PPC for Lawyers: why you won’t survive without it

ppc for lawyers

I remember about 14 years ago when I was just starting with Google ads, or AdWords as it was called back then, I heard that clicks on law-related keywords are the most expensive. There was even an urban legend that a cost per click could go up to $500. Of course, that wasn’t true. But it made a good story when talking about competitors and bids.


However, the cost per click, or CPC, can go up very high. And if you’re a lawyer bidding on related keywords, you probably know that.


Today, most people seeking legal services start their journey online. In fact, according to a study by the National Law Review, 96% of people seeking legal advice use a search engine, and 74% of consumers visit a law firm’s website to take action.


This is why you might be missing a huge chunk of revenue if you have a law firm and don’t do Google Ads.


And that’s where my comprehensive guide on ‘PPC for Lawyers’ comes into the picture. This blog post will provide you with an in-depth understanding of PPC, tailored specifically for the legal profession, covering everything from understanding the basics of PPC to optimizing your PPC campaigns for maximum returns.


While keeping up with the latest digital marketing trends can feel like a daunting task, it is necessary to stay competitive. With its high stakes and fierce competition, the legal industry is not for the faint-hearted. By demystifying PPC for lawyers, I aim to help you stay ahead of the curve and turn the tide in your favor in the search marketing landscape.


Whether you are a novice just getting started with PPC or a seasoned professional seeking to stay updated with the latest trends, I have something valuable for you. So without further ado, let’s deep dive into the world of PPC for lawyers and unlock your law firm’s potential for unparalleled growth and success.


Understanding PPC for Lawyers


Definition and Basic Concept of PPC

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) is an online advertising model where advertisers pay each time users click on one of their online ads. Unlike organic traffic, PPC is a method of buying visits to your website or landing page.


In Google Ads, PPC advertising works on a bidding system. Advertisers choose the keywords they want to bid on – for lawyers, these could be keywords like “divorce lawyer in [city]” or “best DUI attorney near me”. Then they create ads for these keywords.


When users search on Google (or other search engines like Bing) that includes your keywords, the search engine determines whether to display your ad based on the quality and relevance of your keywords and ad copy, as well as the size of your keyword bids.


If your ad is chosen to be displayed and a user clicks on it, they’re directed to your website or a dedicated landing page. You pay the search engine a small fee for this click, hence the term Pay-Per-Click. This process of PPC advertising allows law firms to effectively reach potential clients right when they’re looking for legal services.


Importance of PPC for Lawyers

Now that we got out of the way the “how it works” part. Let’s quickly go over why it is important to have your ads running on Google.
Google Ads play a critical role in digital marketing for any business Today. Lawyers are no exception.


First, look at these searches in the USA, their traffic volume, and the cost per click:


cpc of lawyer keywords


The cost per click can be up to $20-$30. It’s not $500, but it’s not cheap as well. Considering that you might need to get 100 clicks before someone actually contacts you. And that is a spend of $300. And that could be just one day.


People are already looking for your services, so why aren’t You there? Immediate visibility could mean the difference between securing a client or losing them to a competitor.


Secondly, PPC allows for precise targeting based on geographic location, type of legal service, or the specific search terms people are using. This level of targeting ensures that your ads are shown to the most relevant audiences, increasing conversion chances. And saving you a hefty amount.


Lastly, PPC offers measurable results. Which I like a lot. I mean, it’s no radio. With Google Ads and other PPC platforms, you can track everything from the number of clicks and impressions to conversions and the cost per conversion. This level of data and transparency makes it easier to evaluate the success of campaigns and adjust strategies as needed.


Are your competitors using Google ads?

Law is one of the most competitive sectors in PPC advertising. High competition translates to higher costs per click (CPC), with legal keywords being among the most expensive. This necessitates strategic planning and effective campaign management to ensure a good return on investment (ROI).


However, the high competition should not deter law firms from leveraging PPC. Despite the high CPC, Google Ads campaigns can be extremely profitable for law firms, given their high customer lifetime value (CLV). Think how much money one customer spends. This should cover your ad budget.


Let’s take a look at who advertises on Google. I entered the keyword “lawyer near me”

First, we see these ads, called service ads. It’s a type of ad. Not a subject of this post.


google ads for layer


Then we see regular search ads, responsive search ads, to be precise:


google ads results for lawyer 3

google ads results for lawyer 2

google ads results for lawyer


As you can see a bunch of different law firms. Let’s take another keyword, “best divorce lawyer in nyc”:


google ads results for law keyword

google ads results for lawyer in nyc

google ads results for lawer in nyc


There are ads for different law firms, which makes sense. You will see law firms bidding on what I’m searching for each time you search. I think you get the idea here.


I recommend going to Google, after reading this post and searching for keywords that are related to your law firm. You might start with some broad keywords like ‘law firm” and then narrow it down to “divorce attorney in [enter city]”. See if any of your competitors are already leveraging Google Ads to grow.

I’m willing to bet $50 that they are.



Setting the Right Goals for PPC


Objective-driven advertising: Defining the purpose of your campaign

PPC advertising isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution; the goals and objectives of each law firm can vastly differ. I hear you saying, “Oh, it’s easy. Our goal is to get more revenue”. That’s great. But let me expand here a bit.


It’s crucial to define the purpose of your campaign at the very start. This could range from increasing brand awareness, driving traffic to your website, generating leads, or converting potential clients.


Understanding the purpose will allow you to plan your PPC strategy better, create more compelling ads, and establish relevant key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure your campaign’s success.



Importance of setting SMART goals

When setting your PPC goals, it’s essential to ensure they are SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. The specificity helps in designing targeted campaigns, measurability ensures you can track progress, achievability keeps goals realistic, relevance ensures the goal aligns with your firm’s broader objectives, and time-bound helps monitor progress over a given timeframe.


This is not only for you but also for whoever handles your PPC campaigns. Trust me, being on the same page with everyone involved is a time saver. And sometimes a job saver as well.


For instance, instead of vaguely aiming to “increase website traffic,” a SMART goal would be “to increase website traffic by 20% over the next quarter by targeting keywords related to family law in the Denver area.”



Common PPC objectives for law firms

Common objectives for law firms venturing into PPC may include:

Lead Generation: To generate qualified leads, ensure your ads clearly communicate your service offerings and differentiating factors. Tailor your landing pages to match the user’s search intent and make it easy for them to take action (like filling out a contact form).


Brand Awareness: If your goal is to improve brand recognition, broad keyword targeting can help your ads reach a wider audience. Using remarketing campaigns can also reinforce your brand message among those who’ve interacted with your website or ads in the past.


Increase Conversions: For higher conversions, focus on optimizing your landing pages. A/B testing different elements of your page (like the call-to-action, form placement, or messaging) can help identify what works best in driving conversions.


In all of these objectives, it’s crucial to use data-driven insights. Regularly review and analyze your PPC campaign data to optimize your strategies, adjust bids, improve ad copy, and ultimately achieve your goals.



Keyword Research for Legal PPC


What is keyword research, and why is it important?


Now we’re getting to more interesting parts.

Keyword research is the process of identifying popular words and phrases people enter into search engines when looking for services similar to what your law firm offers. It’s fundamental to PPC advertising because the keywords you bid on will determine which searches trigger your ads.


Accurate keyword research allows you to target your ads better, reach out to the right audience, and improve your campaign’s overall performance. By understanding the exact phrases your potential clients use, you can create highly relevant ads that resonate with them, leading to higher click-through rates and conversions.


Techniques for finding the best keywords

Finding the right keywords for your PPC campaign involves understanding your practice areas, target audience, and the competitive landscape. Start with a broad brainstorming session, noting down words and phrases relevant to your legal services. You can involve as many people as you want and make a cool brainstorming session on Friday afternoon.


My tip. Don’t include only lawyers. Invite your office administrator, maybe your accountant. You can invite everyone if your law firm is not too big. The reason to include more people beyond lawyers is that those are the people who search for layers. Rarely do lawyers search for lawyers on Google unless they want a job or something.


From there, you can use various keyword research tools to expand this list and find related search terms. Google Keyword Planner is a popular option that not only suggests keywords but also provides estimated search volumes and competitiveness for each keyword. You remember this screenshot?

It’s taken from Google ads Keyword Planner. Really good tool.


Another effective technique is to look at your competitors. Tools that allow you to see which keywords your competitors are bidding on can provide valuable insights and help you uncover potential keywords you have missed. One of those tools can be https://ahrefs.com/, mostly used by SEO professionals but can be great to find keywords your competitors rank for on Google.

You can also try https://www.spyfu.com/, which is great at showing keywords your competitors are bidding on, and ads they have.

Here’s one of the law firms https://www.forthepeople.com/ snapshot:


lawyer competiror keywords



The importance of long-tail keywords in legal PPC

Long-tail keywords are longer, more specific keyword phrases that visitors are more likely to use when they’re closer to the point of conversion. For example, instead of bidding on a general term like “lawyer,” a long-tail keyword could be “family lawyer for custody battles in Seattle.”


Although these keywords might generate fewer searches, they’re typically less competitive and therefore less expensive. Plus, because they’re more specific, they often attract more qualified, high-intent traffic, leading to a higher conversion rate.


From the screenshot above, you see that the aforementioned law firm is bidding on the keyword “personal injury lawyer near me”, and they spend about $26k on it per month. Nice!


Remember, keyword research isn’t a one-time task. Search trends change, and so does the legal landscape. Regularly revisiting your keyword strategy can help keep your PPC campaigns effective and competitive.


Writing Compelling Ads for Legal Services

The ad copy is the first point of contact between your law firm and a potential client. A compelling ad copy can effectively convey your firm’s unique selling proposition, evoke interest, and persuade the user to click on your ad. Given the competitive nature of the legal industry, having a standout ad copy is crucial to differentiate your firm and attract potential clients.


Best practices for creating effective ad copy

Creating effective ad copy requires a blend of creativity and strategy.

Here are a few best practices:

Focus on the Client’s Needs: Your ad should address the needs of your potential clients and how your services can help. This requires an understanding of your target audience and their pain points.


Use Persuasive Language: Incorporate action words and phrases that prompt users to click on your ad. Phrases like “Contact Us Today,” “Get a Free Consultation,” or “Experienced Legal Help is Here” can be quite effective.


Highlight Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP): What sets your firm apart from the competition? It could be your years of experience, specialized expertise, client satisfaction rate, or even a free consultation offer. Make sure to highlight this in your ad copy.


Include Keywords: Incorporating your targeted keywords into the ad copy can improve ad relevancy and Quality Score, thereby improving your ad position and reducing cost per click.


I’ve written an extensive post about Responsive search ads. You might give it a go as well.


Do’s and Don’ts of legal PPC ad writing

Here are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind:


  • Write clear and concise copy.
  • Make use of ad extensions to provide additional information.
  • Test different ad variations to identify what works best.
  • Include main keywords.
  • Always include a call to action (CTA)



  • Don’t make false promises or misleading statements. You could get banned.
  • Avoid using excessive legal jargon that may confuse the audience.
  • Don’t neglect the display URL; it can be an opportunity to include your keyword again.
  • Don’t be too vague in your statements


Understanding and Implementing PPC Ad Extensions

Ad extensions in Google Ads provide additional information and clickable options to your standard PPC ad, enhancing its visibility and attractiveness. They can significantly increase the click-through rate of your ads, provide more ways for potential clients to interact with your ad, and improve your overall ad rank in the auction process. Ad extensions are a crucial component of effective PPC campaigns for lawyers by offering more value and information without additional costs.


Types of ad extensions and their benefits

Google Ads offers several types of ad extensions that law firms can leverage:

Sitelink Extensions: These allow you to add additional links to your ad, guiding users to specific pages on your website. For example, you can provide direct links to your ‘About Us’, ‘Our Services’, ‘Testimonials’, or ‘Contact Us’ pages


Call Extensions: You can add a phone number or call button to your ads with call extensions. This makes it easier for potential clients to contact your law firm directly from the search results, which is particularly useful for mobile users.


Location Extensions: These help users find your law firm’s physical location by linking your ad to your Google My Business account. This is beneficial for law firms serving clients locally.


Callout Extensions: Callout extensions let you include additional text in your ad to highlight unique offers or aspects of your law firm. You could highlight “Free Consultation,” “Award-Winning Law Firm,” “24/7 Availability,” etc.

Structured Snippet Extensions: These allow you to provide more details about your specific services. For a law firm, list your various areas of practice.


Each of these extensions offers unique benefits, from directing users to the exact page they’re interested in, to making it easier for them to call your firm or visit your office.


Best practices for using ad extensions for legal PPC

Use All Relevant Extensions: Make use of all the extensions that are relevant to your law firm. Each one provides a different way for potential clients to interact with your ad and can add to its overall effectiveness.


Be Specific and Relevant: The information provided in your extensions should be relevant and specific. For example, the pages you link through sitelink extensions should correspond to the user’s intent.


Track and Optimize: Monitor the performance of your extensions, just like your keywords and ads. This can provide valuable insights that you can use to refine and optimize your strategy.


Test and Iterate: Experiment with different types of extensions, text, and links. A/B testing can help identify what works best for your target audience.


By properly utilizing ad extensions, law firms can significantly enhance the effectiveness of their PPC ads and provide potential clients with valuable and convenient ways to learn more or get in touch.


Landing Page Optimization for Lawyers

The landing page sounds fancy, but it’s just a page where you direct your users after they click on your ad. This is where they land, hence – the landing page. Optimizing a landing page is a huge topic on its own. I don’t want to get into details, as this post will be too long to not fall asleep. But I will go over the main things to keep in mind.


Why is landing page optimization crucial for PPC?

The landing page is where you direct your audience after they click on your ad. Its role in PPC advertising is as vital as the ad itself. A well-optimized landing page can keep the audience engaged, provide them with the information they need, and guide them to the desired action (like filling out a contact form, calling your office, or downloading a resource). By improving the user experience and relevance of your landing page, you can significantly boost your PPC campaign’s conversion rate.


An effective landing page for lawyers should include the following elements:

Clear and Concise Headline: The headline should instantly communicate what your law firm offers and should align with the ad copy that led the visitor to the page.


Engaging Copy: The landing page copy should elaborate on your offerings, showcase your expertise, and establish trust. It should be persuasive but straightforward, focusing on how your services can help the client.


Clear Call-to-Action (CTA): The CTA should be prominent and clearly guide visitors on what to do next (e.g., “Contact Us for a Free Consultation”).


Trust Signals: These could be client testimonials, case results, awards, recognitions, or even media mentions. Trust signals can significantly enhance your credibility and convince potential clients of your capabilities.


User-Friendly Design: A clean, organized design with intuitive navigation can enhance the user experience. A mobile-friendly design is equally crucial as more and more users are accessing websites via mobile devices.

Nail all these, and you’re golden.



A/B Testing for landing page optimization

How to create a perfect landing page? Test the hell out of it. Sure, there are some basics that I laid out above. And that should cover you for a while. But you need to tweak your landing page if you want great results. This is how the pros do it. They test their ideas or assumptions.


I can write a book on testing, so again, I won’t go into all the nitty gritty things. But what you should know, whether you do ads yourself or higher anyone, that sooner or later, you will have to test some things.


A/B testing involves creating two versions of your landing page with one varying element (like the headline, image, or CTA) to see which performs better. This process allows you to gather data on what your audience responds to best, helping you continually optimize your landing pages for higher conversions.

Don’t jump into testing immediately. First, you need some traffic well a lot of traffic. So focus on that now.


Common mistakes to avoid with landing pages

Common mistakes with landing pages could include having too many distractions on the page, like unnecessary links or images, a complicated or confusing layout, slow page load speed, not optimized for mobile viewing, or not providing enough information to convince the visitor to take the desired action. Avoiding these pitfalls can significantly improve your landing page performance.


Remember, the goal of your landing page is to keep the promise made in your ad copy. Consistency, relevance, and simplicity should be your guiding principles while optimizing your landing pages for PPC.


Monitoring and Optimizing Your PPC Campaigns

Continuous monitoring and optimization are the keys to successful PPC campaigns. PPC is not a set-and-forget strategy; it requires regular analysis and adjustments based on the performance data. By actively tracking and optimizing your campaigns, you can maximize your return on investment, ensure that you’re reaching the right audience, and stay ahead in the competitive landscape.


Key Metrics to Monitor in a PPC Campaign

Click-Through Rate (CTR): This metric shows how often people click your ad after seeing it. A low CTR may indicate issues with your keywords or ad copy.


Quality Score: Google assigns this score based on the quality and relevance of your keywords and PPC ads. A high Quality Score can result in lower costs and better ad positions. Low Quality score most likely means that you’re targetin wrong keywords or your campaign structure is off.


Cost Per Click (CPC): This measures the average cost you pay for each click on your ad. However, the CPC might be irrelevant if you know that each dollar you spend on thats brings you, say $1.50. This brings me to conversions.


Conversions: This is the main thing why you started Google ads in the first place. You have to make sure you are getting conversions (leads, customers, calls, whatever).


Conversion price: Also referred to as cost per action (CPA). This is how much you pay for that specific action you want. If you spend $5000 and get 100 leads, those leads, in turn, become clients and earn you $15 000. Then it doesn’t matter what your CPCs are. Or anything else.


Conversion Rate: The percentage of users who complete a desired action (like filling out a form or calling your office) after clicking on your ad. It’s a good metric to increase as you will get more customers, for the same budget.


Regular Auditing and Optimization

Regular PPC audits involve a comprehensive examination of your PPC account to identify areas of waste and opportunities for improvement. This includes reviewing keyword performance, analyzing ad copy effectiveness, checking the relevance of landing pages, examining the campaign structure, and more.


Optimization techniques can include adjusting keyword bids based on performance, testing different ad variations, adding negative keywords to prevent irrelevant clicks, improving landing pages, and more.


There are plenty of tools that can automate monitoring and optimization tasks, saving time and improving accuracy. But honestly, I’m not a fan. I like doing things my self. But for some law firms, this can be useful as they don’t have a lot of time or a person to manage their ads.



Mistakes to Avoid in Legal PPC

Not Defining Clear Goals: Without clearly defined goals, measuring success or progress is impossible. Firms often make the mistake of jumping into PPC without defining what they hope to achieve, be it more website traffic, more calls, or more form submissions.


Ignoring Keyword Match Types: Neglecting to understand and use keyword match types can lead to wasted spend on irrelevant clicks. For example, using only broad match keywords might generate a lot of traffic, but it could be less relevant and less likely to convert.


Poor Account Structure: A poorly structured Google Ads account can make managing and optimizing your campaigns hard. Proper ad group segmentation based on services and locations, and logical campaign division are crucial for success.


Neglecting Negative Keywords: Not using negative keywords can cause your ads to show for irrelevant searches, wasting your budget on non-converting clicks.


Ineffective Landing Pages: Even with the most well-crafted ads, you won’t see good results if your landing pages are poorly designed or don’t provide the information potential clients are looking for.


Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to Common Questions about PPC for Lawyers.

Why should law firms invest in PPC?

Law firms should consider investing in PPC as it can quickly increase visibility, generate targeted leads, and drive conversions. Unlike organic SEO strategies that can take months to show results, PPC can produce immediate results.


How much should law firms budget for PPC?

The budget for PPC depends on various factors such as the firm’s goals, competition, and the target market. It’s important to start with a budget you are comfortable with and then adjust based on the campaign’s performance and ROI.


What is a good click-through rate (CTR) for legal PPC ads?

Many factors can influence this, such as your ad relevance, keyword selection, and ad copy. I would say, if you have CTR of lower than 10%, you’re doing something wrong.


How can we improve our Quality Score?

Quality Score can be improved by enhancing the relevance of your keywords, ads, and landing pages, and by improving your click-through rate (CTR). Regularly optimizing and testing different aspects of your campaign can lead to an improved Quality Score, which can lower your cost per click (CPC) and improve ad placement.


Can we do PPC ourselves, or should we hire an agency?

While it’s possible to manage PPC campaigns in-house, it requires a significant time investment and a deep understanding of Google Ads’ workings. An agency (or a person) that specializes in legal PPC can bring experience and industry knowledge, potentially leading to better results and saving your firm time.


What are some other ways to drive traffic to our website?

In addition to PPC, law firms can use a variety of other digital marketing strategies to drive traffic to their website. These include search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, and online PR. Each has its own set of advantages and can be effective depending on your specific goals and target audience.


What metrics should we track to measure the success of our PPC campaign?

Key metrics to track include clicks, CTR, average CPC, conversion rate, and total conversions. However, the most critical metric is ROI – are you getting back more in value than you’re spending on your PPC campaign?



May goal with this post was to provide a comprehensive overview of PPC for lawyers, demystifying the various aspects involved in crafting successful campaigns.
We discussed the significance of PPC in today’s digital marketing landscape, stressing how it allows law firms to attract potential clients and stay competitive rapidly.


Most law firms can do Google Ads them selves, but with the learning curve it might take a while until you reap the benefits. I would advice to hire a freelance or an agency (even though I’m not a fan of agencies).


Furthermore, staying updated with the latest trends and advancements in Google Ads can provide new opportunities for growth. This might involve participating in industry webinars, subscribing to PPC newsletters, or partnering with a digital marketing agency.


At the end of the day, success in PPC for lawyers boils down to understanding your audience, offering compelling value, and continually optimizing your efforts based on data and insights. It’s a journey, not a destination, and those willing to put in the time and effort can reap substantial rewards.



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