While it’s great to get a review on local business listings and your attorney web content, it’s not so great when your law firm is accused of faking or skewing reviews. With services like Google+ Local, Yelp, and Angie’s List cracking down on false reviews, marketing companies through reviews is a bit more complex these days.
Before you start asking clients for reviews or create a new local business listing profile, there are a few things you should know about the world of online reviews.
The More Reviews, The Better…Just Not All At Once
A recently established law firm isn’t expected to have multiple reviews until it has been in operation for a few months. Most legal cases take months, even years to settle, and most clients wouldn’t submit a review until their case is over. So if a law firm that only recently opened suddenly has 10 reviews, that can raise a red flag to the business listing site.
For established attorneys, you may have just set up a new profile on Yelp and want to get ratings for your newly listed business. You can use your attorney web content to help you in this process, but you must do it wisely. One way to ask for reviews is to include a call to action within your blogs or articles. However, you must do so with caution – if several of your readers act and leave reviews at the same time, sites like Yelp sometimes take instances of high-volume review activity as a sign of gaming the system and your account could be penalized (especially if the reviews come from users with no other reviews).
A different approach to asking your clients to review your business on a new local business listing platform is to ask them directly. Select a few of your most notable clients whom you believe would give you a detailed, positive review, and then approach them directly. Strive for a few at a time, so there isn’t a sudden deluge of reviews on your profile. Business listings with review features will see it as more natural and raise fewer suspicions that you’re somehow influencing reviews on your profile.
Asking For Reviews is Good Marketing for Companies
While there are people out there that will take it upon themselves to leave a good review for a business, there are many who don’t take the time to do so unless they had a particularly bad experience. Hopefully your law firm has plenty of motivated, satisfied clients that will review you on their own, but what if you don’t?
Certain areas of law, such as bankruptcy law, may be sensitive topics to your clients and they may not want to admit that they had to obtain a lawyer for these matters. In situations where your clients are reluctant to review due to privacy, make sure to respect their wishes. If using their reviews or testimonials as a part of your attorney web content, give them the option of remaining anonymous. Some sites like Yelp allow you to use nicknames for reviews, but others like Google require legitimate Google+ accounts.
Tip: Don’t ask your clients to make a separate Google+ account just to review your law firm on Google+ Places. Google often looks at new, otherwise unused accounts that only review one place as a sign of a false review and may remove it.
When you ask clients to leave you a review, make sure you don’t ask only for positive reviews – businesses can be penalized for influencing reviewers. You can’t offer any incentives for leaving a particular type of review (five-star, excellent, etc.) but you can offer incentives for leaving a review period, good or bad.
Marketing companies through local business listings takes more than just setting up profiles. Part of your attorney web content should focus on attracting local recognition to your law firm, and with reviews you can show potential clients that you’ve got an established reputation. We Do Web Content helps law firms harness the power of local business marketing and targeted web content. Contact us today at 888-521-3880 to speak with our sales manager about how we can help market your company through local search, SEO and unique web content.