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A proven yet sometimes overlooked tool that can help attorneys market their practices while improving their SEO has been around for years: the legal directory. Legal directories provide some key benefits like giving attorneys an online platform to build their authority in a practice area, get reviews, and earn links for their websites. Yet they are not well exploited by many law firm marketers.

Having an active profile on the top 10 legal directories will give you a much better chance of showing up on the first page of Google when someone searches for you by your name or the name of your firm. Even if people don’t use your name and plug in a generic search (i.e., “Dallas divorce lawyer”), the first page of search results nearly always carries links to two or more of these directories. Once a consumer clicks on these, it’s just another short step away until they find you on the directory’s search engine. And the more active you are on the directory, the higher you will rank in a directory’s search results.

Although there are hundreds of directories online, here are the 10 essential legal directories where you should have a presence:

  1. Avvo.com
  2. Nolo.com
  3. Lawyers.com
  4. Lawyer.com
  5. HG.org 
  6. Jurist.org
  7. LawGuru.com
  8. Justia.com
  9. Martindale.com
  10. Findlaw.com

These directories all deliver opportunities for building your authority and are beneficial for SEO for the following reasons:

Domain authority. Domain authority is important to Google, so it should be important for you, too. Each of these 10 directories tests very high for domain authority, making them some of the best sites from which to earn links for SEO.

Context. For SEO purposes, you want links from sites that are related to your industry, and for attorneys, legal directories align nicely for contextual relevance.

Reviews. Most of the top 10 legal directories provide attorneys with opportunities to earn reviews, which are foundational to social proof (another important Google search ranking factor). Star ratings help attorneys stand out in search as well.

Subject authority. Some of these directories feature Q&A sections where attorneys can answer consumer’s legal questions directly. This provides you with another way to build authority in your practice area as well as potential leads.

Content marketing. You can submit guest content to directories like HG.org and that content can include links back to relevant pages on your own website.

Social proof. Beyond consumer reviews, the top legal directories provide you with social proof just by being trusted sources of legal information. When consumers find you on a legal directory and go to your website, they already trust you because they found you on a trusted site.

Joining and participating in online legal directories that are already ranking on the first page of Google search is a great way to expand your online presence and get more qualified leads.