Law Firm Yelp Marketing and How to Make Reviews Stick

yelp logoUser-generated content has always been a boon for search engine optimization.  Reviews from Yelp can be very powerful, and the company has developed a reputation1 for being a stickler when it comes to users’ submissions on the site.

Can you blame Yelp?  Once the power of reviews for SEO2 was realized, everyone gravitated toward consumer-driven communities like Yelp to enhance their presence online.

Now, even legitimate reviews can get the ax if a user is new or has reviewed only one business.  Below are some tips for using Yelp and ideas that will help ensure your hard-earned Yelp reviews get seen by potential clients.

Make a Plan

If you are sending your clients to Yelp (or anywhere else, for that matter), make sure they have clear, simple, and easy-to-understand instructions on how to leave a Yelp review.  In these instructions you also can mention some of the things that will help ensure the review stays in place.

Make a template that you can pass out or email to your reviewers.  Make it visually appealing and easy to understand.  You can also put a description of how much time it will take to perform the whole process.

For example: “Give us a review on Yelp.  It will take you only four minutes!”

Below is an ingenious template guiding users on how to leave a Google review.  The template’s essential character could easily be adapted for Yelp.  You can download the full template here3.

Yelp Review Template

Have Users Fill Out Their Profiles Completely

Yelp strives to provide relevant and useful reviews to their users.  Common sense dictates that if an account was just opened, has only a name associated with it, and has reviewed only one business, reviews from that account may not carry a lot of weight.

Even if the review is from a legitimate user who has actually used a law firm’s services, Yelp may not show it or might even delete it.

To avoid looking like a software bot or a user paid to create fake reviews, you should direct your users to spend a little extra time and fill out their profiles on Yelp completely.

Add as much information as possible and let them know that their reviews will not get used unless this happens.

Yelp as a Marketing Tool

You will get a lot more bang for your marketing buck by promoting your law firm on Yelp4 as opposed to focusing on other maps services.  For example, Yelp has a partnership with Apple and Bing5 that opens the door to a lot of native app users.

The location information on Yelp is far more accurate than other maps services, making it more attractive for users.  Here are some other things you can do on your end to make your profile perform better6 on Yelp:

  • Add as many photos to your profile as Yelp allows
  • List your business hours
  • List your law firm category
  • Give an accurate and keyword-rich business description (use as many characters as Yelp allows)

Be Subtle with Your Approach

Yelp actively discourages companies  from “review coercion.”  While you can nudge your clients in the direction of leaving a review on Yelp, be sure you are going after ones who will be active on the platform and leave thoughtful, useful reviews.

If you take the shotgun approach and get dozens of low-quality reviews, chances are they will get deleted by the company.

You can supplement your approach by also suggesting other platforms that your clients can leave reviews on. Yelp is a great marketing tool for local law firms, and you need to focus on quality over quantity.

Do not go overboard sending clients to Yelp for one-liner reviews, and make sure you approach people who already have accounts or may be more active.  It is also important to keep in mind that this is a long-term strategy.  Stick with your campaign over a 12-to-24-month period, and you will see results.

References
1https://moz.com/community/q/getting-reviews-to-stick-on-yelp-google
2http://www.chatmeter.com/2015/02/reviews-listings-management-affect-local-seo/
3http://www.localvisibilitysystem.com/products/google-review-handout/
4http://localvox.com/blog/how-to-use-yelp-marketing-to-promote-your-business-slideshare/
5http://www.forbes.com/sites/tjmccue/2012/06/15/yelp-joins-bing-search-engine-and-apple-maps-ignore-at-your-own-risk/
6http://rankingsio.wpengine.com//yelp-optimization-for-lawyers/

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