Google is constantly looking to update its services and products offering, creating a seamless experience for businesses and searchers. In these efforts, the internet giant introduces several updates that assist in privacy & security, rankings, and UX (user experience). With a solid recent focus on the security and anti-spam side of things, Google has introduced a search spam update rolled out in two parts and is now functioning in full force.
We’ve previously covered multiple long-awaited privacy updates (and the cookieless future that has been postponed for now), the new page experience update, and the Core Web Vitals that aim to change the weight and importance of certain factors (such as HTTPS, speed, and mobile-first websites). The most recent update (other than the Core Updates) started rolling out on June 23 and continued on June 28. This algorithmic update aims to improve the search experience, lift the quality of search results, and provide a better experience to the searchers and a fairer environment for businesses. Let’s find out more about it, putting together all the information available, and as always, keeping an eye on its impact on law firms.
- How does Google define spam?
According to Google, any disruptive behavior that doesn’t help users find helpful and relevant content can be considered as webspam. Google says that 99% of the total visits from the SERPs are spam-free, but this 1% is still significant, accounting for over 25b spam webpages every day. It’s unlike that your law firm’s website could be identified as spam, as we suspect that you don’t fall into the category of tricking searchers through content or malicious installations. In the unfortunate event that you suspect you might have been flagged, it could be because of bad actors that hack websites. You should always keep an eye on your website’s security and work closely with your webmaster, but if you find yourself in trouble, assess the extent of the issue and act as fast as possible to restore your quality and resubmit your website to Google for review.
As part of our regular work to improve results, we’ve released a spam update to our systems. You can learn more about our efforts to fight spam in this post:https://t.co/piCLhbZPkH— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) June 23, 2021
And this video below:https://t.co/xMYWm4HPze pic.twitter.com/83IL0EB9Lm
- What do we know about the new spam update?
Even though we don’t have an official announcement with all the steps and details by Google, and we won’t have them till next year, when Google will release the annual report, we’ve tried to read between the lines and identify the key points.
- The first and most prominent part of Google’s plan is clearing the SERPs from spam content that misleads searchers and provides a poor experience. By identifying such websites, Google plans to penalize pages using black hat techniques, such as keyword stuffing and link purchasing. Subsequently, this rewards legitimate businesses that follow best practices and invest in infrastructure and content. Our suggestion to keep your law firm’s website safe would be to build SEO strategies that don’t violate the terms and conditions. Simultaneously invest in unique & original content that provides users with the necessary legal advice they could be looking for.
Some of the most critical things to avoid:
- Automatically generated content.
- Insecure redirects.
- Thin or copied content.
- Hidden links or text.
- Irrelevant keyword-stuffing.
- Abuse of structured data markup.
- The second part is all about security. And we’re sure that no attorney reading this would have the intention of malicious properties on their law firm website, but hacking is not science fiction. Keeping your assets secure and your visitors safe should begin with periodical audits and an assessment of your website’s status. Set clear goals for your internal team or external partners, ensure that you follow HTTPS protocols, store any data securely, and don’t leave any space for bad actors that would take advantage of any loophole.
Tip: Monitor your webpages for visitor-generated spam, and remove it whenever necessary.
- Our last point goes a bit further to Google Search Ads and spam removal at that end of the Search Network. As we already mentioned, this isn’t an official Google announcement, and there’s no confirmation on the matter. We’re basing it on our experience as an agency handling multiple law firm Google Ads campaigns, and lately, we’ve noticed fewer attempts for click fraud. If we are correct and the situation keeps improving, we’re potentially looking at a significant improvement in the overall experience. That’s an improvement that benefits searchers who will have more options at their hands (more advertisers will be able to allocate their budget properly) and law firms investing in Google Ads and don’t have to be afraid of click farms and bots.
Tip: A click fraud prevention strategy is an indispensable component of any successful PPC campaign; if you don’t have one in place, you risk wasting a portion of your advertising budget.
Time for our takeaways:
- Google is constantly looking for ways to optimize its services, releasing updates for page experience, security, and ranking factors (among others).
- One of the latest updates is all about protection from spam and malicious content.
- Auditing and assessing your law firm’s website periodically can help you stay on top of the challenges, offer a seamless experience to your visitors, and risk no penalty from Google.