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Backlinks – A Must Have In Any Successful SEO Program

If you research the backlinks of some of the pages at the top of Google search engine results pages (SERPs) for the most competitive keywords in the financial industry you will find that they all have thousands and thousands of backlinks from Google Display ads. At least that we found while researching top keyword placements for a Financial Services industry keyword term a couple years ago. This led us to believe that Google might take into account the very same backlinks they have always publicly said they do not take into account: their own ads. Display ads, to be specific.

So, the top notch Paid Advertising Team at Sundown Marketing Group decided to test out this theory. Our team chose one of our clients who had not yet had much SEO work done to their website. They felt this client would be the perfect candidate because at the time they would not allow us to add any content to their website, thereby giving us a blank canvas to work with.

 

The team created the display campaign, created copy, headlines, descriptions, images and links. They focused on the keyword “car accident attorney” and then let it collect data for three months – June, July, and August of 2019. The team hypothesized that a small display ad budget of $500 would create a small increase in organic traffic, in part due to the backlinks that are generated in the ads. They believed this would happen due to the evidence seen in an Ahrefs backlink report that showed a significant amount of display ads for the top organically placed websites.

Results:

The display campaign produced some traffic, but a near 90% bounce rate, and no form submissions.

But this was to be expected; display ads are more for branding than traffic. So, what happened to the organic placement of the website for “car accident attorney”? Was it impacted?

During the first month website placement for “car accident attorney” cruised up slowly from about 35 to 25. The following two months it was erratic, going up and down but on average the site was shown at the 25 spot. It seems to have helped slightly.

What about the overall organic traffic?

There seemed to be an initial spike in traffic, but nothing too significant overall. You could say there’s more stability in the few weeks after the initial spike comes down.

Overall users were down almost 3% during the time of having the display ads. However, almost every one of the other measurements were up: overall sessions, pages per session, average session duration, even more contact form submissions resulted from the organic traffic during this time.

Those are all very good things, but it can’t be logically correlated to the display ads.

At least one thing is sure – a $500/month budget won’t make a real difference in your organic traffic. But it may help you rank better organically for the keywords you are targeting. Again, evidence seems to suggest that the larger the budget the more organic traffic you’ll get as an indirect result.

At Sundown Marketing Group we are constantly searching for the most effective way to best position our clients online and trying to uncover cutting-edge marketing/SEO ideas. If you’re a small to mid-sized law firm we can help you grow your business. Contact Sundown Marketing Group today at (800) 864-1764 or contact us online at Sundown Marketing Group to schedule a free consultation!

How to Maximize SEO ROI

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has evolved from a mysterious buzz phrase that savvy business owners used to seek out to be cutting-edge results, to an everyday effort used by most website owners. Today it has been formulated into a-la-carte programs offered by all sorts of marketing agencies (both reputable and not-so reputable), but how do you know what you are paying for and whether it is returning an acceptable Return on Investment (ROI)?

Your SEO program should be aligned with your business goals. You may have received a negative review that you want to push down in search results, you may have competition that you want to outrank, or you may just be a law firm owner who wants more clients. Whatever your goals are for your SEO program, they should be identified from the beginning so you can define success.

A typical law firm’s goal for a website is to rank on the first page for a specific set of keywords that produce a high volume of searches. For example, “personal injury attorney” or “criminal defense attorney”. Ranking highly for these keyword phrases will be difficult because they are so generic and because the sites that typically rank at the top of Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) for these keyword phrases are often nationally recognized legal directories like findlaw.com or lawyers.com. Still, if you do your best to at least improve your rankings for that keyword, say from the fourth page (position 35) to the second page (position 15), it is likely that you will also improve for other keywords even more significantly. For example, “personal injury attorney in Mobile, AL” or “criminal defense attorney in my area”.

If no business goals are clearly defined the default goal is to increase overall organic traffic. This is a good goal to have because it also produces good return on investment since organic traffic often turns into conversions. These people may watch a video, call the firm, fill out a form, ask a question, etc.

Still, it is beneficial to have clear goals so that you can target your traffic increases for one lucrative segment of your prospective clients. Sometimes an agency will make recommendations on which keywords to target based on current rankings of the website. At Sundown Legal Marketing, we do this for our clients through the use of a tool called SEMRush. This process is outlined in our article on “Striking Distance Keywords”.

Once keywords are identified, and SEO work has been done to the website, you are ready to start reviewing results. Any improvement in ranking has value even if it is just an incremental change (i.e. moving from page 4, position 38, to page 2, position 12). However, value is in the eye of the beholder, so how much you should pay per keyword at this stage is difficult to say.

However, once the keywords move into the top 10, or page 1, then you can very easily place a dollar value on the keyword because you can compare it to the cost of purchasing a Google ad for that keyword.

To calculate the value of a keyword, look up the average volume for that keyword by utilizing a third party tool (we use SEMRush), then multiply that by a typical Click Through Rate (CTR) of 2%, then multiply that by the average cost of that keyword according to the Google Keyword Planner. So if SEMRush says the keyword receives 2,900 monthly visits, and the Keyword Planner says your keyword costs $5/click, and you factor an industry standard 2% CTR, then a keyword that is showing your website organically in the top 10 spots could be worth up to $290 per month. You could take a little bit of value off each position as it goes down. For example, $290 for position 1; $260 for position 2, and so on.

This is all just to put a value on a keyword. Doing things like this help us determine the return on investment of our SEO programs. It is essentially the method that paid search managers use and it is a way to help you understand where your money is going when you have a Digital Marketing campaign.

At Sundown Legal Marketing we like to take the smoke and mirrors out of our campaigns and be as transparent as we can. If you are unhappy with the service your current marketing agency is providing, or feel that they are not returning an acceptable ROI, please call us for a free initial consultation! Our team of legal marketing experts is ready to help you craft an internet marketing campaign for your law firm. We can be reached at (800) 864-1764 or through our website contact form.