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Comprehensive Guide to PPC for Law Firms

Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing is the fastest way to bring legitimate, high-quality leads to your law firm and hone an overall keyword strategy that will serve both your paid search and your organic traffic SEO goals. 


Altogether, US companies spend over $100 billion annually on paid search advertising, and law firms are no different. Depending on firm size, practice area(s) and geographical reach, the law firms we work with spend anywhere from $10K to $350K per month on Google Ads. 

But busy lawyers often don’t have the time to execute PPC properly, and improperly managed paid search campaigns for law firms can end up costing your practice a ton of money in both wasted spend and lost opportunities. The most targeted practices can be really time-consuming! Following up — consistently —on negative keyword lists and tuning your conversion optimization are high-quality practices that require a considerable time investment and frequent reassessment.  


Often, the biggest complaint we hear from firms is that they are paying for leads that go nowhere. What a waste! When clients click-through because the ad is unclear or has targeted the wrong audience, firms too often find themselves throwing away their PPC budget by attracting leads who cannot afford the firm’s services or aren’t really in the market for an attorney at all.


Even if you have the know-how, when you don’t have the time to dedicate to measurable, intent-driven advertising, PPC is a process best handled by a team with proven expertise across the full spectrum of PPC management. 


Even firms with a dedicated marketing manager would struggle to find the time to manage a large ad budget while trying to tackle all of their other marketing roles and responsibilities. In the end, a less-than-ideal PPC campaign can cost far more than the cost of investing in an agency to support your goals.

Our guide will show you that comprehensive PPC for lawyers should adhere to four basic principles:


  1. Pay only for high-intent visits. We master the optimization of accounts via the Google algorithm and set up all of our campaigns to actively target users whose likelihood to need your service is higher.

  2. Measure ad performance. We run a daily in-depth analysis of the data to optimize the account for efficiency. This includes — but it is not limited to — keywords performance, ad performance, and bidding strategy results. We then use this data in conjunction with Google's algorithm to drastically reduce your cost-per-client acquisition.

  3. Control your budget. Never worry about surprise spending. We respect your budget and monitor carefully to make sure your campaigns stay on budget. 

  4. Stay up-to-date. Gaining a leg up in a competitive and crowded field is so much easier when you are partnered with an elite agency like Neon Ambition, one of only a handful with the ability to stay up-to-date with Google's Alphas and Betas.

This guide will show you that the best PPC isn’t just about PPC; it’s about seizing the opportunity to capture the clients you want when they need you most.

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Coordinating a Compliant and Comprehensive PPC Campaign

Did you know that terms belonging to the lawyer and attorney keyword family are among the costliest?

The fierce competition for keywords means that bidding drives the price up for law-related keywords, and demographic targeting is not always applicable to every legal specialization, so targeting your ideal leads can be difficult. 

Remaining compliant with even general PPC platform requirements — not to mention ensuring that your PPC campaign adheres to advertising policies specific to sensitive topics — can feel like studying for the bar all over again.

The bottom line is, marketing a law firm is not like marketing a pair of shoes.

Unfortunately, personal hardship leads many people to seek out the services of a law firm. But while attorneys who specialize in bankruptcy, criminal law, divorce, victim services or other similar practice areas may believe they cannot use targeted PPC strategies, that’s not the case. Remaining compliant while still using best practices to get your firm new clients isn’t intimidating to an experienced law firm PPC company. 

Neon Ambition focuses on targeting audiences with actual intent among searchers. We do this by actively integrating our campaigns with Google machine learning technology, which lets us save your firm thousands per month on willy-nilly clicks. 

Our clients trust us to manage over $800M in monthly ad spend that not only employs the correct campaign types to achieve our clients’ goals for growth but also maintains the highest integrity. 


Execute a Targeted Google Ads Campaign

We know that being at the top sometimes means being first. As a Google Partner and two-time Google All-Star Partner, Neon Ambition has access to Google ads Beta programs and is one of a handful of agencies in America that can give our clients a competitive edge through access to Google Ads Alpha programs, allowing them to try out new features and campaign types before the general public has access. 

Google Ads is a huge channel with a number of different campaign types we can use to quickly drive high-quality traffic to your law firm’s website:

  1. Search network
  2. Display select
  3. Google shopping ads
  4. Display network
  5. Click-to-call campaigns
  6. Video campaigns
  7. Cross-channel integration

An experienced PPC agency can help you understand which types of campaigns are best for your specific field of practice and your individual law firm. Your agency should also be staying up to date on the latest features so you can focus on other pressing matters.


Pursue High-Quality Leads On- and Off-Site

Remarketing to previous site visitors is a powerful and relatively inexpensive way to redirect users back to your site for conversion. Making the decision to hire an attorney does not happen with the same speed as other B2C commerce behaviors, so this strategic boost to stay fresh in users’ minds is particularly useful in law firm PPC. 

Retargeting Limitations

Google’s policies on sensitive topics like financial information, alleged criminal acts and marital status are there to protect users’ privacy and prevent the potentially harmful effects of being confronted directly with sensitive topics. Consider the possibilities otherwise: Someone visits your site on the family desktop in search of a divorce lawyer but leaves without conversion. Of course, Google’s algorithm doesn’t account for exactly which user in a household is browsing, so it’s entirely possible the original visitor’s spouse might be the audience of the eventual retarget message: “Are you still thinking about filing for divorce?” 

As long as you remain mindful of the need to avoid certain topics, retargeting is effective and aggressive, and it comes at a lower CPA than other PPC strategies. Think of it like purchasing the full at-home soda maker machine once and then having to purchase only refilling supplies in the future.


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Nurture the Mobile Market — Aggressively

With mobile user experiences consistently make up the majority of your potential clients’ interactions with the web, so it’s not enough to simply ensure that your website looks good on a mobile device. With 60% of total searches originating from a mobile device and 82% of all smartphone users actively searching for local businesses or services, it’s easy to see why mobile ads are one of the top three PPC platforms.

Although it’s not an exclusively mobile market, close to a top spot isn’t good enough for mobile PPC ads. Optimizing for mobile means you need to be positioned to monitor your PPC actively and adjust it frequently to rise to the top and then stay number one. This might mean increasing your mobile platform budget so that you can bid more, or getting the help of professional PPC management services to drive your ascent into an effective and profitable mobile PPC campaign.


Reach 90% of Web Users Worldwide

While CTR is lower for display ads, so is the investment: Advertisers paid an average of $2.69 for search ads as compared to $.63 per display ad. The Google Display Network enhances the quality and relevance of your leads by allowing you to target your most likely potential clients through a variety of integrated ad formats, which fall into four categories:

  1. Responsive display ads. These semi-automated ads are generated by Google using the content provided by your PPC account manager. One of the advantages of responsive display ads is that they appear as native ads to site visitors, which lessens the jarring impact of their display and encourages a second look.

  2. Image ads. This is the family to which the infamous banner ad, which debuted in 1994, belongs. Image ads have come a long way since then, and they can be an attractive and impactful way to reinforce your offline marketing, such as billboards, TV and print ads.

  3. Engagement ads. These rich ads are unparalleled when it comes to providing an ad experience that taps into user intent and scales your law firm’s relevant audience. 

  4. Gmail ads. Not every ad placement is alluring, but all impressions can be effective — even alongside email — if they appear in the right place.  

Digital advertising is a marathon run in baby steps. Even small changes in your ads can launch massive growth in profits, lower your CPC and increase your position. At Neon Ambition, our team of copywriters and designers coordinate with our PPC experts to create bespoke legal copy and visuals for tailor-made and trial-tested campaign ads. Additionally, we use historical CTA data to ensure our clients’ high conversion rates from the start.

6. PPC-Google Ads Network

Cultivate Paid Social That Aligns to Your Target Audience

Social media hasn’t replaced traditional or even digital marketing the way some believed it would, but it has secured its place among the giants. Rather than choosing search engines or social, your law firm should be thinking about which social media platforms are being used by your target audience as well as how each platform’s strengths and weaknesses can be used in conjunction with other PPC.

The percentage of US adults who use social media continues to trend upward with no sign of slowing, and that’s true for all age groups. According to the Pew Research Center, the age group with the most significant boom over the last five years is 30- to 49-year-olds.

Speak Out!

Hey Siri. Hi Alexa. OK Google. Whether they involve a cell phone, car or smart speaker, voice searches are shifting the way people seek out information — and online marketing needs to keep up. Google reports that nearly 70% of voice searches are expressed in natural language rather than the typical keyword structures typed into web searches. A BrightLocal survey in 2018 found that 58% of US consumers use voice on their smartphones to conduct local business service searches. While law firms are not necessarily the kind of service most people want to search quickly in order to click on the directions and go, the data continues to trend upward in all scenarios as voice search becomes habitual to users.

If your firm specializes in estate planning for middle- to upper-class professionals who are just starting their families, you might find the following interesting:

  • 79% of adults ages 30–49 use Facebook
  • 51% of college graduates use LinkedIn
  • 73% of urban residents use Instagram

As with any PPC channel, you want to make data-driven decisions using the best analytics available. The best way to do this is with the support of a PPC team that works alongside your brand managers, marketers, PR or social media teams, and even other agencies to deliver social media marketing services to generate leads that turn into cases.

7b.PPC-Social Media

Dominate Your Area by Mapping Out Local PPC

Campaigns that rely on a specific service area, like those of many law firms, require strategic, localized campaigns to maximize their conversion rate. 

  • Geofencing. Creating a perimeter around a specific location where you expect your target audience to spend time is an effective way to break through the thousands of ads Americans see per day. Because your ad will display both while they’re in the selected GPS coordinates and then for 30 days afterward, your law firm has a higher chance of reaching your intended audience in their time of need. While geofencing is generally considered more useful for store-front industries that want to capture customers in the moment, it is also extremely useful for leveraging real-world visitation patterns that indicate audience characteristics.

  • Geotargeting. The next level of location marketing includes narrowing down your target audience by location and then filtering further to include interests, demographics and browsing behavior. Because it can be so specific, geotargeting can be a useful tool for evaluating target audiences or testing out diverse ad types. Geotargeting can also be triggered based on conditional circumstances, such as weather, which could prove useful for law firms specializing in fields like inclement weather accidents or insurance claim denials.

  • LSAs. Perched at the top of every search page is a pack of LSAs. More than just a replacement for the Yellow Pages, LSAs operate on a pay-per-lead model that directs users to connect with you and encourages them to leave a review after using your services. While your team compiles the profile that determines who sees your LSA and you are allowed multiple locations, Google has verification systems in place to ensure that businesses are not creating countless profiles with various locations in order to expand their reach inauthentically.

Using local service ads (LSAs) not only gives a boost to your law firms’ SERP position but helps build trust with potential clients through Google’s vetting process. 

Even if you’re still working on that coveted blue checkmark for your personal Twitter account, a Google LSA green checkmark is bound to inspire automatic trust in more than 1/3 of the population  — which is only slightly ahead of Tom Hanks’ level of perceived trustworthiness. (To be honest, we wouldn’t have been surprised if Tom Hanks ranked higher than Google.)

When planning your local PPC campaigns, work with your PPC account representative to discuss the importance of the location of your office compared to where people are searching for your services — and where you want to rank. If your office address is in a suburb or even the outskirts of town, you might find it more difficult to rank high for Austin educational law firm. 


Fine-Tune Your Landing Page to Be Built for Conversions

As the defining feature of what makes PPC worth it even when you have powerful SEO, your law firm’s landing page can’t afford to be less than the ultimate in landing pages. 

As you invest in scaling your law firm, build out a landing page that has research-proven optimization features. With the cost of legal keywords among some of the highest in the PPC marketplace, it’s just bad business to put out a post-click landing page that doesn’t do its best to lead to conversion by employing these proven tactics:

  • Catchy headline that communicates your value proposition and matches your target keyword
  • Compelling subheadline that gives snappy but persuasive information about your services
  • Logo and phone number in the header
  • High-quality video that briefly explains valuable information clients will appreciate, such as how to hire a lawyer in your area
  • CTA form — with no more than three to four fields — above the fold
  • Collection of a few outstanding client testimonials
  • Trust indicators, like award badges and custom graphics, that instantly communicate your authoritativeness
  • Short text about your firm’s professional identity and your speciality
  • Overview of your case process or the initial client intake process
  • Personal connection, such as photos and short bios of the firm’s attorneys
  • A final complimentary CTA form below the fold, ideally with only a few fields

Our ebook You Are Clear for Landing is a guide to everything your law firm will need to plan optimized landing pages with a focus on conversion and building relationships with your audience. Landing pages might have only one job, but they work very hard to get there. Your ROI is counting on it. 


Top 7 Questions to Ask When Choosing a PPC Agency for Law Firm Marketing

  1. Who are the senior leaders in charge of my account?
  2. Can you share some sample pages with me?
  3. How much ownership does my law firm have over our campaign?
  4. What kind of monthly reporting can I expect, and what kind of management fee can I expect?
  5. What are your terms and conditions for cancelling my agreement with your agency?
  6. What references can you share with me?
  7. What is your policy on working with competing lawyers in the same practice area in the same city?

Unlike some agencies, we ensure that you have full ownership of your campaigns and your digital content. 

You won’t get any sneaky tactics intended to hold you hostage, but we are pretty confident once you see the results you will want to stick around anyway.

10. PPC-Reports

We Commit to Your Campaign to Maximize ROI

We commit to your success by avoiding the costly mistake of letting your law firm’s PPC campaigns go stale. First we undertake pre-launch activities, such as defining your goals, analyzing competitors, defining your target audience and campaign settings, researching keywords, setting a budget and tracking conversions. Then we move on to the next stage. Once we have organized your campaign — to include managing negative keywords, locations and setting parameters to avoid cross-group negatives — then we move to creation and kickoff!

We typically recommend a minimum of a six-month commitment to fully adjust and appreciate the effectiveness of a PPC campaign, and we don’t just pull that number out of thin air. Our competitive research can help set realistic expectations for your ROI, given where you are when we do our initial audits but also how much your competition in your specific field or speciality is spending on paid search. They won’t be spending anything on us, though: We won’t take on another client in your practice area in the same city and force you to spend more on ads.

During this time, we manage your account with services like conducting budget checks, adjusting bids, and checking search terms, keywords, conversion rates and other analytics. We also create new ads to replace stale or poorly performing ads. We support you 100% by monitoring and adjusting your campaigns to ensure that your PPC investment is well spent. At the end of our agreement, if you don’t believe you have seen measurable success, we ask only that you give us 30 days’ notice — not the 60 or 90 days that some other agencies require. 

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Why Trust Neon Ambition’s Guide to PPC for Attorneys

Our PPC team manages over $4.5M monthly in Google Ads and Bing, as well as over $2M in paid Facebook ads. We run PPC campaigns across all 50 states, in 150 countries and in more than 10 languages, including for many law firms across the United States. 

One advantage we have over even an experienced in-house PPC manager is simply the volume of accounts we have managed over the past 10 years. Across many different practice areas and with millions in dollars of annual spend, we have access to a tremendous amount of data on what works and what does not for law firms. 

We're able to leverage what we learn across accounts so all of our clients benefit from the collective spend of our clients.

When you contact us, we are going to ask you to think about what you want out of your online advertising. Currents clients came to us with a variety of goals for their law firms, including:

  • I want to be the first attorney people contact in my area.
  • I need to shift my image to attract the clients I want.
  • I need people to be able to find my website online.
  • I want to stop seeing less-qualified attorneys get the cases I want.
  • I need to spend more time building my practice and less on marketing.
  • I want to spend more time with my family and less time on selling myself.
  • I need my site’s high traffic to translate into high-yield conversions.

You need a law firm PPC company that understands that a personal injury firm has different needs than a firm specializing in estate planning, and the value of a strong marketing campaign is knowing how to optimize PPC across all major networks — Google Ads, Microsoft Ads, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and even LinkedIn — in a way that magnifies your law firm’s values and identity. We support law firms marketing with a variety of specialties, including: 

  • Labor law
  • Divorce & family law
  • Personal injury law
  • Medical malpractice & birth injury law
  • Insurance claims law
  • Business law
  • Mass tort

Our PPC management team is one of the most experienced in the country, with a 17-year veteran of Google and one of the most accomplished PPC specialists in the world on board. Even so, our dedication to earning long-term partnerships with clients means that we don’t sacrifice customer relationships for the next big thing — our drive and ambition is focused on exploring the ever-changing digital landscape, and we want to take you with us. To learn how Neon put this plan in action, read our FVF case study.

Contact us to find out how Neon Ambition can help you generate more traffic and leads, and we’ll get back with you in less than 24 hours.

12. PPC-Word Quote

Find out how Neon Ambition can help you generate more traffic and leads. We'll get back to you within 24 hours.