Legal Directories – Avoid a Costly Mistake
Some attorneys are missing out on new clients because they continue to make a simple mistake with their listings in legal directories such as FindLaw and Lawyers.com. In this article, I’ll explain why and provide the steps you can take to resolve it.
Attorneys spend a ton of money trying to effectively market to their target audiences. I’ve consulted with many law firms over the past 10+ years. Online marketing is full of opportunities for solo practitioners, boutique firms and larger, corporate firms. Even the firms with strong websites realize online legal directories can provide additional exposure. Directories offer/sell listings, which link to the law firms’ websites.
Let me start by saying that I’m a proponent of using legal directories to gain online exposure for a law firm. Companies that own these directories have spent millions of dollars developing them and working to ensure that they rank well in search engine results (e.g. Google). Having a listing in a directory gives the attorney another way to show up, be found and hopefully generate new clients. Sometimes, these directories may outrank the firm’s own website in search results.
Listings Can Be Linked to Wrong Pages
Most of the directories, including YP.com, offer the attorney an opportunity to show up in multiple practice area categories (e.g. personal injury, divorce, DUI/DWI, immigration, probate, etc.). The law firm’s directory listings often link back to the website’s home page. That’s where the problem, and the opportunity, exists. Remember, you’re paying hard earned money for many of these listings, especially if you signed up for a premium listing.
Think about your own legal website. Your home page typically has images and headlines designed to grab the viewers’ attention. The objective is to entice them to learn more about the law firm, its attorneys and ultimately to contact the firm.
However, most online searches are very specific. The prospective client is looking for a way to solve his/her particular issue. The fact that your firm handles a variety of other types of cases is irrelevant at that moment. It can even be a distraction. If your home page touts a primary practice area that’s not related to this person’s legal issue, you may be creating an unintended action. It may be enough to cause them to click off of your site and look at your competitors’. People prefer to deal with a specialist, not a jack-of-all-trades.
What’s the use of paying for exposure in legal directories, if your links lead to irrelevant information? Converting the prospect into a client is the goal. You’ve got to make sure that the initial interaction is on-point and effective.
Fix Incorrectly Linked Legal Directory Listings
Take a few minutes to review your current listings in legal directories. Unfortunately, many firms have linked these listings to their home pages. I recommend you change this, immediately. If you have directory listings in various practice areas, make sure those listings link directly to the most relevant page on your website. For instance, if you have a listing for DUI/DWI, link it to the page that specifically addresses this topic. Satisfy the prospective client’s most immediate need.
If your content is well written and the site’s navigation is intuitive, trust me, they’ll take a few minutes to visit your beautifully designed home page. Remember, it’s about moving the client from the information-seeking stage to engagement. If you’re not doing this, you’re simply wasting money.
The last time I checked, my clients agreed that it’s not about the practice of law. It’s about the business of law.
Go ahead and check your links in various legal directories. If they don’t lead to topically specific pages, contact your vendor. This is an easy change. You can usually get it done with a quick phone call or email. Don’t continue to inadvertently lose clients because of the sloppy links you’re paying for on a monthly basis.
Never assume that your vendor is setting these links up correctly. Many of those vendors are primarily focused on selling products. That’s why you typically get handed off to an account manager. For most, the relationship always comes second to the quota. Companies institute policies, which limit the reps’ available time. There’s a significant difference between having a sales rep that works for a company and having a local business consultant who works for you. Shouldn’t your business needs come first?
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