Your online reputation and identity are vital to your practice. It doesn't matter if the information on the internet is true or false; who you are in that community becomes reality to the consumers searching for a lawyer. It’s important to know what’s being said about you online so you can protect your reputation.
These steps can help ensure your online reputation is not costing you clients.
- Check Search Engines Monthly: Consumers are searching for lawyers online in record numbers. To discover what people are saying about you on review sites, blogs, and social media, search your name and firm on major search engines. The results are presented in this order of appearance:
- Law firm web bio
- Images of you from around the web
- Articles and blogs about you
Review each, particularly the first four, and edit as needed. It is very important to keep your profiles updated. Every time you write an article or complete a court case, update your bio and you’ll help your page stay up in the search-engine rankings.
- Set up a Google alert for your name. This is a great way to see when your name appears in search engines. To create an alert, go to the Google Alerts home page and type your name in the “Create an alert about ____” box. You can choose whether you’d like to receive daily or weekly email alerts.
- Protect What You Can: Check your social media privacy settings and make changes to suit your needs. Look at your personal networks and eliminate language and photos you don’t like.
- Register Your Name as a Domain: This will prevent someone from taking it. Even if you don’t use it right away, it will be protected for the future. Also secure your name on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
- Publish Regular, Informative Content: You can’t control everything written about you, but you can control the content you provide. Regular and informative articles, blogs, podcasts, and features help keep your reputation positive.
- Address Negative Reviews: Consumer research shows that a few negative reviews improve the credibility of the positive postings, and a negative review may reveal an office procedure that needs changing. Your response to the negative review restating your commitment to client service sends a powerful message to potential clients who read it.
Protecting your online reputation is an important part of building and sustaining your practice. Being aware of what’s out there and correcting any problems goes a long way in ensuring your online reputation isn’t costing you clients.
Roberta Gubbins has served as the editor of the Ingham County Legal News. Since leaving the paper, she provides services as a ghostwriter editing articles, blogs, and e-blasts for lawyers and law firms. She is the editor of The Mentor, SBM Master Lawyers Section newsletter.
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