Google Ads Help Guide.
In an evermore connected & online age, the first port of call for many looking for goods & services (including solicitors!) is to pull up their web browser on their computer or phone, and get searching. Some estimates suggest as many as 89% of people begin the customer journey by using a search engine.
So, getting your law firm's name in front of the people who are searching for terms relevant to you is paramount, but how do you do it? One way is through Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), an 'organic' way of bringing your website up to the top of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). However, whilst an incredibly vital part of your digital marketing strategy, it can be an oftentimes lengthy and time-consuming process. You can find more about our SEO services here.
One of the quickest, and often best ways to get yourself to the top of Google however, is through Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising, or Google Ads. You can serve ads on other search engines like Bing, but with Google taking a whopping 92% of the market share for search engines, your marketing budget will be best spent on Google.
Getting Started With Paid Advertising
Setting up a Google Ads account and running campaigns from it is a relatively simple process. Before you get started though, it's important to plan out what you want to do with your advertising, and what you want to achieve.
A great way to forecast what kind of activity your campaigns will get is through Google's Keyword Planner. This will allow you to see, amongst other things, what kind of interest & activity the keywords you choose will receive. On top of this, you'll be able to get suggestions on new keywords to further expand your campaign.
Your keywords of course should be based on terms relevant to your business, and for terms you think potential clients will be looking for. Stuck for ideas? Your website is a great place to start! The content on your website will be a goldmine full of keywords, and better yet, you'll serve ads for people searching for your services.
There are four different keyword types, with each one offering something different.
Broad Match - Serves adverts for your keyword, and other search terms that closely match or are relevant to your keyword (i.e. “lawyer” as a keyword would be shown for “solicitor” “divorce lawyer” “employment lawyer” “immigration solicitor”. These are a good way to broaden the net you cast, but can also find you burning through your budget with searches irrelevant to your business quickly.
Broad Match Modifier - Works in the same way as broad match, but by adding a “+” before the keyword will restrict Google to show ads for that keyword only, and no broader variants. However, by using broad match modifier, you will show ads for the keywords used, no matter what order they come in. (i.e. ‘+divorce +lawyer’ will show you in searches such as “i need a divorce lawyer” “lawyer for divorce” “i am getting a divorce and need a lawyer”)
Phrase Match - Does what it says on the tin, if you use phrase match keywords, Google will show ads for your business where the user has included that phrase. For instance, if you have “immigration lawyer”, you will appear for searches like “i need an immigration lawyer”, “what are the best immigration lawyers” and “immigration lawyers near me”.
Exact Match - Another one that does what it says, Google will only show searches where the search term exactly matches the keyword. This is great for shorter keywords, but also for longer and more specific terms like [lawyers who handle employment contracts].
What’s the best keyword type for you? Unfortunately, it depends! A great way to get started is with a mix of broad match modifier, phrase match and exact match keywords, allowing you to firstly cover all bases, and work out which keywords and search terms work best for you in terms of cost, activity and return on investment.
Another thing to also consider is your negative keywords. These are keywords that you choose that Google won’t serve ads for. For instance, if you had the keyword “solicitor”, and the negatives “employment”, “divorce” and “immigration”, you would not appear in searches for “employment/divorce/immigration solicitor”. One of the biggest causes of wastage on your Google Ads account will be through irrelevant searches, so it’s best to keep on top of your search terms and see which ones wasting you money.
Budgeting For Success
Think about how much you want to spend too; what will give your campaigns the financial muscle to compete for top positions, but also keep your costs at a level where you receive a good return on investment? Google allows you to set a daily budget for your campaigns, which you can change at any time.
One thing to note is that Google Ads can & will overspend your daily budget, but never by more than double, and you won't be charged more than your daily budget, multiplied by an average 30.4 day period. Anything that gets spent over that amount will be credited to your account as an 'over-delivery credit'.
Whilst you may want to start out small & conservatively, you may find yourself struggling to get yourself into the mix, so it’s best to be prepared to spend a large portion of your monthly budget at the start of your campaign, but, if you’ve set your campaign up right, every penny will be spent on getting your business’ name in front of the eyes of hundreds, if not thousands of relevant, potential clients.
Building Your Campaign
Structure is important, and that includes when working on Google Ads. How you set your campaign up will be crucial to how your campaign performs, and how easy it is to manage. For the sake of simplicity, and for an added boost to the quality & relevance of your campaigns, it’s best to split your keywords into groups, based on their relevance to one another.
Without convoluting this too much, you can either split them into separate campaigns or one campaign with separate ad groups. The benefit of separate campaigns is that you can portion out your budget to different services you may offer based on how much you want to push that one service, but if you want the budget shared out by Google, one campaign with separate ad groups will do just fine.
Why split everything out? By doing so, you’ll be able to laser target the copy in your ads, and the page you’ll direct users to, making it hyper relevant to users. With everything split out too, you’ll also be able to quickly see what is & isn’t working for you, and be able to make changes easily without overcomplicating everything.
Once your campaign is structured and set up, you’ll be able to populate your campaigns and ad groups with your keywords, and get onto writing engaging, exciting ad copy.
One thing you should also consider from the get go is what bidding strategy you’d like to use. All campaigns start with Manual CPC, whereby you set how much you want to spend on each click, but you can also use automated bidding strategies that harness machine learning and intent signals to optimise your bids. Many of these however will require you to be tracking conversions on your website, which you can find out more about here. Others will try to maximise the amount of clicks you’ll receive within your budget, or target a certain impression share (how many people see your ads).
Engaging Your Customers
The most important piece of the Google Ads puzzle is your Ads. It’s the first thing potential clients will see when searching, and making sure that your ad copy stands out from the crowd is crucial to getting them to click on your ad. There are several types of ads you can serve, but the two you should focus on the most are Responsive Text Ads and Expanded Text Ads. These ads will be served on Google’s search engine results page, where the majority of your traffic will be coming from.
Expanded Text Ads are text-based advertisements that consist of three headlines (30 characters, 90 total), two descriptions (90 characters, 180 total) and a final URL that will be the page you want the ad to lead to. These are handy because they are a) simple and easy to create and b) you can create a consistent narrative in your headlines and descriptions.
Responsive Text Ads are very much the same, but very different! With Responsive Text Ads, you can write up to 15 headlines (still 30 characters) and four descriptions (still 90 characters). Google will then take these 15 headlines and four descriptions, and begin to show them in different combinations, using analytics & machine learning to create the combination that users find the most engaging, and ergo, most likely to click through on. These allow for greater flexibility in your messaging, and Google also does the heavy lifting.
As a rule of thumb, it’s worth having three Expanded Text Ads and one Responsive Search Ad. Every ad will have metrics, so you can regularly check in and see which ads are performing best, and which ones could do better.
With text ads, it’s important to have a clear & consistent theme running through the keywords you choose, through to including those keywords in the ad copy, and making sure that the URL of the landing page you choose contains phrases and keywords relevant to the keywords you have chosen & used in your ad copy. Not only will this ensure that people who are searching for these keywords get a smooth & consistent customer journey, but it will also help your “quality score”, an important component of where Google will display your ad. A high quality score is incredibly advantageous, as you will both save money on your overall cost-per-click, and be favoured by Google over ads with lower quality scores.
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Expanding Your Expanded Ads
There’s also many value added extras that can improve the look, and the performance of your ads. These are part of the “shared library”, whereby you can add a variety of “extensions”. These include:
Sitelink Extensions - Give users even more reasons to click on your ads with a selection of links that will appear under your ads, allowing potential clients greater opportunities to explore your website. Why not put a link to the range of services you offer, or your testimonials page, or even get right to the point with a link to your contact page?
Call Extensions - A simple but effective extension whereby your phone number will be displayed on your ad, plus, allows users to call you directly when searching on their mobiles.
Structured Snippets - An extension that allows you to provide a list, for instance, of services you offer, and will display this underneath your ad.
Callout Extensions - Works similar to structured snippets, but more focused on your USPs as opposed to your business’ core services, for example, you could have callout extensions with “Free Consultation” “24/7 Service” or “Award Winning Solicitors”.
Location Extensions - Make sure people can find you easily and know you’re a local business by linking your Google My Business account to your Google Ads account, and your practice’s location(s) will be shown to users in your local area.
Hitting The Target
You’re almost ready to hit the big red button on your Google Ads campaign and get serving ads to potential clients, but before you do, make sure you’re targeting your campaigns correctly. There are many different targeting options on Google Ads, but your primary target should be your location. By default, your ads will target the country you’re in, but you can target a variety of locations, from countries, to cities, right down to the postcode area. One of the greatest areas of wastage will be getting clicks from areas you don’t serve.
You can also target people by demographics to really tighten the net you cast. From gender, to age, to whether they’re a homeowner and what they earn a year, you can begin to laser target the audience you want to market to. However, for now, you may want to leave that open, but, Google will still report on these demographics, so you can monitor and begin to see what your ideal audience looks like.
Optimise, Optimise, Optimise!
Congratulations, if you’ve followed this guide, you’ll be ready to launch your first Google Ads campaign! However, the hard work isn’t over just yet. One trap that a lot of people fall into is the “set it and forget it” trap. Don’t! Google Ads requires constant improvement and optimisation to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck. At the very least, you should be checking your campaigns on a semi regular basis to see how much you’re spending, and what kind of return on investment you’re getting.
However, regular pruning of your Google Ads account will allow you to continue to get great results. Ending & replacing poorly performing ads, adding new negative keywords and adjusting keyword bids are all great ways of keeping your account up to date. If you’ve been getting a decent number of conversions too, you’ll be able to use conversion based bidding, including Maximise Conversions and Target Cost Per Acquisition.
You can also expand your Google Ads campaigns to include new channels, including through Display campaigns on the Global Display Network. This campaign type allows you to create visual-centric ads that will be displayed on a wide range of websites that partner with Google. Through this, you can also re-advertise or ‘remarket’ to people who visited your website but didn’t end up contacting you, to keep your business’ name at the forefront of their mind.
Leave It To The Experts
Hopefully this guide has given all the information you need to begin running your own Google Ads campaigns for your law firm. However, running a Google Ads campaign can take up a lot of your time, so why not leave it to the professionals?
At LegalClicks, we’ll be able to set up, optimise and manage your Google Ads account & campaigns, constantly monitoring & improving it, whilst providing an in depth report to you on a monthly basis. On top of that, we’ll check in with you on a regular basis just to see how business is on your end, and if there’s anything specific to be discussed, it can be dealt with there & then.
Whether you’re starting from scratch or just need someone to manage your campaigns, we’ll be able to help you get better results and continue to grow your business. Whether you’re a single solicitor or a larger law firm, we’ll be able to supercharge your digital marketing strategy.