The Internet enables billions of users worldwide to access information that could lead them to better decisions, framing a consumer mindset towards virtually every profession that renders a service of some kind. In recent years, legal professionals and law firms have become subject to the same type of scrutiny that once, for the most part, only applied to hotels and restaurants.
Let’s Start with Online Reviews
Websites such as Avvo.com, Lawyers.com and more allow clients, colleagues and sometimes even employees to post reviews of law firms on the Internet. And while these sites generate oodles of traffic that help influence potential clients every day, many speculate that even the subject-specific review sites are going out of style.
One blogger and web marketing consultant, Larry Bodine, is among the type. In a 2014 blog, he brought forth evidence to suggest that the well-known behemoth of all review websites still pulls more weight than the smaller, lawyer-specific sites.
“For years lawyers have paid big fees to Martindale-Hubbell, Avvo and Super Lawyers in hopes of generating clients and favorable ratings. It turns out the people have spoken and new research indicates that potential clients rely on Yelp as the #1 trusted site to find a lawyer.”
Still, “trust” is a subjective word when it comes to these review sites, as well as the Internet in general. That is why Consumer Reports put out a blog reminding web surfers to practice their own standards of research when looking up lawyers online.
“There are many that can help you find a lawyer based on your location and legal issue. Unlike the professional associations, these sites might have reviews by clients. As with all user reviews, remember that you can't tell who is posting and for what reason. Someone who lost a case is not likely to be happy, no matter how well the attorney performed. Check more than one site and be cautious if there are only one or two comments, which might not give an accurate picture.”
So if you still think mastering a positive image on Yelp is the only challenge law firms have in online reputation management, think again.
SEO is a Necessity, No Matter the Profession
Search engine optimization is a crucial slice of the ORM pie, and law firms have been catching on to the fact that SEO is a tool for success, no matter the profession.
According to JurisPage.com, “SEO is the same for lawyers and law firms as it is for restaurants, books, dentists, and everything else. Companies that offer law firm SEO services are involved in a process where they leverage their knowledge of Google’s search engine algorithm to employ tactics that make their law firm clients’ websites more appealing to Google’s algorithm, and therefore get their website placed as a more prominent search result.”
Search engine optimization is not only a tool for reputation management, but for marketing in the widest-reaching mass communication vessel we have: the Internet. Lawyers are among a sea of professionals working to enhance their online visibility so that they can attract more clients as well as quality employees through Google and other search engines.
Benefits from Two Angles
The results of a strong ORM campaign can be felt in a number of fashions. It can generate more inquiries from potential clients through SEO and visibility tactics; yet, it can also help bring the most talented future workers right to your doorstep. Employee review sites such as Glassdoor and even social media sites such as LinkedIn have proven to be excellent recruiting tools that help companies vet employees while also helping jobseekers make the right choices.
And thus, a thorough ORM campaign should include three equal parts: search engine optimization, review management, and reputation management. At InternetReputation.com, our team of technical and customer service experts have a successful history of working with law firms of all types to enhance their online appearances and provide results that can grow their respective practices.