The focus of a website is to receive the most clicks that provide a steady stream of traffic and leads to an increase in business and clients. The means that every business (and law firm) is fighting for the front page of Google.
Visitors arrive to your website in a variety of way. One way to receive free, organic traffic is by ranking high on search engines via keywords. The content you provide and the keywords included on your pages will be selected by search engines that best match the query.
An alternative to free, organic traffic is PPC (Pay Per Click).
PPC is a highly competitive advertising strategy that can place your website and business pages on the front of Google and other search engines. Due to the changing nature of the online world, PPC for lawyers is going to be much more difficult to come out on top.
What Is PPC?
Pay per click advertising is a method of attracting new clients to your law firm using specific and targeted keywords used by those seeking a lawyer.
Successful campaigns use a landing page that has a distinct message and a clear call-to-action. This means that whenever you advertisement is clicked, that person will be landing on a webpage describing a solution to their problem (i.e. call 123-456-7890 for a FREE CONSULTATION).
PPC campaigns can be set up in a variety of ways with specific ad groups targeting the following:
- Bankruptcy Lawyer
- Business Lawyer
- Divorce Lawyer
- Family Lawyer
- Medical Malpractice Lawyer
- Personal Injury Lawyer
Search engines like Google, Yahoo, Yandex, and Bing allow you to design text based ads that will appear when those keywords are entered into the search bar. The concept behind PPC is that you will only pay whenever someone clicks on your ad leading to your website or landing page.
There is potential to create some successful advertisements that allow you to discover new clients, however many of these keywords above are highly sought after by other law firms. In addition, the nature of PPC and how advertising is permitted on these search engines are constantly changing.
The Changing Nature Of PPC
Back in February 2016, Google rolled out a few changes to their some changes to the way they show ads in the search queries. They removed the longer text ads that showed in the right sidebar. This is a complete overview of the changes Google made:
- No more text ads in the right sidebar of search results on desktop
- Up to 4 text ads will be shown above the organic listings for “highly commercial queries” (before, up to 3 were displayed)
- Up to 3 text ads will show at the bottom of the search results.
- The maximum number of ads to be displayed will be 7 (before, there were up to 11)
Google defines “highly commercial queries” as the keywords that are in high demand in certain industries.
What Does This Mean for Lawyer’s PPC?
When you are choosing the right keywords to setup a PPC campaign, there may be a highly sought after keyword that drives up the prices. Let’s saw for example, “New York Lawyers” is a highly searched keyword. Due to popular demand, you can see yourself paying tens to hundreds of dollars per click.
Consider this. “Lawyer” and “Attorney” are the most expensive keywords used on Bing. They cost over $100 per click when used with search queries like these: “personal injury lawyer” or “accident attorney colorado.” Your monthly PPC campaigns could cost in the thousands with a return of investment being entirely uncertain. Bing is known to be the cheaper advertising platform and Google is likely to be much higher.
With the changes made by Google, this puts increasing competition on keywords but also to a top ranking position in the search queries. Where before prices may have varied from a dollar up, the supply and demand can push your PPC campaign budget beyond its limits.
The Downside Of PPC Campaigns For Lawyers
PPC offers a paid alternative to getting your website noticed by potential clients. However, these campaigns are based entirely on bids and competition for keywords. If there are a lot of advertisers bidding on the same keyword, the price goes up.
Unfortunately, PPC advertising does not guarantee that every click will lead to your next client. In fact, you could be losing a significant amount of money at each click when no one is contacting you for your legal services.
This document from Google detailing factors that influence your PPC viewability, claims that 56.1% impressions are not actually seen. This implies a considerable amount of loss and uncertainty when relying on PPC to find new clients and grow your firm.
Now, here’s something that you have to be aware of. Since you are not the only one competing for “high commercial queries” there are occasions of click fraud.
Click fraud is an extremely shameful marketing practice where one of your competitors will continually click on your ads until your budget is depleted. While Google does provide protection from fruad, there are still ways to get around this.
What Can Lawyers Do?
Paying $100 per click may not be a viable solution for small law firms.
As an alternative to pay per click advertising, lawyers can start their own blog and generate organic traffic to their websites. Although this too requires a significant amount of keyword research, time writing articles, and consistency with posting, the investment are for those seeking long term returns.
Having a blog can bring a flow to steady clients without having to spend thousands on advertising. By utilizing your knowledge and expertise in your field, you can provide solutions clients are searching for and direct them to a direct method of getting in contact with your legal services.
When combined with social media and other marketing strategies, blogging can be a relief to highly competitive and sometimes fraudulent ways of PPC campaigns.