Q. “Should I have a different website for each of my different practice areas?
Q. “Should each partner in my firm have their own website?”
A. Not for their work with your firm.
Google’s Guidelines for Business are clear about this. Because you’re depending on Google to deliver traffic to your site through search, you need to pay attention to their recommendations and follow them.
SEO In A Nutshell
Google’s product is useful search results.
Users are served content depending on how well it meets Google’s guidelines for relevance, quality, and usefulness. Usefulness includes context – will the user find more useful stuff once they arrive where Google sends them?
Links are as important as content. Do the links on the target site help the user with their original search term?
These point to other websites with relevant or enriching content, including reference sites, State or Federal Authorities, Professional Organizations and Directories.
These point to other content on your site. Do you have more related useful content on the subject you’re presenting? The more you have, the more useful you are in the eyes of Google. Related content should include all the other practice areas within your firm’s scope.
It’s really a good sign to Google when well-ranking sites have links to your site. These are not as crucial as they used to be for good site rank – it’s been a widely abused area for unethical SEO practitioners. Paid links are really not good for your site, although an exception appears to be links from high-authority, curated registry sites.
The SEO Bonfire
One item of content works together with other content on your site to enhance its usefulness. The more relevant, quality content you have, the higher the rank will be for all of your content.
If you have one piece of high-quality content that doesn’t lead anywhere, that has thin context, you’re not going to get found.
Imagine building a bonfire. If you’ve ever done this, you know that you need to put your fuel together in a pile. Each stick adds to the burning power of the flame. It takes a well-constructed pile of sticks, with the kindling on the bottom, stacked so that each piece can “breathe,” and all the pieces work together to ignite when flame is applied.
Now, imagine trying to light a fire with the same sticks scattered around, as you stagger back and forth trying to light each one separately. What happens?
Aggregate your content into one bonfire. Google doesn’t depend on domain names to service keywords – it looks at the rest of the url after the domain name (the “slug” in WordPress parlance).
They also use the page title metatag, page headings, content, image metadata, links and context to rank your content.
If you put up a site for the sake of its domain name alone, you won’t get found for what you do.
You’ve got to aggregate your content and let it work together, so that any piece of content you add to the site will instantly share the rank and power conferred upon it by its presence on your well-constructed, richly linked, quality website.
Multiple Domains Pointing to One Site
It’s possible to point multiple domains to a site in a number of ways, for the sake of ease, memorability, shortening, advertising, and convenience – but, when you use this tactic, it’s vital to have your webmaster set up redirects to let search engines know which is the original source of the content. (This is something we can help you with.)