Four Ways to Defend Your Firm’s Online Reputation

Your law firm’s reputation is like a sheriff’s badge. It’s a mark of your authority. It gives clients and prospects good reason to trust you and your knowledge of the law. But as many law firms are finding, it’s getting harder to make sure that outsiders aren’t tarnishing that badge.

Maintaining and managing your reputation used to be relatively simple. Not anymore. The Internet can be a boon to your marketing efforts. But it’s also like the Wild West, a nearly lawless territory where people can post anything. Even as you read this, negative reviews and posts could be making you look bad without you even knowing about them — yet. That could leave you scrambling to repair the damage.

When it comes to reputation management in the digital age, you need to be your own sheriff.

How? First, don’t ignore what’s being said. Second, don’t hope that it will simply disappear. If something is on the Internet, it can live forever.

How can you find out what’s being said about you and defend your hard-earned reputation? Here are four strategies.

1. Monitor

Google, Bing and other search engines can scan the Internet for any mention of your law firm (as well as your name, the names of your firm’s partners and associates, clients’ names, and cases you’re working — however you want to set it up). They then regularly send you reports.

While the search engine offerings are effective — and free — you can also choose from dedicated online reputation management firms. Prices for their services vary depending on the level and type of service they provide.

2. Refute

If you feel that, say, a negative post is unwarranted or false, call or send a letter requesting that it be deleted. In addition, Google, Bing and the rest allow you to request that false information be removed from websites.

3. Check out ratings and reviews

Online rating and review sites can be a boost — or a bane — to your business. Make a point of looking in on them and seeing what reviewers are saying. Where there’s a negative review or rating regarding your firm, respond calmly, carefully and ethically — but do respond.

4. Use content to your advantage

Publishing content — in the form of articles, blog posts and the like — offers numerous benefits. For starters, thoughtful, well-written material that speaks to your prospects’ needs will reinforce your firm’s brand. Tools such as Google Authorship allow you to lay claim to your published content and give you an SEO boost. And publishing high-quality material on a consistent basis can help keep the first page of Web search results filled with positive mentions of your law firm, which will help outweigh the negative mentions.

Reputation management is an essential part of any law firm’s online marketing strategy these days. The keystone of that strategy, of course, is doing excellent work and providing superior client service.

But if you find out that your reputation is under siege online, don’t circle the wagons — get out there and take on the outlaws.

If you would like to learn more about how FindLaw’s legal marketing solutions can help your firm, contact us for a free consultation.

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