Law Firm Pay-Per-Click Advertising
When it comes to law firm pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, Google AdWords is king. The potential reach of Google’s advertising network is unmatched, and with so many targeting and display options, it’s possible to market your law firm to everyone from the people in your local neighborhood to people on the other side of the world.
If your law firm has decided to make AdWords a part of its marketing strategy, it’s not enough to just write up and place an ad. To get the most out of AdWords, you need to understand how the ad auction and placement system works. No matter how good your ad is, it isn’t worth much if nobody sees it.
The Difference Between Ad Position and Ad Rank
To understand how Google determines when and where an AdWords ad is displayed, you first need to understand the concepts of ad position and Ad Rank, and the difference between them.
Ad position is the physical position on a page where an ad is displayed. For example, if you’re ad shows up at the very top of search results, it would be in ad position 1. If two ads show above your firm’s ad, it would be in ad position 3.
Ad Rank is a score that Google uses to determine the final ad position when your bid wins an auction and your ad gets displayed. The score is based on several different factors, and works in a somewhat similar way as the algorithms that determine the positions of links in search result pages. Advertisements that have a higher Ad Rank are more likely to be shown in higher ad positions when being shown on pages that display multiple ads.
Ad Rank Factors
There are three main factors that go into Ad Rank calculations:
Expected Click through Rate (CTR) – The expected CTR is based on historical impressions and clicks for a particular ad. The more clicks your ad receives, the higher the expected CTR will be.
Search Relevance – This factor looks at how relevant the text in your ad is compared to what the user is searching for. Similar to organic search results, more relevant ads will receive a higher score.
Landing Page Quality – This one comes as a surprise to many people, but the quality of the landing page(s) you use with your ads is also measured and factored into the result. Factors such as relevance to the search, transparency and ease of navigation are all considered when it comes to law firm pay-per-click advertising.
Higher Quality Means Higher Ad Position
Again, similar to how organic search results work, higher quality ads will generally be shown in higher ad positions. Overall, the amount of your bid plus your Ad Rank score are combined to determine the final ad position at the time of display.
If your law firm is using Google Adwords (or plans to in the future), it’s important to monitor your ads’ average position and adjust when needed to improve the performance. It is possible that an ad will stop showing completely if the Ad Rank falls too far.
By keeping the factors above in mind as you design ads and landing pages, you should be able to achieve and maintain good ad positions. CTR can be improved by adjusting ad text to be more enticing. By making sure your ads contain words relevant to the search terms your firm is targeting, you’ll improve search relevance. Landing page quality, being somewhat self-explanatory, can be improved by keeping pages relevant to targeted search terms, using straightforward language that shows transparency, and making text as enticing as possible to keep users from going back to search results (a low bounce rate).