[author: Noreen Fishman]
Whether we like it or not, much of our digital performance is dependent on Google. When people need information, they don’t simply “search” for it online, they “Google” it. Google handles 90% of the global search engine market and there are over 70,000 Google searches each second. To manage that volume, Google’s algorithms are constantly changing. Their ranking factors determine if websites are visible, which is ultimately a make or break for many businesses. Many may be wondering, will the Google update affect law firms?
Google recently released guidance regarding their most recent update- here’s what legal marketers need to know.
Google’s Update to Local Search Results
Google confirmed that their latest update began rolling out in November and concluded on December 8th. The update included a “rebalancing” of the ranking factors that the search engine will consider when generating local search results. Officially, the update is called the November 2021 local search update.
Google’s guidance for handling the latest update is to continue using local SEO best practices. The ranking factors that local search results are based on include:
- Relevance – How well your local business profile matches what someone is looking for
- Distance – How far each search result is from the location term used within the search
- Prominence – How well known a business is
Will the Google Update Affect Law Firms?
Google has never fully detailed the weight given to each factor. Since we don’t know exactly how factors are prioritized, this is a good time to rebalance your overall efforts. As an example, if you have been focused mainly on the relevance factor by optimizing your Google Business Profile information, you may have neglected the prominence factor. As a reminder, here are some tips that will help you across all three factors. It’s a smart idea to run through this list and make sure you’ve completed each step:
Make sure you’ve claimed your “Google My Business” page.
Add schema markup to your website.
Ensure that name, address, and phone information is included and matches in any online location.
Add your business to any relevant local directory listings.
Obtain reviews and add them to your website.
Perform research on local search terms and then create local content that’s optimized for those terms.
It’s unlikely that this Google update will affect law firms, particularly if you’ve been paying attention to local search optimization all along. A local search update should only impact the ranking of your Google Business Profile in the local pack. If the ranking of your business profile is unchanged, then most likely you haven’t been adversely impacted. If you’re worried and wondering will the Google update affect law firms, just make sure you are following SEO best practices and completing each step of the above list.
Google’s algorithms are incredibly complex and even the savviest digital marketer can have a hard time keeping up with the ever-evolving science.