As we approach 2022 the best directories that you need to be listed in will vary depending on your market. So while i’ll caution you from blindly following my list below and replacing it with research in your market, here are the top directories we optimize for our clients.
- Findlaw. As much as I don’t like them, they do have a lot of visibility in many US markets for a lot of different practice areas.
- Superlaywers. While their traffic isn’t as high as Findlaw, the case leads generated from Superlawyers are typically very high.
- US News & World Report / Best Lawyers
- Expertise.com (not a legal directory but they optimize for lawyers)
- Yelp.com (also not a legal directory – but they have a lot of visibility)
If your law firm participates in online marketing effectively, you’re probably already listed on a lot of legal directories. Legal directories are an important factor in digital marketing that often goes overlooked and undervalued. This is typically because most of the focus goes towards optimizing your own firm’s website (which it should).
Additionally, there are also a lot of legal directories out there that won’t hesitate to rip you off by charging you a monthly fee but provide litle value.
In this article, we’re going to look at why legal directories are important, the benefits of being listed in legal directories, and which directories are the ones you really need to care about.
Why are legal directories important to online marketing?
Legal directories are important in my mind for a very simple reason. That reason is Visibility. As an SEO nerd I’m usually talking and preaching about the SEO benefits of directories (Don’t worry. I’ll get there), however, there are other benefits as well. Many of these legal directories are older and well-established websites.
Avvo, for example has built their website to over 1.2 Million Estimated Monthly (Updated 2021 after a traffic decline) organic search visits according to SEMRush and they have become one of the top 2,000 most popular websites in the United States according to their Alexa ranking (shown below).
Based on that information alone you can probably guess why you need to be listed on the most popular legal directories. The reason is that people are spending time on websites like Avvo and they’re probably looking for legal answers or searching for attorneys.
In addition to this huge organic visibility, you have to remember that websites like Avvo and Findlaw also have large advertising budgets and are actively seeking to become hubs where consumers where look for attorneys.
So the long and the short of it is: If you know potential clients are here and you’re not listed or ranking well on the platform then you’re missing the boat.
The benefits of being listed in legal directories
Apart from the obvious benefit of the traffic visibility I mentioned in the previous section, there are actually a lot of other digital marketing benefits you get from being listed in quality directories.
One key point I want to cover here is that I mentioned “Quality Directories”. There are a lot of bad directories out there that are not worth the storage space they’re hosted on. We will look at how to identify those later. But for now, let’s focus on the benefits of being listed in the best legal directories:
- Search Results Page Visibility
Take a look at the screenshot below. SERP stands for Search Engine Results Pages and if you look at the screenshot below you will see almost 60% of the listings on the first page for this keyword (which was Encino Car Accident Lawyer) are directory listings!
So in addition to the traffic, those legal directory websites are getting on their own through pay per click, branded traffic, TV ads, or other methods, you can see they also get a large search share too.
I think it’s also important to note that while the vast majority of these directories are legal directories, you will see Yelp in there which is just a business directory. This means that in some cases the better legal directories may not be legal directories after all.
I told you that I’m an SEO nerd and that means I’m going to talk about links. While the average directory link is pretty well deep inside the architecture of a website they do provide some value. Some websites like Findlaw offer sponsored listings which are paid listings that also bring you up higher in their results and closer to their root domain as far as their website architecture is concerned.Getting links from legal directories is an important part of your organic and local SEO efforts.
Speaking of Local SEO, citations are also a foundational ranking factor for local SEO. Ensuring that your law firm’s business name, address, and phone number are accurate can help with your overall rankings in the 3 pack or Google’s local results. On the other hand, if this information is wrong you may find yourself with some upset customers going to the wrong address. Make people happy and be sure that the online data of your business accurately reflects it.
Last but certainly not least is credibility. Many of these legal directories also offer reviews. While the Avvo review score really means nothing in terms of how good an attorney is, consumers don’t really know that. They look for scores, client reviews, and any information they can find online before making a hiring decision.
After all, everyone wants to hire the best attorney for their case. Not to mention, the highest rated attorneys typically also show up higher in legal directory search results (depending on their own algorithms).
The point is this. If you’re going to get listed on a directory where a client might find you, you should also take the time to look good and put your best foot forward. Spend the time to get proper client reviews. Even if you just got one new client lead from a legal directory a year – what happens if you’re listed in 100 directories?
How To Find The Best Legal Directories [In Your Market]
As I preach how you should be listed on great legal directories I should also remind you that you shouldn’t waste your time on those that don’t fit within your marketing goals.
The reality is that marketing goals vary from firm to firm based on realities. Some law firms might excel at getting Yelp reviews while others may not be able to get any.
If your law firm previously hired poor attorneys who got clients bad results, reviews might be difficult to get so your focus may not be Yelp reviews out of the gate and might instead be overall visibility.
Pro Tip: I should note that for most transactional legal keywords I track, I find that Findlaw, Expertise.com, Superlawyers tend to have the most visibility.
Here are some metrics you *might* want to look at to determine the top legal directories in your market.
Cost – The cost of the directory listing
Ahrefs Rank – The rank the Ahrefs gives the domain based on their algorithm
Linked Domains – The number of domains Ahrefs detected that were linked to the domain
Total Backlinks – The number of total backlinks Ahrefs detected linked to the domain
And how do you find them? Easy! Simply Google the keywords you want to rank for such as “Personal Injury Lawyer” and its variants. See who ALREADY ranks in your market and get listed. This is also a share of search / barnacle SEO strategy which you can read more about here.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. I would love to hear your thoughts on this article and other websites you think I should include in the comments below.
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