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Avvo and Justia legal directories grow at expense of Findlaw, Lawyers.com, and Martndale-Hubbell

Lawyer and legal media consultant, Bob Ambrogi, asked in a blog post this week a question on many lawyer’s minds, “Which online lawyer directories get the most traffic?”

To find out, I checked Alexa.com, which tracks statistics for all major websites. Based on those statistics, it assigns each site a global rank as well as country-specific ranks. Not surprisingly, the two top-ranked sites in the world are Google and Facebook.

Alexa calculates a site’s rank using a combination of its average daily visitors and pageviews over the past three months. Thus, the site with the highest combination of visitors and pageviews is ranked #1, and so on.

The top five lawyer directories?

  • Findlaw.com
  • Avvo.com
  • Justia.com
  • Lawyers.com
  • Nolo.com

Martindale.com, perhaps the oldest online legal directory, didn’t crack the top five. It ranked six.

Interesting to me is the growth of Avvo and Justia at the expense of Findlaw and Lawyers.com.

FindLaw, ironically co-founded by Tim Stanley who is the founder of Justia, is sixteen years old and is supported and funded by legal power house Thomson Reuters. Lawyers.com, founded around 1996, is run by LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell.

Yet Avvo and Justia, founded much more recently are tracking down FindLaw.com. And both are leaving Lawyers.com, which even runs television ads in an attempt to draw traffic, in their dust.

And of importance to lawyers looking to market on a shoestring budget, Avvo and Justia offer free directory listings. I don’t believe that’s the case for either Lawyers.com or Findlaw.

Ambrogi does caution that looking at raw rankings, which can ebb and flow, alone can be unfair.

Some of these sites are consumer-facing sites while others are industry-facing sites. Naturally, the consumer sites will get more traffic. For some of these sites, the lawyer directory is their primary focus. For others, the directory is secondary to other featured content.

Nonetheless, just as the legal powerhouses look vulnerable to upstarts on the legal research front, they also look to be vulnerable on the legal directory front.

Directories do have their limits of course when it comes to marketing on the Internet.

Most good lawyers get their best work by word of mouth reputation and relationships. Directories, even those with ratings, don’t necessarily enhance one’s reputation as a reliable and trusted authority nor build relationships.

For that blogs and social media, as accelerators of relationships and a lawyer’s reputation, may be the better fit.

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