Law Firm PPC Advertising: Is it Worth It?

One of the many options you have to advertise your law firm is pay-per-click advertising. Can PPC get you a good return on your investment? Should you do it on your own or hire someone to do it for you? Keep reading to find out how PPC fits into your marketing strategy.

This blog is provided for general information only. Always talk to a laywer or other appropriate professional before making decisions.

What is PPC?

Pay-per-click (PPC) is a form of online advertising where you pay each time one of your ads is clicked by a potential client. If you spend $100 on Google AdWords, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. If they don’t click, you keep your remaining ad balance until someone else does. How many clicks you get depends on how much competition you have for the same advertising spots. You will see an estimate of how much money you will spend before you start any campaign.

Where do PPC ads appear?

There are two common places to see PPC ads. First, most search engine results have search ads. Search engines show two types of results — paid and organic. Organic search results are what the search engine considers the best match for the search. The paid results go to the highest bidder. If you haven’t ranked for a search term or just want to make sure you’re at the top of the page for that search, you can buy PPC ads.

PPC ads also show up on web pages. These are the same ads you see when you visit a blog or other website. Sometimes, you might advertise on a relevant website. For example, a business lawyer might advertise on a blog giving business tips. Many ads are personalized. Personalized ads display based on a user’s search history. So if someone searches for a car accident lawyer then goes to a news website, they might get car accident lawyer ads on the news site. 

How does PPC work?

The first thing you need to know about PPC is that you are competing against other lawyers and businesses in your area. There may be as many as 1 million search users looking for legal services at any given moment. So you really want your ad to stand out among all the others. To do this, your ads should target relevant keywords. The keywords should match what a prospective client would type into their search engine to find a lawyer. For example, if you practice family law, then you might choose “family law attorney near me.” If you practice criminal defense, then you might say something like “criminal defense attorney.”

The second part of creating an effective ad is choosing a landing page. As mentioned earlier, there may be millions of searches done every day. When someone types in those keywords, they most likely won’t land on your website. They will simply go right past it because there are so many competitors. But if you can capture their attention with your ad, they will visit your site. That way, they can learn more about you and contact you for a consultation. 

Why do law firms advertise with PPC?

The short answer is because it works. In fact, some law firms spend more than half their marketing budget on PPC. But does this mean it will work for you? It depends on what you want from your online presence. If you just want to attract new clients, then PPC may not be the best option. But if you want to build a brand and increase visibility, then PPC might be worth considering.

Here are some of the benefits of using PPC advertising:

  • It lets you target the right audience. You can show your ads in specific geographic locations to specific demographics.
  • You can bid on certain keywords or phrases. For instance, if you wanted to target attorneys who were looking for divorce lawyers, you could bid on “divorce lawyer” or “family law lawyer.” This means that your ad would only appear for these keywords and phrases.
  • You can track where your traffic comes from. PPC allows you to monitor how much traffic your ads generate. You can even view which searches or websites send leads to your website. This information helps you determine whether your efforts are paying off.
  • You can save money. Because you aren’t paying by impression, you don’t have to buy as many impressions as you would through other channels. And since you only pay for clicks, you don’t have to worry about wasting money on potential clients never see.

What is the difference between SEO and PPC?

Search engine optimization (SEO) combined with content marketing is the process of getting traffic from search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo by writing a blog and building out your practice area pages. Pay per click (PPC) is advertising through paid ads on websites. Both are important parts of marketing, but they serve different purposes. SEO focuses on attracting organic traffic from search engines, while PPC attracts direct traffic from advertisers.

You can sometimes think of SEO as not costing anything. You don’t have to pay for SEO if you write your own content and use the many free SEO tools available. However, if this is taking you away from billable activities, hiring an SEO content writer might be better. If you think you can do SEO during your free time or slow periods, you might not produce content consistently enough to get ranked in search engines. It can also take several months before you start seeing results from SEO.

PPC seems much more expensive, but if you do it properly, you get immediate results with clients paying you much more than your ads cost.

How much does a Google ad cost for a law firm?

A typical Google AdWords campaign costs $50-$100 per day. If you want to run ads for three months, you’ll spend between $1,500 and $3,000. Note that these numbers can vary widely based on your practice area and where you are. That $50-$100 per day could be spent on just a handful of clicks in a competitive area in a big city. Of course, firms are doing it because the cost is less than the business they’re bringing in.

If you choose to hire someone to manage your ads, you can expect to pay at least a few hundred dollars per month depending on your ad budget, how many ads you have, and how competitive your area is.

Should I hire someone to do my PPC campaign or do it myself?

Like anything, there is a learning curve to PPC. It’s possible to run very profitable ad campaigns yourself, but you can also lose a lot of money when you make mistakes. Common mistakes include:

  • Not targeting your ads to the right people
  • Not linking your ads to the right pages on your site
  • Not setting the right bid amounts for your different ads and terms
  • Setting your total advertising budget too low so you don’t get a big enough sample size to see if your campaign really works or not

A good PPC ad manager can limit your risks and likely increase the return on your ads. Like other professional services, their fees, skills, and results can vary widely. In addition, attorney ethics rules on fee-splitting can complicate your ability to pay based on performance.

What are the basic features of a law firm PPC campaign?

If you want to try out PPC ads yourself, here’s what you need to know. First, you’ll need a Google AdWords account. There are other PPC platforms, but Google Ads are the most common and have the most resources to help you.

Next, you’ll want to set up keywords and ad groups. Then, you’ll choose which keyword or group will serve as your main campaign. Finally, you’ll decide whether you want to bid on specific terms, or let your ad appear on all searches related to your chosen term.

Here are some terms you should know.

Ad Groups

An ad group is like a category. Some keywords may fall into multiple categories. For example, “real estate” may be used both by realtors and home buyers. Your ad won’t show up twice in one place, though. The ad shows on every page that has those words.


Each word in each ad must match a particular keyword. These keywords should be carefully selected. They’re used to match you to your ideal client. So, if you only want car accident clients, then you wouldn’t select “personal injury lawyer.” Instead, you would pick “car accident lawyer.”

Bid Amounts

This is the amount you’d pay to the search engine if you wanted them to show your ad to a person searching for that term. You can bid on individual keywords or all keywords related to a single term. The bidding process goes from lowest to highest until an advertiser pays that much to the search engine.

Sample Size

This refers to how many queries (keywords) your ad appears on. A bigger sample size means more data points to analyze. On average, the sample size is 10,000. However, this number varies widely depending on your location, competition, and ad budget.

Total Budget

Your maximum daily budget is determined by how much you want to spend on your ads. Your total monthly budget includes all of your bids. This doesn’t mean you’ll never reach your daily budget. If you overspend your daily budget, you’ll just use up part of your next month’s budget.

Conversion Rate

Conversion rate is how many people who click your ads take an action like scheduling a consultation or becoming a client. The easiest but less precise way to track this is by asking people how they found you. There are also ways to set up your website to track who comes from ads, searches, or other traffic sources. To get started, you’ll need GoogleAnalytics.

Cost Per Conversion

The cost per conversion is the total cost of your ad campaign times your conversion rate. If you’re a traffic ticket lawyer charging $100 per ticket, you want your cost per conversion to be well below that so you can pay your other expenses as well as yourself.

Target Audience

The target audience is the list of people who see your ads. It’s usually broken down into geographic areas. You can choose to target everyone in the United States or restrict it to certain states, cities, zip codes, and demographics.

Conclusion: How and whether to use law firm PPC marketing depends on your needs and goals.

PPC can be an effective way of legal marketing for many attorneys. Most lawyers will prefer to hire a PPC campaign manager, but if you like to be hands-on, you can do it well on your own if you put in the time. Even if you choose to hire someone, you might choose to run a small campaign first to get a better idea of how things work and what to ask when choosing which company to use.