Buying Blind Is Bad Business
Date: May 13, 2022
Our client, a large B2B law firm, had been investing in Google Ads for more than ten years. Unfortunately, their agency wasn’t using proper research and conversion tracking to help guide the client’s ad purchases, which meant they were basically buying ads blind.
While they were getting reasonable pay-per-click results, they wanted more personalized attention from their agency and were hopeful for a better return on their digital marketing investment.
Shortly before hiring us, our client had decided to overhaul their website. Our challenge was to design a comprehensive SEO and PPC strategy that worked as part of their digital marketing objectives and new website while delivering better results than our predecessors.
It was kind of like trying to win a race you had started running in the wrong direction.
While our client experienced the same COVID challenges all businesses faced, the pandemic also created opportunities to expand market reach and improve client services. We had to find ways to market their previously in-person but now socially distant services as well as new government support programs to help families cover the costs of COVID-related funerals.
Pre-COVID, our immediate priority was making sure the new website had SEO features built into the core infrastructure, not added as an afterthought. Including SEO functionality from the get-go also allowed us to reindex the site and boost traffic.
Once the redesigned website launched, we executed on our 12-month plan by rebuilding new Google Ad campaigns and creating content that supported the practice areas that the firm wanted to rank for.
Post-COVID, a little bit of forward thinking led us to create new content that helped our client become the first firm in the market to rank for keywords related to socially distant, COVID-safe client services.
We also helped our client retain 200+ new clients by designing a highly focused campaign based on optimized SEO supplementing another vendor’s paid social media content efforts on Facebook and Instagram. These new clients needed help navigating the process of applying for and receiving federal funds to help pay COVID funeral expenses, a service our client developed both to provide a much-needed public service and to keep their business afloat during pandemic closures.
Briefs are for cases, not copy
Lawyers are famously prone to long-winded speeches. They can talk for hours about obscure rulings and precedents in court, but when it comes to their website copy, they inexplicably clam up.
Like most firms we work with, our client’s website featured short, generic practice descriptions that didn’t do a great job differentiating them from their competitors or explaining their expertise.
Because we know that people who visit a law firm’s website usually have specific questions about complicated problems, we spent a lot of time working with our client to write detailed pages that proved proficiency in each of their practice areas. And increasing the effectiveness and frequency of calls-to-action improved the site’s ability to funnel potential clients to the contact and booking pages.
Share those digits (and email addresses)
At its core, a website is just a billboard.
Okay, so that’s an oversimplification. But the whole point of having a website is to tell people what you do, convince them you’re the best at it and they need you, and give them a way to connect with you instantly.
Our client’s old site had hard-to-find contact buttons, clunky form submission pages, and disjointed customer journeys. Our redesigned version was built around clear sales funnels that pushed site visitors towards forms that were easy to find and to fill in while still capturing all necessary information. We increased the number of prominent contact buttons and made sure all the firm’s contact details were highly accessible.
Sell it smart
Once the new, superpowered site was up and running, we were ready to tackle the problem we were hired to fix—underperforming Google Ad campaigns.
Our client’s automated PPC campaigns hadn’t been updated for years, and it didn’t have any analytics set up to test how the ads performed. We set up robust tracking that allowed us to retarget and optimize ads, turning a semi-successful Google Ads program into a legitimate sales tool that continually generates leads below the client’s maximum cost per acquisition threshold.
Three Ingredients That Helped Us Succeed
1. A client committed to content
Whether you write your content yourself or hire someone to write it for you, getting more traffic to your site isn’t possible unless you commit to publishing on a regular schedule.
Doing exactly that, we partnered with our client on a content calendar that contained a mix of hot button issues and evergreen topics. A large part of our client’s success is a direct result of their dedication to developing their online resource library. This new content, combined with the reindexed website and SEO strategy, drove huge gains in organic growth between Q1 2020 and Q1 2021.
Since we started working together in 2019, our client has seen:
- 116.6% growth in new users
- 60.7% increase in page views
The chart below shows the massive growth in organic traffic resulting from these changes.
2. It’s who you know (or who says they know you)
One of the most reliable ways to drive traffic to your site is to make sure your site appears high on a search engine results page (SERP). And one of the best ways to improve your SERP performance is to increase the number of backlinks (links to your site from sites with a high domain authority).
As one of the Northeast’s premier companies specializing in SEO for law firms, we used our extensive network of contacts to place quotes from the firm’s senior partners in authoritative articles on respected sites. These high-quality backlinks boosted both overall SERP performance and the domain authority score for our client’s new site. Additionally, we encouraged all lawyers at the firm to write blog posts, offer comments, or sponsor content on the sites of community and professional organizations they belong to.
Since signing with 9Sail, our client’s website has received 300+ new backlinks from prestigious law schools, popular area radio stations, and major industry sites. These geographically and/or professionally relevant backlinks increased referral traffic and helped our client break through an extremely crowded national legal market by improving local SEO performance.
3. Active advertising administration
We’re very proud of 9Sail’s reputation for providing hands-on, in-depth management of our clients’ SEO campaigns. Our experience has shown us that when you win, we do too, so we work hard to understand the nuances that set you apart from your competitors.
After our work on the site redesign and the initial Google Ads strategy overhaul, we were able to give our client information they hadn’t been given in over 10 years of digital marketing—which types of leads were the most likely to deliver a high ROI. Even better, the new campaigns are delivering massive growth around all the top practice areas that were our top priority.
Our client’s reputation as one of the most well-known firms in their field is now matched by the performance of their online content and advertising.
This success is due in large part to the monthly meetings we have with the firm’s senior management and our weekly check-ins with their marketing and business development director. These frequent feedback sessions allow us to tweak the campaigns to make sure we’re helping our clients meet their goals.
SIDEBAR: “Owning” Terms Aligned with Greater Business Strategy
After working with our company for some time on foundational SEO and PPC services, the client in this case sought to proactively capitalize on two emerging areas of opportunity in their space: the defense of a specific audit in the pharmaceutical industry and the formation of an administrative entity in the medical field. They partnered with 9Sail to effectively “own” related terms in search rankings.
- As a result of our partnership, three of the firm’s top five organic keywords are directly related to these service lines
- The firm’s top visited page from organic search is its cornerstone explainer article, which is optimized for search and lead gen, tied to one of the service lines
- Our client consistently appears on page one of search results (and often above-the-fold) for strategically targeted, high-intent keywords related to these areas of practice
Start Strong. Finish Strong.
If you spend enough money on Google Ads, you’re almost guaranteed to get at least moderate results. But if you have strong SEO fundamentals in place before you buy your ads, the same amount of ad spend can deliver results that will transform your business.
We can help you chase those outcomes. Don’t be satisfied with static performance or mediocre yield from your digital marketing. Call us today and let us show you what’s possible.