How to Build the Perfect Legal Industry Listing on Google, Avvo, and Other Platforms

Carmen Rane HudsonLegal, Local, Local Marketing, Reputation Management, Review Management, Review Marketing2 Comments

Perfect-Legal-Industry-Listing

Like most businesses, lawyers need to have a presence on a host of directories. Google and Avvo lead the pack in terms of giving lawyers the visibility they need. There are also other somewhat less accessible directories.

To get the most mileage out of your presence on any directory you need to pay special attention to your profile. An incomplete or poorly-designed listing can hurt you more than it helps you! It takes a lot of time and effort to set up all these profiles, so it pays to do it right the first time.

Multiplatform Tip: Don't Skimp on the Descriptions

Most platforms will give you the ability to write a business description. Many lawyers neglect to write one on Google, but doing so can serve as a ranking signal.

Make sure you're using strong copy here. It's all too easy to fall into the standard dry, boring, robotic delivery, i.e., "we are Houston, TX divorce lawyers with 25 years of experience." That's the same stuff everyone else is writing and it's not compelling. Neither is a long list of the types of cases you handle.

You should assume this description is the only thing your prospective clients will ever see about you.

They may never move on to your website.

Don't leave it blank, and don't use it as an opportunity to make a grocery list of all the types of law you practice in the hopes of getting all your keywords in.

Keywords are great and necessary, but the algorithms that read them don't have checkbooks. Only living, breathing humans have those.

There's nothing wrong with mentioning your experience, of course, but what you write should be compelling. Here's one good one:

Cheryl Shooks Brown Attorney Listing

As you can see you don't even have to use professional copywriting tricks to make this work. Sometimes just being human and getting out of "robot speech mode" helps.

Here's why this attorney's description stands out:

  • She speaks directly to the reader.
  • “I love helping my clients.” She cares about the people who hire her.
  • As she discusses her experience she speaks to the reader again, and you find out right away she’s got experience both as a prosecutor and as a defense attorney.
  • She discusses the fact that she will work with clients on payment plans, which is a huge concern for many prospects.
  • “We work hard for our clients” isn’t original, but it’s still personable.
  • Please feel free to call us at any time. Again, not original, but it makes her far more accessible than her peers.

Of course, what you can and can't say is always subject to the specific state advertising rules governing the legal profession.

Google

Fail to show up in Google and your phones go silent. Google My Business deserves more attention than any other platform. It's also the platform offering the most opportunities to share information with potential clients. It's incredibly competitive.

Your goal is to appear on the Google Local 3-pack, and you can't do it through keyword stuffing as you could get flagged by someone else, and penalized. As it happens, keywords aren't the main determinant of 3-pack rankings anyway.

Two of the big ranking factors are proximity and getting lots of Google reviews. Another factor though is using every field that the profile offers. The more information you give, the better off you'll be when it comes to rankings.

bankruptcy law local 3 pack google near me search

These three bankruptcy attorneys are receiving the majority of the calls from prospective bankruptcy clients in Dallas.

In addition, there are a couple of profile tips and tricks especially helpful for attorneys, and they're sections many lawyers neglect.

Offers

When you set a special offer it shows up right on your profile. A lot of attorneys don't do this. I went through six pages of lawyers in two major cities and couldn't find even one who did. Choosing to be one of the lawyers who uses this field can help you stand out from the crowd.

This feature is probably underused because most attorneys don't run around giving out discounts. But you don't have to give out discounts. "Free consultation" is an offer. So is "Payment plans available."

These are good offers to list because they will help clients overcome some of the fears they have about picking up the phone and calling you.

G+ Post Feature

G+ posts show up in your Google profile. Use this feature to make yours more compelling.

Arnold and Itkin LLP Google My Business Listing example

What can you include on these posts?

In general, the point of using this feature is to show people you're an active, engaged law firm participating in some exciting legal work.

Keeping up with at least one G+ post per week can provide some additional proof of your expertise, making you more attractive to potential clients. It also makes your Google profile a dynamic piece of marketing collateral, rather than a static one.

Avvo.com

Avvo is one of the top legal industry review sites.

It is important because it will almost always show up in the organic search results for "type of lawyer + city." It also tends to attract more specific prospects who are definitely looking for a lawyer. As a result, people who call you from Avvo may be more valuable leads than people who call you from Google.

Avvo.com homepage

Keep in mind Avvo wants to sell you some expensive and labyrinthine advertising blocks. Good news? You don't have to buy into their ad services to take advantage of the platform. In fact, at least one state has banned the platform on the grounds advertising there violates the state's advertising ethics code.

Nevertheless, if you're not in New Jersey it's a good idea to at least maintain a presence on the site, which some prospective clients will visit directly to begin their search. Once you've claimed your profile you'll want to pay special attention to three specific portions of it.

About Section: Subheader

The About section offers a great opportunity to earn the trust of prospective clients, but you've got to "hook" them first. The subheader is the way to do that.

Steven Reinheimer avvo listing

The stronger you can make the subhead, the better.

Not a copywriter and don't feel like hiring one? You don't really have to reinvent the wheel. Check out "Every Copywriting Headline Ever" from Copy Hackers if you're in need of some inspiration.

About Section: Body

We've already discussed why it's important to write a strong description on all platforms. Avvo gives you lots of space, so use it.

The description above starts a little bit weak, but offers some nice language:

  • Every case receives his personal attention from start to finish.
  • He’s recognized as a zealous advocate for his clients.
  • He’s served on the Oakland County Bar Association Family Court Committee, and the State Bar of Michigan Family Law Section…he’s committed to family law.
  • He’s actively helped to shape the state’s family laws.
  • He has attended the ICLE Family Law Institute every year since its inception in 2002…he’s stayed on top of new developments.

Again, your goal here is to stand out from the pack. Let some enthusiasm shine through, and do everything you can to distinguish your law practice from everyone else's.

Legal Answers

Avvo gives lawyers the opportunity to answer questions submitted by potential clients. Make sure you take a few minutes each week to see what's new and to submit an answer. The number of answers you submit will show up on your profile.

Avvo legal answers

Answering a lot of questions makes your practice look a lot more trustworthy. Potential clients can also click on the link to go see every answer you've ever given to any question on Avvo. As "does this lawyer know what he's doing" is one of the primary questions on the mind of every potential client this is extremely important.

It also provides a path for customers to get to your profile: many search these questions first, find the answer page, and then visit the profile of an attorney, rather than doing a direct attorney search.

Rates

Avvo offers a "Cost" tab. Most attorneys are leery of using it, fearing they'll scare clients off if they share their rates. On the other hand you might avoid wasting your time with tire kickers and people who can't afford to pay. Discouraging people who can't afford you means you spend less time chasing down your outstanding accounts.

You might also reassure potential clients who are worried about cost. Seeing $100 an hour doesn't scare everyone away. It's not $400 or $500 an hour, after all. It might turn into a selling point for prospective clients for whom price is a major concern.

If you still feel uneasy about sharing your rates, you might put your minimum retainer here, or just share a free consultation offer.

legal rates on Avvo

Including some form of information here is a stronger choice than the default "Contact for Details," which is a phrase guaranteed to create some anxiety in the minds of potential clients.

Other Sites

There are plenty of other sites out there which are important to attorneys. However, the other industry-specific sites all have some special requirements.

Nolo won't let you in their directory until you're a paying customer, for example.

You can only get on Super Lawyers if someone nominates you, and you can't nominate yourself.

Lawyers.com and its owner, Martindale-Hubbell, don't give you an option to just get in there and create an account. You have to contact them first, and then go through their process.

There's value on being on all of these platforms, of course. If you find yourself in the position to use any or all of these use these last general tips to ensure you make the most of the opportunity.

  • Fill out every field you’re offered, or as many as possible. More information makes for a more valuable profile.
  • Never assume customers will pass through to your primary website. Use great pictures and strong copy to turn your profile into a mini-website. Some customers will hire you directly from this entry.
  • If the platform gives you the opportunity to interact with people or to contribute, i.e., through a Q&A system, take advantage of it. It’s a great opportunity to demonstrate your expertise. It shows you care about people, too, which is all to the good.

Take each profile seriously you'll give yourself some outstanding opportunities to grow your practice. Every strong profile you can generate for yourself is another opportunity for you to score new clients.

About the Author

Carmen Rane Hudson

I’m a freelance writer and content creator who specializes in helping digital marketing agencies, SEO consultants, and local SEO gurus make their clients very happy.

2 Comments on “How to Build the Perfect Legal Industry Listing on Google, Avvo, and Other Platforms”

  1. Thanks for the great article. As someone who runs an attorney marketing company, I’ve found that potential clients almost always check reviews before calling an attorney.

    Even if a client finds the attorney’s website through a search, the next step, before calling, is to google the attorney’s name and look for client feedback.

    A system I’ve helped developed helps attorneys with this social proof step. We integrate grade us into a directory called reviewyourattorney.com.

    Our goal is to show an attorney’s reviews from around the web to potential clients when someone googles that attorney’s name. Clients can also check other pertinent information such as an attorney’s bar license status, their education, their awards and their practice areas.

    We also offer free profiles which are great for citation building.

    1. Thanks Scott. I’m glad you liked Carmen’s article!

      I think you made a good point about how people search for lawyers online and I bet you have a great sense of what potential clients are looking for when searching for an attorney. It’s not always what the attorney assumes the client wants to know, so you need to put yourself in the clients shoes (depending on their experience searching for lawyers of course).

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