PPC for law firms is one of the most expensive and competitive verticals in legal marketing. So, when a competing firm buys your brand keywords, you must take action to plug leaks in your lead gen funnel.
First off, we get it; competitors keyword bidding is horrible, and, unfortunately, 100% legal. Many law firms have taken this particular case to trial, and each time, it’s a no-win situation.
Although it’s a common tactic in PPC, since search engines prefer relevant content, over time bidding on competitor keywords can lead to a reduced quality score for the offender. Either way, the search engines make their money. Again, no winner here except “The House.”
So, Google will not fix this, there’s little legal recourse, but there are a few things you can do to fight back.
Besides hiring a digital advertising partner that you can trust, here are four actions you can take right now to address competitor keyword bidding.
Own Your Law Firm’s Brand
While it doesn’t seem logical to bid on your own branded keywords, this is a good strategy if you want to gain back some lost clicks. Once you bid on your own keywords, you will also drive up the cost of clicks for your competitors.
It’s also important to make sure your ad copy is distinct, and all extensions and site links are completely filled out, to ensure your ad stands out.
Chances are, if a potential client typed your law firm’s name in the search, they’ll be more likely to see your ad first anyway.
Search Page Location
The more advanced PPC specialists will know about the target search page location bid strategy. It’s possible to secure the top ad position through Google Ads, and utilize Bid Automation to adjust bids to be as high as the estimated top of page bid.
Once again, this is an advertising tactic that needs to be tested properly and measured for efficacy. It is possible to set bids automatically or manually, but both ways can lead to high CPCs, so be sure to monitor budgets and lead activity for the entire length of the campaign.
Target Outranking Share
Another “under-the-hood” tip for PPC strategists, you can target and set bid limits to outrank a competitor’s domain name, at a set percentage of auctions. You can enter the competitor’s domain, how often you want to outrank it, and GoogleAds will automatically set your bids to meet that target.
Bid on Competitor Keywords Yourself
Before you take this option, research the amount of traffic the competing law firm is generating based on the branded terms they use. You want to make sure you’re zeroing in on keywords you can easily win.
Over time, Relevancy Scores will become a limiting factor to conversions, so this is not a long-term strategy. Google serves ads that match up on a broad list of factors, not just keywords, but also content on the sites themselves. After a while, Google will catch on and there is a chance you could harm your own standing in the search engine’s eyes.
Digital advertising for law firms is competitive and tough, and branded keyword bidding makes it even more difficult. It can feel like setting money on fire, and if you don’t pay attention to your PPC campaigns, that’s exactly what will happen.
It’s better to view PPC as exactly what it is, an almost guaranteed way to pay for lead activity. But it’s only with an advanced digital marketing agency, able to employ tactics like the ones mentioned above, that law firms will be able to see how strategy can lead to ROI, and all that activity on the web, can lead to consistent business.
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