I read an interesting article today about the high prices that some attorneys are paying to advertise on Google. The paid ads, sometimes called "sponsored listings," appear at the top or the top right side of the Google search engine search results.
There are two types of search results on Google: (1) "organic" listings which rank sites based on the value of their content and popularity of the site, and (2) paid listings which list results based on how much the lawyers pay for certain words or phrases.
The article, "Lawyers Outspend Obama On The Web," discusses a study conducted by the Institute for Legal Reform for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The study found that some lawyers are spending as much as $79 for a single "click-through" ad word. When the sponsored ad is "clicked-on," the lawyer is charged the amount bid on for the word or phrase.
Some 25 lawyers across the country are spending over $100,000 for Google click-through ads. The report states that one law firm in Houston is paying $16,600,000 for Google ads.
The report also identifies one of our main competitors in Miami as most closely associated with the phrase "cruise ship assault" both via paid ads and search engine optimization. Some other Miami attorneys are paying to advertise phrases on Google like "cruise rape," "cruise sexual assault" and so forth.
There is nothing wrong with Google ads, although we do not pay for any advertisements like this or any advertisements at all for that matter. Our blog is strictly "organic" in nature, meaning that it is ranked solely on the relevancy and current status of the content, the number of sites which link to it and so forth. Based on the Alexa/AVVO ranking system, Cruise Law News is a top ten most popular law blog in the U.S. In the first two months this year, Cruise Law News had 289,530 visits and the visitors read 862,721 pages.
My only criticism about the concept of Google ads is that there are law firms which I have never heard of who probably have handled only a few cruise line cases at best. Nonetheless, they are advertising themselves on Google as "cruise lawyers." I call these lawyers "Google lawyers."
I saw this happening after the Costa Concordia cruise ship crash. All types of lawyers across the U.S. began billing themselves as "cruise ship accident lawyers" on paid Google ads. An internet marketing company has an interesting article about what it calls ambulance chasing marketing.
If you want to see where a law firm's website or blog is ranked based on objective criteria, download the Alexa toolbar here. It's easy to install and will take less than 30 seconds.
If you are looking for a lawyer to handle a cruise ship case, don't be fooled by the top listings on the click-through Google ads. Many of these lawyers are not even licensed to practice in Florida where most cases have to be filed. Be certain to inquire into how many cases they have actually handled and the success of those cases. Be sure to ask to speak to former clients for their opinion on how their cruise line cases turned out.
Image: Avalanche Internet Marketing