Picture this: you’ve just launched your first PPC campaign. After a few hours of having your ads up and running, you get your first call! Exciting right? Not quite.

A potential client calls in and says, “I’m looking for a lawyer in Chicago”, but your firm is located in Miami. This is a classic example of what can happen when you don’t utilize negative keywords in your law firm’s PPC strategy. You, like many other lawyers, are unknowingly paying a premium for unwanted clicks. These clicks are from users who have no intent of ever becoming clients. Perhaps they live in a different geographic area, or your Ad shows up for the wrong type of case.

As you will see in this blog post, you need to start utilizing negative keywords TODAY! However, there’s no reason to worry – this blog post will teach you three important principles about negative keywords.

Maximize Your PPC Budget

Let’s start off by getting on the same page with what negative keywords are. Google defines negative keywords as any type of keyword that can prevent your ad from showing up for certain words or phrases. Here’s an example: say you own a law firm in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Would you want to show up for searches in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania? Of course not! By utilizing “Pittsburgh” as a negative keyword, you’ll be able to prevent your law firm from ever showing up in that geographic area. Thus, you will preserve your PPC budget and not burn through it with unwarranted clicks.

If you do not implement negative keywords, you will quickly burn through your PPC budget. Users who don’t have any intentions of ever becoming paying clients will be clicking your ads and costing you money. This means that you’ll end up spending more money and will only lead to further frustrations. You only want to spend money on potential clients that are going to spend money with YOU. You don’t want to spend money on clients who live in a different city within your state, let alone across the country.

Reach The Clients That Matter

It’s impossible to stay on top of all of the long tail search queries. The combinations and possibilities are truly endless. But by utilizing negative keyword combinations you can easily eliminate certain phrases. This enables you to only show up in-front of the clients that matter most (and who are going to do business with you)! 

For example, you could target the long tail keyword of “divorce lawyer for dads near me”. You could exclude “mediator” to prevent the scenario of pulling in mediation cases for fathers. While the goal is to have educated clients, who somewhat understand the legal landscape, that is not always the reality. Most clients who are searching for family law related keywords are going through either: emotional, financial or even physical pain.

However, with negative keywords you’re able to get even more specific and laser targeted for where you show up. You’ll be able to siphon out any cases that your firm prefers not to take on.

Exclude Competitor Leads

We’ve talked about why using negative keywords is essential for geography-based searches, but have you thought about competitor searches. While some may say that bidding on your competitor’s keywords is a smart strategy, it can get expensive and risky. If someone is inherently searching for one of your competitors, they are already privy to a specific firm. The chances of you landing that client are slim to none. Most times… these clients have their minds already made up. It’s smarter to get in-front of neutral clients and deliver them the resources that they need.

Another reason to exclude competitor keyword is that bidding on them can get dicey when it comes to the parameters of legal marketing. If another firm is so inclined, they could report your advertising practices to your state’s bar association. You may find yourself in trouble with the legal marketing parameters that have been set in place for your state. The last thing that you want to do is get reported for dishonest marketing practices. Your best bet is to re-examine your law firm’s PPC strategy, and exclude all competitor keywords.