Figure 52. Law-related search volume by day of week.
Figure 53 shows Google search activity during a typical Monday. This graph shows that the majority of law-related searches takes place between the hours of 9 AM and 4 PM with the heaviest search volume occurring between 9 AM and noon.
While you have little control over when your website is visible in Google’s index, you have complete control over when your ads show during the days of the week and time of day. Google advertising will be covered in more detail later in this chapter.
Figure 53. Law-related search volume by hour of day.
In Figures 52 and 53, we saw that most law-related search activity occurs on Mondays and Tuesdays during work hours. When advertising in Google with a limited budget, it is recommended that you set your ads to run during these days and hours of the week. For example, depending on your market, if you allocate $500 per month to Google advertising, you can place your ads very high on the page during business hours on Mondays. In more rural California communities, $500 per month may also allow you to run your ads during business hours on some Tuesdays as well. If your law practice is located in Los Angeles and your law practice is particularly competitive, like personal injury or criminal defense, then $500 will likely not get you more visibility than a few Mondays during the month.
An important part of Google advertising is creating content to which to link your ads. Practice area pages specific to the phrase you are bidding on have come to be known as “Landing Pages.” An example of a Landing Page might be on a personal injury site a page about truck accidents. For the phrases, “trucks, accident, lawyers,” and the like, your ads would contain the words, “truck, accidents, lawyers,” and those ads would be linked to the truck accident page that you have created for this purpose. This also applies to motorcycle accidents, product liability, medical malpractice, and any other practice areas you may be interested in advertising for. If you are a family attorney, your Landing Pages may be divorce, custody, support, alimony, and the rest.
There are several reasons why Landing Pages are important. First, people are more likely to make contact with you if they are brought to a page that relates very specifically to their legal problem. They will feel like they’ve found the expert they’ve been looking for. The second reason is because Google wants you to have content that relates to the user’s search. Google looks at the pages to which your ads are linked and if your ads relate to the topic of the user’s search and if the user behaves suitably on your website, like staying on the page for a while, reading your content, and better yet, making contact with you through the content form, Google sees you as a valuable information source and is more likely to show your ads and more likely to discount your cost per click. The content of your landing pages does not have to be especially substantive in law. In fact, you don’t want them to read like Wikipedia entries on divorce law. Instead, you want your entries to be more emotive in content, wherein you make it clear to visitors to the page that you care about their legal problems, that you can help them through this difficult time, and that you have the experience to get them the results that they want. The typical formula is to begin the page with an emotional appeal to the effect that you know what they are going through. The middle part is about your unique value proposition, and the last part is a call to action: “Contact us for a free, no obligation consultation. We want to help.”
Inserting good stock photography, not a scale of justice or gavel, will give some visual interest and hopefully keep the user on the page for more than five seconds. Streaming a video to that page on the topic of, for example, divorce, and how you can help them with their divorce case, will help people grow comfortable with you before their initial contact.
There are several important concepts that need to be understood before we embark upon a more detailed description of setting up the Google account itself.
It is widely known that Google advertising is in large part an auction and a bidding war with other firms in your community that are practicing in your practice area. The more you bid, generally speaking, the higher your ad places with the search terms that you’re bidding upon (we will discuss bidding fundamentals later in the section of this chapter about the mechanics of setting up your Google account).
But there are several factors that Google takes into account, in addition to the amount of your bid, when it is deciding where to place your ads in the search results. It is important to be mindful of all these factors so that you can get your ads to place in the yellow zone as affordably as possible. If you do what Google requires of you as an advertiser, your ads can place higher on a Google search results page even if your bid is lower than some of the other firms on the results page.
Each of these several factors will serve to increase your “Quality Score,” which in turn will lower your cost per click for the search phrases that you are bidding on. Quality Score is a number between one and 10 that Google assigns to each of your search phrases when deciding where to place your ad and how much to charge you for the click. The higher your Quality Score, the lower your cost per click and the higher your ad places in the results. For example, if you are bidding three dollars per click for the phrase “child custody lawyer” and you have a high Quality Score, your cost per click for that phrase may only be $1.90. If your Quality Score for that search phrase is low, you are more likely to pay close to three dollars for that click.
At the risk of oversimplifying (because there are whole books written on this topic), Google’s Quality Score formulation is complicated and some of it is unknown to advertisers. The following factors are known to be very important in making sure that the Quality Score for all of your search phrases is as high as possible: