Lawyer Marketing Guide

The Possum Algorithm: How Google’s Update Transformed Law Firm Rankings

Join us in exploring how Google’s Possum algorithm update affects Local SEO for law firms.



The digital landscape is ever-evolving, and for law firms aiming to maintain a robust online presence, staying abreast of changes in search engine algorithms is non-negotiable. One such significant change rolled out by Google, known as the Possum Algorithm update, has transformed how law firm websites rank in search results.

The Necessity of Understanding and Adapting to Search Engine Algorithms

Search engines like Google utilize complex algorithms to sift through a vast ocean of online content and present users with the most relevant and high-quality results. These algorithms consider hundreds of different factors, from website speed to keyword relevance, to decide which pages deserve top spots on the search results page.

For law firms, understanding these algorithms is crucial. It can mean the difference between appearing on the first page of search results – thereby attracting more potential clients – or being buried under a mountain of competitors’ websites. Moreover, Google periodically updates its algorithms, making it even more imperative to stay updated and adapt your SEO strategies accordingly.

The Significance of the Possum Algorithm for Law Firm Rankings

Introduced in 2016, the Possum Algorithm has had a profound impact on how law firms are ranked in Google’s search results, particularly in terms of local search. This update prioritized businesses within the searcher’s physical location, making proximity a key factor in rankings.

Focus on Improving Local Search Experience

Before this update, businesses outside the physical city limits had a difficult time ranking for keywords that included that city’s name. Post-update, Google broadened its geographical understanding, enabling these businesses to rank in local search results.

The algorithm now evaluates the searcher’s location and delivers results based on proximity. This means that a law firm located closer to the searcher is more likely to appear higher in the search results. In essence, the Possum Algorithm has made ‘where you are’ an important factor in ‘what you find’ in Google’s search results.

Importance for Law Firms Relying on Local Clients

Many law firms rely heavily on local clients, which makes their visibility in local search results crucial for business growth. With the Possum update, law firms located in the same geographical area as potential clients have a better chance of being discovered.

However, it also means that law firms need to optimize their online presence with a local focus. This includes ensuring their Google My Business listing is accurate and complete, utilizing local keywords in their website content, and gathering positive reviews from local clients.

Key Considerations of the Possum Algorithm

The Possum Algorithm has made it imperative for law firms to understand and adjust their SEO strategies accordingly. Here are the key considerations:

Increased Importance of Physical Location

Google now considers the searcher’s geographical location when delivering search results. This means that a law firm located closer to the searcher is more likely to appear higher in the search results. Consequently, law firms need to ensure their physical address is accurately listed in all online directories, including Google My Business.

Greater Diversity in Search Results

Another key change with the Possum Algorithm is the greater diversity in search results. Prior to this update, businesses with a similar address or affiliation often got filtered out in the search results. With Possum, Google has relaxed its filtering process, allowing more businesses to appear in the search results. This has resulted in a wider variety of options for users and more opportunities for law firms to rank in local search results.

Impact of Physical Address and Service Area

The Possum Algorithm has also influenced how Google assesses a business’s service area and physical address. For law firms that serve clients in multiple locations, it’s crucial to specify these areas in their Google My Business profile. Since the Possum update, Google has been better at understanding and ranking businesses that serve a broader area than their physical location.

However, it’s worth noting that sharing an address with other law firms can affect your ranking. Google tends to filter out businesses in the same industry sharing an address, presuming they’re duplicates. Therefore, law firms need to ensure their listing is unique and distinct.

Strategies for Optimizing Online Presence for the Possum Algorithm

Law firms must also implement strategies that align with this update to optimize their online presence. Here are some effective strategies that can help law firms boost their local search rankings:

Accurate and Consistent NAP (Name, Address, Phone number) Information

One of the most crucial aspects of local SEO is maintaining accurate and consistent NAP information across all online platforms. This includes your website, social media profiles, and online directories. Google uses this information to determine your firm’s legitimacy and relevance. If your NAP information is inconsistent, it can confuse Google’s algorithm and negatively impact your search rankings.

Localized Content and Keywords

Another important strategy is the use of localized content and keywords. Your website content should be relevant to the local clients you serve. Incorporate keywords that potential clients in your area are likely to use when searching for legal services. This could include your city or town’s name, local landmarks, or popular local phrases. Localized content not only helps Google understand your service area but also makes your website more relevant and valuable to local searchers.

Utilization of Online Reviews

Online reviews play a significant role in local search rankings. Positive reviews can enhance your firm’s credibility and attract more clients. Encourage satisfied clients to leave reviews on your Google My Business profile and other review platforms. Responding to these reviews, whether positive or negative, shows that you value client feedback and are committed to improving your services.

Optimization of Google My Business Listing

Your Google My Business listing is a critical component of your local SEO strategy. Ensure your listing is complete, accurate, and optimized. This includes having a thorough and compelling business description, correct opening hours, and high-quality photos. Regularly updating your listing with new photos, posts, and offers can also help improve your visibility in local search results.

Final Thoughts

In the ever-changing digital landscape, understanding and adapting to Google’s algorithm updates like the Possum Algorithm is crucial for law firms aiming to maintain a strong online presence and achieve their marketing goals. These updates have a significant impact on how law firms rank in search results, particularly local searches, which are vital for attracting potential clients.

Learn about Google’s Intrusive Interstitials algorithm update for enhanced mobile experience.

Gladiator Law Marketing is well-versed in the intricacies of these algorithms. We provide comprehensive digital marketing services tailored to the unique needs and goals of law firms. Our team of experts stays abreast of the latest SEO trends and Google updates, ensuring that our clients’ online presence is optimized and up-to-date.

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