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Attorney Search Engine Marketing: A Campaign Setup and Optimization Checklist

by Kevin Vermeulen • October 19th, 2022 • Search Engine Marketing | Blog

attorney search engine marketing

Attorney search engine marketing is effective at delivering quality traffic and leads right to your law firm. Through keyword targeting, Google displays your ads only to those searching for your legal services. The search behemoth has a global audience and audience data that is unrivaled. In this article, we provide you with two checklists — one for setting up new campaigns and one for optimizing existing campaigns — to help ensure your law firm Google Ads are set to deliver the maximum return on investment (ROI).

Why Attorney Search Engine Marketing is Important

Attorney Search Engine Marketing Campaign Setup Checklist


  1. Remove duplicates: Make sure that each of your keywords are unique so that you don’t end up competing with yourself.
  2. Review match types: Decide which match types you’ll be using for this campaign.
  3. Add negatives: Use negative keywords to avoid irrelevant traffic. Search for some of your firm’s keywords and skim through the results to get an idea of good negatives to add.

Individual Ads

  1. Check landing pages: Make sure all ads send visitors to the correct landing page and that the page works as intended.
  2. Check spelling: Download your ads and look at them in Excel or Word (or an equivalent editor) and ensure spelling is correct. Misspellings can have very bad effects on click-through rates (CTR).
  3. Put keywords in your copy: When your ads appear, it’s because someone is searching for one of your keywords. If those keywords appear in your ad copy, it will increase your CTR.
  4. Set page paths: A page path is the URL that shows up after your domain in the ad. They are a great place to include a keyword and give the user more information about what they will find. For example: conveys much more information than just
  5. Define your CPC bids: Make sure you don’t bid too high on cost per click. You can use Google’s keyword planner to get an idea of the range you should be aiming for.
  6. Enable extensions: Ad extensions are optional, but using them can make a big difference in CTR. The Sitelinks, Review, and Call extensions can be especially useful for law firms.

Ad Groups

  1. Put similar keywords into groups: Organizing similar keywords into groups helps you keep things organized and streamlines your targeting. Google gives several examples of creating groups to better track the effectiveness of your advertising efforts.
  2. Name groups according to keywords: Avoid naming groups with generic terms like “Group 1” or “Group B”. Reporting and organizing will be more efficient if you can tell what’s in each group by looking at the name.
  3. Restrict groups to about 20 keywords: Most advertisers will use one message for each ad group. The smaller your groups are, the more closely your keywords and messages will match up.

Ad Campaigns

  1. Set your budget: Whatever the confines of your budget are, it is worth your time to double-check your math. Things can get out of control quickly if this setting is off.
  2. Set location targeting: Especially if your firm caters to local clientele, it is essential to make sure you’ve set your ad to display only your desired geolocation.
  3. Set language targeting: Don’t assume that everyone in the U.S. is browsing in English, or any other language for that matter. Be sure to set language targeting so that users are taken to a landing page in the language they are using to browse.
  4. Set ad rotation: You can choose to set your own rotation preference or let Google do it based on clicks and performance. Unless you’re testing something or have a specific reason to alter rotation, it’s probably best to let Google handle it.
  5. Choose your delivery method: “Standard” will pace your daily budget to spend more or less evenly all throughout the day. “Accelerated” will give your campaign a rapid boost and run through your budget much faster.
  6. Set “Search Network Only”: Google will set your campaigns to search with a display by default. Display ads are placed on other websites, whereas search ads only appear on Google’s own search engine results pages. Including display ads can cost you a lot more money and hinder performance unless you’re creating ads specifically for the display network.
  7. Set ad scheduling: Depending on what you’re advertising, you might want to schedule ads so they only show while your office is open and someone can be reached on the phone or live chat, etc. Spending the money to capture a lead when you’re not available for them is counterproductive.
  8. Exclude your IP address(es): You should exclude the IP address or addresses of Internet connections that originate from within your offices to avoid skewing your tracking results. If you need to check to see where or how your ads are showing up, use Google’s ad preview tool.
  9. Set Target Devices: It’s not always applicable, but don’t forget to set your target devices if you’re running a campaign specifically designed for mobile/ desktop/ or tablet only.
  10. Set Up conversion tracking: Without conversion tracking, it’s practically impossible to monitor your ads and analyze the success of attorney search engine marketing. 

Attorney Search Engine Marketing Optimization Checklistattorney search engine marketing


  1. Prune underperforming keywords: Run a search terms report from the Keywords tab of your account to get started. Remove or pause any keywords that aren’t performing. You can try to improve the lower-performing keywords by adding negative keywords.
  2. Check for new keywords and phrases: Again, run a search terms report and look for keywords or phrases that show quality performance but aren’t part of your campaign. Adding a few of these could improve overall CTR.
  3. Consolidate campaigns by performance: Move top-performing keywords into their own campaign. For these, focus on tweaking landing pages and ad copy for optimal performance. At the same time, silo lower-performing keywords into a campaign to determine if their performance can be improved or if they should be dropped.

Individual Ads

  1. Split testing: Even when you find an ad that does well, you should always be testing at least one other. The more split testing you do, the better you will become at creating ads that produce outstanding results for your law firm.
  2. Extensions: Take advantage of extensions to boost both your ad’s quality score and CTR. Depending on the type of ad you’re running, the right extension can make a dramatic difference in clicks.
  3. Text factors: Make sure that the headline, description, CTA, and URL are as clear and descriptive as possible. This will help guarantee the right audience is clicking on your Google Ads.

Landing Pages

  1. Review dedicated landing pages: If your CTR is meeting or exceeding your benchmarks but conversions are low, your landing pages should be reviewed to make sure they are 100% error-free and align with the text that appears in your firm’s ads.
  2. Review the call to action (CTA): Sometimes the difference between success and failure is simply telling a prospect what you want them to do. You should review and test your CTAs regularly and assure the path to conversion is clearly defined.

How to Avoid Overspending with Attorney Search Engineppc ads for law firms Marketing

  • Choose a more specific radius to target, such as a city versus an entire state.
  • Schedule ads to run only during business hours for your potential clients. 
  • Use exact, phrase, and broad match modifier keyword match types to limit irrelevant clicks on your advertising. 
  • Review your search terms regularly to see what people actually seek and click on. This can help build a negative keyword list as well. 
  • Upload negative keyword lists that contain terms like “free” or other phrases you’re not interested in being found for.


Attorney search engine marketing can be effective at producing rapid lead-generation results. Law firm marketers should never “set and forget” their Ads campaigns, however. While the extensive adaptability of the platform makes it extremely powerful, it also makes it easy to forget a step somewhere and cause problems with your firm’s campaigns. Bookmark this checklist and refer to it when launching and optimizing your Google Ads campaign.

If you’d like assistance managing your Google Ads, contact us. We can help you deliver the highest quality traffic and ensure you’re seeing a true return on your investment.

This post has been edited and republished from Oct. 20, 2019.

Google Ads for law firms


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