The Attorney’s Guide to Optimizing Avvo
Reviews are indisputably an important step in the client’s decision-making process. Even if referrals make up the majority of your firm’s revenue, clients will still look up your reviews before hiring you from the referral.
The truth is that Avvo is so commonly known among attorneys that we often make the mistake of assuming that the average person knows about Avvo. It’s unlikely that a person seeking an attorney or asking a question is going to immediately go through Avvo. They’re going to use Google to search for an attorney or answer questions (or in the unlikely case – Bing).
So Why is Avvo Important?
Avvo ranks high on search engines, meaning that if you search an attorney’s name you probably don’t even have to scroll to see their Avvo profile. And Avvo will rank well and show your profile whether you want it to or not because their representatives fill out the profile basics (location, practice areas, contact information). Once a potential client knows your name and Google’s you Avvo will be one of the first search engine results they see. In addition to that, it will likely be the first page not owned by you with reviews and testimonials. A Google ranking example:
Because I own both BenGlassLaw and Great Legal Marketing my search engine results differ than the average attorneys which is why I’m showing my partner’s search engine results. (For the record, Avvo did appear on the first page of results, it was just further down, and I couldn’t get an accurate screen grab to read where it was.)
How to Claim Your Avvo Profile
Avvo will fill out your profile with all of the information available on the Internet. Basically, the more detailed information your website has, the more information an Avvo representative can add to your profile. Even if they complete the profile to adequacy you need to claim your profile to edit your profile and kick it up to the next level.
Follow these steps to claim your Avvo profile:
Go to Avvo.com → Click “Find Lawyers” → Search your name → On your profile, click “Is this you? Claim and update your profile for free.” Then an Avvo representative will call you to verify, and now you’re able to edit and update your Avvo profile.
Once your profile is claimed and you have the ability to add to it you need to optimize the profile. This is another opportunity for you to stand out among the competition and keep a potential client’s interest on your page. Here are a few ideas:
- Receive attorney endorsements
- Write compelling copy in the About section
- Detail your experience with each practice area
- Link any FAQ or informational videos you have
- Ensure accuracy of location and contact information
- Oh yeah… Make sure you’re actually getting reviews (and good ones at that)
Should I Pay for Avvo?
Avvo is free and you do not need Premium to claim and update your profile but upgrading to Avvo Premium will boost your search result ranking and will also recommend your profile on other attorney’s account. These changes happened when Avvo was purchased by Martindale-Nolo who wanted to make the website more profitable. Click here to read more about profile demoting on Avvo.
While I’m not thrilled about it that “pay-to-play” changes, I do recommend purchasing Avvo Premium. If for no other reason than to avoid having the “similar lawyers” section on your profile.
The Most Important Feature on Your Avvo Profile
Once your profile is claimed and fully optimized it’s time to start getting reviews. It doesn’t matter how many bells and whistles you’ve added to your profile if the page is missing the one thing that a potential client is looking for. If you’re not currently asking for reviews, you can start by reaching out to past clients and asking them to leave a review. To get a steady stream of reviews in the future it needs to be included in your phone scripts and follow-up systems.
Most attorneys start their firms assuming that being a really, really good attorney should, in and of itself, be a marketing advantage. Those attorneys believe that joining a whole bunch of committees and putting their name in lawyer directories is “marketing,” and they never bother to ask if there is a better way.
Attorneys are catching on, however, and those who succeed learn to leverage their current resources to create effective (and ethical) marketing. What they discover isn’t a magic pill or silver bullet but a different approach to marketing that your competitors haven’t considered.
by Ben Glass
Ben is a nationally recognized expert in attorney marketing and the owner of Great Legal Marketing.