Search engine optimization is an essential ongoing process to make sure your website ranks highly for relevant keywords and can be found by people searching for legal assistance. Google, the most widely-used search engine, has a complex algorithm used to determine how highly your law firm’s website is ranked, based on a number of factors including the quality of your content and the strength of your website design.
On April 21st, Google is changing its algorithm again. These changes can have a profound impact on your site and, if you aren’t prepared, all the hard work you’ve done to build your site’s search engine ranking and visibility could be destroyed.
Google’s New Mobile-Friendly Algorithm
As of April 21, Google is adding a “mobile-friendly” component to the algorithm used to rank websites. Google is going to be taking into account whether your site appears correctly on tablets, smartphones, and other mobile devices.
Google’s change makes a lot of sense, since estimates suggest that approximately 50 percent of search engine traffic is going to come from mobile devices in 2015. If your site is not mobile ready, however, the change could hurt you.
Google is able to determine whether a user is searching from a mobile device or from a PC. With the new algorithm, Google is going to lower the rankings of websites that are not mobile-friendly whenever the search is performed from a portable device. This means if your site doesn’t display correctly and isn’t functional for mobile users, most of those mobile users aren’t going to see your firm when they conduct a search.
A lot of potential clients may use tablets or telephones to look for attorneys who can help them with legal issues, and you don’t want to miss out on all of this potential business. The tablet and smartphone market is only going to get bigger, so this new algorithm may be just the motivation you need to update your website.
How Does this Change Impact Firms with Mobile Sites?
If you already have a mobile website or if your site has been redesigned recently, you may think you’re in the clear. After all, web site designers have taken mobile responsiveness into account for a while when they make design choices.
The reality, however, is that 100 percent of your website has to be mobile friendly and a lot of sites have problem pages. Having even a few old HTML pages on your main company site that could have been test pages or leftovers from previous versions of your website could affect how Google views your firm’s Internet presence. You don’t want these old and perhaps unused pages to cause your site to drop in the rankings, especially if they could be quickly updated or deleted.
Prepare Now for the Algorithm Change
If you have an existing site, you can run it through Google’s Mobile-friendly Testing Tool to find out if your website passes the test and is considered 100 percent mobile friendly. If it isn’t, or if you haven’t been focused on mobile, there are a few steps you can take so your site won’t drop in the rankings in the coming weeks.
Getting your site ready may involve:
- Adding a plugin to make your site mobile-friendly. This can be a simple and cost-effective way to make your existing website compliant with the new Google mobile rules
- Deleting old pages that are not mobile friendly and that are no longer necessary
- Modifying or adding coding on site pages so the pages are better suited to mobile devices
Some websites are going to require more significant updating, especially if you’ve done nothing to be mobile-ready in the past. The new Google algorithm is good incentive to advance your site into the modern mobile world so you aren’t missing out on half the traffic you could otherwise receive.
SEO and Social Media Manager
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (800) 846-1555
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