To begin, make sure your local profiles on Google My Business and other locations like Yelp are up to date. Here, users can rank your services from one to five stars and leave written reviews that highlight their experiences. Google My Business reviews are perhaps the most important because they are a large contributing factor to your firm’s ranking in search results, and they show up on the first page of search results in the local results section.
You should also research which review sites your competitors are using, and set up accounts with those platforms as well. This will help you remain on the same playing field as your competitors. Now you’ll have profiles on a small handful of sites, and when your clients ask where they can provide reviews, you can direct them to those pages.
While you should direct your clients to any and all of your review sites, be sure to direct a larger portion of them to Google My Business, which can contribute to your local rankings. Also, Yelp is part of the Amazon Alexa network which is helpful for earning placement for local voice searches.
Usually the best way to receive online reviews is simply by asking current and recent clients to leave a review. However, even when well-intentioned clients wish to write a review on their own volition, they are less likely to do so if you don’t make accessing your review sites easy and convenient. Include links on your website that will direct users to the pages where they can write reviews or provide a clear link in your review-request-email. Provide clear instructions for how to write reviews on the sites that may have a less straightforward user review process, such as Google My Business, which requires users to have Google accounts to be able to write them.
Discuss with your firm the importance of online reviews, and create a firm-wide strategy that involves seamlessly requesting them from clients during your customer interaction process, especially after a good business interaction.
An easy way to ensure you are always sending the message to clients to leave reviews is simply by adding the request to your email signature, with a short line stating “Review us on Google+” and a link. If you follow these tips, inviting clients to provide reviews will cease to be an overlooked process.
For positive reviews, you can respond publicly by thanking them for taking the time to provide their feedback. When receiving a negative review, always refrain from arguing or responding defensively.
First, ensure that the review depicts an accurate account of a legitimate client’s experience, and that it isn’t a false review or a review for a different firm. If this occurs, flag it as inappropriate. If it was an actual client’s review, then offer an apology that allows the client to feel heard while using the response as an opportunity to highlight your attributes. You can also direct the conversation offline, especially for complicated issues, and resolve it in private. Once the problem has been resolved, you may wish to ask that client to edit their original review or add a new one that reflects their new, positive outlook on your firm.
Build a feedback page into your website that is only accessible to those who receive the direct link, which you should send to all current and recent clients. That way, you have an internal and private method of tracking your clients’ satisfaction. You can provide a simple rating system, from poor to excellent, that will prompt users to provide more information regarding how they think you can improve your services.
You can direct users from your feedback page to leave reviews on local directories, using clear instructions and direct links to make the process easy and convenient.
1. Don’t write your own reviews — it is illegal in most states and goes against the terms of service for online review platforms.
2. Don’t request a hundred reviews at the same time, because if you receive too many at once, Google may suspect counterfeit, which negatively affects your search engine ranking.
3. Don’t let clients write reviews from your office network unless they’re using their own mobile device connected to their own data plan because it will appear that all or many of your reviews are coming from the same IP address. This could also cause Google to suspect fake reviews.
After following these tips, your law firm should be on its way to earning a strong reputation online, which will help you achieve higher search engine rankings, more clicks and more leads.