Avvo and FindLaw vs Google Ads Comparison

Our comparison of Avvo and FindLaw vs Google Ads shows no comparison.

My personal injury law firm has been advertising with Avvo for several years and still does. Recently, we signed a one-year advertising agreement with Martindale Hubbell but only because it included a peer review rating which we keep even if we discontinue advertising. We also recently started advertising with Google Ads.

Avvo used to yield some results but Avvo was nowhere near as effective as our other advertising and marketing media. We retained only 3 cases from Avvo in the first two years. It was worthwhile because of the value of personal injury cases and the low cost of Avvo.

It should be noted that I also have a paid Pro profile listing on Avvo with a 10 rating and my profile indicates that my law practice is 50% personal injury and 50% motorcycle accident cases. Our advertising is only for motorcycle accidents. These factors should increase the probability of a motorcycle accident client contacting me through Avvo.

We haven’t retained any cases through Avvo in the last two years. Find out what happened below.

Are Avvo and FindLaw Still Effective?

Avvo, FindLaw and other attorney directories are no longer immediately visible when someone searches for a personal injury lawyer. Sometimes they are difficult to find and with voice search, they can’t be found at all. But Google Ads can always be found.

Avvo and FindLaw used to have a chance in the organic search results when there were three Google Ads above the natural search results. But Google added the local map above the natural search results and now the local map has ads.

Today, Google Ads has simply crowded out their competition. FindLaw Is well aware of the problem. My FindLaw rep admitted this to me. Furthermore, recognizing this, FindLaw now recommends and offers Google Ad campaign management.

Desktop Computers

On a desktop computer, the organic search results are now below the fold so someone looking for a personal injury lawyer won’t see the top organic search results without scrolling down below the ads. On my computer, I had to scroll down below the fold to see Avvo.

The screenshot below of my desktop computer shows that only the ads were seen on the screen. On some monitors, someone may also see the map but will have to scroll down to see the natural search results.

Mobile Search

The problem also exists on mobile. Most people search for a personal injury lawyer on their smartphone. Our results with Google Ads revealed 92.3% of clicks came from smartphones; 5.1% from desktops; and 2.6% from tablets.

Percent of searches on smartphone vs desktop

92.3% of Google Ad clicks from people searching for a personal injury lawyer came from smartphones (red). 5.1% Desktop searches (blue); 2.6% tablets (orange).

On a smartphone, Google Ads take up the entire screen. Below the Ads are the map, local listings, questions and then organic search results.

I had to swipe my screen 3 times to get to the natural search results with LegalMatch at the bottom of the screen; 4 times to see FindLaw, and 5 times to see Justia and Avvo.

Google search for personal injury lawyers on smartphone

Mobile Voice Search

But the problem gets worse on mobile with Google voice search where Avvo, Findlaw, Justia, and LegalMatch can’t be found.

The number of people using voice search to find local businesses is skyrocketing because it works really well and it’s so easy. According to dialogtech.com, “65% of 25-49 year olds speak to their voice-enabled devices at least once per day.”

Below is a screenshot of what Google shows when I asked Google “find a personal injury lawyer near me”. Google showed its local business listings and it’s not even possible to scroll down the screen to find natural search results. Google didn’t even show Google Ads but they are now selling Google Ads in the local business listings.

If you’re not in Google local business listings, you won’t be found when someone does a voice search for a personal injury lawyer.

Screenshot showing result when asking Google for "personal injury lawyer near me"

This is the screen shown on my phone after a Google voice search to “find a personal injury lawyer near me”. Users cannot scroll down to see any other results.

Avvo and Findlaw vs Google Ads

Nothing can compete with Google Ads for personal injury lawyers because, well, Google owns the ad space.

While Avvo returned more than it cost in the first two years. it was no match against Google Ads even when Avvo was working.

When people search on Google for a personal injury lawyer, they can click on your Google Ad or call button and reach you directly.

When people reach you through Avvo, FindLaw, Justia or LegalMatch they have to:

  1. Search on Google for a personal injury lawyer;
  2. Scroll down the Google results page past the ads, map, and local listings;
  3. Click on a link to Avvo, FindLaw or one of the other lawyer directories;
  4. After clicking on one of the lawyer directories they have to search for a lawyer all over again.

This is the Avvo search page someone will find after clicking on the link to Avvo. From here, hopefully, someone will search in your city and find your ad on Avvo.

Avvo search page

After searching in Google and clicking on Avvo, someone will have to search a second time on Avvo where maybe they will find your ad on Avvo

Advantages of Google Ads

  • People find you directly on Google
  • People don’t have to search twice
  • Your ad gets seen while organic search results usually don’t
  • Works immediately – you will get cases within days
  • Get as many or as few cases as you want
  • Pause your advertising when you want

Disadvantages of Google Ads

  • Requires a larger advertising budget than Avvo or FindLaw

Advantages of Avvo, FindLaw & Other Lawyer Directories

  • Inexpensive
  • Gives you added exposure

Disadvantages of Avvo, FindLaw & Other Lawyer Directories

  • You can’t get as many cases as you want
  • It’s difficult for people to find you

Comparison of Avvo, Lawyers.com, FindLaw, Super Lawyers, Justia & Yelp

Interested to know which of these lawyer directories have higher rankings in the Google organic search results? Everest Legal Marketing compares the Google search results for the top legal directories and provides the results annually.

Their results show that FindLaw is the clear winner, especially for personal injury lawyers. You can see a graphic of their results in Los Angeles and you can download an Excel file with the results for Houston, Chicago, New York and Jacksonville.

Improve Your Results from Google Ads, Avvo, FindLaw, Justia or LegalMatch

Whether your advertising with Google Ads, Avvo, FindLaw, Justia or LegalMatch, you can improve results by using a vanity phone number in your online ads.

If you have had a good experience with Avvo, FindLaw, Justia, LegalMatch or any other legal directory, especially if you receive at least one case a month, please post a comment about it here. Please also post a comment if you have not done well or have any other information you can provide to compare Avvo and FindLaw vs Google Ads.

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About philesq

Philip L. Franckel, Esq. is one of the Personal Injury Dream Team™ Partners at 1-800-HURT-911® New York; He has a 10 Avvo rating; Avvo Client's Choice with all 5-star reviews; Avvo Top Contributor; and a former Member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association. Mr. Franckel is well-known in New York for representing motorcyclists and created the motorcycle awareness campaign BE AWARE MOTORCYCLES ARE EVERYWHERE®.

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