The 3 Biggest Lawyer PPC Mistakes and How Fixing Them Saves You Thousands of Dollars – Part 1 of 3

I was recently conducting some keyword research on a new PPC campaign I was creating for one of my Attorney clients.  One of the very first things I do when I put together a new PPC (pay-per-click) campaign on Google AdWords is I study the Competition.  By surveying the landscape of the state of the current market for that particular niche or practice area, I am looking for an advantage my client can pursue to win in their campaign and spend less money to get there.

Specifically, I want to know: Who are the top competing Lawyers or law firms in that area of practice? What keywords are they using? Which keywords are working? How much they are paying for them? Then I want to know: What Ad copy are they using and how long have they been using it? Is it working or are they just lazy? 

In other words, I let those who are already running PPC campaigns do the heavy lifting (and spending) for my clients so we let them essentially do a lot of the testing for us.  Obviously this approach saves a lot of time and money and was similar to what I would do in practice…let others invent the wheel, I’ll just roll with it!

So when I recently did this for a client, I stumbled upon some competitors of theirs who were making so many obvious mistakes and wasting so much money that I thought they would be worth pointing out in this blog, which I am now affectionately calling “Bark and Bite.”

This is Part One of a Three Part series where I will explain these biggest paid search campaign mistakes Lawyers make and how avoiding them can save you thousands of dollars in your paid search campaigns.

THE first Big ATTORNEY PPC mistake I discovered in my recent CAMPAIGN research:

Mistake #1 – Using Geographic Keywords Outside of Your Local Market

I couldn’t quite believe this one or understand if this was an intentional strategy or just sheer laziness.  If you are a Bankruptcy Attorney in Miami, why on earth would you be bidding on keywords like “Bankruptcy Attorney Arkansas” or “Bankruptcy Attorney Charleston” or “Bankruptcy Attorney Houston?” This guy must be blowing half of his $7,500/month PPC budget on this stuff! I’m thinking, why are you doing this???  I thought you were a smart guy!

Let’s suppose somebody in Houston is searching for a Bankruptcy Attorney in Houston and they “Google” (enter the Keyword “Bankruptcy Attorney Houston”) and boom, up pops this Miami Bankruptcy Attorney’s website and the searcher clicks on his Ad. This Attorney just paid for this click (that’s why they call it pay-per-click) and for what? To pay for a click from someone searching for a Houston Bankruptcy Attorney that will never hire this Miami Bankruptcy Attorney…ever? I’m thinking what could possibly be the strategy here and the only thing I could come up with is, there is no strategy here. 

— The Matrix

It is an amateur “shotgun” approach to Google AdWords using every geographic combination possible and not thinking it through. While this is not necessarily a bad strategy for a national firm with offices in all of these locations, most Attorneys are in a local market. They are just burning money bidding for keywords that are geographic in nature that would only be useful for people searching in that geographic area. Doing this wastes impressions that would be used by Google for keywords that may actually bring you clicks that could result in leads. It diminishes your ability to reach or get impressions out there for keywords that help you.

This leads us into the next part of this 3 part series where I will discuss how many keywords are best and why trimming your list over time is crucial but suffice it to say, it’s not the number of clicks you get; it’s the number of clicks you get from potential buyers of your services. It’s about efficiency.  

It’s about quality, not quantity. Your goal is not make Google richer by getting and paying for as many clicks as you can…it’s about getting more business from people who need your services and getting them to click your Ad because they need you, you can help them and you can make them a client…and get paid!

I know this Attorney. He’s a pretty smart guy and runs multiple Florida offices and I was honestly shocked when I saw this huge gaff in his PPC campaign.  Does he have someone advising him to do this, I wondered? Did he come up with this approach himself by sitting around one day trying to think of all the possible combinations of terms using the words Bankruptcy Attorney?  

All I could think when I saw this was, “oh my, what has he done and does he know he’s doing it?” I mentioned it to my Wife and she asked me if I was going to tell him the mistake he was making, since I personally know him (she is so sweet). I told her no I would not be doing that.  When she asked me “why not” I explained that since he was not my client and my client was his competitor, I would be exploiting this weakness for the benefit of my client. “Sorry baby, I’m not being mean” I explained,  “but that’s how it works out here in the dog eat dog world of the business of law.” 

After all, I’m a Law Dog and my job is to help my client chisel into a PPC market using every advantage I can find for them…and I just found one.  Ruthless? Maybe…Shrewd? You Betcha! Woof! Woof!

Stay tuned for Part Two and learn the next big mistake that may be costing you thousands of wasted dollars in your PPC campaign.