While Google continuously tweaks their algorithm, making hundreds of changes each year, the latest update, known as the May 2022 Core Update, was more significant than usual and many websites have since seen drastic changes in both rankings and traffic.
On May 25th, Google announced the rollout of the May 2022 Core Update. According to Danny Sullivan, Google’s Public Liaison for Search, “Core updates are designed to increase the overall relevancy of our search results and make them more helpful and useful for everyone.
Core updates are changes we make to improve Search overall and keep pace with the changing nature of the web. While nothing in a core update is specific to any particular site, these updates may produce some noticeable changes to how sites perform.”
Impact of Core Update on Your Law Firm Website
Although the full rollout of this update is expected to take two weeks, the effects are already being seen across the internet. There have been dramatic fluctuations in search engine rankings, also known as SERPS (Search Engine Results Page), particularly in the legal and financial sectors.
Semrush, a leading digital marketing platform, tracks SERPS volatility on a scale of 1 – 10. On June 1, 2022, they rated fluctuations in rankings at 8.1 out of 10 across all industries. For the legal and financial sectors, the score was a whopping 9.1, considered extremely high.
This latest core update isn’t considered a Google penalty but is designed to promote or reward great web pages. That means that it’s more important than ever to focus on publishing the best possible content.
Ensure Your Site Complies with Google’s Guidelines
Changes to the algorithms mean that online marketers must adjust their strategies. And, while Google claims there are no specific “fixes” for sites that have lost rankings and traffic, there are a few things you can do to make sure your content continues to reach your audience.
- Check your search traffic in Google Analytics. Here at the Academy, we continuously monitor our site analytics and provide all website owners with monthly reports. If someone in your law firm isn’t tasked with regularly checking your online marketing metrics, you’ll never know if/how one of the many algorithm changes has impacted your site, which means you can’t take corrective action.
- Publish high quality, relevant content. Google is now able to better understand the intention behind a particular search query, so unique, high-quality content that answers specific questions will rank better and result in more traffic.
If you want to take a deep dive into the details, Google provides in-depth Search Quality Guidelines, which notes the characteristics of high and low quality pages. Some of the specifics are somewhat technical and some won’t be applicable to a law firm website (think ecommerce sites), but your webmaster and marketing director should be familiar with the requirements.
- Focus on long-tail keywords. Law firms will have to adjust strategies to optimize for search via voice-enabled devices, steering away from targeting broad-term keywords and focusing more on long-tail keywords that takes natural language into account. For example, one might type “probate process” on a computer, but ask Siri, “How long is the probate process in California?” Keep those considerations in mind when publishing blog posts.
The biggest takeaway from these last several weeks may be that SEO is not a “one and done” effort. Keeping up to date on the latest online marketing trends and adjusting your strategy as needed is the only way to continue to rank well, bring traffic to your website, and turn all of those prospects into clients.
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (858) 453-2128
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