Lawyer directories can help drive leads to your firm and build valuable links to your website. However, if your website was built by the same company that is giving you a directory listing, you may not be getting the whole truth with your statistics.
A couple of large companies that have popular lawyer directories merge the statistics of a website and directory listing to make it appear as though the website is getting more traffic than it actually is. Some do not provide website statistics at all.
Let’s look at an example. Smith & Smith Law Firm had their website built by the XYZ company. XYZ has a large directory of lawyers that consumers use to find legal counsel. In this case, the directory is generally the only “marketing” tool Smith & Smith is getting from XYZ. Since XYZ spends a lot of money on pay per click, television ads, radio, and print to get consumers to their directory, it gets most of the traffic.
To justify directory and marketing fees of $500-$1,000 per month (which does not include any “real” marketing and only provides just a listing) they have to make it look like they are sending a lot of traffic to Smith & Smith. Thus they merge statistics or just show directory statistics.
When XYZ sends a report to Smith & Smith, it shows stats that look something like this:
You received 2,500 views in January 2012.
You received 300 clicks in January 2012.
The first problem with this is that its useless. The second is that the report says “you” or “Smith & Smith” rather than deciphering between “listing views” and “website views”.
If someone went to Examplelawyerdirectory.com and searched for an accident attorney in Los Angeles, they would see a long list of injury attorneys in L.A. That would count as a “view”. All of the attorneys on the lineup in L.A. are getting “views” at the same time. If the person clicks on the listing to learn more, that is a “click” – which does not in any way mean that they clicked on Smith & Smith’s website, only that they clicked on the XYZLawyerFind.com listing for Smith & Smith.
Your website should have a statistics package that gives in-depth information about your website’s visitors. Some companies have their own statistics tools but should allow you to also have Google Analytics or another statistics tracking tool that is unrelated to the company that will allow you to audit the results with your own third party stats reporter.
Generally, for the money you are spending on a big lawyer directory, you can have a marketing plan that provides long term benefits to your firm and improves traffic to your website, not just your directory profile.