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A comprehensive digital marketing strategy includes numerous components. The most commonly identified features are website design and functionality, keyword usage, content quality, and linking. However, it is equally essential to be aware of your competitors and what they are doing in regard to marketing. If you are looking to improve your online presence, boost rankings, and increase visitor-client conversion rates, it is time to consider conducting a law firm competitor analysis.
The Importance of Conducting Competitor Analyses
Conducting a competitive analysis can help you learn not only more about how your competition works but how your own firm can improve. You can identify opportunities to our-shine them while staying on top of industry trends, site visitors’ expectations, and clients’ needs.
When you conduct a competitor analysis, you can determine how your services are different from your competition, which can help you with future marketing strategies. Maybe your law firm specializes in a unique area of law compared to your competition. You can start targeting ads, content, and other campaigns towards those potential clients with that knowledge.
You will also be able to learn more about competitors’ strengths and weaknesses compared to your own. You can identify additional areas of opportunity and test new marketing strategies based on your findings. However, in order to conduct a helpful competitor analysis, you first need to understand how to identify your competitors.
How to Find Your Competitors
You likely have an idea who your direct competitors are based on the law firms near your physical office and offer similar services to clients that you do. Create a list of those law firms, including the following information:
- Law firm name
- Target audience
- Practice areas
- Strengths and weaknesses
- Marketing channels (i.e., social media profiles)
Once you have that information collected, you can compare your law firm and start to make a note of any potential deficiencies. But what about your online competition? Law firms you compete with exclusively online are considered indirect competitors. Those firms may offer slightly different services than you, but both appeal to the same audience. In order to stand out in a niche market, you need to understand how your indirect competitors are obtaining clients online. To do that, you will need to break down their marketing strategies in a detailed analysis.
Components of a Law Firm Competitor Analysis
When it comes to conducting an analysis of your law firm’s competition, most of your research will take place online. Start by searching for your law firm name. This may seem counterintuitive, but what this will do is populate a list of similar law firms, giving you a starting point for your analysis. Once you have a decent list, you can start evaluating those law firms based on the following components:
Content and Links
Closely analyze your competitions’ content. While most successful law firm websites have practice area pages and a regularly updated blog, are your competitors doing anything unique? Are they offering additional content like whitepapers, infographics, or ebooks? What about digital content like videos or webinars? If your competitors vary their content more than you are, it may be time to start ramping up content production.
Be sure also to take a look at the structure of their content. What keywords are they focusing on? Do they funnel content from primary practice areas into subsections? How long are their practice area pages compared to yours? What types of topics are they covering on their blogs? The answers to those questions can help you develop a new content plan.
In addition to content, take a look at linking strategies—both internal and external. Links are a primary factor Google uses to determine how useful and reputable a given website is. The more websites that link to your web pages, the more authority you have. Consider using Moz’s Link Explorer to compare link metrics among different websites.
Once you have thoroughly analyzed competitors’ content, it is time to take a look at page rankings. Go back to the initial Google search of your law firm or your primary keywords and open the pages that outrank you. Take a look at the following elements for each page?
- How many words are on the page?
- How many times is the primary keyword used?
- Where is the primary keyword used?
- Is the content engaging and interesting?
- Is there a call-to-action directing visitors to contact or service information?
Once you have that information, you can compare it to your website and determine what potential changes you might consider to improve your rankings. Keep in mind that improving rankings can take time and may involve a bit of trial and error. To make the process easier, stay on top of the latest best practices of search engine optimization (SEO).
A quality website design holds the attention of the intended audience. Desirable design factors change as SEO best practices evolve, but some elements remain significant. Those elements include the following:
- Structure. The structure of a law firm’s website is crucial. Potential clients need to be able to find the information they need as efficiently as possible in order to stay on a website.
- Load time. A website’s design needs to consider speed. A quality website loads quickly and does not freeze or lag.
- Ease of navigation. To analyze your competition’s navigation, visit their site map. Per SEO best practices, visitors should be able to get to their destination within three clicks. If a site map is complex and challenging to follow, it is likely that the website is not easy to navigate.
- Layout. In terms of layout, web pages should be designed with visitors in mind. Most people read from top to bottom, so you want to ensure your most important information is at or near the top of the page.
- Interactions. If a website is made up of nothing except text blocks and the occasional image, it will not hold an audience’s attention. Quality websites are interactive and encourage users to click around a website to learn more.
To learn about your competitor’s sales and marketing techniques to obtain clients, there are different pieces of information you should look for. To start, consider what their sales pitch looks like. How are they informing potential clients of their services? Are they touting the benefits of seeking legal representation? Do they discuss the possible outcomes of litigation? What are they offering in terms of consultations? Once you have answers to those questions, you can evaluate your own firm’s marketing tactics and determine if you have any deficiencies.
Social Media Profiles
Social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are popular for law firms. These platforms allow attorneys to connect with potential clients in a more personalized way. They also act as conduits between social media posts and their websites. The more engagement a law firm can get on any given post, the more likely it will see its website traffic increase.
When it comes to viewing competitors’ social media pages, take a look at how they promote their brand. How often are they linking their website? What sort of posts are they publishing? Are they running any ad campaigns? Are they using clear call-to-actions in their posts? Also, be sure to take a look at their website to see if, how, and where they are promoting their social media channels.
Evaluating Your Law Firm Against Your Competitors
Even after you collect and analyze the component discussed above, you may be uncertain how to evaluate your firm and make changes for the better. To start, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is there overlap among the target audience?
- Is your marketing direct?
- How does your website tone compare?
- What are your primary selling points?
- Are you addressing any pain points your competitors are not?
Depending on your website’s age and your experience with digital marketing, you could require a website overhaul, or you may only need to implement a few changes to start seeing improvements.
If you are struggling to analyze your competitors or you want to start fresh with a new digital marketing strategy, consider outsourcing your marketing needs. If you are running a successful law firm, you might not have the time or bandwidth to balance your online presence and marketing needs. Fortunately, there are professionals who can help.
How Law Quill Can Help
With a thorough law firm competitor analysis, you will be on your way to improving your online presence and webpage rankings. Building out the analysis can seem intimidating at first. Still, once you gather all of the necessary information, you will have what you need to determine how you stack up against your competitors. If you are looking to develop a unique content strategy to outpace your competitors, Law Quill can help.
We are here to help and would welcome the opportunity to visit with you for free regarding your law firm website’s content, and how we can take these tasks off your plate! Schedule a free visit with us by scheduling a quick phone or zoom call at your convenience on our calendar today. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.