Notes From the SEO Underground: April 2019
“SEO Underground” is your first and fastest stop to find out about breaking news and recent algorithm updates that affect your firm’s online visibility.
April signals the beginning of the 2nd Quarter 2019, and this month we’ll take a closer look at the Google De-Indexing Issue, Google Maps Spam, and a new feature in Google My Business.
On April 4th, Google inadvertently dropped pages from its index. After a series of updates that the issue would be resolved quickly, it appears the matter has finally been settled. If your law firm experienced a drop in traffic around this time, check Search Console to see if your site experienced any unintended indexing issues. Here’s what Google had to say:
The indexing issue has now been fully resolved. We apologize for the inconvenience. We appreciate your patience as we restored normal operation.
— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) April 11, 2019
Why This Mattered
- Lost Traffic + Lost Conversions = Lost Money
Google hasn’t given any indication (and probably won’t) about how widespread the issue was, but if your firm was one of the unlucky recipients of this de-indexing bug, we can help. Drop Gladiator Law Marketing a line and we’ll diagnose the issue and recommend a plan of action to help you climb back up the rankings.
Google Maps Spam
Along with the auto insurance industry, Google Maps Spam recently hit the legal industry hard. The spike happened toward the latter half of March, but there are still residual cases in which law firms are trying to game the system. While we’re past the boiling point, just beware that there will always be companies trying to get a leg up through questionable — if not downright unethical — tactics.
Notice an issue with Google Maps Spam that is affecting your law firm? Then contact us and we’ll help you flag the company in question and report them to Google.
If You See Map Spam, Take Action!
When users come across Maps Spam, it devalues the legitimacy of companies with actual locations, negatively impacts the rankings of those companies, and wastes users’ time. An already-frustrated user, who is actively seeking a consultation with a lawyer, doesn’t need additional headaches caused by spam.
The 3 most common things to look for:
- Keyword stuffed names.
- Using the example above, “Excellent Car Accident Lawyer of Seattle” is not a legitimate law firm
- Fake Locations
- Often times in these fake listings, the “business” will claim a virtual office or a UPS location as a satellite location – both of which are against Google guidelines.
- No Reviews
- No reviews does not automatically mean a company doesn’t exist, but when taken in conjunction with a keyword stuffed name, and/or a fake location, it’s an added layer that should send up a red flag.
New Google My Business Feature
Google recently announced that users in select countries have the ability to post testimonials from within Google My Business Posts. It’s reported that these posts are suggested by Google, and they are based on recent Google reviews of your company.
Why This Is Important
This feature allows your law firm to tout all the positive reviews you’re getting. Google posted on Twitter that these post types are automatically suggested based on 4- or 5-star reviews that customers or clients have provided. If getting legitimate customer feedback and reviews has not been a part of your marketing strategy, we highly recommend you make it a priority.
There are multiple benefits to getting quality online reviews, some easier to quantify than others, but all are an integral part of increasing your law firm’s visibility.
Here Are 3 reasons Why Your Firm Should Develop a Strategy for Reviews:
- Reviews are a sign of trust: Would you rather trust your case to a firm with few positive reviews or a firm with 500 positive reviews?
- Reviews can be used as testimonials on your website, within YouTube Videos, in marketing collateral, etc.
- Legitimate high-quality reviews can actually improve your rankings and visibility on Google. Think of it like a vote of confidence where a user is endorsing your company. The more endorsements your law firm gets, the higher the probability that your local rankings will increase.
Respond To Every Review
In order to fully maximize the benefits of Google reviews, respond to every review. According to Google, responding shows you value your customers’ opinions and you are willing to engage in meaningful dialogue
Follow the SEO Underground
Want to know more about Search Engine Optimization? Check back for our monthly installments regarding SEO happenings and contact us for more information about how we can improve your campaign.
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