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Review and Compare

Martindale-Avvo Legal Websites

This article reviews law firm websites offered by Internet Brands under various company names, compares them to LawLytics with the goal of helping attorneys decide which model is best for their law firm’s website.

Martindale-Avvo Websites Review For Lawyers

Internet Brands is a “vertically focused” internet company that operates in four core verticals. Its legal vertical consists of several acquired websites, including Avvo, Martindale, Lawyers.com, Nolo, and other legal directories, as well as the Ngage Live Chat service, and Captorra.

Internet Brands also operates in other verticals, including Automotive (CarsDirect, F150Online and others), Health (WebMD, DentalPlans.com, Dentalfind.com, MedScape and others), Home and Travel (weddingbee, kidscamps.com, ApartmentRatings and others) as well as a general category it calls “Diversified Media” (ultimatecoupons, Ben’sBargains, Loan.com, ModelMayhem and others). 

In addition to its lead generation websites and directories in the legal space, Internet Brands also offers various legal marketing agency services to attorneys. This includes selling law firm websites under both its Avvo and its Martindale-Avvo brands. Each of its legal directories (Avvo, Martindale, Lawyers.com, Nolo, etc.) is a direct competitor with your law firm’s website for search engine queries conducted by your potential clients. For an in-depth discussion of the unavoidable conflict of interest when a directory business also runs a marketing agency, see our review of FindLaw.

Internet Brands owns the trademarks and service marks for several awards, including Martindale-Hubbell, that attorneys have classically relied on as in indicia of prestige, ethics, and accomplishment among peers. The importance of these types of awards (in the mind of consumers) have been diluted by the proliferation of awards such as “Superlawyers” and Avvo’s ratings. However, many attorneys still play the game of accumulating credentials from brands that were originally or are now owned by marketing companies. And, when it comes to the online attorney ratings game, Internet Brands is a king without peer.

Some law firms benefit from paid listings on Martindale, Lawyers.com, Avvo, and other Internet Brands directory websites, while others see little to no return on investment. The results vary based on several factors, including the practice and geographic areas. Regardless of whether a law firm pays Internet Brands for listings and leads, lawyers should be aware of — and give serious consideration to — the conflict of interest that exists when they also let Internet Brands build, host, or optimize their firm’s website.

As often happens when a big company (Internet Brands) acquires a small one (Avvo), there is a period of time where the big company has multiple competing products in the same category. This is true with marketing agency offerings in this case. And, while it appears that Internet Brands favors its Martindale agency brand and services, it still advertises Avvo law firm websites and Martindale law firm websites as separate products with separate value propositions.

We’ll address both offerings together in this review.

Both brands sell WordPress websites to lawyers. This review goes into specifics about each offering not addressed in the more general piece reviewing WordPress for Lawyers (which we recommend that any lawyer currently using or considering using WordPress read).

What follows is a review of Avvo and Martindale law firm websites, and then frequently asked questions about moving from either brand to LawLytics.

A Review of Avvo Law Firm Websites

In November of 2012, Avvo announced the launch of a new product called “Avvo Ignite,” which was a marketing dashboard combined with a template-based WordPress website. At that time, Avvo had access to nearly every attorney in the United States through its database, and a huge number of attorneys had claimed their Avvo profiles and were playing Avvo’s ratings game. LawLytics had just launched, and Clio and MyCase were getting traction. Attorneys were warming up to the idea of being in control of their websites and online marketing using cloud-based software. So Avvo created a product that promised to put attorneys in control. In reality, the website portion of the Ignite product was a limited version of WordPress with a few basic templates that didn’t improve how attorneys built, maintained, published to, or edited their websites.

At the time Avvo was acquired by Internet Brands, the Ignite product had failed, but Avvo was still selling WordPress websites under the name “Avvo websites.”

There are several things that attorneys should be aware of as they consider whether to use Avvo to build and manage their law firm’s website. Before we dive into the specifics of Avvo websites, it’s important to understand everything that Internet Brands is currently selling to lawyers under its Avvo label:

Avvo Profiles: Even if you don’t opt in or even want to have an Avvo Profile, you may already have one. You can claim your profile for free, which gives you the power to add information about your firm, thus increasing the “rating” that Avvo assigns to you. Because you are adding relevant information about your practice to a publicly accessible web page, participating makes it more likely that Avvo will rank well for searches for your name conducted on Google. This can hurt your practice by siphoning off clients that are searching for you by name. While this is a “free” service, it comes with hidden costs, which we cover in detail elsewhere (see the commoditization of lawyersthe importance of being in control,  and this piece on adding Avvo badges to law firm websites).

Avvo Premium Listings: If you want potential clients to be able to easily contact you from your Avvo profile, and/or if you want to minimize their exposure to your competitors while they visit your profile, Avvo will sell you a “Premium” profile. For $100 per month, Avvo will remove your competitors’ ads from your profile and allow you to have a phone number and a link to your website on your profile. Avvo has designed its attorney profile pages so that most attorneys risk missing direct referrals if they don’t pay Avvo’s $100 per month fee. Therefore, many attorneys purchase a Premium listing defensively.

Avvo Advertising: Avvo advertising is exactly what it sounds like. You buy ads in relevant areas of Avvo that advertise your firm. There are two types of ads you can buy. “Sponsored listings” make your firm appear at the top of relevant directory pages. And “Display ads” are featured on high-traffic pages. Avvo illustrates how (comparatively) useless a regular Avvo profile is without paying Avvo by saying that “Avvo advertisers receive up to 70x more contacts than non-advertisers.” Avvo does not state what the baseline number of contacts is for non-advertisers.

Websites: Avvo sells WordPress websites to law firms. According to its website, the prices currently start at $200 per month, and an initial 12-month commitment is required. These tend to be very basic, entry-level websites.

Avvo Q&A Forum: While it’s nominally “free” to use, Avvo’s Q&A forum comes with opportunity costs for firms that participate. Avvo invites attorneys to create content for it, after which Avvo can use that content to drive more impressions and sell more Avvo Advertising. As an attorney, you do the work for them in hopes that you’ll get some client inquiries from your answers. Avvo claims that “Attorneys generate 10x more contacts by answering 15 questions on the Avvo Q&A forum.” It’s unclear whether the company claims that there is a multiplication effect for attorneys who engage in Avvo Advertising and also answer 15 questions. If attorney get 10x by answering 15 questions, and (as Avvo claims) 70x by advertising, do attorneys who do both get up to 700x more contacts than attorneys who do neither? Depending on what the baseline is for non-advertisers, this could be a significant number or an insignificant one.

Now that you have an overview of all of Avvo’s services for lawyers, let’s examine the efficacy of its Websites product.

How much do Avvo websites cost?

Internet Brands is currently advertising Avvo websites at $200 per month, but the price has fluctuated over the years. For a while, it offered websites for “free” to law firms that bought Avvo advertising, and also for $99 per month.

As mentioned above, Avvo websites are essentially starter websites. For firms that don’t need to produce business through their websites, they may suffice, especially if they are free. If the firm is already doing business with Avvo, it may be convenient to purchase an Avvo website and have one fewer vendor to deal with. But any attorney considering an Avvo website for their law firm should understand the drawbacks and limitations.

With Avvo, some attorneys have adopted a self-sabotaging approach to content and SEO. It’s unclear if this was done based on Avvo’s guidance, lack thereof, or in spite of guidance to the contrary. The self-sabotage is most clearly evidenced when attorneys publish content on Avvo.com’s Q&A instead of on their own websites. This is a mistake. It leverages the attorney’s content, name, and efforts to help Avvo.com in the search engines, while simultaneously suppressing the ability of the firm’s website to compete for search engine traffic (against Avvo and rival law firms). It also makes the law firm more dependent on Avvo because Avvo can then use the attorney’s Q&A responses to sell ad space on Avvo.com to the attorney’s competitors.

One Avvo attorney website we recently examined contained the following:

  • Thin content on the law firm’s (Avvo-powered) website. The law firm’s website had a total of seven pages indexed by Google. This is not enough content to compete, especially when contrasted with the next point.
  • Excessive content published directly to Avvo.com. The firm’s main attorney had written a combined total of 900 legal answers and legal guides on Avvo.com. Each answer the attorney wrote helped Avvo.com better compete for search traffic. It made each Avvo Q&A more likely to attract potential clients — that’s the good part. But it also exposed the potential clients it attracted to the attorney’s competitors on Avvo (who also answered questions), and to the attorney’s competitors who purchased Avvo ads that were displayed along with the answers. Had the attorney instead used his energy to write content for his own website, he would have built a valuable marketing asset that he owned and that would likely be producing a lot of potential clients. But instead, Avvo can monetize all 900 of the attorney’s answers, while the attorney only has seven total pages on his website.
  • Excessive links to Avvo. Every page on the law firm’s website contained a minimum of nine links back to Avvo. None of the backlinks contained a “no-follow” attribute (which would preserve PageRank for the firm’s website and would prevent it from being passed to Avvo.com). So the links effectively took from the firm’s website to give a benefit to Avvo. The absence of the “no-follow” attributes on the links from the firm’s website back to Avvo was made even more glaring and problematic from a SEO perspective by the fact that Avvo protected Avvo.com by adding “no-follow” attributes to the links from the attorney’s Avvo.com profile back to the firm’s website (which deprived the attorney’s website of any potential search engine benefit).

From a design perspective, the Avvo law firm websites that we’ve reviewed lag behind today’s standards. Many Avvo attorney websites have designs based on WordPress templates built in the early days of responsive web design. This, in itself, does not indicate that the website is not performing. But details do matter, especially when the law firm’s website will be many clients’ first impression of the law firm. Some design elements shouldn’t be ignored, and we’ve seen Avvo lawyer websites that lack even the most basic design element: a logo. Overall, the appearance of most sites tends to lag behind designs created by Avvo’s main agency rivals, FindLaw and Scorpion Design. Avvo website designs tend to be in line with what lawyers should expect to produce if they use a general do-it-yourself system website tools like Wix.

The bottom line is that Avvo provides starter websites for attorneys who don’t need to depend on their websites to produce much business for their law firms. Firms that want to grow, or need to derive business fro their websites may outgrow their websites or otherwise become dissatisfied before the expiration of the 12-month initial commitment.

Review of Martindale Law Firm Websites

The Martindale brand has “evolved” since being acquired by Internet Brands. Before the company acquired Avvo, it went by the following names:

In 2017, Internet Brands was calling it “Martindale-Nolo Legal Marketing Network” (see screenshot below):

Martindale-Nolo Websites For Lawyers Screenshot from 2017 Showing The Brand's Logo

In 2018, it was calling it “Martindale Legal Marketing Network” (see screenshot below):

Martindale Legal Marketing Network Homepage Screenshot from 2018 Showing The

In 2019, it’s now calling it “Martindale-Avvo” (see screenshot below):

Martindale-Avvo Website Screenshot Showing Logo From 2019 After Adding

We offer the above brief history to add context aimed at making Internet Brands’ law firm website offerings less confusing. As of October 2019, it sells marketing products under the Avvo brand, and also under the Martindale-Avvo brand. To further confuse matters, the company calls the websites it sells under Martindale-Avvo by yet another name: “Martindale-Hubbell’s Website Series,” which comes in a variety of packages.

Under the Martindale-Avvo label, the company sells a variety of marketing agency services, in addition to live chat, pay per leads, and profiles on its directories.

It is clear that Internet Brands has invested more time and energy into the Martindale-Avvo agency brand, and it appears the Martindale-Hubbell Website Series is marketed as a higher-end agency service than the Avvo websites product. This section will review Martindale-Hubbell websites.

The company offers four different law firm website packages named after precious metals. The Bronze package is the least comprehensive, and the Platinum package the most comprehensive.

Like Avvo, Martindale-Hubbell blurs the line between what is a law firm website, and what is off-site marketing like directory listings. All packages include some presence on Lawyers.com. Here’s a screenshot that shows what Lawyers.com features are included with a Martindale-Hubbell® website:

Lawyers.com Visibility Included with Martindale-Hubbell® Websites

Just like the Avvo Q&A product, “Ask a Lawyer participation” lets lawyers answer questions asked by potential clients. Lawyers.com benefits from the content the attorneys write. In exchange, the attorney earns the opportunity to drive traffic or leads to his/her website, Lawyers.com Profile, or to get leads in direct contact with the firm by filling out a form or using the phone. The Ask feature appears to be a feature of having a Lawyers.com listing, which presumably attorneys can purchase even if they don’t have a Martindale-Avvo website.

The two most comprehensive packages, Gold and Platinum, include some “SEO” features which obscure the real meaning of SEO in a way that is similar to many other agencies that still attempt to ascribe value to “SEO” services where there is none. See this law firm SEO primer for an in-depth look at what is real and what is an illusion when it comes to SEO.

In at least one case, an “SEO” feature is misleading because it promises to “Enable star ratings on your Google search result pages” for the Gold and Platinum packages. This is an SEO trick that was intentionally removed by Google, and it no longer possible. 

Without going into the merits (or lack thereof) of each of the “SEO” items included in Martindale-Hubbell packages, we recommend that if you’re considering Martindale-Hubbell for your law firm’s website, choose the Bronze or Silver packages and avoid spending money on their “SEO.” Here is a screenshot of the advertised included SEO features:

Martindale-Avvo® Included Law Firm SEO Services

All of the website packages appear to include some written content. It is unclear whether the content is original, whether it’s for your firm’s exclusive use, who will write it, or what the quality of the content will be. Like the Martindale-Hubbell “SEO Services,” there are some potential pitfalls that attorneys should be mindful of as they consider this service.

Martindale-Avvo® Written Content Services Included With Law Firm Websites

Written content implies that the company that sells it will provide it. However, for “Online reviews display and acquisition” this does not make sense, since a marketing agency cannot write reviews for its clients. We recommend that, if you are considering a package where content is material to your decision, that you clarify the amount of content that you’ll receive and how much of your payment goes towards that content.

Finally, all of the packages included exactly the same “Design and Functionality” features. Some of these features are table-stakes for any law firm website, while others merit additional exploration. And one of them, when you read behind the lines, will likely be the cause of much attorney frustration. Here’s the full list (a screenshot from the Martindale-Avvo™ website) followed by a brief discussion of each included item:

Martindale-Avvo® Law Firm Website Design and Functionality Features: Includes responsive websites, SSL, call tracking, and various levels of support.

World-class support: Let’s start with the elephant in the room, “World-class customer support.” This sounds great. After all, who wouldn’t want excellent customer support, especially surrounding a vital piece of a law firm’s marketing infrastructure?

At first glance, the support times listed for the various packages appear to be response times. For reference, a 30-minute response time is great in the software industry. However, the way Martindale-Hubbell® has it listed doesn’t make sense because the response times would be 3x as long with the high-end “Platinum” plan as they would be with the low-end “Bronze” plan (90 mins vs. 30 mins).

As it turns out, the times listed aren’t average response times — they’re total included support time, after which the firm will presumably need to purchase additional support. Even the 90 minutes of support time for Platinum could be a significant problem for any attorney who is looking to get more out of their website. In contrast, LawLytics provides an unlimited amount of included support.

If you’re thinking about getting a Martindale-Hubbell website, and you think you’ll need support, you should clarify how much support is included with whatever package you choose. You should also clarify what you’ll be charged for additional support when you exceed the included limits. You should also clarify what response times to expect, where the support agents will be located, and what their level of training and expertise will be. Paying extra for support may serve as a deterrent for some attorneys to seek out support at all, which can severely disadvantage the law firm.

Let’s look at the other included features:

Fully responsive websites: This should be table-stakes. No modern website should be anything other than responsive.

SSL site security: Again, table-stakes. All modern law firm websites should have a security certificate, which prevents web browsers from warning your potential clients that the site is not secure.

Customized widgets: It’s unclear what is meant by a “calendar” widget (blogs frequently used to feature a calendar that users could click on days to see what was published). Things like an RSS feed (which stands for “Real Simple Syndication”) and video capabilities are table-stakes that any website should have built in. The one area of concern under this category is “awards widgets.” When companies like Internet Brands and FindLaw that offer website agency services in addition to their directory business offer awards widgets, these are frequently bad for the law firm and benefit the agency’s own directory business.

Call tracking numbers: As we discuss in greater detail in our review of FindLaw’s websites for lawyers, having a call tracking number is a double-edged sword. If your firm owns the number, then great. But if the marketing agency owns it, there’s the potential for problems down the line. Tracking numbers are easy to implement, and they’re affordable. And while this is a third-party add-on to any LawLytics account, it always makes sense for the law firm to own and control their tracking numbers.

Content management system: WordPress is a free content management system that isn’t built specifically for attorneys. It’s free software. It’s what Martindale-Avvo websites use. Learn more about WordPress for lawyers before buying into the myth that it’s the best system for law firms.

Custom image rotation on homepage: Most websites can add rotating images to the homepage. This is commonly called a “slider.” The “custom” part appears to be that the attorney can choose the images. Some law firm websites benefit from having a slider on the homepage, while it hurts others. The key is to understand when it’s appropriate for the best user experience, and when it’s better not to have one.

How do Martindale-Hubbell law firm websites perform?

Let’s turn to an analysis of how Martindale-Hubbell sites perform.

Like its adopted younger sister-brand Avvo, there is a fair amount of variability between Martindale attorney websites. Some of this is likely because many of the websites have not been updated in years. Some may predate the brand’s acquisition from LexisNexis. Sites appear to differ based on several factors, including:

  • Was the website originally with LexisNexis before Internet Brands acquired its website business?
  • Has it been redesigned?
  • Is it mobile friendly?
  • What SEO tactics have been used?
  • How much content is there, and what state is it in?

Many of the Martindale legal websites that we examined use design, coding, and SEO practices that should be corrected with better practices. These corrections include:

Nonstandard CSS and Javascript code practices. Attorneys shouldn’t have to worry about the technical aspects of coding a website. But when a website company uses methods that can negatively impact the performance of their website, it is important to have a general awareness of the commonly accepted best practices.

CSS (“Cascading Style Sheets”) is the code that tells web browsers what your website should look like. The standard (and best) practice is to use external files that contain the CSS code. Essentially, these are reference files that support your firm’s website. They are accessible by all of the public-facing pages of the site.

This practice is optimal because each page can reference the same file. The result is that the web browser only needs to load the file once. This makes the experience faster — and better — for your potential clients and the search engines. It also makes it possible to update the styles across your entire website by updating the style code in only one file instead of on multiple pages. This makes it a lot easier to maintain websites, and a lot easier to have website styles that evolve with the times.

Javascript is a computer programming language that tells web browsers how to manipulate and animate elements of a website. For example, Javascript can program hover effects and menu animations. Most of the Javascript on a website should reside in a separate file for the same reason given above for CSS.

The Martindale websites we reviewed often ignore best practices when it comes to CSS and Javascript. Instead, they have the CSS and Javascript code load with each page on their law firm websites. The set up for many of the Martindale sites that we have examined isn’t optimal: the CSS loads first, then the Javascript, and then the content about the law firm — all in a single file. In one Martindale law firm website that we analyzed, there were approximately 12,250 lines of Javascript and CSS code (that’s a lot!) that needed to load with each page before anything about the law firm loaded. These thousands of lines of code need to load every time someone visits any any page of the website. This can cause slowness. This can be avoided by using separate CSS and Javascript files.

This is easily fixed and it’s something that is corrected automatically during the migration process onto the LawLytics platform. After the migration, most of your CSS and Javascript code will load in separate files and will be stored in your visitors’ browsers so that it only needs to load once. This typically provides a better browsing experience and also prevents the same code from being loaded each time a search engine visits your website. It will also set you up for future redesigns that we include with LawLytics membership every two years.

Location keyword stuffing. Many of the Martindale attorney websites we’ve looked at contain clusters of location keywords stuffed into a paragraph towards the bottom of each page on the site. This is an old practice that is now ineffective with the search engines and can, at times, be problematic.

The strategy behind adding these paragraphs — which became obsolete about a decade ago — was to add local words to each page of the website by including city, town, and county names in a paragraph such as: 

The Jupiter Law Firm is located in Phoenix, AZ and serves clients in and around Maricopa County including Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler, Ahwatukee, Scottsdale, Glendale, Peoria, Tempe, Carefree, Cave Creek, Queen Creek, Tolleson, Fountain Hills, Gila Bend, Sun City, Wickenburg, El Mirage, Litchfield Park, Buckeye, Surprise and Goodyear.

But this strategy no longer works with the search engines, and, depending on how prominent the lists are, could be seen as a spam signal or low-quality signal by the search engines. We recommend that you remove these lists and instead create targeted local content that will send the right signals to the search engines and help you connect with clients who live in or have matters in, whichever locations you want.

Links that benefit Internet Brands, but not the attorney. We surveyed many Martindale law firm websites. In every site, we found outbound links that were helpful for Internet Brands’ own websites, but were, in our opinion, counterproductive for the law firm that owned each website.

Excessive Footer Links. Of the sites that we examined, we discovered the footers (which appear on every page of the website) typically contained at least three links to Internet Brands properties, with some containing as many as five. There was typically a “Martindale-Hubbell” logo link, which goes to the home page on martindale.com, as well as links to lawyers.com and martindale.com (which invite visitors to “See our profile”). On some of the sites, there were additional small red and blue images that link to martindale.com and lawyers.com, respectively.

Like the links found on the Avvo law firm websites, none of the links on the Martindale law firm websites contained “no-follow” attributes. Therefore, the Martindale-built sites passed rank (SEO value) from the law firm’s website to Internet Brands’ lead generation properties, hurting the law firm’s SEO and helping Internet Brands’ SEO. In addition, while some of the links that were supposed to be directed to the firm’s or attorney’s profile on Lawyers.com and Martindale.com resolved correctly, at least one firm’s footer profile links transported visitors (and search engines) to the home pages of Lawyers.com and Martindale.com instead of the attorney’s profile.

Unproductive homepage links. The body text of your website’s homepage is prime real estate. It’s your chance to draw potential clients in, make an emotional connection with them, and encourage them to contact you or go deeper into your web pages. It’s also a prime location to tell the search engines about other important pages on your website (by linking to those pages).

While some of the Martindale websites we examined used this space in the best interest of the law firm, we also observed other websites where the only link in the body of the homepage pointed to Martindale.com. The link text stated that the firm had achieved the “AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rating by Martindale-Hubbell®”. 

The link resolved to a general page on Martindale.com that explained the Martindale-Hubbell reviews system, and invited attorneys to get started (presumably by becoming a lead for Internet Brands) and for consumers to learn more.

This is problematic for an attorney who expects the best results from his or her law firm’s website for two reasons:

  1. It exposes potential clients to competitors. The link opens a new website window or tab that takes the potential client’s attention away from the law firm’s website and potentially exposes the client to the firm’s competitors on Martindale.com. By opening a new window or browser tab with Martindale-Hubbell’s promotional message, the visitor is no longer looking at the law firm’s website. Instead, the visitor is looking at a website that sells leads to other attorneys and exposes the firm’s potential clients to the firm’s competitors.
  2. It’s bad for the law firm’s SEO. The links enhance Martindale’s SEO but detract from the firm’s. By linking prominently to Martindale.com in the middle of the homepage without a “no-follow” attribute, the page is arranged to tell search engines that Martindale.com and its rating system is a point of central importance on the most important page of the law firm’s website.

Founded in 1868, the Martindale Directory became a print legal directory that, as recently as 20 years ago, was influential in the legal community. Today, however, consumer and most attorneys that graduated from law school this century don’t see it as having the authority it once carried. Most young lawyers don’t know or care about its history and see it as just another online legal marketing company. It makes no sense to risk losing the attention of engaged potential new clients by diverting their attention to Martindale.com because it’s not a needle-mover for most potential clients. It’s better to keep them as a captive audience on your firm’s website.

Conclusion

We hope that this review of Avvo and Martindale websites for lawyer was helpful. We hope that the information will help you understand what you’re getting and what you’re sacrificing, and that it will empower you to make the best choices for your law firm’s future.

If you’re interested in exploring LawLytics, or in learning more about the differences, we invite you to schedule a demo so you can experience the platform for yourself.

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Moving your law firm website from Avvo or Martindale to LawLytics

Our process makes the migration easy and safe, resulting in:

No downtime

No "orphaned" content

No loss of ranking

No loss of PNC conversion rate

No loss of organic traffic

No loss of PNC time on site

FAQs about switching from Avvo to LawLytics

The following are answers to questions about moving from Avvo to LawLytics. For Martindale questions, scroll down to the next section. We encourage you to schedule a demo so you can see the differences in action and discuss logistics.

If I cancel my Avvo website, can I still have Avvo advertising? Should I?

Yes, you can absolutely have it if you want it. Lots of attorneys have their website with LawLytics and also have an Avvo Premium listing or purchase Avvo advertising.

Avvo Advertising. Avvo advertising puts your profile in one of the “sponsored listings” spots on top of its practice type pages for geographic areas you purchase, as well as in display ads on the sidebar of results pages, and on your competitors’ pages who don’t pay for Premium Listings (see below).

Avvo advertising seems to produce more value for attorneys in certain geographic and practice areas than others. For example, consumer-facing areas of law such as DUI and family law tend to do well in large tech-savvy metro areas such as Seattle.

Avvo Premium Listings. When Avvo started out, listings were free. Their monetization model has evolved over time. Under Internet Brands, Avvo recently made some modifications to its attorney listings that make it very difficult for your potential clients to contact you if you have not purchased a Premium Listing.

This recent switch, which upset many attorneys who had previously been attracting new clients through Avvo’s free listings, removes the phone number and links to the firm’s website from their Avvo profile. This essentially forces attorneys to pay if they want to play.

Today, for consumers, it appears that the only way to use Avvo to contact an attorney who doesn’t pay for a Premium Listing is to send the attorney a message through an Avvo form, and the link to do that is buried deep down on the page underneath invitations to “Find attorneys” and “Ask a free question” so that, on most devices and screen sizes, the consumer wanting to contact the lawyer would have to scroll significantly down the page. From a usability standpoint, potential clients are far less likely to use it. This is a serious problem for any lawyer who has an Avvo page that ranks well in Google searches for their name. If you choose not to pay for an Avvo Premium Listing, the potential clients that are referred directly to you and find your Avvo listing when they search for your name on Google may become distracted by Avvo’s other (strategically more prominent) calls to action embedded in your free Avvo profile, or click on an advertisement for one of your competitors that Avvo has added to your free profile.

We’ve been warning attorneys about this for years before it actually happened. But now that it’s here, this may not be the right time (for your law firm’s business) to take a principled stand against Avvo. Instead, apply an objective cost-benefit analysis:

Avvo currently charges $100 per month for attorneys to upgrade their listings to a Avvo Premium. If your free (and now essentially useless) Avvo profile is ranking in Google searches for your name, the cost of a Premium Listing (which removes your competitors’ ads and allows your clients to see your direct contact information) is likely less to your firm than the profits you’ll miss from one viable potential client who is referred directly to you but that Avvo siphoned off into another firm that does pay them for advertising.

Conclusion. The bottom line is that you absolutely can have Avvo marketing without having your law firm’s website built, managed or hosted by Avvo. And we believe that, if you choose to do business with Internet Brands through its Avvo brand, this is the responsible approach. It lets you protect yourself from having referrals filtered away from you and may expose you to potential clients who aren’t searching for you directly. Having your website managed elsewhere keeps you from being exposed to the conflict of interest that is baked into working with a company that owns directories that compete with your law firm for search engine ranking.

When should I cancel my Avvo website?

If you switch your firm’s website from Avvo to LawLytics, it is best to keep your Avvo site active during the switching process. Once your LawLytics site is live online, you can safely cancel your Avvo website. Schedule a demo to learn more about the process.

Is there a penalty for cancelling an Avvo law firm website?
We recommend reviewing the terms of your Avvo contract to determine your rights and obligations. We understand that Avvo locks attorneys into an initial term of one-year, but it’s best to review the fine print so there are no surprises.
How long does it take to complete the migration from Avvo to LawLytics?

The time from account creation to launch of your new LawLytics website can be as rapid as two weeks.

Will my website lose ranking or traffic if I move away from Avvo?

During the import process, we will fix any of the potential problems mentioned above and set your site up in a way that is designed prevent it from losing ranking.

However, as of September 2018, many Avvo websites still lack security certificates. If your Avvo site doesn’t have one, when we add a security certificate to your site at launch, Google and the other search engines will need to re-crawl and index your site with the new secure URLs. This can cause ranking results to jump around during the transition process, but usually results in at least as good — if not better — rankings within weeks. This is a move that is necessary for the long-term evolution of your website and should be done regardless of whether you switch to LawLytics or not.

Experience the differences with a brief no-obligation demonstration.

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FAQs about switching from Martindale to LawLytics

The following are answers to questions about moving from Martindale. We encourage you schedule a demo so you can see the differences in action and best understand the easy process of switching to LawLytics.

If I cancel my Martindale website, can I still buy leads and advertising on Internet Brands' network of websites? Should I?

Yes, you can. Whether its a sound investment depends on your jurisdiction and area(s) of practices. You may find that sites in the Internet Brands legal network outrank your website today, and therefore continuing to pay them for leads might make sense. However, you may also find that, as you use the LawLytics platform and strategy to become more competitive in Google and other search engines, you may no longer need to purchase leads.

When should I cancel my Martindale website?
If you switch your firm’s website from Martindale to LawLytics, it is best to keep your Martindale site active during the switching process. Once your LawLytics site is live online, you can safely cancel your Martindale website.
What if I’ve already cancelled my law firm’s Martindale website account before contacting LawLytics?

If your Martindale website is still live, but you’ve already given them your notice of cancellation and have a date where your site will go offline before you first talk with us, please make sure to let us know that date so we can advise you whether there is enough time to go through the setup process and launch your website before your Martindale website is deactivated. If you’ve already canceled your website and it is currently offline, it’s helpful if you have your site files so we can pull any content that you own and that is worth saving. If you don’t have access to the files, we may be able to recover your site using various internet archives and caches.

How long does it take to complete the migration from Avvo to LawLytics?

The time from account creation to launch of your website can be as rapid as two weeks.

Experience the differences with a brief no-obligation demonstration.

We guarantee 100% privacy.

Trying to decide which company is best for you?

Schedule a demo and see the differences in action.