While learning about marketing practices, you’ll often hear terms like “organic” traffic and “paid” traffic. Essentially, paid traffic are ads you pay for to generate traffic to your web site, social media pages, anywhere you choose to direct them. The most popular example of paid traffic would be a Google pay-per-click ad. In this case, you are paying Google to place an ad at the very top of the search results relevant to your business, based on keywords you select, like Chicago Criminal Lawyer. It’s free to show your ad (the number of users who see your ad are your “impressions”), but any time a user clicks it, you get charged a fee by Google. The results below the ads, are known as organic search results. This is what it looks like…
In the example above, someone has Googled “Chicago Criminal Lawyer”. It doesn’t matter if you are the biggest law firm in Chicago, and have invested thousands of dollars into SEO (search engine optimization, more on that later), you will notice that Google will always show paid ads as the first results, so long as someone has purchased ad space for those keywords. The keyword in this case is “Chicago Criminal Lawyer”, and several lawyers have purchased ads for this keyword, and are now competing for the top spot of the ad results based on their bid for this keyword. If you bid too low for a popular keyword, your ad will probably never show up on Google.
While it’s nice to skip the arduous process of slowly climbing up the Google ranks through SEO, you can see how Google ads could get expensive when many lawyers are eyeing the same keywords. Take Robert J Callahan for example, in our above image. He is currently the second ranked lawyer for Chicago Criminal Lawyer’s organic results. That means the law offices of Callahan did not pay Google to be there, they got there “organically”. While they’ve likely paid for years and years of marketing, SEO, and established themselves as reputable lawyers, they don’t pay Google when someone clicks them. This is Google’s algorithm trying to produce the most relevant, appropriate search results to their users. Organic results are often the best quality search results from Google, while the ads are what make Google rich (70% of Google’s revenue is from the ad platform Adwords).
Google has designed their ads to be somewhat subtle, and about 50% of users can’t tell the difference paid ads and organic search results, but most Google users, skip right past the ads, and select one of the first organic search results. While there is still plenty of users clicking ads (usually unaware that they are costing the advertiser money every time they click one), it’s important to have a balance in your marketing strategy that focuses on boosting your organic presence, and supplement this investment with ads. SEO is the practice of boosting your organic ranking, for long term online presence, because with ads, the moment you stop paying, your web traffic will drop off a cliff if you haven’t invested in other organic marketing strategies. A 50-50 split of organic and paid traffic is a good goal. Keep in mind, even Apple still buys ad space for keywords like “Macbook Pro”, as to not let other less relevant companies plant poor search results under their name.
Because the law space is particularly competitive with ads, it’s often not practical to compete for heavy hitter keywords like “New York City Defense Attorney”, unless your budget allows it, and the numbers work in your favor. Even then, keywords like this could cost as much as $30 per click. With an average conversion rate of 3%, meaning about 3% of people who click you ad will become a customer. In this scenario, you’re paying $1000 in hard costs for a client. What we do at Legal Web Experts, is rely on our previous experience with law practices to focus on less expensive keywords, with equally high, or higher, conversion rates. We further analyze each keyword based on their performance, and adjust the ad campaign to further reduce costs, and further boost conversion rates.
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