Rising above Duplicate Content: Tips for Attorneys

According to Google, as much as 30 percent of all content on the web can be considered duplicate content – a no-no in the world of online marketing. Of that 30 percent, the vast majority has nothing at all to do with plagiarism or lazy writing. It’s labeled “duplicate” because of the way search engines see the web, and this can have consequences for your law firm’s website.

Think of it this way. Imagine you are a librarian. A person asks you for a book on, say, volcanoes. Your library is well stocked with volcano books and most of them generally say similar kinds of stuff. How do you find the right one? Maybe you use your previous knowledge of the topic. Or you see that some books have been checked out a lot. Perhaps an author’s name stands out to you. You take all of these bits of information and put them through the alchemy of your decision-making process, selecting a handful of books out of the hundreds available for the customer.

Now you know what it feels like to be a search engine. Even though there were plenty of good options, you had to make a decision to present a select few and leave the others to collect dust on the shelf.

What does all of this have to do with your law firm’s website?

The better, more diverse and more valuable your content (e.g. pages, blogs, articles), the more likely it will avoid being seen as duplicative and instead be served up over similar content. Here are two more tips to help you get there:

Write to the consumer – Think specifically about the readers of the page: what their goals are and what content you can create that is unique to them. Remember, you’re writing to consumers facing serious legal problems, not to fellow attorneys dissecting the problems.

Don’t run with the herd – Be conscious of how many similar pages exist in your market. Create pages where there is less market saturation. If there are hundreds of lawyers with similar pages in your geography, then your page may struggle to achieve the desired visibility. Providing practical ideas for consumers to use that aren’t “Call a Lawyer” are likely to be distinct from other pages and provide the kind of content search engines like.

At the end of the day, search engines are a lot like librarians trying to serve up the best options. Make their job easy and you’ll increase your chances of ending up in the hands of a potential client.

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