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How to get Google Reviews for your law firm

Best Practices for earning more Google Reviews for your law firm.

What is a Google Review?

A Google Review is an voluntary, unpaid comment posted online by a customer about a business.  In the case of law firms, a client might leave a review about their experience with a lawyer or law firm.

Google Reviews are collected and managed by Google, without the business being involved in the process. The goal of Google Reviews is to provide an independent platform where the public can easily leave ratings (1-5 stars), provide comments and feedback, add pictures, and generally tell others about their experiences at a particular business.

Example: Google Review

Why are Google Reviews important?

Google Reviews are a critical factor when it comes to how high your law firm ranks in Google search listings as well as on Google Maps. 

Reviews are used by Google as an important brand signal in their search algorithm to determine your site’s domain authority and ultimately where your law firms ranks in search listings.

Google’s goal is to provide high quality, reputable results, therefore reviews help determine what sites to recommend in search results.

In a nutshell, Google Reviews provide social proof that your law firm can be trusted to provide the services you claim to provide. More than 70% of customers check Google Reviews before visiting a business. 

The Truth About Google Reviews.

Getting customers to leave a review sounds easy but getting them to do so in real-life can be difficult. Approximately 85% of consumers are willing to leave a review, but few will actually take the time to do so. Law firm clients are usually slow to leave Reviews because:

  • No one asked them to leave a review.
  • The client feels no obligation to do so.
  • The client is not sure exactly what to say as feedback.
  • The client does not know how to post the review.

How to get Clients to Leave a Review

If you want to your law firm clients to leave positive reviews, here are 4 proven steps that we have identified to motivate clients to post reviews 90% of the time.

1. Ask your clients for the Review.

One of the most important steps in gaining reviews is to actually ask your clients to leave a review on Google Reviews.  At first, it may seem a bit awkward or “sales-y” to ask for a review.  Be sure to avoid this type of reluctance as reviews are too important to your law firm.  The best way to ask for reviews is to just make it a business practice to ask every client for a Google review.   

2. Give them the Google Review Link.

Many customers may not have written a Google Review before. You must be very specific about where to go and what to do. Be sure to provide the url of where they need to go online. If you are asking for their review in person, provide the url on a small business card. If you are asking in an email, the provide it in the link right in the body of your email.  This link takes your clients directly to the Google Review form for your law firm.  

How do I get a Google Review Link?

To get a Google Review link, just go to your Google My Business account. On your main dashboard of options, scroll done until you see the Get More Reviews section. Click the button that says “Share Review Form” and you can use the url provided.

Sample: Review Request

Please take a moment to share your review of our law firm.  Your feedback not only helps us, but also helps other potential clients.  [Google Review Link]  

Google Review Link
Example: Where to find Google Review Link

Build a Review page on your website.

One other idea is to build a specific webpage on your website that links to  your Google Review Link.  You can call this page “Review” and just direct people to this page.  The smart thing about this method is that you can provides a way for people to easily navigate to your Google Review link but also provides a way for people to contact you in case they are unhappy about something.  In other words, before someone leaves a bad review, they may choose to contact you first before leaving negative feedback.

Google Review Law Firm
Example: Customized Review Page

3. Provide a few Suggestions.

A common reason people don’t leave reviews is that they are not sure exactly what they should say.  To assist, try one or more of the following:

  • Provide suggestions  When you ask your clients for Google reviews, provide some suggestions of things a client might actually say. You might suggest that they talk about their type of case, a particular lawyer they worked with, positive results, impact of case on their life, etc.
  • Provide Examples: If you have positive, descriptive reviews from other clients, use these as examples.  This can help clients understand what to do.
  • Ask for specifics. When you request Google reviews from your client, ask them to review a specific aspect of your law firm, such as your customer service, setting, handling of case, professionalism, communication, response time, etc.

4. Non-technical Clients.  If you have non-technical clients, be sure to take time and patience when walking them through the process.  It’s very common to have clients that are not technology-savvy and they may require extra time and attention when submitting a Google Review.

Follow these Rules

But there are a few caveats to be aware of when it comes to Google Reviews. Google’s review policies outline acceptable and unacceptable practices about how to ask for Google reviews. Failing to follow these policies can get your reviews removed, or can even get your business removed from Google services all together.

Here is quick overview of what is allowed or not.

  • Yes, you can ask customers to leave reviews for your law firm, but Google review guidelines forbid “soliciting reviews from customers in bulk.” For example, you can reach out directly to clients, but you cannot email your entire client list requesting a review.
  • You cannot prevent a client from posting a bad review. Google review policies expressly forbid “selectively soliciting positive reviews from customers.” That said, think carefully about outreach to such clients that have had negative experiences.
  • You cannot pay customers for reviews. Google and most other review sites state in their terms of service that paying for reviews is not allowed.
  • Employees cannot leave reviews. This is considered a “material relationship” and forbidden in the Google review guidelines.
  • Google may or may not delete a fake review. You can and should respond to the review, flag it, and report it. However, since it’s difficult to prove, fake reviews aren’t usually deleted.
  • Do not incentivize reviews from clients with discounts, prizes, or cash. Google has removed reviews from businesses who have taken part in these activities.

Always Follow-up

If your client posts a review, be sure to respond to that review online with a positive comment. Doing so makes your law firm look more client-focused and engaged.

What if they don’t post a review?

If your client doesn’t post a review, try reaching out and asking for the review again. Just be careful not to come across and bullying about it.  Keep in mind too that it can sometimes take 5 days for the reviews to appear publicly. 

What if My Client Leaves a Negative Review?

The best way to prevent a negative review is to try to prevent it in the first place. An unhappy client’s first priority is usually to try and resolve a problem with your law firm rather than to leave a negative review. As you solicit reviews from your customers, you might also provide a customer service line or a way to contact you. This provides an avenue of communication and resolution rather than just leaving a bad review. Doing so may help avoid negative reviews without breaking Google’s review guidelines.

Unfortunately, bad reviews are going to happen sometimes. If you do receive a negative review on Google, remember that even negative reviews can be helpful in some cases. Sometimes, the reviewer is just not the right type of client and this may help other prospects realize this before wasting your time.  For example, a person leaves a negative comment that you were not able to help them with a personal injury claim when your law firm is a actually a criminal defense practice.

If a client does leave a negative review, it’s an indication that they are not happy about an aspect of their experience with your law firm. Besides just leaving your response, you should offer a solution to rectify the situation. Offering a solution also shows that you truly empathize with the clients.

Most important, do not to take negative reviews personally. Respond to the review, and thank the customer for taking the time to write a review. If the customer noted a problem, offer a resolution or explanation. If a review is overly obnoxious, don’t engage on an emotional level. Your calm response will demonstrate composure and patience next to an angry and unreasonable review. Use it to your advantage if possible and try to take the conversation offline.

Avoid these mistakes too

  1. Do not write your own reviews.  You can provide suggestions, but do not write the exact review for your customers.  Doing so is illegal in most states and also violates the online review policies of sites like Google.
  2. Request reviews evenly over time from your clients.  You want to avoid receiving a large number of reviews all at once.  Receiving too many reviews at one time may cause the Google to consider these to be fake reviews. 
  3. Google also checks the IP Address of the location where the reviews are sent from.  For this reason, encourage your clients to write reviews from home and not from your office.  If too many reviews come from the same IP address of your office then Google may consider these to be fake reviews.

If Google suspects that you have intentionally fabricated fake reviews, the reviews will not appear, and your company may be penalized from an search ranking perspective.  Posting fake reviews is also a violation of  Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations.   Specifically, it is a violation of FTC regulations to pay for — or publish your own — fake reviews. In fact, it is punishable by civil penalties (such as fines).

Thanks for reading

By following the Google Review guidelines above, you will be on your way to more reviews.  And more Google reviews mean a stronger online reputation, better search engine results and ultimately more new clients.

Should you have any questions, please reach out anytime.  We would be happy to help.

Jason Duncan
Attorney Tactics
jason@attorneytactics.com
512-924-4744

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