Top 3 Free Law Firm Directories
Chris Dreyer | July 31, 2013
The world of attorney SEO is competitive, but that does not mean that operation alone is impractical. If you want to improve your website’s ranking in the search engine, you have to make sure that you are linked with the right sites. These links—backlinks—between an outside site and your site not only heighten your site’s ranking in online searches, but they also help to build the legitimacy of your firm with a wider audience. While there are many rich sources of backlinks, the three below are the must-have links for any law firm.
1. AVVO (www.avvo.com1) – Page Rank 6
AVVO is a great backlink source for AVVO due to its authoritative nature as well as its generally high potential clients looking to contact attorneys in their area. AVVO’s system pulls from a number of sources; nonetheless, the most important factor is the attorneys who claim their profiles receive higher rankings than attorneys who do not. All listed attorneys start at a 6.5/10 ranking, and those who do not claim their profiles are unable to move up in the ratings. Fortunately, there are many benefits gained by using AVVO, such as providing great local SEO leverage like an imbedded Google map, geographic citation and helping link you with other local attorneys. While AVVO might seem to be a necessity due solely to its ranking system, you should not discount its other very real benefits.
2. Justia (www.justia.com4) – Page Rank 7
Justia was, at least for a time, the best-known name in SEO for attorneys. Though it has more competition today than it did a decade ago, it still ranks as one of the highest page-ranked attorney SEO sites on the web at a page rank of 7. This site has everything that you could hope for from a backlink: highly curated content, forums for legal answers to help you to build up your online reputation, and features that help to weed out spam in order to keep the website useful for users and lawyers alike. This site also provides you with the ability to claim a profile similar to AVVO, though the ranking system is not quite as punitive to those who fail to make a claim. While Justia may no longer be the highest-rated lawyer site on the web, it still provides an important legal SEO resource that should not be ignored.
3. Washlaw (www.washlaw.edu5) – Page Rank 6 (DISCONTINUED)
Washlaw carries comparable features to the other sites, but it adds one other major selling feature; it features a .edu address. Backlinks from .edu addresses (along with those from .gov addresses) tend to carry more weight from search engines because they are far more difficult to acquire than the average link. The Washlaw link itself is actually quite difficult to acquire, as one must push through a vetting process that is both slower and more thorough than either Justia or AVVO. The vetting form itself is simple, but the review process itself is done manually by a person, not a machine. Being vetted on this site might take longer, but it still provides a legitimate backlink that can help with the process of attorney SEO. AVVO, Justia and Washlaw all provide important backlink services, but they also provide so much more. These sites are precisely the sort of businesses with which you need to establish online relationship. Businesses that provide not only the ability to move your page up in the internet search rankings, but these businesses help to drive customers to your firm on their own.
Sadly, the Washlaw directory has been discontinued. Here is an updated listed of some of the top directories lawyers can submit to: http://www.attorneyrankings.org/best-free-law-firm-directories/6
A Note on Paid (and Unpaid) Directories
Directories can be a good source of links but lawyers should be careful about where they submit their site. High-quality directories are few and far between. There are lots of low-quality directories that spring up all the time. These sites are easy to identify because it is pretty easy to be included in them. The old adage of “if it’s too good to be true it probably is” can be applied here. If it is extremely easy to pay to get listed and to manipulate all of the settings for pointing a link at your site, it may not be worth doing it. At the very least Google may ignore the link and at the worst you may get demoted in search for having too many of these kinds of links.
Google released a webmaster video on the topic back in 2011. Although dated, the video still has some good advice on finding high-quality directories to be listed on.
If you are in question of whether a directory is high quality or not, check out the PageRank of the page. See if competitors are listed there or run it through Google’s malware checker7. If getting included seems super easy, you may want to skip listing your site.