Does SEO demand that you prune old content from your website? And, Gyi and Conrad pick The Face and The Guest during round 3 of the marketing dream team draft.
Improving your SEO performance is always a good idea, but there have been disagreements of late as to whether deleting underperforming content is a means to that end. So, what’s the deal? Should you, indeed, prune legacy content? As usual, the answer may not be black and white, but Gyi and Conrad draw from their years of experience to explain how to analyze performance in order to decide what to do with older content.
Later, time for round three of drafting your marketing dream team! Conrad picks The Face—an individual your law firm puts forward to rally affinity toward your business. Gyi picks… The Guest! Who’s that? Someone whose respected expertise translates into podcasts, events, speaking engagements, and more.
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Speaker: Before we get started, we’d like to give a huge thank you to our sponsors, Lawmatics and CallRail.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Conrad, I want you to think back 70 years when you were a little boy and what did you want to be when you were all grown up?
Conrad Saam: You mean, at the little boy state? I’ve got these teenagers right now who are very much contemplating this in a pragmatic way which I appreciate. I don’t think I really had a good feel. I remember my career paths were somewhere between veterinarian and professional jazz musician.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Professional jazz musician.
Conrad Saam: That was, you know, that was on the path. I also thought, you know, professional rugby player was also a possibility in the United States, which just goes to show how naive I was. But I do remember playing in the jazz band at college and I took music theory and I played in the jazz band. And in the first three weeks, it dawned on me just how unmusical and horrendously poor my path to becoming a professional musician.
Gyi Tsakalakis: What was your instrument of choice?
Conrad Saam: I played the saxophone. And, when I was 17, in my mind, I was amazing. And when I was 18, I learned the reality that I was horrendous, right? Like just complete lack of talent.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, you will definitely be playing some saxophone here on Lunch Hour Legal Market at some point.
Conrad Saam: Oh no, I’ve got it sitting up in the garage. Okay back at you, what did you want to do?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Gosh, I don’t know. I didn’t really — I think my problem is I never really knew. I mean at sometimes I still don’t know what I want to be later out but as far back as I can remember like taking it seriously, so, something like a little kid, this is probably like more high school. I was super technical. I mean, I was started out. I was going to be a computer science major and be a coder but that was not as cool then in the mid-90s as it is now.
Conrad Saam: Yeah. Talk about missing a wave.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right. But just just a couple of years. I remember when they came to — they actually came to lecture in one of my classes and they were talking about, java. Java was like the brand-new programming language. Imagine that?
Conrad Saam: Imagine that. Imagine what could have been. Anyway, what else are we talking about?
Gyi Tsakalakis: I’m glad you didn’t do that because otherwise, you and I would not be sitting here, recording for Lunch Hour Legal Marketing. We are as usual, going to hit the news, great news. And we’re going to parlay one of those news items into our first really, really hyper tactical segment on content strategy, deleting content, which is heavily in the news right now from an SEO perspective. And then we’re going to go back and do Round 3 of Drafting our Dream Marketing Team.
ConradSaam: Money makes the world go round.
Speaker: Welcome to Lunch Hour Legal Marketing, teaching, you how to promote market and make fad stacks for your legal practice. Here on Legal Talk Network.
Speaker: Welcome to Lunch Hour Legal Marketing. We’re here twice a month, giving you the best tactical tips for marketing your law firm, and having a little bit of fun while we’re doing it. We are going to have a lot of fun today. We had a lot of fun last episode. We have got some really, really good stories to talk about. Very topical, very tactical. But first, the news.
ConradSaam: All right. So in the SEO news nerdy world, there’s a lot of conversation going on based on an article on the verge. We’ll make sure you get access to that. But it is talking about an internal memo at CNET. And fortunately, we have that memo but is about reducing the page count as an SEO tactic. And I’m going to read some of this for you. This is internal to CNET. Pruning content sends a signal to Goggle that says CNET is fresh, relevant and worthy of being placed higher than our competitors in search results. Now, this came out almost scandalously. The response from Google was very strong and very negative, both John Mueller and Danny Sullivan weighed in. I’m going to read directly from John because it’s very strong. I strongly disagree that old news articles are per se Irrelevant in my opinion, deleting old news, content, original reporting is a terrible idea and Danny wait in the following day. This has been the most excellent week on the interwebs. Don’t delete old content because you think it’ll make your site seem fresh to Google. It won’t just don’t, don’t. Please don’t.
So, they’re saying no. So don’t do that, unless you listen to Lunch Hour Legal Marketing. Stay tuned for our first segment when Gyi and I go deep onto content strategy and how to deal with legacy content? Next, also kind of Sensational, the ABA pulls an op-ed about legal, about not legal reform. About reforming the approach of business and lawyer reforms. Gyi, you’re closer to the ABA than I am. Give me the skin on what happened here.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, I’m going to try to give you the objective facts and I would suggest if you’re interested in learning more about what happened head over to Bob Ambrose’s law on max blog. He covers this very well. But the headline here is citing political challenges. ABA Innovation Center cancels off at advocating regular reform and then thought actually has the actual piece that didn’t get published. So why should lawyers care about this? One, the essence of the op-ed in my view and my opinion, is that we need regulatory reform in order to address the future of delivery of legal services.
The tension here is, as lawyers are concerned that opening up the otherwise limited ways to deliver legal service as a lawyer, is going to hurt the business of law, right? It’s going to hurt the profession. I think there’s some other valid criticisms. But to pull an op-ed that just talking about this and then you know, lawyers that are resistant to this. I mean, how many lawyers can you name off the top of your head that are pushing the boundaries on regulation in order to deliver legal services in a new way?
And so, my view is that we should be embracing this change you know. Again, the market goes around the profession anyway and so if you’re worried about legal Zoom, right? As lawyers have been. Look, people find a way. That’s what the internet does democratizes information. And so, if you want to be part of the conversation I would say, hey get to know what the regulatory landscape looks like and some of the ways that you might be able to deliver legal services. So that was a lot longer than news segment.
Conrad Saam: That was news and a little bit of sideline Gyi opinion, which is always —
Gyi Tsakalakis: There was a bit of Gyi opinion, so.
Conrad Saam: Oh, I love how you started with saying, I’m going to be objective and then you just blew it, really quickly.
Gyi Tsakalakis: That’s how you knew I wasn’t going to do it.
Conrad Saam: I know. I just let you go. I knew exactly what was going to happen.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Anyway, check out the story. Decide for yourself.
Conrad Saam: Also, Gyi, your friends over at Lawmatics, we did a segment not that long ago on what we called funnel velocity, which is the speed through which prospective clients pass through your sales funnel and we tied that to the success of intake efforts. Lawmatics just released data and information and the ability to track speed. Gyi, I know you’re closer to Mr. Spiegel than I am. Can you tell us what Lawmatics has done?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah. So I would love to think that the product team over at Lawmatics. This is the Lunch Hour Legal Marketing and said, “aha, sales velocity”. We need to add that but I doubt that that is the case. But in there, you can check it out. We’ll put a link button there, July 2023 feature release, real-time sales cycle duration metrics. So days to close. You can actually see the exactly the metric that Conrad and I were talking about in that episode. And you know, we should probably disclose that Lawmatics is a sponsor and I am affiliated with Lawmatics. But this really wasn’t intended to be an ad. It was truly serendipitous that we were just having this conversation and they added it as a feature in their system.
Conrad Saam: And if you would like to raise no suspicions, that we are being completely objective and not glorifying our advertisers, next news item brought to you by CallRail. Gyi, what’s going on over at our great friends at CallRail?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Pure coincidence. CallRail announced their CallRail labs. And if you’re a CallRail customer, well even if you’re not just check out CallRail. But if you’re a CallRail customer, you should definitely check out what’s going on in labs because they’re adding all sorts of cool stuff. I think it’s essentially like their beta for their Project X stuff that might not be ruled out yet. There’s a bunch in here that are probably relevant to your practice. Know which callers ask for appointments, spot and prioritize repeat recallers. There’s all sort of cool stuff.
Conrad Saam: Sentimental analysis. Like there’s a lot of really good stuff coming out of the call. And again, this was not planned. There is a reason though that we, for the listeners, we have really carefully selected the advertisers that we work with, because we stand behind it and I want this show to be genuine like that. And that’s why you’ll see us talking about the things that they’re doing because we believe in both of these companies. All right?
Gyi Tsakalakis: No one believes you.
Conrad Saam: I know it just sounds like such horse shit but it’s not.
Gyi Tsakalakis: It’s true, it’s true.
Conrad Saam: When we come back after our break, from some of our amazing sponsors, we’re going to do a segment on content deletion and why Google got so jacked up about the suggestion or the fact that CNET was deliberately pruning content from their sites. When we come back.
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Conrad Saam: Okay, Gyi, we started with the news item about CNET deliberately pruning thousands of articles to improve their SEO. Now, I think you and I have talked about this for a very, very long time. Google had a really strong backlash against this concept. But I believe that content strategy needs to include how you deal with legacy content. And I’ve also found and I’m sure you experience is no different, especially the PI people, you have too much content, right? There’s not a paucity of legal content out there.
And so, Gyi, I’m wondering your knee-jerk reaction to Google’s knee-jerk reaction that pruning content is a bad thing. And how you go about thinking about legacy content on the sites of the clients that you, especially the new clients that you get. You know, let’s say you have a client, used to get a new client. They’ve got 2,000 pages of content. How do you think about that?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Okay. So starting point here is, and there’s some nuance to all of this. So, before you go and delete all your old content, you look, I love the Google PR people. I don’t think that they’re trying to obfuscate anything. I don’t think they’re trying to intentionally mislead us, you know, think about it. There’s this algorithm operating in the wild and then there’s these people that their job is to talk about what Google is trying to do. And those two things are not always exactly lined up as we know as we talked about. And I’m sure we’ll reference this in the show notes. You’ve talked extensively about pruning underperforming content. That’s not exactly what they’re talking about here, which I think you can talk more about your process there.
What they’re talking about here is, like CNET said, we’re killing old content because it’s going to help us be fresher with Google. And I think to that specific thing, I think Google’s PR people are probably aligned with what the engine is trying to do. I don’t think that Google is like, we’re trying to de-index all old content. And in fact, there’s reasons even beyond Google that I think that the people at Google would be, from a PR position, in terms of like the integrity of the internet, you don’t want people deleting old contents and a lot of that content also helps inform the algorithm.
That being said, the nuance that I’ll let you extrapolate on. Making decisions about getting rid of or combining, your redirecting content and content strategy works really, really, really well. And so, you know, if you’re like right now you read the stuff and you’re like I’m going to delete all my blog post before 2022 because they’re old. That’s wrong. But if you’re like, you know, hey I’m going to go analyze pages that haven’t received a visit, that are indexed and haven’t received a visit in two years or rethink that kind of stuff and, think about those that’s hurting your organic click through rate. Of course, we know that that stuff work. Conrad, have you ever seen that work before?
Conrad Saam: Absolutely 100% this works. And this goes way back and maybe I can even find the old show notes. I’ve written multiple posts. I believe they’re on search engine land about reducing page count, and actually seeing an increase in traffic. And I think this is especially true in legal because of two reasons. Number one, you guys have listened to the SEO people tell you that you just need to write more content, right? And you guys asked the agencies for, you know, I want twelve articles a week for the next 52 weeks, and long tail blah-blah.
And so, there’s so much content that you have out there that is irrelevant not going to ring, and frankly pretty low quality if you’re barfing out, you know, a hundred pieces of content a year, right? That’s one every three days. Like that’s, that’s a lot of content and you five years in, you’ve got a massive site.
Gyi Tsakalakis: And so we know Google rewards sites that do that, right. We know it, we’ve seen it, and I think that’s the other takeaway from all of this. And again, not to cast aspersions at the spokespeople for Google. But, trust your own data, run your own experiments, see what happens on your own site because it doesn’t always line up. A lot of times, it doesn’t line up with what Google is trying to do. And again, there’s a line, right?
There’s things you can do that are like extremely manipulative of the algorithm today and, you know, Google has gotten better at combating a variety of those things. But I think, this is one that Conrad and I are pretty tightly aligned upon the pages of that exist on your site, the internal link structure of your site, the pages that are indexed, how they’re performing in search, makes a big difference site. Slight architecture can make a big difference in how your pages rank. And so therefore again, we see it firsthand. So, if you’ve got people on your team, people in house or you’re managing your own site, try to do some consolidation, go listen to where Conrad talked about his process and see what happens. That’s the best way to know if it’s working for you or not.
Conrad Saam: So, I will you know, to make this super super concrete for you, dear listener, if you have a post from 2017 about Frank Murphy received the Super Lawyers Award of 2000, here we come back to Super Lawyers and I mean to pick on Super Lawyers, but.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, that’s going to be a lot of content to delete because it’s been every year for the last 30 years.
Conrad Saam: That’s right. So this is exactly the problem. You guys have been oh well we have to post some content. Oh, what are we going to post this week? Oh, Frank won Super Lawyers, yay. Now you post that blog post about Frank winning Super Lawyers, there’s nothing interesting or unique and maybe there’s three or four sentences. By the way, no one cares in 2023 about Frank in 2017 and also Frank moved on to a different Law Firm that he now works for the guy across the street who you hate as a competitor. Why do you have that piece of content up there?
And so, Gyi’s point of analyze this, I’m going to read. I’m going to again, read the internal memo from CNET because it outlines exactly how I think you should go about thinking about your own content map. Removing content from the site is not a decision we take lightly. Okay, so it’s not like go back to, you know, every old post that’s more than 24 months old and killing it. Our team has analyzed many data points to determine whether there are pages on CNET that are not currently serving a meaningful audience. These metrics include, important here, if you want to do your own legacy content analysis, this coming right out of CNET, and I agree with this. These metrics include page views, backlink profiles and the amount of time that has passed since the last update, right? So, they’re looking at whether we have whole bunch of crap on this site that no one’s reading and there’s no value in. And so, I 100% endorse that.
And the other thing that you mentioned, Gyi, is combining things. So, what do you do with the old content?
Gyi Tsakalakis: There is a very simplistic approach to this and is very easy to remember. Legacy content strategy looks like this, you do the analysis and then at the page level, and by the way, this is painful. And we have clients who spend lots and lots of money with us to do this for them. Your answer for every single page is do we kill it in the example of a, “Hey, we sponsor the Turkey Trot in 2005”. No one cares. Do you kill it? Do you combine it? So, Super Lawyers instead of your 27 blog posts about Frank winning Super Lawyers for the last 27 years. Turn that into one page about your Super Lawyers awards, right? So, you can take all of your Super Lawyers awards and put it into a single page, or do you keep it? Is it working right?
So, kill, keep combine, look at the data and let that make your decision. That is my perspective on legacy content. I fundamentally disagree with what Google think, especially in the legal world, especially if you’ve been an aggressive SEO game.
Conrad Saam: Done. When we come back, we’re going to do a quick review and then we’re going to draw two more people into our Dream Team.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, it’s that time of the show where we pat ourselves on the back and not to belabor our point of earlier but we’re very grateful for our sponsors and very grateful for this very nice comment from CallRail CMO, Masami Middleton.
Conrad Saam: Wait, are we pandering to CallRail again today?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah. You must have written this script today. I don’t know. I was out but, congrats Gyi and Conrad, really enjoyed your recent Marketing Dream Team episodes. Thank you for listening.
Thank you of course for sponsoring. And if you want to get involved in the conversation. If you’ve got ideas for topics, you’ve got questions at your firm. My Twitter. direct messages are open. So, feel free to message me, not to worry about the flood gates opening there. Check us out Lunch Hour Legal Marketing on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram or even on threads because let’s just be everywhere, but thanks for listening and I hope to se you on the socials.
Speaking of Dream Team not coincidentally, people like those topics and so we’re going to round out with round 3. Drafting our Marketing Dream Team as a contextual note for those that just landed here. Conrad and I were fortunate enough to present together at last year’s a VA Tech show and we talked about building your dream team. And so, we’ve been covering different roles on the show that we think are essential to have in marketing your law firm. And today we’re going to start with one of Conrad’s favorites, the face, the face.
Conrad Saam: And the reason we call this the face is the word is personality not business-ality. I’m not sure that sounds as good as it sounds now that I’m saying instead of —
Gyi Tsakalakis: Business-ality, was that your thesis?
Conrad Saam: My point is, it is much easier to market an individual with personality and build affinity and awareness around a person than it is to build it around a business. And I’m not saying that there’s not value in building affinity towards business, but those businesses where they’re based on a non-personal brand, have a tougher road to hope, simply. And so, I love having a face of the firm who is regularly involved in both the marketing but also, the positioning and the positioning like it’s easy to build a position around an individual instead of an entity.
And I have a bunch of clients that look very much like this, but we can use John Morgan on Morgan & Morgan to talk about this. People are just as familiar if not more familiar with John Morgan than they are with the firm Morgan & Morgan. And it’s not because John spends a lot of time in the courtroom. It’s because it is easier to build a business around that individual. And so, I would really encourage all of you thinking about putting a face to the firm because it’s so much easier to build that affinity for an individual. And it has to be consistent. You have to have the right person who’s willing to do this. We have a bunch of CEO lawyers who I would suggest are somewhat reluctantly dragged into being the face, but it’s their name on the door, right? And that is the easiest way to have a face of a law firm. So, for me putting a face, putting a person in front of the business is the easiest way to build out affinity for that business. Gyi?
Gyi Tsakalakis: So, when framed like that, I tend to agree. You know, we talked in the pre-show, my pushback was on trade names and brand and that kind of stuff. And I do think it’s easier, you know, I think for a lot of our listeners, if you’re a solo, you know, and we have this conversation all the time. Lawyers call us up. You guys do logos you know, you want to do like, trade name stuff and like, of course, like we’ll have those conversations, but I’m always like, you know, that’s kind of an afterthought and I say that, people are going to jump and dice and spend all those money on a logo. But to Conrad’s point, as the saying goes, clients hire lawyers, not law firms.
Now, there are exceptions to that and the one that I use in the pre-show is Michigan Auto Law and Steve Gerson who is a personal friend. You know, he is the face of the firm. And so, you know that’s the other thing I think about with this is. It’s not an either/or, you know, it’s not — they’re not mutually exclusive having a brand and having a face I think. But there are limitations if you’re all in on the face. And so it’s definitely easier, I think. I think to this, especially the affinity stuff, right? People are going to ask, they asked Steve to come to do a speaking event. They’re not asking send a Michigan Auto Law representative, right? And so that’s really, really important. I agree and obviously it’s on our team.
I just think I want to be careful that we don’t say that and people are like, “Oh, I have to be the brand”. Like that’s the only way to do it because the answer to that is no. But I do think for most listeners, the easier way and probably the right way for them is to be the face of their firm or if that’s not you and this goes back to, you know, some of these conversations we’ve had in previous rounds of the marketing team. Somebody on the team has to be that. And so, you know, if that’s going to be a person, it better be a partner because otherwise they’re going to take their face with them when they leave.
Conrad Saam: That is really important, right? Like you’re building an asset around an individual and you know.
Gyi Tsakalakis: You see that even with the — we talked about in the context of practitioner pages on Google Business profiles, right? So, you got an associate who’s doing volume, getting a lot of positive reviews, they want to take that with them if they leave firms like they’ve created assets. Like put that in your employer agreements because that’s got a lot of value.
Conrad Saam: A lot of value. All right, Gyi. Who’s on your team? Who are you drafting?
Gyi Tsakalakis: I’m going with the guests. Be their guest, be their guest, put their audience to the test, you know. And we were thinking about this as we were laughing about our prior silliness with Paul Foust, but lawyers that are guests on other podcasts. You know, you’re a guest at an event, you’re a speaking guest. Gosh that’s powerful. Local level, you know, guest speaker at your local high school. Guest speaker at you know, local business organization events. But I think in media land you’re talking about podcasts.
You know, we’ve talked about this before too is almost like the unintentional guest. But Jay Stephanie in Chicago, he does these how we use file line or how we use software at our firm. And, you know, he’s been asked to be a guest at the file line conference for that very reason. And so that’s a great way to, you know, say well, you know, what’s the direct response marketing of that. It’s like, no, but it’s all the relationships, the referral relationships, the industry recognition that he’s got from being a guest. So, honestly is where I was reflecting on this. This is like one of the more important ones to me. Tapping into other people’s established audiences.
Conrad Saam: Wow. Let me flip this and ask you the question, softball here. Hey Gyi, I want to start a podcast to market my law firm, right. By the way, I know podcasting is so successful for you, Gyi. I want to be just like you. I’m going to start by my podcast. What’s your advice, dear lawyer?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Are you any good? Let me hear what you got. I would say if you’re seriously, the serious answer is, it’s going to take some work. This isn’t a turnaround. But forget about your podcast to market your law firm. Do a podcast as something that overlaps with some affinity audience that you’re passionate about, right? This is the whole point. I’ve seen some lawyers do a pretty good job of like covering their local community almost like a local news but like a local news with like a legal ban because that’s an idea. But you know I also — there’s lawyers that do like lawyer ones, right? So, there’s trial lawyer nation. There are a bunch of other — where they’re not talking necessarily just about like, you know, their practice or, you know, their subject area.
And then I would say, if you’re going to do that, if this is the route you want to go, how are you going to get an audience? Go be a guest on one of those podcasts, right?
Conrad Saam: My read is that you are going to be so much more successful and it is going to take such less time to become that guest on other podcasts.
Gyi Tsakalakis: It is.
Conrad Saam: It is. There is years and years, and lots of effort put into building an audience, and yes, it’s great to have your own audience, but that investment is massive, right?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Minute per minute as a resource, because if you find to frame it.
Conrad Saam: Hundred percent.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Every minute you spend recording your own podcast is like an hour spent being a guest somewhere else, right, because it’s like no one’s listening to your podcast and it’s taking you an hour to record it. Over here, especially if you get on a podcast, like super popular in your local community or the community that you serve. I mean, that’s way more valuable astronomically more valuable.
Conrad Saam: All right. A little foreshadowing. You may hear Gyi and Conrad somewhere else. On the interwebs, in the near future dot, dot, dot.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Oh, it’s news to me.
Conrad Saam: It is not news to you. I just made you change your flight because I booked it on the same day as my 20th anniversary.
Gyi Tsakalakis: I think that opportunity has passed us by.
Conrad Saam: You do? Hey, we shall see. My goal is to stay married above all else.
Gyi Tsakalakis: That is, that’s an excellent goal. So Conrad, what is the big takeaway for these two roles at your Law Firm?
Conrad Saam: So, I go back to my earliest days of legal directories. And the notion that people hire lawyers and not law firms, it is about the individual, right? And it is much less about the firm. And so, that ties deeply into why it is so much easier to market a person because that’s who people hire, than a firm.
Gyi Tsakalakis: And with that, dear listener, thank you for dropping in to this episode of Lunch Hour Legal Marketing. As we always say, please do drop us a comment. I think it’s been a couple of months. We haven’t had a comment since March. So, we’re looking for comments. If you hated it, loved it in different, I think you can drop an emoji in Apple reviews.
Conrad Saam: Check us out on the socials, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, YouTube and trying to have a good time. So we’d love to hear from you. Thanks again for listening until next time. Conrad and Gyi, farewell.
Speaker: Thank you for listening to Lunch Hour Legal Marketing. If you would like more information about what you heard today, please visit legaltalknetwork.com. Subscribe via Apple podcast and RSS. Follow Legal Talk Network on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.
Gyi Tsakalakis: That’s it? Oh, just kidding. I’m in the wrong spot.
Conrad Saam: Gyi, throw to music. I love when you fuck it up.