Until recently, most website operators looked to Google as a trusted friend. Google was only there to help; to make sure your optimized website and blog were indexed and found on their search engine.

Then seemingly overnight, Google rolled out algorithm updates that turned a cold shoulder to sites that had long been showered in Google love. Millions of site rankings dropped, some sites fell off the index charts completely, and SEO practices that had once worked wonders for a site were now hurting it—leaving lonely web operators to ponder what went wrong.

In a flash, once-trusted SEO techniques and content methods for boosting a site’s Google ranking have forever changed. To ensure that your lawyer website’s placement stays as safe as possible against the next round of updates (and they’re coming), here are some SEO tips to weather Google’s algorithm storms.

For Starters, Why Did Google Change?

There was a time when SEO operators figured out how to game the system. By manipulating backlinks, spinning duplicate content, keyword stuffing, cloaking sites, and engaging in other spammy tactics, operators were able to feed misleading information to Google to boost PageRank on their sites.

These black hat operators started on the down low, but became so overwhelming that Google’s search engine wasn’t functioning the way it was intended: to provide folks with quality search results. That’s when Google called in the algorithm police.

Google’s algorithm police (Google Panda and Google Penguin, respectively) may seem like cruel operators, but they’re not. These algorithms simply make sure that sites getting Google’s attention rightfully deserve it—and that Google users don’t have to filter through top-ranked sites packed with spam and other unreadable, unusable, Internet junk.

What Sites Are Affected By The Updates?

Sites that are most affected by Google’s algorithm updates are sites that practice unethical SEO techniques. The list is many, but some black hat practices include:

  • Paid links
  • Keyword stuffing
  • Keyword link text
  • Duplicate content
  • Duplicate URL’s

If a lawyer website uses these, Google’s algorithms will mark the site as low quality, and decrease the site’s rankings at best, or de-index the site and remove it from their search base, at worst.

Note: It’s important to clarify that a website can be positively affected by Google’s updates. Just as sites that practice spammy, black hat techniques will be penalized, sites that engage in white hat SEO are likely to see a PageRank boost.

How Do I Keep My Site Safe?

No matter what algorithm updates Google rolls out next, the key to keeping your site’s rankings safe is providing valuable, quality content on your lawyer website, blog, videos (Google loves videos), even your social media pages. Link to quality sites, update your content at least 3-4 times a week (daily is preferred), and create a site that not only readers will return to, but so will Google’s search bots.

For more information on SEO best practices, contact us. We’re here to help you with your legal marketing goals.

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