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The internet is chock full of online directories. Claiming and updating profiles for multiple sites can be time-consuming. It’s important to know which directories are resources worth your time and effort.

There are so many directories to choose from, and they may not be equally useful to you as a law firm owner. They may not have equal value to potential clients, either. It’s s good to be selective about directories. As you consider which directories will do the most to generate business and help build your brand, here are a few questions you’ll want to ask yourself:

  • Does this directory provide value to its visitors?
  • Can you tell if people are actually using this directory?
  • Does this directory currently rank well in search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo)?

Once you’ve used these questions as a guideline, think about completing your directory profiles. Building a substantial profile on these sites can encourage potential clients to take action. A completed directory profile makes it more likely that users will:

  • View your profile
  • Click through to your website and contact your law office
  • Leave a review for other users about their legal representation experience

Featuring your law practice on popular directories can help you publicize your services and completed profiles provide consistency for your brand across the internet.

A well-crafted directory profile can help you generate interest and new clients. It lets you display your credentials and services in places where they’re likely to be seen, rather than on your law firm’s website alone. It also provides you with new opportunities to network.

Listing your services in multiple, trusted venues can increase your exposure to those who may engage you and hire you. Even if someone who sees your directory profile doesn’t require legal representation immediately, there’s a good chance they’ll remember your name if they see it more often.

Most web users are exposed to several different websites before they make a decision to take action. If you aren’t on the directories described below, but your competitors are, you may miss opportunities to make an impression on a potential client.

Which Directories Do I Choose For My Law Office?

There are three directories we want to emphasize as clearly being used by internet searchers in 2015 to find attorneys:

Avvo, Google My Business and Yelp.

These listings rank well in search engine result pages and provide useful information about lawyers. They’ve built substantial name recognition and branding independent of the fact that they do well on Google. Your potential clients are likely using each of these resources when evaluating you and your law firm.

Avvo

Avvo is a directory and legal advice forum in which users can have their legal questions answered by attorneys free of charge. There’s a good chance you have an Avvo profile whether or not you’ve visited Avvo. If you do have an unclaimed profile, your potential clients may find you there, but with little information available about you.

Avvo’s profile set-up allows you to list your credentials and professional memberships. You can add information about your practice experience and representative cases, publications, awards and other accolades. You can also provide a bio and describe your firm’s services.

Avvo uses an algorithm to rate your services on a zero through 10 scale. (10 is the optimal rating.) Avvo can connect you with your legal peers, who can offer their professional endorsement of your work.

Avvo has done a great job of inspiring attorneys to participate in their rating system by claiming their profiles. It may be to your advantage to claim yours. If you do, add sufficient information to elevate your rating as high as possible. Ideally, if you can achieve a 10.0 rating on Avvo, you may benefit from it.

Bottom line: If you claim your Avvo profile, populate it with useful firm information. We have members who have benefited by asking happy clients and attorney colleagues to contribute reviews on Avvo. Many of our customers have embedded Avvo badges and awards in their LawLytics websites as additional signs of credibility and achievement for their potential clients and referral sources.

Google My Business

Conduct a Google search for a business and you may see information about that business in a box to the right of your results. That’s Google My Business at work. The information in that box is what Google calls, “the Knowledge Panel.” It can help your potential clients discover and contact your business.

Google My Business is packed with valuable information. Information about your firm, such as your contact information, hours of operation and more are all easily accessible to search engine users.

Like Avvo, Google allows users to rate and review your services here, too. Google My Business is accessible across desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones. It also allows you to connect to your audience through features like Google Plus.

Yelp

Yelp has continued to grow since 2004. It receives millions of monthly visitors. Your law firm page at Yelp will allow you to list all the pertinent information that potential clients need. It also gives you ways to connect with your clients through Yelp’s response tools. These tools give you options to respond privately or publicly to questions or comments from Yelp users. You can thank positive reviewers, or tell your side of the story with a response to any negative reviews.

Yelp is important for mobile users, particularly in larger, tech-savvy cities such as San Francisco. Everybody there seems to have the Yelp app on their phone, and many businesses — law firms included — get run through the Yelp app gauntlet before any purchase decision is made.

Claiming Your Law Office Profiles

Before you claim your profiles, be sure to read the following suggestions to avoid content mistakes that can harm your ability to be found online.

Duplicate Profiles

Duplicate profiles can negatively affect your firm in search engine results and can confuse potential clients who want to interact with you or contact your business.

For example, maybe you once signed up for Google My Business and you’ve since forgotten about that profile. We advise that you go back and use your old profile rather than creating a new one to avoid creating duplicates.

Content Consistency

Examine the following contact listings.

9128 River Street, Suite 215
Johnson City, TN 37601
(423) 555-0148

9128 River St., Suite 215
Johnson City, TN 37601
423.555.0148

9128 River Street, Ste. 215
Johnson City, TN 37601
423-555-0148

9128 River St., Suite #215
Johnson City, TN 37601
Tel: (423) 555.0148

These contact listings provide the same information, but they do so in four different ways. Humans can see that this information is the same. Search engines cannot. Search engines still rely on algorithms to do their job, and they may have a hard time recognizing the above items are the same address.

Provide consistent contact information on directories and your firm’s website. If you write your address as “9128 River Street, Suite 215,” don’t write it as “9128 River St., #215,” elsewhere. You may know the difference, but search engines likely don’t. A simple mistake like that can hurt your business.

Where Can I Go To Claim My Profiles?

If you’re interested in claiming your profile at Avvo, Google My Business or Yelp, click below to get started:

Avvo
Claim your profile: http://www.avvo.com/claim-your-profile

Google My Business
Claim your profile: https://www.google.com/business/

Yelp
Claim your profile: https://biz.yelp.com/support/claiming

To learn more about online directories and other ways to improve your firm’s web presence, call us at 1-800-713-0161 or click here to schedule a consultation.