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SEO vs. PPC – Best Law Firm Marketing Practices

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When deciding on a digital marketing strategy for your law firm, digital marketing professionals will often suggest one of two approaches: SEO vs. PPC. So, how do you know which is better? Individual merits of SEO and PPC are often debated among marketers trying to push one strategy above the other, but choosing between the two isn’t your only option.

SEO and PPC are essential internet marketing tools for law firms. Used correctly, each attracts new customers, increases customer conversion, and simultaneously boosts your law firm’s ranking on Google’s SERP.

Law firms are uniquely positioned to benefit from incorporating both SEO and PPC into their marketing platform. Let’s examine why a tandem approach to SEO and law firm PPC ad campaigns provide significant benefits to your law firm’s SES and ROI.

The Basics of SEO and PPC

Search engine optimization is a process whereby algorithms are used to index websites and rank their placement on search engine pages.

Search engine algorithms crawl over 200 variable key factors on websites to provide best matches in response to search queries. Once identified, websites with the most matching elements are rewarded with higher placement on search results pages.

Consistent attention must be given to ensure that your law firm’s website is well-optimized to meet identifying algorithm factors.

Pay per click is paid advertising. Businesses pay an advertiser for each user click on their ad.

Click fees are determined by the value of keywords relevant to the businesses placing the ad. A bidding process establishes the value of keywords. The more bids, the higher the cost of the keyword and the ad. Keywords relevant to a business drives qualified customers to click on the ad, and for each click, a fee is charged.

Many, creative and well-worded ads are critical to garnering clicks by a qualified target audience.

SEO, PPC, and Your Law FirmSEO, PPC, and Your Law Firm

SEO, PPC, and Your Law Firm

SEO, PPC, and Your Law Firm

With SEO and PPC defined, it’s time to unravel a few more layers and put the two into context for law firms. Law firms are best to take advantage of SEO and PPC as joint tools in an overall marketing plan. Understanding how each works in relation to your law practice and marketing strategy will help you leverage both for maximum results.

4 Ways SEO Benefits Law Firms

  1. SEO establishes authority. A law firm’s advantage is its expert advisement and knowledge of the law. Clients seeking services of law firms are looking for skilled, experienced lawyers who will help resolve their legal concerns. SEO content delivered through your firm’s website and blog posts provides immediate and long-lasting opportunities to position your law firm as the leading authority in your practice area.

  2. SEO generates consistent, quality organic traffic. Expert content with the right keywords will generate a consistent flow of qualified organic traffic to your website. SEO rewards current and frequently updated content. Even older content can be repurposed to increase traffic up to 106%.

  3. SEO increases confidence, conversion, and ROI. Organic searches show higher website CTR and dwell times, increasing potential conversion and ROI. Informational content engages the reader and provides value-added benefits for users searching your website. Whether needing immediate or long-range services, prospective clients will identify your law firm as a trusted resource for their legal questions.

  4. SEO costs less and offers a higher long-term return. Research indicates roughly 70-80% of users ignore paid ads, focusing on organic results. With nearly 70% of all traffic to your web-site being delivered cost-free by organic search, the value of content-driven SEO increases. Maintaining SEO is a sound long-term marketing strategy with little upfront investment.

SEO proves a low-cost, long-term approach to establishing credibility and higher ranking on Google’s page 1, while PPC affords your law firm immediate exposure.

PPC effectiveness in a Law Firm’s Marketing Plan

Measuring your firm’s PPC results against industry benchmarks is the best way to study the effectiveness of your law firm’s PPC campaign. There are many search engines and social media platforms across which to launch a PPC ad campaign. In keeping with the discussion related to SEO and organic searches, a focus on Google Adwords and its search network follow:

Google Ads CampaignGoogle Ads Campaign

Google Ads campaign

CTR for Google Adwords. The average click-through rate for Google Adwords across all industries is 3.17% on search network, and for legal services, it rates at 2.19%. The comparative CTR for the legal industry implies that PPC is a viable option for capturing audience attention.

Conversion rates for Google Adwords. The average conversion rate for Google Adwords across all industries is 3.75% on the search network, and for legal services, it rates at 6.98%. The conversion rate for the legal industry against all industries strongly suggests that the PPC CTR is generating a better than average capture percentage.

CPA for Google Adwords. The average cost per action for Google Adwords across all industries is $48.96 on the search network, and for legal services, it rates at $86.02. The high cost per action in the legal industry as compared against an average of other industries implies that PPC is an expensive form of advertising for law firms. However, the ROI can only be accurately determined when analyzing the total CTR and CPA against total revenue generated from overall PPC-specific client engagement.

Understanding the averages for CTR, conversion rates, and CPA across all industries and the legal sector, your firm can compare its PPC results against those benchmarks to judge the effectiveness of its ad campaign. Ads can be instantaneously increased, tweaked, or suspended depending on performance.

SEO and PPC: Your Law Firm’s Holistic Marketing Plan

The best legal marketing strategies assume a well-rounded approach to garnering both short-term and long term results.


  • positions your firm as a leading authority and trusted resource for legal services

  • drives more organic searches to websites than any other tool

  • maximizes your site’s ranking on SERPs

  • demands relatively low investment

  • lasting results


  • delivers fast results

  • balances long-term results of SEO

  • requires simple ad development in contrast to expert content

  • is highly adaptable

The best legal marketing strategies assume a well-rounded approach to garnering both short-term and long term results.

Working with a digital marketing professional to create a budget-friendly, well-executed SEO and PPC campaign for your law firm in 2020 will be time and resources well spent in growing your firm’s client base and ROI.

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