Legal Directories are not old hat . . but remain significant sources of new business for lawyers. Here are 7 of the best lead generation directories?
Directories and similar sites can generate leads for lawyers if used properly – and some investment in time and money is made – but which lead generation sites for lawyers are best in terms of value and return on investment?
Google and Facebook are by no means the only directories that should be used, particularly so far as lawyers are concerned where many prospective clients are already surfing existing directory sites, such as those outlined below.
There are literally dozens of legal directories with varying levels of payment, service offering and usefulness. You can check Chris Dreyer’s recent assessment of the top legal directories here, along with stats on traffic, domain authority and other metrics.
Findlaw themselves say that over 40 per cent of those clients seeking legal help use directories as a first port of call. That figure – even if it is even half accurate – means they should not be ignore.
But there is another factor that makes looking for the best lead generation directories for lawyers a quest lawyers should be focused upon – particularly smaller law firms – because citations via directories are one of the key metrics that will help with location authority and boosting SEO campaigns for law firms.
How does that work?
A Google map citation relates to your business location, published web-wide and including your key details (name, address, city, state, zip, URL etc) and which is precisely the information you will use consistently across your directory listings – and which then help power the search engines in their ability to assess the relevance and the accuracy of your business – and enhance your law firm SEO
Steps to Ensure Top Listings
Ensure that you claim your listing, wherever possible. A decent and accurate description of your firm is key to letting searchers find your firm and understanding what you offer, including the use of keywords in the description (but NEVER keyword-stuffing, which will rebound on you).
And wherever possible ensure your law firm directory listings are consistent in terms of adding name, address, phone etc, as well as logo. Never skimp on providing details in any ‘about’ section either – this is a top opportunity to consistently use the description about your firm that can be picked up to lift your overall Google ranking. Say what sets your firm apart and the key selling points about your firm.
Some of our top list, like Avvo, Lawyers.com and Findlaw permit the law firms to answer legal questions and to submit content as guest authors. Taking advantage of these advantages (including quality guest posts on our own site at LawFuel) can help build authority, backlinks and online ranking.
We took a look at some of the best directories lawyers can use for legal leads. Let’s run through the top seven based on overall traffic, Alexa rankings and the assessment of those in the legal marketing space. Note that all the directories have both free and paid options.
Alexa ranking – 5800
Traffic – 620
Domain authority – 69
Avvo is a popular, although an oft-criticized directory and law firm review site but with around 8 million monthly visitors it is hardly one to be ignored. Now owned by the Martindale Legal Marketing Network, the site used various devices and ploys to capture the eyeballs of those with legal issues – and hence the lawyers who wish to meet those issues with their legal assistance.
The Q&A service provides basic answers to legal questions but the real attraction for the site and its revenue model is to provide lawyer reviews, and therein lies the issue for many lawyers.
The value and even the veracity of some of the reviews is subject to criticism, but the fact that there are up to 700,000 contacts made monthly means it is a site providing a potential high-value ‘match making’ service.
Profiles, Reviews and Ratings
Using public data, Avvo will provide lists of details on every lawyer for its so-called ‘unclaimed’ profiles and with free updates available. However there is also the provision for reviews to be left and for law ratings on a 5-star scale, which of course receive prominence on the directory.
Apart from the 5-star rating there is also a profile rating ranging from 1 to 10, a fact that is particularly criticized by lawyers because it is based on Avvo usage rather than expertise or ability.
Naturally, as with other legal directories, there is the ability to generate higher rankings with payment for legal advertising (after all, this is part of Martindale’s legal marketing).
- Basic Avvo profile – Free
- Claim your profile, update your bio information, answer questions in the Q&A forum
- Avvo Premium – $100/month +
- Includes enhanced search discoverability, more prominent contact information, conversion tracking, and more profile customization
- Avvo Advertising – $100/month +
- Targeted display ads and sponsored listings across various places on the Avvo network (can boost contacts by 70x)
- Avvo Websites – $200/month +
- Avvo will build and host a custom websites for your firm and link it to your Avvo profile
How to Increase Your Avvo Rating
There are ways that you can increase your Avvo rating by ensuring you provide the site with some key information when you complete your profile, all of which can work to generate new client interest in your firm.
Among the key factors to include –
- Your work experience: Provide as much experience and other areas of expertise as you can, including any roles you have held with legal associations, bar associations and other credible organizations.
- Peer endorsements: Peer recognition is a key way to secure endorsements and a boost to your Avvo profile.
- Your Awards: If you’ve ever received a coveted award from organizations like Super Lawyers or Martindale-Hubble, you’ll see a boost to your Avvo rating when you add it to your profile, especially if you received the reward in the past few years.
- Your Publications: When you add a law-related article to your profile, Avvo will take this as proof of your thought leadership and increase your rating. You can even get publication credit by publishing a legal guide directly on Avvo, which is a great move for building your online presence.
Alexa Ranking – 570
Traffic – 55.2m
Domain Authority – 93
US News’ lawyers rankings, along with the news site’s law school rankings and other data sits as the highest domain authority site on the legal directory list, thus providing a high value inclusion for those seeking to attract leads and backlinks to their law firm site.
For this reason alone – together with a perceived enhanced credibility because the news site is not one of the law marketing sites like Martindale, the inclusion in the US News Lawyers directory is valuable and one of the best legal directory sites for lead generation if used properly. (It is tipped at #1 in the Bipper Media directory listings).
Inclusion in the US News directory is based on whether the lawyer is working in private practice and does not need to be actually ranked by US News or sister site ‘Best Lawyers’ to appear.
However the Best Lawyers’ participants, which are about 4 per cent of private practice attorneys, have the opportunity to assess and vote upon other lawyers, thus providing the US News Directory with something different from the other directories.
US News Lawyers Pricing
The basic information to appear in the US News Lawyers Directory is free. For pricing details on enhanced or premium listings contact the US News Lawyer Directory people via their website.
However with this directory, our view is that for the ability to enhance your citation popularity and SEO it provides something additional to many of the other directories because of the US News connection via its news service, as distinct from a purely law directory media platform. There are some potentially key advantages in a platform as well recognized and with the level of traffic US News’ platform generates.
Alexa Ranking – 4,800
Traffic – 7.8m
Domain Authority – 72
Nolo started its life with the help of two attorneys 40 years ago to provide free information and help yourself guides to legal issues. Along with Avvo it is also part of the Martindale Legal marketing network, operating different sites that include specialist sites for personal injury and criminal lawyers as well as sites like AllLaw.com and LawFirms.com.
Receiving millions of visitors month, it uses SEO techniques to help drive traffic to the sites and their massive content.
Apart from the content, the main Nolo site also provides resources, ebooks, legal documents and of course lawyers.
The lawyer profiles appear alongside articles and content relevant to their practice areas, along with an opportunity to ‘speak with the attorney’ that can create the lawyer leads you’re seeking. Theses leads are sold
Pricing depends upon location, practice area(s) and the exclusivity of the listing.
The estimated price ranges on a per lead basis are –
- Bankruptcy $10-60
- Personal Injury $20-100+
- Divorce $20-40
- DUI $50-100
- Criminal Defense $20-60
- Estate Planning $20-40
How to increase Your Nolo Rating
Nolo offers a basic online profile and you should ensure that you make it as complete as possible to boost your online rankings.
Remember that Nolo, like the other directory sites, comes with a high authority ranking on Google and any link to your website and details about your firm will assist your own rankings. But take care not to abuse in any way in terms of keyword stuffing or overly promotional content.
There are also premium advertising options which should be considered, which permit a more substantial profile with the online legal directory. The basic profile has an annual fixed fee, including legal information and the ability to post articles, etc, all of which can be valuable to generate leads for your law firm, as well as providing higher exposure than a basic listing.
Alexa ranking – 3,900
Traffic – 3.3m
Domain Authority – 90
As with several of the other directories, Justia provides attorneys with a variety of resources and options, including web development, marketing and of course directory listings.
The site provides for lawyers to set up their own profiles and to also market their services. The search engine permits the usual searchers based upon location and area(s) of specialty.
With an easy-to-use directory it attracts high visitor numbers and thus provides an ideal lead generation platform for lawyers as well as providing an opportunity to market legal services and boost SEO metrics for your law firm site.
How Justia Works
Justias provides a wide range of services that range from copywriting, web design, SEO services and more. The basic listings are free with additional services depending upon the specific requirements.
However, like Findlaw, the web design services can create difficulties in terms of having your law firm website stand out from the crowd. Keep in mind, these are often cookie-cutter services that don’t necessarily create the law firm lead generation and specific identity that makes your law firm website stand out.
Further, there can be patchy customer service from Justia, as with some of the other bulk supplier law firm web design services like Findlaw.
How to Increase Your Justia Ranking
Again, like with Findlaw and other paid or free directory services, you get what you pay for – or don’t pay for as the case may be.
If you claim a free listing then you need to make sure that your full and consistent name, address, phone are added as well as your area of legal expertise so that you get a free leg up on SEO ranking. Keep in mind that the listings, based on geographical location, will mean that in most cases you will be up against everyone else in that location.
However beyond that you need to make the usual payments, depending upon what you are seeking and these will certainly enhance your law firm SEO, however the balancing act here is to determine where best to direct your search engine optimization efforts for your law firm.
Alexa ranking – 8000
Traffic – 6.8m
Domain Authority – 90
Findlaw is one of the original legal directories and remains one of the most important and popular.
It it in fact an ecosystem of websites that provide Q&A forums, guides, articles, blogs and more, permitting the ability for members to increase online rankings and generate leads.
The site also offers website building tools for lawyers, but frankly you are generally better hiring your own web designer rather than jumping on the Findlaw bandwagon for one of their website plans. The reason is simply flexibility and being independent enough to have the necessary changes made to your website as your law firm requirements change.
There are other issues too, such as relatively poor to appallingly poor reviews for their services and the fact that some of the images, content, media etc that you will have on your site might not be owned by yourself should you wish to change the hosting of your law firm site.
How FindLaw Works
FindLaw’s sheer size creates its own impetus and value for law firms seeking leads and good SEO returns. The network runs a number of related sites like the Martindale Legal Marketing Network and apart from Findlaw includes SuperLawyers.com, LawInfo.com and others.
FindLaw uses targeted online advertising for its lead generation, capturing leads from its pages via a contact form and then selling them to an attorney operating in that geographic and specialty location in a manner similar to Nolo, except that Findlaw will not share its leads but maintains exclusivity.
How to Increase Your Findlaw Ranking
Check other rankings on Findlaw to see what is working and try and avoid duplication, by providing your own unique profile description.
Don’t miss out on name, address, and phone number details in your profile, ensuring consistency with other directory listings. Add the firm logo.
Also ensure that you both publish and also verify your accounts once you’re done. In FindLaw, “publishing” the profiles authorizes them to be listed in the directory while “verifying” tells FindLaw that you’re standing by the veracity of all the information listed. FindLaw is more likely to display verified accounts than unverified accounts; it’s important to remember to both publish and verify after setting up or making changes to any profile.
- Premium Lawyer Profiles – $125/month
- Lead Generation costs depend upon location and firm size –
- Estimated price ranges per lead:
- Bankruptcy cases $10-60
- Personal Injury cases $20-100+
- Divorce $20-40
- DUI $50-100
- Criminal Defense $20-60
- Estate Planning $20-40
- Estimated price ranges per lead:
Alexa Ranking – 30,300
Traffic – 1.6m
Domain Authority – 68
Lawyers.com says it has over a million lawyer and law firm profiles on its directory and has been merged into the group including Nolo and Avvo.
As with these major directories it provides a raft of free information, and content, a Q&A forum and a the lawyer review system
How Lawyers.com Works
Lawyers.com attracts visitors to its website via SEO and advertising. It also has a very memorable brand name and domain which is easy for consumers to remember.
When people go to the Lawyers.com website, they are immediately prompted with a search box where they can browse by legal issue, lawyer name, or location.
The site has a search function matching profiles with those searching and with a ratings system similar to that used by Avvo with the lawyer and law firm details, location, area of expertise, contact information and the usual directory listing content.
As part of the Internet Brands there is exposure via Nolo and Martindale.com, providing what appears to be additional advantage for those lawyers using the directory ‘leg-up’ for Google ranking.
Estimated price ranges per lead:
Personal Injury $20-100+ (depending on injuries)
Criminal Defense $20-60
Estate Planning $20-40
Wrap Up on Best Legal Directories
Using legal directories to get great lead generation takes some homework but using the basic listings alone will help elevate online profile and when combined with Facebook and Google listings and using consistent information, logos, practice areas and contact information you can build an online platform that will certainly provide leverage for online visibility – and client calls.
Using even a simple directory listing at low cost, such as LawFuel’s Directory (combined with content) you can generate a higher online content.
LawFuel doesn’t pretend to provide major directory exposure in the sea of other directories, but has some interesting stats that can elevate your law firm’s profile (hence the daily requests for links). Consider this –
- Alexa ranking – 153,000
- Domain Authority – 54
With a 20 year history in publishing legal content the site’s authority ranking is a definite Google elevation factor but with the additional key advantage of a combination of decent content that Google loves – if properly prepared – and a ranking to follow.
For a current discounted rate email [email protected] for the directory listing/content package using the code ‘premium’ in your email and you receive a 50 per cent discounted deal.