Jul 2012

What is Responsive website design? It’s exactly what it sounds like. A website that reformats and responds, depending on what device is accessing it.

Why is this important to me? Many web vendors have been selling multiples site – in the hopes that Google will give their clients more real estate in the search results.

This is wrong.

Not only is mobile and tablet browsing hitting an all-time high in the past 6 months, Google is now recommending it for the mobile delivery. (see

Our company has been a strong advocate on a one – branded – site strategy. One world wide web, one website per brand, one consumer experience – and one algorithm.

Good enough for STARBUCKS – but not your law firm’s site? ‘nough said.

responsive design for lawfirms

Your Law Firm Needs One Website … No More (And No Less)

Jun 2012

Multiple websites anyone?  I know, I sound like a broken record, but hear me out one more time…

How many web sites are too many? Well, according to Google, having multiple sites is not a viable strategy. Google wants to see firms putting their efforts into one authoritative website.

Yes, one website.

Not two. Not Four. Not Six.

Why is this? Why isn’t it a better approach to have multiple legal websites? I could have, say, one site for my truck accidents, another for my auto accidents, and so on …

If you’re Google and you’re trying to return relevant, clear, specific results to consumers, you would think having a separate website for each practice area makes sense.

And there is the problem. It sounds logical.

Much of consumer marketing and brand building is counter-intuitive to lay people. And yes, that means lawyers. This has much to do with how brands work, and in this case the brand at issue is Google.

The brand? Huh?

Google’s brand is predicated on “organizing the world’s information,” so having five, 10, or 15 sites for every company makes this nearly impossible. Google has been clear that having one robust, authoritative site will put you at the front of the search results, rather than having a fragmented group of sites where each looks less authoritative.

So why do we keep coming back to this issue?  Well, once again, we’ve encountered a client who is being told by one of the larger competitors in the marketplace that he must have multiple websites.

We can’t say this any more clearly: Multiple sites are NOT GOOD for your law firm, but saying they are good is an excellent way for web firms to charge more, make everything more complex and convince you that you need more.

Still not convinced? Well, we’ve proven this definitively. By shutting off multiple sites, we’ve seen traffic increase 20 percent! We’ve seen qualified traffic increase 50 percent and case generation increase nearly 80 percent to record heights. These eye-popping results came only two months after shutting down multiple sites and then incorporating those sections into their “branded” website.

Be careful out there. When the biggest players are giving outdated counsel at best, or self-serving counsel at worst – it get treacherous.

But don’t believe me. Watch this video to hear what Google’s head of search Matt Cutts has to say.

Our advice: Get another opinion, talk to more partners, and most of all listen, because if one thing has gotten clearer – YOUR WEB SITE is going to be YOUR MOST VALUABLE ASSET in the next ten years.

It’s Lonely at the Top (but we’re handling it)

May 2012

In the business of marketing lawyers online, the “branded main site vs. multiple sites” battle is still being waged by our competitors. For us, though, it’s an open-and-shut case (pardon the pun): branding is where it’s at. Client after client, click after click, conversion after conversion, we’ve been proving for years that building a strong, memorable brand—rather than populating the ether with keyword-laden mini-you’s—is the way to go.

It all gets down to name recognition. Quick, say three company names out loud. What were they?  Come on, tell the truth. It was names like Apple, Target or Gap—not  cooltechtoysonline, buyeverythingstore or mycasualclothingsource—right?

There are a few core issues at play here. One is that we humans can only retain so much and, in the cluttered world of online, SEO-fueled marketing—where everyone and their uncle is spawning keyword-rich microsites like bunnies—distinct attorney firm names will lodge in prospective clients’ memory banks more than a long string of generic, run-of-the-mill words. In a sea of variations on “personalinjurylawyerinyourtown” sites, no prospective client is going to remember one over another. But your law firm’s name is unique and that’s your branding, right there.

Secondly, rankings show authoritative, branded sites rise to the top when they’re supported by—not diluted by—only a select few, carefully managed, keyword-rich sites. Lastly, Matt Cutts himself has said that Google is adjusting its algorithm so it won’t help much to have keywords in your domain name anyway.

Multiple, keyword-heavy sites might sound alluring but they’re dangerous. By amassing keyword-rich domain names, the only thing you can be sure of is that you’ll segment your traffic and fragment your conversion potential into a constellation of counter-productive, if not destructive, microsites (Google doesn’t suffer buried main sites gladly).

So yes, you can have a few additional domains but only if they support the mother-ship: your brand.

We know this is the opposite of what most of our competitors are saying but that’s why we’re the fastest growing online legal marketing company in the country.

We help our clients rise above the noise, but it’s not rarified air up here at the top and it’s not rocket science. It’s just smart. Come on up—the view’s awesome.

Check out Matt Cutts’ take on branded sites vs. keyword-heavy microsites.


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.