Legal Marketing Myth #1 – Ranking for Vanity Keywords

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One of the most common misconceptions that I hear as a Legal Marketing Consultant is that ranking for vanity searching is the key to marketing success.  In reality, vanity searches are typically only made by attorneys and marketers.  Examples of these types of searches are “DUI attorney, Madison WI” or “criminal lawyer, Milwaukee, WI.” 

We can break the composition of search traffic into Branded and Non-Branded traffic.  On average 32% of consumers are running branded searches.  Branded searches are the law firm + the geography.  An example is “Smith Law Firm, Green Bay, WI.”  The remaining 68% of traffic to legal websites is coming from Non-Branded searches.  These searches are being made asking specific questions about the law or the problem.  Example, “DUI truck license suspended, Madison, WI.”  

The Branded searches are important from a reputation management perspective for obvious reasons.  In these searches you want to portray the best possible image for your firm.  You want an authoritative website that shows up as the first results when someone runs a search for you or your firm.  You want your Google Business Page to display with the correct information.  You may want appropriate profiles to display and positive reviews confirming what they may have heard about you.

Non-Branded search is the unclaimed territory of search.  Over 66% of non-branded search is coming from legal research and there may not be a clear intent of looking for an attorney.  33% of non-branded search comes from long-tail searches.  These searches have a more personal statement of need and usually an intent of finding a lawyer.  Less than 2% of non-branded traffic comes from head-term searches, Practice area + Location + attorney/lawyer.

Where are the actual contacts coming from?  Over 70% of contacts from non-branded search comes from Long-Tail searches.  Just over 25% from research and 3% from Head Term. It is clear from this data that the focus needs to be taken off ranking for vanity keywords and more on the way an actual legal consumer is searching.