How I Built an Online Reputation For a Lawyer
A small matrimonial law firm in New York experienced strong growth, racked up some good wins, and was lead by an excellent partner who, with twenty-five years experience, was asked to share some of his real-world cases by teaching at a local college–all good things.
However, recently, client’s stopped calling. It’s hard to say why or when, but by the time he pondered what to do, the situation seeme dire.
Since the first thing prospective clients do–even if they come through a personal referral–is conduct a Google search, and little positive shows up, they may not call.
In his case there was negative neither for the lawyer or his firm, but nothing very positive came up either. The first page only had his firm’s website on top (good and as expected), as well as LinkedIn and Avvo.
But after that was negligible or little else in the form of positive law-related links. There was a neighborhood discussion group, a fitness site (where the partner worked out) and a several other non-law sites. To prospective clients who were searching online, it was hard to tell if he was really active as a lawyer, was an expert in matrimonial law, or both.
I set out to help by creating an online reputation for him that truly represented his twenty-five year experience to the web. This does two things: it shows him as a legitimate and trustworthy lawyer, and that he was actually an expert in his field (matrimonial law).
The first thing I started on was LinkedIn. But before I could start, I needed to research his career, education and past. This took many hours of research to get all the details right. From that I was able to add his previous jobs; update all Sections with complete information; add a good profile photo; rewrite his bio; add links; and post previously published articles.
2. Wikipedia Article
Writing a Wiki article is a great way to build a legal online reputation, but frankly, is usually difficult. I started from the detailed material I created for the LinkedIn profile, and pared it down to highlights and items that had external verifiable references. Importantly, I also spent several months preparing a Wikipedia account, which included editing dozens of articles to build credibility.
Creating a Twitter account, with a brief bio tag line focused on matrimonial law, showed up nearly immediately in Google searches. I also uploaded images; added about 20 initial key legal Followers; and made several initial Tweets pointing back to the firm’s web site and other articles.
4. Martindale Hubbell
In this case, since he already had an account with Martindale Hubbell, I made updates to his bio, links, and contact section. With any site or platform, it’s important to fill out all profile information. This too showed up on the first page of Google.
For another law site, Lawline.com, I created a basic account with bio, links, and contact information. Importantly, I linked back to the law practice’s main website, creating backlinks–crucial for being found by Google. I tweaked the bio and other information slightly.
Again, I did the same for the site Lawyer.com but creating a new account with the updated bio, links, and contacts.
Since he already had an account, I updated Superlawyers.com with the new bio text, added links, and ways to contact the firm.
Similar to the others above, I created account with all pertinent information.
Manta is a more generic local search site, but can be very helpful to get found online, so I updated his bio, links, and contacts.
This is one of the most important platforms because of it’s high quality traffic. I created an account on Slideshare.net and uploaded two already existing firm presentations. I also identified, followed and engaged several key law-related experts.
Although more business oriented, Cruchbase is a powerful and useful platform and is a great way to generate backlinks. I created an account here, and added links to several already published articles.
12. Google Plus
Frankly, since Google Plus is mostly important for gaining a better search ranking, I created new account with bio, links, images, and contact information.
Besides creating a YouTube account, I uploaded several videos about the law firm; identified and followed other law videos and video makers; and formed a few Libraries with the law firm as the name.
Medium is an excellent writing and blogging platform, so I made an account and published two articles here. These showed up quickly in Google search results, and moved from the second page to the first within a week. I also followed a few several other law writers.
15. Next Step: Repeat
Setting up these platforms is the first step in building an online reputation. The next and most important step is being active–sometimes every day, such as Twitter, or certainly weekly.
Online Reputation Results For the Law Firm
Within the first week, things changed. LinkedIn probably had the biggest impact and moved from the second page to the top of the first. The Wikipedia article also moved very quickly since it is usually indexed by Google rapidly and was showing up on the first page also in the first week.
Twitter appeared on the second page within about ten days, and the updated Martindale Hubbell site climbed as well; Slideshare.net and Crunchbase also showed up quickly. The law related sites (Lawline.com, Lawyers.com, Superlawyers.com, LawyerRating) really worked too, and began to move to the first page within a few months.
As a result, when searching for the law firm, the first page of Google search results now displayed excellent articles, powerful law resources, and a strong legal background–all of which built trust and showed him as trusted expert.