Online management of legal profiles is an important part of reputation management and local marketing for lawyers. Accurate and up-to-date legal profiles on sites like Avvo can create higher search rankings and show your superiority when compared to other attorneys in your area. With Avvo being one of the largest websites in the world, optimizing your Avvo.com profile is one of the easier and most important things you can do to boost your online reputation. Thanks to Cleveland probate attorney Bart Leonardi for raising this issue recently, which we know concerns nearly all of our attorney clients.
Avvo, which was recently purchased by Internet Brands (which also has holdings in Martindale and Nolo) for an undisclosed amount that made investors very happy, has benefited from exceptional growth over the last 5 years and is one of the most popular websites in the United States.
It seems that something new is always coming up that lawyers "must" do to compete online. Avvo isn't a flash in the internet pan — with millions of users and over a decade online, it's one to put your trust in and a real authority in the minds of legal service consumers.
That isn't to say that Avvo is without fault. There have been various questions of ethics, both for the lawyers using Avvo and Avvo itself. Always be aware of your state bar's rules on marketing, especially online. Since the landscape is changing so rapidly, bar associations are often scrambling to establish new rules in each state.
There have even been hilarious pranks against the site. Gregory Luce, owner of BitterLawyer.com, once changed his profile to resemble a goat and increased his Avvo score.
Even after all of this, it's still worth it to maximize your Avvo score. Here's why.
Avvo uses public bar data to create basic profiles on the site. That means if this is the first time you've ever heard of Avvo, chances are good that you nonetheless have a listing there. Just search your name + the word "attorney" on Google and you're likely to find your Avvo profile on page one. This means that even if your practice is highly referral based, your new client referrals are likely to see your Avvo profile and rating when they too search for you by name.
We do not remove profiles from our site. The information in a lawyer profile is pulled from public records and publicly available information... You might also want to check with your state attorney licensing body to ensure that the information in your public record is up-to-date.
You can see that, according to the image at the outset of this article, Avvo is close to 2 million visits each month.* This means that potential clients are on Avvo, reviewing attorneys in one easy-to-compare spot.
By increasing your Avvo score on a site which users deem influential, you can offer proof to your potential clients that you are the best attorney for them.
There was a 3 month period a bit ago where an attorney every week was mentioning to our marketing department that clients were selecting them based purely on their Avvo score. Most of these clients thought that the score was some sort of official number passed down from state bars to represent each attorney.
*Caveat: the image is from a SEO tool that The Modern Firm uses for estimates. Since we can compare what's shown on the tool to sites that we own, we can confirm that it's far from exact. For these purposes, it's close enough to know that Avvo drives massive traffic.
It used to be that Avvo would not show an attorney's Avvo score until their profile was claimed. However, this behavior changed a little while back and now, claimed or not, an Avvo score will show for every attorney.
There is a reason that Avvo can generate huge volumes of traffic: they have fantastic rankings. Google's focus on authority means that Avvo's huge link profile and content base catapult them to the top of the rankings for local searches. It allows a user to see all of the attorneys in their area on one page (conveniently with scores attached) rather than scrolling through each firm's website.
The search engines have made it difficult to beat these types of sites, even for local searches.
Barnacle SEO is "attaching" yourself to the success of Avvo's high rankings. If Avvo is ranking above you on Google, then the next best move is to rank high on Avvo so you can benefit from these top spots.
While Avvo has an algorithm to decide the order in your area, it's certain that your score plays a big factor. Increasing your Avvo score means you can move up this list and get more views for no cost.
When someone searches for your name or law firm in Google, they're often going to see additional schema markup in the results. Schema markup is technical jargon that basically means "beyond text." When Google is looking pretty with dates for concerts, stars for reviews, and other fancy results, you know schema is at play.
Google will use this to pull your Avvo score directly into their search results.
While you don't have control of what Google shows here (we've also seen Lawyers.com, among others), you can help your own rankings on Google by building up your Avvo profile further.
Part of the way that Avvo makes their money is by selling lawyers Avvo Pro accounts that offer enhanced profiles which show your contact information on the search pages, give you the ability to write your own headlines, and blocks ads from other lawyers on your profile. Avvo Pro accounts aren't required to use Avvo, but if you do have one, you should certainly invest the time in polishing up your profile as much as possible to get the most out of your money.
Hopefully by now we've convinced you that, even if you aren't a fan of Avvo and online directories, it is worthwhile to increase your score. It should only take you about an hour, and can pay off dividends for years to come.
Before you can make alterations to your profile, you must claim it with a login. As we mentioned above, it's likely that they've created a profile for you already. Search your name + avvo ("ryan gough avvo") on Google to find your profile.
At the top of your profile, you can click "Claim your profile"and create a login.
If your profile is already claimed, but you don't remember your login, click here to reset your password.
Avvo's profiles are made of a few main sections:
Here is your chance to shine. Your About Me spot should be a completely unique section of text (do not copy your attorney bio from your own website). This is a spot for you to write about exactly why a potential client should choose you over all of the other attorneys in your area. Be specific about what you provide — try to resonate with the client who fits your practice best.
Be diligent in matching your practice. If you've talked about doing estate planning for 5 years but still haven't made it a priority, leave it off this one for now.
Here is where the magic happens, and where an attorney at the middle of the pack can grab a 10 score. Every attorney has contact information, reviews, and practice areas. Adding these other little extras is how Avvo can see that you're going further and deserve their top spot.
This should take up half the time you spend on your profile. Think of every little thing from your past and type it in — it all adds up.
Avvo's review system doesn't require a login, so get every past client you can to quickly leave a 5-star review on your profile. You can even click Leave A Review on your own profile and email that link out, or use our automated review request platform as part of your Local Marketing Fundamentals to build up your reviews.
Client reviews on Avvo do not impact your Avvo rating score, but they do augment it with information your potential clients will find relevant. If you've received negative reviews, check out our post on how to handle that sticky situation.
Getting attorney endorsements is also easy and helpful: call a handful or your closest colleagues and exchange well-written reviews.
Avvo most likely won't immediately raise your score. Give it 48 hours, and see what impact your changes have had.
If your score isn't as high as you think it should be, try to remember a few more additional events or professional contributions you can add. If you've maxed these opportunities out, it's a good time to make a few calls and find out when you can speak at an upcoming CLE event.
Additionally, Avvo has a Q&A section. Go in there and answer a few questions. Also add a piece of content to gather those last few points to round out your profile. These will improve your standing.
While we have expanded on the information, Avvo does have an official page on increasing your score.
The Modern Firm helps its clients build a complete online profile to bring in more customers. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.