If you’re in the early stages of planning your law firm’s website, you might be considering whether a broad or niche site is more appropriate for your business.
What’s best for you depends on your business. Generally, your website should reflect what you do best. If your firm is great at personal injury, your site should reflect that. Don’t inflate your budget by targeting additional specialties (e.g., estate planning or bankruptcy) for which you have no expertise or experience. You’ll struggle to compete with firms that do possess that expertise and experience.
Meanwhile, if your firm excels in multiple legal specialties (e.g., your firm has expertise and experience in personal injury, criminal defense, estate planning, family law, etc.), then your digital presence should reflect that too. Whether you reflect that diverse expertise on a single broad site or across multiple niche sites is the question we’ll attempt to answer in this blog.
Before we dive into when a broad site might make sense and when a niche site might be more appropriate, let’s first define what we mean by broad and niche sites.
What Is the Difference Between a Broad Website and a Niche Website?
The main difference between a broad website and a niche website is that a broad website covers a wide range of topics, products, or services, while a niche site focuses deeply on one specialized area.
For a law group, a broad site advertises diverse types of legal cases, while a niche site targets one specific legal specialty. If your law firm specializes in a diverse range of legal cases, you might find yourself deciding whether to include all those areas of law on one website or split them across separate niche sites.
To be clear, we don’t mean that if you’re a personal injury lawyer that a niche site strategy would require creating one site for auto accidents, one for slips and falls, one for dog bites, and one for work injuries. All those cases fall under the personal injury umbrella, so they’d go on the same site.
But if you represent clients in personal injury, criminal defense, estate planning, family law, and bankruptcy cases, you’ll have to decide whether to cover all those diverse areas of law on one website (a broad website) or create separate sites (niche websites) for each.
How Does the Choice Between Broad and Niche Impact SEO?
The choice between a broad website and a niche website for a law firm could impact the site’s performance in the search results.
Some would argue that a site dedicated to one specific topic is easier to rank for important search terms within that topic. Niche sites allow honing your law firm’s content, links, and authority around a focused practice area and related keywords. The thinking is that if you create a website focused exclusively on personal injury, for example, the site will contain deep knowledge, insight, and perspectives on personal injury. It’s thus easier to build that site’s authority in the personal injury space.
Meanwhile, if your site covers personal injury, criminal defense, bankruptcy, and other practice areas, your site contains content across all those diverse areas of law. It’s theoretically harder to establish your site’s authority in any one area.
But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
You can certainly find great success with a broad website. Take this example of a law firm that offers myriad legal services, including personal injury, estate planning, workers’ compensation, labor disputes, and several others. The screenshot from Semrush shows just some of the keywords it ranks for in the top position.
Not only do they rank in the first position for a considerable number of valuable, business-driving keywords, they do so across varied legal specialties. Google has no problem seeing this website as an authoritative and relevant result for users searching for legal help in diverse areas of law. All told, as of mid-November 2023, they rank in the top 3 for 851 keywords specific to personal injury, estate planning, immigration, bankruptcy, medical malpractice, employment law, real estate law, and more.
So, if some SEOs argue that niche sites are easier to rank for important keywords, but this and other law firms capably rank for terms across a broad range of legal specialties, what’s the right call for your firm?
Which Is Better for My Law Firm: A Broad Website or a Niche Website?
It is advantageous to focus on what you do best. In other words, your website should reflect what you’re good at.
Niche Sites for Firms Focusing on One Legal Specialty
If you’re good at representing personal injury clients, create a niche personal injury site. Don’t add pages on criminal defense or estate planning just to put a few more lures in the water in hopes of getting some additional traffic or leads – leads you’re likely ill-equipped to handle anyway.
It will be difficult to compete against a law firm that specializes in one legal specialty (e.g., criminal defense) if you are trying to cover several specialties in which you do not have sufficient expertise.
Broad vs. Niche Sites for Firms Focusing on Several Legal Specialties
You can rank your site for multiple legal specialties using a broad website approach, but only if you have high authority (e.g., reviews, ratings, credible links, etc.) in those specialties. So, if you represent clients across a broad range of legal specialties under one single brand, you’re generally better off creating a single site that covers all those specialties.
However, if your business represents people across different legal specialties under different brand names, then building niche sites for each brand might make more sense.
For example, suppose you represent personal injury clients under the brand ABC Injury Law and you represent bankruptcy clients under Acme Bankruptcy Law. In that case, building niche sites for each allows you to establish each site’s – and brand’s – authority in its specific niche.
The difference is that you’re representing clients in the different practice areas under different brand names, not a single brand name.
The Role of Budget in Ranking Broad & Niche Websites
Your budget will affect how quickly and successfully either approach will achieve results.
If you choose a broad site covering diverse practice areas, you might achieve quicker results if you have a larger budget. But if you’re creating niche sites for each of your brands, you could require an even larger budget to fully cover each site.
Don’t restructure your business to accommodate an SEO strategy. Your SEO strategy should accommodate your business. Talk to your SEO team about what makes sense for your budget and business. There are always exceptions or circumstances that might call for a novel strategy.
Points to Keep in Mind When Deciding Between a Broad or Niche Approach to Your Digital Marketing
Whether a broad website or niche website is better for your law firm depends on several strategic factors:
- Breadth of practice areas: Firms offering a wide array of legal services benefit from a broad site showcasing their comprehensive capabilities. Firms specializing in one field of law can focus content more through a niche site.
- Firm size: Larger firms with many practice groups and attorneys often warrant a broad site. Smaller boutique firms gain more from niche sites emphasizing their particular expertise.
- Keyword opportunities: Niche sites more easily pursue in-depth optimization for a focused set of keywords or topics. Broad sites target keywords across a diffuse topic pool.
- Competition levels: A niche site for a less competitive practice area is easier to rank for than broad site optimization across crowded legal fields.
In general, niche law firm websites can more easily gain traction with focused optimization, while broad sites require extensive strategies across a diffuse topic base to compete. In any case, the website strategy should align with showcasing genuine areas of expertise to attract the right prospective clients.
The Verdict: It Depends on Your Business
Your law firm’s website should reflect what you do best. It should reflect your business and brand.
There are always exceptions. But generally, you won’t find much success if you attempt to rank for keywords in a legal specialty for which your firm does not possess expertise. And breaking up your site’s diverse legal specialties across smaller niche sites under a single brand will likely only serve to confuse users and inflate your budget.
Align your website with your business and you’ll find greater success. Speak with law firm website professionals like those at We Do Web to help you with law firm SEO services. Hiring an agency that specializes in digital marketing for lawyers can help you make key decisions about your firm’s online marketing strategy.
Alex Valencia is an influential entrepreneur, marketer, speaker, podcaster, and CEO of We Do Web Content, one of Inc. 5000’s fastest-growing businesses in America. His agency implements game-changing content marketing strategies and produces top-ranking web content for law firms, medical professionals, and small businesses nationwide.