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5 Common Misconceptions About PPC for Attorneys


The buzz about pay-per-click (PPC) advertising for attorneys is not really a secret anymore. While some attorneys or law firms may still struggle with the idea of an online-dominated world of marketing, most professionals are ready to jump on board. However, as with most things related to Google, there are plenty of misconceptions and myths surrounding the game of PPC. Even “seasoned” advertisers can slip into believing these misconceptions and myths about what PPC can realistically do for a law firm and how they should be gauging success. With the right perspective, tools, and strategy, PPC marketing for your law firm can really kick your new case load into high gear, but not until you shed those false and misleading ideas.

So let’s take a look at some of those legendary myths of PPC land.

1) PPC will help boost my law firm's organic rankings.

The good news about this misconception? It can be partially true, depending on how you look at it. It’s more appropriate to say that PPC can help motivate you to boost your organic rankings. Since PPC and organic rankings complement each other, improving one can work to improve the other. How exactly does this work? Your organic rankings depend heavily on the quality of your content, layout of your law firm website, and client reviews on your website and Google+. By improving these areas, you can help boost your rankings in Google searches. In turn, this can also help improve PPC ad rank. Consider the equation below:

Better landing pages + mobile-friendly design + strong ads = higher ad rank = more clicks / traffic = more clients = happier you.

Of course, there is a lot more too it, but you get the basic idea. When trying to rank higher for PPC ads, make sure to take a sweep through your law firm website to improve how effective, informative, and engaging your content is. You should also see how you can improve your call to action buttons, selling points, layout design, and other areas. As a result, you will have a stronger law firm website that will likely help boost your organic rankings, driving both organic and PPC leads to your law firm while creating a better experience for client conversion.

2) All I need to do is add keywords, then sit back.

Wouldn’t it to be nice if you could just turn PPC on to autopilot and watch the clicks, leads, and calls pour in? While this may work on rare occasions, it’s really a weak and ineffective attorney marketing strategy that will only result in investment loss and missed opportunity for most law firms. PPC standards, similar to those of organic rankings, are diverse and frequently changing. More importantly, what your potential clients are searching for can constantly change.

For example, you may be an Orange County criminal defense lawyer who focuses on a variety of cases, including DUI. A great way to capitalize on a more potential clients would be to boost PPC bids and your budget in this area whenever Orange County is running DUI checkpoints. Most likely the number of individuals seeking legal counsel for DUI will increase around this time. When the traffic fades, you can adjust your bids back to your regular standard. This strategy allows you to obtain a better ROI by only boosting bids when you anticipate that traffic will be increased for a specific term, rather than trying to maintain full force efforts at all time, depleting your budget before viable leads can come in.

3) As long as my ads get clicks, they are working.

When you review your attorney marketing campaign, it is easy to see how misleading and untrue this myth can be. However, it can be very tempting to slip into this mentality and accept clicks, and even website traffic, as green dollar signs. But what happens when those clicks and website traffic don’t actually turn into clients calling and scheduling consultations? You get more and more frustrated with your PPC campaign. When you are getting the ad rank and clicks you want, but still can’t seem to get the phone to ring, something is missing within your PPC campaign or website message/design.

Ask yourself the following:

  • Are my ads relevant to my practice areas and strengths?
  • Is my website content engaging and informative or hard to follow?
  • Am I aiming for niche terms, or just major practice areas?
  • Am I effectively selling my strong points as an attorney?
  • Do my landing pages relate to my ads and have call to actions?
  • Does my content make me stand out as an authority in my field of law?
  • Is it easy for clients to identify/fill out contact information and forms?

If the answer is no to any of the above, you likely need to make some changes to your website and/or ads to see improvement. While sometimes all it takes is a minor tweak or two, other cases may require a complete website and ad campaign overhaul to get the client conversions you are seeking.

4) It is always better to be the #1 ranking ad.

Who doesn’t like to be first? While it can be great to secure top ad placement for PPC, first place isn’t as important—or even as beneficial—as you may think. Not only do you pay more for number one rankings, but you may not even get conversions you expected from those top spot clicks. Being second, third, or even fourth can still give you the optimal traffic and ideal conversions you are looking for without eating up your budget in a fist fight for number one.

Instead of focusing your efforts on snagging that top spot, focus on creating ads that really sell your law firm to potential clients, highlighting awards, number of cases won, verdicts secured, or recognitions given. Even if this ad text lands your ad a little lower, you need to remember that individuals aren’t just automatically clicking the top ad like robots. They are most likely going to be reading the text in your ads before deciding to click, so it needs to be compelling, instantly selling you as an attorney/law firm.

5) Google is really the only important place to run PPC.

There is certainly no denying that Google is king when it comes to PPC ads. However, that doesn’t mean that you can neglect giving attention to the other big players. Bing, Yahoo, and even social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter may be more important to PPC and online ads than you realize. True, these search engines and platforms get less traffic than Google, but it is important to look at the situation from the right angle. Say there are 100 individuals searching for a Miami high net worth divorce attorney on Google on a Sunday afternoon. On Bing or Yahoo, there may be only 25 of those same queries at that time. The difference? On Google, you are up against a hefty number of other well-qualifying lawyers. In comparison, the competition on Bing and Yahoo is much less intense, leaving more room for you to swoop in and grab some of those clicks with concentrated efforts.

At the end of the day, it is never smart to put all (though a majority may be acceptable) of your PPC eggs in one basket, even if that basket is as promising as Google. The world of SEO, PPC, and internet marketing is a fast-paced industry that is continually changing. Who says Google will rule forever or that the clients you want are even using this engine? Keeping your PPC strategy just diverse enough to determine where your potential clients are searching for counsel can help you snag leads that would normally be missed, ultimately getting more clients through your door.

Do you still have questions about how this whole PPC universe works? Contact us and speak with one of our Google AdWords-certified marketing experts!

For additional law firm marketing tips, check out our free Online Reviews Survival Guide for attorneys.