Search Engine Optimization (SEO) vs Pay-Per-Click (PPC)
So you have a law firm and it is performing okay but maybe you want more clients or you want to expand and help others. If this is the case, marketing is something you’re going to need to invest in and with the way traditional methods are going it may be more beneficial to invest your money into the online market where everything is trackable and a lot cheaper. In a lot of cases, online marketing is more effective, especially for client-based businesses such as law firms. Something you may want to consider is Google and search engine marketing as this gives you access to a stream of traffic that is developed by the internet giant. There are two ways you can market on Google – PPC or SEO. Of course, you can do both but which is better? This article will compare the two side by side so you can make the right marketing choice if search engine marketing is an area of interest for you and your firm.
What is PPC?
Firstly, we will start with PPC which stands for pay-per-click. It is essentially what is says it is – you pay for the advertisement every time someone clicks on the advert in Google. They are a great to get visibility for you law firm at the top of Google and there are a number of benefits and limitations to using this method of search engine advertisement. For a slight reference, the Google PPC ads are the little green search results that appear at the top of a search result. If you have a keen eye you can see the little “ad” logo under the result. This indicates that the website is paying to be there so just bear in mind that searchers can see you are paying for their attention.
One of the first benefits that PPC provides is that it allows you to climb and rank in the search results without any of the hassles that come with SEO. You simply select your keywords and pay for the advert and your ad well begin to get you clicks as they are placed on the first page of Google which gets over 90% of the clicks when compared to any other web page. If you pick the right keywords and bid an adequate amount you can shove your law competition out the way and get instant exposure at the top of the search results pages.
Another benefit of PPC is that Google will give you the metrics of how well each keyword is performing. A while ago you used to be able to see the results of each keyword and how they affected your website traffic through Google analytics. Unfortunately, Google picked up that SEO abusers were using this tactic to refine the keyword research and game the system, so it was removed. With PPC ads, you can see how each keyword is performing and which one is directing the most traffic. This is fantastic for tracking and optimization purposes and it allows you to double down on the results that are working.
One of the other benefits of PPC campaigns is that they can act as a gateway for SEO techniques and allow you to test the water before you plunge in with some web property investments and content development. You can quickly test out some keywords and see how they perform, testing whether they are something you want to rank for. If you receive some decent clicks for a low competition keyword then you can shut off the ads and go all in with some quality SEO methods.
One of the key limitations is that PPC adverts can rack up a hefty bill if you are careless with your budget. You will have to bid on keywords and compete against other businesses for the web traffic. Unfortunately, the law niche is very competitive when it comes to online marketing and you may need to bid as high as $100 for some big keywords if you want to see instant effects. Of course, for a law firm that shouldn’t be an issue and you will still make an ROI if you spend $100 to acquire a lead. Just monitor your budget and spend wisely.
One limitation that has briefly been mentioned is the idea that people can see your search result is an ad and that you are paying to be at the top of Google. People tend to trust Google and what it provides in the natural search results and this can lead to them sliding over your ad and clicking on the natural results. Some people just don’t like ads in general and feel like they’re being used so they’ll skip them anyway. You need to analyze the other pages on the results before you go ahead with a PPC campaign and see what sort of click-through rate they’re getting.
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization is a classic and well-used way to naturally get high results in Google’s search engines. It is a little more time consuming than PPC but the results can pay off if you know what you’re doing. For a law firm, it can yield some fantastic results and it may be a better way if your keywords are very competitive in reference to paid advertising. SEO uses a lot of different techniques and there is a little bit of disagreement over what works and what doesn’t in the world of SEO. Sometimes, it is better to use the standard techniques and modify them slightly with a personal touch. Here are a few benefits to SEO and a few limitations.
One of the biggest benefits of SEO is that is permanent and cannot be switched off like an advert. Once you have done all the technical work like on-page and off-page optimization you will get ranked and will stay ranked until you get a competitor trying to knock you off your position one podium. SEO is more of an investment than an advert because it requires a little patience but once you have the spot you want the profits will begin to roll in.
People love organic results. There are not a lot of people who enjoy seeing and acting on adverts as it can make them feel like a means to an end for a lot of businesses. This is true with Google who (arguably) does not hide their adverts very well. Well, not as well as some other platforms like Facebook which makes the “sponsored” logo very small. On Google, the ads are green and noticeable and this leads to people trusting Google and using their organic search results as a guide. If you get a top organic search result your click-through rate will be much higher than the ads above you.
SEO is also a slight bragging point for a lot of businesses and many internet marketing firms will brag about their Google placement so get more clients and build trust as a legitimate source of information. If your law firm is getting that top spot you can place it on your website which will build trust with your visitors making them feel more comfortable with communication. Google is a trusted company and if you can show people that the company trusts your services enough to get you ranking then the sales will roll in.
SEO is an investment but it can take a lot of time to get your law website ranking on Google. It can take months for your site to climb the ranks especially if your keyword is crazy competitive. You will need to do a lot of things like on-page optimizations and content development as well as off-page optimization which is something that can take a long time. If you do not know the proper methods and techniques to performing SEO everything will be a waste of time and you may be doing more harm than good to your site.
Google does not like SEO and it sees it as a way to game their ranking system to give their users faked results. SEO is a way to climb the rankings but it is not exactly “natural” search results because you have forcefully obtained that spot through backlinking and other strategies. It is even more frowned upon when experts use black hat techniques to get higher results and Google hates this even more. If you are going to perform SEO do it safely and use techniques that do not get you caught.
So what’s better? PPC or SEO. It is difficult to say because they are similar in the sense that they both get you the same result – a top spot on Google. PPC is a lot quicker, safer and can get you a lot of traffic but you pay a hefty price for each click. PPC is also good if you need new cases immediately. SEO is longer and has a learning curve but can get you better results as it’s more of an investment because once you rank you can stay there until someone tries to knock you down. SEO is also “free” in the sense that you don’t have to pay Google (but you will probably pay an SEO agency to do it for you). It really goes down to personal preference but personally, I would always recommend SEO because it signifies that, as a law firm, you’re in it for the long run. You will also get a lot higher return on your investment. Once you’re at the top you will have little maintenance and this allows you to focus on other things in your business like CRM and service quality.
Hiring an SEO Agency
If you don’t have the time or you’re not sure exactly what you’re doing for your SEO campaign on your law firm’s website, then it’s best to let the experts handle it. Our agency, CoFlex Marketing, works exclusively with law firms like yours across the United States to generate new cases by providing web design and SEO Internet marketing services. Our work experience has significantly impacted the success of each SEO marketing campaign resulting in satisfied and loyal clients. Let us show you what we can do to help your firm increase your caseload. Let’s start working together so we can both grow together! Fill out this quick contact form and we’ll arrange a time to talk on the phone with you.