As a lawyer, you will understand the importance of reputation. Having a good name is literally the key to success for a law firm. Your name is on the door and so if your name gets dragged into the mud, your firm goes with it. The World Wide Web amplifies the importance of a good name. If something bad happens, a record of that event will be around on record long after it ceases to be relevant to your performance and it will damage your marketability. Search engine rankings introduce a whole new dimension to the importance of a good name because they depend on whether you please the search engine algorithm. If you fall foul of the rules, a penalty can seriously harm your company’s visibility on the Web, and you need to fix that problem or forget about finding clients on the Internet.
The title of this report is a little misleading, because it gives the impression that reviews are a way to capture the business of young people, but not the older generation. In the report, however, one of the stats shows that 69 per cent of consumers over the age of 55 trust online reviews more than personal recommendations. So, online reviews are really important and a series of bad reviews can damage your law firm’s chances of winning clients. Although this article does not explain how to create a review strategy for a business, it sets the scene on the importance of getting good reviews. Make sure satisfied clients always give you a good review online. A bad review every now and again does not harm you – it shows that the reviews about you are not faked.
“PPC” stands for “pay per click.” It is the main charging method that websites use for advertising, so “PPC” means advertising on the Web. This article covers a short-term strategy if something goes wrong with your legal practice that generates bad news stories – you won a case for a client who then went on to do a bad thing and took your reputation with him; an employee sues you for sexual harassment; and so on. The PPC strategy is just an attempt to divert the public’s attention away from the bad thing and draw attention to your good side. However, as your paid messages will be taken down when you stop the campaign and the bad news story will be accessible for years, this is not a long-term method for recovering your good name.
Social signals are like very short reviews of your business and work mainly in the positive. For the time being, Facebook only has “Likes” and Google+ has “+1.” These are like mini-votes, so you can use this medium to improve the status of your law firm. This works in two ways. First, if you have a lot of likes and +1s, it shows your practice is good, despite what it says in that bad review. Secondly, search engines incorporate these signals in their ranking algorithm so if your rankings have been hit by a bad SEO technique, a lot of likes can help you inch back up the rankings again and make up for the loss of position caused by a penalty.
With this article, we are focusing on the technical type of good or bad name that your law firm’s website can accumulate. A clever SEO trick gone wrong will earn you a penalty. This is the search engine equivalent of a conviction and, just like in the real world, you need to work to get that judgment overturned and then removed from the record. If you don’t, the damage this does to your rankings will make your law firm practically invisible in search engine results pages.
One major cause of penalties is spammy links. Basically, your site is being tarred by the poor reputation of the company it keeps. Fortunately, there is a way out of this type of damage. Just as you can claim a client’s innocence in court: “Tommy didn’t know that Brad had drugs in the car, he just hitched a ride minutes before the police pulled the car over,” you can disassociate your site from the bad sites that link to it. The links into your site are still the major source of ranking points known to SEO. However, you have no control over who links to your site, because they reside on other people’s websites. So, Google invented the disavow file and this article explains how to use it to remove a manual penalty from your website.