Key findings from The Digital 100

How do we rank for digital marketing?

This year, we wanted to rank leading law firms for their digital marketing. We looked at the elements that Google rewarded most and ranked the top law firms based on both publicly available data and some bespoke criteria that we created.

The result is The Digital 100 – a regularly updated ranking for digital marketing by law firms.

So how does your law firm rank for digital marketing?

Headline stats from the Digital 100

Top 10 law firms for digital marketing overall

These are the top ten firms at law firm marketing as of September 2019.

1. Leigh Day
2. Irwin Mitchell
3. Mishcon de Reya
4. Forsters
5. Linklaters
6. Lewis Silkin
7. Simpson Millar
8. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
9. Shoosmiths
10. Michelmores

Bottom 10 firms for digital marketing overall

These are the firms which come bottom in this quarter’s review based on their digital marketing performance.

90. Bevan Brittan
90. Harbottle & Lewis
92. Charles Russell Speechlys
92. Sackers
94. Weightmans
95. DAC Beachcroft
96. Penningtons Manches
97. Ince & Co
98. Wedlake Bell
99. Cripps
100. Dickson Minto

Best at social overall

Leigh Day

Best for website overall

Stevens & Bolton

What is The Digital 100?

The Digital 100 is a subscription service which ranks law firms for their digital marketing performance. A bit like The Lawyer 200 or the Legal Business 100 both do for law firm financial performance.

Millions are being spent on digital in our sector, but not always efficiently.

The report contains three things:

  • Industry averages and performances for this quarter;
  • A dashboard for your firm with specific actions to take to improve your performance; and
  • Some best practice and myth-busting guides.

The Digital 100 – the new quarterly benchmark in law firm digital marketing.

Contact Simon Marshall for more details on pricing and content.

Digital 100: The one million club

Global traffic rankings for Digital 100 law firms

Having just run the first-ever Digital 100 report, some key stats are emerging as benchmarks for major law firms. If you buy a copy of the report, we can show you industry-wide benchmarks and stats from your firm that show how you’re performing at digital marketing.

By way of taster, one set of stats that we can share is the traffic rankings.

The results are as follows:

Global traffic rankings (grouping) Digital 100 firms 101-200 firms # of firms in this group Cumulative total
Firms in the top 100,000 0 0 0 0
100,001to 250,000 6 0 6 6
250,001 to 500,000 17 0 17 23
500,001 to 1,000,000 22 7 29 52
1,000,001 to 2,500,000 37 30 67 119
2,500,001 to 5,000,000 14 30 44 163
5,000,001 to 10,000,000 3 25 28 191
Firms outside the top 10,000,000 1 8 9 200

(This data is also shown in the graph above)

What does this tell us about law firm web traffic?

Seven of the firms in the 101-200 have joined the one million club – their sites are among the million most visited in the world.

Congratulations to: Bates Wells Braithwaite, Hodge Jones & Allen, DAS Law, Fenwick Elliott, Stowe Family Law, Wright Hassall and Stephensons (and a gentle nod to Thomson Snell & Passmore, which just misses out by a few places).

More than half of Digital 100 firms (i.e. the largest firms in the UK) rank behind the seven firms listed above. Is your firm one of them?

Food for thought – no matter your size

No UK law firm is ranked in the top 100,000. (Whereas three of the Big Four accountants are ranked in the top 10,000 – a considerable order of magnitude higher in terms of total web traffic.)

Only one-quarter of the firms in the top 200 are ranked in the top one million places for web traffic, globally.

On average, the Digital 100 firms dropped 300,000 places over the past quarter.

The mean average ranking for a Digital 100 firm is 1,590,947. The median is 1,128,965th place.

The mean ranking for the next 100 law firms is 4,547,620 over 3 million places down on average. The median for the 101-200 firms is 3,507,812th.

And yet… Nineteen of the 101-200 firms beat the average Digital 100 ranking. These firms are after your targets and clients and their website traffic is one way of measuring how well they are doing.

At TBD, we can help get you in the top 2.5m at a minimum. We managed it with a ten fee-earner practice recently, so every top 200 law firm should be hitting this mark. Currently, that’s 81 firms that need to seriously climb up the rankings.



So what, it’s just a ranking, right?

These rankings are for global traffic.

More traffic = more people looking at your website.

More people looking at your website = more people who might instruct you.

More people who might instruct you = greater actual revenues.

Every place higher is those sites taking traffic away from your site.

Every click is an opportunity for them to sell their services.

The time that clients and targets spend on sites is finite: they’re not going to read your perfectly crafted article if a better one exists on a competitors’ site.

Next steps

If you’d like to increase your digital footfall, we can help. It will lead to more instructions, no matter the type of law firm you run.

If you’d like help, then please get in touch.

What is total read time?

What is Total Read Time?

Total read time is a measure of the amount of time that people have ever spent reading your webpage. It’s one way of determining the return on investment of creating a piece of content.

Why is Total Read Time so important for professional services firms?

All time spent on non fee-earning work is precious. Total read time allows people who draft thought leadership for their clients to have a basic test if it was worth producing or not. If the piece gets read (in total) for twice as long as it took to write, then great. Three times, even better. At some firms, that figure may well need to be ten, twenty or a hundred times in order to justify the cost of production. Used alongside its neighbour Average Read Time, you can tell if a piece is too long, too short, well-liked (and shared) or gathering dust.

The economics of drafting an article need to work for your business.

Time spent not fee-earning is often qualified using different criteria for return on investment. Either TBD or your marketing team should be able to tell you if your article is well-read and has produced results.

How do you work out Total Read Time?

In Google Analytics, you can look for total read time for any of your web pages. You can also find out average read time. Using Grammarly or Word, you can also find out expected read time (for this article, this is just under two minutes).

We can show you how to gather any of this data is you like, just get in touch.

Is your article overwritten?

Take expected read time and deduct average read time. How much is this over? If it takes two minutes to read and people are spending 1 minute on it, that’s fair enough. If it should take ten minutes to read and people are spending two minutes on it, you may want to consider a different format, chunking the content, or signposting it with headings and sub-headings to improve engagement levels.

Please can I see an example?

This article took 37 minutes to write. It should take 1m38s to read. So if it gets read 20 times for an average of just under 2 minutes, then it will break even in terms of effort/reward. Clearly, the higher this figure is, the better.

We’ll update it in a few weeks’ time with the actual stats so that you can see what we mean.

Next steps

We’re running a unique writing and social media course aimed at lawyers and business professionals. Sign up here for the event on 11 December or here for the course on 30 January.


Contact us