Search engines determine the success of law firm websites by deciding how many clients and potential clients they refer to the site. Earlier this year, Google started penalizing sites that push out spam content and rewarding sites that publish original content.
For years, marketers focused on keyword and link building to drive SEO and dominate the search engines. While these can still be valuable tools (when used properly), the emphasis has shifted to content marketing. Which leads us to ask… How is your law firm engaging in effective web marketing?
What is Quality Content?
Quality content is not spam. It is not shared across hundreds of law firms using the same (or practically the same) content that when you read it, actually makes very little sense. The kind of content that increases your page ranking is unique to your firm, reads well, and addresses client needs. This useful, informative content includes well-written articles, blog posts, infographs and other visuals, videos, web/podcasts, eBooks, and white papers.
Indeed, after Google finished rolling out Panda and Penguin’s latest updates, many law firms found themselves wiped off page one of search results (you can read more on that here). Sites that publish unique, relevant content were mostly unscathed. As an interesting side note, the update also clobbered certain press release sites, eBay, coupon sites and many celebrity gossip sites.
What Does Penguin Do?
Google first launched Penguin in 2012 in an attempt to catch sites that are spamming search results, in particular those doing so by buying links or obtaining them through link networks designed primarily to boost Google rankings. In other words, Google Penguin penalizes websites using “black hat” SEO tactics (such as links that come from poor-quality sites, from sites that aren’t topically relevant to a target market, paid links). While this may not be something you want to hear, in today’s new world, it takes time (and a knowledgeable legal marketing) to develop and nurture quality links.
How Does Hummingbird Work?
Google Hummingbird considers 200 major “ingredients” when determining whether a page or website is the level of quality that Google hopes to deliver to users. Hummingbird attempts to decipher a search engine query by using the context of a question rather than the specific keywords within the question. Thin content, keyword stuffing and lack of relevant content will not only not get you on page 1 of a Google search, it will get you demoted very quickly.
Create Relevant Content
Law firms affected by Panda or Penguin should look to publishing quality, unique content to regain any drops in page rankings. At the same time, law firms looking to increase SEO and push quality leads to their website should look to publishing quality, unique content on a regular basis. By doing so, not only does a firm increase its online presence, but it works to further solidify itself as the “go to” firm in a particular practice area(s). The goal is to provide legal content that will establish a firm, practice group, or lawyer as a thought leader and drive new business and new business opportunities.
Is content your law firm’s missing business development link? At WebPresence, Esq. our attorney writers understand the importance of writing to and for your target audience as well as the search engines. The content we provide our clients is unique, high quality, and effective for bringing in new business. To discuss incorporating a strategic content marketing campaign into your overall marketing approach, contact our team of legal marketers today.