Was Your Firm Affected by the Google Penguin Update?
If there is one thing that can send a website owner into a spiral of confusion and hysteria, it is a Google algorithm update. Algorithm updates happen frequently, but there are more intensive instances during the year that can have a significant impact on website rankings. Even the smallest dip in rankings can be detrimental to your firm. Learning what the latest Google Penguin update has identified as a problem and removing the penalty applied to your site is imperative, especially if you want to restore your search relevance. Keeping up to date with changes to Google’s algorithm is one is one way to get the best SEO for law firms. If you suspect you might have suffered at the hands of a Google penalty, here are a few things you can do:
Determine What Caused the Penalty
Websites must adhere to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Google considers more than two hundred signals to determine the relevance of a website for purposes of search visibility. The most common practice that can harmfully affect website relevance, in-light of the Google Penguin update, is spam-based link-building. We recommend that your firm follows these guidelines now and in the future:
Spam Link Building – Eliminate the Cause of the Penalty
Another element that can keep businesses from having the best SEO for law firms is spam link building. If the cause of your penalty is link related, you will need to start by identifying bad links. Download your link profile via Google Search Console, formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools. Once complete, manually comb through the links. Automated link analytics tools may not work for this task because often times they are not accurate enough. A manual analysis also helps to protect good links.
One of the main criteria that Google uses for determining if a back-link is spam based is anchor text. Unnatural anchor text can trigger penalties and have a negative impact on your lawyer SEO strategy. Even if the link itself is good, if the anchor text appears manipulative, it can result in a penalty. In addition to removing questionable anchor text, you should also avoid linking to low quality sites or spam-networks used primarily for the purpose of manipulating rank.
How Do You Remove Bad Links?
Removing bad links takes some work, but this can help your firm’s site if it has been penalized by the Google Penguin Update. Creating an organized process makes it easier. Start by collecting contact info for the webmasters of your problem links. Create a brief form email requesting contact and if your emails are not returned within a day or so, follow up. Document the results of your contact in a spreadsheet that you can submit to Google with your reconsideration request.
You can address the links that you received no response from in a disavow file. This lets Google know to ignore these links when reviewing your site. The disavow file can be submitted through Google Webmaster Tools, which is now known as Google Search Console. Since the process is completely automatic, all you will need to do is submit your list.
Writing A Reconsideration Request
- In addition to identifying and fixing the penalty by eliminating, fixing, or disavowing red flag links, you also need to submit a reconsideration request to Google. This is one of the most important steps in improving your rank from Google. The penalty request function is found in Google Webmaster Tools, which is now known as Google Search Console, under Search Traffic-Manual Actions.
Use the following information to create your reconsideration request:
- Show what you did to remove your bad links. You can do this by creating a spreadsheet in Google Drive. You will also want to include your disavow information, even though it was already submitted through the automated system.
- Give details for how you will avoid the same problems in the future. List your new strategy for boosting your ranks, such as adding quality content. Write a well-written and detailed request.
If you get a negative response from Google, keep trying! You will start to see improvements after your request has been accepted.