Love it or hate it, Avvo is not going away (they have raised over $60M in VC funding). So rather than lamenting the fact that some website created a lawyer profile for you without your permission, and not only that, but also gave you a low rating, you should figure out how to use Avvo to your advantage! This post breaks down how to increase your Avvo rating, for free.
How Avvo Ratings Work
According to Avvo, your rating is determined entirely by a “mathematical algorithm.” While that may seem discouraging because you are subject to the workings of a complex computer program, it’s actually a good thing if you want to increase your Avvo rating.
Why, you ask? Because the algorithm can only use the information it has access to. It doesn’t actually rate you based on your competency in your field, because that would be impossible. There’s no data for it. This means that your Avvo rating is really just determined by the somewhat arbitrary data that it does have access to, i.e. the data that you provide on your profile, which you have complete control over.
So if you have doubts about whether Avvo is worthwhile, set them aside. Avvo is worthwhile, and it can become a valuable source of new clients. Best of all, you actually do have control over your rating. It’s all about what you put into it.
How to Increase Your Avvo Rating
The Avvo rating is essentially just a measure of two things: 1) how involved you are in the legal community, and 2) how active you are on the Avvo website. Below are the steps you should follow to improve your Avvo rating.
1. Sign up and claim your profile
Avvo ratings are mainly determined by the quantity and quality of information present on the lawyer’s profile. If you haven’t claimed your profile yet, there is no information about you at all, which means your rating will naturally be low. The first step is to sign up and claim your Avvo profile.
2. Complete all your profile information
If you claimed your profile already, but your rating is still lower than you’d like, you may not have completed all the information on your profile. The easiest way to increase your Avvo rating is to complete your profile (much like we advise you to do to improve your presence on LinkedIn).
Don’t leave any fields blank. Provide thorough and accurate information. Upload a high quality, professional profile photo. A completed profile is the first step to improving your Avvo score.
3. Answer questions and post content on Avvo
A large part of Avvo’s website is the consumer facing portion, where they help people with legal problems get answers or find an attorney to work with. This includes a free, legal Q&A forum where thousands of potential clients ask questions.
While they don’t exactly come out and say it, I would be surprised if your activity in the Q&A forums didn’t affect your Avvo rating somehow. Let’s just say, the more you use Avvo, the better your rating will be. One good way to use the site is to answer client questions and contribute legal guides and content.
4. Publish content and list it on your profile
Publications is an important section of your Avvo profile. Anytime you contribute an article, write for a legal organization, or produce other legal content that is published, you should update your Avvo profile accordingly.
Publish new content periodically, and be sure to include the dates on your profile as well. Your Avvo rating factors in your ongoing activity and involvement in the legal community. It’s not exactly a “set it and forget it” type of thing.
5. List your memberships and awards
Again, your involvement in the legal community is a key factor in Avvo’s algorithm. They measure this in part by the number of legal organizations in which you are a member, and the awards and certifications you receive.
You should join all the local bar associations related to your practice area and list your memberships on Avvo. Generally, there isn’t a whole lot of ongoing commitment. Although the benefits of networking with other attorneys are a good reason to remain active. If you’re a member of Super Lawyers or similar attorney ranking services, be sure to list those as well.
6. Conduct CLE programs
Putting on a CLE program is a great way to demonstrate your involvement in the legal community. All you really have to do is offer to speak on a topic of your interest at a bar association CLE meeting.
Teaching CLE has a number of benefits, including improving your public speaking skills, honing your expertise in a particular area of law, and in this case, also improving your Avvo rating. It’s a win-win-win.
7. List your work experience and cases you’ve won
Work experience is an important component of a good Avvo profile, and adding a lot of information to it will help significantly in boosting your score. You should list all the different jobs you’ve had, firms you’ve worked at, and if you were the winning attorney of record on a published court opinion, be sure to post the case citation. Avvo gives you credit for all your successful cases.
8. Get endorsements from your peers
Lastly, Avvo wants you to help them sign up and engage more attorneys and get them actively using Avvo. One way they do this is through peer endorsements.
So yes, an “endorsement” from a peer is likely to come about from a mutual agreement where both attorneys endorse each other. And no, most of the endorsements are not very authentic. But, the algorithm factors them in to your Avvo rating. So try to find a way to get more endorsements on your profile without annoying your colleagues too much.
Any other tips for how to increase your Avvo rating? Add them in the comments below!