AdWords versus Google Screened for Law Firms

If you’re an attorney, and you haven’t looked into Google Local Service ads for your law firm, you need to wake up. Google doesn’t make big changes often. Yes, I know, all the SEO companies who call you tell you that there is some big major algorithm update, and you need to rush to pay them lots of money. 99% of the time those calls are bogus. And, if you’ve fallen for them, chances are you’re with a law firm marketing agency that isn’t producing what they promised. However, when it comes to Google Screened, this is a true game-changing update. Take a look at the image below. As you can see, there are standard AdWords above the Google MAP section. However, take a look at the newest piece of Google real estate. Those top 3 lawyers are sitting in the Google Screened/Google Local Service ads section.

AdWords versus Google Screened for Law Firms

As you can see from the image above, this new advertising platform allows you to highlight your law firm and individual lawyers. However, strangely, not many lawyers are aware of this product offering. There are lots of questions about this service, and so today, we’re going to tackle everything you will want to know about it. In addition, we’re going to talk about standard AdWords versus Google Screened for law firms. Big Bang is has been a leader in this area, and we’ve been helping our law firm clients navigate the processes since launch.

Let’s dive deeper into Google Local Service ads for lawyers.

What’s the difference Between Standard Adwords and Google Screened

Okay, so let’s take a step back real quick and identify something that comes up all the time when we first talk with a potential new law firm client. Regardless of what some law firm marketing company or SEO agency is telling you, there are only TWO WAYS to market on Google. Period, end of discussion. They are as follows, 1) Organically and 2) Paid Search. The MAP section is still an organic ranking, meaning it is natural. Yes, you can now ALSO purchase (in some instances) the top MAP position as a Paid Ad. And, yes, it is TRUE that directories and NAP scores play a major role in Google MAP rankings that do differ from the standard organic results beneath the MAP section.

Nevertheless, there are still only two ways you can get your law firm ranked on Google. The search engine either “naturally” ranks you, or you pay for the ad position. With that said, the paid ad positions are a cost-per-click environment, which we will get to below. So, the standard AdWords we’ve all grown to love (or hate) over the last decade cost money every time a person (or bot) clicks on your ad. Well, Google Screened ads are the same. They are a CPC-based ad. So, in essence, they are an extension of AdWords.

So, what is the difference between standard AdWords and Google Screened paid ads? Let’s find out.

Cost Per Click

Both standard Google AdWords and Google Screened are pay-per-click-based ads. That means that each time your ad is clicked on, it’s going to cost you money. The Google Screened clicks tend to cost more than the traditional ads. That’s because they are newer, higher up on the page results, and they highlight much more information about your firm and the lawyers you place within the account.

Budget Management

Budget management is also very different. With standard AdWords, you are setting a monthly budget with a max bid, minimum bid, and you can get pretty tricky with how you play with your spend settings. With Google Screened it’s not so robust. That is, as of right now. For now, you simply select a weekly spend. Yes, we said weekly. And, if you take into account the higher cost per click, you can start to see that a Google Screened campaign may cost a lot more money to run than traditional AdWords.

Placement within the SERPs

This one is a new brainer, again, take a look at the photo image up at the top of this article. The Google Screened ads sit on the very top of the page. In addition, they provide a headshot of the attorney, a snippet of information, and a “good ole” Google green checkmark making sure the potential client KNOWS that Google gave you and your law firm their royal stamp of approval. You can’t achieve any better placement within the SERPs than with Google Screened ads.

Campaign Options

You can do a lot more robust things with standard AdWords. With traditional AdWords, you can run multiple types of campaigns. Call Only campaigns, Display campaigns, you can run broad match keywords, exact match keywords, you can run a manual campaign, a Smart Bid campaign, okay you get it. From toggling your spend and running negative keywords to having the ability to run a plethora of campaign strategies, standard AdWords have some pretty cool features.

All of that goes out the window with the new Google Screened/Google Local Service Ads. However, Google Screened gives you some very unique options. For instance, take a look at the image below.

Google Local Service Ads for Lawyers

The new Google Screened page highlights your reviews, information about you as an attorney, the areas of law you practice, you get the deal. You may be sacrificing campaign options when comparing the robust features of standard paid ads. However, you GAIN so much more because of the placement of the ad, and (it’s smoke and mirrors we understand) Google is essentially “signing off” on you, which will go a long way with potential clients.

Ad Extensions

Again, standard AdWords are the clear winner with regards to ad extensions. However, Google Screened is the winner when it comes to conversions. And, at the end of the day, money talks and “BS” walks. The point of running a law firm marketing campaign is to get new cases, better cases, and subsequently MAKE MONEY for the law firm. While ad extensions are great tools to landing a potential client, so far the Google Screened ads are showing a better conversion. Hence why they are more money.

How Did Google Screened Ads for Lawyers Start? 

Google Screened for Lawyers, is the “illegitimate love child” of the Google Guaranteed platform. For some time now, Google has been running “guaranteed ads” for businesses such as plumbers, electricians, essentially service-based businesses. Simply put, Google performs some background checks on you and your business, and if you qualify, they “guarantee” your services up to a certain dollar amount. That means if a client has an issue with you, or your service, Google promises to cover a portion of the money they paid you, so to speak.

Obviously, Google was NOT going to offer this same type of guarantee for lawyers. Could you imagine a pissed-off criminal client, made at their lawyer, and wanting a $50,000.00 refund because they ended up going to jail? How about a personal injury client upset that they didn’t get millions of dollars in an auto accident case? No, Google wasn’t about to put themselves on the line for this type of service. But they did want to offer attorneys something (they really wanted to sell lawyers something, but hey, who can blame them, we are trying to sell you too). So, they created Google Screened.

Basically, Google performs a basic background check and if you qualify, they allow you to “pay to play”. Look, in all seriousness, this is a phenomenal product by Google and they did right by lawyers by launching this. The ads work well, and they are just beginning this platform. That means it will get better with more options to come as time goes on.

How Effective are Google Screened Campaigns for Attorneys

Google screened campaigns are extremely effective for attorneys. In fact, if you and your law firm are unwilling to launch a Google Screened Campaign, we probably won’t work with you. No, not because we’re too good, not because we love Google or we get money from it (cause in fact we do not), but because you NEED to in order to be successful. Listen, our job as a law firm marketing company is to help our clients get more cases. To obtain better cases. Our job, and our responsibility, is to be honest and transparent with what marketing campaigns work and which ones don’t. We make money on organic SEO, which really isn’t all that important compared to paid ads. We make very little, if nothing, on paid ads. But, you NEED to run these new ads. Period.

The Google Screened ads are a “must-have” for law firms looking to kick-ass and take names later. These ads will get you more leads, better leads, better conversions, and you will love them. Here are some highlights about Google Screened for lawyers.

Better Ad Placement

Location, location, location. You know this, we know this, you NEED to be on top of the page results. Period. Stop listening to your “f’ing” “organic SEO company”, in fact, FIRE THEM. Organic SEO is fine, it’s good, whatever, and yes it is needed. But it doesn’t drive you quality leads. That’s because organic results do NOT sit above the paid ads. Google Screened ads sit ABOVE the standard AdWords. Put your law firm in the penthouse. Be the best, around, (enter the Karate Kid song).

More Prestigious Look and Feel

Let’s be honest. Your potential clients will judge a book by its cover. Period. That’s why you dress so well, keep a nice office, pay all that money for a “fancy-schmancy” website. Standard AdWords look, well, “standard”. They are old, outdated, and lack flare. The new Google Screened ads for attorneys look pretty bad-ass. They are clean, sleek, professional, and they CATCH your eye. Look again at the image below.

Google Screened for Attorneys

Are you going to click on the Google Screened ads, or that old-school-looking ad beneath them? Look, don’t get us wrong. We STILL believe in standard AdWords. However, you NEED to allocate some of your marketing spend to jump on the Google Screened bandwagon.

Better Mobile Conversions

Ever since websites went mobile, law firms have been trying to obtain better mobile conversions. It makes sense, you want to grab clients where they are searching for your services. And, when it comes to areas of law like personal injury, criminal defense, and divorce your clients want to talk to an attorney NOW, not later. The point being, your potential clients are on their phones looking for your services. The Google Screened ads not only sit on top, they scroll down much like a social media feed.

Are there any downsides to Google Screened Ads

Nothing in life is free. Everything has a cause and effect, a pro and a con. So too do the new Google Screened ads. Now, with that said, we still believe these new CPC-based ads are a necessity. We highly recommend them, and we have obtained lots of success for our law firm clients who have opted to test them out. If you’re an attorney considering running a Google Screened campaign for lawyers, click here to fill out our contact form. We provide a free course on how you can set up your Google Local Service ads.

Here are some of the things you may want to consider before fully diving into a campaign. Again, even with the information below, we still believe the new Google Screened ads for lawyers is an amazing lead generation product.

Cost Per Click

As we mentioned earlier, the cost per click is higher for Google Screened than traditional AdWords. In addition, you are forced to set a weekly campaign spend. Lastly, the competition is stiff, and it’s getting tougher for placement. If you want to be king of this playing field, give us a call to schedule a free campaign review. One of our marketing executives will set you up with an actually Google AdWords certified representative to discuss options for a Google Screened account.

Approval Process

Unlike traditional AdWords where you simply set up an account, Google Screened for lawyers has an approval process. Google provides information about their background checks, however, it appears they are using two 3rd party agencies to perform the checks. So far we’ve come across Pinkerton and now Evident. Be prepared to provide a copy of the front and back of your driver’s license as well as your social security card. And, not just for you and your managing partners. Every attorney you wish to list within your Google Screened account will have to go through this same background check.

Underwriting Process Google Screened Ads

Newer Product Offering

Like anything that’s new, there will be bugs. We’ve run into some issues, and there are going to be other issues that pop up. Google is making changes, adding new features, so you need to be able to handle a “moving and evolving environment” if you want to play in this arena. Our advice, suck it up and get involved. Things are changing in the world of paid ads and Google Screened for lawyers is something you’re going to have to get used to. The question is, do you jump now and own the field, or sit by and wait until it’s too late to dive in.

Biggest Problem We’ve Seen So Far With Google Screened for Lawyers 

The only real “issue” we’ve come across is that you cannot run negative keywords. Essentially, if your law firm practices personal injury, criminal defense, and multiple areas of law you could end up getting clicks for things you didn’t want to waste your budget on. For example, say you run a personal injury law firm and you also provide legal services for workers’ compensation clients. However, when it comes to your standard AdWords you ONLY run “car accident injury campaigns”. You cannot do that with Google Screened ads, that is, yet. This may be something that changes with enough law firms (and law firm marketing agencies) pushing for it.

Reviews Matter

Okay, so this one is a big point you need to be concerned with. Reviews matter. You need lots of them and positive ones. Make sure you’re doing all you can to collect client reviews. If you look at the images attached to this article, they ALL show high reviews. In fact, one law firm shows over 522 five-star reviews. There is a carousel rotation, the Google Screened for lawyers area only displays 3 lawyers within the page results. To see the rest of the attorneys/law firms you have to “click to review more” just like Google Maps. Get your reviews UP and get yourself in the 3-pack that’s displayed.

Google Reviews for Google Screened for Attorneys

Sign up for Google Screened

You do not need a marketing agency to sign up for Google Screened ads. However, you probably want to work with one. There are lots of things you will need to consider when running local service ads. In addition, these ads are only a piece of your digital and online campaign, and your digital campaign is only a slice of the pie of your total advertising plan. A solid law firm marketing agency is going to know how to blend everything together, and how to maintain continuity throughout all of your ad campaigns.

Marketing Agencies that Help Lawyers with Google Local Service Ads

If you’re looking for marketing agencies that help lawyers with Google local service ads, call us now at (818) 877-7701. We’re open 24 hours a day online, and we have two corporate offices ready to assist you and your law firm today. Click here to contact our Los Angeles, CA Corporate Office and click here to contact our Dallas, TX Corporate Office. For over 16 years we’ve been helping lawyers with their practices. We understand what it takes to gain an edge. Google Screened Ads can help you grow your caseload. Period.

Best Law Firm Marketing Companies

We know what you’re thinking, who are the best law firm marketing companies and how can they help with Google Screened ads. Well, we don’t believe we’re the best law firm marketing agency because we’re stuck up or egotistical. Truthfully, we’re a bunch of nerds who just love to help attorneys kill their competition and eat up the quality cases within their geographical area and field of law. Our clients tell us we are the best, and they tell us that for the first time since paying a marketing agency, they are actually getting real cases.

Today we talked about traditional AdWords versus Google Screened for lawyers. We touched on how Google Screened ads came from the Google Local Service Ads “tree”. We looked at some of the benefits, as well as potential issues, with Google Screened ads for attorneys. Lastly, we provided you with insight into some of the things we’ve seen, directly from clients we have who are utilizing this new lead platform right now.

In closing, we believe Google hit a home run. We highly recommend Google Screened ads for lawyers.