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SEO Trends usually focuses on breaking news from the past week. However, this week’s post breaks out of that format, because an accumulation of not very important changes in Google’s algorithm over the past two months adds up to important moves that you need to review. Barely noticeable tweaks here and there have been pulsing through Google’s strategy and they point towards the search engine’s new direction, so it is a good idea to look into those changes so you can assess whether your law firm’s website needs a few tweaks as well. The major piece of news this week is that Google has released a revision of its Search Quality Rater’s Guidelines. Never heard of them? We have a link through to a very good summary of them from November 2015 when they were first released. You will also read about a series of small changes that Google has made over the last month, as reported in Search Engine Journal. The star guest publication this week is The SEM Post, whose owner, Jennifer Slegg, is our source for the original review of Google’s guidelines as posted in the Moz Blog.

Google updates the search quality rating guidelines

Search Engine Land reports on the update to Google’s Search Quality Rater’s Guidelines, but the main benefit of the article is its link through to Slegg’s more thorough analysis of the updates, which we shall look at later. Very important points to note here are some new terms that Google has introduced into its in-house jargon. Note that Google now calls “local search” “visit-in-person.” Since the beginning of the year, SEO Trends has been emphasizing that Google is focusing on local search and here is more evidence of this trend. Another essential topic for law firms is the “Your Money Your Life” category, because that includes legal postings on the web. One more phrase that should now become central in every website owner’s dictionary is “E-A-T,” which stands for “Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.” Those three quality factors seem to be the new pillars on the façade of Google temple.

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30+ Important Takeaways from Google’s Search Quality Rater’s Guidelines

This is a very important article that you should try to make time to read in its entirety. Basically, it is a thorough explanation of what Google wants to see on Web pages. Back in November, when the quality rater’s guide came out, it wasn’t seen as hugely important, because the scores that quality raters give pages don’t actually count towards rankings.  You might think then, that these guidelines are a waste of time, and back last November, you probably would have been right, which is why we didn’t feature it in SEO Trends. However, Google’s revision of these guidelines shows that they are becoming more important and they give an increasingly central view of Google’s shifting strategy. So, read through this article and check that your law firm’s website is on-message with the topics it covers.

Don’t follow the link to download a copy of these guidelines, because you can get the updated version, which you will read about next. Don’t worry too much about the “spammy” warnings of the article, because if you have taken on board all the advice about Penguin and Panda, you already have those problems covered. You also don’t have to spend too much time on the “supplementary content” section, because the updates have reduced the influence of this category. The very important sections here are the “Your Money Your Life” principle, and the section about “E-A-T.”

Updated Google Quality Rater Guidelines: No More Supplementary Content, Emphasis on E-A-T

Now we meet up with Jennifer Slegg on her own property, The SEM Post, to get her very thorough run-down of the changes to the guidelines. Again, this is very long, and you may be too busy with your legal case load to find time to read it all. However, try to make the time, because it is very important. You can download the new guidelines from the Google Inside Search website.

3 Recent Google Updates: What You Should Know

After all that reading on the Search Quality Rater’s Guidelines you may not have much time to spare from your legal case work to read any more about Google changes. However, this article has some more important news for you. Although its title heralds 3 Google updates, the article actually lists 5. We have touched on AMP before at SEO Trends. You should be looking into this technology more as a method of speeding up delivery of your site to mobile devices, rather than as a boost to ranking factors. We have also covered the moves that Google has initiated to alter the display of advertising on its results pages. However, the point about disclosure is worth noting. As a lawyer, you will be aware that it is sometimes better to over-declare than accidentally omit a connection, so this factor may be relevant to your website.

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