Directing online reviews of your law firm is a tricky thing for a few reasons.
#1: Sites like Yelp and Google are often changing their review algorithms and methodology. What this means is a genuine client with a great online review of your law firm might not actually show up on the web.
#2: Clients have different levels of internet use and frustration can come easily if they are stretched outside of their comfort zone.
#3: Each website will carry different levels of traffic, different levels of use depending on geography and practice area and different levels of credibility.
Top Three Places to Guide Clients Reviews for your Law Firm:
#1 Getting Reviews for your law practice on Yelp
If you are not familiar with Yelp, you should be. It’s a great model and community driven, so most of the reviews are genuine.
Upside of Yelp Reviews for Your Law Firm
- Yelp reviews hold a lot of clout as they are monitored closely
- Yelp reviewers generally have their own likeness, holding them to a community standard
- There are very few anonymous reviews
- Yelp has a lot of link juice and it’s a great opportunity for your practice to be found in generalized searches like “Criminal Defense Attorney Houston TX“
- Yelp, if set up properly, will alert you to any reviews, and give you a chance to respond directly
Downside of Yelp Reviews for Your Law firm
- You are technically not supposed to solicit any reviews to Yelp
- The Yelp Algorithm is tricky and can filter great reviews so they are not easily seen
- Your client will need to sign up for Yelp and add some information to even have a chance of reviewing you
Should you use Yelp for Lawyer Reviews from Your Client?
If your client offers to give you a review, I would ask them where they are active on the internet. If they have any type of activity on Yelp, I would suggest Yelp as the place for your reviews.
#2 Google Places/Google Plus for Lawyer Reviews
The title of this section says it all. In its effort to challenge facebook and really elevate Social Search, Google has brought together its Social Media Platform, Google Plus and its review/yellow pages platform, Google Places. I consider myself a web savvy person and I am still have difficulty getting this to work well all of the time. I can only imagine for Attorneys that are new to web.
Upsides of Google Plus/ Google Places Attorney reviews from clients
- It’s Google So You have some incredible Search Engine Optimization for Your Law Firm both near and long term
- Most clients of your law firm use Google, and it’s pretty easy for a client to add a review
- It’s easy for potential clients to find your reviews
Downsides of Google Plus/Google Places for reviews of your law firm
- There are a lot of fraudulent reviews, some very obvious. It detracts from the validity of the real reviews
- Google keeps changing its filtering process, so you may lose some reviews. There is a chance reviews on Google might disappear completely
- There is a chance the review will not show up at all
- There are reasonable chances of duplicate listings of your law practice showing up, and then your law firm could be reviewed in the wrong place.
How should you use Google Plus/Places for Lawyer Reviews from Your Client?
Ask the reviewing client if they have an active Google Plus or Gmail account. If they have a Google Plus account, send them a link to your Google Plus for your law firm. If they don’t have either, you may still want them to review there, so find your google places for your law firm and send the client a link to that. I would suggest this strategy if you are really pushing SEO and not concerned as much with managing your Online Reputation.
#3 AVVO For Online Reviews of your Law Firm
Avvo is a great site that brings together legal information along with attorney reviews and legal forums.
Upside of using AVVO reviews for your law practice
- It’s relatively easy for clients to review your law practice
- The AVVO review is a nice badge that is legal specific
- Your Law Firm’s Avvo Listing can show up in the search engine
Downside of using AVVO reviews for your law firm
- AVVO is not widely used or known
- AVVO has the least SEO value of the three mentioned
- AVVO has the least SEO flexibility
- AVVO does not have the brand of the other two, so attorney reviews on AVVO do not necessarily hold as much weight to the general public
When should you ask for clients to review your law practice on AVVO?
- If the client says the will do multiple reviews of your law firm
- If your client is completely lacking any tech savvy and you need to help them with the review
- If you have an Online Reputation Management issue, such as bad reviews, and want to have different reviews in different places
The absolute best way to handle Online Reviews
I think the absolute best way is to ask the person to do a professionally done video testimonial for your law firm. You can have them come in, do your online review and also have a genuine online testimonial for your law practice. This way you can
- make your Law Firm’s presence more robust
- your website more authoritative
- Give your Website more SEO power
- Do Video SEO with the video so the video itself shows up in search engines on youtube