Ive come up with what I believe are the top 5 search engines or directories that law firms should be most concerned with being listed in.
Top 5 Search Engines and Directories for Law Firms:
1) Google – The King of the Search Engines is hard to beat and everyone knows the term "googled". Probably a good reason that Google is used more then any other search engine.
So its important when a potential client is looking for information on your law firm and decides to google you, that your law firms web site appears. Its also important being found by key partners names. Usually this isn’t a problem but Ive noticed some big firms not coming up even by firm name.
Since Google gets more traffic then any other search engine, its obviously the #1 place your law firm should be listed in.
Just submitting your site isn’t enough though, you must have at least one other link from another web site. Its also very advantageous if you have a directory listing at both Yahoo and the Open Directory. In addition your site should have plenty of content that is updated on a regular basis.
2) Yahoo – Yahoo has been making a solid comeback after Google knocked them off as top dog in the Search Engine world. They are very important and get a lot of traffic. Potential clients could very easily search for you at Yahoo instead of Google, SO its very key that your legal web site be found in all of the top search engines.
Yahoo has a search directory that you can list your law firm in for $299 per year. Now usually this is a good idea for the value of a link from Yahoo, but the thing to keep in mind, is that you can get into the Yahoo search listings without buying the directory listing.
3) MSN – MSN Search used to rely on results from the Inktomi index and the Looksmart directory. Those days are gone and MSN just launched a new search engine, so there’s a chance your firm is not in the new MSN.com.
I think its a much improved search engine and feel that Microsoft is committed to overtaking Google, so its obviously important to be listed with MSN. They have a built in user base from people that get computers with Microsoft Internet Explorer set with MSN.com as the starting page.
4) AOL – AOL has been changing things around but they are still basically using the Google results and most AOL and Google searches return identical results. Still that will change soon and there will be another search engine to optimize for, because right now as long as your in Google, your in AOL.
Its important to be in AOL because they also have a big built in user base that will ONLY use AOL for search purposes, so its important to be in Google and the Open Directory.
5) OPEN DIRECTORY – The Open Directory on its own isn’t very important BUT because Google uses those results for its own directory, its very important be listed at. Its a free listing IF you can get it. It sometimes takes me 6,7 attempts before I get my clients site listed. Usually it just takes the editor who is reviewing your submission time to get to it, because they aren’t paid and its all volunteer and many categories don’t have editors.
Still once you get a listing, then your usually better listed with Google and your rankings improve. Sometimes you can get multiple listings for your site if you can get listed in different practice areas OR if your firm has different geographic locations. Its pays to be patient here and get a listing because it will pay off in the long run.