Law Firm Microsites

law-firm-micrositesHow do you get more calls to your law firm from people in the geographical areas you are targeting?

How do you target those who are looking for experts in your specialist practice areas?

First, you need to drive more search traffic to your website and then you need to convince the prospects to contact you.

Most firms know that – the question is how?

Building microsites for your targeted areas is a search-engine-friendly way to help people find you and to speak directly to your target clients. Let me show you how.


What are microsites?

As the name suggests, microsites are mini-websites connected to your main website but usually using a sub-domain, sub-folder, or even a separate domain.

They are designed to stand alone and function outside of your firm’s main website with their own design and navigation system.

They serve a slightly different purpose to your main “parent” law firm website. Your main website is intended to provide a comprehensive overview of your entire practice.

For instance, this one from Debevoise and Plimpton PLL provides a great deal of general info about the firm, as you can see from the menu on the left-hand side:

Home_Debevoise_Plimpton_LLP

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Law firm microsites are sub-sites that are more singularly focused. They often (but not always) target a specific location that is not the main focus of the firm but is nevertheless important.

Microsites can target practically any audience segment. For instance, the above firm Debevoise and Plimpton LLP uses the URL https://women.debevoise.com/ to specifically target women via a microsite:

Debevoise_Women_s_Review

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Generally speaking, there are three ways for a user to land on a microsite:

1. By clicking through from a search engine or typing in the URL

Staying with the Debevoise and Plimpton example, you can search directly in Google and click through from the SERPS:

Debevoise_Women’s_Review_Google_Search

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2. By clicking a link on the main website

If you are on the main website and click on the main menu item “Diversity and Inclusion”, you are taken to this page, where there is a link to the firm’s microsite for women:

Diversity_About_Us_Debevoise_Plimpton_LLP

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3. From social media

Microsites can be promoted just like any other content from your website through social media:

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When a user clicks through to a microsite, it should provide information related to their specific needs. The information can be as detailed as you like and may run to many pages of content directed at the specific group that you are targeting.

Some people liken microsites to landing pages but they do generally feature multiple pages (with their own unique URLs) while a landing page is usually a one-pager.

Some microsites are temporary assets built for a particular campaign. However, more commonly, law firms build a more-or-less permanent microsite for a specific target audience and may add pages to it over time.

So, you get the idea.

How can your law firm go about benefiting from this?


Tips for creating your own law firm microsite

If you want to incorporate microsites into your website marketing strategy, great! The following tips will help you get it right:

Enhance awareness among specific target groups

Your microsite can get very specific and target certain groups, allowing you to provide highly focused content about a topic – for instance, in one specific location.

Oykhman Criminal Defence wants anyone charged with a criminal offense in the Kelowna area of British Columbia to contact them:

Kelowna_Criminal_Lawyers_Kelowna_Oykhman_Criminal_Defence_Law

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Keep your main site free of clutter

Law firm websites that are clean and uncluttered from the home page onwards generally fare best.

Rather than having to target various locations from your main site, a microsite allows you to channel users to other locations via the menu.

This is how employment lawyers Taylor Janis LLP do it. Their main office is in Calgary but they target Edmonton and Canmore too from the home page menu:

Employment_Lawyers_Calgary_Edmonton_Taylor_Janis_LLP

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Promote your main services

Use your microsite to promote your main services in a particular location.

Spectrum Family Law in Vancouver offers estate planning and will preparation but it has a clear focus on divorce resolution – as you can see from the dropdown menu at the top of the main microsite page:

Spectrum_Family_Law

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Think about more “fringe” locations and practice areas

Your law firm is in the middle of a major city. Which outlying suburbs or satellite cities have you had previous success in attracting clients from?

This could be a key focus of a microsite – a target audience that is not your main focus but which has provided clients in the past or is growing and may provide clients in the future.

Alternatively, you may have a specific service that you want to trial. Say your main practice area is estate planning in New York and you are just starting to offer probate services. This could potentially be offered in a microsite before rolling it out to your main audience on the parent website:

Probate_Lawyer_Jules_Haas

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Consider attorney microsites 

Attorney microsites are small sites set up to feature individual attorney bios. This can work well with larger law firms where each of their attorneys has considerable experience and success to showcase (perhaps in different locations).

Each site can be customized for the specific needs of each attorney but remain under the general “umbrella” of the main law firm website.

Here’s how McManimon, Scotland & Baumann does it:

Curriculum_Vitae_Matthew_D_Jessup

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Consider practice area microsites

Microsite functionality can also be implemented for particular practice areas.  This works particularly well if your firm covers a diverse range of practice areas.

For example, many litigation attorneys handle divorces, criminal defense, personal injury, and other cases.

Potential clients looking for DUI defense attorneys in LA won’t care about car crash victims in San Diego so you can separate the targeted content. Here’s how the Barnes Firm, based in LA, does it:

The_Barnes_Firm

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By adopting a microsite setup, you can specifically target different potential clients in certain locations like this.

Target long-tail keywords

Targeting longtail keywords is a good strategy for most law firm marketing. The most popular terms for lawyers are some of the most competitive on the planet so it’s best not to chase these.

If you’re a criminal defense attorney in Chicago, trying to rank for “criminal defense attorney Chicago” is extremely challenging and may cost you a fortune.

However, say you want to target people accused of marijuana-based crimes. It should be much easier to rank for “defense attorney for marijuana crimes in Chicago”, for instance.

Chicago_Marijuana_Lawyer_Possession_Distribution_O_Meara_Law

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How about creating a microsite based around marijuana laws and defense strategies for marijuana-based crimes in Chicago (and any other areas around Chicago that you service) and sending your traffic here?

Keep it focused and relevant

A microsite may not need to feature About Us information, Meet the Team, or services not provided in the specific location you are targeting.

Keep your microsite focused only on what is relevant to the target audience. If visitors want to know more about the parent firm or other services, they can click back to your main website.

Don’t copy and paste from your main site

A very important point: microsite content must be unique content. That means no copying and pasting from the pages on your main website.

Jennings Family Law in Calgary provide divorce mediation services as outlined here:

Divorce_Mediation_Lawyers_in_Calgary_AB_Jennings_Family_Law

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Their Airdrie microsite also provides information on the divorce mediation services offered but the copy is unique, as you can see here:

Airdrie_Divorce_Mediation_Lawyers_Jennings_Family_Law

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Remember, adding duplicate content to a microsite could get your rankings punished by the search engines.

Make your firm appear bigger 

Microsites are a great way to make your firm look bigger than it is.

They allow you to “branch out”, target specific locations, and give the appearance of having multiple “tentacles” to your business – even if you are a solo attorney.

Taylor Janis has three main office locations but with microsites targeting three other locations, the firm looks even bigger:

Employment_Labour_Taylor_Janis_LLP

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Keep your microsites small and manageable

Microsites don’t have to be big. A cluster of three or four pages might be enough to target particular services in a particular location.

The Jennings Law Firm microsite for Airdrie consists of just four pages – Family Law, Divorce, Divorce Mediation, and Divorce Arbitration:

Airdrie_Family_Lawyers

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By keeping your microsites succinct and focused, you control the costs of creating and administering them.


How do microsites affect SEO?

SEO is a slightly contentious matter with microsites. You might read some negative comments about rankings for firms using microsites. All we can say is that they can’t be doing it right.

Microsites are generally good for SEO.

The above-mentioned Spectrum Family Law is a client of ours based in Edmonton with microsites targeting Calgary and Vancouver.

family_lawyer_edmonton_Google_Search

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Spectrum Family Law is just one of the many law firms we’ve worked with to have experienced the benefits of microsites first-hand in recent years.

You can expect to receive a boost to local SEO if you start creating microsites. We’ve used the strategy extensively for clients, focusing on specific practice areas in specific locations with excellent results.

The boost largely comes from being able to target location-specific keywords in the URL and copy.

By targeting different keywords on your microsite, you avoid directing traffic for your main search terms away from your main site. You may appear on top of different search engine result pages for different terms and even appear more than once on a single result page.

Another good aspect of SEO is the targeted focus of your microsite. Because the content relates to a specific group of people, the bounce rate should be low. So, users channeled there should find relevant content and want to hang around.

These are SEO ranking factors: the lower the bounce rate and the longer the time spent on site is generally good for SEO.

Here’s what one of the premium authorities on Google ranking factors says about these factors: in its annually updated list:

Google’s_200_Ranking_Factors_The_Complete_List_2021_

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Google’s_200_Ranking_Factors_The_Complete_List_2021_2

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Oh, and just in case you wondered what it says about duplicate content:

Google’s_200_Ranking_Factors_The_Complete_List_2021_3

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Make sure that everything on your microsite is 100 percent unique.

Backlinks may be tough to get for law firm microsites as they are usually very specific to a location but local businesses in the same area may benefit from linking to your site. Just make sure that the backlinks are of good quality and do not “dilute” the number of backlinks you get to your main site as that may damage its rankings.

You don’t want your microsites to compete with your main website. You want them to supplement it.

Building a microsite purely for SEO purposes is unwise. Create microsites to reach out to particular target audiences and you should find that a boost in SEO is a natural spin-off of that.

Microsites and paid ad campaigns

You may hear suggestions that microsites can be used in tandem with paid ad campaigns such as Google Ads or Facebook Ads.

While this works for some brands in some industries, we suggest lawyers use landing pages instead of microsites for that purpose.

Sponsored search results or Facebook Ads can generate significant amounts of traffic but landing pages aimed at one or two specific keywords and one call to action can be used to convert this traffic.


Are there any downsides to microsites?

There are very few downsides to providing high-quality, focused content that resonates with your target audience – and microsites certainly provide the opportunity to do that.

Microsites may confuse customers in some industries. Users may be unclear on the main focus of the products/service provided or, if the microsite does not follow the branding on the main site, people may wonder which company they are dealing with.

However, for law firms targeting specific locations and/or practice areas, the benefits are many and the downsides hard to find.

The extra costs of creating new microsites and the time and expense involved in generating content and managing them should be paid back many times over if you get it right.


Microsites: a powerful law firm marketing tool you should be using

You may see Apple set up a microsite when the new iPhone is released. Large brands use microsites to promote new products and special events as they are often less restrictive than landing pages.

But microsites also make a LOT of sense for law firms. They tick many boxes:

  • Targeted and detailed content
  • Better user experience
  • Better for SEO
  • More local traffic and leads
  • Cost-effective

If you are targeting specific groups of people or locations and trying to grow leads, building microsites is one of the best ways to stand out without breaking your firm’s marketing budget.

High-quality, targeted content is always a winner for attracting traffic and growing leads.

Your competitors probably don’t use microsites or don’t use them properly, so this is an opportunity for your firm to stand out.

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