Creating Effective Search Pay-Per-Click Ads in Google AdWords for Law Firms and Doctors

When you’ve got cases to work on or patients to schedule, managing your pay-per-click (PPC) Google AdWords search ads is probably the last thing on your mind. The added worry of getting your money’s worth doesn’t help either.

So what do you do? Turn a blind eye to it and tackle that task later? Absolutely not, because creating successful PPC ads is probably easier than you think.

Doctors and lawyers often feel they don’t have enough time to focus on building and nurturing their PPC efforts on top of the many other things required to run their practices. This should not be the case, as well-designed ads can get you much more in revenue than the cost of creating the ads themselves. So they’re very much worth the effort!

Whether you’re a personal injury attorney or a small town podiatrist, PPC search campaigns can be a very successful part of your overall marketing plan. However, you need to make sure you properly setup these campaigns and put aside the time to complete proper keyword research, design well thought-out landing pages, and create great ads.

Types of Search Ads

Where is the first place you look on the Internet to find something you need? Chances are you started with Google. Almost 90% of Internet users consider Google their primary search engine, so logically you will want to aim most of your efforts here.

There are also other types of PPC search ads, such as Bing ads, Yahoo ads, Facebook, Twitter, and Google Display ads, though. Each of these types have their own unique rules and guidelines;  however, they still require the same careful attention needed to craft worthwhile ads.

Benefits of Search Advertising

PPC search ads have many perks. Here’s a few of the most notable:

  • You will be seen by people who are searching for your target service areas. Paid search campaigns can help your business appear first on the search results page. It instantly puts you in front of eager customers and can provide a steady flow of this traffic to your site. Through careful keyword research, you can uncover very specific keywords that people are searching for. The narrower your keywords are, the more likely you’ll be seen by users who are farther down the conversion funnel and who show stronger determination to hire a service provider.
  • You can show your ad in specific locations. Google AdWords gives you the ability to filter out traffic from locations that may not bring you valuable customers. Why would a personal injury lawyer in northern Virginia want people from Nebraska to click her ads, when they will inevitably just leave? You can filter out these wasted clicks and save some serious cash by telling Google you don’t want people outside your geographical area seeing your ads.
  • It’s well worth the money—when it’s done properly. Google AdWords shows you exactly how much you’ve spent. If you notice some of your ads have a higher cost-per-click and fewer conversions (the number of people who clicked your ad and contacted you), that could be a good indication to pause that ad, as it’s costing you a lot and not many people are actually contacting your office.
  • Campaigns are easily optimized. Google AdWords lets you test out different ads for the same landing page. Once you see which ad is performing best, stick with that one and keep testing! Keep your ad’s structure in mind as you build new campaigns, too. Adjust the language in the ad to see what resonates better. More and more people are searching on smart phones, and in AdWords you can set a higher bid for those on their mobile device. You can also optimize your ads for specific times of the day you want your ad shown, so consider when your perfect customer might be searching for your service.

Assembling an air-tight ad campaign is the best way to get you to the top of the search results. Next we will tell you what you’ll need to get started.

Search Ad Structure

A typical Google AdWords ad consists of a headline, one or two description lines, a display URL, and a destination URL. Google has strict rules for each one of these components.

If it doesn’t like what you’ve included in the ad, Google will most likely halt your efforts and ask you to change something in the ad prior to approval. Often, it will be an issue with character length. For example, the headline cannot be more than 25 characters, have words written in all caps, or consist of a lazy call to action like “Click Here!”

To help ensure the user has a pleasant experience while interacting with your ads, Google has several additional requirements related to ad format to keep in mind. First and probably most important: grammar and spelling. Carefully review and edit all ads to verify you haven’t made any grammatical errors or mistakes. These blunders can quickly discredit and undue all of your hard work.

Google also forbids the excessive use of capitalization, symbols, and repeating characters, so something like “[email protected]!!” in a description is a big no-no and is far too gimmicky. Numbers and symbols can be very useful in PPC search ads, though. Our eyes are naturally drawn to them, so including them can help entice more clicks. Just don’t go overboard. Needless and exaggerated styling will only turn users away from your ads.

How To Get Google to Notice You

Among its many complex formulas, esoteric algorithms, and mystic equations, Google has yet another mysterious tool for determining how its information is filtered—the Quality Score. The Quality Score (QS) is based on a ten-point scale. The main thing Google is looking for is whether or not your ad will be useful to someone searching for specific keywords. This score determines your ad position, or Ad Rank, in the list of results. Keep in mind there could be hundreds of thousands of results for a particular keyword, so it’s important to stick out.

The primary considerations for evaluating an ad’s QS are as follows:

  • Bid amount: The dollar amount you are willing to pay for a single click from a user. Depending on how competitive the keyword is, this can range from a few dollars to several hundred dollars.
  • Expected click-through rate: This is how likely your ad will get clicked when shown for a keyword, and is presented as a percentage. Google will take into consideration search terms, type of device, and other factors when calculating this. If it doesn’t expect many people to click your ad when searching for your keyword, it’s less likely to show it. This is beneficial because you won't receive irrelevant clicks, but undesirable because fewer people will see your ad.
  • Ad relevance: The text in the ad, usually referred to as the ad copy, needs to be related to the search term. If a user is searching for “car accident lawyer in Louisville,” you should not show them an ad riddled with keywords unrelated to car accidents and the laws in Louisville. Google is very good a recognizing this, so be diligent. Remember, with the character limits on each portion of an ad, you are forced to get creative with how you word things.
  • Landing page experience: Are users immediately leaving after getting to your site? Bounce rate is a huge indicator of how effective a landing page is. Google wants users to find value in your content. Ensure users are taken to a well-designed landing page where there can quickly take some sort of action. In fact, the ad should be designed based on the landing page, so users are greeted with the information they were hoping to find.

Things To Keep In Mind

The key thing to take away from here is that higher quality ads result in lower costs and better visibility, so don’t put off your PPC efforts. First-time ad creators go wrong when they sometimes think of marketing as a finite process. In fact, once you create your ads, you can’t just sit back and relax. The best ads are constantly improved.

It’s best to organize your PPC campaigns to reflect the content on your site. With AdWords, you can set up multiple campaigns. For example, if an attorney has landing pages related to personal injury, auto accidents, and medical malpractice, she may want to create three campaigns—one for each of these practice areas—with separate sets of related keywords feeding into each campaign.

Also, do your homework. Keyword research and analysis helps you understand what your customers are searching for. Don’t choose keywords that are too broad or generic, as these will likely attract more unqualified leads. You want to rank for words and phrases that pertain to your business. Google AdWords has what is called the Keyword Planner. It’s a tool used to help search for keywords and generate ideas for building your ad group ideas. You can search for keyword and AdGroup ideas based on terms that are relevant to your location or service, your landing page, and different service categories. Remember, specificity attracts users with higher intent.

But wait, there’s more! Google AdWords also has a handy feature that dynamically changes the text within your ad to include a keyword that matches exactly what was in the user’s search terms, making your ad appear even more relevant. This can be helpful to firms with several practices areas. For example, you could use keyword insertion in your ad headline as follows:

Headline: {KeyWord: auto accident law firm}

Google will replace this code with one of the keywords you specify in your ad groups. So a user searching for car accident lawyer, car crash attorney, or truck accident lawsuit will see that particular keyword. If Google can’t replace the code in the headline, it will default to “auto accident law firm.”

Keyword insertion is one of the more advanced capabilities of AdWords, and not as simple to get up and running, so expect to spend a little more time on this if you use it.

We Can Help

At Foster Web Marketing, we constantly remind our clients that there is no rigid formula for appearing at the top of Google’s search results and that no matter what you read or hear, there’s no way to pay your way to the top without doing the research and adjustments we stated above. Need help starting your first medical or legal PPC campaign? Give us a call at 888-886-0939 to get started.

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