LAW FIRM INTERNET MARKETING: GOOGLE MAKING BIG CHANGES TO ADWORDS

Whether you know this or not, google adwords has been a significant factor in the success of my law firm.

I used to be against Google Adwords. I used to think the service was only used by tire kickers and people who weren’t really interested in getting a lawyer.

And then I took some to learn the system, including how to make an ad and an offer that convert, and boom, I was off to the races.

Google Adwords Becoming More Important than SEO for Law Firm Internet Marketing

When I started my firm in 2009, SEO was all the rage. I catapulted myself up the number one ranking for terms like “DUI lawyer,” “DUI attorney,” and things like that, and business was good.

But then Google changed.

Not only did they update their search algorithm, making it much harder to game the system, but they actually intentionally began making the search results less and less relevant to searchers.

Here’s how.

First, they added advertisements to the top of the search results. If you look today you will typically see the top three locations of the search results occupied by ads.

Second, they added local map results to the search results. If you search for anything local you will see the three ads at the top of the page followed by a map with three or four results in the map.

The actual search results sit under this, often below the fold (i.e. you have to physically scroll down to see the actual search results).

This is why I told you that Law Firm SEO is dead in one of my recent podcasts.

What’s Changing to Google Ads Now?

As time goes by and we, the searchers, become more and more used to seeing things on our screens, certain aspects, those aspects that we never use or pay attention to, literally disappear from our sight.

This is what has happened to the right side ads bar that you see when you search for anything on google.

Note: it is highly likely that you didn’t even realize there were ads down the right side of the page at all. This is the blindness that I’m talking about.

So google is eliminating it.

But that’s not it. Here’s what else is changing:

  • No text ads will be served on the right rail of the search results on desktop.
  • Google will serve four text ads instead of three in the mainline area above the organic listings for more “highly commercial queries” (More on that below).
  • Three text ads will show at the bottom of the SERPs.
  • The total number of text ads that can appear on a SERP will shrink from as many as 11 to a maximum of seven.

What Do These Changes Mean for Law Firm Internet Marketing?

The short answer is, we’re not really sure yet. But here are a few of the scenarios.

1. Ad prices will go up

We all learned about supply and demand in economics 101. In this case, the supply of available ad slots will be shrinking from 11 to 7, theoretically increasing the demand.

The thought is that more people will be competing to get into those top 3–4 slots so they’ll pay a higher price.

2. Ad prices will go down

The funny thing about this scenario is that it is also driven by supply and demand (don’t you just love economics?!).

First, with the increase from three to four ad slots at the top of the page the thinking is that there will be more opportunities for people to get into those slots.

Second, with no sidebar ads, the belief is also that the number of impressions for those first three or four spaces will increase (increased impressions usually leads to decreased prices, and it certainly leads to a decrease in cost per click).

Third, and finally, prices may go down because ending up in one of the 3 slots at the bottom of the page is essentially worthless. All of the data I saw showed a click through rate of 88% at the top of the page, an 8% click through rate in the sidebar, and a 4% click through rate at the bottom of the page.

That’s not exactly something you want to pay a lot of money for.

So, What’s the Answer for Law Firm Internet Marketing?

The answer is the same no matter what we’re talking about when it comes to business.

You must test your theory, get feedback (new clients or no new clients), and determine whether or not your test is worth continuing.

I plan to jump back into adwords heavily over the coming weeks to see exactly what happens. I’ll report back and let you know what I see…

Christopher Small

P.S. — curious about what I do on a daily basis to create and build my successful law firm? Now you can find out first hand (and steal some of my secrets). It’s called the Law Firm Confidential Podcast, and you can get access to the first 5 episodes for free by clicking right here.

Who am I? I am an expert on starting a law firm and law firm marketing. I’ve started two successful law firms and love sharing what I’ve learned so you can do it too.

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Originally published at theartoflawyering.com on February 24, 2016.