Google is wonderful…until it’s not. For far too many law firms, business was going great until one day, for reasons unknown, their rankings took a dive. Sound familiar? That steady flow of leads you were getting from your website is reduced to a thin stream, and then a trickle, and then nothing at all. What used to be a revenue machine becomes a costly relic. At Scorpion, it is a story we hear all too often from attorneys around the nation.
Maybe your situation is similar.
If it is and your attorney website’s rankings have recently tanked, it is important to not panic. There are steps that you can take to right the ship and ways for you to restore your marketing campaign to its former glory.
Follow our 3 steps below to be on your way to loving your website again.
1) Diagnose: What Went Wrong?
You can never effectively address lost rankings until you know what actually happened. So if your attorney website can no longer be found in the search engine results, it is time to put on your detective hat. While Google’s algorithm is complex (at least 200 ranking factors!), you can often drill down into the situation to determine the root cause.
First, ask yourself the following questions:
- Did my SEO ranking drop after an algorithm update?
- Have I recently performed a major website change?
If so, the drop may be attributed to either one. Knowing what effectively sunk the ranking ship can immediately provide the framework for how to address it (see the next step). It, however, is not always that easy. In fact, in some cases, the drop in your rankings may seem to come out of nowhere. When that happens, it is time to do a full-blown audit on your Internet marketing campaign (both on- and off-site) to determine the real issue.
So where do you start with your audit? With tools! There are a lot of great tools that can help you during your audit. Below, I have compiled just a few of them for you to consider adding to your own toolbox:
Moz’s suite of research tools range from Open Site Explorer, which allows you to research your backlinks, to Moz Local, which helps you find inconsistencies in your off-site business information.
Majestic gives you access to one of the largest commercial link intelligence databases in the entire world, which allows you to determine the quality and quantity of your website’s backlinks.
Protect your valuable content with the use of Copyscape, which is one of the world’s most powerful online plagiarism detection solutions. Plug in your website to check for any copied content problems.
By using tools such as the above, dig into various aspects of your campaign. Ask yourself questions such as:
- Is my content thin or plagiarized?
- Do I have spammy backlinks?
- Is my website not mobile-friendly?
- Is my off-site information inconsistent?
2) Attack: How Do I Fix It?
After you have taken the time to determine the strengths and weaknesses of your campaign, begin putting together a game plan on how you can fix them. Start with the worst offender and get to work! If your website was affected by an algorithm update, focus your efforts on that issue. For example, if your rankings dived after a Panda update (a search filter to address websites with poor quality content), you would want to spend your time fixing on-site issues. On the other hand, if you were hurt by a Penguin update, you would focus off-site.
I think bad links are hurting my rankings. What do I do?
- Analyze your backlink profile and create a list of spammy backlinks
- Wherever you can, reach out and ask for the backlinks to be removed
- Create a disavow file and submit it to Google
- Work on earning valuable new quality links for your website
I think poor quality content is hurting my rankings. What do I do?
- Analyze your on-site content to create a list of the worst pages
- Determine whether pages can be salvaged or should be lost
- Delete any pages without value and re-write pages that need it
- Add new and valuable content that is unique to your website
I think inconsistent off-site information is hurting my rankings. What do I do?
- Analyze your directory listings and look out for outdated or incorrect information
- Start to claim listings and correct the information
- Begin creating new listings and citations with your correct data
3) Prevent: How Do I Keep It from Happening Again?
After a sudden loss in rankings, one of the most important things you can do is put together a plan to safeguard your website against future algorithm updates or search filters. The best way to do that is to simply invest in the value of your website. Remember, SEO is a long game and trying to cut corners, cheat, or fast track your way to the top of the rankings will almost always end poorly. Instead, build value over time. Earn your links instead of purchasing them. Write rich content that is unique to your website instead of stealing from someone else. By taking the time to truly build a strong campaign, you can work toward online success that lasts.
Recovered from a loss in rankings before? Have any war stories? We want to hear them! Comment below.