Your Firm Needs to Develop A System For Getting Online Reviews

Jeff Berman
October 5, 2012

Online reviews are a critical component of visibility in local search. David Mihm's 2012 Local Search Ranking Factors report (the bible for up-to-date, local SEO expertise) lists reviews as the 7th most important overall rankings factor out of 90 different ones. Needless to say, it's something all firms have to be paying attention to.

However, it often falls by the wayside. Attorneys will get testimonials emailed to them, letters of recommendation sent, or a nice follow up phone calls. Firms will post these testimonials on their websites and leave it at that. While this can help with building trust and conversion for the visitors already on your website, it's not going to get the job done as far as search engines are concerned. Testimonials and reviews need to be posted by your clients on specific profiles around the web and your firm needs to have a strategy thought out ahead of time to ensure this gets executed properly.

If you don't make it as easy as possible for your clients, walking them through the process step by step, telling them exactly where to go and how to leave the review, I can assure you it either won't get done properly or it won't get done at all.

Where Should You Ask Your Clients To Leave Reviews?

There is no shortage of review sites out there so it's important that you do a little research in order to make sure you are asking for reviews on the sites that matter most. There are a few review sites that I would put into "Tier 1". I consider these universal; all firms should be requesting reviews on these sites. These include:

Google+ Local Page (Formerly Google Places)
Avvo (Consider getting peer reviews on Avvo as well)

Some of the "Tier 2" sites to consider, after you have done a good job of accumulating reviews on the Tier 1 sites, are:

Yahoo Local
Martindale (This is a paid listing, but if you are signed up through or this should be on your list)

In order to prioritize the Tier 2 sites and discover others you should consider, you need to research where your competition are getting reviews. I would advise using Google+ Local Pages for this.

Researching Where Your Competition Are Getting Reviews

A good place to start for your research is to check out the review sources on your competition's Google+ Local Pages. Let's use the example of a personal injury law firm in Chicago. I begin my research by going to Google Maps and performing a search for "personal injury lawyer Chicago". This brings up a list of local results. You can click on the name of the firm for any of the results, which will bring up a box on the map with additional info.

From there you can click on "more info", highlighted in the image above, which will take you to the firm's Google+ Local page. If you scroll down, below the reviews left directly on the Google profile, in some but not all instances, you'll see a box with "Reviews around the web" that looks like this:

This will give you an idea about other review websites you should consider targeting. Feel free to repeat the process for additional searches and check out multiple competitor profiles to see the sites that come up most frequently. These are the Tier 2 sites you should consider adding to your review rotation.

Develop A Consistent Process For Collecting Reviews

If you don't have a process in place to collect reviews from clients it simply won't happen. It's important you are:

Strategic with the online profiles you send them to

We already addressed how to be strategic with the specific online profiles you are sending clients to above.

Consistent with asking for the review

You should have a follow up or "case wrap-up" discussion with your client that includes asking for an online review when appropriate (obviously you want to be cognizent of your state's ethics rules for online reviews and testimonials). If the client is uncomfortable with or unwilling to leave a review, then that is fine. But many will be glad to do so, you simply need to give them further direction so it actually gets done, and done correctly.

Describe in detail exactly how to leave the review

You will maximize your reviews by making it as easy as possible for your client to complete the process.

If a client is wrapping things up with you in person, help them leave the review right then and there. The advantage is that you can be next to them and guide them through the process to make it easy. Provide access to an iPad or other computer and take them step by step, directing them to your firm's profile (perhaps have these bookmarked for your top review targets ahead of time). This ensures the review is completed properly and on the correct profile target.

If you can't be there with them or if you are finishing things via email/phone I suggest preparing step by step written instructions on exactly where to go and what to do when they get there. Whether this takes the form of an email written out explaining how to navigate the specific profile you are targeting or a one-page handout, such as the one in this example, the key is to be specific and clear with every step of the process. Provide the direct link for your profile, any signup or login info they will need to create, how to leave the actual review, etc. Again, make sure they have everything spelled out so they don't encounter any surprises.

I also recommend working through the process yourself on each site (although don't publish any fake reviews) to see how it flows and works from the perspective of your client.

Collecting reviews online is not really a luxury or just something to consider. It should be a central part of your local online strategy. When was the last time you made a purchase on Amazon or signed up with a service without checking out some of the reviews?

Your potential clients are looking for reviews online, what do they find when they look for yours?

Jeff Berman
Jeff Berman, is co-founder of AttorneySync. "Properly marketing a law firm online is about producing relevant content that helps a prospective client understand your expertise and how you are able to help them. Finally, it’s about getting that content found by the people you are trying to help."
Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
11 years ago

Jeff, great stuff here. For your next post you should consider talking about Yelp and their filter. It's often not enough to get satisfied clients to post a review on Yelp because if it is their only review it WILL be filtered. You almost have to ask them to review up to 10 other businesses (restaurants, spa, health club, etc.) in order for the review to stick.

Jeff Berman
11 years ago
Reply to  nsauser

Great point, I've seen that happen many times on Yelp.  Perhaps that would be worth asking in the email/one-sheet given to the client by the firm.  "Are you an active Yelp reviewer?" If yes, than please leave review on Yelp." If no then perhaps go to the firm's Google Local page or leave further instructions as you pointed out.

I get concerned about the viability of asking a client to leave a review for the firm as well as 8-10 other unrelated businesses.  I tend to think that if they aren't someone that has ever used Yelp, might make sense to try another profile for the review.

Thanks for the comment.

Word of Mouth, Ratings and Reviews - Attorney at Work

[...] might also give clients and colleagues a way to provide feedback on your sites and blogs. Having a system to encourage reviews can be a very effective way to marshal the evidence of your reputation and communicate the value of [...]

Let's Discuss Your Growth

Helping law firms grow profitably with digital marketing and can prove it.

Barry Conybeare

We are so impressed with AttorneySync and their digital marketing services. We started with an audit of our digital presence and hired them thereafter. Fixes to the website and other platforms quickly followed and we have seen a substantial increase in online traffic, new client calls, and new client contracts. Strongly recommend AttorneySync!

Let's Talk

How can we help?

More From Our Blog

June 8, 2023
On Local Law Firm SEO Rank Tracking and Reporting

Over the years, law firm prospects have sent us reports from just about all of our competitors. Unfortunately, even today, some law firm marketing agencies still mislead their clients via "reporting." One particularly egregious example comes in the form of ranking reports. Which prompted this LinkedIn post. To my surprise, I received a lot of […]

Read More
June 7, 2023
On Attribution

John Wanamaker supposedly said "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half." In an an effort to figure out "what half is working," attribution was born. Coupled with a transition from traditional, offline ads to digital media, attribution became the holy grail for analyzing advertising spends. But […]

Read More
March 22, 2023
I asked ChatGPT to Recommend a Personal Injury Law Firm

I recently asked ChatGPT, "What are some of the top personal injury law firms in Chicago?? Actually, first I ask "who are some of the top personal injury lawyers in Chicago?" ChatGPT couldn't handle that one, so I modified the prompt. ChatGPT listed five very well-known firms downtown. Can you guess the other four? That's […]

Read More
February 17, 2023
My Take on Google Search's Guidance on AI-Generated Content & Law Firm SEO

If you're like me, you have some degree of AI, ChatGBT, Bard, exhaustion. Now don't get me wrong, this is stuff is remarkable and is changing, well, a lot. But before you hook up the ChatGPT API to your WordPress API and crank out 10,000 pages, here are a few things to think about. Let's […]

Read More
February 16, 2023
Google Adds New SEO Best Practices for Links

If you know me, you know my opinions about links and SEO advice from Google. If you don't, here's the TL;DR: Meh, links! Meaning, all things being equal, links still remain a competitive difference maker for ranking. Take Google's SEO advice with several grains of salt. Google has no economic incentive to help your site […]

Read More
February 1, 2023
Authenticity & Engagement

The best marketing advice I can give you is to be authentic. Of course, you don't find that very helpful in terms of meeting your growth goals. So, you might decide to game the system. As I'm writing this, one of the more popular ways to gain the system is to pay for engagement. This […]

Read More
January 19, 2023
ChatGPT for Legal Marketing

The following post was written by ChatGPT. ChatGPT, developed by OpenAI, is a state-of-the-art language model that can generate human-like text based on a given prompt or context. This technology has the potential to revolutionize the way that businesses, including law firms, market themselves to potential clients. One way that a law firm could use […]

Read More
May 26, 2022
SEO Expectations for Law Firms

How long does SEO take? When can I expect to see results? What results should I expect to see? These are all reasonable questions that we field from lawyers every day. And, like many legal answers, the answer is: It depends. Yes, I know that's not the answer you wanted. But it's the most honest […]

Read More
May 6, 2022
Who Should Do Marketing?

And how much time should they spend doing it? I recently had the privilege of chatting with Tyson, Jim, and Conrad for an upcoming episode of The Maximum Lawyer Podcast. If you're not familiar with The Maximum Lawyer community, you should definitely check it out. Jim asked a really great question about who should do […]

Read More

Let's Discuss

Questions or comments? Let's discuss on social!
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram