The Growing Power of Online Reviews

When researching services or products online, it is common practice in our online world to perform a quick Google search for company or business reviews, including attorneys and law firms. Which leads us to ask: What does your online presence say about your practice?

A recent survey reported that 58% of the participants viewed Yelp, a popular social media tool that combines local reviews and networking functionality, as the number one and most trusted website for seeking for legal advice or representation.  Surprisingly, this tops other sites such as Avvo, Martindale-Hubbell and SuperLaywers as the go-to reference for lawyer reviews.

What kind of information are your potential clients looking for on these review sites? Keep reading…

It’s Confirmed: Clients Use Lawyer Review Sites to Find an Attorney

Yelp is the most trusted online review site for lawyers. This powerful statement comes from a recent survey by Software Advice (an online evaluation company for legal software) that shows how prospective clients use online review sites before hiring a lawyer. Other notable findings:

  1. 58% of individuals surveyed would turn to Yelp first to find and/or research a lawyer.
  2. The most important information to prospective clients is quality of service and years of legal experience.
  3. 70% of prospective clients will travel further to see an attorney with better online reviews.

4 Tips for Managing a Negative Online Review for Lawyers

Just a few years ago, people turned to the Yellow Pages and word of mouth for information about lawyers. Today, over 55% of your potential clients use the Internet to research you (or any lawyer). Word of mouth is still important, but don’t think that even with a glowing referral, you aren’t being vetted online before you get the call.

That being said, reviews are now an accepted part of online life. Consumers looking for restaurants, dentists, caterers or law firms now turn to sites such as Yelp.com and the various social media networks for detailed ratings and information. They can even post reviews directly to your Google+ Local profile and Avvo profile!

So what do you do if someone has written a negative review about you or your law firm? How do you manage your online reputation in an effective, strategic manner? Read on for a few tips on online reputation management for lawyers.

You’ve Been Googled

Google yourself. Go ahead, try it — We dare you. After all, that’s what a majority of your potential clients are doing before they even decide to call you. Be assured that when a potential client Google searches your name or your firm’s name, what is there can have just as large an impact as what is not there and will affect whether your services are retained.

Now that you’ve Googled yourself (using the name most likely to be searched by, be honest!), how do you feel? Are you more or less secure in the belief that a person seeking legal services who has never met you before is likely to call you for a consultation?

 A strong Web Presence for lawyers will go a long way toward peace of mind and bringing in new business.

Sometimes Google shows us something we would rather not see and that we pray a potential client never sees. An unflattering Avvo review, an untruth on RipOff Report… Unfortunuately, once it is on the web it is likely there to stay. Any potential client worth his weight in technology (and performing his due diligence) will find it and will hae no way of knowing what to or what not to believe.