SEO or SEM For A Law Firm?
Many law firm owners struggle with how, when, or if to use search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) to generate leads and grow their firm. While both tactics are beneficial, several factors need to go into the decision-making process—depending on each law firm owner’s goals and budget.
SEO works best for law firms first starting out or establishing an online presence for the first time. When designing a website, getting your law firm on local listings, and creating social media pages for your law firm, SEO is the best strategy. It’s important to utilize SEO to show search engines that your firm’s information is consistent and prevalent across multiple platforms. You can also build SEO for your law firm by consistently publishing relevant content that is valuable to your audience.
SEM comes into play when your law firm website is ready to “wow” customers and get them to contact you or make a purchase. Many law firms jump the gun too early and do not take the proper time to implement strong website design practices first.
SEM uses paid search campaigns such as Google AdWords to show an ad for your firm when certain keywords are used by customers searching for your services. When your website is ready to receive and convert leads, you will want to track which keywords perform best, when is the best time to display your ad, which target audience converts best, and how much you can afford to bid for paid search leads. This can all be a lot to manage, but it’s necessary to succeed with paid search.
AdWords And Phone Calls-Call Only Campaigns
Call extensions let you add phone numbers to your ads, which can significantly increase clickthrough rates. When your call extensions show, people can tap or click a button to call your business directly. That means more customer engagement with your ads, and more chances for you to get and track your conversions. Call extensions are the easiest way to add phone numbers to existing ads. If you attempt to include a phone number elsewhere in your ad text, it may lead to the disapproval of the ad, so if you would like to include a phone number, it is best to use a call extension. You can also create call-only campaigns.
The newer call-only campaigns take time to setup properly but can result in a much lower client acquisition cost. To get phone calls to your firm, set up a call-only campaign to encourage clients to call you by clicking or tapping your ad. With call-only campaigns, you bid to drive calls to your law firm instead of clicks to your website. You can set your ads to show only when your firm can take calls, so you won’t miss an opportunity to connect with your potential clients. With these campaigns, you can use CPC bidding based on the value of a call to your business. You can also add your existing phone information to your new ads and attach select extensions to your call-only campaigns.
Ads created in call-only campaigns are fine-tuned to show only on mobile devices that are capable of making calls. Taps on these ads will only generate calls — they won’t link to a website. These ads are very flexible with how they can appear. To optimize for mobile and enhance performance, your ads may not always show every line of text you enter when setting up your campaign. Likewise, select extensions, which are available for call-only campaigns, may also be hidden in order to make the most of the smaller screen space on mobile devices.
If you feel that your small law firm is ready for SEM, make sure that you have the time and resources to dedicate to your campaign and your online presence. Your campaign needs to have the right keywords and descriptions, but also effective tracking and analytics so you can monitor performance and conversions. Remember, do not let your social media presence, content marketing, and website suffer at the expense of your ad campaign!
One of the most important differences between SEO and SEM is that SEO takes time, whereas SEM provides more immediate results. You may want calls and clicks fast, but you must dedicate work to your online presence to motivate customers who click on your ad to give you their law firm. SEO and SEM work best when used together.
When used properly, SEM can help your law firm achieve its lead generation goals. Enlisting the help of a professional can also be a wise investment. BusinessCreator/ForLawFirmsOnly has a team of SEM Marketing Pros that can create and manage your Google AdWords and Facebook campaigns for you!
Edward Kundahl, Ph.D., M.B.A.
Ed can be reached at (or visit his websites)