When I worked in-house as a Director of Marketing for law firms in my previous life, the majority of sales calls were selling spots on directories (so about 800 out of the 1,400. I know how it goes too). Conversations generally went as follows:

“We have a spot that just opened up in X. You should grab it before your competition does.”

“I’ll throw in another month and an enhanced portrait if you get the contract back to me by the end of the week.”

“Type in ‘Best Top-Rated Attorney in X with a free consultation’ and tell me who is at the top. Yep that’s right.”

“Oh, you aren’t really getting that many calls/leads since you opted for the Silver placement. If you go for the Gold placement, you’ll have 40% more exposure. And the Platinum is actually as much as 100%. There’s also Diamond…for our clients that take their marketing the most seriously, but I’ll have to ask my manager about that one…”

Regardless, lawyers and law firms are consistently paying to be positioned on directories, and it can’t all be because the salespeople make outrageous guarantees. In many situations, lawyers do enjoy some sort of ROI for many of them. But what are some other benefits for being on paid directories, and the dozens of free options? We’ll explore all the benefits here today:

Earn Backlinks

Backlinks! Any opportunity to earn backlinks and build up your authority from websites is a plus. An opportunity to get backlinks from websites that are catering to lawyers, and in turn semantically house legal content and other backlinks, is even more important for your link portfolio.   If you look at any competition that you perceive to have a strong SEO game, chances are they have legal directories heavily in the mix.

Traffic from People in Need of Legal Services

You can expect traffic from people actively looking for legal services. Only a handful of these directories will commonly show up in search results, such as:

  • Avvo
  • Justia
  • FindLaw
  • Expertise
  • SuperLawyers
  • Yelp
  • ThumbTack

The vast majority of the others won’t be found on the first page, and sometimes not even several pages deep, but who is to say they may not be in the future? Many of these directories have to start somewhere, so it’s better to spend the time being on them now. It is a small amount of effort to potentially get a decent case down the road for no additional cost. To learn more about how we put together an annual study of The Legal SERPs, check out the article here: https://www.marketmymarket.com/legal-search-results-compositions/

Search Engines Love Directories

Google (and possibly other search engines) constantly favor directories. Some SEOs like me believe it is the enormous amount of authority they have, coupled with their ability to do high-level SEO, and, in many instances, get away with doing what would be considered over-optimization on other websites. Other SEOs argue that it is simply Google’s stance that they should deliver a good user experience by diversifying what is presented in a SERP, regardless of optimization standards. Either way, in almost all short-tailed searches we can expect several directory positions, so legal directories should simply be a part of your marketing mix and a budget should be actively allocated to them. Your website won’t be able to garner all potential searches alone.

You can learn more about why we believe Google favors directories so much in one of my favorite blog posts, Why Does Google Constantly Favor Directories Over Our Websites?

Keeping Your “NAP” Cohesive

Legal directories act as another form of keeping your NAP cohesive. Much like citations do a good job confirming your business Name, Address, and Phone (to the exact character) your profile on legal directories does the same thing. Cohesive NAP adds to better local/maps visibility, and has a strong correlation with placement on Google My Business.

It is also important to build out your profiles on legal directories, so they don’t auto-fill incorrect information. All you need is a random directory to pull in an old firm name, an outdated number, or an inaccurate address to throw off the hard work you put into your NAP cohesion. Also, incorrect information could mislead a potential client that found you on one of these directories.  This is from 2018, but it hasn’t changed significantly in the past couple years: https://moz.com/local-search-ranking-factors

Bulk Up Search Results for Branded Searches

Lastly, building profiles on legal directories helps to bulk up search results for your law firm’s branded searches. The more profiles you have completely filled out on legal directories and websites, the more opportunities you have for these to show up in results for your brand name. This in some instances can be more preferably if you have some negative press online that you’d like to push down with other results.

Additional Benefits Occasionally Associated with Paid Directories

  • In some instances, paid directories will allow you to post some unique blogs or articles, further leveraging the ability to get backlinks from other legal domains
  • Of course, the difference between paid and free listings in a directory is the difference between no clicks and any clicks.
  • Being featured in a press release and/or newsletter

Legal directories can be an integral part of your marketing strategy as a law firm. If you’re interested in completing your existing profiles or creating new profiles on directories that you haven’t tried yet, give us a call. Of course, you can also reference our constantly-curated list of legal directories that will get you well on your way. We can walk you through the process and make sure all of your most important information is up to date. Click here for a free consultation to discuss potentially viable directories or if you want to speak with a legal marketing expert.