While the link between SEO and client reviews is constantly changing, having positive reviews on the review websites that are most popular in your region is extremely important.
To see for yourself, use a search term that addresses your niche and geographic location, adding 'reviews' at the end. An example is 'Atlanta attorney reviews'. You will get results with several prominent review websites. Chances are that one of them will be Yelp (even if you aren't a fan of Yelp it's important). Under the Yelp result will be a list of attorneys with good reviews. Are you one of them? If not, it's time to do something about it.
Making the First Move
Making the first move in the review acquisition process can be nerve-racking. You don't want to appear greedy or pushy, but you do want clients to review your law firm. What's an attorney to do?
As uncomfortable as it may seem, you are going to have to ask your clients for feedback. You can do so in person, when they leave a positive comment on Facebook, or as part of your final e-mail to the client. But, no matter how you go about asking, just ask!
Asking for feedback doesn't just increase the number of reviews you get, it's good customer service. It shows that the opinion of the client matters and that you care about their satisfaction.
One word of advice—don't go overboard with your review gathering efforts. Being pushy or resorting to tricks like offering incentives for reviews or having family members or employees write reviews is not only a bad business practice, it can harm your review efforts.
Too Much Too Soon
If you launch a review-gathering offensive and make a big push to get more reviews, you could be punished. When too many reviews come in over a short period of time, it can trip the site’s review filter, leading to the removal of any suspicious reviews—even if they were legitimate reviews from satisfied clients!
To avoid this, it's important that you keep your review gathering strategy natural. To be effective, all you really need are a few reviews every month. One or two is plenty.
A Primer on a Successful Review Strategy
Just like all natural SEO efforts, you'll need to do a little legwork. To begin with, go through the sites that came up in your search and do a little work. With each of these sites:
- Check for accuracy in your name, address, phone number, and website URL.
- Make an account for each of your locations and attorneys, especially on Yelp, Bing, and Google Local.
- If it's an option, add a profile picture and choose a category and subcategory for your firm. You should identify yourself as a 'personal injury attorney' not just 'attorney'.
- Visit the review sites often to look for new reviews. If there are any, respond to them. A polite “thank you” for the review is good for positive reviews. If the review is negative, you need to address their issues and, when necessary, apologize and outline what you have done to remedy the problem. Potential clients will appreciate your candor. Whatever you do, never respond in anger.
At Foster Web Marketing, our attorney-focused SEO team is excited about sharing the best ways to naturally gather reviews for your law firm. You can also check out the new DSS Reputation Management Tool and request your free demo.