According to Avvo the first thing people do when they wish to hire an attorney is ask their friends for referrals. If that doesn’t work out, their next place of call is unsurprisingly internet search engines.

As Google is the most popular search engine, it is clearly a huge area of opportunity for any lawyer seeking more clients.

So when a person goes to Google searching for an attorney to hire, what determines the results Google shows? How can you get the person searching to visit your website and then turn them into a paying client?

First of all, when you see a page of Google search results, half of what you see are paid ads and the other half are what Google’s search algorithms have decided to show you organically. Naturally to increase the money they make, Google displays the ads first as you can see in the below image. The ads are the ones in the red boomerang.

For some search terms the ads can receive 50% or more of all clicks on the page, so even if your site is showing organically, the ads can be a great way to get extra visitors to your site.

In order to get an ad for your website to show, you need to bid on search terms in Google’s Adwords program. Once you do this, the position your ad shows in depends on the maximum price you are willing to pay per click, combined with Google’s quality score they assign you for the keyword, combined with your use of ad extensions.

Basically it’s a combination of how much you are willing to pay mixed with how good you are at running an Adwords account.

Many lawyers make the mistake of trying to run the adwords account themselves. The problem is Google make setting up an account really easy, so easy in fact people think “This is easy, I don’t need to hire someone to do this.”

Often, when entering their keywords, they will put them in like this:

New York Lawyer

New York Attorney

Really they should be entering them like this:

“New York Lawyer” [New York Lawyer]

“New York Attorney” [New York Attorney]

Without the grammatical syntax around the search terms, Google will show your ads against very broad searches. It’s likely a huge amount of the searches your ad shows against will have nothing to do with people searching for a New York Lawyer.

And so $$$$ later with little to show for it, lawyers who try and run Adwords themselves either write it off as a scam, teach themselves Adwords (which is doable, but expensive if you’re doing it on your own dime), or decide they need to bring in a professional.