The best way is to have direct access to each websites Google Analytics, or another website traffic report program. If you do not have that information, it is not easy to compare websites.
Two years ago, Google Analytics actually had a benchmark tool to compare industry metrics for law firms. However, that feature has been degraded. So, until a reliable tool comes out from Google for a law firm focus, we are left with third party tools.
Third Party Tools
The only other way is Alexa and other 3rd party vendors. They extrapolate traffic based on their toolbars and tracking codes that are installed on web browsers.
However, those traffic reports vary widely in quality and should not really be relied upon for smaller sites. They do a decent job of stating who the top 1,000 sites in the world are. Anything outside of the top 100,000 sites is hard to view with such a small data set though, so it should not be relied upon in an actual comparison.
Tracking in Google Analytics
You should definitely be setting up Goals in analytics. You should have a conversion goal for every lead that comes in from a contact form. You can also setup a goal for newsletters and any download. You can have a goal for time on website and number of pages loaded too. You might even want to setup one for landing on your contact page (since the user may call you).
Search Engine Optimization
For SEO, the importance could be viewed with a keyword rankings report and traffic estimate.
- OpenSiteExplorer.org & Ahrefs.com – Checks out back links to see the authority of your site and the authority of competitors.
- Google Keyword Tool – Checks out popular search terms for their practice areas and geographic areas. If you rank in the top 3 searches, you can expect 10% to 30% of the overall search volume of a keyword phrase.
- Ranking Tool – We use AWR to check out current rankings based on specific keyword phrases. It reports real rankings. When you compare that to the Google Keyword Suggestion tool, you can then see what a potential market size is for traffic.
- Conversions – Most sites would convert at 10% of visitors. When you compare that to the total search volume and current rankings, you can extrapolate out on the overall market (or missing market).