WHY OUR CLIENTS LEFT FINDLAW
The firm wanted to grow their business and FindLaw wasn’t cutting it.
Here’s why they left and what happened after (hint: better results).
Website & SEO services that fall short
You know it’s important, but you don’t have time to become a web guru. FindLaw banks on this need/knowledge gap. The problem is their website and SEO services are the least valuable part of their offering.
Mixed lead quality and frequency
“It’s definitely working, sometimes.” The leads you’re getting from FindLaw come from their website, not your own. Your lead volume (and success) is tied to how they choose to showcase your firm against their other clients.
They sell competitors the exact same service
FindLaw sells the exact same services to your competitors, which makes it impossible to get ahead. Our client wanted to take charge of their destiny and not simply hope each month that the FindLaw yield was revenue positive.
Every firm needs a dedicated advocate online.
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Our clients get 5x more leads for their firm since leaving FindLaw.
Results after Leaving FindLaw
Our strategy is fundamentally different.
- We invest in your website and brand
- Building a pipeline of high-quality prospects
- We never sell to your competitors
Organic search traffic improved almost immediately
After we wrote brand new content, performed updated keyword research, overhauled the site organization and cleaned up technical issues; organic search traffic from Google increased almost immediately and continued to grow.
The days of setting up a website, leaving it and expecting results are over. We work every hard every month add new content, continue optimizing and stay ahead of the curve.
Lead frequency and quality continues to improve
Our client’s average lead volume teetered around 10 per month from their website. These fell into two categories: direct searches for their name or a referral from FindLaw’s website. Now, the firm enjoys regular volume in excess of 50 leads per month on average and this continues to climb.
The best part is that these leads are not the ‘tire-kickers’ often coming from directory websites like FindLaw, Avvo, and Lawyers.com. We outlined the most profitable and sought-after cases for the firm and proceeded to build a successful plan to capture that market.
We’ve made huge gains against the competition
When FindLaw ran the show, the firm’s competitors dominated Google for their key search terms. The only terms their FindLaw website ranked for were their names and this is typical. This is no longer the case, the firm now ranks on the first page for over 70 highly-coveted keywords.
In a mid-size market like where our client is located, there are only so many good leads to go around. As more prospects do their homework online, it’s imperative that your firm has a plan of action if you want to stay competitive.
Why We’re Different
Patrick at Constellation Marketing completely reworked our firm’s website. Many colleagues have complimented me on how professional our site looks, and I have to give Constellation Marketing all of the credit! Patrick also does a fantastic job helping us prepare quality blog posts, which we need with our busy schedules. We are able to give him rough drafts of what we want, and he turns them into polished blog posts and newsletters. Patrick’s responsiveness and attention to detail are rare these days. I have already recommended Constellation Marketing to friends who operate their own businesses.Erica Mynarich
HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF FINDLAW
If you’re not happy with FindLaw, there are still some ways to recoup value out of your investment.
Promote yourself on ALL attorney directories
If you search for a key search term that is applicable to your practice such as ‘bankruptcy lawyer Atlanta GA,’ you will find the results littered with all the big law firm marketing companies.
That is because they spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to improve their own websites in order to compete for market share, get visitors and then sell you leads.
They are actually your competition for the same spots they’re supposed to be helping you attain.
We’ve received thousands of search results and found that depending on the type of case and city, the big law marketing company who is winning will vary. We strongly advise signing up for free accounts on all of the major and minor law firm directory sites.
Search for terms that are most relevant to your practice and make a note of the companies that dominate the listings. Fill out profiles on those sites completely. In our experience, you’ll occasionally get a free lead, but more importantly, you’ll earn links from high-authority, relevant sites.
We have a list of over 50 free law firm directories, email us for a copy.
Keep them Honest
FindLaw will give you a shiny report each month, but they’re pretty quiet about what it is they are actually doing to optimize your website. Speaking generally, this would include tasks like acquiring links for your website, adding content or optimizing (expanding) existing material, fixing technical issues (broken links, redirects), and discussions about trends in your organic search traffic.
Hold them accountable!
Your account salesperson will almost certainly deflect this to the account manager, who is in charge of managing many websites. If FindLaw comes back with something like ‘we run checks to every month to make sure it’s optimized,’ that’s simply not good enough. That’s not optimizing your site, that is running a tool once a month. Ask for a 15-minute task report each month.
We also strongly recommend that you take some time to learn about the mechanics of SEO, search engines and the FindLaw business model in general. We are happy to point you to some excellent articles that help demystify SEO and will give you a stronger position when working with marketers in the future.
If you have a tech-savvy friend, see if they would be willing to give you a lesson on the various marketing strategies and terms you hear being kicked around. It never hurts to ask.
Make your content epic
A recent study of 1 million Google search results found longer content tends to rank higher. The average first-page result now contains 1,890 words.
The pages FindLaw created for the firm were in the 300-500 word range. Simply not good enough to compete. Ranking your website generally comes down to two things: quality of content and recognition of that quality (links from other websites). Acquiring links is hard and requires lots of work, writing content is something every law firm can control.
Send us an email and we will provide examples of perfectly optimized pages that you can create on your own.
A big misconception that I see often, which has been perpetuated by FindLaw is that having the ‘right keywords’ is the holy grail of a successful site. But, there are only so many keywords that lead to clients and with multiple lawyers trying to get a piece of the pie – everyone can’t be on the first page.
Success online for law firms is more about creating long, authoritative content that includes the terms you target. Simply adding them alone will not suffice if you wish to be competitive. Send us an email and we’ll show you a working example.
Ask for detailed analysis of your reports
When we were first asked, as a favor to review the monthly FindLaw marketing reports, the thing that stuck out was that there was a lot of smoke, but not much fire.
There is a HUGE difference between ‘views’ and ‘leads’ or ‘contacts.’ Page/Profile views give the illusion of real activity (or firm interest) when in actuality, you have no idea how they got there. For this page, we looked at FindLaw’s advertising budget on Google and believe they spend over $500,000 per month to generate leads. To make the cost per click tenable, they have to be broad and generic, which often leads to poor quality prospects or ‘tire kickers.’
We’re sure you can relate and have had quality issues with the leads you’ve received via FindLaw’s directory service.
After considerable back and forth from FindLaw, who like to keep all the real data to themselves, we were finally able to get Google Analytics installed for our client.
The results were quite shocking. The only leads being generated from the website came as a result of someone searching the attorney’s name directly. Over the course of a year, not one lead could be attributed to an organic search traffic lead from a non-brand keyword.
We tried to answer many of the common questions around FindLaw.
If you don’t find what you’re looking for, email us.
Can you offer any insights into FindLaw services and results?
Yes. It’s a mixed bag, to be honest. The single-best service they offer is preferred directory listings, depending on your firm’s practice and the relative cost to acquire new customers, this may be a good option.
This might surprise you, but we actually encourage some attorneys to use paid directory listings – with certain caveats. The conditions are that the listings must bring in more real cases in revenue than they cost and not detract from their own website strategy. We are strong proponents of owning your own real estate and investing in your own website with great content, outreach and technical SEO. Not only is this more cost-effective than paying for leads from FindLaw, it actually works better.
Does FindLaw actually sell websites or do they just “rent” them?
They kind of do both. This article goes into great detail about FindLaw’s one-sided contracts and the fact that your site is essentially their property. Not good! That technically includes anything you write as well, quite sneaky.
There are also examples of FindLaw ‘renting’ existing websites that rank for popular search terms to the highest bidder like seen here.
Either way, from personal experience, we have seen that their month-to-month management of websites is basically nonexistent. Even while spending over $1k pre month on SEO services! You are much better off owning your own real estate and developing it over time. If you rely on FindLaw as your website provider and choose to leave at some point without proper planning, you’re at risk for losing a substantial amount (or all) of your content.
Isn’t FindLaw’s content optimized and extra special?
Honestly, it’s not good. You are better off doing a little bit of homework and writing it yourself. The days of stuffing a bunch of the same keyword into a page and ranking for the term are over.
From a technical standpoint, they don’t practice many industry-standard guidelines. The reason for this is that they are not a custom shop, they have a packaged service offering, with little time for deviation and personal attention.
Our tip? Write long, detailed content that completely covers the topic of your page. Don’t write it like an article for fellow lawyers, put it in terms that anyone coming off the street can understand. More and more, Google’s search algorithm demands good quality if it is to reward it with a high position in the rankings. With such a high volume of content being added to the web every day, all around the World, you have to do something to stand out.
Doing the same ‘stuff’ that FindLaw is doing for everyone else in town is not the answer if you want to get ahead.
We’ve included a couple of resources below that you will likely find useful. If you have any questions about them, email us.
If I quit FindLaw, won’t my site rank poorly?
Not really, in fact with we’ve seen quite the opposite, they’ve dramatically improved.
Additionally, we’ve started to rank for lots more keywords than before as a byproduct of developing longer, better content. You see, people search for the same thing in a variety of ways with different words and subsequently receive different search results. By creating well-developed content, you win more ‘long-tail keywords’, traffic and ultimately leads for your firm.
The biggest thing you want to be aware of when thinking about leaving FindLaw is the value of the directory listing. The most important assets for you as a lawyer are the links that get pointed back to your website. Since FindLaw is a highly-trafficked site with lots of visitors and thousands of inbound links, it possesses a high domain authority score.
Receiving links from sites with high domain authority boosts yours. If you cease to have a directory listing, they will quickly take down these links, which will temporarily reduce your ability to rank. That being said, there are thousands of websites with high domain authority where you can work to earn links.
How much $$ to have Findlaw build me a custom website?
It depends. The first thing to understand is that you’re likely unable to simply purchase a website and be on your way. Typically, FindLaw wraps these sites into service packages that include directory listings, preferential treatment within the directory and other items.
Our experience personally was with a firm that paid around $1,300 every month and the website was included, with an update available after a couple of years.
We also have seen accounts of subscriptions costing anywhere from $250 per month to nearly $10,000. Without better visibility into their pricing, we can’t say definitely what an engagement would cost.
How can I stop paying for bad performance without eliminating the leads they do provide?
If you can afford it, we recommend continuing a directory relationship with FindLaw, but leaving to have someone else manage your website. It’s true that their website can be a source of leads, so take advantage of it.
Where they fail is being able to simultaneously build your site too with the purpose of attracting organic search traffic. When preparing for move, start creating the content in Word or Google Sheets over time so you’re prepared in advance.
If you’ve had it with FindLaw altogether and want to jump camps, do some homework first. The most important thing to look at is the type of searches your ideal client would make. Who is dominating the results for those queries? Lawyers.com? Justia? Avvo? We suggest developing a relationship with the group that has the best position for your specific niche.
No hype, just results.
Give us 15 minutes and we’ll show you how to get more clients.