Our Stance on Legal Directories
Protect Your Firm When You Do Business with Online Legal Directories
Online legal directories can be a viable way to supplement your law firm’s website to reach potential clients and make additional impressions on them. However, some online legal directories are a waste of money, and some stack the odds in their favor by profiting from your law firm’s website at the same time they are competing against it. Here are four simple guidelines that, when followed, will keep you safe:
Don’t Let Them Touch Your Website
Online legal directories are your search engine competitors. Directory businesses need to outrank law firm websites to continue to collect revenue from attorneys. So how could a directory business honestly use best efforts to help your website reach its ranking potential when doing so would go against its own best interests? Simply put, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll outrank a directory so long as that directory manages your website.
So don’t let a directory company build or manage your firm’s website. It’s a conflict of interest. Even if they offer a law firm website for “free” as part of your directory fee, it is important to understand that nothing is truly free: the cost is either baked into the directory fee or you’ll pay the price in missed opportunities.
Don’t Create Content for Directories
Some legal directories encourage your participation by creating content. This is an easy trap for attorneys to fall into. When you create content for directories, you’re helping them compete with your law firm’s website. They are using your efforts to earn the ability to keep charging you for placement or enhanced listings. Any energy that you are tempted to expend contributing to a directory’s content should instead be spent creating content for your own website. That way, you’ll own it, control it, and be the sole beneficiary of its success.
As a LawLytics member, we’ll help you recognize opportunities to flip the script on directories so you can compete without paying them rather than paying them to help them compete with your firm.
Don’t Link Your Website to a Directory
A directory should send visitors from the directory to your law firm’s website, not the other way around. That way, your potential clients are going from a place where they are exposed to your competitors to a place where you have their captive attention.
Linking to a directory benefits the directory but damages your law firm’s website. It is self-serving for any directory ask for a link or to place a link on your website. A link can be a simple text link — but it can also be a “trojan horse” link that comes embedded in awards and badges offered by the directory companies. These links divert visitors from your website to the directories you link to. They also divert search engine ranking from your site to theirs.
Insist on Transparency and Fair Terms
Directory contracts notoriously favor directories. Complete transparency and clear rules can help attorneys avoid bad deals. Clarify how many spots they can sell and what fraction of the leads produced they guarantee each spot.
Do they send leads to you exclusively, or to multiple lawyers? When multiple spots are sold, how are spots rotated? If more traffic or leads than expected are produced, will you benefit without additional cost, or will they open up additional spots to sell to you or your competitors?