There's an attorney here in Chicago who spends money on television advertising.
However, when you search on this attorney's name in Google, you get the above review summary from the firm's Google My Business page.
That same search also turns up other review sites that contain reviews like:
Some lawyers might not find this surprising. After all, it's an adversarial process. If you're not making someone unhappy, you're probably not doing it right.
However, these appear to be reviews from clients.
Of course, I can't tell (and neither can the public) whether these are real, let alone, warranted.
Nonetheless, when people see this attorney's expensive television ad, pull out their smartphone and search this attorney's name, they're going to see a whole bunch of relatively detailed negative reviews.
Further, at least on Google, the firm is completely silent. They haven't responded to a single review.
Deciding whether and how to respond to negative online reviews can be tricky. But it's difficult to argue that reviews don't play some role in influencing a prospective client's impression.
A lot of lawyers spend a lot of time and money trying to get attention from potential clients. This is particularly true in the context of lawyer SEO. In other words, many lawyers spend a lot of time and money trying to rank #1 in Google.
Unfortunately, lawyers often fail to consider what people actually see when they search.
Notice that the firm with the best local pack position has 1 Google review while the firms in the #2 and #3 spots have 52 and 11 reviews, respectively.
Which firms do you think command the most attention in this SERP?
If your search competitors have found a way to earn online reviews and you rely on search for new business, you really need to make earning online reviews a priority.
In fact, you should probably spend more effort on earning positive reviews than on trying to rank in these SERPs.
Return on Ad Spend
If negative online reviews, or absent reviews in a competitive search result, cause someone who found you through advertising, to remove you from their consideration set, those reviews are hurting your return on ad spend (ROAS).
I can't tell you how many times I hear lawyers say, "I rank number one but I'm not getting any calls."
While there are many factors that can contribute to this situation, many times, high search visibility with low inquiry rates can be attributed to a poor or non-existent online reputation.
You simply can't control the fact that, in the digital age, more and more legal services consumers expect to be able to find information about you online.
One of things that they expect to find is what your clients have to say about you.
Therefore, it just makes sense to get your web presence right before you spend a lot of money driving potential clients with large advertising spends.
This Thursday, Allison Shields and I will be discussing issues related to online reputation management at the ABA Techshow. If you're attending, we hope you stop by. Feel free to bring your questions.