Deceptive Analytics Reporting

I had a call recently with a law firm that was working with an SEO company. They were calling me because they couldn’t understand why their phone wasn’t ringing despite their analytics traffic reporting, which they believed indicated that they were getting tons of traffic from organic search each month.

The problem, their SEO company was reporting page views, not visitors from organic search.

Upon investigation, they were receiving around 1,200 visitors per month from organic traffic. The overwhelming majority of this traffic was for branded search queries (i.e. the name of the firm, names of individual attorneys).

Some might view this as a good thing. People are out there searching for the firm and the attorneys at the firm. Good “personal branding” recognition. Of course, you have to take into consideration that many of these visitors are probably existing clients, opposing counsel, etc.

When we filtered the organic search traffic to exclude these branded search queries, we were left with hundreds of visits. When we filtered further to more targeted queries (i.e. those including “lawyer” or “attorney”), we were left with sixty or so visits.

Why isn’t the phone ringing with new potential client inquiries? Well, at least in part, very few people are finding the firm via unbranded search queries in search.

The most disconcerting issue here is that the firm was misled that they were “doing fine” by the reports they were receiving from their SEO company.

Moral of the story: You have to know a bit about analytics or work with someone you trust to properly audit the efforts of your marketing company.

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