The 10 Best Legal Directories for Backlinks

Getting reputable, authoritative websites to link to your URL is one of the best ways to boost your law firm’s online visibility and climb in search engine results. High-quality backlinks are like votes of confidence in the value and trustworthiness of your practice. Think of them as referrals. When a website that’s independent of yours puts your URL on its site, it gives your site more credibility. That credibility is rewarded by search engines like Google by improving your rank and pushing you higher in search results.

Backlinks are great for your website and law firm, but they’re not always easy to get. Legal directories are relatively easy and reliable places to get links, but you need to make sure that the sites you choose are worth the investment. Here are some things to consider when picking a site to list on.

Domain ratings explained

Domain ratings are a bit like credit scores. Any website that has been around a while will have a rating – actually more than one. There are several organizations that publish domain authority scores. Some of the best known are Ahrefs, Moz, and Majestic. They each use slightly different proprietary formulas but they issue scores on a scale of 0 to 100. The higher the score, the more authoritative a website is considered to be.

When you’re trying to improve your law firm’s visibility online, you should look at your own website’s score as well as the ratings of any directories where you’re considering buying a listing. A directory that has been around for a while will likely have more credibility, but that’s only one part of the formula. Other factors include how much content is on the site, how long people tend to stay on the page, how many other unique domains link to the directory, and how much traffic the site gets.

If you’re looking at legal directories for backlinks, check the sites’ domain ratings. The higher their scores are, the more likely it is that listing with them will help your firm’s score.  

Know your link types

Chances are you haven’t put much thought into the kind of links that go onto websites, but it’s something you need to know about. There are three main types of links:

  • Inbound – An inbound link is an active link on someone else’s website that points to your firm’s domain. This is also called a backlink and it’s extremely valuable for sending traffic to your practice and giving your website credibility.
  • Outbound – An outbound link is a URL on your domain that refers people to an external website. When you write a blog post and link to a law, research study, or source, that is an outbound link. If your firm’s website contains lots of outbound links to reputable sites like those with .gov, .edu, or .org suffixes, that is a signal that the content on your pages is high quality.
  • Internal – An internal link is one that refers visitors to other pages within your domain. It can help people navigate your website and point them to other services you offer or resources you have published.

All three types of links play a role in how high your firm’s website will appear in search results. Search engines are constantly crawling, indexing, and evaluating websites. The more relationships your firm has with reputable organizations – demonstrated by increasingly complex webs links – the stronger your practice’s signal will be.

Do-follow vs. no-follow links

The average user doesn’t notice a difference between “do-follow” and “no follow” links, but you should. In both cases, there is text that is generally underlined or highlighted in a different color that takes the reader to a new site when clicked. However, the coding of those links can make a big difference in terms of how valuable they are to your practice.

Do-follow links draw an invisible line that Google’s web crawlers can follow from the host site to your website. This passes authority, or ‘link juice’, from the source to you. A majority of the time, this is the default setting when people link to your website. However, some organizations add no-follow coding to the links they publish, so that validation does not occur. Some directories only offer do-follow links to paying subscribers.

How can you tell whether a link is do-follow or no-follow? You can inspect the source code and look for this: rel=”nofollow”.  Or a much easier way is to install a free browser extension like NoFollow Simple that highlights “no-follow” links by outlining them with red dots.  

Legal directory linking practices

Some legal directories offer profiles with do-follow links for free, but they are few and far between. Most major directories – recognizing how valuable backlinks can be – only offer active links to your firm’s website with a paid plan.

There are a small number of directories including LawInfo, Lawyer Central, and US Legal where not even premium subscribers can get do-follow links.

Best legal directories for backlinks

Name Ahrefs Domain Rating Moz Domain Authority Majestic Trust Flow Majestic Citation Flow Minimum price to get link*
#1 Cornell University’s Legal Information Institute – Justia 92, 88 92, 88 48, 66 52, 76 Free
#2 BestLawyers 81 61 49 53 Free with nomination
#3 Lawguru 72 58 61 43 Free
#4 Lawyer Legion 59 46 24 43 Free
#5 HG.org 78 67 63 56 $195 p/yr
#6 JustGreatLawyers 67 47 28 37 $199 p/yr
#7 Avvo 72 84 73 65 $1,200 p/yr
#8 Lawyer.com 74 57 30 41 $1,428 p/yr
#9 FindLaw 90 91 79 70 $1,500 p/yr
#10 Martindale – Nolo – Lawyers.com 86, 85, 83 80, 81, 78 70, 63, 61 53, 51, 50 $2,400 p/yr

*Note: The prices above are the minimum to get a listing with a do-follow link. Some directories offer “top spots” which can cost as much as $1,500 a month ($18,000 per year) depending on legal specialty, location, and size of practice.

Methodology:  We started with more than 100 legal directories. We eliminated small niche directories that only include particular specialties (ex. bankruptcy) and broad directories that include other types of professionals as well as lawyers (ex. real estate agents, accountants.) Then we focused on directories that have an Ahrefs domain rating of at least 30. That left us with 34 contenders.The best directories for backlinks were chosen based on 3 main criteria:  offering do-follow links, site authority (measured by DR, DA, TF, and CF), and minimum price to get a link.

For this article, because price is a factor, we grouped directories whose listings are sold as a bundle. For example, it is not possible to be listed on Nolo without also having a listing on Martindale-Hubbell and Lawyers.com. They are all owned by Internet Brands. For $200 a month ($2,400 per year), subscribers get premium listings on all three directories. There is no smaller package available. Similarly, Cornell University’s Legal Information Institute (LII) and Justia are connected.

For more help finding the best legal directories, visit the following: