Dear Black Fin,
I’ve been told that it makes sense for my firm to advertise on directory sites like FindLaw, Lawyer.com, Avvo, Justia, and even Yelp. Can I expect a return on my investment from this advertisement? How can I know?
Curious Law Firm, LLC
This is a great question that comes up all the time.
Advertising on directory sites like the ones mentioned above is a relatively popular concept for law firms. On its surface, it makes sense. In a place where lots of law firms are listed, if yours is advertised people are more likely to see your firm.
But does it really make sense for you? Well… It depends.
First off, we highly recommend that you at least have a basic listing on popular lawyer directory websites like Avvo, Justia, Lawyers.com, and FindLaw. Doing this can only help you. There’s no significant financial investment and it makes it easier for potential clients to find your firm.
But on the question of advertising on these directories, the answer is not so cut and dry. But don’t be disappointed with the ambiguity, because there is in fact a relatively cut and dry process for making the decision.
Why Would You Post On a Directory?
Unless they know somebody personally, people generally search online to find somebody to fulfill their local service needs. This means that the majority of people looking for a lawyer are doing so online.
By posting your information on a directory, you’re making yourself visible to the many people searching for a lawyer online. Listing your firm on these directories gives the impression that you are credible and have a reputable standing.
Does this mean that every lawyer that posts their information on a directory is of a reputable standing? Of course not, but when it comes to converting potential clients into paying clients, the impression you give is everything.
Here are the basic things to consider in regards to which directory to list your firm on:
- The types of listings
- How listings are categorized and the number of categories
- The amount of traffic the directory generates
- The listing cost
Once you’ve taken these factors into account, you’ll know which directories are worth your time to list your law firm on.
Many directories offer basic listings for free, which is likely all you need to start. After creating those basic listings, you can decide whether you want to advertise with those directories or not, which brings us to making that decision…
To Advertise or Not To Advertise: Making Your Decision
You may know fellow lawyers or firms that have advertised on these directories in the past and had great success. You also may have fellow lawyers that have done the same with little to no success. While both of these cases may create a bit of doubt as to whether you should invest in advertising through these channels, after we explain our decision making process you should be doubt free!
First, you’ll want to search for your main keywords in Google. For example, if you were at Los Angeles personal injury lawyer, you could search “LA injury lawyer.” Check to see if any of those directories are ranking well.
If the directories are not ranking within the top 2 spots for the keywords you’re searching, we’d recommend not advertising.
The fact of the matter is that most of the traffic to these directories is coming directly from Google searches. People don’t frequently search directories to find lawyers. So, if a directory is not ranking well for certain keywords in a specific location, you probably won’t get a great return on your investment and they won’t be worth advertising on.
In the case of “LA injury lawyer,” advertising on Yelp could potentially be a good buy, as it’s the first search result that pops up in Google for the query.
But before you go rushing to Yelp to advertise on their website, make sure you do a number of searches. If your keywords include “LA injury lawyer,” they probably include “LA personal injury lawyer” or “los angeles injury lawyer.” If there is one directory that consistently pops up in the top two search results for your keywords, chances are it’s a good directory to advertise on.
Question: Since Yelp came up as the top result for “LA injury lawyer,” I can safely assume that it would come up as the top result for any other city’s injury lawyer search, right?
False. In fact, if you search for “Chicago injury lawyer,” Yelp doesn’t even show up in the first page of results.
Instead of Yelp, FindLaw pops up as the second result for this search.
Essentially, there is no such thing as a perfect directory to advertise on. Each city’s results will be different for different keywords.
Most searches for your keywords will pull up search results that include these sort of directories in the top couple of spots; however, this is not always the case. If you were to get more specific with your keywords and search “NYC birth injury lawyer,” you would find that no directories are found on the first page of Google.
While this is rare, it’s a perfect example of why you should always do research to see which directories would do well for you on Google when you advertise with them. Otherwise, you’re taking an unnecessary risk with your money. In the case of “NYC birth injury lawyer,” you would most likely get no return on your investment whatsoever.
So what is the tl;dr version of this?
If a directory ranks for a variety of keywords that are important to your business, it’ll probably be a relatively good buy to advertise with them. If not, then we’d recommend you put your money to use elsewhere.
If you’re still not quite certain about the process of finding which directories to advertise on, here’s a screenshare video with our CEO, Gerrid Smith, doing a walk-through tutorial.
The Four Attorney Directories You Should Absolutely Know
While there are many directory websites on the internet, some work better for lawyers than others. Generally, these directories are lawyer specific.
Directories like Yelp can certainly be helpful for lawyers, and may even appear in the top results of your keyword searches, but make sure to look out for these directories as well.
- FindLaw – Created by Thomson Reuters, FindLaw offers paid listings, but it is also one of the most popular places for free legal information on the web.
- Lawyers.com – With over 1 million layers and law firms around the world, Lawyers.com offers paid listings for their services. On the client side, they offer tips for how to choose a lawyer and a discussion community that covers a wide variety of legal topics.
- Avvo – One of the more popular sites for ranking lawyers, Avvo offers a wide variety of services to both lawyers and clients. The site gives potential clients the ability to directly connect with lawyers in many cases, sometimes with direct Q & A sessions.
- Justia – A wealth of information when it comes to case law, codes, regulations, legal articles and blogs, Justia is an excellent directory for both lawyers and clients.
Need Some Help with Your Law Firm’s Marketing Efforts?
At Black Fin, we know that making these decisions can be difficult considering you always want to make the most of your money. When it comes to advertising on these directories, these guidelines should give you the basis to make a decision, but each case is different and you may have questions that we were not able to answer here.
If that’s the case, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re here to help you become the best law firm possible so that you can help the clients in your communities. Don’t hesitate to reach out, contact us today!