The importance of consumer reviews has been reaffirmed by a recent survey carried out by BrightLocal. According to their survey of 1,000 consumers, reviews have taken on increased significance. Not only do positive reviews from potential clients factor into the local pack results – they’re the second leading factor – they can also drive people to use your services. Relative to last year’s results, 17 percent more people visit or contact a business directly after reading a positive review. In addition, there was a seven percent decrease in consumers looking for other businesses after reading positive reviews. Thus, it would appear, reviews have continued to become increasingly useful to law firms seeking to attract new clients.
According to the survey results, compared to 2016, the number of people who say they visit a business’ website after reading a positive review has dropped by 17 percent. Thus, it would appear, consumers (and potential clients) are skipping the website and contacting the firm directly.
Google My Business Features
It appears that Google is actually keeping potential customers from visiting your website. This is partially due to the number of features included in Google My Business. A user can look at your hours of operation, read reviews, save your phone number and (through Google Posts) see calls-to-action without ever clicking on the link to your page. In some cases, users can even get a summary version of blog content in so-called Answer Boxes.
This is not necessarily a bad thing. It does mean, however, that you should make sure you have claimed and fully optimized your Google My Business page.
Keep the Site
Okay, so that all seems a bit scary, but it’s important to remember that visiting a website is the top action taken by consumers after reading a review. So even though 17 percent is a fairly steep drop, there’s no reason to abandon your website marketing efforts.
Necessary for Google Features
After all, websites are still behind a lot of the features available to potential clients on Google. In fact, at bottom, the website is what makes you available on Google in the first place. Without a well-constructed site, you can’t optimize your organic search ranking, which is huge if you want to be listed in local pack results. In short, without a solid site, you can’t take full advantage of Google’s user-friendly resources and you may be cut off from a whole range of potential clients.
In addition, in this day and age, it is simply not possible to bypass a building a website for your law firm. Without one, it is difficult for users to take a firm seriously. What’s more, a smart website can help give you credibility in the eyes of potential clients. According to another Bright Local survey, 34 percent of respondents said a clean site makes a local business more credible. And 36 percent of survey-takers said they were more likely to reach out to a business (and we can include firms here) if they had a website.
In addition, the number of people who don’t care about websites has fallen – from 27 percent (in 2014) to 21 percent in (2016). One of the key takeaways from that survey is this: having a professional website is increasingly important to users. And having a subpar website is far better than having no website at all.
Other Common Sense Reasons
There are a number of reasons a website is important. Having a site is a great way of communicating information that can’t be captured by Google My Business features. For instance, you might be involved in a cause marketing campaign that isn’t evident on Google. Without a site, a potential client might be cut off from vital information about your firm.
It would also be more difficult to have a meaningful Facebook presence without a website, as you wouldn’t have your own content to share. This could, in turn, cut down on your credibility in the social media sphere. And it’s very likely that your competitors have a website, making it all the more necessary for you to have one.
In the end, it is important to take note of the increasing important of Google features. It is equally important to maintain a professional website that is relevant and up-to-date.
Contact us today if you would like more information about legal website marketing.