April 20th – April 26th, 2015
Regular readers of the James Attorney Marketing Blog will have been following our close monitoring of Google’s expected mobile-friendly algorithm. Google started applying its new ranking methodology to benefit mobile-friendly sites on April 21. As with any Google ranking changes, the application of the new system will take time to ripple though all the pages in the world, so don’t take your rankings on April 22 as set in stone. Now we are into the following week, the results of the changes should finally start to show. However, give your rankings another week to settle down before you take action. In this week’s SEO Trends article you will read the reaction of the SEO news sites to “mobilegeddon.”Search Engine Roundtable has a very heavy technical bias and their posts carry more weight on matters relating to technology. This review also includes articles from Search Engine Watch and Search Engine Land.
As a lawyer, you probably don’t have time to sit re-querying and analyzing rankings all day. Fortunately, Barry Schwartz, editor and main contributor to Search Engine Roundtable, has got the time, and that’s pretty much all he’s been doing since April 21. Schwartz setup his vigil on the day of the change over, reporting that nothing seemed to be happening. In this post, the day after the algorithm shake up, Schwartz confirmed that the roll out had begun.
When Google rolls out a change to its ranking algorithm you may notice that the pages of your law firm’s website might suddenly fall and then rise in search engine results, and then fall again. It might seem that Google is reordering rankings hourly, and the rapid yo-yoing of your website’s position may seem over-worked. This phenomenon is caused by the fact that Google meets demand by keeping its records in several different places. Searchers get redirected to one or other database, according to demand. These data centers all have to be updated and the reordering process doesn’t happen simultaneously. So, if your law firm ranks number two for a particular search term and then an hour later is number seven, and then back at number two an hour later, this is because you are accessing different databases. The site has been re-ranked on one of those centers, but not on another. This is why it is advisable to wait at least a week before seeing the effects of new ranking algorithms. This Search Engine Roundtable illustrates this situation.
Search Engine Watch jumped the gun a bit with this article on the effects of the rollout, before the rollout had taken effect. However, the interesting feature of this piece is that it lists some big businesses that just haven’t bothered being mobile-friendly. Enriching the user experience on very small screens may be an impossible task for certain types of products and large businesses with regularly returning customers, such as Ryanair, may not need to please the mobile Web surfer. However, most small law firms in the US get all of their clients from their immediate vicinity and often gain customers who are in a moment of panic and in urgent need. Those types of customers are more likely to search for services on their smartphones, so you really need to do well out of this mobile-friendly algorithm change, even though American Apparel does not.
Google’s interest in access from mobile-devices has been a feature of SEO since the beginning of 2014. It is difficult to work out whether Google is working on searchers from smartphones because that is where the future lies, or whether people are switching to mobile search engine access because Google has willed it to be so. This month’s dash to build mobile-friendly websites was entirely driven by Google’s announcement of its new algorithm. This article shows that your efforts to get your law firm’s site accessible were part of a movement directed by Google. However, the 4.7% increase seems surprising low.
You may have rushed to get your mobile-friendly version out, or maybe you were just too busy with your case load to test every page. This article lists some of the errors that may be lurking on your site and now the panic is over, you should run through all the pages on your site on a mobile device to make sure everything is working properly.
As ever with its worrying schemes of penalties and promotions, Google has provided a path through the ranking chaos to those that pay. If your law firm’s rankings have been ripped to shreds and you just give up trying to recover from the downgrade, signing up for Google AdWords may be your best solution.