When Should You Pay for Listings?
What are Legal Directories?
Legal directories have always had a place in the industry; clients need to know the person they’re hiring is actually accredited by at least one State Bar. Before the internet, they came in the form of large volumes of leather-bound books that adorned offices, which they still do, but the online directories are much more accessible.
So why do you need to pay to be listed in a directory? You passed the bar, you have a law firm, why should you have to pay? Well, you don’t.
Most of the main legal directories won’t require you to pay to be listed. This includes Avvo, LawDeeDa, Lawyers.com, and various others. This also includes Yelp and Google My Business. Claiming your listing is free, but doing anything more might cost you with varying returns.
These directories’ business models run off advertising revenue, meaning they have to provide advertising somewhere, and where better than on competitor’s listings? This gives the directories the chance to profit in two areas: advertising, and getting people to pay not to be advertised on.
When you pay for a listing, you sign up to not have your competitors advertise on your page (read the fine print if you decide to sign up, details change from site to site). You can also sign up to advertise on your competitor’s pages. If you are in a competitive market, this might be a good way to get a leg-up. That being said, if you are in a competitive market, chances are your competitors have the same idea.
There are benefits to directories whether you pay or not. For one they give you the opportunity to get your brand out there. If you don’t show up when people search, do you even exist?
Another benefit of directories is their link building potential. By getting your website onto your profile you are creating a strong backlink. This can have a tremendous impact. Basic link building is a great way to begin growing your business.
So when should you invest in a paid listing? This depends on your financial and geographical situation. Just like all marketing decisions, there are pros and cons. I can’t tell you in a blog post what to do, except to at least claim your firm. Getting your details out there is important, and a free listing and link will certainly help.