Organic traffic to your law firm’s website, or visitors who naturally reach your site from a search engine, is the holy grail of attorney marketing. Generate enough organic search traffic and with the right legal website, you can exponentially increase your odds of landing more clients—all without spending a dime on web traffic.

However, with so many attorney websites out there, generating organic traffic is harder than you may think. That’s where paid search strategies, such as investing in Google AdWords, come into play. These search engine marketing (SEM) strategies can leverage your marketing budget to drive more traffic to your website while also increasing your law firm’s SEO to grow organic traffic as well.

In this article, we’ll discuss how to balance organic and paid search strategies without spending a fortune on attorney marketing.


How to Build Organic Traffic

Focus on Attorney SEO

When searching for an attorney, many potential clients will search around their local area. They might ask friends for recommendations, or more commonly, they’ll search for something like “bankruptcy attorney near me.” In fact, online “near me” searches doubled in 2015, according to Google.

Focus on local SEO (search engine optimization) to organically guide these online searchers to your website. For instance:


  • Fill in your law firm’s Google My Business page with your practice’s name, phone number, address, hours, and business category
  • Build a strong legal website with keywords that are relevant to your practice, such as “patent law attorney in Orange County,” spread throughout page headings and website copy—don’t forget about a responsive mobile site!
  • Build backlinks (citations from other sites) to your website in order to cultivate authority and improve attorney SEO strength
  • On your website, craft plenty of blog articles and other valuable content that include the keyword phrases you’re trying to rank for (Tip: Discover more strategies to make your online content more SEO-friendly here.)


Expand Your Pool of Positive Online Reviews

All other factors equal, Google is much more likely to promote websites that are highly rated by clients and reviewers than websites without many reviews or with poor ratings. Moz reports that when it comes to local SEO, reviews comprise about 13% of a website’s ranking.

Therefore, your law firm could see a huge uptick in website traffic and/or consultations with potential clients just by increasing the number of positive reviews displayed on:


  • Facebook
  • Avvo
  • Yelp
  • And more


In fact, personal injury lawyer Loren Etengoff, a client of James Attorney Marketing & Attorney Marketing, more than doubled his caseload—due in large part to generating more positive online reviews and managing negative ones through the proprietary James ORM (online reputation management) tool, which makes it easy for attorneys to automatically solicit testimonials while “parking” damaging words.

Try the James ORM today and automate review-gathering so you don’t have to spend time soliciting testimonials ever again. 

Integrating Paid Search Without Breaking the Bank

First, Decide Whether Paid Search is Actually the Answer

Before investing in paid search strategies, it’s important to note that you must have the organic search elements down pat; without these foundational elements, paid search tactics are only going to do so much.

For instance, you could drive tons of traffic to your attorney website, but if the site isn’t user-friendly and doesn’t load quickly, you will miss out on converting a lot of that traffic into clients anyway. Therefore, decide whether paid search strategies are your answer or if you should first focus on organic search traffic tactics before expanding into paid search. 

When You Have a Strong Organic Foundation, Explore Google AdWords  

Perhaps the most popular paid search tactic for attorneys is PPC (pay-per-click) ads, and the biggest PPC player out there is Google AdWords. Although Google AdWords can be complicated for some attorneys who are new to the system, it is still among the best and most effective ways for law firms to break into the paid search game.

Simply put, AdWords operates on auction-style, with users setting their bids to determine how much to pay per click. After the auction is over, users land a specific ad spot associated with the price that they paid. Your law firm can then target a specific audience demographic, write tailored ad copy, and determine how your marketing dollars will be spent (what is your budget cap per day, how long you’d like the campaign to run, etc.).

In order to run a successful AdWords campaign, your law firm should focus on a few key elements. *


  • Choose the right keyword phrases. Use Google AdWord’s Keyword Planner tool to see which keywords receive a lower amount of traffic (and are therefore less expensive) while also providing the greatest value.
  • Write concise ad copy with a strong call to action. Google AdWords doesn’t allow a lot of space to get your point across.
  • Track campaign performance and calculate your cost per action, or CPA. This is basically how much your law firms pays to attain a client. Adjust your bid, keywords, audience targeting, and ad copy if results aren’t ideal for your particular budget. You’re in the driver’s seat. 


*Note: There is an unlimited number of ways to tailor an AdWords campaign and dozens of factors that can influence its success. However, for the sake of simplicity, we just mention a handful of influential factors in this article.

Organic and Paid: A Balancing Act

Today’s world of online attorney marketing and search engine marketing involves a big balancing act, but combining organic search tactics with paid ones becomes easier with practice. Establish a strong foundation with attorney SEO, website design, and content management, and then build on it with paid search strategies like PPC ads through Google AdWords. The results will be worth the hard work.

Before you set out to explore paid search, get a free audit of your marketing spend.

Schedule an appointment with Travis Hise, CEO for a customized assessment today!

(Hint: You may be overspending on attorney marketing by hundreds or more!)