Content on your legal website is the first step to getting good search ranking, but not all content is equal. Your content must be original.
A client of ours recently called us, upset that his ranking in Google was dropping. He was blaming us. This didn’t make any sense, because we know what we’re doing and this kind of thing is very unusual. We did some digging into his site, and found that one of his staff had added dozens of articles to the website…that were all taken from elsewhere on the web!
There are two reasons not to do this:
First, it’s theft. Taking content without permission is a violation of copyright law. You’d think that most people would know this, but some people still have the idea that if it’s on the web, it’s free game. Not true.
Second, it’s going to hit your website with a duplicate content penalty. That’s what happened in the above case.
Here’s how duplicate content is a problem:
Google has automated bots that travel out across the web, following links and then taking the web pages it finds and adding them to Google’s enormous database (Google currently indexes about 4.12 billion pages on the web). After these pages are indexed, each page is digitally scanned for content and compared to other pages in the database.
When Google sees a page that’s a duplicate of another page, it’s going to penalize that page and it’s going to reduce the ranking of the site. If Google sees dozens of pages that are duplicated, it’s going to assume that the site is low quality and spammy. The site’s ranking will plummet, or in some cases, be removed from the index completely.
In addition, if the owner of the original article finds out that you’re “borrowing” content, they can file a DMCA complaint against your ISP or Google (or both), which can get your site either shut off or removed from Google’s index.
Obviously, you don’t want that to happen.
Your site needs content, and it needs to be original. The more content on your site, the better your search ranking. That means that either you or a staff member needs to get to work and produce some articles for your site and blog!
If you need some help with content creation, we can do that. Our staff is experience writing for attorneys and we can produce original content for your site that is keyword rich and reader-friendly. Give our office a call at (855) 780-1081 to see how we can help.