How Quality Score Affects Your Legal PPC Ads

Understanding Your PPC Quality Score
Feel like digital marketing is a moving target? You're not alone. We recently updated one of our more popular playbooks, Promoting Your Firm With Pay-per-click for that very reason. The 2018 edition of our pay-per-click playbook explores the difference between digital ads and PPC ads, and how to design a marketing campaign that creates a balance between the two. You'll also learn about the world of paid social media and the significant role it has on your client's overall journey to find your firm. Promoting Your Firm With Pay-Per-ClickWhen implemented correctly, PPC campaigns are highly beneficial to a law firm’s digital marketing strategy. Advertising on Google allows attorneys to target their ideal legal consumer with the information that the search engine already knows about them. PPC also gives attorneys the flexibility they need when changes to the law or current events warrant a quick advertising response. And it does it all at a price that won’t break the bank. At least, if you’re diligent enough. The thing is, Google is complicated to maneuver and their advertising guidelines are not set in stone. Google’s algorithm continues to evolve with the goal of matching a user’s search with the exact results and the exact ads they are looking for. After all, no one searching for “restaurants in Columbus, Ohio” wants a history lesson on Christopher Columbus. There are, however, a few universal rules that guide the success of your AdWords campaigns all wrapped up in what Google calls its “quality score.” Your campaign’s quality score involves three metrics that, while not weighted evenly, are all essential to effective PPC ads.

Ad relevance

This one sounds self-explanatory, and for the most part, it is. Google wants to know how closely the keywords you're targeting compare with the message of your ad. When they’re scoring your ad, Google looks to see if you’re too general or too specific in your keywords. The search engine doesn’t want someone clicking on an ad for “lawyer near me” only to find a DUI attorney when they’re thinking of filing for divorce. On the flip side, while your ads should focus on details, if you’re targeting “divorce lawyer who specializes in exotic animal custody,” you probably need to be realistic about the size of your target audience.

TIP: You already understand what makes you different from the attorney down the street. Find a PPC expert that can capitalize on your practice area expertise to craft a plan around focused keywords. Let’s say you’re a family law attorney that specializes in paternal rights or same-sex marriages. If your PPC vendor knows that about your firm, they’ll know how to reach those prospects on Google.

Landing page experience

There are too many PPC ads out there linking to a poorly designed website that doesn’t help the visitor. Some sites don’t match the content keywords, aren’t mobile optimized or are impossible to navigate. If your ad or your website isn’t aligned with the keywords you’re searching, Google will know and they will prioritize what they consider to be more useful ads. Think about it from their end. Google is only paid if their ads are clicked by a visitor. They know that if the user has a bad experience with an advertisement then that person is less likely to trust Google’s recommendations moving forward.

TIP: Audit your website to inventory the most effective content and pages. That way you can match your keywords to the right pages on your website. If you put in the work on the front end, your PPC strategy will be much smoother once it’s up and running. This is also the time to make sure your website is mobile optimized, HTTPS secure and generally user-friendly. Google will take all three into account when judging landing page experience.

Click-through rate

Click-through rate, much like ad relevance, is a self-explanatory metric that Google uses to rank the effectiveness of your ad. It’s a measurement of how many times your ad was clicked when it was presented to a search engine user. Again, Google is paid only if your ad is clicked, so if no one is engaging with your ad, Google will move on to the next law firm who may be more successful.

TIP: Take your time. Now that you have a general outline of what Google’s looking for, make sure to align your ads with the right keywords and a solid landing page experience. If you have an external PPC vendor, now’s the time to plan out keyword strategies that align with specific content on your page to attract the legal consumers you want.

Our 2018 playbook frames the discussion of legal PPC and helps you understand why it’s important and how to implement a strategy. However, Google is not the place to experiment if you’re just learning about AdWords. Your costs could skyrocket and erase your ROI quickly. (Legal keywords are some of the most expensive across all industries.) On top of that, you may not reach the prospects you want. The right PPC vendor can help alleviate some of that workload. Make sure they know the legal landscape and how consumers make decisions online. There are a lot of generic AdWords marketers out there who won’t understand your prospects as well as you do. FindLaw’s PPC campaigns start with the legal consumer. And because we’re a Premier Google Partner, we understand PPC strategy on both the Google and legal level. For more information on PPC, download the playbook today!  

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