Failing to check your local listings and your business goes to the dogs

Aug 13th, 2013 | Law Firm Marketing, Legal Marketing in Brief

While checking out reviews and confirming local listings on Google for Alyn-Weiss & Associates today, I learned that a dog owns my business and that we are engineers not law firm marketing consultants.

My business, according to coloradoreviews.us, is owned by Rafferty Walker-Weiss, an Airedale long dead and whose ashes are scattered in the backyard. Rafferty was quite bright.  However, I was unaware when I adopted him from a divorcing couple 17 years ago that he had an engineering degree.  I assume it was in civil engineering since he dug holes non-stop in my flower beds. According to our listing on www.coloradreviews.us, we have no website and are operating out of offices we vacated in 2005.

I tell you this true story because the recent proliferation of review sites, directories and the search engine’s new focus on providing local search results first makes it imperative that your law firm regularly— at least yearly would be our recommendation for a corporate/defense firm and quarterly for a plaintiffs/consumer law firm — look at what comes up on all of the search engines when the firm’s name and its lawyers’ names are typed into a search bar.  You may be as surprised as I was at what you see on or around your firm’s Martindale-Hubbell listings and Super Lawyers profiles.  Type in “reviews” or “address” and the name of your firm and lawyers in the search bar and you may be aghast.

If your firm has moved in recent years, your new address may not be reflected.  Law firms long ago renamed still see the former firm’s name. Lawyers long retired, who have moved on or lateralled in to your organization, are listed at wrong addresses and at the wrong firm.  New clients, opposing counsel, witnesses, vendors, interviewees may wind up going to or using a wrong address or dialing a phone number no longer in service.  Smaller screens on mobile devices make the situation worse since fewer results can be seen absent scrolling. Note that B2B firms we represent now see a bout 7 percent of their site traffic through mobile devices; B2C firms experience a multiple of that—and both percentages are projected to increase rapidly.

If you see anything incorrect you can contact the provider.  Coloradoreviews.us had a button near the top that made it easy for me to request changes. If you see a poor review on, say, Yelp, you can consider writing a response.  Many of these directory sites are simply amalgamating information they get crawling the Web, according to Bill Fukui, an Internet marketing expert and COO of Page 1 Solutions, www.page1solutions.com.  Page 1 has developed hundreds of law firm and fee-for-service medical service websites and is a leading SEO provider in both markets.  When Bill’s teams begin handling search for clients, they look at about 50 sites and directories, such as citysearch, to clean up and make consistent all local search information.  One incorrect listing leads to others, he says.  “You have to get them all right.”

(You may wonder how any directory came up with my dog’s name in the first place.  Well, I used to subscribe to magazines using the dogs’ names.  Rafferty was a liberal, subscribing to The Atlantic and Foreign Affairs using our office address.  He allowed his personal information to be shared with third parties.  We then watched as is his name was passed on to various other publications and public interest groups— the Democrats asked him for money, The Sierra Club sought his input and membership.  I think Visa urged he apply for a credit card.   My other Airedale was a conservative.  Emma subscribed to The New Republic.  She was solicited by Republicans in the next election cycle and contacted by the Heritage Foundation and U.S. Chamber-related interests.  When she got a mailer from ATRA she was really excited.  She thought it was from Airedale Terrier Rescue Association. Wrong ATRA, Emma, it was from the American Tort Reform Association.)

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