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Googles Panda 4.0 rollout and the impact for law firms

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Yesterday we saw a pretty aggressive rollout of what is being dubbed Panda 4.0. Initially Panda focused on specific niches like pay day loans, so nothing for the legal industry to worry about from a Google perspective.

Further rollouts have happened since the initial update yesterday and after some further research, the Conscious team have found some interesting trends across the web on a variety of niches and industries.

So what exactly is this bamboo eating Panda update from Google and how can it impact your firm’s site?

In short, Google’s ever evolving clampdown on standards is coming at us faster than ever.  You may have heard from some horror stories of sites being black listed (kicked out of) Google from bad SEO practices, agencies and so called professionals trying to do things cheaply and quickly with low quality link building and content.  Irwin Mitchell anyone?

The recent Panda 4.0 update hones in on bad quality & thin content.  Spun articles that are low in quality and relevance will do your site no favours in Google.  The best advice we can give in short is “quality over quantity” in all aspects of your firm’s online marketing, especially SEO.

Has your law firm’s site been sat on by the mighty Panda?

We recommend all of our clients to log into their analytics and see if there has been a drop in organic traffic since yesterday (20 May 2014).  Don’t worry if it is only a small amount as natural fluctuations always happen, yet if it looks something like this :-

 

 

then it is likely you’ve been hit.  If you’re unsure of how to check, simply log in to your Google Analytics account and there is the traffic graph in front of you for the last 30 days (change the date range to include the two weeks either side of 20 May 2014 if need be).

If you want to look at your SEO traffic, click “Acquisition” on the left hand navigation, then “channels” then “Organic search” underneath the graph. 

How to get out of this bamboo maze?

Then following are our recommendations :-

  • Your content - an initial overhaul of your law firm’s website content may be needed.  Whether this is done by Conscious or by your in-house team, you’ll need to hunt down the low quality content and technical problems impacting content.
  • Links to your site – when was the last time you reviewed all the other sites that point to yours?  Are these sites still of the “quality” that they used to be when you got a link, or are some of them now “toxic” from a Google perspective?
  • Move quickly - to make any changes.  It is easy to over analyse but time is of the essence! Execute the right content changes and you’re on your way to a faster recovery.
  • Keep it consistent – Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and any marketing is a long-term plan.  Keep reviewing your content, keep it unique to your firm and ensure it reds well for the end user.  Always put your potential and existing clients first when writing content for your site.
  • Get Social – We all know Social Networking sites are on the up and there is no reason why you Law Firm shouldn’t be on the top Social Media site.  Unsure on how to get started or utilise these sites for your firm’s brands?  Then why not review the social media training, content & consultancy services we can provide to law firms.

Lastly, if you’re a web savvy marketing expert representing your law firm, it’s worth familiarising yourself with Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

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