Online Legal Directories can be useful tools for firms seeking to build visibility, increase traffic and attract clients. They may still provide value, but there are tricks and traps to avoid. Take a deep dive and hear how to ensure your marketing budget is well spent.
And news: The University of Michigan reached a $490 million settlement over sexual abuse by the school’s former director of Health Services; more on the significant updates to Google’s vicinity algorithm; ABA Tech Show; and non-lawyer ownership of law firms.
The Clio Legal Trends Report finds nearly half of law firms reporting growth employ Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software solutions to help them remain responsive and streamline onboarding.
Plus, ever hear of the Barbara Streisand effect? It’s real and it can negatively affect your business. Learn how you can avoid making potentially embarrassing mistakes.
Special thanks to our sponsors Alert Communications, LawYaw, and Clio.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Before we get started today, we want to thank our sponsors, Clio, LAWYAW, and Alert Communications.
Conrad Saam: Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday, dear Gyi. Happy birthday to you.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Thank you, Conrad. And you know, it’s so nice, because you just broke your own rule and said, that you were never going to sing on Lunch Hour Legal Marketing.
Conrad Saam: That is exactly right. I will not dance on Lunch Hour Legal Marketing. How’s that? Those are two things I do not do. That was best music I have ever created.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Maybe for my 50th birthday, you can do a dance
Conrad Saam: I will dance. So, happy birthday.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Thank you.
Conrad Saam: I know it’s your birthday, because Facebook tells me it’s your birthday. And so –
Gyi Tsakalakis: The one good thing Facebook’s for.
Conrad Saam: And retargeting.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right, of course.
Conrad Saam: I’m going as always try, and loop this into the theme of our show, which is legal marketing. Do you Facebook stalk your clients. and proactively send them a non-email, non-Facebook birthday wish?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Not consistently.
Conrad Saam: Okay.
The most transparent, and honest answer is that, one– I’m not as proactive about it. But I do, the clients that I have that I’ve developed a closer relationship with over the years. I, for sure do.
Conrad Saam: Okay.
Gyi Tsakalakis: But there are some that, which kind of goes to my point that we’ve talked about a lot is, it’s not blanket, right? For me, like, there’s a little bit of nuance in deciding how you interact with people, you know? Some people, “Hey, you know what, some of my clients, I’ve had a relationship with for a long time, we go out to lunch on their birthday. Right?
Conrad Saam: Right.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Some get an email; some get a card. Anyway, it’s just knowing people and treating them the way that you want to be treated yourself to a large extent.
Conrad Saam: And also knowing that not everyone wants to be treated the same way. That’s the nuance that you bring up here.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah. yeah, some people don’t want an email on their birthday, you know. They’re like, feeling self-conscious about getting old like me.
Conrad Saam: Hey, dude. I will always be worse that you are in that category.
Gyi Tsakalakis: You’re right. I’m really not self-conscious about it at all.
Conrad Saam: Gyi, what are we talking about today?
Gyi Tsakalakis: First, we’ve got some quick news then, we’re talking Barbra Streisand.
Conrad Saam: Barbra Streisand?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yep, Babs. And hopefully, that will include some more of that beautiful singing voice of yours. Then we’ll wrap things up talking about legal directories, and whether or not they are still relevant for law firms. Roll that music.
Intro: Welcome to lunch hour, legal marketing. Teaching you how to promote market, and make fat stacks for your legal practice here, on Legal Talk Network.
Conrad Saam: All right, let’s hit the news.
Conrad Saam: Those of you who are long time listeners of the podcast know that Gyi and I met at the University of Michigan. This morning, the Michigan sex abuse settlement came out. I think both, Gyi and I had clients who were working on generating clients for that matter. Gyi, the other piece of news, and this is more our understanding of how the news is actually. In fact, I think, the vicinity update coming out of Google, A, can you tell us what that is? And B, is that impacting your clients? Because I can tell you it’s impacting ours.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah. So, here is my view on it. It’s kind of three things that we see going on with the vicinity update. Number one is, it that looks like, Google’s dialed up the proximity factor. So, they’re showing a lot more businesses that are very close to the location of the searcher. Two though, there are two other things that are going on. One is, there does seem to be a removal of some of the long-standing keyword business name field firms in major markets. So, Chicago, New York. Firms that were like, it was just a hundred percent keywords in business name field, you know. Personal injury, lawyer, LLC. A lot of those have been shaken out.
And on top of that, and this is just really coming from me. I wrote about this on our blog. So, we’ll put a link in there for folks who want to read that. But in addition to both of those things, I have a sense that there’s some kind of like, I’m going to call it a “shuffle factor.” And what I mean by that is, even some firms that didn’t have keywords in the business name field, and still are proximally very close to the search that had been had rankings for forever. Like, as far back as I can, as they had local packs are gone. And so, it’s like not exactly, and they have traditional SEO, good SEO metrics, right?
Gyi Tsakalakis: These are firms that have had, they done a lot of content, they’ve got a lot of links or big sites, they’ve got their brand recognition sites, that don’t appear to be cheating, and they seem to have gotten the bump for some reason. So, that’s my take on it. What do you see?
Conrad Saam: We are seeing the same thing and I’m actually fielding. I fielded three calls from prospective clients in the last two weeks. Maybe even just 10 days about this, right? Like, local has gone bananas, right? So, —
Gyi Tsakalakis: Local’s bananas.
Conrad Saam: — I would say to you, that if you don’t have a benchmark from last year, you have no idea what’s going on anyway. So, like get your data locked in at the very least, run a local Falcon scan. You should know your local traffic is coming through at the very least in your Google Analytics. If you don’t have it set up for that, your agency is not doing their job. And ideally, have your consultations with clients. Has that dumped? Has it exploded? And ideally, you can track it back to these changes in local. But that’s been a very real shake-up. I mean, Gyi and I have a tradition of pooh-poohing the Google “shakeups,” right? This is more real than it has been in the last 12, to 24 months even.
Gyi Tsakalakis: No, seriously. I mean, I like, Conrad, as you know, I’m always like, just keep your head down, keep doing the good work. Google will catch up. This one’s legit. I think the other thing that is a good lesson here for especially for folks who are like, got the bomb, who thought they were doing everything, right? “This is why you’ve got to diversify your marketing strategy. Don’t put all your eggs in the local pack basket people.”
Conrad Saam: Yeah. Yeah, that’s a really astute point. And it’s difficult the smaller you are, because sometimes, you really want to focus. You can really only afford to focus on one or two things. So, that makes it difficult. If you are a small firm that has put all of those eggs in that basket, the baskets gone. Time to shuffle.
Gyi Tsakalakis: In other news.
Conrad Saam: Yeah, I was going to say. I believe you were on the Board of ABA TECHSHOWs? Is there something you want to share with our listeners?
Gyi Tsakalakis: I am. Yes, ABA TECHSHOW as of today, January 19, 2022 is on in Chicago, March second through fifth, and it’s time to vote. We want to hear from you. Pick your Startup Alley finalists. For those that go to TECHSHOW and know about Startup Alley, but we want to highlight and reward some of these innovative legal tech startups. The deadline for voting is January 28. We can make sure, we’ll put the link in the show notes. You can also find it on Bob Ambrogi’s law sites blog. But please do vote. We want to hear from you. It makes it better, and we hope to see you in Chicago, assuming that, we continue on that path.
And as many of you have been, know from listening to us, for those that do, we’ve been tracking the changes in non-legal entity ownership of law firms. Arizona was on the frontend of that rule change. And the first non-law firm legal entity, non-law firm, law firm is up and running in Arizona. And so, you know, sign of the times, get ready to see more of that. And I would encourage you to kind of track the news around that. Because again, we believe that that’s going to play an increasing role in the future of the delivery of legal services.
Conrad Saam: Depending on what State you’re in, some states have decided that they do not want to play ball.
Gyi Tsakalakis: True.
Conrad Saam: Proactively decided.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Okay, as we usually do. This one is particularly heartwarming. I actually shared this on my socials. We got a review from Hunter Garnet that I’m very, very grateful for. Here’s the review. Listen to every episode, the month I started my law practice. I started my own law firm on December 3, 2021. Congratulations, by the way.
Conrad Saam: Yes, a big congrats. Anyone who has the guts to pull “Hey, I’m going to start my own business right now during this very kind of crazy world.” Hats off, well, played.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yup. On December 26, I started listening to Lunch Hour Legal Marketing. I didn’t stop until I had listened to very episode. Listening to LHLM before spending my own money on marketing was a great decision. The host do an excellent job of explaining what to watch out for with other legal marketers, legal marketing theory, and practical legal marketing tips. Hunter, thank you, thank you, thank you so much. These kinds of reviews are the reason we do this. We wish you the best of luck. And as I have offered many times, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. If you have questions, if you’ve got feedback, show topics, and if you’re willing to leave a review, I appreciate you. Thank you again, Hunter. I really do appreciate it.
Conrad Saam: Hunter, this is cool. So, he mentioned, he started listening on December°26. He wrote this review, on January 1. It’s great. It’s beyond flattering, and I appreciate it.
Gyi Tsakalakis: It helps us raise our bar too. For listeners like Hunter, we want to provide you value. So, thank you. And now, for the Legal Trends Report Minute brought to you by Clio.
Gyi Tsakalakis: So, we’ve mentioned this step before, but I wanted to go a little deeper, and also a little foreshadowing for our future episodes. I think, with Conrad, and I are excited to talk about this. But growing firms are 46 percent more likely to use client intake and CRM solutions. So, what they found was, out of the firm’s that are growing, those growing firms are 46 percent, more likely to use CRM.
Client intake and client relationship management software, help law firms deliver and enhance client experiences. Something we talk about all the time especially during the crucial intake phase of the legal matter, these solutions make it easier for law firms to keep track of potential clients who reach out to them, ensuring streamline operations each step of the intake process. Online forms make it easier, and more convenient for potential clients to share basic information related to their matter, and online booking systems make connecting for initial consultation simple.
Gyi Tsakalakis: So, you know, my thing about this, I mean, we obviously believe in CRM. You know, I was kind of thinking back, we already kind of committed to doing an entire episode on CRM. But you know, when you read that little clip, isn’t that everything? It’s all about putting the systems and prop better, and software systems, processes, behavior. Putting the client, the center of your firm, making it easier to book, easier to schedule, easier to communicate like, so it’s all about right there?
Conrad Saam: I think, one of the keys here is, it focuses is on growing firms. And for me, this is like, a “Yeah, no doubt, right?” But if you are a two-person firm, it’s not as difficult to keep track of everything. Then, if you’re a 22-person firm. Like, that’s a no-brainer, and you have to have systems in place to scale things up. I still believe that the depth of power, and the depth of opportunity, and the depth that you get out of CRM is amazing. Right?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right. And that’s a very marketing agency-owner perspective on it, which I share. But even if you’re not like, even if you’re not trying to like, track and measure, and do all the marketing stuff, the other part of it that did the speaks to, and I guess, this would be a good point for us to cover when we go deep on this is, it provides a better experience for your clients, because you’re more organized. And you’re more responsive, and there’s less friction for them to communicate with you.
And so, CRM just to me is one of those things that, you know, we take for granted. We are in the world of legal marketing, and law practice management. But if you know, it’s one of those buzzwords, one of those acronyms that’s like, so cornerstone. But regardless of who you are, you know, if you’re one person firm, if you’re a 500-person firm like, this is one of the best cases of technology actually helping to deliver better client service.
Conrad Saam: So, let me get really pragmatic on this. And yes, we will do a full episode on CRM. But like, Gyi, said the word, responsiveness, right? How does CRM help you be more responsive?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Stay tuned!
Conrad Saam: Yes, you want me to stay tuned?
Gyi Tsakalakis: No, go ahead. Don’t make them wait.
Conrad Saam: I’ll use a very simple thing. Even if all you know is that, it takes 14 hours on average to get back to clients, you are going to start becoming more responsive, right? Even if that’s the only thing you get out of CRM is that, it takes us on average 14 hours, which seems insane, which would be insane. Right? Just that one piece of knowledge is amazing. Right?
Gyi Tsakalakis: What gets measured, gets managed.
Conrad Saam: What, at that song? It sounds like, someone wrote a book on that?
Gyi Tsakalakis: To learn more about these opportunities, and much more, for free. Download Clio’s legal trends report at Clio.com/trends. That’s Clio. Spelled C-L-I-O. Conrad, your turn to sing some Barbra Streisand for us.
Conrad Saam: Do you want me to sing? But I do not sing. I never sing. I will never sing or dance on this podcast.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Again.
Conrad Saam: Again. Okay, so one of the pieces of news that came out, it’s not very newsworthy, but it is an interesting conversation. And it comes back to what is known as the “Streisand effect.” But there’s something that came out recently. The Colorado Supreme Court had an item on one of their pages regarding disciplinary information. And the lawyer in question is trying to get Google to deindex. It does not want that to show up anymore when searching for that lawyer’s name.
Now, I have a long history of dealing with this, because my early, early time in the legal industry was spent at Avvo. And one of the things that Avvo did was, look through State Bar information to find lawyer disciplinary information. And frankly, would put a big obnoxious red warning sign on lawyers who had received these honorary judgments. And so, I spent a lot of time talking to angry lawyers about this. In this case, this is a situation of a man who was involved in some domestic violence issues, and a DUI, and received a six-month suspension, and 12 months’ probation. He now trying to get Google to no index. Gyi, what does no index mean?
Gyi Tsakalakis: That means that, Google won’t show it in the results.
Conrad Saam: So, Google may know about these pages, but they’ve chosen not to show it in the results. Why might one use a no index for a page, Gyi? Because that seems like, everything should be available. Right? What’s a good use for no index?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, maybe you’ve got something that’s not – if it doesn’t really — Well. here’s the googling answer. If it doesn’t deliver on a search user’s intent, you probably shouldn’t have it indexed. SEO-wise, you might decide like, “Hey, this is a really thin page. Maybe you’ve only got like, one thing to say and, you know, it’s good for people, but it really doesn’t serve any purpose for search.” There’s a bunch of reasons you might no-index something. If it’s an ad, you’re not supposed to index ad links.
Conrad Saam: Right. So, appropriate SEO reasons. Covering up information, is that an appropriate SEO reason, Gyi?
Gyi Tsakalakis: No.
Conrad Saam: No.
Gyi Tsakalakis: It’s not.
Conrad Saam: And so, can you talk to me a little bit. Can you define the “Streisand effect” for our listeners, and show how this is basically a big backfire?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Sure. So, “Streisand effect” is what happens when you try to hide something or censor it. And what happens instead, you actually bring a lot more attention to the very thing that you’re trying to hide or censor.
Conrad Saam: Do you know how the “Streisand effect” got its name?
Gyi Tsakalakis: I might botch it. But didn’t Barbra Streisand try to like, hide to the amount she paid for a house or something?
Conrad Saam: So, there was a guy who hired a helicopter, and took a picture of mansions along the California coast; one of which is Streisand’s house, and she tried to get that picture. I think she sued the photographer to get him to not display that picture of her house, because she didn’t want to everyone to see what an opulent place that she lived in. And of course, when that happened, it blew up. And everyone saw this very opulent house. This is exactly what’s happening to this guy, right? Because honestly, it’s like easy salacious, blink baby fodder. You know, I’m looking at this is on Reason.com. And this is under free speech, “Lawyer asks Google to hide his bar discipline information on State Supreme Court’s website.”
Now, reason probably makes at all. They do. Look, “I’m getting ads for shoes and automobiles.” And so, it’s very helpful for that, and phone cases, right? It’s very helpful for them for people to click on this stuff. So, it’s kind of easy to drive views, but the downside for the lawyer of course, is that, now more, and more people are learning about his suspension, and is his bar discipline
Gyi Tsakalakis: And you know, and I think, you know, try to be practical tip here, because we imagine that most of our listeners are not trying to hide their history of domestic violence. But some might be trying to have true negative reviews removed, right? That’s the one I always think about. and you know, again, number one, if it’s a real review, you know, if someone is not happy with you, fix he reason why they’re unhappy with you.
You know, guess what? It might be, because you didn’t respond to them or keep them up to date about their case, and all the stuff that we always hear. And start there with fixing the experience, but don’t go around trying to hide this stuff. Don’t go around trying to get all this stuff taken down. Have some empathy. Give it some time. Don’t react emotionally, and think about the best course of action, whether it’s deciding to respond or reach out or whatever it is. But, you know, censorship is usually not a great game plan in the age of information.
Conrad Saam: No. It doesn’t really work all that well, and doesn’t go over very well. The interesting thing, and this was right before I left Avvo, this came out. There were some State bars, you know, I will spend a ton of time, and a ton of effort getting this data, and many of the State bars were not happy about having their public information crawled. But there many State bars that actually close this information off after three- or four-year period. Right? And so, sometimes, time is your friend here. Anyway, that is the “Streisand Effect.” Don’t try and censor the internet. It doesn’t work very well.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right.
Conrad Saam: Let’s go pay some bills.
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Gyi Tsakalakis: So, Conrad you mentioned, you’re referencing back to your days at Avvo. What’s going on out of these days?
Conrad Saam: Well, I don’t know. So, interestingly, the Avvo peeps who were there when it was sold are no longer there. So, Sandy left, mark left. And so, it is a very different organization. As you and I were both watching directory traffic, they weren’t doing great. Right? And they were very, very, heavily built on SEO. And I’m not going to sue this. Well, I can’t help but say like, “I had a lot to do with that.” And I was pretty proud of it and we did a great job of content, and backlink and the technology were rock solid, and it was great.
I think what’s happened is, a lot of people have caught up from the SEO just foundational side of things. And additionally, you know, the SERPs have completely changed. So, search traffic is down at the bottom. You now have three different options before you even get too organic. And I believe, I want to say, two or maybe even more years ago, you were looking at the tracking of their traffic for some key terms, and they were down at the bottom. I wrote a post on that. No one ever really thought, otherwise, right? I think, they’ve just kind of continued to crater. That’s my understanding.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah, I think zooming out on just the conversation about directory. Online legal directories have always been a part of the online legal marketing ecosystem.
Conrad Saam: Yeah, and directories have been a part before the online thing happened, right?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah.
Conrad Saam: It was a big thing
Gyi Tsakalakis: And I’m with you. I mean, for the major, like head term category queries that we track in major markets, Avvos struggled, but you know, in general, like the whole as you mentioned, the directories are so far down the page.
However, I will say this, because of some of the sizes of some of these directories; for longer tail geo modified queries in less competitive markets, they’re still pretty prominent. You know, trying to get some smoke, some tactical things to think about, you know, because this came up actually in a Facebook group there, Daylor was asking about. You know, “What do you think about these directory advertising?”
Gyi Tsakalakis: And here’s my thing, and we’ve talked about this bedlam of many times. It will probably come up again. But you got to think about, let’s just run through the kind of the analysis of the directory. So, first of all, the question number one is, do the directories or the director you’re considering, does it appear anywhere in search results for queries relevant to your practice, right? Because if it doesn’t, forget about it.
Conrad Saam: Relevance to your practice, and geographic location.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right.
Conrad Saam: Right. And so, this is all sliced by practice area, geography, that matrix has to be a yes, otherwise, like, you really are just burning your kid’s college fund.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right. Number two is though, then you got to actually click through to the page that’s actually ranking, and see what the conversion visibility looks like. And what I mean by that is, look if you’re the only lawyer on the page, great. That might be a great opportunity. But if you’re on the page with like, 50 other lawyers, and they all have way better reviews, and they’re open. It’s the same rules we talk about when we talk about Google Business profiles, right? So, like just getting into consideration so, that’s one thing, being the lawyer that they’re actually going to choose to hire, that’s a totally different thing. And so, that’s got to go into your calculus as well.
But usually, from a threshold standpoint, if the directory shows up for relevant queries both, practice area-wise and geographically, and you can have a competitively-positioned listing, it might be worth a test to see if you can actually generate clients at cost.
Now, I’ll tell you that, more and more, we are seeing that, it just doesn’t work out, especially in competitive markets. The sentiment in these Facebook groups and lot of these folks. In fairness, a lot of people are trying this. They’re not really thinking about it that strategically, you know? They’re going to call from Avvo or getting a call from whoever, and are signing up, and they don’t have call tracking in place. Another thing to make sure you got your call tracking in place, you got forum tracking place. A lot of the directories to their credit have up to their dashboard and reporting game with the exception of a couple that are kind of obfuscating the reporting. But I’ll let you speak to that. I won’t.
But at the end of the day, it’s the same thing, right? It’s an ad. It’s an ad unit. You got to say, “What’s our target cost per acquisition for this ad? What is our target return on investment for the ad campaign? Let it run for a little bit of time, and see how it performs, track everything.” You know, three months, six months, I wouldn’t lock into a long-term contract. But you know, the question keeps coming up. You know, “Should I be on these places?”
Here’s the other thing to note and think about; a lot of these have organic profile listings that you should claim, because you know, for the vertical specific directories, I do think those play a role in your visibility, and local pack. But you know, we really talking about spending money on ads here. What do you think?
Conrad Saam: So, I want to go to some of the dirty tricks that directory sales people use to take advantage of you. Long-term contract is one of them. Even the timing of how you can cancel your contracts, I would read that stuff really carefully, right? If you’re required to provide notice, it’ll let them roll over two more months after you’ve decided that the directories are not working for you. Like that’s a that’s a huge red flag. Any of these long-term contracts, I get, you know, and they’ll tell, “You all need to give it time to be able for it work.” You need to give it time for it to work? It’s a freaking ad on top of a page, right? Like you’re not baking a cake. Like, come on. It’s bullshit.
Other things that directory salespeople will use to kind of take advantage of you. I call them rotation location. Rotation is yeah, okay, there’s three ads on this page. You could be one of three. Yeah, but there’s 30 different lawyers that they rotate through. So, you’re not showing up more than 10% of the time, that’s crap. Right? And a lot of the directories basically oversell their inventory by using this rotation approach. So, even if, and here’s example is, there is only one lawyer there. Well, yeah. Okay. So, you can buy that spot, but you’re only buying four percent of that spot. Right? That’s garbage.
The other thing is on the rotation location, where is your ad on the page? Right? Yelp used to be notorious for doing this, but there are other agencies that do this all the time. We are assuming here that people are seeing these ads, that it’s at the top of the page, right? Not necessarily the case. You could be, you know, way down in scrolling never-never land where your ads are never going to actually show up. So, where the ads actually show becomes a really big deal.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah, and here’s another dirty trick. I still get this email. I mean, you and I have exchanged this email from this particular vendor many times. But they’re literally –
Conrad Saam: Would you like to name the vendor?
Gyi Tsakalakis: I would not. You may, but they’re literally selling, you know, “SEO juice” from their legal link directory, which is like, —
Conrad Saam: Okay, what?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Prima facie penalty.
Conrad Saam: Great. Let’s go into this. Okay? So, this is a, this is a fair question, and it’s a question that I genuinely mull from sometimes. Okay, you’re buying ads to be unnamed directory, right? It also includes a do follow link to your website. Okay? So, it’s a very, very, thinly veiled link buying approach. What is your take Gyi, on whether or not you should do that for the value of the link?
Gyi Tsakalakis: So, unfortunately most of them still, maybe people can correct me, if I’m wrong. Most of them still have an organic version of the profile. So, whether or not, it has the link, I’m like, “Get your name, address, phone information, from the organic profile, it gets your URL in there, but suspend money just for the link.” And then even worse idea in my opinion is, spend money for the link across all these different pages from the same domain has infinitesimally small value.
Conrad Saam: Yeah.
Gyi Tsakalakis: And by the way, do you want to buy links? There’s a lot more affordable ways to buy links than from legal directory.
Conrad Saam: Yeah. My point here, is the link buying with a “fig leaf of advertising,” probably not the best use of your money.
Gyi Tsakalakis: No.
Conrad Saam: Right.
Gyi Tsakalakis: That’s the whole point. I think that’s the really the way to frame it. There are a million ways to spend a dollar that are going to be better suited than the value of the link from an SEO standpoint from a legal directory.
Conrad Saam: Okay. So, now before my house gets torched by the people from internet brands, let me try to put a positive marketing spin on this. What value do you see out of the directories, Gyi? I’ve got one, but where do you like the directories?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, again, there is no question in my mind that there’s value from visibility, whether it’s a citation on the directory for vertical specific directory, in terms of their impact for your listing in Google Business profiles, right?
So, like, you know, the value of citations is going down. You can go check out Whitesparks. We’ve talked about this before. Local search ranking factors survey. Most of the SEOs agree citations are less valuable than they used to be, but these directories like, the vertical specific ones like in this case, legal; like yeah, I think you need to be there. There are some validations there.
And you know, there’s also which was going to be, and another topic we’ve talked about and was going to originally going to be one of our topics for today that we pivoted from, being a blank lawyer with recognized like, you know, whether it’s best lawyers. They have a directory or Martindale-Avvo. That’s right. Martindale’s now Martindale-Avvo.
Conrad Saam: There you go.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Those trust validators, and being in the directory there,
I think in less sophisticated consumers, in certain practice areas, those provide a layer of trust.
Conrad Saam: I will tell you the directory that I like our vertical, very, very specific, right? You do criminal defense, and you are in the normal legal directory, right? That drives business for starters, right?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right.
Conrad Saam: But it also leads validation. Those links are probably as valuable if not more valuable than something from you know, No Law. The other thing, I don’t know, if you would spend much time doing this with your clients? Those directories that are selling their traffic as leads as opposed to an ad. I am much more interested in that, because it is it’s harder to lie with leads than it is to lie with ads.
Conrad Saam: Now, the leads have the same problem of rotation, right? So, I’m going to take this later, and I’m going to send it to fifteen lawyers, and the first person to get that poor victim on the phone wins. Nah, that’s kind of gross as well. But there are some of those directories we have had good luck with No Law, very bluntly. We’ve got clients who do very well with No Law with the lead buying.
So, to me, when they will take the extra step, and go to not just “I’m going to put you in front of traffic from Uzbekistan.” That might be on our website, because we don’t care where the traffic is coming from, but we’re actually qualifying these in turn these into leads, and taking a very thin vetting perspective, and buying those as leads. I like that.
Gyi Tsakalakis: And the other one that’s, I guess somewhat tangentially-related, but the directories some of them have this option, is this idea of barnacle SEO. If they allow you to publish on the directory domain, right? So, I don’t know if Avvo still does this. But they used to have where you can contribute content.
Conrad Saam: Yeah, man. That was huge.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Huge. It’s like, the core of legal. So, and like that Barnacle SEO play. If you can write the right post at answers a question for a very specific audience that’s local, and highly likely to convert; sometimes that site, I mean, talk about the relative value between that a link, I would take that publishing opportunity, none I don’t know even something some high amount.
Conrad Saam: Nine times out of ten? Here’s, my problem with the Barnacle SEO, right? One, and Avvo, was frankly, — By the way, I was completely wrong about this. I thought this was going to be a flaming failure, and I was totally wrong. Avvo was very successful at getting lawyers to answer those questions, right? And I spent a long time in my life ranking Avvo for the term “free legal advice,” right? Like, I spent way too much time with my professional career on that one individual term. But in doing so, Avvo was able to get lawyers to contribute content.
And the lawyers eventually caught on in were pissed like, “Why the hell am I doing your SEO for you? Why should I be doing it for myself?” To Gyi’s point, Avvo had the authority for that query to rank on that page instead of all the lawyers, because it has a stronger domain authority because of all the awesome link building work that Avvo did. And so, it’s much harder to truly engage with that person. You can’t get them to sign up for your newsletter. It’s harder to get them to call you. And so, you’re also dealing with, you know, 50 other lawyers, who’ve answered the same question, right? But interesting.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, with that our usual thank you to all of our listeners. As always, if you just landed on this, your first time here, then please do subscribe, follow, connect, Lunch Hour Legal Marketing podcast.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Leave a review. Reach out to us on the hashtag #LHLM. We’d love to hear from your topics, suggestions, questions, conversations we want to hear from you.
Thanks so much. Until next time, here with Conrad, at the Lunch Hour Legal Marketing.
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Podcast transcription by Tech-Synergy.com