Recently we ran into an interesting issue with one of our law firm SEO clients – incoming organic traffic had increased compared to the previous month, yet we noticed a slight drop in the incoming leads that came in through our organic traffic.
So our big problem here was:
- More organic traffic but fewer leads
Some SEO’s might drool at the increase in organic traffic and hop around the real issue (less business for our client) but we like to take the time to really delve into the issue and came up with an analysis that can really pinpoint the specific practice area’s our client had been seeing losses (or gains) in.
Google Analytics provides a nice comparison of incoming keywords month to month, but when your unique incoming keywords coming in per month numbers around 1300-1500 it can get hard to get any real takeaways from that data when you have 3000+ data points to consider (which is two months of data to compare).
Picking your Practice Area Segments
For our legal clients, it’s been beneficial for us to start segmenting this keyword data by practice area (amongst other things) so we can take a look at groups of keywords all sharing the same theme and determine which of these segments is posting a loss or a gain for the month.
We’ll go through this example with a hypothetical law firm aptly named Clark & Clark Law Offices
Clark & Clark Law Offices primarily practices in three areas of law: personal injury, divorce, and bankruptcy.
Segmenting out keyword traffic for each of these practice areas will be important but not all of our incoming keywords are going to be fitting snugly into those three categories. Using these three practice areas as a base you’ll most likely see the other following segments come into play:
- Branded Keywords: ‘Clark Law’, ‘Clark Lawyers’,’ Clark & Clark’, etc.
- Image Searches: People searching for images our site is hosting
- Less Legal-Centric Injury, Bankruptcy, or Divorce Queries: ‘Why does my neck hurt so much after this car accident?’
- General Law Queries: Keywords that don’t mention a specific practice area
- Misc: Some incoming keywords just really won’t have a theme – dump them here but don’t do this too much or a large chunk of your traffic will be segmented here
- Not Provided: Google has been holding back on data for around 25-30% of our clients’ traffic as you’ll most likely see a similar number in your reports.
Now these segments change drastically between firms – the important thing is to make sure you’re consistent when you’re naming them and not getting too specific with these segments – we want to reduce the number of data points we’re looking at and having categories with only 3-4 keywords in it is only going to make our final analysis more confusing. When we finish our analysis we typically have around 15-20 specific categories which gives us much more actionable data than 3000 unique keywords.
Exporting your Data from Google Analytics
Now all of this data is going to be available through your Google Analytics account. You’ll want to navigate to the following pages through your left sidebar:
You now should be looking at a screen of your incoming organic keywords to your site over whatever time period you had originally selected. As we want to compare two months we will select the month we want to start with, and the check off the “Compare Two” check button located right below the date selection box. At this point, you’ll notice your keyword data at the bottom of the screen now shows 2 numbers for each keyword.
We’ll now be exporting this data to excel so we can work on the segmentation.
Make sure that “500 rows” is selected at the bottom of the screen.
Google Analytics only allows you to export 500 rows of data at a time, so if your Google Analytics is showing more than 500 rows of keywords you’ll have to navigate to the next page and repeat the process until all your data is available in CSV form.
At the top of the page select the “Export” menu and save the resulting data as a “CSV” file.
If you have more than 500 rows you’ll need to combine all the various files into one large file so we can eventually tag all the keywords with our segments and throw all that raw data into a nice pivot table through MS Excel. Your data should resemble the table below:
Tagging your Keywords with your Practice Area Segments
Now on the far right of your set of data add another column for your keyword segments and start filling in your data. You’ll notice that each keyword appears twice (one row for each month) so you’ll be tagging these in groups of two.
This step of the process is a little time intensive – I can get things rolling a little quicker by using text filters within excel – but if anyone has any other ideas we’re more than welcome to include them!
After segmenting your data should resemble the picture below – we used dummy data to fill in our statistics so you’ll most likely have MUCH more keyword data – I circled the added segments:
At this point your tagging is done – next is to drop the data into a PivotTable in order to extract some actionable information out of it. Our dummy data we used for our analysis isn’t the greatest – you can see Clark & Clark Law is having a rough month with regards to their SEO.
Here’s the data in it’s pivoted glory:
Already we can see some examples of why we’re seeing increased traffic and fewer leads – in this case, our dummy data shows Clark & Clark getting a fairly large spike of image traffic throughout October which pulled down the overall conversion rate we’ve come to expect and thus the number of incoming leads.
Getting Creative With Your New Data
You can also use a couple of Excel charts and different table formats to give a clearer idea of what your traffic is doing. Below is a pie chart generated from our dataset that displays the breakdown of our incoming anchor text for one month.
Looking at two of these (for each month) side by side can give you a nice visual cue of what segments are shrinking and growing.
In addition, we can also break out our data from the pivot table into an easy-to-scan table. Here I added a few extra metrics including a % breakdown of each segment (in relation to their respective month totals) as well as highlighting in red any segments which experienced a drop over the two months we compared.
While I’m the first to admit this analysis takes a bit of hard work (segmenting the keywords takes time) but we find it useful in analyzing what type of traffic gains or losses we’re experiencing when it comes to incoming organic results.
Looking at a broader keyword overview month to month has helped us identify where our efforts are being wasted, and where we need to spend more time building links and creating great content. In this situation, Clark & Clark took hits with regards to their Branded, and Miscellaneous traffic. It’s worth it to note that in this situation I’ve lumped our “not provided” keywords into our Misc. traffic.
Luckily we still saw growth in Clark & Clark’s “money making” keywords – personal injury, bankruptcy, and divorce.
Hopefully, your firm or company can use this analysis to focus your SEO efforts where they are needed – if you have any questions or some clarity is needed, feel free to drop us a line or respond in the comments.
Majux Marketing is a Philadelphia SEO agency that serves attorneys, eCommerce, and other companies of all types. To see how we can help you develop a highly-tuned internet marketing strategy that doesn’t just return traffic, but moreso emphasizes targeting leads that convert into new clients, give us a call today – (215) 309-1631.