Pros and Cons of Advertising in Online Lawyer Directories

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Written by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Lawyer directories are among the most widely used online lawyer marketing vehicles. They can be a great way to get exposure in search engines for your firm. Here are some of the major pros and cons of using online lawyer directories for your marketing.

Pros of Advertising in Online Lawyer Directories

  1. Directories can be relatively inexpensive
    Compared with other marketing options, listing in lawyer directories, such as, can be an inexpensive way to market your law firm. Many directories charge less than $200 per month. It doesn’t take many new clients to generate a return on that size investment, and in some cases, a directory listing can generate a substantial ROI.
  2. Directories can deliver results quickly
    As soon as your directory listings go live, your phones could start ringing, making it one of the fastest ways to generate new business. Most directories get your listings up and running within a day or two.
  3. Directories can deliver a high volume of leads
    Directories are the billboards of the internet. The more people “drive by” the more people contact your firm. Potential clients find it easy to respond to directory listings, and most of the calls that originate from directories are relevant for your firm. Because few people stumble onto lawyer directories accidentally, most users are people looking for lawyers.

Cons of Advertising in Online Lawyer Directories

  1. It can be tricky to figure out which directories are worthwhile
    It is important to speak directly with representatives of any online lawyer marketing company you are evaluating. Since they will all tout their services, your job is to figure out who to believe. It helps to ask the same questions of all prospective services. Beyond getting an expectation of what your firm can expect, and at what price, you should also ask:“How long have you been online?” This matters a great deal in Google’s algorithms. Businesses that have been online longer have a better chance of delivering consistent results over time.

    “Are you in good standing with a local Better Business Bureau?” If not, find out why. Customer complaints should raise a red flag.

    “What are your sources of traffic on the internet?” Running your own searches in Google is a great starting point but don’t forget the others. Yahoo and Bing account for 30% or more of internet traffic, so you should also consider directories that are well optimized for these search engines. Moreover, some directories have sources of traffic that aren’t immediately obvious. Always ask where directories are getting their traffic so you can understand the full picture.

    “How do you track results?” The way this question is answered can be among the most telling pieces of information you gather. If a directory is offering anything less than 100% visibility in the activity generated by your listings (phone calls originating from your listings, emails from your listings, clicks to your website, views of your profile, etc.), then they are likely hiding something. Be wary. You may never know your ROI from a directory that doesn’t track activity meticulously.

  2. Some Directories can offer sub-par visibility for your firm
    Just because a directory shows up well in search results doesn’t mean your firm will get good visibility on the site. Make sure your firm will get some sort of preferential placement regularly. If a visitor has to click to a second page or scroll down through a long list of attorneys to find you, it’s probably not going to be a very effective marketing placement for your firm.
  3. No filters or “qualifying” of leads
    This can be either a pro or a con, depending on your firm’s approach to nurturing leads. In a nutshell, directories publish your phone number for anybody to call. This means you’ll often get calls from people who are not yet sure whether or not they’ll need an attorney. But this also means you’ll get a higher volume of leads. Firms that learn how to best handle these types of leads, and follow up when necessary, usually see the best return on their investment.

Allow yourself time to identify the best directories for your firm to work with. With many directories to choose from, it might seem that all directories are equal, but that is not the case. While price matters, you should try to evaluate directories based on what features they offer and what they can deliver first, then when you have you’ve narrowed your options, consider pricing and negotiation.

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