Google Ads for Lawyers: A Beginners Guide to PPC Success

Digital marketing continues to evolve and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising continues to evolve too. For most lawyers, PPC advertising is not a new concept, but many misconceptions and myths surrounding the use of PPC ads for law firms continue to persist.

In this post, we’re providing lawyers with a general overview of PPC advertising, why it matters for law firms, and how it can help your firm grow. Plus, we’ll give you our insights into some of the most important considerations to keep in mind as you incorporate PPC advertising into your law firm’s legal marketing journey.

What Is PPC?

Screenshot of a Google Search for New Orleans Criminal Lawyer

PPC stands for pay-per-click. It is a very common advertising model where the advertiser (in this case, your law firm) pays each time a user clicks on one of their ads. Google Ads is undoubtedly one of the most popular PPC advertising platforms in the world, and, in the simplest of terms, it offers marketers the opportunity to create and display ads to users (in this case, potential clients) who search for specific keywords relevant to their business.

While four different bidding types can be placed in the Google Ads auction, cost-per-click (CPC) bidding is often the most common PPC bidding strategy. Behind the scenes, Google Ads incorporates an algorithm that uses an auction system to determine which ads are served in response to a user’s search query as well as their ranking order. In the case of CPC bidding, when a potential client clicks on one of the ads run by your firm, you will pay Google a fee.

The Rumors and Myths Problem

Unfortunately, many lawyers and legal marketers believe engrained misconceptions and myths about PPC advertising. For instance, one common myth is that PPC advertising is too expensive for most law firms. While it is true that PPC advertising can be expensive, the fact remains that it can also be very cost-effective when properly managed. Others believe that PPC advertising is not effective for law firms in the same way it is for other industries.

Still, other lawyers have tried PPC at some point or another and didn’t have a positive experience. However, because effective PPC advertising is often a function of leveraging specialized expertise to create strong campaigns, it would be incorrect to assume PPC does not work for law firms solely because it didn’t work with one provider.

At the end of the day, PPC advertising is a strong investment for most lawyers when their firm implements data-driven campaigns. Often, this success depends entirely on your ad manager’s ability to read/interpret data, make adjustments, and measure the effectiveness of changes.

A guiding principle for all PPC campaigns? You simply cannot improve what you do not measure.

Why Is PPC So Important?

Detailing an exhaustive list of why PPC is important for law firms would be almost impossible in a single blog post. However, there are still obvious reasons all firms should at least consider PPC advertising as part of their well-rounded growth efforts:

  1. PPC offers quick entry into the market space with increasing visibility;
  2. Results are well-measured and easy to track with the right expertise;
  3. PPC ads can be highly effective with the right budget controls in place;
  4. Google Ads, in particular, offer numerous tailored targeting options; and
  5. PPC works well with other digital marketing channels and efforts.

PPC Is Not Just for eCommerce

Although the funnel is shorter and easier to measure with the sales of goods versus services, you’re losing out if you shy away from PPC advertising. Most growth-minded law firms out there invest in Google Ads.

PPC generates twice the number of visitors as SEO alone. More than 50% of consumers from PPC ads are more likely to make a purchase (or, in this case, engage your firm) than those who came from an organic link. Moreover, 80% of all businesses focus on Google Ads for PPC.

When you invest in Google Ads PPC, you invest in your business. With education and research, you can ensure you understand how Google Ads work and how this investment can expand your practice without breaking your budget.

Utilize Google Ads PPC to Help Grow Your Law Firm

SEO + PPC should work together. As part of an integrated legal marketing strategy, PPC and SEO go hand-in-hand.

If you look at today’s search engine results pages (SERPs), you’ll notice that paid ads dominate the result pages. Given that the most intent-driven searches are considered “short-tail,” e.g. locality + practice area + lawyer/attorney, this is where PPC shines.

Be Realistic with Your Budget

Screenshot of a Google Search for Car Accident Lawyer

PPC can be costly for some saturated markets. However, depending on your budget, you can create scalable, realistic goals for your practice.

For example, if your budget is at least $1,000-$2,000/month, a strategy focused on short-tail searches for more niche case types makes more sense than an all-in strategy that tries to capture every search.

For instance, assuming the population of your target area remains constant, “car accident lawyer” is a more costly keyword term than “bus accident lawyer.” In a large metro, bus accident lawyer is likely to be more costly than a targeted search like “SUV rollover accident lawyer.” However, this calculus may change in smaller areas, such as suburbs outside of major metros where personal cars are more common than buses. Of course, there will always be additional nuances to consider, but this illustrates the budget analysis in the simplest of terms.

Focus on Targeting

City Picture Representing a Location

As mentioned above, Google Ads allows you to also take advantage of various targeting methods that play a critical role in marketing. One effective targeting method for Google Ads is geotargeting, which allows you to target specific geographic locations, such as a city or particular region, coupled with your practice area.

As an illustration, some lawyers specialize in estate planning for high-net-worth individuals. In such a case, the lawyer may want to target areas where the average net worth of individuals is typically higher e.g. targeting a suburb near Detroit such as Gross Pointe, rather than Detroit proper. Geotargeting ensures that your ad is shown to the right audience, leading to an increase in relevant clicks and ultimately boosting the rate and quality of your conversions.

You can also target your ads based on the type of device a potential client is using to search. This targeting method is particularly useful for law firms whose services may be more frequently searched on mobile devices. By targeting mobile devices, you can ensure that your ad is optimized for mobile users, leading to a better user experience and higher conversion rates.

Take Advantage of Various Ad Types

Example of Different Ad Types

Google Ads also offer various ad formats to choose from, including text ads, image ads, and video ads. While text ads are the most common type of ad format, image and video ads are becoming increasingly popular in the legal industry, as they allow for more engaging and visually appealing content.

For instance, a law firm focusing on personal injury may choose to create a video ad that highlights the emotional and financial impact of an injury on the victim and their family. Such a video ad can effectively communicate the law firm’s value proposition, ultimately leading to more conversions.

Beware of Your Ethical Obligations


You will also want to be cognizant of the state bar ethics rules applicable to your jurisdiction. As every lawyer knows, the rules of professional conduct vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and may have certain requirements or prohibitions that impact how your law firm can take advantage of PPC advertising, including the language used in ads, the type of campaigns you can run, and more. Thus, all lawyers should be aware of any applicable ethical constraints when diving into the world of PPC.

Final Thoughts: Why Do You Care?

PPC advertising offers many benefits for law firms, including quick entry, easy tracking, cost-effectiveness, and the ability to target specific audiences. By utilizing Google Ads and taking a targeted and strategic approach to your campaigns, you can effectively generate quality leads and expand your practice. If you are hesitant to tackle the PPC ads frontier alone, we encourage you to explore engaging the help of a legal marketing professional who is well-versed in tailored PPC campaigns for lawyers.

Our Justia Amplify team also stands at the ready, available to help your firm better understand what Google Ads PPC can do for your practice. Our years of experience have equipped our team of Google Ads-certified experts with actionable insights that can be leveraged into strategic campaigns tailored for your law firm’s goals. Plus, with two convenient packages, Justia Amplify has a solution to work with any budget. Contact our team today to learn more.

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