You went to law school because you were passionate about the law, not to master the finer points of marketing. To paraphrase the famous saying, “I’m a lawyer, not a marketer, Jim.” But like it or not, promoting your services is a big part of being in legal practice.
How are you going to get people to walk through your doors if they don’t know that you’re in practice, much less that you want to help them with their problem? To attract clients, you have to understand how people who need a lawyer go about finding one.
Unless they happen to know an attorney or have a personal connection, people who need legal advice usually start online. Studies suggest 65 percent of consumers use search engines or directory listings to find an attorney. For lawyers, there’s very little difference between the two since directory listings are one of the best ways to improve your search engine visibility.
5 benefits of legal directories
Not all directories are created equal, but listing your firm in ones that have a solid reputation can be beneficial. Some of the advantages include:
- Visibility – Very few people go past the first page of search results when they’re looking for something online and directories tend to dominate the first page for legal searches. That’s good news if you’re listed, but nearly impossible to compete with if you aren’t.
- Conversion rates – The quality of online traffic is just as important as the quantity, if not more so. You want those clicks to convert into clients. Directories have much higher conversion rates than other forms of passive or active advertising because consumers who visit the site are actively looking for legal help.
- Credibility – You can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep. The same is true of law firms. If you position your firm on reputable directories among respected, high-profile practices in your area, it enhances your credibility.
- Search engine optimization (SEO) – Spending time and money to build a beautiful website only adds value if people can find it. A recent study found that 91% of web pages get no traffic from Google; not a single visitor. However, directory listings that include an active link to your firm’s homepage can help you in two ways. Prospective clients will find you through the directory. And the active link to your website creates a positive feedback loop. Your site gets increased domain authority and a higher search ranking because Google views backlinks as votes of confidence in the value of your content.
- Grow your brand – Whether you specialize in divorces, wills, and trusts, criminal defense, or something else, it’s important to establish your authority and expertise. One of the best ways to do that is by publishing articles. Many directories offer a platform for publishing blog posts, articles, and information guides. This is your opportunity to show off your knowledge, experience, and understanding of the laws as written and how they’re applied. The more a potential client can learn about your practice online, the better it is for your reputation.
How to choose a legal directory
The number of legal directories has ballooned over the past decade as the Internet has matured. Don’t believe us? There are now more than 100 different legal directories where you can list your practice. The best ones can be pricey. The worst ones can be scammy. Choosing where to list your practice is a bit like choosing a neighborhood in which to build a home. If you want to put your firm in a good neighborhood, you need to be choosy about the directories you associate it with.
There are several questions that can help you evaluate directories. Among them:
- What is the site’s domain rating score?
- Is it always on the first page of search results?
- What is its reputation?
- How much traffic does the directory get?
- How much does a listing cost?
- How much information can you provide about your credentials, experience, and specialties?
- Is it easy to navigate – for both lawyers and prospective clients?
- Can you write articles, guest posts, or answer questions online?
Take a look at the costs and benefits of creating a listing on the directories you’re interested in. Directories sometimes offer free listings, but these may not include your contact information or appear high enough in results to get any attention. A free listing sounds good, but if it doesn’t deliver, it’s worth what you paid for it: nothing.
When you pay for a listing, the directory presents your practice higher in the results and serves up more information about your firm. Your website benefits from increased visibility. But prices can and do vary greatly from site to site and if you’re just starting out, you may not be able to get the top spot on the best directories. Fortunately, there are many directories that are both affordable and effective. You can get quality results that boost the reputation of your firm.