Times, they are a changin’. As many lawyers who employ SEO companies to increase their search results rankings are learning, Google can’t be bought. Panda and Penguin, two updates for the much-discussed Google algorithms for determining search result placement, brought down many law firms last year when the updates started to penalize companies that purchased links, spammed key words, or created invisible white pages for clients in the hopes to increase their online visibility. Not only are these practices shady, but they no longer work. WebPresence, Esq. saw a number of law firms disappear from the first page of a Google search thanks to these updates.
Unfortunately for many more law firms, Google is at it again. This time, Google is going after over-linking and over-keywording and the search engine marketers that engage in these practices. This is great news for those of us who provide quality legal content for blogs — our unique, information content will be rewarded with higher search engine rankings.
While links remain important, quality links (those that help determine your law firm’s page placement in a Google search) have to be earned. Recently, Google stripped sites of many links it deemed forced, purchased or otherwise tainted and has made it harder for sites to gain links. Both content marketing and social media marketing are usurping SEO’s dominance in link-building as Google begins to rate links based on perceived value. For example, a link from a blog or article published in a high-authority magazine or shared on Twitter gets more Google love than links from ezines and directories.
And Google isn’t stopping at links. Keywords are also losing their importance in online marketing. So that ‘legal content’ your web marketing team is writing for you, the stuff that doesn’t really say much except your location and area of law? It has no place in Google’s future, meaning no place on search engine rankings.
Beware of a web marketing firm or SEO company that promises results based on key words. As part of the search engine ranking overhaul, Google is making it more difficult for websites and advertisers to know what keywords drive traffic. This means that if you have prospered off of the words “Orange County Personal Injury Lawyer,” you / your SEO company will have a more difficult time tracking results. You may not know if someone visited your site because of keywords or luck. Translation: promises to deliver based solely on keywords will be empty — Google is keeping most website analytics information to itself.
Do not despair. This does not mean you and your practice cannot prosper off of the Internet. It does mean that the old ways of SEO are changing and that quality legal blogging and strong Social Media campaigns for lawyers are more important than ever. If you are interested in developing new business by using the new media, contact a legal marketing team that understands value as well as the trends.
For more information on increasing your law firm’s online visibility, contact the attorneys slash legal marketers at WebPresence, Esq. today.