in Careers Advice, Employers, Legal Profession

Law Firms and Google Adwords Expenditure

The UK’s most expensive Google Adwords

In April 2016 Search Engine Watch, a very useful industry online magazine, undertook a study of the UK’s most expensive Google Adwords. These are the adverts at the top of the page when you search any keyword. We have been using the system for over 15 years and it is an inexpensive method of recruitment if used in the right way. In the wrong hands it can be a huge drain on resources as this study almost certainly shows!

The list of the Top 100 Most Expensive Keywords is below – scroll down to the bottom of the page. It is sourced from

The top pay per click keyword, which relates to the gambling industry (along with most of the other words in the top 100), is £148.51. This means that every time anyone in the UK clicks this keyword a company is paying Google £148.51. The second keyword is a misspelling at £144.76, and in fact numbers 1-28 in the chart are all gambling related.  It makes you wonder how much profit comes from getting individuals hooked on online gambling..

What is particularly surprising about the study is that law firms and claims management companies are paying some of the highest amounts per click as well. “Cerebral Palsy Compensation” is £82.85 per click, “Injury Lawyers Scotland” is £81.40 per click, “Brain Injury Solicitors” is £79.52 per click, “Bicycle Accident Claims” is £76.90 per click and “Accident Injury Lawyers” is £76.24 per click.

One has to ask whether anyone has sat down and analysed these figures to see if they give value for money. We regularly sit and pore over our statistics for Adwords – Google have a wide range of tools available to analyse and assess clicks, conversions and impressions. To give you an example we pay £1.60 per click for the term “Conveyancing Recruitment”. Very few people ever click on this, but we can measure the conversion rate, the average position of our advert, the cost per conversion and the number of impressions that advert has had in Google searches since we started using Adwords in 2002. It has been extremely successful when anyone does see it or click it because this is one of our main areas of permanent recruitment work.

Similarly we avoid other keywords. Google want us to pay £4.98 per click for the term “Conveyancing Cover” and £2.44 per click for “Law Locums”. Whilst it is possible we would get some business from these words, we would much rather spend our marketing budget in a more effective way.

Also worryingly Google have got rid of the adverts down the right hand side of the page, only including adverts at the top. This means that the competition for keywords has shot up, something Google will only be well aware of as it will inevitably increase their profits from each advertiser. We have seen 100% increases in some of the prices for keywords we advertise for.

Additionally, and possibly of equal worry, is that studies have recently been done by Ofcom and others showing that a lot of adults do not know which entries in Google search results are adverts and which ones are organic (ie produced by Google). Figures vary widely in the studies, but go from 36% up to 55%.. This means that your solicitors firm may be number 1 in the search results for the term “Conveyancing Solicitor in Croydon”, but if you are paying £2.00 per click for the same term using Google Adwords then a good proportion of visitors may well be unnecessarily be incurring you costs by inadvertently clicking your Google adword.

Hopefully Google will be strongly encouraged in due course by the appropriate authorities to highlight adverts as opposed to ‘natural’ results and stop this occurring.

Top 100 Keywords in the UK

Jonathan Fagan

Jonathan Fagan LLM FIRP is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment. He has been recruiting solicitors and legal support staff for law firms and in house legal departments for over 17 years and handles roles from junior fee earners through to partners and law firm sales/purchases. A non-practising solicitor on the Roll since 2000, he is also the author of a number of legal career books, which are available at You can contact Jonathan at