Attorney Websites — 16 May 2011
Including RSS Feeds On Your Firm’s Website

It’s not uncommon to stumble across an RSS feed on a law firm’s website. Quite simply defined, RSS (an acronym for Really Simple Syndication) automatically pulls new content from frequently updated sources. In some cases, the RSS feeds on legal websites display recent articles from the firm’s blog, articles from a newspaper or even updates from the local municipal government’s website.

Once thought to be a good way to bring fresh content into a site without much work at all (once the feed is installed, the webmaster does not have to update a thing), RSS feeds no longer serve as an effective optimization strategy due in large part to the Google Algorithm changes announced earlier this year. This Google update, commonly referred to as the “Panda Update”, seeks to penalize content farms, or those sites which pull content from other sites and provide low levels of “original copy.”

External Site RSS Feeds

If your firm is considering the integration of an RSS feed to an external site, you might think again. First and foremost you should consider if the feed adds any value to your clients or site visitors. An RSS feed to the local paper should not appear on your site; odds are if web visitors really are interested in the news, they will go right to the source, not to their attorney’s website.

If you do have an external site that provides valuable updates to clients or prospective clients, feel free to include these links but, since unique content is more important than ever, you should create a unique description for the article when you post the link. Sure, it may take a few extra minutes each day but it is well worth the time investment to ensure visitor satisfaction and a high-level of site optimization.

Offering an RSS Feed On Your Site

If you do have a blog page or even a separate blog site where you frequently post updates, an RSS feed can be a great feature to include. With RSS feeds, site visitors can easily subscribe to your feed and view your new entry every time they open up their reader of choice. And since you’re the originator of the content, the updates will benefit the site while the RSS feeds allow you to syndicate this new content to all of your subscribers.

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Dolores Obrien

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