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How Extensive Is Your Experience? Insights on Law Firm Website Text.

It is common for law firm websites to speak about themselves with hyperbole.  Self-important adjectives litter the site content.  Firm’s with exceptional people are one-upped by those with truly exceptional people.  Knowledge is only valid if it isgenuine. Experience, it seems comes in a variety of flavors as well. Some firms havewide experience.  For others it is deep experience.  But the most common benchmark of experience is that it be extensive.  Does your firm claim extensive experience?

Now it’s not that I don’t believe it when I read of a professional’s extensive experience. It’s just that this really doesn’t tell me anything. Worse, it doesn’t tell me anything different from the next guy who also has extensive experience. In fact, I would argue, my baseline is extensive experience. Now tell me how you’re better.

If you Google the phrase “extensive experience” there are over 6 million website pages where this value is claimed.  Using the search tool on several law firm websites, I discovered an “extensive experience” ratio of about  35% – 50% (# of appearances of “extensive experience”/attorney). So making this claim doesn’t so much separate one professional from the pack as much as it defines the pack. (Check your firm’s ratio and let me know!)

But the problem with this “extensive experience” language is not merely that it is linguistic laziness. Rather, this laziness results in failing to detail the richness, complexity and detail which this phrase references. And in so not doing, opportunities are lost for using this missing content.  You won’t be found in a search engine because, frankly, nobody is looking for “extensive experience.” And you won’t be discovered in your site search because, well, almost half of all attorneys have the same vague amount of experience. And it is all extensive.

Yes, I understand that, often, considerable descriptive detail must be concealed for privacy considerations.  Yeah, so? Content developers (copywriters) simply have to work harder to anonymize those involved. But, with a little effort, it is possible and essential to provide sufficient detail to make the stories comprehensible and relevant – and content rich.

Go the extra mile to gather the detail that elicits that sense of extensive experience. Boil it down to 3 to 5 cogent bullet points of industry and matter relevance. And post it. Your site visitor will have a better experience. This will result in more web pages consumed and possibly a longer time on the site with more opportunity for engagement. And search engines will devour the details for their ranking algorithms.  And you know how I know this? I have extensive experience.

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Scott has been working in network administration with Internet companies for over ten years. He has...