law firm ppc guide


  • The biggest benefit of pay-per-click (PPC) is that you only pay for each click you receive.
  • Lawyers can use audience targeting to ensure that people who need their specialist services see their PPC ads.
  • Landing pages are particularly important for lawyers. They allow them to display their expertise and build trust, both of which help increase lead generation. We help our legal clients take their landing pages to the next level.

In a market with over 400,000 law firms in the U.S., it's a real challenge for any law firm to get noticed and attract new clients.

PPC marketing enables lawyers to buy a place right at the top of the search engine results. You only pay for these ads when someone clicks on them. 

Research has shown that 58% of people looking for legal services online end up clicking on paid ads - that's worth exploring, and it's why our law firm PPC agency is seeing explosive demand.

PPC ads are especially good at turning viewers into clients, more so than many other types of online advertising. 

The result is an incredible ROI:

🤔 Let’s say each click to your website costs you $5. 

  • You know that, on average, you sign on one client for every 100 people who visit your site. 
  • That means you need to spend around $500 on PPC ads to get a client. 
  • If you then end up billing that client 40 hours at $300 an hour, your return on the click will be $12,000. 

🤑That’s a ROI on PPC of around 23X.

This is just an example, and what you can achieve varies. But the fact is PPC ads can be an insanely effective marketing channel.

What Is PPC for Lawyers?

Today, if someone needs to find a product or service, they typically go to one place: Google. For people looking for legal services, it's no different.

A survey showed that 64% of people said they would use Google to find personal injury or accident lawyers nearby, whereas only 30% would ask friends, family, or coworkers to suggest a good lawyer.

PPC works like this: when someone searches for something like "lawyers near me" on Google, your law firm's ad can show up at the top of the search results.

Our PPC agency specializes in this type of marketing, because it's proven to get profitable results.

 Here’s an example of Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs):

search results for lawyer near me

And the best part? Your firm only pays if someone actually clicks on your ad. So, PPC is a smart way for lawyers to be seen by people who are already looking for legal help.

In essence, PPC allows you to appear at the top of search engine results when people search for law firms. 

As a law firm, you can use PPC to:

👉 Target specific clients with relevant keywords.

👉 Gain instant search engine visibility.

👉 Attract clients for niche legal services by focusing on specialized keywords.

👉 Reach clients in specific geographic locations by tailoring ads to local searches.

🎯 Target customers who have interacted with your law firm’s website but have not contacted you yet.

💸 Control your spending to suit your budget.

📊 Track your results in real-time (unlike other channels). 

How Does PPC for Law Firms Work?

To understand how PPC works, you first need to understand keywords—which are what people type in when they search online. 

The search engine uses keywords to understand what the user is looking for and decide what websites to show them.

It also helps search engines decide which sponsored ads to show. 

“Lawyer near me” is a typical example of a keyword someone might type into Google. 

Others include:

🔎 Best divorce lawyers in Los Angeles

🔎 Personal injury attorney near me

🔎 Affordable immigration lawyer

🔎 How to find a good lawyer

🔎 Cost of getting divorced 

Bid for targeted keywords

With PPC (pay-per-click), law firms set a budget for their ads and set a bid price of how much they're willing to pay per click. 

When someone searches for a keyword, like "family lawyer in Boston," a behind-the-scenes auction starts to decide which ads show up. 

 This auction considers:

  • Your bid amount.
  • How well the ad matches the keyword.
  • The quality of the ad itself.
  • The relevance and quality of the website linked to in the ad.

The ads with the best scores, based on these factors, appear at the top of search results.  Lower-scoring ads might not show up at all.

Each click on an ad then costs the law firm money from its PPC budget

This system ensures that even if a firm doesn't bid the highest amount, it can still win the auction by having relevant, high-quality ads and landing pages. 

Understanding this process is key for law firms to get their ads in front of prospective clients effectively.

What determines the price of a bid?

For lawyers using PPC ads, the price you pay for each click depends on the keywords you choose. 

Keywords with high commercial intent—which implies that a person is ready to engage a service—are usually in higher demand and are more expensive. 

For instance, a keyword like “lawyer near me” has a cost-per-click (CPC) of $4.50.

It shows that someone is looking for a lawyer right now in their local area, and law firms are therefore willing to bid for those clicks.

It’s also a high-traffic term, with more than 29,000 global monthly searches.

We got these figures from the SEO tool Ahrefs—you can see them in the screenshot below.

Overview of search results for lawyer near me

“How to find a good lawyer,” on the other hand, has a CPC of just $1.60. 

This is because people searching for this might just be looking for information should they require the services of a lawyer in the future. It also only gets 900 global searches per month. 

overview of search results for how to find a good lawyer

Therefore, it’s likely to be slightly more affordable than high-intent ads. It may also have less competition from other advertisers because there is lower buyer intent, so the bid amounts law firms are willing to pay will be lower. 

What types of PPC ads are there?

You can use several types of PPC (pay-per-click) ads:

  • The most popular type is buying sponsored links on search engines.
  • You can also place PPC ads on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
  • Ads in the form of banners on various websites.
  • Advertising on YouTube.

In this article, we'll concentrate on search ads on Google. For information on other PPC types, check out our blog.

How to Get Started with Law Firm PPC Campaigns

While setting up a PPC campaign might seem daunting, following the right steps can lead to effective ads that engage your target audience and deliver results. 

Whether your goal is to increase consultations or promote legal services, these steps will help you create a PPC campaign that aligns with your firm's goals. 

➡️ Understand your objectives

It's important to set clear, measureable goals for any PPC campaign.

Whatever your goals are, ensure they are SMART. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound:

💡 Specific: Narrow down exactly what you want to achieve. Instead of "get more leads," aim for "increase leads by 20%.” 

💡Measurable: Attach numbers to your goals to track progress easily—for example, "increase click-through rate by 2% within the first month."

💡Achievable: Be ambitious but realistic. Consider your budget, resources, and market conditions. If you're a small firm, aiming to dominate highly competitive keywords immediately might not be achievable.

💡Relevant: Your goals should align with your firm's broader objectives. If brand visibility is key, focus on impressions and reach rather than just conversions.

💡Time-bound: Set deadlines—"gain 15 new client consultations per month" is a good example; "gain 15 new client consultations per month starting in Q2," however, is SMART.

➡️ Ensure your landing pages are optimized to convert

Your law firm’s PPC campaigns must lead potential customers to a landing page on your website. 

This landing page should be optimized to keep visitors on the page and make them want to use your legal services.

💩 If your page is bad and doesn't inspire trust, your ad money will be wasted. 

Landing pages are created to:

  • Meet the specific needs of the people who click through to them
  • Quickly build trust with visitors
  • Convert visitors as quickly as possible
  • Enable visitors to contact the company
  • Maximize brand exposure so people remember the company even if they don't convert.

As mentioned before, the quality and relevance of the page your PPC campaign links to counts toward your ad rank score. 

Before you start any form of PPC advertising, you must ensure your landing page is up to scratch. 

For example, let’s say we search for “personal injury lawyer in Austin.” Here’s what comes up:

search results for personal injury lawyer austin

When searching for a lawyer on Google, the results pages look slightly different. 

At the top of the page, you will see Local Services Ads with a Google-screened badge. Below these, you will find regular sponsored ads. 

Let’s take a look at the first result, Reyes Brown Reilley Law Firm:

Landing page of RBL Law firm Landing page of RBL Law Firm bottom part

👉 Here’s why this page works:

✔️Relevant content: Visitors clicked on this ad for a reason. They’re looking for a personal injury lawyer. This landing page delivers what the ad promised without adding unnecessary information.

✔️Clear call to action (CTA): The CTA is prominent and clear, as it tells visitors exactly what they would like them to do next, which is to see how much their case is worth. 

✔️Fast loading speed: The landing page loads quickly. Slow loading times can lead to high bounce rates as potential clients might get impatient and leave.

✔️Trust signals: The webpage includes elements that build trust, including Google ratings, and publications in which they have been featured. For legal services, trust is a significant factor in decision-making.

Here’s another example: 

landing page for Gallivan Law firm

✔️Clear CTA: Visitors are encouraged to fill in a form or call. 

✔️Easy to make contact: Features a phone number and instant messenger.

✔️Nice design: The page is clean and professional. 

✔️Strong branding: The company’s logo is easy to recognize.

💡Pro-tip: Don’t forget about SEO

Implement search engine optimization (SEO) on landing pages by incorporating targeted keywords and optimizing meta tags. 

How to Set Up a Google Ads PPC Campaign

➡️ Create a Google Ads account

If you don’t already have a Google Ads account, sign up for one. You'll need a Google account to begin the process.

Setting up your campaign

Setting up your account and launching your campaign is a straightforward process that involves just a few steps:

You'll have to supply:

✅ Basic details about your business

✅ Information on what you aim to achieve with your campaign and your budget

✅ Your credit card information

➡️ Set up your target audience

You can set up your PPC ad to only be displayed to specific potential clients. 

You can target demographics like:

  • Location
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Household income
  • Interests
  • Search terms they are likely to use

For instance, if your law firm is based in Little Rock, Arkansas, you could focus on people aged 25 to 60 living in Little Rock who might need legal services. 

You could also suggest terms they may search in your particular niche, e.g. “how to find a good divorce lawyer.” 

According to Google, here are just some of the demographics you can target in your PPC campaigns:

Search campaign demographics guide

➡️ Select your keywords

Keyword research is the cornerstone of a successful PPC campaign, particularly for law firms where competition for highly specific keywords can be fierce.

The keyword research process involves identifying the phrases and questions potential clients enter into search engines when they need legal help. Below we’ll show you how to do keyword research.

Before you start looking for keywords, think about the following: 

🔶 Who is your audience?

Start by really knowing who your clients are. Think about their legal problems, how they talk about these issues, and what kind of legal help they're looking for. 

For example, if you're a family law expert, your clients might look up things like "divorce lawyer," "child custody attorney," or "best family law firm near me."

🔶 What is their search intent? 

Pay attention to the intent behind the keywords. Are users looking for information ("What is workers' comp?"), or are they seeking services ("workers' comp lawyer near me")? 

Align your keywords with the user intent that matches your campaign goals.

Now you are ready to look for keywords! Leverage keyword research tools like Google Ads Keyword PlannerSEMrush, or Ahrefs to discover relevant keywords.

overview of search results for personal injuy lawyer tampa

You need to find keywords that:

✅Are relevant to what you do.

✅Show strong buyer intent.

✅Are affordable: Cost-per-click (CPC) measures the estimated amount you’ll pay per click for this term.

Get lots of searches: This is usually called volume or traffic.

✅Aren’t too competitive: As the name suggests, keyword difficulty indicates how difficult it is to rank for a keyword organically. Google Ads refers to this as keyword competitiveness. 

Keywords with a lower keyword difficulty score tend to be less expensive. This can be seen in our example from earlier, “lawyer near me”.

overview of keyword difficulty for lawyer near me

The keyword difficulty for “how to find a good lawyer” on the other hand, is way cheaper than “lawyer near me.” The CPC is only $1.60. 

Overview of keyword difficulty for how to find a good lawyer

💬 Narrow down your list of keywords

Once you understand what your target audience is likely searching for, you can refine your list to specific keywords related to your niche. 

Take personal injury law, for example:

🔎 Personal injury lawyer

🔎 Car accident attorney in [Your City]

🔎 Slip and fall lawyer near me

🔎 Work injury attorney [Your City]

🔎 Personal injury law firm

🔎 Medical malpractice lawyer in [Your City]

🔎 Injury claim legal advice

💬 Add negative keywords

This is one of the most overlooked aspects of PPC for amateurs. Adding negative keywords is vital.

These are terms that, when included in a search query, will prevent your ad from appearing. 

This helps avoid irrelevant traffic and saves your budget for more qualified leads.

If your law firm specializes in personal injury cases, you might want to exclude searches unrelated to your services. 

Some examples could be:

👎 Free legal advice

👎 How to file a lawsuit without a lawyer

👎 DIY personal injury claim

👎 Legal advice for non-injury cases

By filtering out these terms, you ensure your ads will only be shown to people who are real potential customers, enhancing the efficiency of your ad spend.

Account Structure

It's important to group your keywords into different campaigns and ad groups that make logical sense for different objectives.

This is known as PPC account structure, and is fundamental for running profitable campaigns and grouping your ads into different services, geographical locations etc.

➡️ Create your ad copy and design

Great ad copy is one of the ways to win at pay-per-click advertising. 

Below we’ll explore best practices for writing PPC ad copy:

✅ Be clear: Your ad copy should be straightforward and easy to understand.

✅ Highlight benefits, not just features: Explain how your legal services can benefit the prospective client. 

✅ Use strong calls to action (CTAs): Encourage immediate responses with clear CTAs like "Contact Us Today," "Schedule a Free Consultation," or "Get Expert Legal Advice Now."

✅ Emphasize your USPs: Your USP sets you apart from competitors and should be a focal point in your ad copy. For example, highlight any specialized areas of law you practice or mention how many years of experience you have. Below is a good example of how you could emphasize your USPs: 

PPC ad for top divorce attorney NYC

💬 Writing the ad copy

Start with a strong headline that captures attention by adding your main keyword to ensure relevance. 

Follow with a description that weaves in your USP, benefits, and differentiators. Your CTA should end the ad on a powerful note and prompt immediate action. 

Here’s a simplified structure:

🔺Headline: Grab attention with a benefit-rich headline.

🔺Description: Elaborate on benefits and how you differ from others.

🔺CTA: Finish with a strong, clear CTA.

💡Pro-tip: Some tips to make your ad copy convert

To write compelling PPC ads, consider the following best practices in 2024: 

✅ Understand visitors’ doubts: Address potential customer objections in your ad copy to build trust and focus on benefits​​.

✅ Use personalization: In PPC marketing, personal messages resonate more with users than generic ones. Dynamic keyword insertion can help personalize your ads​.

✅ Focus on headlines: Invest time in crafting headlines as they are the most visible part of your ad​​.

✅ Include search terms: Use search terms in your ad copy, especially in headlines, to increase relevancy and attract a wider audience.

➡️ Place a bid

Next, you'll participate in a PPC auction to have your ad displayed prominently in search engine results. 

You can either set a manual bid, or allow Google's machine learning algorithm to bid for you. 

This step also involves setting a monthly budget for how much you're prepared to invest in your ads.

➡️Set up conversion tracking

Before you even begin a campaign, you need to implement PPC conversion tracking through Google Analytics. 

This lets you see which ads and keywords are leading to conversions and new customers e.g. completed forms or phone inquiries.

Here are some key metrics you'll be able to monitor:

  • Impressions: How often your ad is shown in searches.
  • Clicks: The frequency with which people visit your site from the ad.
  • Conversions: The number of users who click your ad and then take significant action, like contacting your firm or requesting a legal consultation.

Analyzing this information will help you understand:

  • The effectiveness of your campaigns.
  • Areas where changes or improvements are necessary.
  • How your advertising budget is being allocated and its returns.

These insights are crucial for continually refining your PPC strategy to ensure the best possible results for your law firm.

Analytics results on acquisition overview

What does the graph tell us about this campaign?

  • First, this ad’s performance has a cyclical pattern. This likely means that it gets fewer clicks on a weekend. 
  • Secondly, it was generally stable over the month.
  • The worst-performing statistic is the conversion rate. This is down by 13%. This may mean the landing page needs to be improved to encourage visitors to convert. 

➡️ Retarget

Retargeting involves showing your ads to people who have previously visited your website but didn’t take a desired action, like filling out a contact form or making an inquiry.

It's a way to remind them of your services and encourage them to return to your site.

This is how it works:

🧐 Website interaction

A potential client visits your law firm's website but does not make contact.

🍪 Cookie placement

While they browse your site, a small piece of code known as a cookie is placed on their web browser. This cookie tracks their online activity.

🌍 Display ads

As this potential client continues to browse the internet, Google Ads recognizes them through the cookie. 

Consequently, your law firm's ads are displayed to them on various websites that are part of the Google Display Network (GDN), and other places like YouTube, Gmail etc.

👉 More Engagement

The goal is that these ads will encourage the potential client to revisit your website, and ultimately, the idea is that they might then decide to engage your law firm for legal services.

Retargeting benefits law firms in the following ways: 

✔️Increased engagement: Visitors who have already shown interest in your legal services are more likely to engage with your ads.

✔️Higher conversion rates: Since these individuals are already familiar with your firm, they are more likely to convert into clients upon seeing your ads again.

✔️Brand recall: Regular exposure helps keep your law firm top of mind, which is crucial in a field where clients may not need services immediately, but they will remember your firm.

Here is an example from the Newsweek website where display ads are being shown to a user who has previously visited a personal injury law firm’s website:

example of display ads on newsweek website

➡️ Adjust and refine as you go

Once the data—and, hopefully, loads of leads—have started to roll in, you can adjust your campaign accordingly and make informed decisions about your budget.

The great thing about having access to your results is that you can pivot as you go and slowly take steps toward running a killer campaign that produces excellent results.

Advanced PPC Tactics for Lawyers

Once you’ve got to grips with the basics of PPC campaigns, try some of these advanced tactics. 

They’ll help you better target customers and set up your campaigns more efficiently.

Use AI and machine learning in your bid management

Knowing how much to bid on a keyword is hard—in the past, making an informed decision involved tracking your successful and unsuccessful bids and analyzing the results. 

Needless to say, this is hugely time-consuming. 

Recently, AI tools have been launched that can analyze vast amounts of data and use this to adjust bids for the highest possible ROI. They consider factors such as time of day, user behavior, and competition.

Examples include:

Use advanced audience segmentation

Most PPC campaigns target users based on their demographics—in other words, who they are and where they live. 

But what if you could also target people based on their behavior and interests? This would allow you to target people who are actively seeking legal services like yours. 

You can now do this using platforms like Google Ads.

Try segmenting your audience based on:

  • Purchase history: For example, someone who has recently hired a funeral director may also need probate services.
  • Website engagement: Similarly, you could retarget someone who visits your personal injury page with ads for that service. 
  • Search intent: Create ads that answer certain search terms. For example, you could provide a guide to probate for the search term “How do I access someone’s bank account once they have passed away?”.

Cross-channel marketing

Use insights from your PPC campaigns to inform your content marketing strategy and vice versa. 

For example, you might find that the PPC keyword “how to choose a conveyancer” leads to lots of traffic or revenue. This suggests:

  • There is high demand for these services.
  • People need guidance acquiring these services.

You could build a content hub on the subject within your blog. This would increase the amount of traffic you get from search but also help grow your brand’s authority in the conveyancing industry.

Video ads for legal services

Video ads have a CTR of 1.84% - the highest of any format. 

You can leverage video ads on platforms such as YouTube and Facebook to engage potential clients. 

Video content can be more engaging and informative, helping to explain complex legal services in an accessible way, which can improve brand recall and conversion rates.

Dynamic Search Ads (DSA)

Dynamic search ads automatically generate headlines and landing pages based on your website’s content. 

They also use AI to identify keywords relevant to your audience but that you aren’t already targeting.

They are available via major ad platforms, including Google Ads. 

This strategy can capture additional traffic for niche or specific legal services you offer, without the need for extensive keyword lists.

Remarketing Lists for Search Ads

This is another tool that is available through Google Ads. 

It allows you to see which users visited your website and what they did while they were there. 

You can tailor your bids and ads to these high-value prospects to increase conversion rates by showing them more relevant, targeted ads.

It also allows you to be more efficient with your ad spend by only targeting customers with a qualified interest in your legal services. 

For more law-firm remarketing ideas, check out our PPC remarketing guide.

Conversion Rate Optimization

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is when you continuously perform A/B testing on your landing pages to find the most effective elements that drive conversions. You then optimize those pages to drive more conversions. 

Focus on testing different calls-to-action, content layouts, and forms to see what resonates best with your target audience.

👉 For a full list of best optimization practices including CRO, check out this guide.

Use of Voice Search Optimization

Today, people conduct more than 1 billion voice searches each month. And the number of people using voice assistants is expected to double during 2024. 

It’s, therefore, a good idea to optimize your PPC campaigns for voice queries. This involves targeting long-tail keyword phrases that are more conversational and likely to be used in voice searches, such as "Who is the best divorce lawyer near me?"

Check out this article from SEMRush for more information on how to optimize for voice search.

Local Service Ads for Lawyers

PPC ad sample search results for local service ads

Take advantage of Google’s Local Services ads specifically designed for professional services like law firms. 

These ads appear at the very top of Google search results and only pay per lead rather than per click, which can be more cost-effective for local targeting.

To use the service, you need to contact Google and get your business verified. However, by doing so, you’ll become Google Screened or Google Guaranteed, increasing trust in your business. 

Implement Smart Campaigns

sample on creating a smart campaign

Google Smart campaigns use machine learning to optimize your ads across Google’s platforms. They aim to automatically target the best audience while maximizing budget efficiency.

Not only does this mean your ad campaigns will be more efficient, but they will also be easier to set up. You just choose your budget, your target location, and add some target keywords. 

Smart campaigns track how people interact with your ads. The platform’s AI uses this to improve the ads over time by A/B testing new combinations of headlines, descriptions, landing pages, and contact methods. 

How PPC Genius Can Help Your Law Firm

If all of this sounds way too complicated to do yourself, you’ve come to the right place!

At, we know that this type of advertising can be complex, and there are plenty of costly mistakes you could make along the way.

To protect your budget and get the online leads you need, the best idea is to work with an expert PPC agency that knows the intricacies of the game.

We’ve helped many law firms run highly successful PPC campaigns that combine a carefully considered strategy with keyword research, beautifully crafted ad copy, and bidding strategies that win results like no other.

If you’re interested in working with us and standing out in the legal services industry crowd, visit our website to get in touch

Stewart Dunlop