Attorneys need to approach the use of syndicated blog content with care. Many times, syndicated posts are written as a one-size-fits-all approach, and you can make tweaks and changes as needed. But what if you don’t have time, or don’t know how, to make the changes? What problems could you see if you relied on syndicated content?
Here are three reasons we think attorneys should have their own blogs with their own content, instead of relying on syndicated content.
1. Syndicated content does not perform well in search.
If you buy a copy-and-paste content service, chances are it’s not going to be picked up by the search engines. That’s because Google has a “no duplicate content” rule they follow, meaning they don’t want to see a lot of websites using the same content over and over.
You may hear this described as the duplicate content penalty, but it’s not a penalty. Rather, Google just does not index the content. The Google bots see it and say, “we already saw this back at another website, so we’ll ignore this one.”
One of the primary reasons to have a blog is to rank high on the search engines, and it doesn’t make sense to pay for syndicated content if it’s not going to help you rank in the first place.
(That’s not to say that all content syndicates do this. The better ones don’t. The cheaper ones, not so much.)
2. You can localize your content.
Google is paying a lot more attention to local search, because they’re delivering local search results to their users. Check it out. Go to Google, and do a search for “Italian restaurant.” The results you’ll see will be for the city where you perform the search. That’s because Google can see where you are, and it wants to deliver the results you’ll be most interested in. If you’re in St. Louis, Google assumes you don’t care about Italian restaurants in Jacksonville, Florida, so they deliver the results you’re most likely to be interested in.
To that end, it’s more helpful to write localized articles about your areas of specialty and include your city or geographic practice area in things like the headline and body copy, so Google will know where they should have you listed.
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You need to do this so when a potential client does a search online for an attorney, they find your page. Google is not going to return the best-optimized pages around the country. It’s going to show them the results from the pages in their city and/or state. If your site is properly optimized, clients will find you, not your competition.
3. Your Content Can Fit Your Readers’ Style
Syndicated blog content is written one way, and it may not be your style. But, you paid for it, so you might as well use it, right?
If you’re paying for it, you’re presenting your image in a style that doesn’t quite fit with you, or more importantly, may not appeal to your readers.
It’s important that you communicate with your readers in the way they want to be communicated with. And since you know your clients the best, you can best dictate the kinds of topics they want to read, the style, language, and even readability of the posts. You should even be able to decide the best keywords to write about that week or month.
Since you know your readers best, you need to create content that they will find and read, which will ultimately lead to them calling you when they need you.
Whether you write your own blog posts 2 – 3 times a week, or work with a ghost blogging service (which we recommend, given your hourly billing rates; otherwise, blogging will end up being your lowest priority), you need to have content that is geared toward your style, your geographic region, your clients, and can help you win search for your niche and your keywords.