A lot of lawyers have Avvo profiles, having received the illustrious 10 out of 10 Avvo rating. A client recently got a 10 out of 10 Avvo rating, and they sent me the badge that Avvo sends them to put on their websites. This brought up a good point that most lawyers don’t realize that by putting that badge on their website, you’re actually hurting yourself and helping Avvo.

Now, I’m not saying don’t use the badge. What we do for our clients is we actually take a picture of the badge, we don’t use the code that they give you, and I’m going to show you why right now.

Alright, so I want to give you an example. Let’s say you’re a bankruptcy lawyer in Chicago. So, let’s type “Chicago bankruptcy lawyer.” Alright, so we got the ads up here, we’ve got four maps listings, and one organic listing, who’s actually a bankruptcy attorney.

Then we’ve got Justia, Yelp, Thumbtack, Avvo, FindLaw, expertise.com. Google likes big brands; so, one of the ways that websites gain their authority is by having other websites linked to them.

For example, let’s say The Chicago Tribune writes an article about bankruptcy, and then they link to a bankruptcy law firm’s website. What’s going to happen is Google looks at that link, and they say “Okay, well we know The Chicago Tribune is not a spammy website. We know they’re an authoritative website, so therefore all of the links that go out, we are pretty confident that they are not going to spammy websites. We’re pretty confident that anyone that they link to is going to be an authoritative website. If anyone has a link coming from The Chicago Tribune, we’re going to basically boost their ratings or their rankings as well.”

How Has Avvo Tricked Lawyers?

Getting links from external websites is a really big part of SEO. So, I want to show you how Avvo and a lot of these other companies have tricked lawyers into completely boosting Avvo’s rating and kind of hurting yours.

If you click on that Avvo listing, what this does is brings up an aggregate of all listings for bankruptcy attorneys in Chicago on Avvo. These first couple are going to be paid listings and then you come down here, and it’s got all the other people on here.

Now, what I want to do is I want to show you that this is the actual URL that ranks in Google. We’ll go to a website called AHREFS, which is an SEO tool that shows sites that link to other sites. We put this exact link in to see who links to this exact page.

All I’m going to do is click that link here, and now I’m seeing some bankruptcy attorneys that are linking directly to this link. I know that this is an attorney named Peter Francis Geraci, I know he’s in Chicago, and that he’s a bankruptcy attorney.

Now if you notice at the top of his page, he’s got all of these Avvo badges. If I click on these, you’re going to see they all go directly to his Avvo profile. But, when I look at this page, I see that there’s a link going from his website to Avvo.com/bankruptcy/debt / lawyer. The actual aggregate page right here. So, how is this possible?

What happens is Avvo gives you the code for these actual buttons, and then people just copy and paste them into their website. It’s really easy, and that’s what Avvo banks on. So, if you click “view page source,” we can see the actual code of this website. This shows that this is linking directly to that website.

Avvo sneaks these links into your website, and if you look on this website, that takes you to his actual Avvo profile. Nowhere on here is it actually linking to the Avvo aggregate page and the problem is the way that this is sneaking in.

How Does This Affect Your Website?

The way that this is hurting this attorney is that when you search “Chicago bankruptcy attorney,” Avvo outranks him and the reason is because they have so many links going to all these different websites that they want to rank.

Let’s be real, Avvo doesn’t give a crap about this guy. What they care about is that they rank right and that’s why they use these sneaky links into your website. If this is frustrating to you, call your Webmaster and tell them, “Get rid of this link, just take the image and just link to my profile.”

Hope this helps everybody and that we can start putting these major aggregators in their place.