Previously in our series covering the five parts of a complete law firm marketing presence, we discussed:
- The starting point, a well-designed, informative website and
- The next step, proper placement in search engines.
Next up is the importance of your firm being properly listed in the various online directories, such as Google Maps, Cornell, Findlaw, Avvo, Martindale, and others. If your firm is not correctly (or not at all) listed in these directories, it could have a penalizing effect on your search rankings, hindering those trying to do business with you.
Why is it important?
Two reasons: First, and most obvious, is if you’re not listed in the directory your potential client is scanning, you won’t be found — just as if you were not listed in the white pages in the paper phonebook. (For Millennials who don’t know what those last two words mean, click here.)
But more importantly, the other reason is tied to how Google ranks businesses in search results. In order to show its users the most trustworthy listings for businesses, Google examines how a business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) appears across various directories. If the information is consistent, the Google theory goes, the business is worthy of a higher ranking. But if there are differing names, addresses, or phone numbers for the business, Google will penalize the business with not-as-high rankings.
What’s your firm’s score?
How do you know, without manually going to each directory, if your firm is consistently and accurately listed? There are tools, such as Moz.com/local, that scan the directories and compare the information. Here’s how to check:
- Go to Moz.com/local;
- Enter your business name and zip code;
- On the next page, choose one of the “Verified” listings for your firm; and
- See your score and where listings are incomplete, inconsistent, or duplicate.
A score of less than 80 percent is an indication you need to do some cleanup work on your listings. Some of the directories allow you to directly change the information about your business; others are not as straightforward because they pull information from other sources (that they don’t always disclose). Refer to each directory’s listing rules to see how to fix the information.
Let us do it for you
One of LISI’s core services in our ongoing marketing program is to find every listing of our clients and work to make them uniform. This is especially relevant when a firm moves or changes names. We know the rules of the directories and would be happy to discuss the matter with you.