Top 6 PPC Mistakes Law Firms Make

PPC Marketing for Lawyers

Google Ads is a hugely competitive space for lawyers and if your PPC accounts are not setup and managed correctly they can easily become unprofitable. Thankfully though if you know what you are doing the rewards are huge. After all:

“No one searches for Law Firms
for a laugh”

That’s a quote from me, and that’s why I love them. So here are the top 6 mistakes law firms make when advertising on Google Ads.

1) Not being OCD about negative keywords

Negative keywords are essentially the opposite to positive keywords in PPC, in that if typed into the search bar they cause your advert not to show. Example negative keywords/phrases could be:

  • Legal aid (tends to be low value)
  • free (you do actually want to make money right?)
  • What is (tends to attract generic non converting searches


Going through the typed search queries that triggered your adverts and adding these irrelevant keywords should be part of a bi-weekly routine that is not missed. It always ceases to amaze me how many new ones crop up in the legal sector. Yes they decrease but there are always more to add.

What a lot of advertisers don’t realise though is that a huge chunk of what is searched for are Law Firm brand names. Now if you are slightly savvy, which of course you are, you could then preempt the searches before you get charged. This is done via searching on Google for all the Law Firm names, at least within your clients target geographic area, and adding them as negative keywords before you spend a penny. Obvious misspells should also be included.

This is the gift that keeps on saving and can make an account significantly more profitable straight away.

2) Focusing purely on generic keywords

Targeting generic search keywords such as:

  • Solicitors
  • Lawyers
  • Solicitors near me
  • Local lawyers

Is great but from all our studies you end up capturing traffic from many users who are still slightly unsure on what they need.

Therefore you end up with a lower conversion rate increasing your cost per lead. That’s not good. Now I’m not saying don’t target these keywords, of course you should but only if budget permits. In preference to it though I recommend focusing on service based keywords e.g.

  • Divorce Solicitors
  • Criminal law solicitors
  • Probate lawyers
  • Property solicitors

You get the idea. These searchers are essentially self qualifying themselves as needing your services. Now providing your adverts are also tailored correctly you’ll end up with more relevant leads.

We call that awesome.

3) Not including numbers within your PPC advert headlines

Now I’m not talking about telephone numbers. These need to be numbers that help you stand out from the crowd and ideally show credibility e.g.

  • 95% of Our Customers Would Recommend Us
  • 70 Strong Team
  • Award Winner 2021

I consistently see advertisers not doing this and it’s great for my clients but I do wonder how much money they are all wasting. I have personally seen triple conversion rates from adverts that include numbers in their ad text relative to ones that don’t.

Overall users like them because they stand out from the crowd and show something tangible about the law firm, Google also just tends to like them more probably due to the increased Click Through Rates.

Put simply it’s easy, quick and effective – enough said.

4) Not giving people what they want

If you are looking to appoint a lawyer to handle probate what would be more effective as a PPC landing page?

  • A general law firm homepage talking about the company
  • A dedicated Probate landing page including clear, scan readable details of the service offered, your firm’s qualifications in this area, calls to action with a telephone number and short contact form, etc

The answer is pretty obvious, so why do so many law firms just point to a generic homepage? This is normally due to:

  • Lack of understanding in this area (we all have to start somewhere)
  • Laziness (they should know better)
  • A lack of time / resources to create tailored pages (normally money related)

Giving people what they want is the basic premise of search marketing and no other media channel has as much upfront knowledge of the user intent, so use it. Dedicated landing pages will give you a huge competitive advantage over others who don’t and will save you money on every lead.

So as best said by Shia Labeouf “Just do it!

5) Poor lead tracking

With solid lead tracking you can use Google Ads to achieve amazing results in the law field, plus you can prove it. Without it though you’re pretty much screwed at least from a ROI perspective. It sounds harsh but it’s true.

Poor tracking is:

  • Google Ads free telephone call tracking – it just doesn’t give you the data to calculate true ROI as no specific phone numbers are tracked and reported.
  • Clicks on email links – With this there is no proof that an actual email was sent. It is simply a click.
  • Just monitoring Click Through Rates (CTR) – Remember you are here to make money not optimise to pay Google.

So what is good tracking?

  • Software that can track and report every phone number that called your law firm via a Google advert along with the time, date, length of call, keyword matched, etc.
  • Contact forms that track the users name, email, phone number, message, etc.

These leads (conversions) are then fed back into Google Ads to help with optimisations.

The software and approaches mentioned above are not for beginners as they require specialist setup but they are definitely essential if you are taking your law firm advertising seriously. Also for the value they provide in optimisation improvements and trustworthiness they are a complete bargain.

Just make sure you test the setup, I’ve seen too many integrated incorrectly even by large agencies.

6) Making your PPC campaigns too complicated

Google provides advertisers with an almost limitless number of keywords to target. It then compounds that by giving us three match types i.e. Broad, Phrase and Exact. To the inexperienced the best course of action looks to be to target as many search terms and match types as possible and see what sticks.

This is a bad idea – don’t do it.

A much better approach is to target just Phrase Match and Exact Match keywords. In terms off the number of keywords per ad group stick to a maximum of 12 very focused ones where possible. Anymore and it becomes very hard to run as the captured impressions become too thinly spread for accurate bidding.

Over my 14 years of running PPC (Pay Per Click) campaigns some of my greatest successes have often come from simplifying other peoples Google Ads accounts as it enabled me to do a better job of managing them.

Overall if you are using more than two match types think seriously about whether the volume of searches is ample enough to support it. In the law field I would bet it isn’t.

Thanks for reading


I hope you enjoyed that brief summary of the top 6 PPC mistakes law firms make. There are of course a lot more that could be said, so if you’d like to make your Google accounts get some serious traction check out our PPC Marketing for Lawyers page.