Marketing can be puzzling, especially wading into the depths of search engine optimization (here on out referred to as SEO.) This post could turn into a novel discussing the in and outs of SEO, the process in which Google and other search engines rank search results . Today we are going to focus on how Google reviews specifically can help an attorney with their SEO.

Let’s Start With Some Facts

According to a 2018 survey of Google reviews accounted for 15.44% of how Google ranks a local business in the Google Local Pack, and 6.47% of organic search results. That’s a large piece of the puzzle when it comes to your online marketing strategy.

Source: Moz

If you’re unfamiliar with the difference between local pack rankings and organic rankings, the “local pack” is the boxed listing that shows under the Google map when searching for local businesses, while organic results are your typical list results on google.

Source: Feedback Automatic

Why is the local pack so important? It shows local businesses near the user for the search they are performing. Our example shows actual law firms in the Los Angeles area for the local pack, in comparison to a listing service site in the organic results. It’s easy to see why you want to rank well in both categories, but the local pack is often where people go to choose a local business.

How do these reviews affect SEO ranking?

Now that we’ve seen charts and statistics, let’s discuss some of the main factors that explain why reviews affect SEO.

1. Google Wants Impartial Information

A website, more specifically its owner, can provide all the information they want, but Google knows the information provided on a website highly favors the owner’s purpose. Reviews, alternatively, provide information from a person with no stake in the business. Google says this itself in one of it’s own Google My Business help posts, “Reviews are only valuable when they are honest and unbiased.”

Source: Google

A valuable review provides an unbiased view, good or bad, that Google can trust. Even if the review comes from a long-time client, it gives insight into how you treat your clients from a third party source. An added bonus for Google is that when new reviews come in, it shows that you are active and currently working with clients who are willing to provide feedback.

2. Google Wants Content

Google goes crazy for content, and that doesn’t just mean content written by you. Text, images, videos… each new piece of content connected to your business shows you are hard at work. That goes for customer reviews as well. Google reads any and all information it can process to show the most relevant and helpful search results to its users. A client recently reviewed you saying how efficiently you handled their legal matter? That means you can probably do that for the next client as well.

3. Clicks Matter

Clicks matter online. When you receive more (and higher) rating scores than your counterpart, Google users are more likely to click on your profile. Put yourself in the shoes of a potential client, who would you click on below?

Source: Feedback Automatic

Most users will likely investigate Lawyer 3 further, based on their higher review number and average rating. The increase in click-through rates, an SEO foundation, will cause Google to show this lawyer on a more consistent basis.

How Can I Help My Ranking With Google Reviews?

First and foremost, make sure that you have your Google My Business profile claimed. Whether it is claimed or not anyone on the web can leave a review for you. By claiming your profile you can be notified when reviews are left, respond to review, as well as a number of other actions outside of reviews, such as editing contact information or adding operating hours.

Secondly, you will want to make it a habit to ask for reviews as part of your process. Whether you ask for it yourself or assign the task to a staff member, the ask is key. Text your client a link to your Google listing or give them a card with your information as they head out.

Lastly you will want to monitor and respond to reviews. Google rewards those that respond to reviews, and potential clients will see that you’re taking initiative to respond to comments left about your business. Responses can be especially important for negative reviews, where you have the ability to turn a negative into a positive.

If you’re busy or need help then Feedback Automatic can automate your reviews strategy. Feedback Automatic is a fully automated reviews process, where positive feedback is prompted to be shared socially, while negative feedback triggers an email to you so that you can begin the steps we covered in today’s post.

If you are ready to get more online reviews and increase your ratings on Google, and other review sites, click here to learn how Feedback Automatic can help!