Guide to Lawyer Directories (and what it means for marketing):
Chances are that if you have ever been looking for a lawyer online, some of the following sites have come up on the first page when you did your search:
Avvo, Justia, Findlaw, LegalMatch, Lista Legal
These are some of the most popular and visited attorney Directory Sites in Internet.
What are these directories for? The main purpose is to gather lawyers in different legal areas and present them to its users in a methodical way, that is easy to understand and easy to contact one of the lawyers.
Now leaving aside the attorneys that each directory presents to it’s users, another point directories have in common is that they all offer advertising options. Let´s see what it means and how your law office can benefit from this form of advertising.
If you are a lawyer, the main reason why you should be listed by online directories is the same one than for having a website, a business card, or phone number, an email: that potential clients in need for legal services can find you, contact you and hire you.
Let’s explore what kind of value ( or lack of value) a Lawyer Directory can bring to your practice.
Some experts argue that half of the marketing money spent is wasted, so it’s important that you test and allocate your dollar towards the channels that produce more results.
These are my top 3, most liked platforms for legal advertising online, in the following order:
- Social Media: Facebook Ads,
- PPC: Google Ads,
- Legal Directories and other legal websites related with high traffic.
Some directories can bring you a lot more value than others, and when you want to compare which one is going to bring you better results, more clients, you should put into the account a few things: price for getting a listing, directory ranking, price for advertising, online presence in the areas where you do business, how likely are you potential customers to use it?
Let’s dig deeper into this 5 points:
From the list presented up on top only Avvo, Justia and Lista Legal offer free listings, while FindLaw, Lawyers.com and Martindale are paid. It’s not a good idea to disregard a directory only because it’s not free, if the potential for bringing clients and generating leads is high then the return on investment will pay many times over.
Free directories are as valuable as paid ones, depending on your budget it would be a good plan to be listed on all of them. Visit our blog post for a list of the best directories where you can create a listing.
When your law practice is listed on online directories, if the directory has a good online ranking this will help to drive traffic to your website, and also to improve your own ranking. If you have established reviews, it will showcase your experience and past client’s stories which will help to make sales for future clients a lot easier.
Online directories also have an online reputation called DA (Domain Authority) associated, which is a number that can go from 0 to 100. The higher the number the higher the reputation of the directory. Being listed on directories with a high reputation can help your website with achieving a better ranking on the search engines, or how your web guys calls it, SEO.
Most directories go further than just listing your NAT, Name, Address and Telephone Number; they also offer custom advertising packages which are intended to get you more clients at a monthly cost.
One of FindLaw’s advertising packages offers to list your profile at the top of their directory on your legal area and in your county, for a price of $172.50/month at the time this article is written.
The amount of exposure you can get varies greatly depending on whether your type of customers use FindLaw and also what presence this site has on the areas where you do business, but, keep in mind you will get incredibly higher results when you pay to be on the top featured spots of the directory compare to having a free listing, particularly if there are a lot of other attorneys listed.
Avvo has its unique advertising package, but also offers the possibility to be on the top spots of the directory within your legal area and county. They actually go beyond this and have many other advertising features like selling your services directly through their website and also charging clients for a phone consultation.
Lista Legal being the newest of the directories mentioned here, offers a free profile and two advertising options, the first is for being listed on the top of the directory within your city and legal area. The second is for attorneys looking to hire help for web design, SEO and other online marketing services. To see how their marketing services can help you to get customers visit https://www.listalegal.com/en/for-lawyers
Even the best looking and highest ranked attorney directory could be worthless for your law practice if it doesn’t rank well on the internet for your legal areas of practice, or for the city or state where you live. As an example, if we search for immigration attorneys in San Diego, CA.
Sites like Justia, Avvo, and FindLaw show on the front page on Google. This means there is a high chance that the person searching will click on that site and see your listing. If you were only listed on lawyers.com, Martindale, Lista Legal or other law directories, the chances are the customers looking for your services on the internet aren’t going to find you because those sites did not show up on the first page of Google for that particular search term.
Let’s say the same person who was looking for an immigration attorney in San Diego, CA saw that Avvo was one of the first results on his phone when he did the search, could still ignore it if see a more familiar site. They could also choose not to use it if they open Avvo and don’t understand how to navigate the site or how to find your contact information.
Most people are very impatient when it comes to use a website and they move on from one website to another, until they find one with which they feel confident. Let’s say for example the same person who was doing the search is a Spanish speaking person, they would type “abogado de inmigracion” and saw Lista Legal in the results. He will feel confident with an attorney directory in Spanish that has a mission to connect the Latinos in need of representation with an attorney who understands Spanish. He would feel in tune with the message of the website and would appreciate being able to continue their search in Spanish.
In order to understand how to get clients who are looking for your legal services, first, we need to understand what is it that they are looking for, and how.
The top 3, most important criteria that a client follows when hiring an attorney are:
The lawyer’s ability to solve their legal problem,
Make the case as pain free as possible,
Complete the case within a budget.
How do clients know that an attorney will fit these criteria? This is where research comes into place. The internet has made it very easy to conduct research and also given power to the buyer, they have more options than ever.
Clients will be reading about the lawyer’s area of expertise, reviews, complains, and compare prices whenever is possible.
Clients will go far and beyond to assure him or herself that they will have a good experience working with the attorney before the contract is signed.
Legal Directories are a trustworthy and convenient way for clients to find all the information they need to learn about the different options available. Some directories even allow for legal consultation or a case evaluation online with an attorney, this is a big plus.
By using a directory, the client could search for bankruptcy attorneys, immigration attorneys, family lax, tax law, real estate law or pretty much any legal area you can imagine, and get the information fast, easy and all in one place.
Some directories will be more niche specific and only list lawyers who practice that specific area of law, we will be talking about those below.
Some people may prefer to conduct their search by other means like a newspaper, magazine, printed ads or a friend’s referral. We will look into some of those forms of advertising in this article.
Why would you want to use a niche specific directory rather than the ones mentioned above?
A person who is looking online for a family lawyer or a bankruptcy lawyer may choose to conduct the search on a Family Law directory, or a Bankruptcy Directory. The following websites are two examples of niche directories for Family and Bankruptcy Law :
The advantage for the users is that they save time on their research, they don’t care about the other legal areas and visiting a directory that only lists the kinds of attorneys they need is convenient.
This also gives an advantage for the attorneys that are creating their profile on those sites because the directory is so niche specific that it should have a very good ranking for the legal area they target.
Often times this directories also come with lots of free legal information in the form of blogs and Frequently Asked Questions that can help people understand how to resolve their legal matters.
New lawyer directories are filling the gap for the Spanish speaking population in the United States.
It used to be that businesses may have one single resources page in Spanish somewhere inside their English website, but now businesses are creating full versions of their website in Spanish.
Lawyers are following suit and working with sites like ListaLegal.com, Abogado and Abogados para Latinos. These sites offer great legal resources in Spanish and drive Spanish speaking clients to hire the lawyers they advertise.
I helped a Personal Injury lawyer in San Diego to develop and optimize both his English and Spanish websites. His marketing team worked on publishing content and interesting resources on both sites and also measured the traffic and customer engagement. After 5 months of tracking we concluded that for his Personal Injury practice the customer engagement and return on investment was up to 70% higher in the Spanish website compared to the English one.
Are your customers mainly Hispanic? If that’s the case consider the following:
- Translate your legal resources to Spanish and publish them in your website blog or use another legal blogging platform like LexBlog
- Create a Spanish version of your website
- Get listed on legal directories in Spanish
Something else that takes the form of a directory but often isn’t are the so called Lawyer Referral Services. The reason why I say sometimes they are not a directory is because they will mask themselves as a directory to gather your information. They say they will give you a list of attorneys that can help but usually they just gather your information and pass it on to the lawyers that hired them regardless of whether they are the best fit for you. This doesn’t provide an option to do research or get a feeling for the lawyers because they are not publicly listed on the website.
One good reason to use the Lawyer Referral Service is because their websites are approved by legal institutions and therefore have to abide by certain laws regarding how to refer an attorney and how to conduct their business. Something to be aware of, Lawyer Referral Services get paid a fee by each individual attorney that they refer to a client.
Some examples of CA State Bar Approved Lawyer Referral Services are:
- Legal Match
- Attorney Search Network
Last but not least we will look into printed attorney directories, the printed directories are not so common at the present time, I’m not saying that nobody uses them, they are just hard to find, at least in the area where I live in California. The last printed directory I had on my hands was the San Diego Attorney Directory 49th Edition published by The Daily Transcript, a San Diego business’s magazine.
I conducted a survey for 3 months with the help of three different law firms in the areas of Bankruptcy Law, Family Law and Immigration Law. We asked every single person who called, filled out the intake form on the website or walked in the office how is it that they learned of the law firm and not even one mentioned a printed directory. In a few cases they did see a newspaper or a magazine ad but the bulk of clients were from online traffic and referrals.
I’m not going to list the companies that publish printed attorney directories but there are several that do in different areas, a quick google search for printed legal directory in my (city name) will probably direct you to a site where you can order it.
Should you list your website on a Lawyer Directory?
Yes, you should. I think it should be clear by now that they can add value to your website and to you as a professional. Whether you choose to have your listing for free or pay extra to advertise on the top directory spots or pay for any of the extra features.
Consider reviewing these directories when you are meeting with your marketing team and laying out a strategy to drive customers and build visibility on the internet.
Not all directories are created equal or bring the same SEO value to your website. There are two things that you want to get from a legal directory that will bring more SEO juice:
- Get a link back to your website
- Make sure that the link is Do Follow as opposed to no follow since the later doesn’t improve your ranking.
A directory with a higher Domain Ranking (DR) which is a number from 0 to 100, will bring a greater value to your website and your SEO will improve. A really easy way to check the ranking for a particular directory is to use a tool like ahref.
On the image above you can see the DR 49 is the number inside the orange circle.
Is getting listed on a directory enough for getting new clients? I don’t think so. I think that if you want to thrive and stay competitive in the modern world they should be a part in the much broader marketing plan. Visit our list of recommended Lawyer Marketing in Spanish.