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Paid Digital Advertising

Creating and Optimizing an Effective PPC Campaign for Law Firms

Paid digital advertising, or pay-per-click (PPC), for the legal industry can be difficult. Prior to joining LaFleur, I worked with Google creating and managing AdWords campaigns for six years, but I had never worked with legal clients. However, as most of our clients at LaFleur are law firms, I had to learn to optimize campaigns for attorneys using new strategies. The learning curve was steep, but now I have a proven recipe for success.

Getting Started

After plenty of experimenting and trial and error, these are the elements I have discovered that must be completed properly to achieve success for legal campaigns.

• Research Your Audience:

Begin your campaign research by learning to understand what your audience wants and needs. This will go a long way in designing the scope of the campaign, crafting effective ad copy, and choosing cost-effective keywords.

If you are already running a campaign on AdWords, you can track your potential clients’ demographics, their likes and interests, their physical location, which users convert more than others, what times and days throughout the week are most profitable, and much, much more. Gathering and interpreting this data will help you understand your audience better and allow you to fine-tune your targeting and campaign settings.

• Scope Out Your Competition:

Understanding your competition will help you understand how they are spending and which tactics have worked best for them, which will give you an idea of what themes you should be targeting and help you craft your bidding strategy. There are plenty of online tools you can use, such as SpyFu and SEMRush.

RELATED: Pay-Per-Click Tools and Resources for Long-Term Success

• Think Like a Client – Select Keywords That Align With Your User’s Intent:

Before you begin selecting/optimizing ad group themes and keywords ask what you would search for if you were looking to hire a lawyer? It is important to target people who are researching as well as people who are ready to convert.

However, it can be challenging to cover all the topics with a limited budget, so we recommend sticking with keyword themes that are more focused on conversions. It’s wise to select keywords that indicate an intent of action rather than casual research. Look for trending search styles. For example, searches with the phrase ‘near me’ have skyrocketed in recent years.

Paid Digital Advertising

Keywords like “personal injury lawyer near me,” “best injury lawyer near me,” or “child custody lawyer near me” show the intent of the person performing the search and improves the chances of getting conversions. Whereas someone searching for “North Carolina divorce papers” or “NC divorce laws” are more research-based keywords that aren’t as likely to generate conversions.

• Keyword Match Types: Match ‘Em Right!

When building a campaign, work with a combination of broad match modifier (BMM) and exact-match keywords. Exact is very restrictive, but these keywords can lead to conversions with lest wasted spend due to the specificity of the search terms. Broad match, on the other hand, has more flexibility and can bring quality traffic, although these terms will likely be more expensive than exact match. Analyze all keywords based on past clicks, conversions, and cost/conversion before selecting your match types.

Paid Digital Advertising

RELATED: Is PPC Right for Your Firm?

Legal Keywords Are Expensive:

Keywords in the legal industry are expensive across the board, but none more so than personal injury.

If you look at the table above, a general keyword like “lawyer” costs $9.26 per click, but “personal injury lawyer” is $125 and “car accident lawyer” is $200. The more specific the keyword, the higher likelihood of success, and thus, the higher price point.

Bid management is the most important of all the optimization tactics. Google provides several bidding strategies to fit different campaigns.

  • Smart Bidding encourages customers to take direct action on your site. Make sure to enable conversion tracking to get the most out of this bidding strategy.
  • CPC Bidding helps drive traffic to your site by focusing on generating as many clicks as possible.
  • vCPM Bidding focuses on displaying impressions throughout the Google Search Network, which is great for increasing brand awareness of your firm. You can also use Target Search Page Location or Target Outranking Share strategies to maximize visibility.
  • CPV Bidding is aimed at increasing views and interactions with video ads.

Get Creative!

Connecting with potential clients through paid digital advertising relies on conveying a shared emotion with your audience, so developing ads that inspire action or answer questions is paramount. Using your keywords in the headline and body of your ads is a fundamental best practice, and always experiment with different calls to action. If you have room in your budget, advertise eBooks or infographics your law firm has created to provide additional value. And remember to adhere to the advertising rules governing your state.

Here are a few additional best practices to follow when creating your ads.

  • A/B Testing: Always run two separate ads per ad group and test them with new elements consistently for prime optimization.
  • Eliminate Variables: When you test ads with multiple variable elements, you won’t know which part of the ad led to increased performance, so always keep testing to a single variable.
  • Direct Action: Always tell people what you would like them to do on your site by using clear calls to action. Phrases like “Learn More,” “Buy Now,” and “Call Today” increase the likelihood of conversions.
  • Optimize Landing Pages: Create landing pages that correlate with your ad copy and keywords and also have brief form fills and engaging graphics. All important messaging should be placed prominently above the fold, and write headlines that match your keywords verbatim to increase quality score. Lastly, more and more people are using cell phones to conduct this sort of research, so remember to optimize for mobile.

RELATED: Podcast — PPC, Yeah You Know Me!

Ad Extensions

Ad extensions promote specific aspects of your business, such as your firm’s phone number, address, and services. Enabling extensions helps you understand which aspects of your ads are most useful for consumers. Click here for more information on the benefits of ad extensions and how to set them up.

Get More Leads for Less Money With LaFleur

At LaFleur, we believe in a dedicated and holistic paid digital advertising strategy. Our PPC experts have years of experience managing diverse campaigns for law firms of all shapes, sizes, and practices areas from around the United States. If you’d like to discuss developing new paid digital advertising initiatives or optimizing existing campaigns, please contact us by calling (888) 222-1512 or completing this brief form.


Baldassarre, R. (2016, July 19). What are the PPC best practices? Search Engine Journal. Retrieved from

Determine a bid strategy based on your goals. (2018). Google AdWords. Retrieved from