Online Reputation Management to Their Advantage
An attorney’s reputation is vital to his or her success. Any attorney who has a private practice will know this to be even truer. That’s because their name is attached to the practice, and if their reputation is damaged, then their practice suffers.
If a competitor wants to cause you harm or an unhappy customer has a grudge against you, then your reputation could be in jeopardy. If you want to ensure this does not happen, then you need to build up a positive identity online and protect yourself against potential attacks.
We have listed five tips that can help attorneys do just that.
Buy up your domains.
You probably already have a website for your law firm, and you want to make sure you are using it to its full advantage in protection of your reputation. You want the content on it to be optimized for search engines, and you want to ensure it displays your professional information and education experiences.
It’s a good idea to examine your website’s URL. If you are an attorney named Gary Stevens and you own the Stevens Law Group, LLC, then your URL may read something like StevensLawGroup.com.
You should not stop with just that one website, however. There will be people who want to defame your name who will take variations on that name and use it to hurt your reputation. You can buy up domains like GaryStevensLawyer.com and GaryStevens.com. If you aren’t interested in operating and building up these websites, you can simply use them as redirect pages for your main site. This can provide a barrier against potential attacks later.
Spread your wisdom.
As you work to join the ranks of licensed attorneys, you will probably spend a lot of time in books. You don’t want to spend all that time studying and not use it to your advantage.
You can start a blog or contribute to an existing blog and establish your legal expertise. This can help your name to show up on search engines and can build up your reputation over time. If you want to gain new clients, building up a reputation as a legal authority is a great place to start.
You do want to watch offering legal advice that is very specific. It’s better to keep your analyses very broad so that you don’t get in trouble for your suggestions and advice. If you want to offer advice directly to potential clients, then do so through private communication. You can include a way to contact you in your by-line and protect your online reputation this way.
Establish yourself on lawyer review sites.
The major search engines take consumer reviews into serious consideration when they rank sites. As a legal professional, you should take them seriously as well. A single bad review, particularly if you don’t have many good ones to your name, can sink your entire practice or cause you serious problems.
Review sites for pretty much every industry have popped on the Web over time. Sites like LawyerRatingz.com and others allow users to post their own reviews on law firms. On some of these sits, legal professionals can own their personal profiles and establish themselves there, fighting back against bad reviews. They can promote themselves online and protect their reputation by taking control of their own profiles. This is something you should look into, if you haven’t already.
It is certainly a possibility that someone will try to take advantage of the review system and give themselves positive reviews or give you bad reviews for no good reason. At least you can make an effort to protect yourself and manage your reputation if you work with these review sites.
Utilize your research skills.
In law school, you probably had lots of practice with research. You can put that skill to good use and research how people see you online. Use major search engines to discover results with your name and to track your online reputation. You can find out the latest news online that involves you and make sure that rumours and false information are not being spread around. You can set up Google news alerts to notify you when a new story pops up with your name in it.
If you are being proactive with your online reputation management, then you also need to keep in mind that the content you put on the Web will be online forever in some form or another.
Make sure you carefully consider any information you are sharing. You want to avoid talking about your clients and ensure that you keep your personal identity separate from your professional one. Just use your head and only post what is appropriate.