There has been rampant discussion about the online reputation management industry in recent months – often for the wrong reasons. There are a host of sites that scam users by promising considerable results and demanding a significant amount of money. For some attorneys and law firms, it’s nearly impossible to find time to devote to the important practice of cleaning up your digital identity. Regardless of your specialty, any business will benefit from online reputation management. Often it can be a self-help project that requires just a little extra time and effort.
If you don’t take vital steps towards protecting your online reputation, someone else will assume the role of brand ambassador for your business. By failing to protect yourself from negative commentary, you’ll be saddle with a poor status. It’s a considerable task to decrease the visibility of inaccurate or misleading comments on review sites or forums. Some attorneys and law firms have even created blog posts, videos and print content dedicated to trashing their competitors or enemies. Managing your online reputation is a necessary act of defense when building your brand awareness.
Unlocking the Power of Keywords
People who perform a Google search on your business’ name include business partners, prospective clients, stockholders, and journalists. Most users won’t click past page one of Google search results. They could be looking for your firm name, attorney names, usernames/handles, specialties or high-profile clients. If the first few search results for a particular keyword aren’t ranking for your business name, it’s time to begin building your presence. You must proactively work at expanding your search results so that users will find your business more easily.
Google Search: This is generally the first step for online reputation management, primarily due to Google’s saturation of the market. Sixty-seven percent of Internet users cite Google as their primary search engine.
Google Alerts: This convenient tool allows you to receive notifications each time your business is mentioned on blogs, videos, news articles and other pieces of online content. Subscription is available through feed or e-mail.
Yahoo Alerts: Similar to Google Alerts, you can receive notifications through email or mobile device.
Twitter Search: Twitter search makes it easy to search Twitter for any mentions of a particular keyword or keyword phrase. It also offers the option of advanced search parameters that allow users to search by location, links, dates and more.
Understanding Your SEO Practices
If you currently have an SEO strategy for your blog or website, or use Google AdWords, then you’re familiar with the concept of keywords. If not, start with your location and practice specialty. Examine the links that appear on page of your search results and write a list of all sites that allow reviews. You will begin to notice which review and rating sites are most important for your practice. It’s vital for your law firm to claim online profiles on mainstream sites like Yelp and CitySearch, as well as legal-specific sites like Avvo and Martindale. Once you claim all of these profiles, some sites will allow you to respond to negative and positive feedback. Avoid the urge to get involved in a war of words with the audience.
After your keyword phrases have been searched, you can develop a list of items uncovered during your examination. The next problem occurs when the search results are about your business – but the information isn’t positive. Imagine what prospective customers might be thinking if they stumble across poor reviews about your law firm or attorneys. The more results you control, the better.
Selecting the Right Keywords
Keyword categories such as “law firm + location,” “law firm + specialty” and “law firm + attorney” should be considered when placing content on your website and blogs. Sprinkle legal terms throughout your postings to perk up the ears of Google’s algorithm. On a similar note, keep in mind that “lawyer” and “attorney” are two of the six most expensive Google AdWords. Clearly, the legal industry is one of interest to the general public. Some of the other viable ways for your law firm to gain in authority include creating videos, writing guest blog posts for publication on authoritative sites and making profiles review sites. But the true linchpin of this plan is to optimize your law firm’s website by including relevant keywords associated with your business. You can’t afford to let your competitors claim your territory.