directoryA few weeks ago Shamaa Sheik published an article in Law24.com which spoke about the importance of online directory listings to market your law firm. We thought that a practical extension to that article would be to see which online directory listings are available for the South African attorneys, what sort of followings they have and what the listing would cost.

I think before we launch off into the directory listing options, we should take a little time to understand which directory would be right for your firm, in your area and for your target market. This is probably the most important aspect to look at when deciding on your directory listing. The first thing one should do, is to ask your potential clients (i.e. the people in your business area) where they would look for an attorney firm if they were new to the area. I must say that one of the most popular and effective ways of finding an attorney would be by referral, no directory listing can address that – so keep the public image clean and vibrant. If your research tells you that your prospective clients are using the Yellow Pages exclusively, then you should advertise in the Yellow Pages and you would be wasting your money if you advertised in any other directory. But for this article let’s assume that all the research is done and your clients say that every directory listing is equally important 😉

Here are the directories that seem to be most prominent in the online legal search area:

www.attorneys.co.za
This listing service has been in the market for 10 years and has built up a good database and reputation in the market. Chatting to Steve he mentioned that this was not just a numbers game but that he would rather attorneys.co.za had a quality database and serviced the proportionate number of searches. Having 10 000 firms listed, with each firm being searched once every two months does not make sense.
Visitors per month: 25 000 to 33 000
Number of attorneys on listing: 403
Price per month per firm for the main centres:
1-5 attorneys – R260
6-20 – R520
21 – 50 – R780
51+ – R1040
For the smaller centres, the price is half the above.

www.findanattorney.co.za
They believe that the success they have achieved with their group of professional directories has shown them that people like to deal with people – not corporations. That is why the South African Attorney Directory is unique – each attorney is listed individually – not as a firm. Find An Attorney has been in operation since 2007, after the successful launch of a similar service in the financial advisor sector in 2004.

Visitors per month: 20 000

Number of attorneys on listing: 150+

Price per month per attorney:
* R 99.18 (incl VAT) monthly by debit order   OR
* R 520.70 (incl VAT) for 6 months upfront representing a 12.5% discount
* R 892.62 (incl. VAT) for 12 months upfront representing a 25% discount.

www.law24.com
Law24.com is the listing service from LexisNexis, who understand the legal market very well. LexisNexis have a clever concept, where they offer the general public a service to get legal assistance, either by reading their huge database of information or by requesting help from one of the blogs where independent lawyers can offer advice and consult further if required. This is a nice pull to the consumer, who will then start looking for an attorney.
When signing up, the listing also includes a listing in their printed Legal Diary and also a 150×150 banner on their Law24 web site.

Visitors per month: 20 000

Number of attorneys on listing: Not available

Pricing:
Number of fee earners    – Monthly Debit Order
1-2 Fee Earners     – R 99.00
3-5 Fee Earners     – R 149.00
6-10 Fee Earners – R 399.00
11-20 Fee Earners – R 799.00
21+ Fee Earners     – R1,499.00
Includes VAT

www.yellowpages.co.za
We all know the Yellow Pages, we have been paging through the printed directories for years. They are owned by Trudon, previously the TDS Directory Operations which used to do the Yellow and White phone directories. We did not get the visitors per month, as you can imagine it will be huge because of the variety of categories they have.

The listing comprises of a company name, 3 telephone numbers, email address, web address, 3 lines of text for the description, the category and 3 keywords to link to search requests. A listing in the printed directory for a similar listing will cost you an estimated R498.00 extra.

Price per listing per month: R314 ex VAT

Number of attorneys on listing: Estimated 870

www.ileadlegal.co.za, www.ileadattorneys.co.za and www.searchengine.co.za
These listings are free and they derive their income from use of the traffic to the site and from paid advertising. I think these will become more popular in the very near future. They also offer SEO services for a fee – but as a free listing this is a must for all firms with web sites.

Number of attorneys on listing: varies from 115 to 153

Visitors per month: Not available

Price per month: Free


maps.google.co.za
When you search for service by area in Google, one of the top three results is normally Google Maps with the listings of people who have entered their details for that area.

This is dynamite – to illustrate how well it worked; today while doing this article I got a call from London from a lady who wanted help on her divorce from her South African husband and wanted to know if I could help (obviously not). She found Tech4Law from Google Maps, although she did not read the description properly, it just shows how powerful this _free_ entry in Google Maps can be.

Visitors per month: Not available but lots 😉

Price per month: Free

Number of attorneys on directory listing: 850

To give you an example of how these listings feature in Google we did a search on “sandton conveyancer” and here is how the results came back:

At the top of the page above the “natural listings” there are 2 paid adverts – if you want to spend money start here! – Very clever and well done to Bert Smith Attorneys and Conveyancers, they have made a wise choice to spend some money on Google Adwords which attract your target reader.
The other advert was a bond originator.

  1. First, were the attorneys, who were listed in Google Maps, there were two firms that were listed.
  2. A listing for a career company advertising jobs.
  3. Deneys Reitz was then listed as the first “natural” listing for a dedicated conveyancer listing from their own work on SEO/web promotion – well done Deneys Reitz.
  4. Then a listing from the directory of www.searchengine.co.za for Strauss Daly
  5. The www.attorneys.co.za for readers to then visit their site to continue searching
  6. Job listing companies
  7. Gamede Attorneys – natural listing
  8. Chilliproperty.co.za – property agents
  9. www.Sandtoncentral.co.za  Area based web sites
  10. Jobs
  11. www.Law24.com listings
  12. www.hg.org listing of firms – again it displayed Gamede – good SEO work there
  13. Jobs
  14. www.glproperties.co.za – estate agents
  15. Brenda Tanner Attorneys – natural listing
  16. www.Bluemountainestate.co.za
  17. A blog site for everitt-sandton.co.za – estate agents
  18. Jobs

Yellow Pages featured on page 7

Then I did a Google search on “sandton attorney”

  1. Google Maps with firms listed
  2. www.attorneys.co.za
  3. WBD Jones Attorneys listing
  4. www.findanattorney.co.za
  5. Brenda Tanner Attorney
  6. www.hg.org
  7. www.findanattorney.co.za listing

No need to go on, I think you get the picture.

Things you need to be careful of when choosing a directory listing to market your firm:

  1. Do a couple of searches in Google and other search engines and find out which is most popular for your area – or should we say, features best in Google.
  2. Ask people you know to tell you how they go about searching for legal services – don’t tell them it is for web searching – you may find that your money is better spent bulking up your advert at the “What’s Up” board at the corner grocer.
  3. If you want to get traffic from Google natural searches and results, you have to be on page one!
  4. If you do nothing else, list your company with Google Maps – it is free and very effective at the moment.
  5. List your company with the free “iLead” sites.
  6. Always, always ask your new business clients how they got to hear about your firm – this way you will know where to spend more and where to spend less. In fact if you don’t measure your marketing spend, DON’T DO IT to begin with – you are wasting your money.
  7. There is no “right” way to dictate to everyone – it depends on a lot of factors, like your area, the client base, how well the online directories cover your type of business/area – you need to find what is “right” for your firm.
  8. Don’t write off the community web site listings like Sandton Central – they have the traffic and it is dedicated to the exact area where your market will be looking for you.
  9. Make sure you site is listed at the Search engines, like Google, Yahoo, Bing, Ananzi etc, to check type: “site:#your_site_name_here#” (exclude the “” and #), if not,  just add the site to the search engine – all very straight forward, it does not need web developers.

So there you have it, some of the ways in which to promote your company are free and take a couple of minutes, others are more effective and require that you pay something. Just remember to measure anything you do with marketing, otherwise don’t do it.

Do you know of any additional online directory listings that will help serve the legal market? Please use the comment box below to offer your opinions.

Contributed by:
Malcolm Pearson
www.tech4law.co.za

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