Law firms Avoid High Google Pay-Per-Click Costs, Increase Client Intake and Attorney Referrals in Shift to “Organic SEO”
Summary: Large lawfirms with expansive advertising budgets have driven Google pay-per-click advertising out of the reach of most small and medium sized lawfirms. Additionally, there is an unmanageable risk of accidental and malicious click fraud that could have costly impacts on the firm’s finances without producing any return. Organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) combined with effective website content measurably increases direct client inquiries and attorney referrals through a planned program that causes the client’s website to steadily rise through the Google search rankings, ultimately conquering the top spot at the top of page one of Google search results. Unpaid search results are more highly respected by Internet searchers, who often scroll past paid advertising to reach the “organic” results. Attorneys responsible for bringing in business to their lawfirms on a limited advertising budget should consider a program of SEO and website content upgrades provided by a leader in the field.
Stalking The Internet-Empowered Client
Lawfirms thrive on new business, and new business comes from two sources – direct client inquiries and attorney referrals. Modern clients are empowered by the Internet, and some are becoming sophisticated consumers of legal services – particularly corporate counsel. But even laypersons understand the concept of legal specialization, and that Google will provide an instantaneous list of lawyers in the local area who specialize in virtually any field of law. So naturally, when the need for legal counsel arises, they are most likely to sit down at their laptop, or pull out their mobile phone, and type in a few words: something like “San Antonio car wreck attorney.”
After that, you know the drill. Just like you, they often find what they need on the first page, and they start clicking. They find a local lawfirm’s website, they click on the “directions” button on the website, and Google maps the route to the firm’s office. This could be the beginning of a wonderful client relationship.
An Exponential Increase In the Cost of Google Clicks for Lawyers, the Risk of Useless Expense, and Avoidance of Malicious Click Fraud Drives Small Lawfirms to SEO
The Google search engine is a gigantic come-on to attract advertisers who know that millions of eyeballs are poring over the search-giant’s webpages at all hours of the night and day. From the viewpoint of advertisers, Google’s now-abandoned corporate motto, “Don’t be evil,” was a humorous historic footnote. No one knows this better than the click-buyers for large lawfirms, who have seen their advertising costs increase exponentially over the last fifteen years since Google began offering paid placement starting at five cents per click.
Currently, over 78% of keywords relate to lawfirms. By pitting hungry lawfirms against each other, Google has pushed the price of one click from a person searching for a “San Antonio car wreck attorney” up to $670.44. And there are serious risks when you pay for that spot – some consumers click those paid links by accident, and spend a half-second at the destination website – the cost to the advertiser can be the same. Worse yet, a malicious competitor can simply click away on that hyperlink and slam the advertiser with useless expense. Advertising through Google AdWords is a lot like writing out a check to Google and letting someone else sign it.
Managing a Google AdWords budget is now a highly specialized activity that requires fluid knowledge of the AdWords system, and it is vital to know how to establish your settings to minimize waste and risk and avoid an "AdWords disaster." If a lawfirm cannot have a skilled employee or contractor perform this function it is basically shooting expensive ammunition into the dark. So gambling on the price of keywords through the AdWords system can be both out of the range, and too risky for a small to medium sized firm to hazard the funds, even if they have them to invest in this overheated market for media exposure.
SEO – A Viable Alternative to Costly, Risky, Pay-per-click Advertising
Legal website SEO is the science of getting your lawfirm website to appear on page one of search results when potential clients type in specified keywords. Unlike paid listings, that disappear as soon as your ad budget is wiped out, these search results are there as long as your website continues to “stay attractive” to the Google search algorithms.
Unlike its pay-per-click product, Google doesn’t rotate any of the spots. It’s a winner-take-all proposition, and to the victor go the spoils, for so long as their website can hold that top spot. When it comes to lawfirms, that means first shot at those precious direct client inquiries and attorney referrals.
What Doesn't Work in SEO: Providers to Avoid
There is a very long list of things that “used to work on Google” to raise search engine ranking that no longer work. And there is another list of things that once worked on Google, but will now get your website permanently banned from Google. Ironically, there is also a list of things that have always worked, and always will work, to improve Google rankings, but they take time to implement, and SEO services that seek a quick buck and promise quick results don’t have the time to use them. The people who send you spam emails guaranteeing you a spot on page one of your chosen keyword search usually fall into this last category. Because Google assiduously massages its search algorithms to discourage SEO services from gaming the system, and punishes websites that violate its ideas of fair play in SEO by delisting, lawfirms are well advised to work only with an SEO company that knows Google’s rules and follows them.
What Works in SEO: Proven Techniques From an Established SEO Leader
HTP Company’s founder, Tom Forrest, PhD, has been reading the Google tea leaves since the search giant emerged from the Stanford dorms on its mission to make the Internet accessible with text-searching technology. Dr. Forrest’s methods have helped his clients secure and maintain top search result positions for select terms for years, and all without entering into the Google AdWords lottery.
HTP Company’s SEO techniques seek to conquer and hold the top search result positions for its client's chosen keywords, and to guard that position against incursions by the competition. HTP Company’s SEO technology is constantly updated to keep pace with the nuances of Google’s evolving policies, and protects the client's website from being subject to Google punishments.
SEO Draws Visitors to the Website -- Quality Legal Ad Copy Converts Visitors to Clients
HTP Company can build an off ramp from the Information Highway directly to your lawfirm website. Once there, your website faces the second challenge -- will it convert a person with a legal problem into a client? Or persuade a colleague to make a referral? To meet this challenge, a website must magnetize visitors using mechanisms of engagement. Different firms have different approaches -- some lead with an inspiring mission statement, others highlight a compelling summary of firm achievements, and everyone should use attractive photographs of the office and attorneys, and a clean graphic style.
Your lawfirm website should be mobile friendly, have telephone numbers clearly displayed and easy to click, and provide a questionnaire where prospective clients can submit a case for review. A map to your office and a link to an interactive mapping service are powerful features that close the gap between you and your future clients.
A lawfirm website that exudes credibility and professionalism makes a valuable first impression and can open the door to many valuable client relationships. For those attorneys who lack the time or the knack to write legal ad copy, HTP Company has staff available to draft summaries of firm verdicts and victories, bios of firm lawyers, accounts of firm history, and other custom copy.
The Internet is the primary source of business. Pay per click advertising is risky and may require more money and more attention than a small or midsize firm can provide. If you are responsible for bringing business into your firm on a budget, and you're not using SEO to attract quality clients, it’s time to re-evaluate your strategy.