32 min read
Updated: August 29, 2022

Why Law Firms Should Promote Themselves In Online Directories

To grow your law firm, you need to be where your potential clients are online. This includes online directories. Vastly underrated and underutilized, they can amplify your business presence and put you ahead of the competition at a low price.

Let's discuss how they can bolster your law firm's marketing goals.

There are four benefits to promoting your law firm in online directories:

  1. Visibility. When prospects search for lawyers in Google, they see three paid ads, then three or four map listings and then a list of organic results. If they skip the ads and the map listings, which is how many potential clients search, chances are they will click on a directory listing in the organic search results.
    Directories form about one-third of organic results and very often get the top rankings. If you were to search for a criminal defense lawyer in Atlanta, Georgia, for example, the first organic result would be either Avvo — which is currently the biggest attorney directory in the country — or Yelp.local directories exampleOf course, there will be many listings on that directory page. So, how do you make sure your prospects see your profile? Have a sponsored listing. This guarantees you are in one of the top four results.
    <span style=Attract more leads to your law firm“>
    Attract more leads to your law firm

    Talk to legal marketing experts

  2. SEO. We talked about this when we discussed the importance of SEO strategies in the overall marketing plan for lawyers. Ultimately, in order to get top rankings, Google wants your website to have authority. One of the ways to gain more authority is to have more credible websites link back to your website. Thus, inserting links to your website in online directories — which are very credible websites — helps your website rank higher and get better local SEO for attorneys‘ results.
    Some online directories don’t charge for links, which means you can insert a link to your website in their basic free listing. Most of the big directories, though, offer links to your website as part of their premium listing service, so you’ll have to pay for it. This is a universal strategy that works for all types of lawyers: from DUI to bankruptcy attorneys.Linking
  3. Reviews. This is a double-edged sword. Online directories usually let your clients post reviews. Positive reviews for lawyers drive more people who browse the directory to contact you. Negative – when there is they comprise a significant portion of all reviews – could really hurt you. There are ways to boost positive feedback online and to handle negative feedback, which is called reputation management.
    However, negative reviews can have an adverse effect. As such, you should have a review management strategy in place. That’s not to say you must ignore negative press, but rather that you should respond professionally.
    Search engines like Google rank websites according to online engagement. One or two negative reviews won’t affect your ranking, so long as you respond timeously. In fact, it actually indicates to Google that you have a high level of customer engagement, which is good.Reviews
  4. Your prospects like directories. People find it easier to have relevant information properly sorted in front of them rather than having to go through Google search results one by one. So, there is a good chance that if they see your sponsored listing, click on it, and see what they were looking for, they will visit your website and contact your office.

How to Get the Best Results

Online directories give Google and other search engines online signal that you exist. Here’s how to make the most of them:

Start With the Most Popular (and Relevant) Directories

The best online directories for your business are those that have the highest number of people using them specific to your industry. Not all directories are created equal!

Try ‘google-ing’ your business type+location (e.g., accountant in Leeds) and see which directories appear on the first 3 pages of Google results – those are the ones to focus on first.

To find out which directories have the biggest audiences, have a look at the directory comparison chart on this page – Comparison of top UK online business directories.

Here’s what you should find out:

  • How many people will see your sponsored listing monthly. Directories have this information and should be happy to share it.
  • How many people you can expect to click on your listing. This is what they call an average ad click-through rate.
  • How many of the people who will click on your listing will contact you or go to your website. Online directories can monitor how many people click on your website’s link or fill out a contact form. It’s a bit more difficult with prospects who call you directly, but they do their research in order to improve their performance. Some directories may be reluctant to divulge that information, but you (or better yet, your digital marketing agency) should insist on getting it.

In addition, you should have a good grasp of your law firm’s online metrics to better understand the expected ROI on this marketing investment:

  • Your call-to-client conversion rate. This is a measure of how many calls from different prospects it takes for you to land a paying client.
  • How much do you earn per client, on average? We know this may vary, but, using the law of averages, you can come up with an estimate.

directories that attract the most demand for your services

Fill Out Information Accurately

Always make sure you fill out your NAP (business name, address, and phone number) the same in every directory, to improve search engine rankings. For instance, if you’ve listed your address as “street” don’t use “st.”

The benefit of online directories is you can enrich listings with additional details like business descriptions, your URL, law firm expertise and images, etc. This offers an opportunity for search engine optimization with high-volume keywords as well.

Take full advantage of this and try to give your listings as much personality as possible.

Interact with Communities on These Directories

Many online directories have vibrant and active users. Research indicates that 90% of clients read reviews before law firms.

Hence, the importance of getting positive reviews for your legal practice. Positive reviews will boost your directory rankings and help win more clients.

Having a review strategy is paramount to succeeding at showcasing social proof online. That’s why you should always ask clients to leave a review and make the process as easy as possible.

Keep Business Information Up to Date

You must update your list if you change locations, business numbers, websites, or any other contact information. Business directories are dynamic portals where clients go to learn more about you. The last thing you want is for them to leave a bad review because your information hasn’t been updated.

Your Website’s SEO still Matters

Your website is still the most important driver of local SEO. Even the best directories merely supplement your SEO strategy and encourage more traffic to your website.

It’s always a good idea to review your SEO strategy and keep it up to date. Keyword popularity fluctuates, therefore, yours might require some tweaking. We recommend auditing SEO every six months or so.

How to Calculate Business Directory ROI

Let’s say you pay $500 per month for a listing on the best online directory. If 1000 people see your listing, and you have a 3% click-through rate, that’s 30 people who will click on your listing.

Out of those 30 people, 20% contact you, that’s six people. If you have about a 30% conversion rate — meaning converting people who call you into paying clients — that’s two clients per month. This means you’ve paid $250 per converted client.

Now you should know how much each client is worth to you. Let’s say you’re a criminal defense lawyer. You make $3,000 — $5,000 on state cases and $15,000 to $75,000 on federal cases. You can average that number out for both types of clients, but either way, the numbers work out very well — you’ve paid $250 per client, and you’re earning thousands from each.

Don’t forget to test! Almost all of our law firm clients have listings on one or more online directories. We can tell you from experience that you can never be certain what will work best for you.

Based on the type of law you practice and where you’re based, the results you see from different directories can vary greatly. That’s why you should always test at least a few directories to find out which one works best for you.

best directories

That being said, you should be prepared to give each platform at least 6 months to a year in order to see results. Never rely on data from just one or two-month-long test.

Allocate a portion of your marketing budget for testing out platforms, and stick to the ones that deliver the best results. Please, keep in mind that directories are useful for B2C attorneys, they don’t work well if you’re, say, a corporate lawyer.

Find out how much demand there is in your geographical area

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Find out how much demand there is in your geographical area

You should always monitor performance and switch directories when warranted. Directories are in constant competition and some simply grow faster than others.

Recently, we discussed this with an attorney who used to be on Nolo, but noticed a decline in the quality and quantity of leads, so he switched. Be prepared to do the same if you notice a drop in performance on a platform.

Work with Legal Marketing Professionals

According to Thomas Reuters US Consumer Legal Needs Survey, almost a third of respondents who needed legal services turned to legal directories, and 24% began conducting online research for law firms within a day.

If you need to kick-start your digital marketing or want help getting listed on online legal directories, then you’ve come to the right place.

Comrade is a Chicago based digital marketing company that specializes in website design and marketing for attorneys. Read more about our content marketing service for law firms.


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I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

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About the Author
Sasha Berson
Sasha serves as Managing Partner and VP of Client Solutions for Comrade Digital Marketing, a Chicago-based marketing agency dedicated to solving client’s most pressing digital challenges.
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