The “Hot Dog Stands” are beginning to reveal themselves more and more. As we engage and dig into more law firm marketing concepts throughout the country, we find that there are so many empty hot dog stands. What are hot dog stands? Technically, a business that sells hot dogs from an external counter. The keyword here is “external.”
I use a hot dog stand as an analogy for law firms marketing multiple websites. This includes a website with an absolutely different domain, subdomains, and external blog sites with a different domain name and several other infamous techniques. Don’t get me wrong, there are concepts out there that work using these methods but generally speaking, they do not.
The basics of why this is not the best of ideas:
NAP: Name, address and phone number for those not familiar with the abbreviated version. Google has its AI robots that follow a pre-developed algorithm. These robots visit your website, scan the website page by page, scan what you have linked to the website and leave with the information they’ve gathered including your firm name, address and phone numbers. They do the same with every other site available through the search engine.
What happens next? There is really no magic behind it. The same robots visit other websites including directories, profiles and other online sources like a Facebook. They scan these websites similar to the way they scanned your website.
Let’s use Facebook as an example and the steps that would be taken:
- Step 1: Robot scans (indexes) Facebook.
- Step 2: The robots find your law firm Facebook page.
- Step 3: It scans the page.
- Step 4: The scan determines whether or not the Name, Address and Phone Number is the same as you have it listed on your website.
You can use the same steps for your GM (Google Maps Listing). These basic steps are taken for every platform your website is linked to.
It’s coming together, right? Back to why this is not the best of ideas….
You’re approached by a “Guru” of SEO and this bozo begins throwing domain names and strategies at you to develop and take over the local industry you’re in. (Before I finish, I haven’t captured anyone taking over any part of the US market using these methods.) You’re intrigued, it’s different (or it used to be) and you never heard of it before. “This guy must know what he’s talking about!”
This might only work if you did the following:
- Step 1: Purchase a domain.
- Step 2: Design and develop your new website.
- Step 3: Develop brand new content.
- Step 4: Create a new law firm name OR make sure the law firm name is not scannable by Google robots on the new website.
- Step 5: Have a new and unique phone number for the new website.
- Step 6: Have a new physical address for the new website.
- Step 7: Create a new GM listing with the new information.
- Step 8: Create a new FB page with the new information.
A small investment for something so lucrative, right? You did it, you now have two websites! Why? You have no idea other then you were told you should do it!
Quick vent: I mean seriously, wouldn’t you think that the several but few SEO companies producing results for their clients would have already thought this through, tested it and turned it into something if we thought it would work great for you?
Your main website domain is 12 years old. You’ve worked really hard on getting the domain, rankings and other forms of marketing to the best of your abilities.
Now, you have a 2nd website with a new domain (please don’t tell me you purchased a domain with high DA because they nearly don’t exist at reasonable prices anymore), new content, and it requires the SAME amount of work as your original domain did and more! Double everything!
Bozo’s original plan was to take this new website, include ONLY one specific practice area and then link it back to the main website for juice! That was the plan, was it not? Only to understand after much wasted time that all of this was useless and it only created more problems than you originally had.
Here are just a few examples of what I have found with law firms exposed to this concept before we took over:
- The main site rankings were affected by this concept without the law firm knowing.
- The marketing agencies did not want to invest in unique content so they used duplicated content.
- Phone numbers and addresses changed several different times without updating the citations.
- Google listings with soft or hard suspensions.
Check out these duplication ratings. This is a recent law firm website with almost 100% content duplication, 94% to be exact. It was like this for one year until we pointed it out.
Note: I’ve blurred these images purposely as this would not be fair to the firm.
The list goes on and on and the worse part is, this happens without the law firm knowing. Why? Because they put trust in the marketing professionals they hire and depend on them to do what is best for the law firm. When we build a client relationship, we make sure that is exactly what we are doing and we definitely don’t use hot dog stands that cause double work and headaches.
Using this concept creates hot dog stands and hot dog stands don’t last forever. I once owned and operated 1,272 landing pages nationwide. I woke up to only 7 left as the others were flagged by Google. I don’t want our clients to go through anything similar.
Clear, precise and smart SEO is what you should be focusing on. It’s what we focus on and we wouldn’t change it for some shitty concept that “might” work. Keep everything under one roof and one website. Don’t fall victim to any SEO bozo selling you hot dog stand ideas.
AKA- Night Ninja (I will call you out)