There are many ways in which law firms can benefit from Google AdWords. The trick is employing AdWords in a cost-effective way that funnels more clients to your website. That’s easier said than done. Since AdWords has become a popular means for law firms to supplement their organic traffic, competition for digital real estate has driven up costs for common keywords.

If you’re struggling to employ a strategy that works for your firm, you will likely benefit from understanding how AdWords works and how SEO firms can use it effectively to help all different kinds of businesses. This is what we’re going to discuss here.

The Less Generic the Keyword, the Higher the Conversion Rate

One thing that SEO companies do is keep a statistical analysis of their clients and what keywords produce the highest conversion rates. As a general rule of thumb, the more specific the keyword, the more likely the conversion.

This makes a good deal of sense when you think about it. By the time the search has been honed to something specific, the potential client or customer knows exactly what they’re looking for. They’re ready to make a choice.

As an example, terms like lawyer and attorney are generic when it comes to search keys. Even terms like “personal injury lawyer” or “personal injury attorney” will have a good deal of competition in most places. Even geolocalized terms like “Los Angeles personal injury attorney” are going to have a ton of options simply because LA is a huge market. So what can we do?

Well, we want to lay a claim for those keywords that are less common. These can include:

  • LA car accident brain injury lawyer
  • LA slip and fall accident lawyer free consultation
  • LA on the job injury lawyer

These are known as “long-tail” keywords, a term you’ve probably heard before. They act as a sieve and funnel more of your ideal client to your webpage. Obviously, a searcher who simply types “lawyer” into Google is less likely to need your particular services than someone who knows exactly what they’re looking for.

Negative Keywords for Legal PPC Campaigns

You can also specify terms you do not want your ad to show up for. These result in clicks you have to pay for and nonetheless do not result in conversions of even the possibility of a conversion. You can exclude categories including:

  • States or cities outside of your practice region
  • Those looking for jobs/careers
  • Those looking into colleges
  • Those looking for free legal services

While there’s nothing wrong with looking for free legal services, it’s important for you to not pay for clicks resulting from those searches. Negative keywords help you approach pay-per-click advertising in a cost-effective way that maximizes your conversion rate. While your instinct might be to play it safe here and cast a wider net, statistically, it isn’t worth it. Being aggressive with keyword exclusions results in higher-quality leads and more conversions.

Dynamic Keyword Insertion

Dynamic keyword insertion is a neat trick for advanced SEO. Essentially, you place a piece of code into your ad text that shows as the searcher’s keyword phrase to show even when they haven’t typed in one word from the searches that you’re trying to target.

To make this work, you target a specific category. For instance: Injured at work,

You’re trying to target workers’ compensation clients. Instead of showing “workers’ compensation” at the top of the search page, it will show “Injured at Work”—their search string. This makes the searcher think they’ve found the X that marks the spot and results in better conversions. It also helps you’re targeting a category rather than a specific search phrase.

Advanced Geolocalization

You’re probably familiar with geolocalization. It’s how you tell your clients where you practice and what areas you service. This is typically done via city names or sometimes states. You should also consider targeting zip and postal codes, especially those who practice in larger cities.

Keyword Bidding Strategies

Here, you’re paying money to show up in searches and for clicks. So you want to make sure that you’re getting the most out of the money you’re paying. If you’re bidding on generic terms, then you’re going to be overpaying for leads with low conversion rates. If you’re bidding on specific long-tail keywords, then you’re paying for terms you can dominate for free. There is a sweet spot somewhere in the middle.

Secondly, keyword bidding can get expensive and it will eat through your marketing budget quickly if you’re not careful. You can target ad positions, for instance, the top position, but that is generally expensive. In many cases, it will be better to target positions 2 through 4 which are considerably cheaper.

Device Bid Adjustments

If you find that you’re doing well with ads appearing on desktop searches but poorly over mobile devices, you can adjust your bids for certain devices. This is a good way to spare your marketing budget unnecessary leaks.

Branded Terms

One dirty trick that a law firm might pull is to bid on your law firm’s name (called brand jacking). In order to avoid this, you should place a bid on the search key for your law firm. Typically, this will not be very expensive for you. If your competitors want to brand jack you, they will need to fork over a lot of money and your firm will still be listed at the top of the organic search results.

Keyword Groups

If all of your keywords are grouped into one amorphous blob, then you’re doing a serious disservice to your campaign. This means that everyone will see the same exact ad regardless of what their search key is. So, if you do workers’ comp and you’re a personal injury attorney, you obviously don’t want your PI page to come up when trying to secure workers’ comp clients. Suffice it to say, your ad should match your keywords.

Keyword Match Types

Here we’ll get into some of the nuts and bolts of Google’s search algorithm. There are five different types of keyword matches:

Broad match – These will trigger your ad for similar terms, differences between plurals and singulars, different orders for search terms, or related searches. It’s a wider net with a lower conversion rate.

Broad match modified – These allow you to specify which terms are subject to a broader match. For instance, personal injury +lawyer would allow variability of the term lawyer. It would match for lawyers, attorney, attorneys, and more. The order that the search terms are placed is generally ignored.

Phrase match – Triggers your ad when a specific phrase is used in a search. There may be other keywords before and close variations. Close variations include misspellings, singular/plurals, and abbreviations/acronyms.

Exact match – Triggers your ad when there is an exact match for a phrase with only close variations permitted. Close variations would include some reordering of words such as: “personal injury lawyer Denver” and “Denver personal injury lawyer” or “personal injury lawyer in Denver”.

Negative match – Negative matches prevent your ad from triggering with the inclusion of a specific keyword. The wider the net, the lower the conversion rate. However, conversions depend on getting your ad out there.

SKAGs – Ad groups can be grouped around a single keyword. For instance, a family law practice likely performs a number of services for their clients. These include divorce, prenuptial agreements, adoption, and even estate planning. Single keyword ad groups (SKAGs) help deliver the best ads to potential clients. SEO specialists often use the best-performing SKAGs in a group all their own. This allows them to target ad campaigns more strategically, place bids on keywords more successfully, and give your firm a higher ROI on your marketing budget.

Keyword Placement

When drafting ad copy, it’s important that search keywords are strategically placed. This includes within the text of the landing page and the landing page’s URL. Google uses a quality score to assess the relevance of certain keywords to your ad campaign. Improving this score makes your campaign more effective and more cost-effective.

Testing the Success of Your Ad Copy

One of the services that SEO companies perform is testing the quality of your ad copy. If you’re drawing clicks but potential clients are turned off by what they’re seeing, then you’re essentially wasting your money. SEO companies will analyze the statistical rates of conversion for successful clicks and try different headlines, subheadings, and more. This also requires that you measure conversions using telephone calls and contact forms.

SEO firms do this is in a few different ways:

Conversion tracking for landing pages
Analytics-integrated call tracking programs
Recording where your leads come from
Monitoring revenue from conversions


Remarketing can work for law firms too. The general idea is to remind potential clients that you’re still out there and a top-quality choice to handle their lawsuit. Remarketing works on tracking cookies that target those who have already visited your site. Ads will display on websites that primarily earn their living from advertising, social media pages, and more.

The Bottom Line

Successful law firms need to be proficient in digital marketing techniques and employ a strategy that funnels more leads to their webpage. The techniques above illustrate the general strategy employed by SEO professionals and how they’re used to not only generate leads but revenue. If you’re interested in learning more, feel free to contact our team at Optimized Attorney for more details.