Keyword Planner for Lawyers


If you’ve ever used the Google Keyword Tool, you might have  heard the search giant is replacing it with the new and improved Keyword Planner.  The changes make it easier for AdWords users to identify and group keywords for their campaigns but the changes also make it much easier to use the data for your law firm’s SEO.

Using Like Keywords

In AdWords, campaigns perform much better when ads are only associated with keyword phrases that all follow the same theme and that are focused on the same basic thing.  SEO works in much the same way because Google and other engines rank web pages and not necessarily entire websites.  When a user enters a query, search engines find the most relevant page on the web for that query.  When a page has many different themes, it’s less likely that the page will be served to a user because it isn’t just about the keyword phrase.  The keyword planner helps identify groups of keywords to use on each page of your website that you want to rank.

You must have an AdWords account in order to use the planner.  Don’t worry, you can still sign up for one and not use it in order to get access to the planner.

Developing a Targeted List of Keywords

Once you are signed up and/or logged into your AdWords account, go to the Tools and Analysis tab and select Keyword Planner.  You’ll notice on the first page that you can either search for keywords using the planner or upload a list of keywords that you may already have.

First Page of Keyword Planner

After you click on the Search for keyword and ad group ideas menu, you will see more fields appear.

The Keyword Planner second step

It is in this exact instance when a lot of keyword research can go wrong.  The first field asks for at least one keyword and its tempting to plug in as many as you can think of.  The problem is that by putting in too many words, you are essentially trying to do the planner’s job.  Ideally you should be targeting one keyword phrase per page of your site along with it’s variants.

Naturally its ok if you want to just generate tons of keywords however for the purposes of this post, lets stick to one and see what the planner can do for us in terms of optimizing one page of a website for one keyword phrase and its variants.

For this example, we’ll use the keyword “personal injury attorney new jersey”.

keyword planner step 3

The next field asks for a domain name.  You should enter this when doing your research however for this post we are not.

Next is the product category.  There are legal categories here that get pretty granular so you should enter them if you can.  Notice that there is a section for personal injury law.

Keyword Planner Categories


Planner FiltersSet the geographic targeting to the appropriate area for your activities.  Note that you can make this as granular as you want right down to the city.

Another setting you want to pay attention to is the negative keyword setting.  Naturally you can manually weed out the keywords that don’t work well for you but you can tell the planner up front that you don’t want specific keywords to be included in your ideas list.


You can add additional filters to your ideas for average monthly searches or cost per click.  For instance maybe you have found that keywords with searches of greater than 1,000 monthly local searches are more attractive than keywords with less than that much activity.

For this post, all we did was enter the keyword phrase above, select a category, and have targeting set on United States and English.

Once you have everything like you want it, click the “get ideas” button.

The default screen that you see is the ad group ideas screen.  Here Google is grouping together keyword phrases that have a similar theme (i.e. each group of keywords are all about the same thing).  You have to click on a phrase to see the group of keywords associated with it.

Ad Group Ideas

Keyword Planner ideas

We used the New Jersey example so clicking on that, gives us keyword phrases related to the original phrase.  So if we were going to optimize a page on a website for the personal injury attorneys new jersey keyword phrase, we would use that main keyword in our on-page optimization as well as these variant keywords.

You’ll notice that we ignored talking about some aspects of the tool and for good reason.  The usefulness of Google’s keyword planner is directly related to the task at hand.  In other words if you don’t have a goal in mind, the tool will just be confusing or misleading.  In this post we were optimizing a page of a website for a specific keyword phrase.

The planner is useful for generating lists of ideas, for making very targeted groups of keyword for on-page optimization or ad groups in AdWords however you have to be mindful of how to use the data the tool is giving you.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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