Every few months, Google will roll out a core update to its search engine algorithm. These changes may affect how well your pages are ranking on Google’s search results page. Google implements these updates to improve the quality of content that it is providing to its users. As a result, staying informed about the nature of the updates and how they may affect rankings is vital to the practice of SEO. This article will break down what core updates are and what to do if you find that your law firm rankings are being negatively impacted.
Google Core Updates
Periodically, Google makes changes to its search algorithms and systems. These changes tend to be sweeping, and Google refers to them as core updates. These updates help Google to ensure that it can consistently deliver search results that are both informative and reliable.
If your law firm web page is not performing as well after a core update, that doesn’t mean the page is poorly written or violates any of Google’s policies. No page or site is ever intentionally targeted by Google’s updates. The purpose of the updates is to improve how Google’s systems and algorithms evaluate and rank content. While these changes can decrease the rank of your page, they can also increase the rank of your page.
Consider this scenario to get the idea: Imagine a list of the best TV shows of all time. If a show was ranking at No. 10 in 2020, it may fall to No. 15 in 2023 as newer and better shows are released. This doesn’t mean the prior shows are suddenly bad — it simply means that newer shows better satisfy the conditions of the list. In a similar way, new law firm content on competitors’ sites may simply be considered better after a Google core update. Thankfully, this doesn’t mean that your page can never recover its rank.
What To Do If Your Pages Are Negatively Affected
Evaluate Your Content
If you find that your law firm content is no longer ranking as well as it was before a Google update, it may be time to improve upon that content. Google recommends having a close look at the content that is now underperforming. Make sure you’re producing quality content that effectively satisfies search intent, and look for ways to revise and update existing content.
“Search intent” refers to the intention of the searcher when they type a keyword into Google. For example, if a searcher types “best law firms” into Google, they are most likely looking for a list-style article of the best law firms. However, if they typed “personal injury lawyer Brooklyn,” they would be looking for the page of a personal injury lawyer in the Brooklyn area.
Google cares a great deal about matching search intent to the query results it provides, so you should ensure that your firm’s pages are matching the search intent of the keywords they are targeting. One of the best ways to check search intent is to Google the keyword you are targeting and look at the types of pages that Google surfaces. These are the types of pages that you should be creating when targeting a keyword for your firm.
When you evaluate your content, you should also ensure that it is of the highest quality possible. Google prefers content that is informative, concise, trustworthy, easily scannable, and satisfies the intent of the searcher. Make sure your content is as user-friendly and appealing as possible when targeting any keywords.
Ensure Top-Notch Technical SEO
There are other factors, too, that affect how well your page ranks on Google. These include technical SEO elements like load time, mobile friendliness, and correct indexing. These factors, among others, can drastically affect how well your law firm pages are ranking. Ensuring that your technical SEO is up to scratch is a vital step toward ensuring that your pages are getting the rankings they deserve.
You may need to hire a skilled SEO practitioner to evaluate your website’s content and technical performance and then make recommendations about how to increase your site’s ranking and technical performance.
Use Data to Your Advantage
Data is king in the world of SEO, and knowing how to correctly analyze this data is a vital skill for understanding why your pages rank the way they do. Being able to access data is one thing, but being able to interpret data is another. You should be able to see data showing how your page has fared over past months, compare it to current rankings, and unpack why the numbers are what they are.
This will not always be possible or easy, but it is important to use data in any way that you can to inform your approach to SEO. For example, if a page has a high bounce rate, then you should reconsider the content on the page or perhaps the keyword the page is targeting. A high bounce rate indicates that what your page is providing is not what searchers are looking for.
Google Core Updates and Your Law Firm Website
Google core updates strive to constantly improve the quality of the search results that Google presents to its users. These updates can cause your law firm’s web pages to increase or decrease in rank. Rather than panic if it is the latter, it’s important to evaluate these changes in rank and look for ways to tweak content, keyword usage, or technical SEO. Additionally, evaluate relevant data to inform SEO decision-making before making significant, impulsive changes to your content or SEO strategy.