Thursday, April 28, 2011

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Continues To Provide Poor ROI For Law Firms

There was a recent study released from User Centric about the overall viewing metrics for people on the search engines. As many continue to rely on our outdated Google Heat Map analysis to determine where a users' eyes go on the search results screen, the data often overlooks where we look for the longest period of time and at what frequency.

Why is this important? There are a number of reasons including:

Running Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Campaigns

If you are running PPC campaigns for your law firm, you are likely paying a very high price to do so without fully understanding the results. Most law firms still can't answer the question as to the effectiveness of a PPC campaign and here is what this analysis shows:
  • The greatest amount of eyes and visibility fall on the top 3 PPC listings
  • Due to the recent changes in the Google SERP displays, the right-side bar has been further marginalized in its effectiveness
  • The top three listings get 5 times the amount of eye time as the right-side bar listings and since the right-side bar typically has more listings to review, your chances of a click drop off immensely
Organic SEO vs PPC Spending - Which Is More Cost Effective?

The debate continues amongst some in the legal community as to where their marketing dollars are better spent. In 2010, 42% of the highest paid PPC terms were for attorneys. Historically, companies would spend 8-9x on paid search over organic yet as we recently learned (once again), Jupiter Research has shown us that 87% of all clicks generated on a results page in Google go to organic and NOT PPC listings. Based on this analysis, I was able to determine that spending on PPC advertising is only 15% as effective as organic SEO spending.

Organic Listings Clearly Get More Eye Time & Visibility

Of all the eye time provided to organic and paid (PPC) listings, 93% (or 14.7 seconds) go to the organic listings. Since a typical Google results screen will have 10 results and even multiple variations of display, here is what you can do to improve your organic listing performance:
  • Make sure your META Description Tags are both highly effective and include a "compelling message" to attract viewers to your website. META descriptions DO NOT effect the search rankings of your website so 100% of their function should be based on reader conversion. You have only a second or two to grab the searcher's attention so make sure your first sentence is your most powerful one.
  • If the search results include a blended Google Places display, make sure that your places listing is fully optimized and most importantly, contains an effective, eye-catching, compelling and differentiating thumbnail image. If everybody has a mugshot of an attorney, differentiate yourself by using strong colors, awards, credentials, etc. Again, the name of the game is to competitively grab the users eyes and compel them to click to your website links.
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