One of the most popular legal websites for consumers is AVVO, a place where users can find attorneys, ask legal questions, and read lawyer reviews, among other related services. But while some attorneys swear that spending a significant amount of time and effort on the site is helpful to their firm, others believe that the site takes advantage of attorneys and that resources are better spent elsewhere.
What do we think? In this post, we’re going to take a close look at what AVVO does, as well as all of the benefits and drawbacks of using the service, along with how you should approach using AVVO for your firm.
Let’s get started!
What Is AVVO?
Founded in 2007, AVVO is a website geared to consumers regarding legal advice. The site partners with attorneys and law firms across the country in order to create content and connect consumers to the information and services that they need. Their services include:
- A national lawyer directory
- Attorney profiles and reviews
- Fixed-rate legal services
- Legal forms
- Legal advice forums
The Advantages Of Utilizing AVVO
The biggest single advantage of using AVVO as an attorney is that it is an opportunity to connect with potential clients who would not otherwise find your website or services. AVVO gets large volumes of traffic from those actively searching for lawyers, and if your profile and reviews look good, you can get a significant amount of business from the site.
AVVO is also perhaps the best place for attorneys to manage their online reputation outside of their own website and social media profiles. Lawyers who take the time to fully complete their profile and collect positive reviews (from both clients and colleagues) will boost their overall online presence.
Best of all, most of AVVO’s services for lawyers are free. Although there is an upgraded membership option available for a fee, attorneys can easily garner free advertising from the site and create new business without spending a dime.
The Disadvantages Of Utilizing AVVO
While getting great new clients through AVVO is wonderful, it is important to understand the problematic aspects of the website before pouring all of your time and effort into your profile.
The biggest disadvantage of using AVVO is the site’s rating system for attorneys. While attorneys are reviewed by both clients and colleagues on the site, they are also assigned a rating by AVVO itself. This rating is based on a number of factors, including work experience, awards, legal associations, publications, speaking engagements, and peer endorsements. Some attorneys complain that the AVVO rating does not correctly portray their skills and experience simply because the attorney has not taken the time to fully fill out their AVVO profile. Others say that the attorneys with the best AVVO ratings are simply the ones who have invested the most time into completing their profile–attorneys who have great reviews may have a low AVVO rating simply because they don’t invest as much time in the site.
Another concern is that AVVO encourages lawyers to post free advice and free legal content on their website via their legal forums. Attorneys who are considering posting in the AVVO forums should consider that they are giving “free” content to a legal website. In many cases, it might be better from a strategic viewpoint to produce original content for your website, blog, and social media platforms.
Another related disadvantage of AVVO is that with so many attorneys writing free content for the site, AVVO takes up many of the top slots on Google when it comes to the most common legal keywords. If all attorneys stopped writing for AVVO, individual law firms would have a better chance of ending up on page one of the search results.
Bottom Line: Online Marketing With AVVO Is About Balance
At Black Fin Marketing, we believe in balance. We think that totally shunning AVVO because of its cons is just as foolish as spending a large amount of time and effort trying to maintain achieve a higher AVVO rating.
This is the AVVO plan that we recommend for our attorneys:
- Fill out your attorney profile as completely as possible. It is vital that every possible field in your profile is completed, both for SEO reasons and so that users can learn as much about you as possible from your page. Filling out your profile doesn’t take up much time and is absolutely worth the effort, especially considering its affect on your AVVO rating. Be sure to check your profile periodically to make certain it is up to date with new accomplishments, career changes, and any other new information.
- Ask your best past clients for reviews. Users are much more interested in what your reviews say than what you have to say about yourself. AVVO is an excellent place to collect online reviews, so don’t be afraid to solicit testimonials from those that you’ve helped with legal services in the past. For the best results, send a personal email or pick up the phone to ask these clients for help. Never offer incentives for reviews or post fake reviews–these violations of the rules could have serious consequence.
- Ask your colleagues to trade reviews. AVVO is unique because it not only collects client reviews, it also collects peer reviews. Much like LinkedIn, this gives you the opportunity to promote the best attorneys you know on the site and to ask them if they will return the favor. Just be sure to remember that your authority is on the line, too: be honest with your reviews and instead of writing a poor review about a colleague, just don’t leave a review at all.
- Spend a limited amount of time in the forums. Answering questions in the legal forums can improve your authority as an attorney, but it also involves time and effort that could probably be better used elsewhere. It can be helpful to spend a few minutes in the forums, but we do not recommend devoting more time than that.
- Spend the time you save creating fresh new content for your own site. While using AVVO is important, we believe that spending more than a few minutes in the forums results in fresh content for someone else, not you. The better strategy is to take the time you would have spent answering questions and instead write a blog post, make a video, or create social media posts.
Create A Working Online Attorney Marketing Strategy With Black Fin
Having a solid online presence is increasingly important to attorneys and law firms, and yet an overwhelming majority of lawyers do not have any sort of comprehensive online marketing strategy. Change that today.
At Black Fin, we will put a plan together that will ensure that your online marketing resources are spent wisely and that you are getting as much as possible out of your time and money. Call our team today at (888) 793-8405 to talk about your needs and find out your next best step toward securing great new clients and getting great new business.