Legal directories can go a long way in attracting potential clients, as they're trusted sources of information on law firms, and can hold a lot of weight in prospects' decision-making. In particular, Avvo is an online legal directory that has become the go-to platform for attorneys to connect with potential clients. With over 8 million visitors each month, Avvo is one of the most popular legal websites in the world. However, with such a large number of users, it can be difficult to stand out and attract new clients. That's why it's important to have a solid Avvo marketing legal strategy.
In this article, we will explore 15 tactics for legal practice growth on Avvo, including how to increase your Avvo rating, what Avvo's rating for lawyers means, and whether an Avvo lawyer rating website matters. We will also discuss the anatomy of an Avvo lawyer profile, Avvo's reliability, how an Avvo rating is calculated, and what will not increase your Avvo rating. Additionally, we will cover paid Avvo options that you may want to consider to help boost your legal practice. We aim to give you as much information as possible to help you set your firm up for success.
What Is Avvo?
While several different Avvo legal services are available through the website, the primary function of the platform is to serve as a legal directory.
Avvo is unique from many other legal guides because the platform automatically creates Avvo profiles for licensed attorneys. According to its site, the company has created Avvo profiles for 97% of attorneys in the United States.
In addition to serving as an online directory for licensed attorneys, Avvo also provides several marketing tools to law firms. Avvo's marketing capabilities include organic search engine optimization (SEO) and paid listings.
These Avvo advertising features function like mainstream alternatives like those available through Google. Paid Avvo advertising uses a pay-per-click (PPC) model, whereas the platform's search engine algorithms rank your listing based on its relevance and completeness.
What Is Avvo's Reach?
As mentioned above, Avvo boasts over 8 million monthly users, including clients and lawyers. That's right, 8 million! And with over a million lawyers on the platform, Avvo is truly a powerhouse in the legal industry. But it's not just the numbers that make Avvo's reach so impressive.
Avvo's innovative approach to legal services has made it a go-to destination for potential clients’ legal information and advice. Whether you're looking for clients to represent or those who need some guidance on legal matters, Avvo's extensive resources can help grow your legal business.
And it's not just limited to the few cities in the United States either. Avvo's reach extends across all states. So no matter where you are in the US, Avvo is there to help you with your legal needs.
The Anatomy of Avvo Lawyer Profile
Before we answer the question, "is Avvo reliable?" or discuss additional Avvo legal services, let's focus on one of the most basic functions of the platform, your profile.
A complete Avvo profile can be a great part of your SEO strategy. If you want to learn more about search engine optimization, check out this local SEO guide for lawyers. Otherwise, stay with us as we explore ways to optimize your Avvo profile.
If you want to engage in Avvo paid advertising or make the platform part of your marketing strategy, it is important that you first understand the basics of Avvo profiles, which are discussed below.
— Attorney's Profiles in Search Results
Avvo provides potential clients with many search options. However, most prospects will search for law firms by selecting a practice area and state. You must understand how clients are using the platform so that you can optimize your profile accordingly.
When a prospective client conducts a search using the method described above, they will see the following relevant information on the search results page:
- Names of attorneys or law firms
- Overviews of each profile
- City/state of practice
- Practice area
- Avvo rating
- Number of reviews/user ratings
- Number of years in practice
- Contact information
If you want to stand out from other legal professionals, your profile must include all this information. The more complete your Avvo profile, the better your chances of being discovered by new clients.
— Lawyer Profile Overview
If a prospect selects your law firm from the search results page, the site will direct them to your law firm profile. Avvo profiles are divided into two sections in order to make the information easier to digest. On the left side of your profile, clients will see information such as:
- The name of your law firm
- Practice areas
- Number of online reviews you have accrued
- City/state that you operate within
- Your experience
- Phone number
- Links to your website
On the right side of your profile, clients can view more detailed information about your law firm, such as any endorsements you have received or pricing data. As you probably noticed already, much of the information on the left side of your profile page is also visible in the initial search results window.
If a client has clicked on your profile, there is a good chance that they have already skimmed this information and are intrigued about your services. However, you must use the information on the right side of your profile to seal the deal and win their business.
How to Increase Your Avvo Rating? Follow These 15 Steps to Optimize Your Avvo Profile
Now let's get down to the particulars of improving your visibility in Avvo's digital legal community. If you are looking for ways to optimize your Avvo profile, we recommend that you:
1. Claim Your Attorney Profile
The first thing you need to do is claim your attorney profile. While this seems obvious, simply claiming your law firm on Avvo can actually boost your rating. Claiming your profile is quite easy unless you are one of the 3% of attorneys who are not on the platform at all.
Go to Avvo's homepage and select the "Grow your Practice" option at the top of the website. Next, follow the on-screen prompts to claim your firm.
2. Get a Quality Photo
Did you know that search results with relevant images earn 94% more views than articles that lack quality images? In light of that reality, you must attach a professional-quality photograph to your Avvo profile. Do not take selfies with your cell phone. Instead, hire a pro so that you can really grab the attention of potential customers.
3. Complete About Section
After you have upgraded your profile picture, fill out the "About" section. There is no need to share your entire life story. Instead, keep it succinct and provide some background information on yourself, your law firm, and why you are passionate about your profession. Also, keep the technical language to a minimum so that your content is easier to digest.
4. Complete the Resume Section
The Resume section of your Avvo profile provides an opportunity to highlight your education, experience, and professional achievements. Be sure to provide a concise but comprehensive overview of your background, including details about your law school, any relevant certifications or specializations, and any notable positions or roles you have held in the legal field. Consider mentioning specific cases you have successfully handled or any high-profile clients you have represented (with their consent).
5. Include Payment Options and an Offer in the Cost Section
While you may not be keen on discussing pricing on a public forum, you must provide at least some generalized cost information, such as your hourly rate ranges. You need to remember that potential clients often seek information about fees and payment options when searching for an attorney.
6. List All Your Practice Areas
Make sure to include all the practice areas you specialize in on your Avvo profile, as this information helps potential clients find attorneys who can meet their specific legal needs. Create a description that clearly outlines your expertise in various areas of law, such as personal injury, criminal defense, family law, or estate planning. Emphasize any particular sub-specialties or niche areas of focus within your practice. You can draw in more clients and improve your Avvo rating by showcasing your versatility and expertise across various practice areas.
7. Include a Valid State Bar License
Avvo should have your bar license information—State, Status, Year Acquired, and Date Updated—for your primary state of practice. However, if you are licensed in multiple states, it will not have all of these license numbers. Holding multiple licenses can improve your credibility and make your services more appealing to prospects.
8. Add Awards You've Won
Mention any notable accolades, honors, or awards you have received throughout your legal career, as it enhances your Avvo profile significantly. These can include industry-specific awards, peer recognition, or distinctions from reputable organizations or publications. If you have received professional certifications or achieved significant milestones, mention those.
9. Add Cases to Your Portfolio
If you've achieved significant victories for your clients, add those cases to your Avvo profile. Include details about the case and the outcome. This highlights your skills and expertise in handling similar cases.
10. List Your Legal Associations
Include any memberships, positions, or affiliations with reputable legal organizations, such as bar associations, professional legal societies, or advocacy groups. Add the name of the association, how many years you have been a member, and the name of the position you held within the organization.
11. Make Sure to Get Reviews on Avvo
Reviews from past clients serve as a powerful form of social proof. If you want to demonstrate your skill as an attorney, you need to accrue as many reviews as possible. However, even a handful of great reviews can sway clients to choose you over other lawyers.
So how do you go about acquiring more reviews? Sure, some past clients will go out of their way to leave you reviews. However, this represents only a small percentage of your clients. An even smaller number of previous clients will leave you a review on Avvo specifically.
If clients do not leave reviews alone, you will need to encourage them to do so. This work can be as easy as asking them to go to Avvo and rate your services. While not everyone you ask for a review will provide one, many customers will be glad to do so — provided they were satisfied with your services.
With that in mind, you should gauge a client's satisfaction level before soliciting a review. If someone was lukewarm about your services, you might not want them to provide feedback on a public forum. It would be best to ask them what you could do to improve, but this discussion should be held privately.
As you consider when to ask for reviews, make sure to make your request on the heels of a positive exchange.
For example, you should probably not solicit a review right after sending your client a bill for your services. Instead, you should ask for a review shortly after providing them with good news about their case, such as notifying them that you have obtained a settlement or had charges dismissed.
12. Ask Colleagues to Endorse You
On Avvo, you can ask for endorsements from colleagues. These endorsements are testimonials that vouch for your skills, professionalism, and expertise. Reach out to fellow lawyers, former clients, judges, or other legal professionals and ask them to endorse your skills, knowledge, and ethical standards.
Again, the challenge here is obtaining the endorsement. Unless you work at a large law firm, it will be pretty tough to organically obtain multiple endorsements. This conundrum is where networking comes into play.
Hopefully, you have cultivated relationships with other attorneys throughout your career. You can make these connections at legal association meetings or in the courtroom.
If you have recently graduated from law school, you should also try to stay in contact with your former classmates. As you and your peers mature in your careers, you can continue to help one another grow and build your brands.
You can be more direct when asking for endorsements than when seeking client reviews. Ask your peers to endorse your Avvo profile and let them know you would happily do the same for them. While some attorneys may hesitate to lend you their reputation, others gladly endorse your Avvo account.
13. Add Info about Your Publications
Include any relevant publications you have written or contributed to, such as books, articles, or blog posts, in this part to make it as effective as possible. Additionally, add the publication name, the title of the publication, and the date it was published.
14. Add Video and Images
Add a professional profile picture, but you should also include other photographs and attorney videos. Photographs and videos of your practice or team can make your Avvo profile more visible on search results pages. It will also make your listing more eye-catching.
15. Complete Your Profile up to 95%
After you have claimed your profile, Avvo will request additional information about your practice. The more you provide, the better your rating. Most firms experience peak rating benefits once they have completed 95% of their profile.
Provide detailed information on your education, professional experience, practice areas, and contact information. Additionally, be thorough in the sections requiring you to describe your approach to cases, your philosophy as a lawyer, and the services you offer.
If you want to achieve 100% completion, you must add an Avvo badge to your website. Again, you will probably not earn any Avvo laweyr ratings boosts after 95% completion, so adding the badge is unnecessary unless you want to add a link to Avvo from your website.
What Is Avvo's Rating for Lawyers?
Every profile on the Avvo platform has an "Avvo rating" assigned to it. You will have an Avvo rating whether you are active on the platform. That is why some attorneys question the legitimacy of the platform and its rating system — but more on that in a bit.
This Avvo rating system uses a proprietary algorithm that considers many different factors. The Avvo rating system's algorithm is quite complex, but its scoring range is relatively simple. Every attorney will receive a rating between one and ten. Avvo breaks down its ratings into categories as follows:
- Superb: 10.0-9.0
- Excellent: 8.9-8.0
- Very Good: 7.9-7.0
- Good: 6.9-6.0
- Average: 5.9-5.0
- Concern: 4.9-4.0
- Caution: 3.9-3.0
- Strong Caution: 2.9-2.0
- Extreme Caution: 1.9-1.0
The good news is that your Avvo rating will not include a "Concern" or "Caution" designation if you have not claimed your profile. Still, potential clients will see your Avvo rating and begin to form opinions about your law firm based on this score.
Does an Avvo Rating Actually Matter?
Yes, your Avvo rating matters a lot. Recent data shows potential clients will not engage with a business with a star rating under 3.3. While this study examined consumer habits related to Google reviews, this trend can also be applied to Avvo ratings.
It is safe to assume that many consumers would be hesitant to connect with your law firm if it has an Avvo rating under 6.0 when using this metric as a baseline,
You may lose countless potential client contacts with a poor Avvo rating. Fortunately, you can mitigate some of the impacts of a low Avvo rating by employing a comprehensive.
When all of your other digital marketing efforts are performing well, your activity, or lack thereof, on Avvo may not substantially impact your growth trajectory. Still, it is probably a good idea to at least optimize your profile and claim your law firm. These basic steps will keep your Avvo rating above that critical 6.0 threshold.
Is Avvo Reliable?
Avvo's scoring algorithm is unclear, and the platform assigns its rating while allowing for client reviews. It's possible to have positive reviews and a low overall rating, leading to confusion. While Avvo rarely scores below 6.0 without justification, a score hovering around 6.0 won't inspire confidence in potential clients. Focus on user reviews and peer endorsements, as those carry more weight with prospects.
— Is Avvo Reliable: Consumers' Reviews
Avvo reviews can be a great resource for clients, but no single review platform should be the only resource for finding qualified lawyers. Prospects should check an attorney's reputation on multiple platforms to gauge their skill and decide if they are the right professional for their legal needs.
Clients should be mindful of positive and negative feedback and look closely at any negative reviews. They should determine if the complaints pertain to the attorney's knowledge, expertise, or cost to decide if the review was an anomaly or if the attorney is not well-suited to assist with their specific legal issues.
— Is Avvo Reliable: Attorneys' Reviews
From an attorney's standpoint, Avvo reviews may not seem all that reliable. However, law firms cannot allow themselves to be consumed by concerns regarding the legitimacy of reviews.
Instead, they should view the problem through the lens of "how does this impact my ability to acquire clients?" If the reviews make little impact on a firm's ability to grow, then attorneys should not be too concerned with the Avvo lawyer ratings or the platform in general.
On that note, every attorney must have a reputation management strategy. Part of this strategy will involve addressing negative feedback on the Avvo platform. This work may be as simple as contesting false or malicious reviews. Alternatively, attorneys significantly impacted by the platform may need more serious action.
How Is an Avvo Rating Calculated?
Your rating on Avvo websites is calculated using two primary factors:
- Information on your profile
- Public data collected from various sources
At first glance, one would think that it is quite easy to control your Avvo rating since it is generated using only two factors. However, that is not necessarily the case. Since Avvo sources much of its data from court records, state bar associations, and other public databases, law firms have very little control over this scoring factor.
What Will Not Increase Your Avvo Rating?
Although there are plenty of steps you can take to increase your Avvo rating, some actions are not so fruitful. A few examples of efforts that will not raise your rating include:
— Answering Questions
While the Q&A section on Avvo won't increase your rating, it can be a valuable tool for brand-building and demonstrating legal expertise. Many potential clients seek legal advice on Avvo before searching for attorneys. Answering pressing legal questions in your geographic region may lead them to turn to your firm when ready to hire an attorney. When interacting in the Q&A section, keep things general and avoid exposing yourself to liability.
Over time, you'll become skilled at providing concise answers to complex legal questions, which will serve you well inside and outside the courtroom. Using the Q&A section on Avvo can purportedly improve your search engine rankings, but this claim is unconfirmed. However, if your activity levels on Avvo correlate with increased traffic volume, there may be something to it.
— Creating Legal Guides
Creating legal guides on Avvo won't boost your rating, but it allows you to demonstrate expertise and knowledge. You can create guides on any topic relevant to your area of practice in video-based or list-style article formats. Before starting, develop a well-rounded plan outlining the topics to address and how to cover them. Focus on publishing a few articles per month rather than pumping out content weekly to avoid detracting from other marketing efforts and legal responsibilities.
— Your Overall Contributor Level
Avvo has a points-based contributor system with 20 tiers and a point threshold ranging from 1 to 100,000 points. The overall leaderboard tracks cumulative contributor points, and the weekly leaderboard highlights attorneys active in the last seven days. Different activities award different contributor points, such as earning 10 points for being one of the first three attorneys to answer a question and an additional 5 points for answering within an hour.
Guest blogging nets 100 points, and publishing a guide generates 15 points. With the contributor scoring system, Avvo profile ratings, and user reviews, it's easy to get lost in the platform's features and tools. It's best to use the platform incrementally rather than attempting to use all features simultaneously.
— Avvo Guest Blogging
Regularly publishing legal blog content on your website can make it more visible on search engines and help attract clients. A law firm's blog is a fountain of relevant information. However, Avvo guest blogging is not as useful, as it won't necessarily make you more visible on the platform.
While it does earn contributor points, the time and effort required to create a great guest blog may not be worthwhile. Hosting a webinar or creating a guide may be a better use of time. If you still want to guest blog, consider other legal directories or connecting with legal associations or universities in your area.
— Hosting Avvo's Webinars
Webinars award more points than just about any other contributor activity on Avvo. In addition to netting some major contributor points, hosting a webinar is a great way of connecting with your target audience. Avvo allows you to record your webinars to be accessed indefinitely.
Before you can host a webinar on Avvo, you must get the staff's approval. If you browse the site's current library of webinars, you will find that most of them are hosted by Avvo's team, not independent attorneys.
That being said, getting approved is not all that challenging. Simply submit a proposal and explain what topics you intend to cover. The Avvo staff will gather additional information and walk you through the proposal process.
— Listing Your Speaking Engagements
Listing your speaking engagements can improve your Avvo rating if you do it correctly. You must include a link to the event to be credited for it. Each speaking engagement only boosts your rating by a tenth of a point. If no website exists for the event, you'll need to create a press release and publish it on your website or another page, then link your Avvo listing to that site.
Avvo may accept press releases published on your website, but it's better to publish them on a third-party site whenever possible.
Paid Avvo Options to Consider
Avvo offers a multitude of free marketing options. We recommend prioritizing these options over the paid alternatives because they offer a good risk/reward ratio.
However, you will have two primary options if you want to explore Avvo premium paid advertising solutions. These options are "Avvo Pro" and "Avvo Advertising."
Using the paid solutions can increase your visibility on Avvo. The platform provides paid accounts with priority positioning throughout the website, including on search results pages.
Conversely, organic results are placed below the main screen, meaning users will not see unpaid results unless they scroll down. This setup is cause for one of the major grievances against the Avvo platform, but more on that a bit later.
Let's focus on Avvo pricing and its paid advertising solutions for now, so you know whether Avvo paid advertising worth the dollar.
— Avvo Pricing
Avvo no longer offers transparent pricing for all services on its website. Instead, you have to contact the company directly to learn more about pricing for its upper-echelon advertising solutions. The site does provide baseline pricing for its new marketing solution, which is known as "Avvo Elite."
— Avvo Advertising
Avvo Advertising is a service that is similar to Google Ads. However, the former only boosts your visibility on the Avvo lawyer website, not on the world's most popular search engine.
With Avvo Advertising, you can target prospects in your geographic area. You can also target prospects based on the type of services they are looking for. Much like Google Ads for attorneys, Avvo's service functions on a PPC model, which means that you are only charged when someone clicks on one of your ads.
— Avvo Pro (or Avvo Advanced)
Avvo Pro is a subscription service that you can use to make your profile more visible. As noted earlier, Pro profiles are given priority on search results pages within the Avvo platform. This setup gives you a definitive advantage over other firms in the fight for prospects.
Avvo Pro users also gain access to some great features and tools. They can create custom introductions for each of their practice areas and can remove paid ads from their listings if these ads originate from a competitor. Pro users can also link directly to their website's blog library.
— Avvo Website Service
Avvo provides website creation services as well. These "custom" sites are designed to be mobile-friendly so that you can connect with prospects no matter what device they are browsing from.
When using this service, you will gain the ability to alter your website, so it departs from Avvo's user-friendly interface. The downside is that you have to sign a 12-month service agreement.
As with other Avvo services, the pricing is not provided upfront. In order to receive a quote, you have to complete an application. You can also book a demo to learn more about the service, but you may be waiting a while for the Avvo staff to reach out.
— Lawyernomics by Avvo
Avvo has a sister website known as "Lawyernomics." The website is essentially just an Avvo marketing platform. However, it does have information about several critical legal marketing topics.
Lawyernomics covers topics such as:
- Reputation management
- Social media
- Legal marketing compliance concerns
If you are interested in learning more about marketing-related topics as they pertain to the legal industry, Lawyernomics is actually a great resource. Just be prepared for plenty of calls to action (CTAs) encouraging you to sign up for Avvo's paid services. These not-so-subtle CTAs are layered throughout just about every single page of content on Lawyernomics.
Is Avvo Worth It?
So is Avvo reliable? Somewhat. Factors such as your practice area, target audience, and marketing budget should all be considered when deciding whether to invest time and resources into Avvo.
That said, if you choose to use Avvo as part of your marketing strategy, it's important to approach it strategically and use its features to align with your overall goals. Avvo can be a valuable tool for achieving those objectives, whether you're looking to boost your online visibility, increase lead generation, or establish yourself as an authority in your field. On that note, you should optimize your profile if prospective clients discover your law firm on the platform.
If you want guidance in mastering the Avvo legal platform and building your brand, you must connect with a marketing agency like Grow Law Firm. Our seasoned professionals can help you decide whether Avvo legal services are right for your strategy, acquire more clients, and achieve your growth goals. Contact us today to learn more.