Adwords For Lawyers

So you have set up and launched your website on WordPress. You have performed the basics of on-page search engine optimization and are now focusing on developing useful web content. However, you recognize that organic search traffic is going to take some time and you need visitors now. So you are considering Google Adwords.

Adwords Legal Click Volume?

The first thing you might be asking yourself is whether Google users are searching for and clicking on legally relevant keywords. WordStream recently released its most expensive keyword report:

Where Does Google Make Its Money? [ infographic ]

As you can see, terms related to “attorney” and “lawyer” come in at the #4 and #6 spots, respectively. And so, it quickly becomes clear that there is search volume for legal keywords on Adwords. But moving a Google user from a click to a profitable client can be a very complicated process.

Is Adwords Right For Your Practice?

Before we explore further explore Adwords, one of the first questions you should ask yourself is whether this type of advertising makes sense for your practice? Who are your target clients? How do they use the Internet? The truth is that even though there is a lot of click traffic for legally relevant keywords on Adwords, the overwhelming majority of that click traffic probably isn’t relevant to your practice.

Understanding The Google Ad Auction

Before we delve into some of the specific considerations for implementing your Adwords campaign, it is essential to understand the big picture of how the Google Adwords Ad Auction works:

You should also spend some time exploring Google’s Adwords Help Center.

It’s important to keep the relationship between you the advertiser, Google’s users, and Google as the advertising platform throughout the creation and management of your Adwords campaign. Google is in a constant quest to improve the results it delivers to its users. Therefore, as a Google advertiser, it’s important that you also adopt this mantra in constructing your advertising campaign. Keeping your paid search campaign fresh is critical to success.

Choose Your Keywords Wisely

Once you have decided to give Adwords a shot, you will need to set up your Adwords account. But before you do that, you should spend some time thinking about your keywords.

Choosing your keywords will play a very significant role in whether Adwords is an effective and efficient advertising option for you. As the Grail Knight warns, “choose wisely.” For while the right keywords will bring new business to your firm, the wrong keywords will deplete your advertising budget with nothing but clicks to show for it.

When it comes to keyword selection, I prefer the scalpel to the shotgun. While some people advocate bidding on higher volume to keywords to start and extracting more specific keywords over time, if your budget is limited, I recommend starting with very specific lower volume keywords and growing your list from the bottom up.

Designing Offers

Perhaps as equally important as keyword selection is designing your offer and writing adcopy. Your offer is the actual ad that Google users will see on a search engine results page. Your ads can take the form of text, images, and even video. However, if you are just getting started with Adwords, I recommend that you stick with text only.

Your ads should reflect the value and benefit that you can provide to your clients. Depending on your practice, this may or may not include a free consultation. I recommend looking at what your competition is doing as a guide and differentiating yourself.

You should also be very cautious to make sure that your ads comply with your state bar’s rules of professional responsibility. There is a growing body of ethics opinions that specifically relate to advertising on Google. How you advertise on Google may also get you hauled into court by your competition.

Hiring An Adwords Consultant

Like many other aspects to online marketing, developing, managing, and maintaining an effective Adwords campaign takes a lot of time and even some skill. While you may find yourself able to manage a very basic campaign, you will probably quickly find yourself spending more time on campaign management than on serving your clients. More often than not, it makes sense to at least think about hiring an Adwords advertising professional.

Make sure you ask your prospective paid search partner a lot of questions. I also recommend using Google’s Certified Partner search. This should help ensure that your advertising professional has at least the basic skills necessary to launch an effective campaign. However, I would make sure to search for that have specific experience working with law firms like yours.


  1. I’d be really interested to hear other people’s views on whether they think Google AdWords worked well for them or not. I know there are statistics that the majority of people conducting a search don’t click on the “paid” ads – rather, they stick to the organic search results. I’ve heard mixed opinions.

    • Sam Glover Sam G. says:

      I used AdWords for about two years, with very good results. To get anything out of it, you have to take some time to build, test, and tweak an effective campaign, and your website has to be built to convert visitors, whether that’s with a download, a contact form, or something else.

    • Hi Dave,

      The issue really comes down to campaign management. There are many lawyers and paid search managers that really have no idea what they are doing on Adwords. This usually leads to the “I want to be number one” doom cycle, meaning they spend a ton of money for clicks that don’t turn into new business.

      Depending on your goals, practice, and geographic market, Adwords can be extremely expensive. However, if you’re extremely targeted and measured in your campaign, it’s a very effective way to generate new business in a much shorter time that organic results.

  2. Avatar Jeff Salas says:

    Great post Gyi. Sam, do you think having a contact form brings more inquires than just having and email/phone number?

    • Sam Glover Sam G. says:

      Absolutely. Allowing someone to take immediate action on the page is essential. My contact form actually initiates an instant reply (“tell me more about your idea”) and so it starts the conversation immediately.

  3. Avatar Valerie says:

    Great post. My two cents:
    1. Unique landing page strategy is often overlooked: in my opinion, it goes beyond SEO. A finely-tuned landing page addressing the essence of your online marketing campaign greatly affects Google quality score for the specific campaign. Testing the landing page is important, and I’ve become a big fan of creating a microsite landing page.
    2. Use of video: this option on AdWords for video is where lawyers can cost effectively stand out from the “herd.” Short, newsy, easy on the sell video plays very well. Careful planning can keep the expense to a minimum but provide measurable ROI. It’s amazing what you can purpose across platforms to keep budgets in line.
    3. Click to call: Google put out a message that phone numbers will now automatically be click to call. Till now, you had to indicate you wanted it. We’ve had excellent response since the inception of click to call for those “do it now” impulses that are so fleeting in potential clients.

    Your thoughts?

    I’ve been fortunate to work with strategists inside Google on law firm campaigns. As former, full-time university faculty in broadcasting, a number of my students have gone on to work for the company in the AdWords division. Certainly better pay for them that broadcast careers . . .

  4. Hi Valerie,

    Here are my thoughts:

    1. Unique Landing Pages? Yes.

    2. Videos on Landing Pages? Yes. Video Spend on Display Network? Maybe? But I’m skeptical.

    3. Click to Call? Yes! But, Google is charging a buck per call right now, so it must be worked into CPA.

  5. Avatar Valerie says:

    Hi Gyi,

    Yes, good to be skeptical re: video on display network. To consider: Google’s prices on YouTube video ads/”featured video” are still reasonable. They also seem to show up prominently/higher in organic searches. You many not get as much paid traffic, but the play on organic searches for a low cost makes it worthwhile. In my humble opinion!


    • Interesting. I know Google’s official policy is that advertising, of any kind, doesn’t have an impact on organic results. Obviously, there are many out there that aren’t drinking that kool-aid. Personally, I haven’t seen paid video ads show up prominently for legal searches.

      However, if we’re talking organic video marketing, that’s an entirely different story, and I strongly encourage lawyers to consider it.

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