Many state and local bar associations, and a few notable national entities, have now abandoned their printed membership directories.
More broadly, our analysis and recommendations in response to this, which appear below, prompts us to remember lawyers and firms must have a process for managing all of your online contact information. Every law firm marketing plan should have as a tactic to regularly find, claim and cleanse every online listing and profile related to its lawyers and the firm.
It’s with good reason that printed memberships directories have moved online all of the information that what was once in a book lawyers and professional staff routinely consulted and kept on their desks. This is because nearly all of this information can be obtained through direct inquiries via Internet search. And once online, it can be updated in real time.
These new online directories will be used, but many of the associations have few statistics to provide regarding traffic on their overall sites and specifically to these directories. Eventually they will share what traffic statistics they have so firms can evaluate the overall value of their memberships. Selling advertising within or adjacent to the directories eventually will become an obvious revenue opportunity, as well. Traffic statistics, just like circulation and viewership studies used by traditional broadcast media, will be generated to allow comparisons and spur these advertising sales. (We were taken aback in mid-2011 when we learned from the publisher no such statistics were available or contemplated concerning traffic to Best’s Recommended Insurance Attorneys. We expect that will soon change.)
While we wait for this transition and information, it’s important to recognize the value of the inbound link to your website from a directory on a well-known, long-standing, credible, highly-trafficked website is not to be ignored. That kind of link from a major association or organization website can significantly help your search engine optimization results. So you should list your firm and lawyers in these directories.