Legal digital marketing agency founder Sam Borrett examines data from the third annual legal industry review of law firm website performance and draws insightful findings to help law firms migrate to a new digital world.
The general trend of this year’s report seems to be that often one or two particular facets of SEO can lower a site’s performance. Some businesses fail to link, many have poor quality content, while others are plagued by user experience issues.
This year we have seen that almost all of the top ten law firms have improved their performance compared to last year’s data, but many firms still have not prepared their sites for the major update of Google’s algorithm that will penalize slow websites.
With user experience being a particular issue this year, due to the new Google Page Experience update released this summer, some companies have already taken the opportunity to move forward. All major law firm updates have been reflected in the Core Web Vitals scores and these have been published for all top 200 firms as an addition to the Site Performance Analysis report. This year’s Web Legmark.
The podium places this year go to Irwin Mitchell for better overall performance, and Gunnercooke is the featured player of this year for the biggest improvement in his ranking.
The top five spots in the income-adjusted benchmark are dominated by small firms with Stephensons, Lindsays, Nelsons and Wright Hassall all featured. Irwin MitchelI am the only large company to make the top five.
The UK’s largest full-service law firm with attorneys specializing in property transfer and real estate has the best overall ratings this year. With the Irwin Mitchell the website performs well across all categories, dropping from 27 spots to 3rd spot, demonstrating the company’s understanding of how critical it is to continue investing in a strong online presence.
The annual report offers a detailed overview of the competition and seeks to educate law firms on what a great user experience looks like in the industry to help firms get the most out of their SEO. Readers can learn who and why these firms excel online, how their sites work, and what steps are needed to achieve top status for their law firm.
Some information of interest to small businesses comes from analyzing the value of website traffic. Examining each keyword that each law firm’s website ranks for and the expected number of visits to each search term, multiplied by the equivalent cost of generating that traffic from pay per click, determines the overall value of a website’s traffic.
Typically, sites with a high traffic value have broad coverage for high and low keywords (based on competition). However, low traffic value isn’t always a bad thing, especially if, as a small business, you offer a niche service with less expensive search terms. As a small business, it pays to focus on the keywords that convert. Blake Morgan, for example, wasn’t even in the top 20 last year. The full-service law firm has now climbed to third place, although it only ranks 55th in terms of revenue.
Looking at how businesses are performing against Google’s new Core Web Vitals has provided further insights of interest for small businesses. Lindsay held a coveted top-three position for mobile speed, but was penalized overall as the site suffered from its higher paint content and first-entry delay scores, suggesting there is work to be done on their homepage to avoid any Google ranking penalty.
We must give credit to Stowe Family Law, who reached sixth place on the website’s performance scale. Jump of 74 places compared to last year, Stowe Family Law invested in page speed, while also enjoying high traffic and keyword value.
If there’s one thing this report has highlighted, it’s that there are no quick fixes when it comes to a solid SEO strategy. Google may have added user experience into the mix with its new Core Web Vitals, but it’s only a slice of a really big pie.
The bottom line is that in a highly competitive industry, if you don’t improve your website performance faster than your competition, you run the risk of losing a very profitable job that ends up in someone’s pocket. ‘other.
With over 200 factors affecting your website ranking, SEO is a fluid and complex combination of technical precision, exceptional user experience, strong signals of trust and authority, and most importantly, the best content.
This year’s Legmark Legal Sector Website Performance Report is available for download at legmark.com/top-200-law-firm-websites. Custom graphics are available for all law firms in Legmark and are not exclusively limited to those in the top 200. Contact Legmark today at [email protected] or 0161 818 8448 to see how your business is measuring.