Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising for Lawyers

Now that you or your firm has launched a website, it's time to start advertising. The Internet is quickly overtaking traditional print ads in effectiveness and visibility. This is great news for anybody looking to start an advertising campaign. Advertising online is highly cost-effective, low-risk, and easy to launch. In this article, we will be discussing Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising, one of the most commonly used Internet marketing strategies. More specifically, we will explore how to get started on Google AdWords, the current juggernaut of PPC campaigns.

Benefits of PPC

The concept behind PPC is simple. Your ad is hosted on a website or Google Search Engine Results page (SERP). You pay the host for every click your ad receives, and nothing else. That's all there is to it. It's free to set up, and easy to maintain.

The obvious benefit to PPC advertising is that if your host doesn't send any traffic your way, you have lost nothing in the effort. Not only does this strategy potentially save you money, but it provides specific information as to where your clients are coming from. This knowledge will prove highly valuable in any future advertising campaigns that you launch. When compared with the option of pre-purchasing ad space in the hopes that they pay off, it becomes clear that PPC ads are the only smart way to go.

The other advantage to PPC is increased coverage of your ad. Pre-purchasing ad space on a website is expensive, and will only target one particular group, whereas PPC ads can be set up in a large variety of web destinations. Think of it in terms of traditional print advertising. Which would attract the most attention: buying one advertisement in a magazine targeted towards a very specific audience, or handing out flyers and business cards all over town?

Forms of PPC Advertising

In terms of payment, there are two basic models for determining the rate per click: bid-based, and flat-rate. Flat-rate ads are just what they sound like you and the host will agree upon a set amount that is paid for every click. Hosts will often set rates based on the ad's visibility; in other words, a more prominently placed ad will cost more than an ad placed at the foot of the page. This payment model is most common with business directories and rate comparison engines.

The top three PPC network operators, Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing, and Bing Ads, all use a bid-based payment system. In this model, advertisers compete with one another for the best ad placement. Each advertiser will bid the amount they are willing to pay for each click, and the highest bidders get the top spots. The more popular the topic, the more expensive the ad will be.

The most vital service to set up your PPC campaign with is Google AdWords. The ads on Google's search engine results pages (SERPs) reach over 80% of US Internet users. To see the effectiveness of PPC campaigns in action, go to Google, and search for "attorney" or "law firm". Take a look at those ads along the right-hand side of the page. Even if your web page doesn't have enough organic traffic to be at the head of the search results yet, your business listing can be visible right there at the top.

One of the many benefits of using Google AdWords is that you can set up as many campaigns as you like, at no risk to you. Again, the only cost to you is incurred when people visit your website. A campaign that brings in no traffic costs you nothing. Setting up several campaigns to start is a wise idea, as it will paint a clear picture of how best to attract your customers.

Setting Up Your AdWords Campaign

The first thing you will want to do is access one of AdWords' most useful features: the keyword tool. This tool allows you to search for the terms your customers may be using. AdWords will then provide you with a lengthy list of similar terms, each with detailed information on how many searches per month include those words, and how high the competition is from other advertisers. The key is to find words that strike a balance between a high search rate and an accessible level of competition. You want your ad to be frequently visible, but you also don't want it to get lost in a sea of similar listings. Deciding the best keywords to use can be time-consuming, but is well worth the effort.

The keywords you choose will ultimately depend on your budget. Attaching your ad to highly popular keywords is expensive, but can garner a higher rate of traffic. AdWords will automatically provide a recommended daily budget for your keywords, giving you a clear picture of what the competition is paying. There is no minimum budget requirement; you offer to pay whatever you can afford.

As your business starts attracting more web traffic, your web page listing will move up the list of search results. If your page is successful enough to be listed on the first page of natural search results, you should start thinking about withdrawing from your PPC ads. There's no need to pay for a position on their results page that you're able to hold on your own.

The most difficult part of setting up a PPC ad is writing it. You will have a very limited amount of space to fill, and Google has strict rules on the sort of words you can use. Even the use of punctuation marks such as "!" and "$" is frowned upon. Writing solid PPC ads can be a real challenge, which is why many advertisers choose to hire a search engine copywriter for the job. Traditional copywriters are not generally used to working in this minuscule format, and with such strict rules regarding punctuation and capitalization.

A search engine copywriter will not only have familiarity with putting a lot of information into very few words, but also will be able to pick out the most effective keywords for your business (and your budget). In addition to the wording of the ad itself, the website visitor will take your domain name into account when deciding whether or not to click on your link. If your domain name is too wordy or non-specific, your potential client will move on. Make sure that your web address reflects the professionalism and legitimacy of your business.

Once the ad is written, the process of launching your campaign is easy. AdWords will provide you with an online form, where you will specify details such as the geographical locations of your campaign and your budget. There are more detailed settings here as well, such as a schedule for the run of your ad (it will run indefinitely by default), or if you would like the ad to include your Google Places listing.

After you have launched your campaign, AdWords provides you with a wealth of information, including charts recording your monthly clicks, keyword reports, and more. All these services are provided free of charge, with your AdWords campaign. In short, PPC advertising on Google ensures that your business has the potential for high visibility, with no risk to you. The only thing you have to lose is traffic.

Google Display Network

The GoogleNetwork comprises of multiple Google properties (for example, Gmail and Google Finance) and millions of websites, news pages, and blogs that partner with Google to display targeted AdWords ads.

AdWords ads are placed based either on searches or website content, so the Google Network is made up of two parts: the Search Network and the Display Network. AdWords advertisers are automatically eligible to have their campaigns with keywords appear on the Google Network, which can expand your marketing reach to targeted audiences, and potential customers visiting these sites every day. is one of these sites, and by starting a PPC campaign through Google, you have the potential advantage of having your ad appear to a wide variety of industry professionals, regardless of whether or not they use Google as a search engine. This sort of visibility is highly beneficial to any firm, be it brand new or well established.  Though you can typically indicate certain sites on which you would like your ad to appear, the decision of where your ad will be placed is ultimately up to Google. 

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