When it comes to digital marketing, it can be difficult to know where to focus your resources and attention. When it comes to channels like SEO (search engine optimization), PPC (pay-per-click advertising), and other mediums, we are often asked “which one should I choose to market my law firm?” But the truth is digital channels work congruently, and your best chance of success is in integrating the various channels across one cohesive strategy.
SEO and PPC for law firms both have the same goal: to get your website to the top of search engine rankings and to drive people to your website. They just use different tactics to achieve these goals.
With SEO, law firm marketers create content that users will find helpful and valuable. Google’s crawlers index that content, which means hopefully the website will pop up in search results. Content creation is free and unless you outsource the writing, there is no cost associated with SEO tactics.
Using PPC, advertisers pay a little extra to take a “shortcut”. By creating ad campaigns and bidding on keywords, advertisers create PPC ads that pop up when searchers’ inquiries focus on those keywords.
The main things SEO and PPC have in common are:
- They rely on keywords (and often the same keywords)
- They are designed to address searcher’s intent
- They’re both subject to Google’s updates, such as algorithm changes
- They both require knowledge of your target audience and a message that will resonate
On the other hand, they have some distinct differences, such as:
- Some users don’t trust paid ads, and will not click on one no matter what – even if the organic result takes them to the same page.
- Most users won’t be ready to click on an ad unless they’re past the research stage of their decision-making process.
- PPC is paid and SEO is free (except for time and labor) – in competitive markets, keyword bids can get expensive.
- PPC can bring you leads immediately, whereas SEO can take up to 6 months or longer to see results.
- PPC runs only as long as your campaign, whereas SEO efforts are present as long as pages appear in SERPs.
- SEO is considered an essential component to a digital strategy, and PPC is beneficial but not always necessary.
When it comes to SEO and PPC, it’s best to think of one as slow and steady, and the other as “fast and furious”. It makes sense to focus on SEO if you are looking for constant, steady traffic and attempting to build brand awareness. PPC is more helpful for law firms that are seeking immediate leads, and also for those whose client lifetime values outweigh the investment of PPC.
Better together for law firms: SEO and PPC
For law firms, it makes sense to leverage both tactics. Service-based industries such as law tend to have low lead volumes but huge profits per client. When one new client can result in five or six figures of revenue, it makes sense to spend a little to reel them in!
Because both content marketing and paid advertising drive traffic from the same search terms, the keywords that work well on one side can provide insight into those that will work on the other. Any firm that’s serious about digital marketing should be using analytics to get the most value out of both SEO and PPC. Some of the other benefits of combining the two tactics include:
- Obtain more real estate on the front page of SERPs
- Identify well-performing ad copy and then using it to create content
- Increase overall brand exposure
- Generate more leads
- Using keyword research and metrics from individual campaigns to optimize your overall search engine marketing strategy
Information is your most powerful tool when it comes to digital marketing. The impact of PPC and SEO working together can provide more analytics and insight than using one channel alone. That’s the main advantage of a combination of SEO and PPC, but you can also see a boost in brand awareness, website traffic and leads.