Domain Rating (Ahrefs)
What domain rating does Ahrefs give the websites?
Ahref’s domain rating is a 100 point scale that measures the quality and quantity of the links pointed at a particular domain. It correlates highly with a website’s ability to rank in the search engines, and link builders use it as a metric to decide how much value a link may pass.
Bigger = Better!
The fact that the average DA for organically ranked law firm listings is at 30 gives you an idea of the link building work that was done to get there. Put your own URL into Ahrefs, compare your score and then get to work on more link building.
Linking Domains (Ahrefs)
How many different websites link to the attorneys on page one?
The total number of unique linking domains is still one of the most powerful signals to Google to indicate that your website is an authoritative property.
A mentor of mine liked to say: “If ten people are sitting at a conference table and 9 of them are all pointing at one person, then it’s safe to say there is something special about that one person.”
The same is true with Google’s algorithm. Google looks at a link as a vote that the linking domain trusts the website to which it is linking.
In short, if your law firm has a large number of quality inbound links from topically relevant websites, then it will be very good for your search visibility. It does not play any role in PPC of course.
The average number of unique linking domains is 357 and that is very high compared to other verticals in which I have worked. If you are an attorney and are hoping to get onto page one for a competitive keyword like the one we are researching today, then you better have a solid link building game plan.
Here is a study showing the correlation between search traffic and linking domain count:
Total Backlinks (Ahrefs)
How many total backlinks do high ranking lawyers have?
The total backlinks statistic is the count of ALL backlinks pointing at a website.
An interesting exercise is to look at the total backlinks that a law site has and compare it to the unique linking domains from the last section. If we take the average number of backlinks and divide it by the average number of linking domains we will see the following:
22,414 (total backlinks) / 357 (linking domains) = 63 links are coming from each domain. This is an average.
This tells us a little something about the linking practices of these top attorneys. They are getting a lot of site-wide links or “boilerplate links”. These footer, sidebar and navigational links are easy to manipulate and are sometimes associated with paid links and link schemes. It is a somewhat antiquated SEO technique in 2019, yet you still see it happening in some places.
Here’s a Matt Cutts quote from Wordstream:
“We’ve done a good job of ignoring boilerplate, site wide links. In the last few months, we’ve been trying to make the point that not only is link buying like that not doing any good, we’re turning the dial up to let people know that certain link spam techniques are a waste of money.”
Of course, there are very legitimate reasons to receive sitewide links, we just need to be aware that Google is actively trying to devalue the more manipulative types.
You can view your backlinks here:
Total Keywords (Ahrefs)
How many unique keywords do the top law firm websites rank for?
The total keywords metric is showing the number of keywords that a website has ranked in the top 100 of organic search. This is another Ahrefs metric.
On average, each of these 100 Top Lawyer web designs are ranking for 5313 keywords in the top 100 SERP positions. The more keywords a law site ranks for, the more traffic they get and, likely, the more clients they sign up through an organic search.
If your law firm wants to compete, this is a metric for you to follow. These law firms have had to build out a lot of high quality and in-depth content to be ranking for 5k+ keywords.
Total Traffic (Ahrefs)
How many website visitors do top lawyers receive each month?
Total traffic is the estimated total monthly search traffic from the top 100 organic search results.
On average the top law firms are getting around 3,200 organic search visits per month.
I ran a few real-world comparisons of this tool vs. real analytics data to get a sense for accuracy. Here is what I found:
Website A: 2,000 estimated organic visits compared to 1,413 actual organic visits
Website B: 352 estimated organic visits compared to 729 actual organic visits
Website C: 1,700 estimated organic visits compared to 1,984 actual organic visits
The monthly visit count taken from Google Analytics was over a 6-month average. I’d say Ahrefs is pretty much in the ballpark.
Domain Authority (Moz)
What is the average DA of the landing pages?
31 was the average Domain Authority across all 100 law firm websites.
Domain Authority (DA) is a 100 point logarithmic scale developed by Moz that predicts how a website will rank in search.
The higher the number = The easier to rank for whatever you want.
Get the Moz toolbar and you will be able to measure your own DA and then compare your number to the other law firms in your area. If your number is lower, I would suggest trying to gain some high-quality links. Others are going to have an easier time ranking their site than you will with higher DA.
Spam Score (Moz)
What chance do these legal sites have of being in trouble with Google?
Spam Score is the percentage of websites with similar features Moz has found to be penalized or banned by Google. There are about 27 different attributes they look at to come up with this percentage based score.
The average spam score was 1.67%. This indicates that there is very little similarity in the backlink profiles of these attorney websites compared to sites that have been banned by Google.
If you find that your spam score is high enough to be concerned you may want to analyze your backlink profile and start disavowing the spammy links in Google Search Console. Google has made the process relatively simple and it can help out a ton.
How many words are used on a top personal injury landing page?
As you can see from the numbers above, long-form content is ruling the personal injury attorney space. There are over 1,700 words on average for each piece for all of these websites! That is a ton of content as an average across 100 websites. It’s apparent that law firm websites have a lot to say and their copywriters know the importance of being topically complete in the eyes of Google.
The challenge a law firm web designer will typically have is how to make a page with this many words easy to look at, simple to follow and digestible while still giving the Google gods what they want.
Think of the designer who worked on the home page design with 7,418 words!! Wow!
Brian Dean from Backlinko did a study on content length and how it correlates to higher rankings. He found that around 1,900 TOPICALLY RELEVANT words is a nice number to aim for. Here is a graph from his study:
Reading Level (Gunning Fog Index)
How hard is the content to read?
Gunning fog index is a readability test that estimates the years of formal education a person needs to understand the text on a web page. As an example, a score of 12 will require the reading level of a senior in high school.
The reading level of almost all of these law firm websites come in around a 12th-grade reading level. These law firms are clearly trying to strike a balance between sounding like experts while not talking over their target audience’s head.
Here is an interesting table that explains the scores: