There has been a lot of international talk in the social media about the value of online legal directories. So much so I thought it warrented discussion here in Canada.
I Googled “legal directory” in Google.ca. The were 920,000 results. Searches for “legal referral service” came back with only 50,300 results. Big difference. Not only in these numbers, but I also think a big difference in the results a lawyer can get from each of these services.
In the case of Directories (like Canadian-lawyers.ca by LexisNexis, Canadian Law List, or even the ever popular YellowPages) they typically offer a generic listing of the lawyer’s name, firm name, address, contact information, etc. In some case there are extra fees to have a small biography, photographs, and email and website links. But no referrals to speak of, and no real search engine optimization techniques directed specifically at the listers’ profile page.
Online referral services (like LawyerLocate.ca and LawyerShop) typically offer a great deal more. You often receive a “minisite” for yourself to list your practice details, contact information, etc. and you are provided referrals to individuals searching for your specific type of practice in a specific geographic area. Some referral services are specific to a certain practice area, such as the Canadian Family Law Lawyers Network, which charges not only a “registration fee”, but also a referral fee should you be retained.
Now, some of you are already aware that I work for LawyerLocate.ca. So you may be thinking that this post is self-serving. Well it is … to a point. But it is also a post to inform you that there are differences between Directories and Referral Services, and to make you aware of this point. And to even make you aware that there are differences from one referral service to the next.
With so many online marketing/advertising options out there for you to choose from, it is important to your research first. You all work hard for your money. So my question is this: Do you want to put that money into services that mirror the “Listing Book” of old, or do you want to invest in something that puts you and your practice on the cutting edge of internet information technology? Something that gets you internet exposure, referrals to potential clients, as well as something that can lead to superior search engine positioning?
Best advice: Search online for those referral services that rank high in the results. Research. Ask questions. Look for references from happy clients. And don’t put your eggs all in one basket.
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