If you follow my blog you may know that I work with organic SEO via content development for personal injury attorneys. I have multiple clients in different areas California. I love the niche as it is super competitive and my clients are always thrilled when they hit a home run.
Recently, one of the law firms wanted to run an Adwords campaign. I always make clear that I am not a certified Adwords consultant. I do however successfully manage many campaigns and personally spent over $100,000 of my own money on PPC back when I owned my IT company that I sold a few years ago. Personal Injury pay per click advertising is expensive. We started off with a $10,000/mo budget to see how it would go. But when I got into adwords I saw problems. Lots of problems.
- All broad match key phrases. Someone at the firm had run the previous Adwords campaign. Now attorneys are very smart people, or at least all stars in the courtroom. And Adwords looks easy enough to use, right? Well, it can cost you. A lot. In this case they had used broad match key phrases for all sorts of terms. No exact match, no broad match modifiers. This may sound great to an adwords newbie but upon checking out their historic search terms they had been paying $50 for people to click on their ad when they were searching for things like “attorney general” or “district attorney” or about 3,000 other terms that you would not want to spend a penny on. Needless to say the last several times they threw $10,000 at an ad campaign it went right down the drain. Yikes.
- There were no negative keywords set. These are keywords you can specify so that if someone types them in your ad will not display. Example: “Attorney general” should not be used to trigger a personal injury law firm’s ad.
- As I got a few days into the campaign ads would stop displaying. Grr. Why is this? The competition was running an extremely aggressive campaign and upping their bid every time we did. To make matters worse it appeared that there were 2 or 3 firms fighting to top of front page ad placement.
Adwords VS Organic
People that have not ranked organically have no idea what they’re missing. To give you a brief overview, this is the average day for a personal injury law firm in CA that ranks very well organically:
- Visits per day: 120 new users
- Dwell Time: 95 seconds
- Visits per day: 4
- Dwell time: 9 seconds
- Cost per click ~$75
I can’t imagine what it would take via PPC to get 120 different 95 second users a day to a CA PI law firm’s site. $300,000 / month? More? I don’t know.
Can a personal injury firm rank organically?
Well yes, absolutely, someone has to be at the top. In this particular case none of the organic winners were using PPC, and all of the firms not ranking well were being extremely aggressive with PPC. We canned our campaign. I am completely capable of running a very targeted campaign it just wasn’t cost effective. We had even used call extensions, call out extensions, mobile bid adjustments, broad match modifiers, you name it.
Organic search results are a real thing. My IT company in Raleigh currently has 4 telephone lines to field the calls that come in (we do their content development to this day). The content on their site is their ONLY form of advertisement. There is no phone book ad, no radio commercial, no PPC. Typically I discourage putting all of your eggs into one basket but if you are doing everything holistically there is very little to worry about. For most businesses, most of your eggs do need to be in your SEO basket. The biggest problem I run into in the personal injury world is black hat SEO. Some people practice this and they do get ahead and they may stay ahead 1 week or 1 year. I discourage reputable firms from going down this road though and to remain focused on long term goals… Spam powered sites come and go; I call them churn and burn sites.
This is what you got for PPC in personal injury. Ads for “money keywords” easily run anywhere from $67 – $344 per click.
Ready to rank organically?
Anyone that promises you that you will be at the top of page for “personal injury attorney” is simply ignorant. This stuff takes time, but, you can absolutely get onto the front page for money keywords and get traffic from people who are injured and looking for an attorney through the power of creative, unique, regular content. This is white hat SEO and the strategy I successfully implement for my clients. Either get crackin on your content, or better yet, visit my page on personal injury SEO or contact me here for assistance in cost effective digital marketing.