You may be thinking, “Hey, when I search for my name, I can see a Martindale.com or Avvo.com profile of me. Isn’t that enough?” It isn’t.
These directory services can be great tools if you sign up for their “Expanded Profile” services. Expanded Profile services allow you to control the information that is posted about you on these directory websites. Generally, if you haven’t purchased an Expanded Profile, you’ll only see very generic information about you on your profile page – usually your firm’s address and possibly your practice area. You won’t, however, have your picture, biography, or website / e-mail information listed. Posting this information is what makes the difference from a client glossing over your profile and going to the next attorney in your practice area and the client sending you an email because the client reads your bio, is impressed by your work, and wants to contact you.
These services do cost a monthly fee and it can end up costing your firm several hundred dollars per month per attorney. However, with each attorney’s expanded profile is another opportunity to market your firm to potential clients.
Use Directory Services to Improve Your Website’s Position in Yahoo and Google Search Results
These expanded profiles where you list your website can be great SEO (search engine optimization) tools. SEO is the process of using search engine algorithms (the method Google and Yahoo use to decide which websites get more prominent, first-page placement in search results and which websites get buried) to your advantage to make sure your website appears more prominently in search engine results.
Factored in the algorithm for many search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo is the number of “credible” links your website.Part of the search engines’ algorithm is a sort of social proofing. If other websites like your website and refer to your website, your website is validated. For this, search engines will reward you with a higher ranking in search results.
For example, say Attorney Betty has a website for her New York criminal defense firm. She’s a great attorney who has authored many articles in online and print publications. She has also received many favorable verdicts. If other website articles discussing New York criminal defense law provide links to Attorney Betty’s website, the search engine algorithm will take this into account, seeing as how popular Attorney Betty is in her practice area, and increase the position of her law firm’s website when clients search for “New York criminal defense attorney.”
This is also true of directory services. The more links to your firm’s website from directory services, the more likely your firm will increase its ranking in search engine results.
Andrew Cabasso is a practicing attorney and co-founder of JurisPage, an Internet Marketing firm specializing in online presence solutions for law firms including website design, SEO, and search marketing. He has given many lectures on website design and Internet marketing to legal professionals. He is on the Committee for Information Technology in the New York City Bar and the ABA Section on Science and Technology.