By Joe Giovannoli
It used to be very common for law firms to develop separate, off-site blogs dedicated to specific niche practices within their firms. Even today, it’s still common to see company-produced content distributed through third-party blog hosting service providers.
The argument for hosting such content on a standalone URL was to keep specific topics organized in one place for the benefit of the reader who was only interested in those topics. While this makes sense in theory and has even worked for years, user behavior and search engines have changed. If your business has separate blogs from your main domain, there are a few considerations to keep in mind. Read on to learn more about how (and why) to migrate your offsite blog to your business website.
Why Migrate Your Third-Party Hosted Blogs to Your Business Website
Your business website is your opportunity to validate a referral – to educate potential customers who have been referred by an existing customer or search engine. Your company’s website is (or should be) a central hub for customers, potential customers, employees, and potential recruits to get information about all that the company is and stands for. The website has become the most important and powerful tool in any legal marketer’s tool belt, and it is crucial for business growth and brand recognition that it is visited often. .
When you host a blog on a third-party site with a separate domain (URL), your company website does not get credit for the content posted on that third-party site. Many companies with third-party blogs will redirect site visitors to their blogs from their company’s website. This strategy may have worked at one time, but is now considered confusing and can lead to poor user experience.
The marketing content you create for your business should be on your business website. Google constantly crawls websites for new content to ensure that pages are ranked correctly. The lack of new or updated content will only hurt the firm in its quest to be found online, whether for topical search terms or even branded terms (such as firm and names of his lawyers).
How to Migrate Your Offsite Blog to Your Business Website
Migrating a blog offsite really is as easy as copy and paste, but it’s essential to execute it correctly and strategically. You will want to take content from the existing blog site and add it to the blog on your business website. If your website allows you to assign categories to content, this is a great way to separate content by area of practice. However, once the content is transferred, it is essential that you place appropriate 301 redirects (permanent redirects) from the old third-party domain and its specific URL to their new address on the company website.
This too is quite simple. If you hire a dedicated SEO provider or website developer, they can handle that. These redirects are critically important because: 1) You don’t want duplicate content circulating the internet, and 2) You want to redirect traffic from the old blog to your company’s website. The content is the same, so there’s no reason why the content shouldn’t perform the same or even better than the original.
PRO TIP: Before migrating content, check Google Analytics and Search Console for the old blog site and only migrate blog posts that drive traffic and impressions. You’ll be surprised how many older blogs can be “deleted” (or deleted) and you can save yourself the effort of bringing them to the site. You’ll want to redirect these URLs to the main company blog page so they don’t become orphaned.
Although it may seem complicated, migrating content and setting up redirects is a standard offering from SEO and website providers. Your business website is usually the first step in someone’s journey to hiring a lawyer, so show them some love and add great content to get users (and Google) to visit and convert!
Joe Giovannoli is the founder and CEO of 9Sail, a lead generation and SEO marketing agency serving the legal and construction industries.