What makes a good PPC campaign yield great results for your law firm? There are numerous factors and tools that you need to consider when deciding to invest in Search Engine Marketing, and your negative keywords are one of them.

Start with market research and identify the right high intent keywords you want to target to bring more clients to your law firm. But what are keywords without the proper tools? In previous articles, we explained the value of the different Ad Formats on Google Search Network and their value to your attorney PPC campaigns. Moreover, we’ve covered the most beneficial Ad Extensions you need to use in your Legal Digital Marketing. Are these enough for a successful campaign that increases your caseload? Well, it can all go wrong if you don’t research your negative keywords and create a detailed, comprehensive list. In this article, we’ll explore the value of negative keywords for law firms.

  • Let’s start with the basics. What are negative keywords?

Adding negative keywords to your campaigns allows you to exclude specific terms, so you can concentrate on the high intent keywords that matter for your law firm. Both strategies improve targeting by allowing you to minimize the chance that your ads are appearing to searchers who are not interested in your services.

  • How do negative keywords work?

It all starts with thorough and detailed research specific to your practice area, your campaign, and your goals. As soon as you are ready with your keywords list, you should start understanding the related terms that you have to exclude.

  • Where do you add your negative keywords?
    1. Campaign Level

If you choose to add your negative keywords at the campaign level, it means that your ads won’t be triggered for those specific keywords. If, for example, you are a Personal Injury attorney, showing ads for accidents, but you don’t handle bicycle accidents, you can add all bicycle-related terms and phrases to your negative keywords list on a campaign level. Make sure that you cover all variations if you want to exclude them.

Tip: An interesting idea for your campaign-level negative keywords is location. Geotargeting is valuable and effective, but your ad might still be triggered in certain circumstances. If you have any questions or need assistance with your campaigns, don’t hesitate to contact us.

    1. Ad Group Level

Let’s consider that you are an attorney running an Immigration campaign that strictly targets IR1 or CR1 cases, immigrants who are spouses of a US citizen. Would it make sense for you to target searchers looking for inter-country adoption Visas? Probably not. Especially not for this particular ad group. What would you need to do? Create a list of all the related terms, keywords, and phrases and upload them on your negative keywords list. For better results, remember to double-check your setup and remove the brackets for your negative keywords. Another example might apply to the word free. Your law firm might offer a free consultation for Workers Compensation but not for bankruptcy cases. It would be beneficial for the success of your legal PPC campaign to add it in your negative keywords list on an Ad Group Level, allowing it to still trigger your other ads.

Remember: Your Ad Group Level negative keywords will ensure that you don’t spend your budget on broad terms. If you are running a very detail-oriented campaign, it means that you have devoted landing pages and intake processes for specific prospective clients. Don’t let your ad spend go to searchers who don’t have strong intent.

  • How do you proactively identify the negative keywords?

We, as experts in bilingual PPC, conduct our research for every client, every campaign, and every ad group and to ensure that we optimize every aspect for your success in legal digital marketing. However, if you want to build your lists yourself, we’d suggest you use the following tools:

    1. Start with Google’s keyword planner. If you’re planning and running your law firm’s Google Ads, you are already familiar with it. Google’s keyword planner is the first step in your journey.
    2. Use the search terms report. It’s another tool Google provides to its advertisers, and it can help you with your negative keywords list.
    3. Additionally, if you need extra information, you can also use this free tool. 
  • The reactive way.

Being proactive is always preferred, but there are cases in which you might need to make adjustments. Evaluate your campaigns and identify any specific keywords that get clicks but don’t yield results. If the Click Through Rate, for example, is very low, it might be a red flag. If something is broken, fix it. This applies to your keywords and your negative keywords lists.

Your law firm’s Search Engine Marketing campaigns can be a complicated task. Selecting the right keywords and bidding on them is only half of your keyword strategy. Without a proper negative keyword list in place, you might end up spending your budget on low intent terms and people who are not searching for your specific services. Serving the right searcher is the ultimate goal for any PPC campaign. To achieve that you have to combine thorough research for every step of your keyword planning.