5 Tips for Optimizing Google Local Services Ads for Divorce Attorneys
When Google introduced Local Services Ads for divorce attorneys in March 2021 many marketers were fast to recommend this new PPC advertising option to lawyers looking to generate more calls. The problem is that few had experience using these ads for family law search terms and none had data to support their recommendations. At Cardinal Concepts, we were fast to adopt and test these ads for our CEO David Crum’s three law firms. While we quickly generated calls, the quality was low and the cost was high making us skeptical.
Google does provide the opportunity to dispute calls for a refund but that is generally only if the call is invalid, not if the quality is in question. Not only that, there is a high level of human resources required to monitor these calls as an individual needs to listen to each and every call generated to dispute when appropriate. Not all firms have the time or resources to do this which results in even more wasted spend. Our team certainly felt the burden of managing these campaigns and after months of seeing a negative return, we decided to turn them off and allocate our budget to other channels.
So what changed and why are we sharing tips to optimize your Google Local Services Ads? In 2022, we were opening a new office location and needed to generate immediate divorce and family law leads for our colleagues. While our Google Ads Launch and Earn™ paid search campaigns were in the learning phase, we wanted an extra source of calls so we reevaluated LSAs. We reviewed all the data Google makes available, which is notably sparse, and reimagined how we would run these based on our knowledge of marketing best practices and how we manage the bidding system in Google Ads for paid search and display ads. The changes we made resulted in immediate results.
Best Practices for Optimizing Your Family Law Local Services Ads
1. Use High-Quality Images
Your photo will be your first impression. Unlike paid search ads, you don’t have the ability to communicate your firm’s unique selling points with Google Local Services Ads (LSAs). This makes the quality of your headshot that much more important, and no you don’t have to look like George Clooney or Nicole Kidman to get noticed.
Google does have requirements that you must follow though; you can only show your upper torso/shoulders and up, face must be centered, looking at the camera, have a neutral background, colored image, and a minimum 640 x 640 px resolution with a file size under 10 MB.
2. Get Screened by Google
Being screened by Google for LSAs increases visibility and trust. When an attorney or law firm passes the screening process, they are able to display a green checkmark badge on their ads, showing potential clients that they have been verified by Google as a legitimate and trustworthy business. This can help increase confidence in your practice and set you apart from competitors who have not been screened by Google. Additionally, businesses that pass the screening process may be eligible for a higher ad ranking compared to competitors who have not been screened. This can improve the number of impressions of your LSAs, potentially leading to more calls and conversions. We consider this a necessity if running LSAs.
3. Encourage and Acquire Google Reviews
Building a strong reputation through positive reviews on your Google Business Profile (FKA Google My Business) is critical to your firm’s ability to regularly display prominently within LSAs. The more reviews you have and the higher rating you maintain, the more likely Google is to display your ad over your competitors. They use this metric to determine your relevance to prospects compared to your competitors. We generally like to see a 4.7 rating from a profile with 50 or more reviews. We know that getting people to publicly share their experience with a family law firm is not easy but our reputation management strategies have our own firms highly-rated with hundreds of reviews allowing our LSAs to beat out competitors.
4. Choose the Right Job Types
There are 16 job types to choose from within the family law service category. This is where agencies without legal expertise regularly fail their attorney clients. Many will look at their clients’ law firm’s websites and see they offer spousal support and child support as services for example and blindly click those as job types you’re willing to serve. What they fail to realize is that people searching for this service are regularly under financial hardship so if you require a retainer fee, many prospects may have a hard time coming up with the money to pay it and look for lower-cost alternatives. This results in wasted ad spend that you cannot dispute with Google.
5. Manual Bid Strategy
Google has been pushing automation within its platforms for years now. They state it is to optimize campaigns but in our experience, that is a total farce. Many of their recommendations lead to higher costs for their users and more revenue for them. All early documentation encouraged to use the automated bid strategy which is what we did and resulted in a cost per call that was much more expensive than paid search ads with call extensions. Since changing to our manual bid strategy, we decreased our cost per call 38% in Denver, our most competitive account. In less competitive markets, we’ve seen prices as low as $24 per call which is extremely economical compared to other channels.
Bonus Recommendation: If you offer free consultations and give prospects the ability to book online, you can use the Scheduling functionality with LeadConnect.
Why Divorce Attorneys Should Use Local Services Ads
Search engine marketing is constantly changing and to take advantage of every opportunity to display for relevant keywords on the search engine result page (SERP), LSAs are an integral component. These ads display in the first position of the SERP, the most premier real estate you can be. Right there is enough of a reason because even if the searcher doesn’t click your ad, you pay zero dollars for that impression. After that come the paid search ads which every one of our own law firms and clients alike use as you’re able to target your desired audience more accurately through features like household income targeting and the use of negative keyword lists. Next the local search results or “map pack” show up and finally, the organic search results. All this is to say that if your law firm is serious, it should be your goal to display in the top three or ten results for each of those categories. This will result in page 1 domination with prospects seeing your law firm four times before potentially even seeing a competitors result once.
If you’re a divorce and family law attorney that relies on lead generation for your caseload, you should at the very least consider running LSAs. With Cardinal Concepts proven and profitable execution for our own law firms, we would be happy to share our strategies and expertise with you. Simply contact us to set up your Google Local Services Ads but don’t wait as we work exclusively with only one law firm in a given market.