any do-it-yourself lawyers or CMOs out there who are weighing your time investment versus return. SEO and PPC Questions are always welcome through comments on this post!