Google’s ranking algorithm uses more than 200 factors when scoring your law firm’s website pages. Some of these factors are off-page attributes, and some are even off-site. Although you can try to manipulate other sites to try to benefit your own rankings, ultimately, those sites belong to other people and their actions related to your site and the relative power or insignificance of those sites will all have an impact on your Web page rankings. This week, the SEO Trends report looks at how others can help or harm your rankings, and what you can do about that. You will read about advice currently posted on Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Land, and Search Engine Watch.

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Is Penguin 4.0 coming in March 2016?

Backlinks are probably the most influential tool a third party site can use to influence the rankings of your law firm’s Web pages. Links are one of the biggest factors in the Google ranking algorithm and you get an adjustment score applied to your rankings by the Penguin filter. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do about the links that influence your rankings because the links you post on your pages out to other websites have little to no influence on your rankings. It is the links other people post on their sites that point into your site that either enhance, or destroy your rankings. Penguin targets spammy backlinks and seriously downgrades the rankings of the pages they point to. So if you hired someone to soup up your rankings, and they were cheap, they may have just posted lots of links to your sites on link farms, which will drag you down. You need to investigate your backlink profile before Penguin is run again.

Avoid the Next Penguin Update: A Guide to Identifying and Removing Bad Links

Here is Search Engine Journal’s take on the Penguin update. Google’s ranking algorithm runs all the time, so any SEO improvements you make to the pages of your law firm’s website will show up in a ranking adjustment fairly quickly. Filters are different, however, and Penguin is one of these. Filters are run infrequently and they calculate an adjustment to any score the ranking algorithm may calculate in the future – resulting in a permanent ranking downgrade until the filter is run again. So even if you get the bad backlinks into your site removed, the minus mark from Penguin will remain and drag down your rankings until Penguin is updated and the penalty is removed.

Four SEO Strategies Every Digital Marketer Needs to Understand

This article covers a range of tactics that suit different marketing strategies. The section that makes it relevant to this week’s SEO Trends theme is the discussion on Barnacle SEO. You don’t have to just sit in your office and hope that other sites will sprinkle some good SEO fairy dust on your law firm’s Web pages. You can actually go onto influential sites and drag some of their points towards your site. The easiest way to do that is through reviews, and the Barnacle concept discusses that strategic tool.

Robots.txt File Case Study: How Third-Party Directive Changes Led To Leaking URLs And Lost SEO Traffic

This article is quite technical and you may find the topic difficult to understand. For the definitive explanation of Robots.txt files, see This file tells Webcrawlers not to index certain pages, or directories of pages on your site. Unfortunately, this file is accessible by anyone and can be manipulated. In this case, an agreed partner of a site – a Content Management System hosted by its provider, habitually edited their client’s robots.txt file and damaged the visibility of a lot of that site. You should check the robots.txt file of your law firm’s website periodically to make sure no one is fiddling about with it and damaging your rankings. The article explains how to do that.

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How hacking hurts your website’s ranking in search results

The previous article explained how partner software can inadvertently damage you law firm’s site by some procedural programming error. However, external forces can also clobber your search engine visibility intentionally. The astonishing part in this article is the statistic that 10,000 websites get removed from Google’s files every day because they have been infected by malware placed there by hackers. That is a big number. You should take steps to make sure hackers don’t get your site blacklisted.

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