Law Firm Marketing: Organic SEO vs Paid SEO

SEO is an enormously underutilised area of marketing in law firms across Australia. The law firms that use it well can gain incredible results. This article will explore the differences between organic SEO and paid SEO such as Google Adwords for law firms. It is also intended to help you decide on which law firm SEO pathway is ideal for your business development needs.

To get a really thorough understanding of how SEO works, I recommend you read this article first, if you haven’t already. It is a comprehensive article that explains what SEO is and how it works.

Paid SEO

Paid SEO is also known as paid search, paid ads or paid marketing. In Australia, it is often generally referred to as Google Ads. However, Paid SEO is not a category of SEO that is exclusive to Google. Paid ad placements are available across all search engines. It is just that 94% of searches in Australia are undertaken using Google Search over other search engines like Bing and Yahoo. That explains why the term Google Ads is used colloquially in place of paid search or paid SEO.

Paid SEO is the exercise of paying for ad space so that when people type in a few words that relate to a Wills & Estate Lawyer such as, ‘wills and estates lawyer Sydney’ or ‘what do I need to include in my will to make it valid?’, your business can be easily found and appear in the first page of search results. If you are paying for those phases (otherwise known as keywords), your business will be placed in the top area of the listing for specific keywords, along with other businesses who wish to pay for placement for those keywords. When people type particular phrases or questions into Google, then your business will appear at the top of those listings with clear visibility that your placement is an Ad, as opposed to an organic search result that Google would present. So, what it does is it puts your firm in above other website listings for that particular phrase of words.

Interestingly, there are a number of search terms that people might use to find your particular law firm. There are a number of phrases that people might type in like ‘wills lawyer Brisbane,’ ‘wills and estate lawyer Brisbane,’ or ‘estate planning lawyer Brisbane.’ There is quite literally a whole range of possibilities and a whole range of queries or questions that people type into Google when they’re looking for answers or specific solutions. Both paid and organic SEO have their value, but paid is a strategy that means that potentially you can be caught in a cycle of always paying for rankings or placement as opposed to the unpaid opportunities that exist with organic SEO. And of course, people identify what is paid ads and what is organically ranked.

Organic SEO

Organic SEO is how law firms can be found online without paying for ad placements. When people are typing words into a search engine, such as Google, it generates search results. If your firm is at the top of the list and you have not paid to be there, it is an example of what organic ranking can achieve. Organic SEO is the strategy and execution of a plan to get your law firm to rank higher according to a range of phrases and questions that people type into search engines. In the law space, this is an incredibly underutilised area of marketing, and it is one that people often don’t understand fully.

In order to achieve higher organic rankings, it takes investigation, analysis and a clear strategic plan for how to get found by your ideal clients. Over time, it is a highly cost-effective marketing strategy, because unlike paid ads, it can work for you for years to come and you can rank highly without having the need to pay for ads. 

How to Decide Between Paid or Organic Law Firm SEO

Depending on where you are in your business life cycle, if you are an established firm, I would strongly recommend that you invest in an organic search strategy. As a law firm SEO service provider, we work with firms daily to assist them in managing this process so that they are found in the top three map rankings and in the top one to five rankings for a number of phrases that potential clients type into Google.

Now, this is a process that does take time. For the firms that we work with, they work with us for a minimum of 12 months. During that time, we get fantastic results because we can take them from not being found by particular phrases to being found and to being towards the top (if not the very top) of the list. 

Paid ads can be a good strategy when you are looking to have an injection of traffic to your site. A carefully constructed strategy is required though – to make sure that you get quality traffic, not just volumes of traffic that you pay for and have a low chance of converting into being a paid client.

If you do not have the time to execute a plan to increase your chances to be found organically, and you cannot do without the leads coming in, this is a good way to get in front of the market. But know that you will pay for the traffic regardless of whether your leads become a client or not. So, just like any other advertising, there can be wins and potentially losses.

Paid ads is a speciality area. We also assist legal businesses with paid marketing search. There is a strategy involved in getting a decent return on investment, over time. We manage Google Ads accounts for our clients who are not seeking organic search, but are interested in paid ads in the short term. Sometimes, it can be ideal to have a combination of using the paid marketing search alongside developing the organic search ranking. But overall, the businesses that seek the most quality traffic long-term, are those who invest in an organic search strategy.

By engaging a team like us to do an analysis of where you and your competitors sit currently in terms of search ranking, means we gain insight to develop a strategy on how we are going to get you to rank higher for a range of keywords, phrases, queries or questions that people type into online search.

What is fascinating about the law space is that organic SEO and organic search marketing is incredibly underutilised. For that reason, right now, we are getting incredible results for our clients because so few are investing in the organic search marketing approach. Those that pay for ads like it because it gives them quick wins. But in reality, what I see is that it is the market leaders who take time to learn through us and then understand the long-term benefits of organic search. It’s these firms that are investing in this process now and reaping the rewards.

That being said, each business’ goals are different. That is why we have a confidential discussion with business owners before we work together to ensure we find a match between business needs and any marketing strategy or initiative.

Interested in learning about SEO opportunities for your business? 

Book in a no-obligation, 30 minute conversation with one of our SEO project managers to discuss opportunities specific to your business and website.

Law Firm Marketing Memo

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