SEO vs. PPC: Where to Invest | Martindale-Avvo

Organic SEO vs. PPC: How to Decide Where to Invest Your Time First

lawyer SEO

Striking a balance between the expense, maintenance, and outcomes of a law firm marketing campaign is often tricky. Most law firms find a solution in one of two marketing strategies or a careful combination of both: search engine optimization (SEO) or pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns. But how do you decide where to invest your time and efforts first? 

What is SEO? 

Search Engine Optimization or SEO is a multi-pronged method that enhances your website’s visibility making it rank and gain organic traffic from search engines. Businesses don’t pay search engines for SEO, but they can hire others to help with their digital marketing and SEO. When you use SEO best practices, you increase the chances that your target audience will find you when they use a search engine like Google to search for keywords related to your law firm’s services.    

What is PPC? 

PPC is a type of search engine marketing or SEM. The organization pays Facebook, Google, or another publisher for each click on one of its ads. Therefore, businesses only pay if and when prospective clients click on their PPC ads. By using PPC, you can attract potential clients already looking for legal services who are ready to hire.  

PPC ads are located with organic search results. Advertisers bid on specific terms or keywords applicable to their desired audience. While marketing with PPC ads can provide fast results and allows you to home in on your target audience, it has several downsides.  

The Downsides of PPC 

“Pay Per Click,” PPC is ideal for organizations that want quick results, have a novel product, or are promoting something time sensitive. Of course, law firms want quick results like everyone else, but they don’t typically have a novel service or product and aren’t running any holiday sales, so the language used in the ad needs to be strategic.

PPC ads only work as far as your budget allows them to. Once you run out of money, your traffic stops. It can also increase the price when you are in a highly competitive industry, and everyone wants to use PPC. To make PPC even less attractive, it often lowers profit margins. PPC can also have unpredictable results; even when they are positive, they can be short-lived. 

When using PPC, you have little control, as ad platforms set their own rules. It’s common for ads to have similar language to their competitors, increasing the chances that the audience will pass over it quickly.  

When SEO is Better 

Using organic SEO might be a better long-term answer when you have the time and resources to invest in your law firm’s website content. In addition, SEO can help your online content rank higher in search results, making prospective clients more likely to click on and trust what you publish.  

SEO strategies are typically better for local searches, and their benefits last longer, frequently making them the first choice over PPC. 

SEO may be the ideal solution for your law firm if: 

  • You have a slim marketing budget. 
  • It’s your goal to create a website that reaches prospective clients at each stage of the sales funnel. 
  • You desire to increase your brand authority. 
  • You want to increase your long-term ROI. 
  • You are targeting a local audience. 

Sometimes there needs to be an apparent answer as to which strategy to invest in. However, your business situation should dictate whether you choose PPC first or work on your SEO. Reviewing the pros and cons of PPC and SEO against your short- and long-term goals can help paint a clearer picture of what marketing tools you should rely on to balance all the crucial arms of your marketing strategy.

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