Setting up Google Ads for Lead Generation

A friend recently reached out looking for a quick guideline on setting up Google Ads for Lead Generation for his law firm. Here’s a high-level view that I sent him to assist with setting up the ad campaign, and optimizing it for lead results both right off the bat and over time.

google ads lead generation

Absolutely Essential – Add Conversion Tracking

The first thing you need to do is ensure Conversion tracking is in place. This is a snippet of code from Google which will tell it that a specific ad click resulted in a lead. You can then see lead volumes and costs in the dashboard and your ads can be optimized for them. To do this, click “Tools and settings” top right, then Measurement then Conversions. It’ll walk you through implementation. The easiest method is to have your website’s lead form redirect to a “Thank you for contacting us” page after submission. Then you can put the conversion tracking element of the code on that page.

Campaign Creation

With your campaigns, I would recommend you set up one campaign for each main area you want to advertise in. For example one for “Employment Law”, one for “Criminal Law” etc. This way you can see performance for each individually and control budgets based on performance. You can also easily turn them off if you no longer want cases in that field.
In the campaign settings, select Search network and include search partners. Google will often by default try to include Display network, which is their banner ads around the web (they convert text ads to banners if you don’t have graphics in you campaign). Search ads will drive more, and more qualified leads for you though than display.

Bidding on Google Ads for Lead Generation

Under the campaign’s bidding, use Target CPA, which is designed to optimize for a specific cost per lead. It’s not going to be too effective at optimizing until some data comes in, but their system is actually quite effective now. You can set a target cost per lead and over time, raise or lower it based on what you’re finding the value of those leads is. To start with, I’d recommend you set it at about $50, then over time adjust. If you start too low, Google doesn’t have enough data to work with and will err on the side of caution by not showing your ads much.

Ad Groups

In terms of Campaign structure, for each specialty-specific campaign, i.e. employment law, you’ll sub-divide the campaign by ‘Ad groups’. These group keywords and have their own ads, in order to improve relevance. People want to click on ads that are highly relevant for what they’re looking for, so you may want one ad group for “employment contracts”, then all keywords in that ad group will be relating to employment contracts and for the ads you may want “employment contract Lawyers” in the headline.

Each ad group should have 3 or more ad versions so you can see what’s working best. Google will automatically try to show the best one.


Choosing Keywords

For keywords, you can add multiple per ad group but try to go for keywords that will get a decent amount of volume like “employment lawyer toronto” and not really obscure ones. Bidding will be optimized based on data so if there isn’t enough data, things won’t get optimized and you’ll waste spend. Google has a tool to get keyword ideas under “Tools & Settings” top right, then Planning, Keyword Planner.

Keyword Match Types

Keywords have multiple “match” types, which is how Google matches them up with searches. In general, stick with phrase match, which is the key-phrase with “quotes” around them. This way Google will only show for searches that contain that phrase, or something they view as synonymous with it. If you do broad which doesn’t have quotes then they will show ads for a lot more searches that are irrelevant and waste money. Exact match with [square brackets] around them, will show when the search matches that specific phrase in that order, but it’s normally too specific to get enough volume to optimize with so stick to “phrase”.

Optimizing Keywords as Data Comes In

To optimize keywords for lead generation and see what searches are actually triggering your ads, click on the campaign or ad group you’re looking at, and on the left click keywords > search terms. Here you can see the actual searches triggering your ads. If one is irrelevant (as you’ll almost definitely find some), then select it and click “add as negative keyword”. Add it as [exact] match to block searches for that specific phrase, or “phrase” to block searches containing that phrase. Keep in mind there may be other contexts for that phrase where you would want the lead so usually exact is safest. I spend a lot of time on this page.

Include Ad Extensions for Additional Exposure

For each campaign, you can also add in ad extensions. These are additional pieces of information that show alongside the ads, giving you more real estate and generally giving better performance. On the left click Ads & Extensions > Extensions. I would definitely add in a phone number, as well as callouts that highlight your experience and offering, and also structured snippets that allow you to list services you provide. There are others like sitelinks as well which will link to additional website pages, but not all will be relevant.


I hope that helps put you on the right track with Google Ads for lead generation. Please leave a comment below if you find this helped you (keep me motivated 🙂 ), or if you have any questions. I’m happy to answer them.


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