Law Firm Search Engine Optimization versus Google Ads: The Pros and Cons

Prior to starting a lead generation campaign, a law firm should weigh the pros and cons of search
engine optimization versus using Google ads. Both have their benefits and detractions. Here is a
brief overview of each tool with some pros and cons to help you decide which direction to go to
get the maximum return on your investment.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search Engine Optimization is the practice of using content and meta data in order to be found in
Google’s organic search results. Google is essentially a digital library full of folders of web
pages. The goal of SEO is to give Google a way of 1. Trusting your website to get placed in its
search results, and 2. Telling Google how to index your website within its folders.

Google has an algorithm that you’ve probably heard of with a rumored 200 factors that dictate
whether a website is authoritative and relevant to a user’s search query. With the advent of A.I.
and voice search, more and more Google prioritizes websites that answer user questions.

It is extremely important to get found on page one of Google as results on page two and beyond
get a dramatically lower volume of clicks.

Pros of SEO

SEO is ‘free’ theoretically. In a perfect world, you could develop your website, take it live and
submit it to Google and you would get found. Of course, it doesn’t always work that way. SEO
can cost significant amounts of money, particularly in highly competitive practice areas like
personal injury.

Compared to Google Ads where you pay on a per click basis, SEO is an ‘organic’ means of
getting found. The work you do on and off your site can have long lasting effects to help you
become entrenched in the search results. Content you write today could show up years from now.
Theoretically then at least, investing in SEO could be seen as a long-term play.
Your SEO efforts will help you get found in Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines.
Generally speaking, what’s good for Google is good for the other search tools as well.

Cons of SEO

SEO is a long-term marketing strategy. Sometimes very long-term. The results are not
instantaneous, and a law firm needs to patiently wait for search engines to index and rank their
website. It can take several months before seeing a return on investment.

Search engine algorithms are consistently changing and becoming unpredictable. A website that
was on page one can suddenly lose its ranking overnight for numerous reasons.

Competition to get found on Google has caused an explosion in SEO spending.

A huge part of SEO is technical. As such, hiring an SEO expert is probably necessary to ensure
that your website is developed properly.

Google Ads

Google ads is a lead generation tool in which advertisers pay a fee each time one of their ads is
clicked. It’s a way of buying website visitors rather than earning those visits organically.

Pros of Google Ads

The results from Google Ads or Pay-per-click (PPC) can be instantaneous. A law firm bids on
the keywords they want on the Google ads platform. Their website might then appear at or near
the top of the Google search results, depending on a wide variety of factors.

The ramp-up time using Google ads is significantly shorter than using SEO. With Google ads
you can get found within days rather than months or years.

You can control how much you spend in PPC. The cost depends on several factors including
how competitive the keywords are.

Cons of PPC

Ads can be expensive. Clicks on personal injury and other highly competitive keywords can
costs hundreds of dollars per click though most keywords cost much less.
It is out of your control who clicks your ads. As a result, your ads could be clicked by vendors,
bots, competitors or people kicking tires looking for information.

Google ads does not ‘build a relationship’ with potential clients. You didn’t provide prospects
value in exchange for the click and they have little concern over costing you money when they
clicked your link. As such, time spent on your website or ‘landing page’ might be short.

Some Google users avoid paid ads and scroll down a page to get to the organic search results.

Law firms should weigh the pros and cons of Google Ads and SEO before starting a lead
generation campaign. The ultimate goal is to get the optimum return in your investment in lead
generation.

Speak to LawFull Marketing about which path your law firm should choose before you try to
‘get found’ in Google. Often, a combination of SEO and PPC is the optimal method of
proceeding.

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