Archive for March, 2012

When It Comes To Microsites Less Is More—A Lot More

We touched on microsites in our Managed Sites post and sparked a flurry of questions. Attorneys are understandably confused because there’s an entire industry devoted to selling keyword-rich URL’s to law firms—along with the idea that adding more and more content is the goal. But that’s basically b.s., so buck up and prepare to let go of everything you’ve been told about microsites up to now.

Most attorneys don’t ask whether they should have them but how many. Microsites are like the technological chia pets of our time: Everyone thinks they need at least one, if not a flock and why not, they’re fun to propagate, a great conversation starter and fundamentally pragmatic, right?

Wrong. If you have multiple microsites, you’re compromising your main site’s potential by siphoning off the potency of external links and your brand (which, for Google, is your company name). If you want your primary site to attain—and sustain—high rankings, your external links need to be consistently well-fueled. But if some people link to the main site and some to microsites, each site competes against the entire web, which is a totally counter-productive equation.


It gets down to this: You want to support search goals for the main site, not for microsites. Look, if piling on more content was the answer, eventually people would be adding 1,000 pages a day. At best, that translates to a lot of noise on your channel and, at worst, Google will come down hard on you by burying your primary site; nobody will ever find you and ultimately it’ll erode your bottom line.


Tending to your main site is smart on every level: Less managing, lower overhead, anti-clutter and easier to configure with everything in one place. You’ll also be making your site far more memorable (remember branding?), propelling a more organic sort of growth via bookmarking and personal referrals. And that is pure gold.

The core reason not to launch a flotilla of microsites is this: Google is trying to protect their customers’ experience. Yeah, I know, one, two or no microsites isn’t as sexy as a chorus line of them but I guarantee it’ll amp up your ranking and your caseload.

For more info, here’s what Google’s Matt Cutt has to say about microsites.


Why Are So Many Attorneys Wanna-Be Web Gurus?

Get this: Only about 1 in 20 law firms have their websites professionally managed. The other 95% have a site built, then decide they’ll somehow make it searchable but they have no clue what they’re doing, so their big investment starts collecting cyber dust like a box of brochures on a shelf.

I know, I know—your firm doesn’t need site-management help because you’re good with Google, your paralegal made a site for a friend once and your admin likes blogging. Hell, for that matter, why not have your dentist handle depositions and the mailman can take your place in court? Eventually you’ll panic, hire a bunch of piece-meal vendors to try to keep it afloat and then waste time trying to manage them.

If you want high search rankings, you need a proven site-management company with the expertise, dogged mindset and dedicated hours to systematically keep your site in step with Google’s constant algorithm changes. (Admit it—you don’t even know what that means, do you?)

You need the real deal: 24/7 webmasters who live and breathe fully integrated, rigorous and nuanced searchability strategy, from SEO link-building, pay-per-click, Google Places and long-tail key-phrase microsites to social media tactics and YouTube channel finesse. There’s a reason our clients’ sites consistently out-rank the competition and it’s because of relentless Google geek pit bulls  whose sole job is to drive our clients’ sites to the #1 spot (which, in the world of p.i. law firms, we basically own at this point) and keep them there.

If it still isn’t sinking in, try this: Google’s objective is to fight clutter and clutter is exactly what patchwork, multi-vendor or in-house site management typically produces. At best, unintegrated site management is expensive and inefficient but at worst it’ll hurt your bottom line because if you engage in conduct Google considers obnoxious, you’ll be penalized.

It isn’t just about not confusing the consumer; it’s about not confusing—or pissing off—Google. If you do, it’ll shove your site so far down in rankings, nobody will ever find you. The days of gaming Google are over because if it doesn’t protect consumer experience, its own product will tank.

Don’t freak out, though. Even if you’re in that 95% of law firms doing it all wrong, it’s not too late, you’re still early enough to get on board now and screech past the competition. Then you can get back to what you do best—practice law.

I’ve lost count how many lawyers have argued with me that they don’t need help managing their site. They do, they just can’t accept that They Don’t Know Everything. They’re as irritating as the ones who insist they’ve gotta have a flock of microsites. But in that case I tell them the opposite: They don’t. More on that next time.