How to Run Paid Ads with a Small Budget

An unfortunate caveat of advertising in legal is that it can be very expensive to run ads on Google. In 2017, keywords related to “lawyer” were the fourth most expensive keywords on the platform in the United States at an average cost-per-click (CPC) of $54.86. An average CPC this high can make it hard to begin advertising, especially on a tight budget. However, that shouldn’t stop you from running ads altogether! Here are a few paid advertising strategies that won’t break the bank.

Utilize Branded & Competitor Ads

If you are not already running ads for your brand, you should have started yesterday. There are three reasons for this:

  1. They are your safeguard against competitors who are either currently bidding on your name or may do so in the future.
  2. Since you are bidding on keywords specific to your brand, they have a much lower CPC than other law-related keywords.
  3. Branded keywords have high quality scores. High quality scores mean higher ranking & lower bids.

Running branded ads is a great way to ensure you are appearing at the top of the search results whenever someone looks for your firm. Creating ads for your firm shouldn’t stop at your brand name either. Creating ads for attorneys at your firm is another way to ensure your firm is appearing for your branded searches. What if you already appear organically? While paid search may cannibalize some organic traffic, having both actually leads to an overall increase in clicks and leads. Give users as many opportunities to click on your site, and not legal directories or competitor sites.

Along the lines of advertising for your brand, an increasing trend among law firms advertising on Google is to bid on your competitors’ names. Like your own branded keywords, the branded keywords of your competitors will also have lower CPCs. If you choose to run competitor ads, make sure your ads comply with Google Ads policy and that you do not misrepresent your brand. Also, check with your State Bar Association.

Run Call-Only Ads

As the world becomes more mobile-friendly, the likelihood of a searcher to convert on mobile over desktop is increasing. If they’re already on their phone, they are that much closer to giving you a call. Utilizing call-only ads instead of text ads is a great way to get more conversions with a limited budget. Call-only ads appear only on mobile devices, and a click on the ad allows the searcher to call your firm directly. To be successful with call-only ads, however, you must bid about double what you would normally bid on a keyword, but because these ads only appear for searchers on mobile, it narrows your audience so that the search volume in your area for your targeted keywords decreases.

Increase Visibility with Display & Video Ads

If your goal is to increase exposure for your firm, display and video ads are the way to go. This is a great way to broadcast your brand and services on the internet in an inexpensive way. Think of these ads as online billboards or commercials for your business. However, while these ads are relatively inexpensive to run, they are best utilized to get people to find you but not necessarily contact you. If your goal is to get the phone ringing right now, this isn’t the best option for you. However, with the right targeting, you can get your brand in front of a ton of people for very, very cheap.

Advertise in Another Language

Do you offer your legal services in other languages? If so, you should definitely be advertising in that language. Few law firms in the United States advertise in other languages, so the competition for legal keywords is much lower than that of their English equivalents. This means that the average CPC for these keywords is significantly lower, but the case value is just as high as their English equivalent. Just make sure that your ads are written with correct grammar and spelling as this is the easiest way for a native speaker to tell whether or not you actually speak their language.

Utilize Other Advertising Platforms

A common theme among some of these strategies is the low amount of competition there is to your target audience. This is true for platforms like Microsoft Advertising and Facebook Ads. There are fewer advertisers on these platforms, so it is far cheaper to go after some of the more expensive practice areas (like personal injury or criminal defense). In addition to the lower volume of legal advertisers on Facebook, it is easier to target users based on their interests, pages they’ve liked, or if they have visited your website but didn’t convert. Remarketing is a fantastic way to make sure you get the most out of all your marketing channels.

Paid advertising can be expensive to run, but by branching out into less competitive markets, it doesn’t have to be, especially if you are in a more competitive region, like Texas or California, or a more competitive practice area, like personal injury or criminal defense. By utilizing these tactics, you will have a much easier time keeping up with the competition in a cost-effective way.


Test Ad Copy Easily with Google’s Responsive Search Ads

Google is continuing its shift toward increased automation when it comes to building ads. Recently, Google rolled out Responsive Search Ads (RSA) as a way to quickly build multiple ads simultaneously and make it easier to add variety to your ad copy.

How It Works

RSAs allow you to set up one ad with multiple headlines and descriptions. Once you’ve set them up, Google puts together various combinations of headlines and descriptions and tests these combinations. Over time, Google will learn which combinations will perform the best based on searchers’ behavior, search terms, device, and other signals, and serve the best ads to them.

Google's responsive search ads interface

How To Create Responsive Search Ads

Responsive Search Ads are currently still in beta testing, but you may be able to see the option to create these ads soon. To access them, go to the Ads & Extensions tab and click on the blue plus sign. Then, select Responsive search ad. From there, you can add each component of the ads: the final URL, URL paths, headlines, and descriptions. With these ads, you have the option to add up to 15 headlines and up to 4 descriptions.

For some time now, Google has pushed A/B testing on ad copy as a way to improve account performance by creating variability in the ads served to searchers. Previously, this was a manual process, but with the rollout of this new ad type, it’s much easier to test ad copy on your audience.

The ABC’s of PPC

CPC? What is that?

CTR? What does that mean?

Impression share? Who am I sharing this with?

There are many useful metrics within Google Ads to gauge how well your ads are performing. Unfortunately, Google has not made it very easy to find out what these metrics mean within the tool. Thankfully, we have created a handy-dandy guide with all the important terms (and abbreviations) you need in order to keep track of how your ads are doing!


While many people use this to talk about “advertising” in general, it actually means pay-per-click. This is the primary method used to charge campaigns.


Pay-Per-Impression/Pay-Per-Mille. This means you are charged when people view your ad, not necessarily click on it.


Pay-per-view is a TV term. Not important.


This is the container that holds your ad groups, keywords, and ads.

Ad Group

This is the container that holds your keywords and ads.


A list of terms within an ad group that are bid on to trigger your ads when someone searches for that keyword.


The maximum amount you are willing to pay for a click on your ad from a search term.


The number of times your ad appears when someone searches for a keyword you’re targeting.


The number of times someone clicks on your ad.

CTR (Clickthrough Rate)

This is the percentage of searchers who click on your ad after seeing your ad (clicks/impressions).

Avg. Position

How high up in the Google search results your ad shows up on average. There are ad placements at the top and bottom of each page (4 top, 3 bottom).

CPC (Cost Per Click)

How much a click on one of your ads costs on average


How much your campaigns have spent.


The number of times someone takes an action on your site after clicking on an ad (contact form fills, calls to the firm, chats).

Quality Score

A score out of 10 of how relevant your ads, keywords, and landing pages are to a person who sees your ads.

SIS (Search Impression Share)

Of the number of times your ads were eligible to appear in the search results, this is the percentage of time they actually appeared.

Search Lost IS (budget)

How often your ad did not appear in the search results because your campaign’s daily budget was too low.

Search Lost IS (Rank)

How often your ad did not appear in the search results because your campaign’s Ad Rank was too low.

Click Share

Of the number of times your ads were eligible to receive clicks, this is the percentage of time they were actually clicked on..

Search (Top) IS

Of the number of times your ads were eligible to appear at the top of the Google search results, this is the percentage of time they actually appeared.

View-Through Conversions

Conversions that are recorded when a user views (but doesn’t click on) your ad, and then converts later.

View-Through Conversion Window

A period of time that you set to allow Google Ads to count view-through conversions.

Ad Rank

This determines your ad position and whether your ads will show at all. There are 3 things that affect your Ad Rank: bids, expected clickthrough rate, and quality score.


Understanding the meaning of these metrics is just one part of running successful Google Ads campaigns. Take a look at some of our other articles about advertising, or download our free guide for more help.

Google Ads Rolls Out New Automated Location Extensions

Optimizing your Google Ads account has become much more automated thanks to automated location extensions!

If you own a Google My Business profile that is connected to the same domain as your ads, Google Ads will automatically recognize that these accounts belong to the same business and will automatically create a location extension for your ads.

There are 3 main reasons why you want to make sure you have location extensions enabled for your ads:

  1. It provides more information to the searcher, making them more likely to click on your ad
  2. It helps make your ad stand out among other ads in the search results
  3. If you have multiple locations, Google will show the location that is closest to the searcher in your ad

This new feature is set to be rolled out at the end of October 2018. With this new update, it’s much easier to make sure that your ads are following Google’s best practices!

You can learn more about how to utilize ad extensions in the legal industry here.



Use Google’s New Search Snippet Character Limit to Your Advantage

Have you noticed something different about your Google search results?

Google search of patent law

The link descriptions for search results, or snippets, are longer than they used to be!

For decades now, the bright minds on Google’s Search Team have been testing the character limits on these snippets. Recently, Google finally took the plunge and extended the maximum character limit on these snippets from 165 to 320 characters. It seems like a minor detail to base an entire blog post on, but it’s actually a very important update.

What are snippets?

Google defines search result snippets as, “a description of or an excerpt from the webpage.” This means that when you type a query into Google’s search bar, Google will automatically create the snippet by populating the most relevant content from webpages to your query. For example, if you search “first to file” on Google, the snippet for a Wikipedia article appears like this:

google search of first to file

search snippet of first to file google search

But, if you search for “first to file prior act,” the snippet for the exact same article changes.

google search for first to file prior art

search snippet for first to file prior act

In these specific examples, Google has auto-populated each of the snippets based on their queries. However, through most content management tools, you can optimize the snippet that Google displays by editing the meta-description of your page to a searcher’s query.

Why should I care about longer snippets?

While snippets are, for the most part, created by Google itself, they are the main way to convince a searcher to click on your webpage. The extension of the character limit on search result snippets means that now more of your content is being displayed by Google. The more content that appears, the more content a searcher can use to determine how relevant your page is to their search. If you have pages with meta-descriptions you have written, you can use this new character limit to your advantage to include more information about your page in the snippet for the searcher.

How should I take advantage of this change?

There are probably hundreds of individual webpages on your website, so editing each and every meta-description to cater to this new character limit seems like an incredibly daunting task. Rather than spending several hours scouring all of your webpages to edit each meta-description, focus your time on your site’s most important pages, and the pages that receive the most search traffic. From there, you can extend each description to include more relevant information to the page. By making this small change, you can greatly impact your SEO.