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When you conduct a search for attorneys in your area, you will see some companies with a Google five stars rating below their link. Not surprisingly, these star ratings are highly valuable, and they have a serious impact on consumers. A favorable star rating on the search results page often influences a user to click and visit a website. If you want to gain stars for your business, (and who wouldn’t) there are three basic ways to get Google five stars: use schema markup, post on trusted review sites and build your site’s authority.
Google’s Guidelines for Reviews
Google displays stars for businesses who gain legitimate reviews of their service or product. Since Google knows how beneficial it is to be featured with stars, they are interested in safeguarding against businesses who would cheat the system. This is why they have created a set of guidelines for using schema on websites. The rules are fairly reasonable and it is recommended to follow them as closely as possible when collecting reviews. They include:
- Verify that the ratings and reviews you mark up are easily accessible to consumers from the marked-up page.
- Reviews should allow clients to share both negative and positive feedback.
- Only display reviews that have been directly produced by your website, not reviews from other sources.
3 Ways to Get Google Five Stars
In working toward the goal of review stars on Google, the first step is to solicit and obtain reviews from your clients. Aim for quantity, and these reviews should be new, unique and previously unpublished anywhere else. They can be displayed on your website, or other trusted review sites. When placed on your website, there should be a different one on each relevant page or practice area. Gather all of the necessary information, such as the text of the review, the reviewer’s name, the review date and the number of stars awarded. Once you rack up reviews, you can utilize schema markup to optimize your chances on the search results pages. But what exactly is schema markup?
Add Schema Markup
Schemas are code-based ways to define items online, such as: reviews, attributes or business information.
There are three types of schema markup available, and they are used differently, depending on the scenario.
To add schema markup in WordPress, you need to change from the visual editor to the text editor, and use specific code. There is a WordPress plugin (Schema) that will help, and for more specific instructions, view the Schema website. Once you complete the specific review code, be sure to:
- Use Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool to test your work and check for mistakes in your code.
- Ensure that your changes are indexed quickly by resubmitting your XML sitemap in Google Webmaster Tools.
- Check for success after 5-7 days by conducting an organic search.
Use Trusted Review Sites
Trusted review sites are recognized by Google as legitimate entities for collecting real and trustworthy consumer feedback. Each review site uses specific procedures to ensure that any reviews are bona fide feedback from real customers or clients. Sign up for a trusted review site and ask your clients to start reviewing your services on these platforms. Google offers a list of these, and here are some of the top review sites for law firms and other businesses:
- Google My Business
- Better Business Bureau
- Angie’s List
Build Site Authority
There is a solid correlation between site authority and Google’s notice of your star ratings. Site authority is an SEO concept that refers to the strength of a given website. To boost your website’s site authority, one of the best ways is to create content that is valuable to consumers, and stocked with relevant links and SEO. Your law firm’s website must demonstrate that your company has valuable insights to share, and also that you have expertise in your field. Building site authority can take time, but can be boiled down to the following four steps:
- Create Content. Start a blog that relates to your niche. Write evergreen content. Optimize your content, repurpose it and clear out anything that is outdated. Conduct a website content audit.
- Add Links. Use content marketing to promote your content. Write guest posts and add backlinks. Add your comments and posts to LinkedIn and to relevant professional chat groups.
- Maintain a Social Media Presence. Build a social following where your ideal audience hangs out. Be a thought leader. Stick to a posting schedule. Use paid advertising on appropriate channels.
- Build Recognition. Earn positive reviews. Gather testimonials. Collect endorsements on LinkedIn. Be visible in the community. Be an expert legal source. Speak at local events.
Increase Your Google Five Stars Ratings
There are some key steps to take that do not involve schema markup or Google’s mysterious algorithm, and accomplishing these things is well within your grasp.
The more four and five star ratings you have, the better your average will be. If you are just starting to acquire reviews, focus on quantity. It helps to include a review request as you wrap up a case, just like you would finalize any other part of your client interaction.
Keep Providing Great Client Service
As with any service-based business, great service often leads to great reviews. Even if a case does not end with the desired outcome, every staff member at your law firm can control how each client is treated.
Do Not Ignore Negative Reviews
Although they can be discouraging, every law firm receives a negative review once in a while. Sometimes, a client goes overboard in writing an emotional and negative review. Resist the temptation to freak out, and do not ignore the negative review, either. Consider the following tips for responding to negative reviews:
- Do not respond immediately. Take time and think it over to avoid responding out of emotion or defensiveness.
- Gather the facts related to this client’s issue.
- Proceed with empanty.
- Compose your thoughts and write out a draft before posting anything.
- Be as brief as possible. Three or four sentences might be best.
- Contact the reviewer by phone or email if possible. After discussing the matter, some clients will change their mind and their review, if they feel you handled things right.
- Realize that some people cannot be satisfied, so after trying your best, simply move on.
How Law Quill Can Help Your Law Firm Get Google Five Stars
Earning Google five stars reviews begins with the practice of asking your clients to submit reviews at the end of every case. Sign up on several review sites and ask your clients to post their reviews on a variety of these platforms. Add the relevant schema to your website, using available schema tools, and get help if you need it. Finally, stay consistent in providing the best content possible to bring value to your clients and authority to your website.
We are here to help and would welcome the opportunity to visit with you for free regarding your law firm website’s content, and how we can take these tasks off your plate! Schedule a free visit with us by scheduling a quick phone or zoom call at your convenience on our calendar today. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.