Yelp Optimization for Lawyers

| September 03, 2013

yelp logoSince many attorneys target a local market with their practice, it makes sense to have a presence on local listing websites1. Yelp is one of the most effective review sites that helps connect consumers with local businesses. Attorneys who do not have a Yelp account can either claim one that exists in their name or start a new one. Once claimed, there are several tactics lawyers can use to make their profile more visible in search and more useful for prospects.

Claiming A Yelp Account

Yelp gathers data on local businesses so chances are there is already a listing out there for your firm.  All lawyers have to do it claim it.

1. Visit www.yelp.com2
2. Type in your firm name using your local city location
3. Click on your listing and then click on the “Claim This Business” link after the name and address information at the bottom of the listing

Claiming a Yelp Listing
4. Follow the steps necessary to claim the listing. Typically if you do not have an account on Yelp you will have to create one. There is also a verification process by phone in order to determine if you are a true representative or owner of the business.

Optimizing A Yelp Listing

There is not really a special trick to this. In general you should do a few key things.

• Fill out your listing completely
• Use keywords in your listing (for example related to your practice area)
• Promote and respond to reviews

Note:  Yelp is a staunch supporter of organic reviews and does not like it3 when businesses try to coax reviews out of visitors or (worse yet) pay a service4 to get more or better reviews on Yelp.  

A Complete Listing

When people use Yelp, it is frustrating when information is missing. Something that is trivial to you may be very important to someone looking at your firm. Fill in all fields offered by Yelp, add images, hours, categories and any other information field that you can.

I know what you’re thinking; there are not many interesting images you can include of a law firm. Even though you may not have the most interesting things to look at, include images of your offices, people who work there, your law firm logo5, or maybe images related to your field of practice.

Keywords in Your Listing

Take the opportunity to add keywords in your listing any time you can. When search engines return these listings to users, they are doing so in part because the user’s query is present or relevant to content in the listing.  Use keywords as the file name for any photos you upload as well. That will help those images show up in Google image search.

Promote and Respond to Reviews

mega-phoneAs mentioned before, be careful about “promoting” reviews.  Technically you do not want to push people to do a review on Yelp but you can certainly make the opportunity available and easy to do.  A good strategy is to also offer other review websites to choose from such as Google.

Yelp likes to serve listings that have lots of user generated content. It looks even better if you can respond to reviews and use keywords in your responses. You should also encourage your current clients to leave reviews on your Yelp listing. The more positive reviews you have on your listing, the more likely it is you will show up in search.

You can promote reviews by using messaging along with material you send to clients, having a link on your website or a direct mail or email campaign to past clients. As a rule you might want to only send out requests to people who will leave positive reviews.

Yelp is not going to be the vehicle that drives a ton of new traffic to your site but it is one good place to get a little more exposure online. Millions of people use the service every day to find local businesses just like yours.

Are you an attorney who is active on Yelp?  Has it been positive for your practice?  Join in the conversation by commenting below.