Building Your Online Reputation: Putting Avvo to Work for You

Author: Sharon Berman | August 26, 2014

As a lawyer, your online reputation has become increasingly vital to your business. With the growing popularity of social media and consumer review websites, it’s more important than ever to take charge of your online presence. Avvo is one online platform that connects consumers – whether individuals or businesses – with attorneys in a range of practice areas. Similar to services like Yelp, Avvo allows prospective clients to read reviews of attorneys by their former/current clients and peers and weigh that material in their decision-making process.

Your Avvo profile is just as important when it comes to search engine results. Avvo profiles typically come up very high in search engine rankings, so when a potential client is vetting you, your Avvo profile may be among the first results they see. With a thoughtfully completed and up-to-date profile, you have the opportunity to contribute to and reinforce their comfort level with you as their representative.

Here are four ways to take control of your Avvo profile and use it to optimize your online presence.

  1. Claim and populate your Avvo profile
    Each licensed attorney in the United States automatically has an Avvo profile. Avvo will compile as much information for your profile as they possibly can through your firm’s website, your state bar and any other public information. To ensure this information is correct, attorneys should claim and update their profile. This process is completely free.
  2. To claim your profile, visit Avvo.com and click “Find a Lawyer.” Enter your name and city/state, and click on your name once you locate it. On your profile page, you will see a link under your name that says, “Is This You?” Click the link and follow the steps to complete profile setup. The editing process is straightforward, and Avvo will guide you through the information fields that need to be completed. Keep in mind, the more information you add, the better.

  3. Determine your Avvo rating
    There are two different ratings you will encounter in your profile, which we’ve detailed below.

    Numerical Rating
    Once you have claimed your profile, you’ll notice you likely already have a numerical rating which will appear close to your photo. If you are just claiming your profile, it’s likely that it falls low on the scale of 1 to 10. The numerical rating is calculated based on a mathematical model that considers the information in your profile, including years in practice, disciplinary history, professional achievements and industry recognition.

    Your numerical rating comprises three categories: experience, legal industry recognition, and professional conduct. Having a robust profile is as important as having a robust website. The more information you include and the higher your Avvo rating, the more likely you are going to appear in top search results on Avvo for your practice area or location.

    Client Rating
    In addition to your numerical rating, you will see “Client Reviews” to the right of your rating. If you have been reviewed by clients, you will likely see a series of stars denoting your overall average of how clients have rated you on a scale of 1 star (poor) to 5 stars (excellent). If you don’t have any client reviews, you won’t see any stars. If three clients, for example, have reviewed you, you will see the overall average for how they’ve rated your success, denoted in stars.

    Client reviews are a tremendous marketing tool. While they do not impact your overall Avvo numerical rating, they are extremely important to include in your profile. The successful conclusion of a matter is an opportune time to ask clients if they would be willing to provide a review on Avvo. On your personal Avvo page under “References,” you can locate the section for client reviews. Writing a review is quick and easy, and Avvo will guide your client through the few steps.

  4. Increase your Avvo rating
    While your rating on Avvo might be low when you first set up your profile, there are several ways to enhance your rating. Keep in mind that the more Avvo knows, the higher your ranking. It might take a few days, weeks or even months for your rating to increase, especially if you don’t have a lot of years’ experience in the legal industry, so be patient.

    Below are three tips for increasing your rating:

    • Update your profile to the fullest extent – Completing your profile in its entirety has a positive impact on your numerical rating. Consider your professional experience, practice areas, career achievements, etc. when filling out your profile. You might find it helpful to have your website bio or CV handy so you can plug in the information easily.
    • Obtain peer endorsements from attorney colleagues – Peer endorsements fall under the category of legal industry recognition, one of the categories considered by Avvo in determining your rating. Brainstorm a list of attorney colleagues who are familiar with the caliber of your work, and ask whether they would be willing to endorse you on Avvo.
    • Contribute to the Avvo community – Avvo also provides legal advice directly from the attorneys on a range of issues. By positioning yourself as an expert in this Q&A forum, you can also boost your rating. For example, if you have experience representing clients in child support matters, browse the legal questions in that category and start responding to those in your area of expertise.

As the largest legal directory in the United States and with more than 6 million visits per month, it’s clear that Avvo is here to stay. Now is the time to jump in and take advantage of all the benefits that Avvo has to offer.

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