These days, more people than ever use legal directories to find a lawyer when they need one.
And why not?
These legal directories function much the same way the Yellow Pages did back in the day - they provide a simple source to turn to for listings of attorneys practicing certain types of law in some regions of the United States.
What could be more helpful than that?
Statistics show that as much as 30% of potential clients will turn to legal directories during their search for representation.
You want your firm to be on the top of the list that comes up when they do so.
Not only will this boost your chances of landing more clients, it will also boost your law firm's SEO. Google will like you better and push you up its rankings.
What are the best lawyer directories? And how do you get your firm listed?
In this handy guide, find out how to get the most out of law firm directories.
What Are Legal Directories?
Legal directories are the online equivalent of the Yellow Pages of old. Only they’re much more sophisticated and feature in-depth profiles. They are databases that list lawyers by firm in a searchable format. They’re broken down by practice area, city, and state, and they feature reviews.
The lawyers with the best reviews go to the top of the page.
Law firm directories also show how much each lawyer costs, how long they’ve been licensed, where they are located on the map, languages spoken, and the various areas in which they practice. In addition, potential clients can see if attorneys accept new cases and even send messages to attorneys. Some even include videos of the lawyer at work.
What Are the Top 10 Best Lawyer Directories?
More than 8 million people visit and check Avvo rating site monthly. Not only prospective clients looking for lawyers, but other attorneys hoping to make referrals. The site features 97% of the lawyers in the nation and claims to deliver $8 billion to attorneys annually. You can opt for a free listing or pay for advertising.
Nolo has been publishing info on the law since 1971. One of the early directories, the site allows lawyers to not only list their firms but also publish articles, which is ideal for creating backlinks. NOLO has more than 50 online properties, which add up to one of the largest libraries on the web. The legal directory features more than 45 practice areas and free personalized lawyer recommendations.
Part of the Thompson Reuters empire, FindLaw is one of the leading online providers of legal information. Prospective clients can search for lawyers by geographic area and type of services. Attorneys can list their reviews and add lengthy profiles, including photos and videos. FindLaw also has its own ranking system.
Lawyers.com boasts 150 years of matching people to attorneys. The site claims to include more than 1,000 practice areas and more than 95% of all lawyers in the United States. These attorney directories feature more than 1,000 active daily users, 25 million monthly visitors, and more than a million reviews of attorneys and law firms.
Nearly a million people visit Lawyer.com every month looking for information on the law – or to connect with a lawyer. These law firm directories offer comprehensive profiles, featuring an attorney’s education, experience, associations, practice status, honors and awards, publications, attorney social media, and law firm content websites. The site includes reviews from clients as well as its own ranking system.
Perhaps best known for helping customers with legal documentation, LegalZoom also has attorney directories. But it’s a slightly different model. The site vets lawyers, allowing only those that have five years of experience, an excellent reputation, an ability to explain complex legal ideas in simple to follow ways, and comfort with technology and collaboration to upload their profiles.
One of the biggest and best attorney directories, Justia has more than 12 million monthly visitors. Standard memberships are free and include a fairly thorough listing, including your awards, publications, website, and blog. Profiles feature location, hours, experience, social media and even extensive Q&A opportunities. You can also read our review of Justia for lawyers for more information.
Hg.org is another of the top lawyer directories that offer quality, free listings, and its premium plan starts at just $195 per year. The site enjoys more than 1.2 million visitors monthly. Premium listings allow you to add fast facts, photos, additional links to your website, and links to any articles you upload to HG. All of which create great citation and backlink opportunities.
Super Lawyers is a rating service, and it’s another site that vets those lawyers it includes. Criteria include peer evaluation, independent research, and peer nominations. Listings feature all the basics along with a section for the Rising Stars program, an extensive social media section, and links to blogs. You can also check our Super Lawyers directory guide to learn more.
Martindale claims to be the largest database of legal professionals in the United States. This makes sense as it is part of a network with Avvo, Lawyers.com, and Nolo. This network of attorney directories includes more than 15 million monthly visits, and a single subscription links your profile to all affiliated sites. Martindale itself specializes in referrals between attorneys. To learn more check our Martindale-Hubbel review.
Top Personal Injury Directories
Legal directories have become very specialized. For example, you can now list your firm in particularly competitive practice areas, for example, a personal injury lawyer marketing his or her services can register in personal injury directories. The best of these, according to Alexa, include:
- National Academy of Personal Injury Lawyers
- Find a Car Accident Attorney
- Personal Injury Warriors
Top Criminal Defense Directories
If you are a criminal defense attorney advertising legal services, you’ll want to be listed on the top criminal defense directories:
- National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
- The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Criminal Defense Attorneys
Top Family Law Directories
And if you practice family law, inclusion in the top family law directories will increase your credibility and enhances your family law firm's marketing efforts.
- North American Family Law
- American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
- National Academy of Family Law Attorneys
Why Are Legal Directories Important?
There’s a reason for all this – legal directories work. They provide yet another route for clients to find you and your firm. According to a poll by Thompson Reuters, 31% percent of people searching for an attorney turn to an attorney directory.
Makes sense, right? If you were looking for something, and there was a long list of providers of that service that you could easily scan, you might start your search there.
And they also make Google happy.
One of the famous search engine’s top three considerations, when it scans through sites and ranks them after someone types in a search, is something it calls “prominence.” Google’s brain looks for how indications of respectable a site is.
Links on quality directories tells Google your site is an authoritative resource, and it rewards you by listing you higher on its ranking.
Which will only attract more people to your site.
Bring New Clients
In recent years, people searching for legal representation have turned to online directories in great numbers. Avvo has 8 million visitors a month, for example. Justia has more than 12 million.
Being included on these lists will attract more clients to your door.
Legal directories provide you with an array of opportunities to sell your firm to prospective clients. You can post reviews, answer frequently asked questions, message interested parties, and even put up blogs and articles.
Each of these will attract clients in different ways.
Build Strong Citation Portfolio for Lawyers
When Google’s algorithm ranks sites, it also looks for citations. These are mentions of your site on other sites.
And they’re hugely valuable.
Again, Google wants to know that your site is an authoritative resource, so it checks out who you’re associated with. If it finds you on several prominent lawyer directories, it will assume your firm is a good one, and it will rank you higher.
The search engine sees these references to your business as proof that you are who you say you are and that others like you.
Much like citations, backlinks are links that bring people to your site from other sites. Think of it as a referral. The search engine assumes you must have valuable content on your site if other sites with good reputations send people there.
Boost Local SEO
Having your name, address, phone number, and other business information out there on a variety of directory profiles show Google that you are a real business located just where you say you are. This boosts law firms' local SEO, ranking you higher on Google’s listings.
Build a Great Online Reputation
Legal directories offer a great opportunity to help your reputation management, not just with Google but with clients. Avvo, for example, lists 95% of all lawyers in the United States. Wouldn’t you want to be among them? It shows prospective clients that you are a reputable firm.
Most directories also have reviews, allowing clients to sing your praises. When others see glowing testimonials about your firm, they’ll be more likely to call.
How to Choose the Best Lawyer Directory?
Not all legal directories are created equal. While sites like Avvo, Justia, and Legal Zoom are sites that can enhance your reputation, there are some free legal directories for lawyers that are little more than glorified spam. And inclusion in them won’t benefit your firm at all.
In fact, it might even detract.
How do you tell the difference between a good legal directory and a bad one?
Domain authority is a tool that calculates how likely a site is to rank in search engine results. In other words, it measures how good a site’s SEO is, typically using backlinks to do so.
With sites like Ahrefs.com, you can find out your site’s domain authority by checking its domain rating (DR).
It’s easy to do.
Simply type a site’s URL into Ahref’s “Website ‘Authority’ Checker” to see how strong its SEO is on a scale of 1-100. Legal directories with good domain authority have a DR of at least 20. The best ones usually come in above 80 DR or 90 DR.
Keyword Rankings and Traffic
Good legal directories, simply put, see a lot of traffic. People visit them to search for lawyers. Avvo’s legal directory, for example, has more than 8 million visitors a month, many of whom are actively looking to hire an attorney.
You can use Google Analytics to see how often people do keyword searches for a legal directory. This is a good indicator of the kind of traffic a site has.
Choose Between Paid vs. Free Legal Directory Listings
In your search for legal directories, you’ll find many free offer listings.
Most of the sites you actually want to be on charge a fee for their services.
Yes, you can get your firm listed in free legal directories, and a few are worthwhile. But you want to be sure you are on the big ones, too.
And it is money well spent.
Look at it this way: a listing on one of the good directories might cost your firm $225 a month. That seems a little steep at first glance, but it is actually ridiculously cheap when you consider the cost per client landed.
Prospective clients expect to see your law firm listed in lawyer directories. These listings have become the norm, go-to places for people seeking representation. Having a presence on a site like Justia, among thousands of other well-known law firms, enhances your trustworthiness. It gives credibility to your firm, especially if your listing includes reviews. This shows potential clients that you are not afraid to hear what others think – because you’re good and worthy of trust.
Go-to Strategy for Lawyer Directories
There are so many legal directories these days it can be overwhelming. It’s definitely helpful to have a strategy going in. A high-performance digital marketing agency can help you develop just the right approach. Here are a few things to keep front of mind.
1. Do Research on the Best Legal Directories
Like everything else that’s worthwhile, doing this right requires a little bit of homework. You are going to want to spend some of your marketing budget on this, so it’s important to do some research and find the directories you think will be most beneficial to your firm in particular.
Start by doing a simple Google search of the best directories and then begin to sort them into categories. These might include factors like their reputation, cost, how well they cover the various areas of your practice and the types of features they offer.
2. Look For top Features You Will Benefit From
Listings in legal directories now have a whole host of features. Look at those that will best portray your firm. Maybe one of your partners is an exceptional trial lawyer. Find a site that shows attorneys in action. Perhaps you’ve been developing blogs and posts about important legal topics. Look for a site that allows you to load these. If your firm is big in social media, search for directories that highlight this. Maybe you’re proud of the bilingual nature of your firm. Again, find a site that mentions languages spoken.
3. Claim Free Lawyer Directory Listings
While you want to be judicious with your law firm marketing budget, there are many free legal directories that are worth your while. Even if you decide to use your monies elsewhere, sites like FindLaw and Attorney Pages, for example, feature free listings that simply can’t hurt. These sites have paid packages as well, but they also give you very basic listings for free. You should get your information up in as many places as possible.
4. Fill in Your Directory Profile
When you fill out your profile on these sites, be as thorough as possible. Make sure all of your attorneys are listed individually and that your address and contact information remains the same across all of your listings. Google doesn’t like to see discrepancies in your NAP (name, address and phone number) information. Be certain to fill out all fields and make your listing as professional as possible.
5. Pay Special Attention to Online Reviews
While the notion of reviews may be scary, they are critical for establishing your reputation. Potential clients want to see what others have to say about your firm and they trust you more if you include these testimonials. And Google rates them very highly in its search results – and even likes it better if you have a few slightly negative ones because it shows that they are real and not made up. If someone has something critical to say, it gives you an opportunity to respond professionally; something clients also like to see. It doesn't even make sense to get started with directory listings unless you have a few reviews ready to go.
6. Sponsor Top 3-5 Directories to Have Your Listing Show Up on Top
Sites like Avvo and Lawyers.com offer sponsorship opportunities – in other words, advertising. If you pay for these services, your site appears first on any list, and you can target prospective clients by selecting geographic areas and areas of practice. You can also use more visual images to make your listing really pop. Avvo claims that advertisers receive as much as 70 times more hits than non-advertisers.
7. Monitor and Measure the Results (Cost per Lead (CPL), Client Acquisition Cost (CAC), and Compare to the Client Lifetime Value (CLV)
When you’ve selected your directories and created your listings, you want to track how many leads they generate. Software will allow you to see not only the number of leads but the cost per lead, and the client acquisition cost. You definitely want to study this data, and when you do you’ll find that legal directories are well worth the dollars you allocate to them.
8. Reallocate Your Budget to the Top Performing Directories
Once you have an idea of how sites are performing, you can make the best use of your monies.
9. Be Consistent
Pick three to five of the top-performing directories and stick with them. Don’t flit from one to the next. Create a strategy that works and you’ll see your SEO ranking climb.
Legal directories should be an integral part of your digital marketing strategy. The cost per client acquisition compared to other forms of advertising is very low. But all of this requires work and expertise. A high-performance law marketing company like Grow Law Firm can help you sort through your options and find the best directories for you.