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Updated: March 22, 2022

What’s the Value of an Avvo Rating for Your Practice?

Any attorney that engages in online marketing activities knows about Avvo.

Launched in 2006, it has quickly grown into the largest legal directory online. Just as Trip Advisor or Yelp can ruin the reputation of a restaurant, Avvo can do the same for an attorney through its ratings and reviews system.

Whether you plan to use Avvo as a lead generation source or not, potential clients searching for an attorney are likely to see your rating on this site. It's important to understand what impacts your Avvo rating as well as the other ways that the site might try to get some of your firm's advertising dollars.

What is the Avvo Attorney Ratings Site?

Avvo is a referral website that is part of the Martindale-Avvo network. It claims to list 97% of the practicing attorneys in the United States in its massive online directory. The site also offers a legal referral service, where members can offer limited-scope, fixed-fee services to consumers in certain practice areas.

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Avvo legal direct pages are often some of the highest-ranking search results in Google. This is particularly the case for searches that combine a search term and location, such as “Chicago criminal defense lawyer” or “personal injury lawyer near me.” Because of this high visibility, claiming your profile and optimizing your Avvo attorney rating should be a top priority.

Factors Included in Avvo Lawyer Ratings

Avvo’s algorithm ranks Every attorney in Avvo’s directory on a scale of 1 to 10. It uses a proprietary algorithm for this rating, and it doesn’t disclose the exact parameters of this calculation. According to the site, here is a breakdown of the Avvo scores:

  • 10.0-9.0 Superb
  • 8.9-8.0 Excellent
  • 7.9-7.0 Very Good
  • 6.9-6.0 Good
  • 5.9-5.0 Average
  • 4.9-4.0 Concern
  • 3.9-3.0 Caution
  • 2.9-2.0 Strong Caution
  • 1.9-1.0 Extreme Caution

You can’t escape an Avvo rating. If you’re a practicing attorney in the U.S., there’s a good chance that you’re listed in this directory because it pulls from the bar admissions databases, which are part of public records.

While Avvo’s precise rating components are a secret, it does break them down into three main categories: Experience, Industry Recognition, and Professional Conduct. The trick is that all of this information is pulled from your Avvo profile. So, if your profile is essentially blank, you’ll have a dismal Avvo score. The best way to optimize your Avvo rating is to claim your profile on the site and then begin filling in as much relevant information as possible.

To get started, go to Avvo and search for your profile. Then claim it by verifying through your email, LinkedIn, Facebook, or your phone number. Next, complete your profile to 95%. The only way to get to 100% is to add an Avvo rating badge to your website, which doesn’t benefit you, so don’t bother with this.

Next, start filling in the information as completely as possible, with a focus on those three main areas:

Experience:

This relates to how many years you’ve been in practice. Obviously, the longer, the better.

Industry Recognition:

This section has the most variables, so it will have the most impact on your Avvo rating. It includes:

  • Law school attended
  • Work experience
  • Bar associations and other memberships
  • Judicial clerkships
  • Awards
  • Articles / publications
  • Portfolio of cases
  • Speaking engagements
  • Peer endorsements

When you fill out these sections, include dates in every section that asks for them. Peer endorsements might require the most work to accumulate, but they could be the most valuable to your score. This is particularly the case if you can get endorsements from opposing counsel or co-counsel on prior cases, since these tend to increase ratings more than other options.

Professional Conduct:

The only item in this section refers to your “disciplinary record with your state bar.” You’ll need to disclose any issues, however, revealing disciplinary actions that happened decades ago isn’t likely to have much of an impact on your Avvo rating.

What is NOT in the Avvo Rating

There have been some misconceptions about certain things that do and don’t contribute to your Avvo profile rating. While a few of these are beneficial, they won’t boost that star rating next to your name:

  • Client Reviews – Reviews from past clients are incredibly valuable to your business, but they don’t impact your rating on Avvo. Peer endorsements and reviews from other attorneys can increase your rating, though.
  • Q&A Answers – Likewise, participating in the platform’s Question & Answer service can gain you additional exposure and referrals, but it won’t increase your Avvo rating.
  • Legal Guides – Creating legal guides for Avvo readers might seem tempting, but the site is now full of duplicate content. And, doing this isn’t going to help your Avvo lawyer rating.
  • Premium Membership – You also can’t buy your way to a high Avvo rating badge by paying money for premium services. An Avvo Pro account allows you to upgrade your profile with some other features. Avvo Advertising gives you access to display ads and sponsored listings.

How to Increase AVVO Rating

A surprising number of lawyers’ profiles don’t accurately reflect their credentials and experience. With AVVO, it’s important to provide as much relevant information as possible. Remember, if it’s not in your profile, you can’t rank for it.

As we’ve mentioned, the extent of your work experience, as well as previously held legal positions, are two main factors Avvo considers when calculating a profile’s rank. Therefore, you should ensure your profile is up-to-date with correct information in the state bar licensing and award information section.

Including recognitions, legal associations, recent awards and any honors or leadership positions held will improve your ranking. Details matter, as do dates; more recent recognitions and affiliations will have a greater ranking impact than older ones, although you should still include these too.

Should You Use Avvo’s Paid Services to Get More Business?

It might be tempting to pay for ads and premium features on Avvo to increase your Avvo rating, many lawyers and legal organizations report that their results don’t justify the additional cost. However, an Avvo Pro (or Premium) account will get your listing above the fold on its pages, so you’ll need to determine whether this benefit justifies the monthly charge.

It costs you nothing to optimize your Avvo profile and encourage satisfied clients to leave reviews on relevant directories. Today’s prospective clients want to read about the experiences of their peers before making major purchasing decisions, and hiring an attorney or law firm is no different. Representing yourself well on these sites can attract new clients through higher search engine visibility.

Optimizing your presence in legal directories is just one way to increase your firm’s client base. Comrade is a Chicago-based digital marketing company that specializes in internet marketing and website design for attorneys.

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About the Author
Andrew A.
Andrew A. serves as Comrade's art director, bringing a wealth of website design, graphic design and branding experience to our clients.
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