Jul 13, 2015

Google Panda Update on the Way

If Google Panda ever affected your law firm’s search rankings—or even if it didn’t—it’s important to know that the search giant is about to update its famous algorithm again.

What is Google Panda?

Google first rolled out the Panda algorithm update in February 2011. Panda’s purpose was to lower rankings on what they deemed “low-quality” sites, and it was a major overhaul to the search engine’s results. Sites with thin content (those that have very little that’s useful to searchers) took a huge hit, as did sites that had “shallow” content.

At the time, Google said, “We’re evaluating multiple changes that should help drive spam levels even lower, including one change that primarily affects sites that copy others’ content and sites with low levels of original content. We’ll continue to explore ways to reduce spam, including new ways for users to give more explicit feedback about spammy and low-quality sites.”

What this led to was a sharp increase in traffic for sites that had great content; sites with high-quality, informative landing pages, fresh content on their blogs and plenty of user-friendly information that actually gave searchers what they wanted.

Google is in the business of pleasing searchers, and this new Panda update is on the verge of rolling out and further improving search results.

What Does the Google Panda Update Mean for Law Firms?

If your site is suffering from thin content – content that leaves users wanting more – or your content is stuffed with keywords, you could suffer as a result of this quality update. If you haven’t updated your blog since sometime in 2011, that’s something you should probably start working on.

Panda hasn’t been updated in more than 7 months. This isn’t a change to the algorithm, but it is an update to the data it uses and the data by which it measures the quality of a website. That means sites that were penalized before might recover… but it also means that sites that escaped Panda’s grasp will suffer a dip in rankings as things get shuffled around.

The reason it’s so important for law firms to take Panda updates seriously is simple: you are competing with other firms in town that can (and will) take your cases. Your firm’s website is your biggest asset, but if people aren’t seeing it online, it’s not doing you any good. It becomes a waste of time, effort and money.

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