The More Things Change, You Can’t Stay The Same

butterfly-144053_640Yesterday, we laid out a little activity that your law firm could take part in in order to gain a huge number of links in a relatively short period of time.  What it basically boiled down to was going to a different directory or social media channel every day and filling in your information on each of those sites to the best of your abilities.  If you do this with law firm-oriented websites for two weeks, then local directories for two weeks, and then social channels for two weeks, you’ll have 30 great links pointed toward your website by the time all is said and done.

That’s a great starting point for your local marketing and Search Engine Optimization efforts, but it’s just that:  a starting point.  This isn’t the sort of thing you can forget about the moment it’s done.  If you take an out-of-sight, out-of-mind attitude toward this vital form of marketing, your utmost potential may never be reached.

A new article in Entrepreneur highlights some of the things that all too often go overlooked when a business of any sort is putting forth a local SEO effort.  You’ll want to check out his insights, as they speak to some of the traps your law firm may wind up falling into if it overlooks the valuable work that must be done to get your name out there in front of local clients.

Once you’re done checking out that report, come back here, as we’re going to further highlight why constantly revisiting local directories and social channels is imperative for your law firm.

justice-423446_1280Your Law Firm Isn’t Static

When you start a business, you don’t hope for it to remain at square one the entire time.  At some point, you want to go from operating at a loss to merely breaking even to posting a slight profit to posting a massive profit to becoming the biggest haberdasher in the country.

So it goes with law firms (minus the haberdasher part).  Most partners wouldn’t consider their practice a success if the place they start out is the exact spot they’re in after 20 years.  As time goes on, what begins as an upstart practice made up of a collection of attorneys who have broken off on their own will begin to amass clients and the good reputation to go along with helping those clients.  More attorneys and staff will be brought into the fold, the firm will expand and perhaps move offices, and assorted satellite offices may be established throughout the state to give the firm easy access to prospective clients from all over.

Once you realize how much your law firm can change over the course of years, you should also see that you have to make sure your presence online changes to reflect your progress.  When you first get your social account or directory listing and fill out the necessary information on those sites, that’s a snapshot of who you are at the moment.  But just like a hip haircut somehow looks dated when you’re flipping back through photos just a couple years later, so too will your listing look dated after a shockingly short amount of time.

Whenever anything about your law firm changes, you have to head to every single account you have and alter what’s found there to reflect the newest information.  Did you open a satellite office?  Then it should be just as easy to access details about that satellite branch as it is to visit your main office, even if that requires the creation of a whole new page on a site like Yelp.  Did you get a new web domain because of a Google penalty?  Give that new website a boost by updating your accounts with the new domain.

There’s one other very important thing that gets overlooked on such sites:  your own vaunted history.  If a description on a local page says something like, “We’ve been your community’s trusted attorneys for 10 years,” then you’ll need to change that information after a year has gone by.  The same goes for sentences like “In our history, we’ve amassed $150 million in compensation for clients with a 90% success rate.”  You want to be able to add to that when applicable.  If your compensation levels and success rate edge up, that’s something that aids your reputation and impresses the clients who find you on these channels.  Make sure to update where applicable.

sphere-77710_640Directories Aren’t Static Either

The other thing to realize is that, even though your law firm maybe hasn’t undergone a giant change, the same can’t always be said for the sites you’ve claimed a page on.

Every once in awhile, a web directory might change its user interface or a social account might tweak its appearance ever so slightly.  Your logo that once looked awesome as a tiled background may suddenly not be as appealing as it once was.  Whenever a local or social domain changes, you have to revisit what you’ve done to see if you need to change anything too.

It’s not just these monumental changes that you have to concern yourself with.  Social sites and directories invite interaction among all users.  There could be changes to your page without your realizing it.  If someone makes a disparaging comment about your practice using your firm name as a hashtag, you may need to go into damage control to make sure there’s not a negative view of your law firm on the very page you spent so much time putting together.

This is especially pertinent for negative reviews.  Even the best law firm in the world may come across a client who feels slighted or otherwise has an axe to grind, so you may not be able to prevent a negative review from showing up on your page.

You can, however, protect yourself from negative reviews by countering them with a slew of  positive reviews.  If you have a great track record, then your Avvo rating should already be fairly high.  But as far as users go, make sure to politely ask clients who have received a successful verdict or settlement to head online to provide their take on your services.  Someone whose life you changed for the better should be more than willing to help you out in that minor way.

Everything Changes

Everything changes, and you have to be prepared to adapt to shifting circumstances.  Follow this guide to aid your law firm throughout the changing times.

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Posted In: Local Marketing