Google Ads for Lawyers: Our Best Advice

by | Oct 3, 2022 | Marketing

Attorneys who have not evaluated Google Ads as an advertising tool are at a disadvantage. Potential clients now look for attorneys the way they look for everything else – by Googling them. Google Ads should be an important part of your law firm marketing strategy. They allow your firm to display a short advertisement about your law firm at the top of searches from potential clients looking for the services you provide and who are searching in your location.

Google Ads is a paid advertising platform in which advertisers compete in an online auction type model to bid on keywords and phrases. When you advertise using Google Ads, you will typically pay a fee for each ad click (cost-per-click or CPC) or per 1000 impressions (CPM.) You set a monthly budget for your Google Ads’ campaigns so that you can reliably measure your spending.

While Google Ads provides you with powerful tools for reaching potential clients, it’s important that your campaigns are properly calibrated to reach the right people at the right time. That’s why many law firms utilize a virtual marketing specialist to run their campaigns. Here are 5 ways to help your “x” law firm succeed with Google Ads.

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  1. Choose the Right Keywords (Hint: Please don’t bid on the term “attorney”)

    Keywords and keyword phrases are used to specify where your advertisements should appear. One of the first steps in creating a successful PPC plan is doing keyword research. There are numerous keyword research tools available; however, whether using Google’s Keyword Planner or other third-party keyword tools, keyword research often yields thousands of potential results, making it difficult for advertisers to make an effective decision on the best keywords to bid on.

    Relevance, search volume, and competition are the three most important factors in selecting the right keywords. So, when faced with thousands of keywords and phrases to choose from, avoid general keywords such as “attorney” or “lawyer.” While these keywords have a high search volume and are generally less expensive, they are also less relevant, resulting in wasted ad spend. Just consider how many searches include the term “attorney”; here are a few examples:

    • How to be an attorney
    • How much does an attorney make?
    • Attorney general

    Now think about how many of those searches are genuinely applicable to your practice; the answer is probably none. Choosing a more specific keyword such as “x” attorney for “x” allows you to target the right market without wasting your ad budget.

    Although they might take some time to find, long-tail keywords can be particularly effective. Searchers frequently use longer and more specific keyword phrases when they are close to making a decision. While long-tail keywords receive less search traffic, they often have a higher conversion value, less competition, and lower costs because they are more specific.

  2. Keyword Match Types Really Matter

    Law-related search terms can be costly, so in addition to selecting relevant, low-competition keywords, it is critical to select the appropriate keyword match type. Google Ads uses keyword match types to determine when and for what search terms your ad appears.

    There are three match types available:

    • Broad match

      Broad match is the default keyword type in Google Ads. When you select broad match, the searches that trigger your ads do not have to include your keyword terms, and Google may show your ad to for searches that include a close variation of the keyword you’ve chosen to bid on. Broad match can be helpful for new advertisers looking to learn more about their target audience and find relevant search terms.

    • Exact match

      Exact match can be a good option for experienced advertisers who have narrowed down the best keywords for their business and want a lot of control over who sees their ads. When you use this exact match, your ads will appear for searches that have the same meaning or intent as your keyword.

    • Phrase match

      When you use phrase match, Google will show your ad whenever the phrase (or closely related variations of the phrase) matches with other terms before or after it. For example, if “x lawyer in Florida” is your keyword, your firm may show up for searches that include “best x lawyer in Florida” and “how to become an x lawyer in Florida.”

  3. Know and Follow the Rules

    Google has several policies and restrictions on personalized advertising that attorneys must be aware of and comply with. Google’s policy on personalized advertising restricts the use of ads that discuss “personal hardships” or any material that can be construed as “culturally insensitive.” These areas include gambling, alcohol, health conditions, medical treatments, personal struggles, and traumatic experiences. Additionally, ads should not target users based on identity, beliefs, or sexual interests, nor should restrict access to opportunities.

    This policy can make it challenging for lawyers to target their audience and create compliant ad content. Advertisers, such as “x” attorneys, can be subject to Google’s policy and are prohibited from using common targeting criteria including age and gender. Law firms that want to use personalized advertising should focus their targeting on users who are actively looking for a “x” lawyer, rather than users who were in a “x” situation. The primary goal of the ad text and the website landing page should be to provide informative content. Ads that specifically allude to upsetting life events may be disapproved, have their reach limited, or receive a policy violation.

  4. Write Your Ads Carefully

    Responsive ads are the default ad type in Google Ads. You can create multiple headlines and descriptions for responsive ads, and Google will test them in various combinations to see which ones work best, potentially improving the effectiveness of your campaign.

    • Who is your market? Are they located in a specific region? Are there particular “x” law case types that you would prefer to focus on?
    • What do they need or want? What else appeals to your “x” clients outside the obvious need for legal representation? Free consultations? Flat fees? Considerable experience?
    • Ad copy should always Include keywords and focus on user benefits. Additionally, because they might be presented in any order, make sure the headlines and descriptions make sense both on their own or in combination.
    • Make sure you adhere to Google Ads policies, particularly those regarding personalized advertising.
  5. Patience, patience, patience

    When it comes to advertising, everyone wants quick results. Unfortunately, a lack of patience is a common mistake that law firms (and many other businesses) make when using Google Ads. For your law firm to use PPC effectively, you must be committed to long-term growth and acknowledge that your campaigns and strategies may change over time and need to be carefully managed to ensure compliance with best practices and policies.

    While Google Ads can be an effective strategy for increasing site traffic, and generating more leads, you should not expect to see results right away. Keep in mind that new campaigns and many campaign changes enter a 7-day learning period during which Google learns how to optimize the campaign. Furthermore, Google must be given time to test various combinations of your responsive ad copy and collect data to determine which ads produce the best results.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that the amount of traffic and qualified leads generated by your ads is determined by several factors, including your budget, keywords, ad content, competition, and the quality of your landing pages, all of which can vary.

    There is a science to setting up the right Google Ads campaign for your practice and many law firms don’t have marketing experts in-house. If you’re looking for professional help to set up your campaign, contact Equivity about a virtual marketing specialist and see how we can help your firm.

Michelle Allen

Michelle, Equivity’s Assistant Marketing Director, brings over 20 years of marketing experience and holds a degree in International Business. For more insights and updates, connect with Michelle on LinkedIn.

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