People talk. You know that; you’re a lawyer. You also know that what people say matters. A person’s entire reputation can be built up or destroyed simply by what other people say. Well, guess what? The same is true for your law firm. What people think and say about your firm heavily influences your firm’s reputation.
In the SEO business, one of the ways we help law firms win at digital marketing is to engage in reputation management on their behalf. By managing a firm’s online reputation in order to keep it positive, we take advantage of the tried-and-true principles of word-of-mouth advertising to drive more traffic and increase conversions.
This is a pretty straightforward topic that doesn’t need to be complicated. In this post we will break down the basics of reputation management and its relationship to online reviews. By the time you finish reading, you should understand how important reputation management is to legal SEO.
Reputation Management in Brief
Reputation management is just as its name implies. It is the practice of managing what people and organizations think and say about you. In the business world specifically, reputation management is the practice of influencing what people think about your brand. And yes, you have a brand as an attorney.
What must be understood is this: your firm’s reputation rests in what people think about you and your team, not what you and your team think about yourselves. Far too many law firms get this backwards. You and your team might think your law firm is the greatest thing in the history of legal services. It will not matter a bit if your local community thinks otherwise.
So, how can you find out what people are saying about you and your firm? By researching online reviews. For better or worse, online reviews are here to stay. Not only do they tell you the state of your online reputation, they are also resources that we can use to better manage your firm’s reputation.
Reviews Matter to Potential Clients
Online reviews are the bedrock of reputation management. Why? Because they influence people. According to a 2015 Moz study, 67% of surveyed consumers say they are influenced by online reviews. That’s not the half of it. The Moz survey also revealed that just a single negative piece can cost an organization up to 22% of the customers they would otherwise have secured.
Bear in mind that potential clients looking for an attorney are usually pressed for time. They are in a hurry. They are facing an emergency situation that requires sound legal representation. Such an increased state of anxiety is only made worse by negative reviews.
The goal for online reviews is actually two-fold. The first part is to encourage as many clients as possible to submit online reviews. The second part is to do whatever it takes to make sure those reviews are positive. As for publishing reviews, there are numerous options:
- Your own website
- Your social media pages
- Law specific websites
- Your Google profile page.
Perhaps the most important is Google Reviews. By signing up for Google Reviews, you can give your clients direct access through a dedicated URL. They use that URL to post their reviews. What they post is then analyzed by Google and included as a ranking factor when considering your pages. Better yet, every time one of your pages shows up in Google SERPs, your review rating is displayed underneath the title. Visitors can click on that rating and immediately start reading your reviews.
With the importance of online reviews out of way, we can move on to talking about reputation management tools. As an SEO firm, we use every tool available to us to properly manage a client’s reputation.
How We Use Reputation Management Tools
Without mentioning any specific brands other than Google, we can say that there is no shortage of reputation management tools we can access. Each of those tools does something slightly different. By engaging with as many as possible, we can manage your law firm’s online reputation successfully.
Here are some examples:
- Alerts – Google offers a unique tool they call Google Alerts. It alerts us to all sorts of things relating to your brand, your keywords, and even your online reputation.
- Social Media Mentions – We have access to tools that help us discover what people are saying about your firm on social media. We can research conversations, keywords, and specific mentions of your firm’s name.
- Brand Performance – Reputation management tools that measure your brand’s online performance help us to understand just how strong your brand is in the eyes of potential clients. We can look at your brand in relation to number of mentions, mentioned locations, and more.
- Review Analysis – It is not enough to know that people are leaving online reviews. You also need to know what those reviews say. We can access review analysis tools to get a complete overview of those online reviews posted by clients without your prompting.
- News Monitoring – Mentions of your firm in news stories can help us better understand what the general public thinks about your firm. There are tools we can use to track down and analyze news mentions.
Just like in law, information is power in the SEO world. That is why all of these reputation management tools collect data and deliver it to us for further analysis. In short, we use the tools to assess how your firm is doing with its online reputation. Where we see weaknesses, we can step in and add strength. Where your firm is already strong, we can maintain that strength over the long term.
Don’t Leave Things to Chance
We get the fact that reputation management can be a difficult thing to stay attuned to. We also understand the legal industry’s reluctance to embrace online reviews. But it is a different world. The days of establishing a law practice by hanging a sign on the door are long gone. In our modern digital world, law firms have to work much harder to compete.
Reputation management is key to competing in the digital arena. Just the fact that people are influenced by online reviews is enough motivation to get in the game. We encourage you to not leave things to chance. Do not ignore reputation management and hope for the best. If you do, you will be selling your firm short.
We specialize in SEO services throughout Salt Lake City and beyond. Whether you need online reputation management or a complete redesign of your website from the ground up, our knowledgeable team has decades of combined experience that we can put to work for you. Let us talk and see what we can do together.