The Real Cost for Law Firms to Advertise on Google

9–11 minutes to read

Some of the trendiest buzz words in modern legal marketing revolve mostly around advertising on Google. Think: PPC, SEO, SEM, SERP (and countless others). Where do you even begin? And at what cost?

If you’re ready to catch up on these terms and learn about what “everyone” is talking about in digital marketing, buckle up. It’s probably not what you expect.

How to Advertise on Google

When beginning your law firm’s journey to advertise on Google, you’ll start with Google Ads. The basic idea behind this service is Pay Per Click (or PPC) advertising. This means that you only pay for the ad when someone clicks on it.

This can make Google Ads a budget-friendly option; however, when it comes to the Cost Per Click (CPC), that’s when things get pricey — particularly in the legal field.

The process to advertise on Google consists of several steps, and it might not be as straightforward as you think. We’re here to provide you with the information you need to confidently make a decision about Google Ads for your law firm — and to be an advocate for what is truly in your best interest.

Keywords for Google Ads

To begin your Google Ads, you will need to select keywords that are relevant to your law firm. A keyword, or keyphrase, is a word or set of words that someone types into Google to find what they’re looking for.

For example, if you just bought a new house and are looking for movers, you might search “moving companies near me” to scour your options on Google. For a local moving company, that kind of sentence would be an ideal keyphrase to use for their Google Ads.

Similarly, if you own a personal injury practice, you might choose “personal injury lawyer” as your keyphrase. Unfortunately, though, it’s not just that easy. Unless you want to shell out hundreds of dollars every time someone clicks on your ad, this might not be the best option for your law firm.

Take a look at this example. If you’re set on using “personal injury lawyer” as your keyphrase, you’ll have a lot of expensive competition.

(Image Source: Ubersuggest)

The REAL Cost of Advertising on Google

Let’s take a look at what you’re really getting yourself into with these keywords.

  • Search Volume = the number of times that keyphrase has been searched over the course of a month.
  • SEO Difficulty = the level of estimated competition using this keyphrase in organic search results.
  • Paid Difficulty = the level of estimated competition among paid search results.
  • CPC = average cost per click, or the price you pay each time someone clicks on your Google Ad.

(Image Source: Ubersuggest)

As you can see with this example, you could be paying over $130 every time someone clicks your ad with this keyphrase.

Sometimes, narrowing your keyword or phrase down to something more specific to your firm can help — but not always. If you’re a personal injury lawyer specializing in car accidents, you’re in for a treat. The price of getting more specific in this case actually goes up.

(Image Source: Ubersuggest)

In fact, according to Google AdWords, 78 of the top 100 most expensive pay-per-click terms are legal—as high as $935 per click.

(Image Source: Search Engine Watch)

With these price points in perspective, assume that roughly 3% of all consumers are in the market for a lawyer right now. When using Google Ads for your law firm, you are only targeting the 3% of consumers who are ready to hire a lawyer for their legal needs today.

That leaves you with an audience that is only a very small sliver of the market, which makes it painfully expensive to compete with every other lawyer who is looking to get the attention from that same 3% of people. That’s why the price is so high.

Now, if you’re the owner of a very large firm and you have money to burn, maybe this doesn’t seem like a problem to you. If that’s the case, then carry on with your PPC strategy, because it can be very effective for you to advertise on Google if you can afford it.

However, if you are a law firm owner looking to keep your marketing budget under control, we’re just going to say it: don’t advertise on Google. It’s in your best interest to consider the other options.

If you’re not convinced, think of it this way;

Problem: when consumers search for lawyers on Google, it is very competitive and expensive to get your firm’s name at the top of the search results.

Solution: give your ideal clients a reason to search your firm’s name, instead of letting Google Ads decide your luck.

Before you hit the back button because this isn’t the article you thought it would be, let us show you how spending your money on Google Ads is hampering your success.

97% of consumers have no need for a lawyer right now. They don’t have a legal problem, so they’re not even thinking about it. But 97% is a huge portion of the market — almost all of it, in fact.

Even if you were a huge law firm spending tons of money on PPC, and you managed to get all of the 3% of consumers in the market for a lawyer right now to hire you… that’s still only 3% market share. If you’re following where we’re going with this, maybe you’re already figured out that you need to scrap the 3% idea, and start marketing to the 97%.

You have to gain brand loyalty from the 97% before they need a lawyer — that way, when the time comes that they do need a lawyer, they’re not Googling “personal injury lawyer near me.” They’re skipping that step, and typing your firm’s name directly into the search bar, because they already know they’re going to hire you.

Make sense? Great. Let’s make it happen.

A Tactical Legal Marketing Approach

As a law firm owner, you’ll need to begin by dialing in on what’s going to be most effective for your own, unique marketing strategy.

No matter what, a multi-channel marketing strategy is going to be essential. Multi-channel marketing combines a whole host of platforms and distribution methods into your overall marketing strategy. Optimizing your firm’s approach across a variety of platforms has proven to be the most profitable and sustainable method of marketing.

Without a multi-channel approach, putting all your efforts into one basket could be catastrophic — a single algorithm change could alter your entire strategy, or a crucial platform could become obsolete.

Want more information on multi-channel marketing? Download our FREE Multi-Channel Marketing Guide for Attorneys below! This resource covers the basics of leveraging multiple channels to connect with prospective clients and provides actionable strategies for launching and optimizing ads on a number of major social channels.



While consumers used to make decisions using the path above, the modern consumer’s journey looks very different. It’s not as linear, which is what makes the multi-channel approach so crucial to your firm’s marketing success.

A less diversified approach just means your law firm is missing out on numerous potential clients who are not using your preferred method of communication. The solution to this problem is simple, but requires effort.

You’ll need a targeted method to identify your ideal clients, choose the specific channels that will be most effective for your firm to reach them, and create consistent, high-quality content to grab their attention — and continuously nurture them with your messaging wherever they go online.

When choosing effective channels for your firm, take into consideration what will be most impactful to the right target audience, and how much it will cost you. This chart explains roughly how much it costs to reach 1,000 consumers on several different platforms.

[SOURCE: Exchange Wire]

Similarly, the next chart shows how many people you can reach on each medium for $1,000.

Selecting the right media mix for your firm is a unique decision for every law firm owner to make, but social media is clearly the most impactful option. By reaching the most people for the lowest cost, there is no question that every single firm should be taking advantage of social media marketing.

To get a step-by-step overview of setting up and optimizing your law firm’s profiles on each of the major social media platforms, as well as best practices for posting, updating your profiles, and strategies to get more out of each channel, check out our exclusive Social Media Cheat Sheet for Law Firms. Download it for free below!


Now, what’s the point of all this? Multi-channel marketing, social media, brand loyalty — wasn’t this supposed to be an article about advertising on Google?

If you haven’t noticed yet, this is really all about why you should not advertise exclusively on Google.

Rather than spending your entire marketing budget on Google ads that don’t work, it is much more effective to build brand loyalty among the large portion of consumers that are not in the market for a lawyer right now. This happens by becoming the best known law firm in your market.

That way, when any of those consumers finally do have a legal need, they’ll already know who to call.

Becoming the Best Known Attorney in Your Market

Just being the best in your market doesn’t matter — you have to be the best known in your market.

The best cases should go to the best lawyers. But unfortunately, they don’t. The best cases go to the best marketers. So, if you’re the best lawyer in your field, it is your duty to become the best marketer in your field as well.

If you’re not marketing your firm the right way, you’re doing the people who need your help most a disservice.

Like we’ve discussed, the solution to your legal marketing problem is creating brand loyalty among consumers before they have the need for a lawyer. This means staying top of mind, which can only be done if you are well-known — and that is only achieved when you are relentless in your marketing.

We’re here to help you become and remain the best known law firm in your market. Take the following keys to being the best known, and implement them into your firm’s marketing strategy.

1. Produce engaging content.

The best marketing is storytelling. Create high-quality content that provides value to your ideal clients in the form of engaging information, and they will begin to recognize you as an authority in your practice.

2. Ensure it gets in front of your ideal clients.

Your clients are unique to your niche. Find out where they spend most of their time. This could be scrolling through Facebook, or it could be on specific TV channels. Incorporate the appropriate platforms into your multi-channel strategy.

3. Leverage wholesale traffic.

Think of social media advertising like a “wholesale” deal. You’re reaching more people for less money, with targeting methods that are far more powerful than many other methods. Reaching more people online for less money makes it easier to dominate your market.

4. Assume no one heard your message.

Be relentless and diverse with your approach. Yes, this means that you need to send emails, even when you’re afraid they’ll annoy people. Because if you stop sending emails, that doesn’t mean your competitor did. Stay top of mind by being relentless on every channel you utilize.

Building a content strategy for your firm to use across different platforms can be time-consuming, so we’ve laid it out for you with our in-depth guide. Get the only tool you’ll ever need for legal content marketing for FREE! The ULTIMATE Content Planner tool for Law Firms is ONLY available here.


Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, people cannot hire you if they do not know you. Becoming well-known by advertising on Google is nearly impossible, because you’re competing for just 3% of the market with other firms who are spending an exorbitant amount of money to be at the top of Google’s search results.

This doesn’t mean cutting out SEO or PPC from your strategy entirely — you can still use Google Ads by narrowing your strategy to very specific and less expensive keywords that still boost your results on the search engine’s landing page.

The solution, instead, is to avoid spending your entire marketing budget by advertising solely on Google. Change your mindset and take advantage of a multi-channel marketing approach that focuses on social media as the most effective platform.

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