Whether you work for a large international or small boutique law firm, keeping local business information up to date is imperative to your brand’s health, but what about individual attorney profiles?
When attorney profiles are properly optimized, they can be very valuable, but they can also be a hassle, especially when dealing with a large firm that has many attorneys. Keeping up with all of the information needed to verify personal profiles and walking through the verification steps is time-consuming and often ends up at the bottom of a to-do list.
Why Does It Matter?
There are many benefits of optimizing your online legal profiles.
There is an obvious benefit to being listed on a directory site that ranks high in search results for the same keywords you would like your firm’s site to rank for. This is particularly helpful if your firm has just begun search engine optimization (SEO), which can be a long yet profitable process. Creating and maintaining a profile on major legal directories can boost brand recognition and firm awareness. If a potential client sees your information listed on a number of authoritative legal directories, the trust they may feel toward that particular directory has the potential to transfer to your brand.
Another important yet more abstract benefit is link authority.There seems to be a never-ending chain of possibilities for building your site’s authority through links. Directories typically allow you to add a link back to your own website from your online profile. Gaining free links from a high-authority website allows you to transfer some site authority back to your own. Check out this guide on link authority if you are new to the topic.
In addition to a backlink to your own website, directories will often allow you to link to other social profiles for your firm, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, also know as barnacle link building. In addition, some of the websites you are linking to are considered aggregators, and the information contained on these sites is also used on other websites, which can mean even more links!
Optimize – Who and How
The landscape of legal listing sites is vast, and some do not live up to the hype. So how do you know which websites to spend your time on? Below we will cover two sites that we feel are valuable, and also briefly touch on a few free individual attorney listing options you should claim and optimize.
Why we like it: Justia uses information from bar associations to populate their site with skeleton profiles, which then need to be claimed and verified by a quick automated phone call before you can start optimizing. It is a top contender because the links built on your profile are followed and can boost the ranking of the linked-to sites. Justia also allows you to add links to other social profiles, including some that are legal-specific.
In addition, Justia is an aggregator for Cornell.edu. When you create a Justia profile, you will automatically generate a profile on https://lawyers.law.cornell.edu. All of the links you specify on Justia will also appear on your Cornell profile.
Why we like it: Avvo consistently ranks well for many personal-injury-related terms and has quickly became a trusted name for legal searches. Avvo also pulls information from bar associations, and a profile can be claimed and verified a variety of ways. With a free account, you are limited to four total nofollowed links back to your site and/or other social sites. Unlike Justia, Avvo allows you to gain reviews from clients and your legal peers.
How to optimize: The key to optimizing your Avvo profile is to be very thorough. Avvo assigns a rating, which is based on how optimized your profile is. The best way to increase your Avvo rating is to thoroughly complete all information, then ask your peers for reviews. Client reviews are not calculated into the rating, but we highly recommend client reviews on Avvo since the site ranks very high for many key legal terms.
Other Free Profiles to Claim and Optimize
Below is a very condensed list of niche sites available for attorneys to list their services. Be aware that not all websites are created equal, and there are many directory sites on the web that you should avoid. The following list includes some free sites to gain listings. Note that some of these sites are geared toward firms and not individual attorneys.
Claiming and optimizing listings for your firm is the best place to start when working on your local presence. However, knocking out your personal profiles can really help kickstart your local work. Being dedicated to improving your firm’s authority in your market through online listings can really pay off.