There’s no denying that reviews on local search sites, like Google+ and Yelp, are critical pieces of the search result rankings pie, but the approach that personal injury attorneys take towards obtaining new reviews doesn’t need to be as daunting as they think. While it is certainly beneficial for attorneys to get reviews from satisfied former clients, it’s also important that they don’t forget to create a review symbiosis with the other local companies that they frequently do business with.
Let’s say, for instance, that your law firm hosts a monthly lunch for your staff. Sometimes you go out to a restaurant, while other times you have the food catered. Since your law firm is doing business with these local businesses, it is well within review site guidelines for your law firm to leave a review for them (you can easily write reviews as your law firm on Google+). While the restaurant or catering company may not be able to reciprocate and leave your law firm a review for its legal services, that doesn’t mean that writing such a review for another business is a complete waste of time.
While the various components that make up Google’s search algorithm are a secret to everyone outside of Google engineers, it has been confirmed (more or less) by reliable sources that Google examines a business’s local footprint to help determine how well it should rank within local search results. It’s reasonable to assume that any given local business is bound to have interactions of some kind with other local businesses. So, even though a restaurant you frequent may not be able to review your business, Google may take notice that YOUR COMPANY is leaving a review. And with many other law firms still using virtual office space to help rank locally for multiple cities, providing Google with additional information about your law firm is never a bad idea, particularly when it comes to helping solidify that local footprint.
If your law firm leaves reviews for other local businesses that you interact with, then local residents that frequent those businesses as well may also see your review. Having “locals” aware that your law firm even exists in the first place is HUGE. While they may be reading your firm’s review to help decide what they’re going to have for dinner that night, they may also remember your firm name down the line if they or someone they know needs legal services. They already know that your law firm is local, so why wouldn’t they take a chance on another local business that has similar interests (in this case, food) to their own?
Reviewing other businesses should be looked at as a branding opportunity, but be sure not to link back to your website or try to sell your services on someone else’s review page. Just think of it as leaving a virtual business card at another local business. Even if someone doesn’t need your services at that moment, putting your name out there may be enough to encourage them to contact your law firm if they’re ever in need of your services.
And as far as asking clients to review your legal services, there’s really no easy way to do this other than to encourage (satisfied) clients to write a review for your law firm if they have the time to do so. Just remember not to solicit positive reviews, and never EVER write a review on behalf of a client. Not only will your IP be tracked, but chances are fairly high that the review won’t stick anyway. Review sites are smart and will catch you.
Do you have a great way of getting reviews for your business? Tell us your secret in the comments…