Law Quill | Local Service Ads vs PPC (Pay Per Click)

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Online advertising for lawyers can be scary enough, but when change happens, things seem more unstable than ever. The recent introduction of Google’s Local Services Ads (LSAs) for legal professionals might be causing you to wonder if you should alter your game plan, stop using PPC Ads (pay-per-click), and shift over to LSAs (local service ads). Although the new LSAs have serious advantages, PPC ads may also be beneficial for various reasons. Before you make a move, consider the following points.

What Are the Differences Between LSA and PPC?

Google’s PPC and LSAs are both currently available for attorneys. Although LSAs have been around a while, only recently has this option opened up for legal businesses. Local service ads allow lawyers to gain new leads, paying only for quality texts and phone calls from prospective clients. PPC ads will cost you when a consumer simply clicks on your listing. It may appear as if LSAs would be the preferred option for limited budgets and better search results.  Does the new opportunity to use LSAs mean that PPCs are no longer relevant? Not necessarily, because both types of ads can be effective and every law firm is different.

Local Service Ads for Lawyers

Previously known as Google Home Service Ads, LSAs are ads that favor local businesses. LSAs appear above organic search results and they appear above PPC ads. An LSA includes basic business details about your law firm, such as contact information, average review score and operating hours. LSAs offer pay-per-lead, so your law firm only pays when a potential client sees your ad then calls you. The call must last at least thirty seconds, and if the call is an irrelevant one, you can get credited. This is different from PPC ads, where you pay for a consumer click, even if there is no conversion. LSAs require a background check for each attorney in the law firm. 

Pay Per Click For Lawyers

Pay per click advertising allows your law firm to pay only when someone clicks on your ad. This makes it essential to write a compelling, action-oriented ad that propels a consumer to take the next step when browsing search results, and PPC ads can generate a good amount of traffic. 

PPC Ads are somewhat like LSAs similar to LSAs, except that a PPC ad is more limited and does not require attorney background checks. Another key element of PPC ads is that they appear lower on Google’s search results than LSAs. 

Will LSAs Replace PPCs? 

For larger law firms with big budgets and solid name recognition, PPCs can work well. For smaller law firms, LSAs can be successful and quite cost-effective. There are some searchers who may see an LSA for a law firm, but go on to visit a website before making a decision.  LSAs were not created to replace PPC ads or compete with them. The two ad campaigns can run at the same time, or one can run while the other is temporarily paused. Each ad campaign has its own dashboard and app, with the LSA being connected to the company’s Google My Business account.  Experts who have studied the success of LSAs find these results:

  • Organic search results gather the most clicks, although their numbers drop when LSAs are displayed.
  • Organic position #1 gets the highest number of clicks.
  • Reviews are the largest factor for clicks in local search results. 
  • LSAs gain 13.8% of local Search Result clicks.
  • The emergence of LSAs definitely affects the number of clicks for each other SERP type.
  • When LSAs are in place, over 25% of all clicks are on paid ads. When LSAs are missing, this number is slightly over 14%.

Why People Click

According to a 2018 study, people who click on LSAs are highly influenced by review rating, page position, and the Google Guaranteed rating. The business name and availability of their services are also in the top five. For PPCs, the top reason people click is that company’s page position, along with the compelling content included in the ad. 

More Than Clicks

Clicks are only one data point of many. Looking at a chart of clicks alone can be misleading because the primary goal is to gather quality leads and increased business. The data simply assists in decision-making and determining how the end goals will best happen. When determining a budget for LSAs and PPCs, remember that: 

  • Google allows every LSA client to get a shot at the top of the results page. Even if you concentrate your budget on LSAs, other businesses will get a turn at the top.
  • Look not only at the most clicks; look also at most leads and quality clients gathered from the ads used. 
  • Using LSAs means your local input and client reviews will be even more crucial to your marketing success. 
  • The big entrance of LSAs means the cost of PPC ads may decrease.
  • LSAs allow your law firm to pay only when a client call lasts at least thirty seconds. 

Optimize Your PPCs

To make your PPC ad campaigns work best, consider these steps:

  • Direct consumers to a landing page, not a home page.
  • Confirm that your page structure supports a call to action
  • Ensure that your paid ad searches and landing pages are relevant to search intent
  • Improve landing page experience
  • Maximize the use of contact forms

Optimize Your LSAs

Here are some tips to boost the effectiveness of your LSAs:

  • Fill out your Google My Business profile fully
  • Add appointment links
  • Complete a “service area” page to gain more leads
  • Create a consistent brand

Each Law Firm is Different

Law firms are anxious that their budget for LSAs are at odds with their PPC budget and vice versa. These worries cause further angst that perhaps the law firm should simply overhaul the whole advertising strategy and start from scratch. Resist the temptation to do this, and remember that Industry averages are only one data source, and your law firm is not average. Because every law firm is different, the information on PPC and LSA ads doesn’t translate across the board, and the results are different for each law firm. What may work well for a chunk of the industry may not work right for your company, so it is essential to work within goals that are tailored for your law firm’s unique characteristics. 

Law Quill | Local Service Ads vs PPC (Pay Per Click)

Is PPC the Same as Ads?

Alongside learning the differences between local ads vs PPC, it is worth reviewing guidance from the Federal Trade Commission concerning online advertising before you start your firm’s advertising campaign. Furthermore, it is worth remembering that while paid advertising can be beneficial for law firms, organic marketing efforts tend to provide law firms with a better return on investment in the long run. Below, you can learn more about PPC vs local ads, and how PPC differs from other ads:

Understanding PPC and Paid Search

To understand PPC vs local ads, it can be useful to learn the differences between PPC and paid search. While often used interchangeably, paid search is an umbrella term referring to the various forms of paid digital advertising on search engines. In contrast, PPC is a paid search model that charges advertisers when a user clicks on their advert.

When completing a Google search, users typically see a variety of ads, including ads with images, product listings, and sponsored results from searches. Depending on the positioning of the ad and its target audience, advertisers may opt for several different paid search methods. Here is more information concerning the main paid search models:

  • PPC: These ads target specific keywords. Law firms that opt for this payment model bid on how much they are willing to pay for these keywords, and these ads appear next to search results when the user enters this keyword as part of their search query. If someone then clicks on this ad, the law firm pays Google the amount they bid, with the exact price depending on the keyword’s search volume and popularity.
  • CPM: If a law firm opts for Cost-Per-Mille (CPM) ads, they pay Google for every one thousand views, or impressions, as opposed to individual clicks.
  • Call-only: This form of paid search has a fairly similar payment model to LSAs in that the advertising law firm only pays if the prospective client contacts the firm via the number provided. However, call-only ads only focus on phone calls, whereas LSAs consider other communication methods too, such as instant messaging.

Why Use PPC and Other Paid Search Forms?

To complete a good comparison between local ads vs PPC, it is helpful to understand the benefits that PPC and other paid search forms can offer law firms. These advertising methods can improve your firm’s brand awareness, provide your website with increased traffic, and allow your firm to gain more leads. Furthermore, you can easily establish these advertising campaigns and track their success to experiment with different types of paid ads and optimize your firm’s advertising strategy.

Using PPC and Paid Search Alongside Other Strategies

In addition to PPC and other forms of paid search, law firms may also adopt other paid advertising strategies, such as social or display ads. Doing this can help law firms reach more prospective clients, as they see these ads on search engines, social media platforms, and other websites.

Again, it is worth noting here that while these efforts can be beneficial, the recommended approach is to focus more on organic marketing efforts, as these are usually less expensive and provide law firms with better long-term SEO benefits.


The latest trends can cause business owners to overreact, but remember to examine the data. A new LSA campaign may or may not affect your PPC strategy. Your PPC data may look halfhearted, but your ads may actually be transforming to greater efficiency. LSA and PPC strategies do not have to be enemies. Local Service Ads tend to reach an audience of individuals who are quick to click, and Pay-Per-Click Ads may reach a more methodical group of potential clients who are searching for your memorable law firm name. Remember to optimize your law firm for both PPC and LSA strategies and be sure to get expert marketing advice before you jump into any new advertising strategy. 

This Week’s Digital Marketing Action Step: 

  • Review and digest the newest data from your recent ad campaigns.

How Law Quill Can Help 

Along with making decisions about paid advertising for your law firm, you should consider organic marketing. Creating useful, quality content is the core of successful law firm SEO marketing strategies, but the thought of producing it may be overwhelming. We are here to help and would welcome the opportunity to visit with you for free regarding your law firm website’s content, and how we can take these tasks off your plate! Schedule a free visit with us by scheduling a quick phone or zoom call at your convenience on our calendar today. You can also email us at