Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is an indispensable tool in the arsenal of any modern law firm’s marketing strategy. It offers the power to get your firm in front of potential clients at the exact moment they’re seeking legal help online. However, the efficacy of PPC and Google Ads hinges not just on the investment of funds but also on the wisdom of the strategy.

One of the many allures of Google Ads is its sophisticated automation capabilities that promise to simplify campaign management and optimize ad spend. However, this benefit can become a pitfall if relied upon without careful oversight.

Automated recommendations may seem like a convenient shortcut, but they often adopt a one-size-fits-all approach that fails to recognize the unique needs and nuances of your firm. This overreliance can lead law firms down a costly path, driven by false signals that guide campaigns in a downward spiral towards more and more unqualified leads.

Thus, while Google Ads can propel a law firm to new heights, it demands a cautious and strategic approach. Firms must critically assess every automated suggestion and remember that the algorithm’s confidence in its recommendations often overshadows its accuracy.

Recognizing this, law firms can steer their PPC campaigns with precision, ensuring every dollar spent is an investment towards truly qualified potential new clients, not just accumulating raw leads.

The Problem with False Positives

In the realm of Google Ads, false positives are misleading indicators that suggest certain types of actions are more valuable than they actually are. For law firms, a typical scenario occurs when worthless phone calls are generated from navigational queries, competitor-related queries, or “cheap/free” queries. 

For instance, if someone searches for directions to a courthouse and your ad leads them to call your firm, these calls are unlikely to amount to anything valuable. Despite this, if these phone calls are counted as conversions, Google’s automated systems will prioritize and increase spending on these worthless phone calls.

Or consider the scenario where a law firm’s ads continually trigger phone calls for searches like “free divorce lawyer.” With Google’s “keyword variants”, you are likely to show up for queries like this even if you don’t add them as keywords in the account.

Without meticulous oversight, Google’s algorithm will interpret these frequent phone calls as signs of success, leading to an increased allocation of budget to search terms that produce lots of these “conversions.” This is the scenario where your Google Ads metrics look great, yet you aren’t seeing any results in terms of qualified leads.

Using Negative Keywords & Filtering Out the Noise

The cornerstone of any successful law firm PPC campaign is the ability to discern and prioritize commercial queries over all others. Commercial queries are those where the intent behind the search is clearly aligned with hiring legal services, such as “best divorce attorney near me” or “experienced DUI lawyer.”

Monitoring incoming search query reports is essential for identifying which keywords are driving the most valuable traffic. By focusing ad spend on these high-intent queries, law firms can increase the likelihood of attracting potential clients who are ready to engage legal services, thereby enhancing your return on investment.

To prevent wasting money on irrelevant queries, law firms need to actively use negative keywords. This involves identifying and excluding terms that trigger ads but do not align with the firm’s service offerings or client intentions. For example, a firm might exclude terms like “free,” “pro bono,” or “DIY legal advice” to avoid attracting unqualified leads. It also involves monitoring incoming search queries and blocking irrelevant terms as they come in.

Offline Conversions for Automated Bidding

One effective scenario for implementing automated conversion-based bidding is through the use of offline conversions. This method involves utilizing a CRM to manually grade incoming conversions and importing this data back into Google Ads.

By doing so, you inform the algorithm about what leads to count as conversions. This ensures that the algorithm won’t mistakenly increase budgets for low-value queries, focusing instead on those inquiries you deem valuable.

However, this approach requires a sophisticated setup. Implementing offline conversions typically involves integrating your CRM with Google Ads, setting up conversion tracking, and regularly updating conversion data to reflect lead quality accurately.

While powerful, this system may be challenging for smaller firms, particularly those with limited budgets. These firms might struggle to accumulate a sufficient volume of high-quality leads to produce statistically significant data, which is crucial for the algorithm to operate effectively. As with any statistical analysis, a larger sample size can lead to more reliable conclusions.

An Alternative Approach: Maximize for Clicks

For firms that find the offline conversions approach too daunting, the “maximize for clicks” bid strategy is a viable alternative. This strategy focuses on generating a large volume of data (clicks), combined with rigorous management of the keywords to ensure only the most relevant, high-intent commercial queries are targeted. Regular audits should be conducted to identify and block irrelevant or low-value queries, focusing ad spend on those that are most likely to convert into genuine client engagements.

You can be fairly certain that leads coming from certain types of keywords are going to be relevant. Typically, this involves focusing on highly commercial keywords like “best {practice area} lawyer near me.” Then, you focus on spending money and generating a high conversion rate on obviously commercial keywords, while your competitors waste their money on clicks from people looking for free legal help or directions to the courthouse.

Maximize Gains, Avoid Waste in Digital Marketing

In the highly competitive landscape of legal services, an effective PPC campaign can make a significant difference in attracting and converting potential clients. However, as we’ve explored, blindly following Google Ads’ automated recommendations can lead to misguided spending and suboptimal results. It’s crucial for law firms to critically evaluate their PPC campaigns, distinguishing between valuable data and misleading signals.

By prioritizing commercial queries, filtering out irrelevant traffic, and leveraging accurate data, law firms can craft a more effective and efficient advertising strategy. This hands-on approach not only optimizes ad spend but also ensures that each click and call is more likely to convert into a truly qualified potential client, ultimately enhancing the firm’s return on investment.

For law firm owners looking to maximize the impact of their PPC efforts, expert guidance can be invaluable. At Baltzer Marketing, we specialize in refining PPC strategies for law firms, ensuring that every dollar spent contributes to tangible business outcomes. Our tailored approach focuses on your specific needs and goals, helping you navigate the complexities of Google Ads with confidence. Don’t let your advertising budget go to waste on unqualified leads. Contact Baltzer Marketing today, and let us help you achieve a higher return on your PPC investment by attracting the clients who matter most to your practice.