Digital Marketing, SEO

By Postali

Understanding Avvo’s Changes

Curious to know how accurate are Avvo ratings?

The answer is not at all. Despite this, over 97% of U.S. lawyers are on Avvo. Whether you want them to or not, Avvo probably already has a profile on you.

Back in 2006, Avvo launched a legal database and rating system for lawyers. Whether or not a lawyer has signed up, chances are Avvo already has them on their site. From the beginning, this has always caused discord in the legal community.

Nine days after Avvo first launched, Seattle attorneys John Browne and Alan Wenokur tried suing Avvo in the case Browne v. Avvo, Inc. for the “accuracy and validity of the numerical rating system used by Avvo to compare attorneys.” The United States District Court ultimately ruled in favor of Avvo, but lawsuits have been brought against the site ever since.

Claiming your profile now will allow you to add details that Avvo will not have automatically generated, such as your legal business website or areas of practice. People are no longer flipping through the yellow pages. Prospective clients are now turning to the internet to find reputable lawyers. Third-party marketing tools like Avvo and Yelp have become the digital age of yellow pages.

How to Increase Your Avvo Rating

Are you looking to try and raise your rating? Perhaps you’ve claimed your profile and have completed it as much as possible, but the rating hasn’t changed. No worries. At Postali, our media relations team has checked with Avvo support and determined these are the loops you have to jump through to boost your rating to a 10:

1. Add every membership.

National Trial Lawyers Top 100, American Bar Association, The National College for DUI Defense, NADCL, Martindale-Hubbell, and American Association for Criminal Justice are all great memberships to list on your profile if you’re a criminal defense attorney, for example.

2. Add every award.

Don’t have any awards to add? Sign up for them.

3. Break down each year you’ve been an organization member or award recipient.

If you’ve been a member of an organization for multiple years or have received an award from the same organization every year, don’t list a membership and award in a single line item (though Avvo will have an option to consolidate this). At the time of writing this article, the number of line-items under your listed memberships and awards will impact your rating – even if it’s from the same organization.

4. Obtain endorsements from peers.

Even if the attorneys work at your law firm, endorsements from other lawyers will impact your rating drastically, but fifteen peer endorsements tend to be the limit. After that, your rating is no longer impacted by peer endorsements.

5. Choose a school and language from their preset list.

If you graduated from Capital Law School in Columbus, Ohio, it’s not enough to list that. When you start typing in that school into Avvo, you’ll receive a preset list of schools. Instead of “Capital Law School” you must write “Capital University Law School.”

Do you know what doesn’t impact your ranking? Client reviews, answering questions and submitting legal guides. Having all of these will improve your visibility on Avvo itself, but as far as Avvo ratings go, don’t expect to see results.

What’s Wrong with the Rating System?

The rating itself is based on an algorithm. Ratings are weighted by different components depending on what is filled into your profile. This is where the controversy really happens. If you are new to Avvo and find yourself in their legal database, you may not have a great rating – or the time to improve it.

Avvo ranks lawyers on a scale of 0 to 10, and the ranking system breaks down as follows:

  • 10.0 to 9.0 – Superb
  • 8.9 to 8.0 – Excellent
  • 7.9 to 7.0 – Good
  • 6.9 to 6.0 – Fair
  • 5.9 to 5.0 – Average

Anything less than 5.0 is marked as a red flag.

Avvo is Now Demoting Your Profile if You Don’t Pay Them

Ever since Martindale-Hubbell acquired Avvo, the game has been changing. The largest change happened in July 2018 when to provide more value to paid subscribers, Avvo removed unpaid subscribers’ contact information.

Let’s compare a paid profile versus an unpaid profile.

If you are an attorney who subscribes to Avvo advertising, you can list multiple office locations and phone numbers. Your Avvo rating will be featured predominantly above the fold. Prospective clients can see your best reviews, your best contact number, and your website without the need to ever scroll down.

paid avvo listing

This is very different from the unpaid Avvo listing which calls out how you do not subscribe to Avvo, buries your reviews at the bottom of the page, and lists no phone number, nor more than one office. However, you can still list a link to your social media accounts and websites. Your Avvo rating will also still be visible.

unpaid avvo listing

Even when you visit other pages on Avvo, you will be tracked as a “recently viewed lawyer.” This rating will follow you wherever you go. On the chance you’re an unpaid subscriber who has no visible rating in your profile, don’t assume your profile is immune to their attorney rating system. Avvo appears to still be testing different features in different markets.

Is Having an Avvo Pro Account Worth it?

Having an Avvo Pro account clearly has benefits. Not only does it allow greater customization of your profile, but you can eliminate ads belonging to other lawyers with an Avvo Premium profile. The cost for an Avvo Pro Account at the time of publishing this article starts at $100 a month.

Whether or not you should have an Avvo Pro Account depends on your business goals and target market.

Rankings and Ratings Management

Having a strong reputation in the legal profession is important when presenting your brand to the public. At Postali, we make sure that your online presence in other third-party marketing directories like Avvo accurately and positively reflects who you are.

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