Lauren Bradbury *- Getting 5 star reviews on Google has to be a key advantage for any law firm or business, but doing so requires some special focus on those factors that will give you positive reviews.
Any consumer of services or products knows that having positive reviews is a major boon to selling and marketing your product (LINK). For law firms it is especially important as online reviews are a major driver of new business and new clients mean growth and profitability.
Yet decisions about businesses and firms can be made in a fraction of a second in a manner that will potentially cause some major damage to your online reputation.
By contrast, a review management process can ensure you not only build your reputation, but also create new business for you.
Google will effectively credit businesses that carry positive reviews and in particular if they do so recently. Their focus is to provide the very best customer experience for their search clients, just as any business or law firm will want to deliver the best to theirs.
But you need to go about the process carefully and properly.
How to Get 5 Star Reviews Easily and Safely
When looking at what can be done to get great customer reviews, you need to follow some basic, but important rules. These reviews provide some of the key social proof that lets you achieve authority and credibility with your clients.
1. Set Up Your Google Business Profile (Properly)
Make sure that your Google listing is properly set up. It remains surprising how many law firms and businesses fail this first test. It is absolutely worth your time to invest it in getting your business listing properly optimized in accordance with Google’s instructions.
A Google My Business listing has always been important for online visibility with Google. Now known as Google Business Profile, it provides access to Google maps and of course through Google search for all business owners.
Keeping in mind that Google have around 92 per cent of the search engine market, you can hardly ignore the importance of having a proper GBP page set up. It not only permits access to the items Google provide, but lets you put your law firm or business into the best position to achieve the very best Google search results that will achieve new clients.
You need to follow the Google My Business (LINK) details and have your firm or business details correctly completed, which is an essential first step towards getting your Google rankings sorted to your satisfaction.
This is important, incidentally, for local SEO as well (LINK), but we’re focusing here on simply getting your Google listing set up correctly with your business name, description, address, hours of operation, contact details.
You should make sure you use your business description to the best advantage, not by providing a lot of overly promotional content that can turn potential customers or clients off, but with authentic-sounding and genuine words evidencing your firm’s expertise in whatever area or areas of law you handle.
Photos and other images are also useful to provide the key links to yourself from your potential clients. Think about what you’re putting in carefully and use the space smartly because it is effectively a ranking factor that will play into your firm or business’s organic rankings.
2. Ask Clients for Reviews
The easiest way to get reviews and in particular a 5-star rating, is to ask for them. That does not mean you write the review or anything of that nature, but if you have a satisfied client then you should be asking them to review your law firm services.
Good reviews come from requests more than random review writing. It’s always a good idea (we say essential, in fact) to get clients or customers to check your business review page and make a review request.
Good law firm SEO and law firm marketing (or indeed any business marketing where new customers are sought through Google search) involves putting in your reviews with good keywords too, such as referencing your expertise as “a great Houston business law firm”, or “Manchester’s best divorce lawyers” and so forth.
Remember, these are not your words, but if you ask your satisfied client to write a review, ask them to also describe your legal/business area of expertise. It helps with local SEO and it certainly helps also with gaining new clients from positive reviews.
3. Thank people for their reviews
Always respond to reviews, be they positive Google reviews or not, and thank the party providing the online review. It gives you both an opportunity to build further goodwill, but also to focus yourself as an expert in the area of service or sales.
The need to interact with those reviewing our firm is an important element to building trust and your own authority and professionalism, particularly important for lawyers seeking to improve their online rankings.
It may seem simple, but simply thanking people online is an important step towards building online trust and communication.
4. Deal With Negative Reviews Properly
Negative reviews are a fact of life and they have to be dealt with promptly and with courtesy. If there is some genuine grievance then you need to deal with it and ‘front up’ by responding to the criticism in a professional, courteous manner. Remember that negative feedback is something that will always occur, but you need to be able to deal with it effectively and promptly.
Being prompt is a key advantage when dealing with negative online reviews. If you look like you are not responding then you will not appear empathetic and, worse, unprofessional. As lawyers you need to show you are on top of the issues, including negative criticism.
But keep one other fact in mind, which Google itself full recognizes, it is that a combination of reviews that are both positive and negative can create an overall impression of greater trustworthiness than an array of glowing reviews. https://support.google.com/business/answer/3474122?hl=en
While it may not be top of mind you should still thank people for their negative reviews, which can help defuse an otherwise tense or unsavoury atmosphere. You will come across as someone who is a pro and a good lawyer.
Fake reviews are another problem and they can be reported to Google, as per Google’s terms, and should be as they will damage your reputation more surely than anything, particularly if you are party to having fake reviews posted.
5. Invest in tools that monitor reviews
Given the importance of responding promptly to online reviews you should invest in either a regular monitoring of the reviews that are published, or use a review monitoring tool.
This process doesn’t have to be overwhelming, but it will create a greater ability to interact with potential clients and customers and to ensure you are not letting major opportunities, or bad reputational damage occur to your firm or business.
There are a number of tools you can use including free tools like Google Alerts, which is more of a broad brush tool, but also paid tools that will focus more on specific areas like reviews. These include apps like Podium, ReviewPush, Reputology and others.
Reviewing Your Google Review Process
Keep these items in mind when building your Google star rating by actively monitoring the review process in line with what we suggest here. By actively involving yourself in the process, or having the system to do so, you create the ability to achieve five star reviews that not only comply with Google’s terms, but unquestionably build your online reputation.
The best way to generate 5-star Google reviews however is to provide outstanding service and get the review. It’s like ‘asking for the order’. Provide the great service and achieve great customer satisfaction and you are well on the way towards achieving great reviews. That combination is the positive experience that will boost your local search results, provide better reviews and, ultimately, provide 5-star Google rating.
The 5-point guide to 5-star Google reviews is straightforward:
Provide top service, ask for the review and the top 5-star Google reviews to boost your firm with better client leads and higher rankings will be yours.
Let us Know
Let us know how your Google reviews and rankings are going. We can help with any questions you have or queries about the review and ranking process and always want to know what your own experiences are in obtaining top Google reviews.
Author: Lauren Bradbury writes for LawFuel and other publications on law firm SEO, marketing and website optimization issues.