Many law firms are spending from $2,500 up to $20,000 on pay-per-click (PPC) marketing and not seeing their investment turn into a reasonable return on investment. Over the last 10 years, I have worked with dozens of attorneys to help them with their law firm’s SEO efforts and relieve them of their reliance on expensive PPC campaigns. A competitive law firm SEO campaign is not inexpensive, but when you balance that against the long term return on investment, the up front costs pay high dividends later on.
So, should a law firm invest in professional SEO services and begin sunsetting their PPC campaigns. Here are some things to consider:
Pros And Cons Of SEO
SEO is the process in which you build up the reputation of your website so that Google and other search engines see it as valuable and thus rank it highly in results. To prove your worth, you have to develop great content and get endorsements of that content (i.e., links) in order to show Google that your law firm’s website is more valuable and informative than your competitors’.
• Low Cost Per Conversion: Since there isn’t a dollar amount directly attached to each click, your collective cost per conversion is much lower than PPC.
• Full-Time Exposure: Once you achieve your top page-one positions, you can enjoy full-time placement whereas your PPC ads are often scheduled to stop at a certain time each day or when your budget is reached.
• Multiple Channels Of Traffic: PPC campaigns usually focus on getting leads from search only (you may decide to use other PPC channels as well, like the Google Display Network or YouTube). However, an SEO campaign relies on third-party exposure in legal directories, social channels, news sources and other types of media. This means you get referral traffic from other sources as well as search traffic, thus broadening your reach.
• Not Immediate: It takes time to achieve those coveted page-one rankings, so you won’t see an increase in traffic the same day you start.
• Algorithm Changes: Since Google’s algorithm is always improving, your rankings will sometimes experience turbulence.
• Less Cost Flexibility: The SEO campaign typically has consistent costs, which is generally a plus. However, you can’t seasonally adjust your spend like you can with PPC.
Pros And Cons Of PPC
Pay-per-click marketing (PPC) is where you pay Google or Bing to place your site on the search results page. You’re charged each time your ad is clicked.
• Immediate Results: Once your campaign is live and running and you get top-page exposure for popular terms, you immediately see traffic and generally some conversions.
• Improving Results: With conversion optimization and proactive management, most PPC campaigns under professional care continue to improve with time thus reducing your cost per conversion (or cost per lead).
• Regional Targets: You can use PPC to target potential clients outside of your location in areas like suburbs or neighboring cities where it’s more difficult to get organic map rankings.
• Cost: The average cost per conversion for PPC is going to be higher than SEO because you are paying for each individual click.
• Limited Exposure: Unless you have an unlimited budget, your ads will only be seen at set times and on certain days. This isn’t a bad thing, and optimizing your placement is part of the conversion optimization process.
As you can see, each method of increasing traffic to your website comes with pluses and minuses, but in the long run, SEO will generally win out.
Getting The Most Out Of SEO
When planning your law firm’s SEO campaign, you should:
• Carefully vet your search engine marketing company. Ask for results and remember the old adage about things that sound too good to be true.
• Ask about timelines and expectations. This is often a tough question for your SEO service provider to answer but they should be able to share some examples from similar clients.
• Understand that you’re making a long-term investment. Look for growth trends in your ranking reports and monitor organic traffic from your region in Google Analytics. This will tell you if you’re on the right track or not.
SEO Maven has worked with law firms nationwide to improve their bottom lines by getting them to the top of search engine results pages and eliminating their reliance on PPC. Call today for your free evaluation (347) 687-0518.