Partners who carefully watch how well their law firm’s website is doing in the search engine rankings might have noticed a shakeup in the past week as Google rolled out a new update to its algorithms. The update is nothing unusual, though the breadth of the changes has been wider-reaching than normal. The results highlight how important it is to play the game that search engines want you to play, and create a website for your law firm that is both relevant and important for the given keywords you are targeting.
Google Updates Core Algorithm…Again
Last week, Google announced on its official Twitter account that it had recently “released a broad core algorithm update.”
On Monday, we released a broad core algorithm update, as we routinely do throughout the year. For background and advice about these, see our tweet from last month: https://t.co/uPlEdSu6xp
— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) April 20, 2018
Anticipating a fierce questioning by search engine marketing professionals, Google pointed to earlier tweets that (it claimed) would explain what it meant by “broad core algorithm update.”
Each day, Google usually releases one or more changes designed to improve our results. Some are focused around specific improvements. Some are broad changes. Last week, we released a broad core algorithm update. We do these routinely several times per year….
— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) March 12, 2018
Result: Strong Fluctuations in the Rankings
In the aftermath of the update, website owners and managers noted ranking fluctuations that were stronger than normal: Instead of stagnancy being the norm, some sites had suddenly moved up a bit, some sites had suddenly moved down a bit, and a choice few were jumping around by more than a page.
Google is Just Tweaking its Algorithm
What we saw was nothing unusual. As Google announced on Twitter, these “broad core algorithm updates” typically happen “several times per year,” while smaller changes happen “each day.” This past week’s update was just a relatively large tweak that altered a relatively large portion of Google’s algorithm, and which changed the rankings of a relatively large number of websites.
How to Win When Google Changes the Playing Field
Many webmasters complain when Google makes these updates. They claim that they lost place in the rankings because Google changed the playing field in ways that they could not have anticipated.
But Google has routinely stated that, at its core, the algorithm they are tweaking and constantly honing is meant to promote websites that are relevant and important for the given search. While it is not outside of the realm of possibility for Google to make a mistake and roll out an update that actually cuts against this goal, online search engine marketers should anticipate that the vast majority of Google’s tweaks will move in the right direction, and that the mistakes that are made are rectified in short order.
Keeping this in mind—that you should be able to count on Google moving towards their goal of promoting relevant and important websites—can help your law firm’s website survive the constantly updating world of search engine marketing.
Decide what you want your website to be about—whether it’s appealing convictions for federal crimes, pursuing class action lawsuits in housing discrimination cases, or mediating divorces.
Then, determine what words and phrases are most commonly used by people who want that kind of attorney—from “habeas corpus” to “numerosity” to “how to keep a divorce case from getting too expensive.”
Finally, create a website and fill it with the kinds of content that is relevant and important for people who would be putting those words and phrases into a search engine.