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Blog: Getting your online strategy right - Part 2

Reading time: 4 mins

Andy Cullwick, head of marketing, March 02, 2018

So why are you struggling to get a decent visibility score?

There are many reasons why your visibility score will be low and Google uses over 200 ranking factors, from the technical structure of your website through to the quality of links or even the type of web hosting, but our analysis suggested the biggest issue for the sites we audited was a lack of content or the use of low quality content.

This is one of the key issues within the personal injury sector and a lack of content or poorly put together content has a direct correlation between visibility and the number of keywords they rank for.

There were over 75,000 keyword variations that drove traffic to the First4Lawyers website in the last 12 months. However, only a handful of the websites we audited appeared in search results of over 500 keywords with the average ranking at 392.

Unfortunately things are going to get even more complex and challenging for you in the future as we move into a mobile-first driven market.

Mobile first websites are nothing new and have been around for many years. However, mobile is becoming an increasingly important part of marketing and Google will be placing more emphasis on mobile when it determines how it ranks websites in the future.

Reassuringly our audit identified that 87% were responsive – this is a big tick in the box for a mobile-first strategy and was reflected in the visibility scores for mobile which averaged at 252 which is higher than the average desktop visibility score.

But don’t breathe too much of a sigh of relief – 10% of these responsive websites (including one of the top 10) were identified to not pass Google’s mobile usability guidelines. As such they may have been built as responsive but don’t work as they should be. At some point in the next 12 months I suspect they will be hit by Google’s algorithm updates and potentially downranked.

And whilst the overall average visibility score is up, some 44% of firms had worse mobile visibility scores for their websites compared to their desktop visibility scores.

Without adding to your woes, mobile site speed will also increase as a ranking factor for your website in the next 12 months.

Naturally, the longer a page takes to load then the higher the abandonment rate as people get frustrated and move on. Research suggests that the ideal load time should be 2.4 seconds, but very few websites actually achieve this.

When we ran our own audit at First4Lawyers we found that the top 10 websites were achieving an average load time of 5 seconds but each site was taking anything from 4 to 7 seconds to load.

When we looked at the wider range of sites we saw that it was taking an average of 8.5 seconds and load time ranged from 3 to 24 seconds.

However, many of these websites ranking at 3 seconds were low on the visibility score rankings and shouldn’t be measured as a success!

When we put all this information together we get a full picture of what performance looks like.

Security

A staggering 62% of the websites we reviewed did not have SSL implemented into their website.

SSL is security technology encrypted into your website to make it more secure for visitors. A standard feature of all ecommerce websites for many years but it is becoming a standard quality Google expects all websites to have.

Up until now this hasn’t been a major issue for many websites but it is about to change and become increasingly punitive over the next 12 months.

People using Chrome browsers (which accounts for about 60% of all web browser usage) visiting any website that doesn’t have SSL, will have it flagged to them that they are visiting a website that is not secure.

Initially a warning message, soon it will start blocking people from visiting websites without SSL which will actively drive traffic away from your website.

Sadly the legal services sector seems to be lagging behind when it comes to online marketing. If you are worried about the performance of your website then take a look at our whitepaper for some hints and tips.

Read Part 1 of this blog