Search Engine Optimization can have an extremely high rate on return, if the proper keyword research is conducted. When it comes to selecting keyword phrases related to your firm, you need to know which keywords will yield the highest converting traffic. To determine the profitability of any keyword phrase, we need to calculate a few different factors. Listed below, I will systematically break down those factors and how they play a key role in any successful optimization campaign.
The first thing we need to analyze is the intent of what the search engine user is looking for. The more accurately we match the keyword phrase with the intent of the user, the more relevant our search results will be for our audience. By increasing the relevancy of our traffic, you increase the conversion percentage of your website. For most local law firms, it’s safe to say that their geographical location and practice areas make for a great starting point when choosing keywords. For example: “dallas texas personal injury”. Obviously, this keyword phrase is relevant to anyone in the Dallas area that is actively seeking a law firm for personal injury. Had you shown up in their search results and were relevant, your firm could then be the recipient of that new potential client. You can quickly see the value of intent relevancy and why we now need to discuss the competition levels for these keywords.
When considering that search engine optimization can equate to an increase in lead flow, you can understand why there are variations in the level of competition for each keyword phrase. Keywords can have increased competition levels for many reasons, but keyword volume, intent relevancy, and industry saturation are the most prevalent causes. However, keywords containing a high level of competition are typically a good indicator of conversion potential. Although, the most favorable keywords should contain high relevancy, high traffic volume, and a low to medium level of competition. The trick is being able to calculate these variables to determine the most cost effective strategy. Despite keyword phrases with low competition or high traffic volume, you should never sacrifice intent relevancy.
As you can imagine, intent relevancy is irrelevant if the keyword phrase doesn’t receive enough monthly traffic. Typically, the volume of any keyword is determined by either how broad or specific the phrase. The more specific the keywords are, the higher the intent relevancy will be. In opposition, broader keywords phrases are less relevant, but contain a higher traffic volume. The reason for this is that the broader a term, the more likely a large mass of users will type it. For example: “los angeles lawyer” and “immigration lawyer in los angeles”. The first keyword phrase receives 30 times the volume of the second keyword phrase. Unfortunately, the first phrase will have a much higher bounce rate because it lacks any relevancy other than both you and the client being in Los Angeles. However, if you’re a larger firm offering a wide variety of services, broader keywords may be appropriate. The value of each keyword phrase is completely unique to every law firm when you consider variations in their size, location(s), goals, and practice areas.
The value of any phrase needs to outweigh the competition level and thus ranking difficulty. You need to ask yourself, “What is this keyword phrase worth to me?” On average, if you can calculate the value of a new client, you can calculate the value of the keyword phrase generating that client. Aside from making calculations based on intent relevancy, traffic volume, and competition levels, you’re probably wondering if there’s a more precise way to calculate the intrinsic value. One method consists of utilizing Adwords by researching the current cost per click bid price for a keyword you wanted to optimize. Typically, paid results receive around 24% of the search volume on any given keyword phrase. With that said, if a phrase receives a traffic volume of 1,000 hits a month, you could estimate a potential 240 clicks going towards paid results. If the bid price of each click was $4, you could then estimate a total monthly PPC cost of $960. Over the course of a year, you could then estimate a potential $11,500 was paid out to Adwords. When considering that organically optimizing for that same keyword is a tenth the cost or more, you can not only gauge the market value, but also realize how cost-effective organic optimization is compared to paid results.
• Final Thoughts
Keep in mind that this was written to simply summarize the process so that lawyers may know what to expect from their SEO firm or how to get started for the “do it yourself” lawyers out there. What I have briefly discussed does not even scratch the surface of how in-depth keyword research can be, but should give you a general understanding and a much needed perspective.