Martindale-Avvo’s Own Numbers Reveal Google is Eating Directories….

Based on numbers put out by Internet Brands press releases, my back of the napkin calculations suggest Avvo has lost approximately 60% of their website traffic over the past 4 years.

I’ve long been (incorrectly) prognosticating that Google will start to remove Directories from the SERPS, as directories are rarely more than a conduit to the end businesses anyway and deliver very little (if any) actual value to consumers. While it doesn’t seem the organic listings have fundamentally changed to remove or reduce directory presence; their overall impact has been massive reduced by the reworking of the SERPs – put simply, SEO has been depreciated – now hiding below LSAs, Google Ads, and Google Local.

Looking through Internet Brand’s press releases from when Avvo was acquired 2018, there are two different releases the point to roughly 8 million monthly sessions to Avvo. The first, from January ’18, quotes Avvo as having “more than 100 million annual visits” – which translates to roughly 8 million monthly. The second from October of that year, quotes the combined entities of IB (including Nolo, Lawyers.com, Attorneys.com, TotalAttorneys, AllLaw and a smattering of other publishers) as having 25 million monthly sessions – assuming Avvo has roughly 1/3 of that traffic (I’m pulling that % out of the air, based on my recollection of relative marketshare while I was there) you end up with again, roughly 8 million sessions.

Now fast forward to today… and the LinkedIn profile of the Chief Executive for Martindale-Avvo:

Martindale-Hubbell and Avvo – the largest online legal marketplace in the country… serving 10+ million consumers visiting avvo.com, lawyers.com, and martindale.com every month and tens of thousands of attorneys ready to serve them.

Assuming the makeup of the IB directory mix hasn’t changed – apply 1/3 to that 10 million and you’re talking just over 3M monthly sessions – a 60% decline and traffic back to roughly where it was when I was there over a decade ago. Now it’s very possible we are comparing apples and oranges here or that the expected PR puffery during the acquisition was grossly overstating actual numbers. I simply don’t know. But, this all comes back to my theory that Google will disinter-mediate the directories, which they have done by changing the SERPs towards more of an ad driven model and possibly reducing directory presence within organic itself.

For more on how and why I pieced these numbers together:

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