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Adwords can connect your law firm to the suburbs

Search engine marketing often focuses on getting top placement for the most popular keywords related to your law firm's practice area. This strategy generally delivers the most leads, and it's a solid approach. But when a big-city search doesn't perform as well in the suburbs, a pay-per-click campaign might fill the void.

For several years, Google has been using the geographic location of the searcher to determine what search results to display. When you are looking for a place to eat, a mechanic or most other local services, you don't have tell Google where you are. It knows. And people are catching on.

In most cities, keywords and phrases entered without a city descriptor are getting more traffic than keywords with them. Here are a few examples. The keywords below that do not include a city show the number of searches from within the previously identified city's limits.

Los Angeles personal injury attorney 170
personal injury attorney 480

Austin estate planning attorney 10
estate planning attorney 70

Chicago bankruptcy attorney 110
bankruptcy attorney 210

If your SEO efforts have you positioned well in your major metro area, you are probably getting some good results from keyword searches that do not include a city.

But when people in the suburbs are searching for just a “bankruptcy attorney” or “estate planning lawyer” or “DUI attorney” or “divorce lawyer” or “car accident attorney,” Google is going to show law firms that have offices in the suburban towns, not your firm in the nearby metro area.

And here, a supplemental Adwords campaign can help you reach out to these surrounding neighborhoods.

Let's look at “DUI lawyer” in Austin, Texas. Google is reporting 210 monthly searches for "DUI lawyer" from people within Austin's city limits, versus 20 searches from people typing “Austin DUI lawyer.” They recommend a whopping per-click bid of $140. At a cost-per-click that high, you will be better off with a search engine optimization campaign to compete in natural listings.

But if you just bid on “DUI lawyer” in the most populated Austin suburbs of Round Rock, Cedar Park, Georgetown and San Marcos, you are bidding just $5-$8 per click to get exposure with the more than 272,000 people who reside in those towns.

If you are looking for a way to get new cases from a population pool outside of your major metro area, a suburb-targeted pay-per-click campaign is a great way to expand your reach with a minimal investment.