Are you over-optimzing? Probably. Many “legal markerters” promise results to clients, lawyers just like you, with blog posts that are over-linked and ‘over-optimized.’ According to Google, the world’s largest search engine, such behavior will land your law firm’s website in the dugout: Google is working on a search ranking penalty for sites that are “over-optimized” or “overly SEO’ed.” In other words, if you are paying a marketing or SEO group to buy tons of links on link-building sites or spread your links across non-ranked/unverified blogs, Social Media accounts, and online directories, Google will hold it against you.
Google has been working on this penalty for months and plans to roll it out in the near future. The penalty’s goal is to “level the playing field” and give sites that have great content a better shot at ranking above sites that have content that is not as great but do a better job with SEO. Make sure that you and/or your legal marketer is contributing relevant, educational, and informational content to your blog — and not only for ethical reasons.
Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam team, said about over-optimization:
“We [Google] are trying to level the playing field a bit. All those people doing, for lack of a better word, over optimization or overly SEO versus those making great content and great site. We are trying to make GoogleBot smarter, make our relevance better, and we are also looking for those who abuse it, like too many keywords on a page, or exchange way too many links or go well beyond what you normally expect. We have several engineers on my team working on this right now.”
And here’s the audio clip, from SXSW:
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