My Local Law Firm Website Gets (Odd) Kansas Traffic. Why?

Dorothy's red shoes

Your law firm is not in Kansas anymore.

But wait, what if your law firm was never, literally, in Kansas?

And your firm’s website doesn’t have content about Kansas . . .

It doesn’t even mention Kansas . . .

. . . then why the heck are you getting internet traffic from Kansas?

It happens.

One attorney who is a Firmidable marketing client, looking at his monthly website report, noticed recently that 25% of his visitors were out of his region—including 7% from Kansas. (His firm is in Illinois.)

Like Dorothy, let’s look behind the curtain: There is a quirky, but harmless, explanation for why this happens and how it doesn’t stop you from getting the law firm website leads that become great (and local) cases.

Read on…

2 Reasons a Locally Focused Law Firm Website Gets Visitors from Other States

The attorney in Illinois was seeing the effects of two internet phenomena:

  • Increasing authority of his website. (Congratulations!)
  • Google’s imperfect knowledge of where all people browsing the web are located.

That second one leads to what a digital marketing article in Forbes magazine called the “Kansas Problem.”

We’ll explain that in a minute, but first let’s look at the encouraging news.

The law firm website in question has been operating for years and, thanks to help from Firmidable, the website is constantly evolving and growing.

With an ever-expanding record of added information, new blog posts, organizational updates, operational tune-ups and more, that website now has many hundreds of pages of content indexed by Google.

It’s a local website. The content on the website only mentions local places. But it’s starting to emerge in Google’s eyes as a national authority in its legal practice areas.

That means some people will find the firm from other states when they search for the legal topics in the firm’s areas of expertise.

Thankfully, the way the open, “organic” web works, those out-of-state searchers don’t displace searchers in the geographic area the firm serves.

Paid online ads are different, but for website traffic that isn’t directed by paid advertising, people arriving from anywhere and everywhere don’t use up any resources on your part.

The site’s high authority, in fact, means the firm gets more and more searchers— potential new clients—from within its target area, too. This is a picture of how digital law firm marketing should work.

A magnifying glass on a laptop


How To Think About Your Law Firm’s Rank In Search Results

So . . . Back to Kansas

Most of the time, Google knows where a web searcher is located.

And it favors providing search results for law firms nearby. Google assumes most people looking for a lawyer want one close, so it includes proximity as a factor that determines where your website ranks in someone’s search results.

But like the Great and Powerful Oz, Google doesn’t actually know absolutely everything (at least not yet).

In toto (ahem), Google may not be able to pinpoint the location of a searcher for at least a couple of reasons:

  • The person unintentionally has their device set to shield their location.
  • They have deliberately blocked their location data out of privacy concerns.

So what happens then?

Multiple studies have found that for many advertisers, an unusual amount of web traffic comes from Kansas.

Not just anywhere in Kansas, but Coffeyville, KS, a town of about 9,000 people near the Oklahoma border north of Tulsa.


The issue is not that people in Coffeyville, KS, are ridiculously voracious searchers of the web.

It turns out that when Google can’t see someone’s specific location within a country, it arbitrarily places them at a central point in that country. In the United States, it pins them as being in Coffeyville, KS.

Where was that Illinois firm’s Kansas traffic coming from?

Sure enough—Coffeyville.

Conversion Matters More than the Geographic Origin of Your Law Firm Online Traffic

Let’s say you accept that it’s not doing any harm to receive out-of-state internet traffic to your law firm website.

With all those far off web visitors in your data, how do you assess the performance of your site?

The answer: You measure conversions.

What are conversions? They are the moments when a visitor to your website contacts your firm and becomes a potential client.

“Conversions, not traffic, are the real goal of any lead-generating law firm website,” explains Firmidable President Nathan Chapman. “Looking at conversions for that firm in Illinois, almost 90 percent were from the firm’s priority areas, so while the traffic appeared curious, there was no actual problem.”

The remaining conversions were spread out, with most other states at less than 1 percent. Those callers weren’t enough to take up a significant amount of the firm’s time.

A law firm marketing agency like Firmidable can help you cut through the confusion in your data and provide a succinct analysis of how your digital marketing and all of your legal marketing is working for you.

If you’re looking for smart ways to grow your law firm, get in touch with us.

And that includes if you actually ARE in Kansas.

Like home, there’s no place like Firmidable.

Contact us today!

Firmidable has been a national expert in legal marketing for over 30 years. It brings law firms customized, data-driven marketing strategies and services, including online and traditional media for a wide range of legal practices. From Maine to Hawaii, it has transformed the lives of attorneys—and their clients.

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About the Author: Mark Waller

Mark Waller is the senior writer/editor at Firmidable. He has written book-length websites for law firms, enhanced content on dozens of law firm sites for search engine optimization, written and optimized law firm Paid Search ads and developed scripts for law firm TV ads—helping firms across America grow their caseloads. Before he started in legal marketing, Mark’s writing and communications career included working for a university president and as a local journalist. He was a member of the staff at The Times-Picayune newspaper in New Orleans that won the Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of Hurricane Katrina.

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