Running a successful law firm is a multifaceted job, and creating an effective marketing strategy that brings in the right new clients can make it even more complicated. After all, it doesn’t matter how great you are in your practice area if you can’t bring potential clients through the door. As digital marketing starts to become the cornerstone of many legal marketing initiatives, your law firm marketing team needs to understand the value of digital marketing strategies like law firm SEO vs. PPC for lawyers.
Without a clear understanding of how a digital strategy can benefit your law firm, you’ll quickly find yourself being left behind while your competitors excel. When digital strategies evolve beyond keeping up your law firm’s website and sending out the occasional email, it becomes more important to determine which digital marketing strategies are best for your legal services.
Many law firms understand that both search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click advertising (PPC) can benefit their business. What they don’t know is which approach is best for their firm and how to successfully implement either an SEO strategy or a PPC strategy. In this blog, we’ll look at both of these tactics and show organic SEO can bring about the most change to your firm. You can also always contact Array Digital for a free consultation and speak with an experienced digital marketing expert on how to improve your organic search results.
Search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising are key elements of a well-rounded digital marketing strategy. Because many people outside of marketing don’t always understand the abbreviations of SEO and PPC, these two very different approaches can sometimes be confused with each other.
Search engine optimization is the process of writing and designing content to enhance your position in search results. It improves the quality and quantity of your incoming web traffic. Since it uses Google algorithms to improve conversion rates and bring in more traffic, it doesn’t require extra costs.
Pay-per-click refers to a type of paid advertisement that brings traffic directly to your law firm’s website and directs traffic to a landing page.
Both of these strategies can benefit your law firm’s digital marketing strategy and bring in higher traffic levels than traditional marketing can. Let’s take a deep dive into SEO and PPC to learn more about how they can help you attract prospective clients.
Search engine optimization is a long-term digital marketing strategy. It ties closely with and is dependent on your content strategy, so it can take weeks, months, or even longer to have significant payoffs. That being said, once you’ve established your law firm through SEO, you’ll find much more success.
The leads you bring in through organic search will be more qualified than leads brought to your site through a PPC campaign. When people are actively searching for the types of services your law firm provides, whether personal injury, family law, criminal law, or anything else, they are more likely to be interested in your firm. That means that organic search results are more trusted than paid advertisements.
Search engine marketing works through a combination of content strategy and back-end SEO techniques that you can complete on your website or Google Business profiles. It starts by coming up with relevant keywords related to your firm’s services and creating content like blogs or web pages related to those terms. Then, when searchers use Google search to ask a question or learn more information regarding your subjects, your law firm is in a position to rank on the first page of search results and gain organic traffic.
Ninety percent of clicks on Google go to results on the first page of search rankings, meaning that to get organic web traffic, your links need to appear as high as possible on the search engine results page. There are several different ways to go about improving your law firm websites SEO, including:
While SEO is a long-term marketing strategy, PPC (Pay Per Click) is a short-term approach that quickly brings in traffic through an ad campaign.
Rather than ranking organically in search results like SEO marketing, a PPC ad lets you purchase a spot above organic search results. For example, if you type a search term into Google, the organic listings with blue clickable links populate the page. Above them, however, are Google Ads listings which “outrank” the organic results and entice searchers to click before going to the organic links.
While Google Ads is one example of a PPC ad, there are other forms on different sites like Bing and social media platforms. What makes a PPC ad unique from other forms of paid advertising is how your law firm pays for the ad. Rather than paying a large sum to hold the space, pay-per-click ads only charge your firm when they are clicked on, hence the name. That means that if your ads aren’t clicked on, you don’t have to pay anything.
However, because PPC advertising is still competitive, the cost per click can become very high. That means that if your ads are clicked on, you can quickly rack up a high cost, sometimes up to $50 per click. While high-competition keywords are needed to stay at the top of results pages, they can sometimes be out of the marketing budget for local law firms or new businesses.
That doesn’t mean, however, that PPC ads need to be left out of your marketing plan. On the contrary, it just means that you need to devote time and effort to your keyword research. Finding relevant keywords with high search volumes but not a lot of competition are the sweet spots of PPC marketing. You can try to narrow down your keywords by picking ones that reference your location, legal industry, typical demographics, or even your law firm’s name.
While PPC can play a role in your digital marketing plans, law firms are much better off when they focus on organic SEO. Paying attention to SEO allows you to benefit in the long term from your digital marketing investment. Reasons you should favor SEO marketing over PPC marketing include:
While PPC can quickly increase your traffic numbers, the incoming leads aren’t necessarily qualified. Depending on the content of your offer, they might just be interested in law services in general or what your ad message promised.
That means that you can end up paying for clicks that don’t actually convert to new clients. This becomes an additional cost to the already high costs per click you need to pay to appear at the top of results pages for competitive keywords. Getting consistent new traffic while completely avoiding those costs is a much better alternative that SEO marketing can provide.
While your content should have a single keyword or topic focus, well-written content will have multiple keywords included within it. This means you can rank on search engine results pages for many different search queries with a single blog or web page.
This again helps you cut down on costs by avoiding having to run multiple PPC campaigns to hit all the keywords in your target list while providing quality, well-composed content that delights your potential clients.
Evergreen content is content that doesn’t age. While a PPC campaign has set run times and eventually comes to an end, your published content is available 24/7 for your leads to access. PPC campaigns also require you to constantly update and retarget your keywords to match changing keyword data, while content written for SEO will be high-quality, no matter the time of day.
Now that you understand why focusing your law firm’s digital marketing strategy on SEO is a preferable alternative to PPC advertising, let’s discuss a few different tactics to develop a strong SEO strategy and bring in new business.
Content that you create can’t just hit a keyword; it needs to provide valuable information to your clientele. Your potential clients are searching for information, and a short paragraph or incomplete thought in your content will miss the mark. Think through what your clients actually want to know, and create content that answers their questions.
This is also a great place to establish your law firm as a thought leader and provide valuable information and insights that you know through years of experience and that the average searcher won’t already have for themselves.
You can correct any misconceptions, clarify confusing terms or processes, add additional insights to your services, or help assure new leads if the content addresses touchy subjects.
The content you create is often the first contact that your leads will have with your law firm, meaning that it’s the place where you need to make a great first impression. Along with having well-written content, you should make sure it is formatted in easy-to-read ways with appropriate headers, subheaders, bullet lists, or numbered lists.
A strong SEO strategy is dependent on keywords. The keywords you choose to focus on need to be related to the topic at hand and have strong tie-ins to your law industry or specific services. You don’t want to start ranking for keywords unrelated to your firm, since that can confuse your audience.
Once you’ve determined relevant keywords that should be included in your content strategy, you need to think through how your audience searches and the exact phrases they will type into Google search bars. For example, if your term is “personal injury,” what longer phrases and queries will be used by searchers?
Rather than just “personal injury,” searchers might type “The best personal injury lawyer near me,” or “What makes a good personal injury lawyer.” Focusing your content around those types of queries and questions rather than just the single keyword can help you rank higher on search engine results pages and increase organic traffic.
Content marketing isn’t a set-and-forget method of digital marketing. It requires you to consistently add new and fresh content. A blog is often the best way to ensure that your content is continually being published and can provide new answers to keywords and queries.
In addition to helping you target more keywords and having more content that can be found by searches, continually adding new blogs can help your brand gain authority through the Google algorithms. When your brand has a full content library, Google is more likely to believe that you are an authoritative source and will, in turn, rank your content higher on results pages.
Optimizing for SEO is strongly connected to the content you create, but this also filters into other areas. One of those is your law firm’s website. The website is the gateway you want your incoming organic traffic to reach, so making sure that it hits digital best practices is essential for your firm’s success.
One of the most important parts of a quality website is the loading time. As clients grow accustomed to doing their own research online, they want to get their information quickly. A slow-loading site will cause traffic to leave in frustration, as well as damage your site’s reputation with the Google algorithm. If your site is slow, it might be thought of as untrustworthy or unappealing to viewers, making your pages rank lower on search results pages.
Localization is a key component of your law firm website’s success. Most firms operate in specific location areas, and even large firms have local branches that focus on a specific geographical range.
Including keywords in your firm’s content strategy that include the geographical region you service is important since it allows search algorithms to understand where you are located. This means that people who search with terms like “in my area” or “near me” will get you pages on their results even without specifically mentioning the city or county of your firm.
Localizing your website also allows you to be found in Google Maps searches, meaning that your firm will pop up on a map with a brief about your services and any images or ratings associated with your Google Business account. That means you also want to make sure your online profiles are localized, which will help you appear first on Maps searches.
There are a wide variety of SEO tools that can help your firm keep track of how your content is ranking and how your organic traffic is finding you. Keeping a close eye on your reports and metrics can help you find areas you need to improve and determine where you are succeeding.
When you understand where you perform well, you can expand upon that, increase your traffic, and adjust any of your strategies accordingly to try and improve in areas where you might need more help. This allows your law firm to have strong digital marketing strategies in play.
Running a law firm is a full-time job, and sometimes adding marketing to that already busy workload becomes overwhelming. That’s where Array Digital comes into play. We are a premier, award-winning digital marketing agency for the legal industry. We work with law firms across the United States and deliver fully integrated digital marketing campaigns that bring in new clients and increase awareness of your firm’s services. We cover every aspect of digital branding, marketing, and advertising, and we can help you understand the SEO vs. PPC for lawyers debate.
Is your law firm debating SEO vs PPC? Schedule a free strategy session with the law firm marketing experts at Array Digital, a Division of Array Digital, today! Use our online contact form or call 757.333.3021.