Monthly Archives: September 2010

How Attorneys Can Keep Up with Their On-Line Reputation

Internet LAVA’s suggestions for how attorneys and law firms can keep up with their on-line identity and manage their reputation:

  1. At least once each month, enter the name of your law firm into Google, Bing and Yahoo. Look carefully at the first three pages of results to find any negative review, misleading information or outdated content.
  2. Every few months, ask each lawyer in the firm to perform a search on the first three pages of Google, Bing and Yahoo for any variations of their name and geographical information. For example, the attorney should search for “Jane Doe Attorney in Cleveland Ohio.”
  3. Sign up for the following alerts so that you will be notified when new content is created about your attorneys or your law firm:

This process of reviewing the search engines to learn more about the scope and depth of your on-line reputation is important because all of the attorneys in your law firm will quickly realize how to make improvements in the law firm’s on-line presence. Just being aware of the law firm’s on-line reputation will quickly lead to incredible improvements.

Read more about: Law Firm Reputation Management

Contact Internet LAVA to find out how we build better websites for attorneys based on better content. Let us help you create a powerful internet presence that uses each emerging technology including business and social media profiles to increase positive content about your services and minimize the impact of a negative review.

How Attorneys Should Respond to a Negative Review – Forget About It – Read our Blog article with informational videos produced by Yelp.com with advice to business owners worried about one negative review.

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How Attorneys Should Respond to Negative Reviews on Google Local Business Listing

When an frustrated former clients posts a negative review about a law firm, seeing that review on your Google Local Business Listing can be devastating. The local business listings on Google Places are perhaps the most important marketing tool available to attorneys because it will inevitably show up first when anyone “Googles” the name of the attorney or the law firm.

At Internet LAVA, our website design and internet marketing company has an easy solution – worry more about an effective on-line presence and then you will worry less about one negative review. In fact, one negative review can actually increase the credibility of other positive reviews. Your ideal client is less likely to trust a series of glowing reviews without seeing at least one isolated negative review.

Don’t Try to Remove a Negative Review on Google Places

Yes, Google Places does have a process for asking for a misleading or inaccurate negative review to be removed from a law firm’s local business listing. However, don’t even think about it. Our experience has been that once the review is removed, the listing gets penalized and loses its rankings for at least 6 months. If you are worried about one negative review then keep in mind that eventually positive reviews will minimize the impact of one negative review.

Update: In August of 2010, Google Places now allows law firms and other businesses to respond to both positive and negative reviews. Interacting with the prior client who shared their opinion about the law firm is a great way to let your potential clients know that you care about the feedback. However, attorneys must be very careful not to violate any rights to confidentiality. Although this is an interesting option for a hotel owner or a cupcake maker, attorneys are probably better off not responding to a negative review.

How Law Firms Should Respond to a Negative Review – Forget About It – Blog article with informational videos produced by Yelp.com with advice to business owners worried about a negative review.

On-line Reputation Management for Attorneys – Read more from Internet LAVA about how we help our clients manage their on-line reputation through a strong internet presence that begins with a powerful, effective website.

How Law Firms Should Respond to a Negative Review – Forget About It

What happens when a client post a negative review of your law firm on-line? If you already have an effective internet presence, the best response may be – “Forget about it.” Just to impress upon you how import these reviews are becoming, consider the fact that Yelp has produced a serious of videos on the topic of what business owners should do if they receive a negative review on Yelp.

On Negative Reviews…

Business Owner Advice – Frank & Paul explain how to respond to a negative review on Yelp

Business Owner Advice: How do you respond to your Yelp reviews? (Jeff D.)

At Internet LAVA we focus on internet marketing and website design exclusively for attorneys. That focus allows us to stay current on emerging technologies that work best for law firm marketing. Contact us for a free consultation to discuss how you can achieve your goals. Read our free guide to learn more about why attorneys and law firms should used social and business profiles to provide positive information about the legal services they provide.

Popular Law Firm and Attorney Review Websites

As we discussed in the last article, managing the on-line reputation for any law firm or attorney is become increasingly important. Recently, numerous websites have emerged allow the public to post reviews about the business. For any business owner – this new level of transparency is terrifying.

Many attorneys ask us – “Is this what it’s coming to?” But the question really ignores the fact that focusing on your reputation has always been a part of managing a law practice. As new technologies emerge, that reputation discussion is simply taking place on-line instead of by word-of-mouth in the community.

Search Engines Local Business Profiles:

Websites that Focus on Attorneys:

Websites that Cover Different Types of Small Businesses:

  • MerchantCircle – Think of Merchant Circle as the Facebook for businesses. Considered to be the “business owner centric” profile service that allows the public to post reviews. To a large extend the business has control over deleting false or misleading negative or positive reviews.
  • City Search –

Law Firm Reputation Management: Control the Damage from One Negative Review

One of the most common questions we get from attorneys who contact us for an initial consultation is “what can we do to get rid of a negative review?”

One frustrated former client or disgruntled former employee can write a negative review with untrue or misleading information about the law firm. What can be done?

The answer depends on the depth of the law firm’s internet presence. For instance, some law firms have almost no internet presence. Therefore, when you Google the name of their law firm or an individual lawyer working for the firm then one of the first things to pop up on the search engine is the negative review.

Obviously, this one review can make a huge impact on the business because it makes up a huge portion of the law firm’s on-line presence. However, for law firms with little or no internet presence, the best cure for a negative review is to create numerous pages of positive information about the law firm on hundreds of powerful websites.

For law firms that have begun the process of creating a strong internet presence, fighting negative reviews requires strengthening the ranks for the positive material so that the few pieces of negative content are more difficult to find. Contact Internet LAVA to discuss how we can help you quickly create a professional and powerful on-line presence.

When You Find a Negative Review Try and Correct the Concern

For most attorneys, when a negative review is posted the attorney knows exactly who posted the negative review. When possible, contact the former client and offer solutions to address their concerns. The client will often be impressed that their voice is being heard. The source of their frustration is often feeling powerless. By responding to their concerns immediately you are showing the client that you care about their opinion and that you are willing to help make them satisfied with your services.

In other cases, the attorney or law firm may not know who posted the negative review. In many of these cases, one negative review serves as a wake up call to the business to pay attention to difficult clients and try to stay in close communication with them so that their concerns and frustrations are heard.

When that One Negative Review Actually Helps Your Reputation

With a powerful internet presence, one negative review has almost no impact. In fact, it may actually help the business because it shows that other reviews and information about the law firm are also genuine. In other words, the numerous positive reviews for the law firm become more powerful when the viewer also sees one negative review. No viewer would believe that any business could have nothing but positive reviews. So the viewer tends to trust the positive reviews more when they also see one isolated negative review.

Getting Numerous Positive Reviews of Your Law Firm

Getting positive reviews tends to happen naturally as you increase your internet presence. When your clients tend to find you through your on-line presence, they also tend to be the types of clients that would leave a review about your business. Depending on the bar rules for your particular state, you can send your client a closing letter inviting them to make a comment about the quality of your legal services on one of your business listings that makes leaving such a review particularly convenient. Make sure to not ask for a review until the representation is completely concluded.

Most of our clients report that during the initial consultation the potential client will mention, “I decided to hire you because I read a lot of positive reviews about your practice.” These same types of clients tend to be the type of person most likely to leave a positive review at the end of the representation if they are highly satisfied with the attorney’s services. As these reviews become more and more common, managing your on-line reputation also becomes more important.

The Future of On-Line Reputation Management for Attorneys

The internet has consistently changed businesses and entire industries by making information more readily available. It should come as no surprise to attorneys that these reviews by former clients are expected to increase exponentially over the coming years.

As bar associations struggle with ways to manage an attorney’s efforts to advertise on-line, the market place is quickly sorting out the regulation of shady attorneys with incredibly efficiency.

Although not a perfect system, if all clients left reviews about all dealing with all attorneys the public would have a tremendous amount of information at their disposal. Over the next five years we predict these types of comprehensive reviews of attorneys (and all business people in the service industry) will be more common place. Those attorneys and law firms that get control of their on-line reputations early will have a clear advantage.

How Can I Create this Comprehensive On-line Presence for My Law Firm?

At Internet LAVA we create an entire on-line presence for the attorney so that the entire first three pages of Google are content about the law firm and attorneys that we create. For instance, our attorneys have the following on-line presence when you Google their name:

  1. The law firm’s main website;
  2. The law firm’s main blog;
  3. On-line business profiles or local business listings on the map function of Google, Bing and Yahoo;
  4. Facebook Business Profile;
  5. Merchant Circle Business Profile (similar to Facebook for small businesses but better for SEO purposes);
  6. LinkedIn profiles for each attorney and for the law firm (these often show up at the top of the search engines especially for the names of the individual attorneys);
  7. Law firm and attorney specific business profiles such as LawLink profile for each individual attorney, an AVVO profile for each individual attorney, and a Justia / Cornell LII profile for each individual attorney;
  8. Other professional profiles such as BizNik and Naymz; and
  9. Hundreds of other business and attorney profiles on some of the most powerful websites such as Insider Pages and Yelp.

Our Problem is Bigger Than One Negative Review

For certain types of legal practices, negative reviews are more common just because of the type of clients that they represent. For example, individuals in family law cases tend to be very emotional when a ruling doesn’t go their way. After all, the individual’s personal wealth and child custody issues can be affected. Obviously, family law attorneys have to be careful to manage the expectations of their clients and to stay in close contact with them about the developments in their case.

The less obvious answer involves being aware of the negative review as soon as it is posted. By knowing about it when it occurs, you are in the best position to contact that client to discuss their frustration with them. In many cases, you can ask the person to take down the negative review. Just the fact that you contact them to discuss their frustration may make a difference in the way they view the situation.

However, if you don’t know about the negative review for several months then your options are more limited. Additionally, the individual that posted the review becomes harder to identify and harder to contact. Even if you discuss the matter with the individual months later, they would be less likely to take down the review given the lack of a timely response.

Our Solutions – We Help You Own Your Name On-line

Working with an internet marketing company that cares about your on-line reputation is equally important. Attorneys understand that their reputation is everything. These attorneys work hard to impress the other attorneys, judges, and business people that they come into contact with each day. As internet marketing becomes increasingly important, attorneys will also start to realize that their on-line reputation will become influence their off-line reputation as well.

Contact Internet LAVA to discuss your internet marketing needs. We would with attorneys interested in dominating the search engines for their particular practice areas in their particular jurisdictions. We work with medium and large law firms to manage their on-line reputation. Contact us today at 1-800-292-LAVA (5282) for a free consultation to discuss your concerns and long-term goals.

Read more about: Law Firm Reputation Management