Although it is true that more online exposure will increase your chances of acquiring new business, this general concept has resulted in some risky Internet marketing practices.
With respect to the classic phrase “quality over quantity,” it is unfortunate to hear of SEO and Internet marketing companies promoting the use keyword targeted microsites. But it’s not just the concept of using microsites that muddy up brands, it is how each microsite is executed.
So what exactly is a microsite? A microsite is a separate domain that consists of a page, or a group of pages, with the purpose of supplementing a larger domain. The idea of microsite is not all that bad. However often times, businesses are duped into buying several microsites to better their search exposure. This easy outlet for SEO’s typically results in diminishes quality of content and questionable online advertising practices.
One group of professionals that are a popular target for the microsite Internet marketing pitch is lawyers that offer a number of practice areas. Countless firms are convinced by shady SEO companies that building a microsite per practice area is the best way to obtain keyword dominance. Yet many do not realize the risks and implications when rolling out many microsites, especially when the content of each microsite is repurposed over and over.
Obsolete microsites can easily damage a law firm's rankings and online reputation. The reason behind this is simple. Many law firm marketing companies fail to provide copywriting services, let alone understand the importance of unique, optimized content. This results in the same blocks of content being published on many domains, and often times these domains link back to the house, or the main website of the law firm. That’s pretty much telling a Google spider, “Hey, we’ve got duplicate content here. And it is all stemming from this particular source.”
Putting out a bunch of microsites with similar content can spell disaster. You may have heard of a little nuisance (or quality control measure) called Panda. This search engine algorithm change was an effort to pinpoint and penalize websites with duplicate content. Even websites with common phrasing and slightly related content have been punished.
In addition to risking search engine rankings, creating a bunch of microsites can be deceptive to online users. Unless ethically branded and uniquely developed, microsites often take on a different image. Some act as “legal resources,” but ever resource links back to the same law firm website. Other microsites might solely be a landing page, offering no value at all to the user.
If your SEO company proposes the idea of microsite optimization, it may be time to shop around. Strong Internet marketing companies have the capabilities and resources to optimize a website as it is, without resorting to these “gray hat” practices. They understand that duplicate content reduces credibility among search engines and their users. For a service oriented law firm, the repercussions can cripple a brand.
In summary, we recommend consulting with a website marketing firm with experience handling SEO campaigns for law firms. These SEO providers typically offer powerful link building resources and professional SEO copywriting services. This can bring the most impact to your SEO efforts, and ensure that your content is unique and credible.
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