At LawyersBay we recommend that lawyers leverage various digital directories to improve online visibility, better manage their reputation, and publicize their practice. Recently, we’ve published a list of (mostly) free attorney and law firm directories that offer lawyers and legal marketers a comprehensive resource for locating directories that enhance their legal marketing efforts. You should apply a systematic approach to claiming these profiles.
However, you may have wondered why at LawyersBay we give this advice to lawyers. Plus, you’re likely wondering how to make sure you’re getting the maximum benefit from the time you invest in claiming your profiles. If you’ve ever asked yourself any of these questions (or both), this post is for you.
- 1 Types of Digital Directories and Online Profiles
- 2 Why Should Lawyers and Law Firms Have Online Profiles?
- 3 Final Thoughts
Types of Digital Directories and Online Profiles
First of all, it is important to understand that there are several types of online directories that lawyers and law firms should have on their radar to maximize their digital footprint. Each of these types of directories has its own profile characteristics and benefits, but all of them have the potential to help legal professionals increase their exposure, reach more potential clients, and increase their reputation.
In general, the most common directory types are:
Legal Directories (Lawyers/Law Firms)
These are directories designed specifically with legal professionals in mind. These are essentially catalogs of lawyers and law firms that allow users to search for the right lawyer for their legal matters. Some directories you might already know about in this category are our own LawyersBay Lawyer Directory, Avvo, FindLaw, Lawyers.com, and Martindale. This is where you should start when you start incorporating directories into your marketing strategy.
Member Directories of Bar Associations and Bar Associations
These directories are essentially lists of members maintained by state bar associations and other legal organizations. Examples of such directories are the California Bar Finder, the Florida Bar Directory, and the Louisiana State Bar Member Directory.
Popular Consumer Directories
Apple Maps, Bing Places (Microsoft), Facebook Business Pages, and Google My Business are directories commonly used by potential clients in which all lawyers should be. Of those, Google My Business is the most important online directory for consumer law firms searching for contacts through search.
Business directories are not specific to the legal sector. They accept all types of companies, including law firms. Some, but not all, of these directories rank law firms by their practice areas. Directories that are typically considered general include YP, Yelp, Citysearch, eLocal, and DexKnows.
Profiles created on social networks are also a form of directory. For example, sites like Facebook and Instagram also function as a directory of local businesses and can help law firms leverage social proof and interactions with clients for marketing purposes.
Not all directories fit into one of these categories. For example, there are directories for experts, legal forms, referral services, and even specific practice areas, such as labor law. Lawyers and law firms should also create profiles in these directories as appropriate.
Why Should Lawyers and Law Firms Have Online Profiles?
Many directories and directory profiles have a good positioning in the search results. When someone searches for the name of a particular attorney or law firm, profiles of legal, business, and other directories will likely appear in the first few results. This increases the lawyer’s presence in Google search results, where visibility is a competitive process. A top law firm marketing agency can help you to promote your law firm and law profiles on search engines and social media.
The use of directory profiles also allows lawyers and law firms to participate in a process commonly known as Barnacle SEO. This strategy is designed to increase exposure by allowing the lawyer or law firm to partner with another site that ranks well for the lawyer’s desired keywords or related topics, ultimately increasing the exposure of that lawyer and in their case potential clients.
Often, profiles can be positioned by the name of the lawyer or legal firm in search engines. Completing these profiles can help them rank better and improve your online visibility, which will help you better master your namespace and effectively manage your reputation. Also, since you have control of your messages and visuals (to some extent) in these various directory listings, you can use them to reinforce your brand with potential customers and the general public.
In addition, directories can often help lawyers be discovered by new clients. For example, if you’re a Medical Malpractice attorney in Michigan, having a profile in directories that are well-positioned for those keywords (and related keywords) increases the odds that a potential client will find you as a result of their Google search. This increased visibility can lead to more potential customers who wouldn’t have found you if it weren’t for your profile in this well-positioned directory.
Directory profiles often also offer the option of including links to other lawyer-related websites, such as a law firm’s website or a legal blog. Unpaid editorial backlinks can be a critical part of a solid Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy for those properties. Therefore, the benefits of online directory profiles go beyond a lawyer’s visibility in a particular directory and even beyond the search visibility of the directory profile itself.
Remember: you should never pay for editorial or follow-up links. This goes against Google’s webmaster guidelines.
Directory profiles will also allow you to add your legal signature’s Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) to your listing. This allows you to increase the consistency of your NAP on the Internet, which can help google My Business perform.
We can’t help but reiterate that online directories can play an important role in helping you achieve your law firm’s growth goals in the digital age. Directories of lawyers and law firms (as well as other types of directories) help expand your digital reach. You can increase your visibility in search results and on individual websites, while better controlling your firm’s namespace and managing your reputation.
Implement a system to claim these profiles, starting with your free profiles in the main legal and lawyer directories. Once you’ve claimed and optimized these profiles, move on to other types of directories. Before you know it, you’ll have taken your legal marketing strategy to the next level solely through your directory efforts.