Website marketing is a perpetually changing field, subject to technological advances and changes seemingly at Google’s whim. In fact, Google’s constant changes exert a tremendous influence over online marketing strategies for brands and other advertisers. Take directories, for instance. Once upon a time, directories were far more common than they are now – Yahoo was, itself, a directory before becoming a search engine. Back in the day, webmasters would submit their sites to a large number of online directories .The more directory listings a webmaster had, the more backlinks to his website and, as a result, the higher his search engine ranking.
In 2012, Google decided to remove a sizeable portion of online directories from its index. Google even started to penalize websites that employed certain forms of directory deception. You might think this means directories are no longer viable when it comes to SEO, but the truth is that directories can still be a useful way to market your website. You just have to choose carefully.
How to Choose
The starting point to evaluating a directory is to consider whether it is reputable. Remember, Google doesn’t hate all directories; it distrusts directories that have no editorial review, which often means directories that accept all submissions regardless of relevance. It also appears that Google pays attention to webmasters who use unscrupulous tactics like submitting sites to a bunch of directories regardless of their relevance to the company’s mission. So if you’re submitting your law firm website to multiple free directories that make claims like “we’ll post any site, no matter what,” you may run into trouble. Instead, it’s a good idea to focus on legitimate directories that are specifically relevant to your practice.
Avvo, HG.org and Findlaw are good starting points for any law firm. Attorneys.us is another directory to consider for almost any type of law firm. If your law firm represents personal injury plaintiffs, you might be interested in exploring narrowly targeted directories like PersonalInjury.com, The-Injury-Lawyer-Directory.com and AccidentAttorneys.org. All three of these directories are rich with information designed to inform personal injury victims about their options. GlobalLawFirms.org is another option to consider. Unlike the others, Global is the parent website for more than 70 different legal directories including geotargeted directories such as ChicagoLawFirms.org, PhiladelphiaLawFirms.org and HongKongLawFirms.org, as well as practice-area specific directories such as DivorceLawFirms.org, EmploymentLawFirms.org and PersonalInjuryLawFirms.org.
One feature you should always check for is the ability to submit guest blog posts to these legal directories. As long as the blog posts are reviewed and/or edited in advance and they contain useful original content – something you should be able to see from other blog posts or articles on the site – this is something you should take advantage of.
Putting your website on a niche directory can be hugely beneficial to your law firm. Not only does a listing increase your chances of being found by a potential client browsing the directory, a link from a relevant site (relevancy can either be topical or geographic), can help you improve your backlink profile, which may benefit your SEO strategy. Additionally, having a consistent NAP (Name, Address and Phone Number) across multiple websites can be beneficial to your local search ranking.
You should generally avoid submitting to directories that are not relevant to your practice, especially when they promise immediate listings. Google is likely to view such sites with disfavor, which would reflect poorly on you and your firm. You might also want to avoid a site that has a lot of pop-ups – you can use your intuition here. The bottom line is this: you want to choose directories with high quality informational content relevant to your firm and your clients.
Contact us today to see how we can help your law firm improve its directory and backlink profile.