Your web presence is more than just your website and your search ranking. Reviews are part of your online word of mouth marketing. Even with an aesthetically-pleasing website and a good web presence, your reviews can often make or break the decision for future clients.
First, make sure all your profiles are up to date and that users are able to review you on Facebook, Google, and Avvo. Although most users will not search for a lawyer on Facebook, they are likely to still use it to check your reviews.
Reviews Add Value in Multiple Ways
According to a study by BrightLocal, 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. It is easy for consumers to draw conclusions when they see poor ratings for your business. However, even bad reviews serve as an opportunity for you to demonstrate your commitment to customer service and reputation management.
Reviews also have the power to supplement other SEO tactics and boost your local rankings. A client review left by someone with a well-established Google account can really have an influence on your rankings, especially if they detail their experience using keywords in their review. Your reviews are social proof that people have frequented your firm, which helps your firm appear more trustworthy. However, certain reviews are more helpful than others.
Encourage Detailed Reviews
You may have noticed that Google tends to highlight certain keywords in review snippets. Often times, the terms bolded will be exactly what you used in your query. One of our local SEO experts conducted an analysis last year and wrote about his findings. He discovered that bolded words in snippets made an especially relevant appearance in the local finder. They sometimes make an appearance in the local pack as well.
Take advantage of this by encouraging your clients to leave you a review. According to Brightlocal, 68% of consumers will leave a review for a business when asked.
Responding to Bad Reviews
When a consumer leaves a bad review, it is incredibly difficult not to feel attacked by their comment. However, it can also serve as an opportunity to create better dialogue, learn from their feedback and show the public that you take client concerns seriously.
Responding to your critics is more impactful now than ever. 30% of users believe that responses are the main factor in how they judge a business. Being able to communicate with a dissatisfied client and learn about the problem gives you the chance to have more control of the conversation and be ahead in the situation.
According to Marketo, a bad review can actually even increase conversion rates by 67%. Having a track record that shows that you are able to learn from your mistakes and improve reveals a lot about the quality of service you provide. Often times users are suspicious of ratings so good that they look too good to be true. So, even when someone leaves you a bad review, be sure to express gratitude over the time and effort they put in to leave their feedback.
Beware of Fake Reviews
Your firm is being held accountable by the online community for posting only authentic reviews. Fake reviews set you up for serious ethics violations and will tarnish your online reputation to consumers readings these fake reviews. Often times fake reviews appear fake and are all published with a similar word pattern from the same IP address.
Although fake reviews seem like a cheap and easy way to gain a great reputation, readers are able to recognize when a review is either fabricated or dishonest. According to research by Bright Local, 79% of users report seeing a fake review in the past year, and 25% report seeing “a lot” of fakes.
Google and Yelp are both performing a widely reported crackdown on fake reviews. Google is doing more spam purges, and Yelp is issuing consumer warnings. There are ways to combat fake reviews on your end as well. Be sure to take proper steps and report them immediately.