Google penalty recovery is a big hurdle for any law firm website. It requires website owners to get their standard rankings back and grow them after being penalized by Google.
Incurring penalties is an honest mistake for most law firm websites. That’s because Google has a lot of rules to rank in its search engine, and it can be a challenge to keep up. So let Local Business Marketing Solutions help you gain some knowledge on how to recover from any Google penalty.
Types of Google Penalties
The number of Google penalty classifications can be comprehensive. For the sake of familiarity, let’s simplify them. Generally, all penalties can be categorized into two types.
Google Manual Penalty
These are penalties imposed manually by Google’s webspam team when a website is found to be violating Google’s guidelines. Manual penalties are often the result of deliberate or egregious violations common in most black-hat SEO practices.
When a manual penalty is imposed, website owners will receive a notification in Google Search Console.
Google Algorithm Penalty
These are penalties that are automatically imposed by Google’s search algorithm when a website is found to violate Google’s guidelines.
Algorithmic penalties are often the result of unintentional or indirect violations, such as having low-quality content or engaging in keyword stuffing. When an algorithmic penalty is imposed, website owners will not receive a notification, but they may notice a sudden drop in search engine rankings.
Common Google Penalties of Law Firm Websites
Most law firm website owners commit some or all of these common penalties. They may or may not knowingly do so, but the end result will be the same.
Poor Content Quality
A web page’s content merits a Google penalty if it lacks value, also called “thin” or of poor quality. Keyword-stuffed articles and content with irrelevant or inadequate information qualifies as thin content because readers have little value to take away from it.
Often, search engines see low-quality content as an attempt to game the system to boost the website’s search engine ranking. To readers, these content pages look like half-done articles with no order and nonsensical information.
Another type of content that gets a penalty is “scraped” from other, similar websites. This is called duplicate content, and it could appear identical or with slight changes to the material in an attempt to look original.
Duplicate content takes a lot of work to spot on your website. That’s because it’s often high-quality. But you can do spot checks by searching for keywords targeted by the content and combing through the search results to find anything significantly similar. Otherwise, duplicate content gets detected by Google, and the symptoms manifest as a drop in organic traffic.
Obtaining unnatural links is a backlinking strategy intended to game the Google search engine. By creating artificial links and attaching them to an anchor text on your web page, black-hat SEO practitioners redirect viewers to another unrelated or suspicious site.
Such link schemes result from paying for such links coming from a shady source in order to drive traffic to the site quickly. This practice ends up causing issues to the site as Google’s Penguin algorithm update penalizes websites with unnatural links.
Another harmful backlinking strategy law firm websites must know is participating in Private Blogging Networks (PBNs). The concept involves numerous private blog sites with a degree of authority, owned by a single entity with the objective of building links to help rank a particular website. This can draw people to your site, but there are better ways to get more traffic and leads.
This is one of the most familiar black-hat SEO techniques wherein keywords are repeated excessively within a web page’s content. It can be a single keyword or a phrase repeated multiple times in a paragraph or several keywords all throughout the page.
Keyword stuffing is an attempt to rank the website for a particular focus keyword quickly. By stuffing a page with the target keyword, it increases the keyword density on the page, thereby tricking the search engine into ranking it because the volume of keywords signals the significance of the page’s content.
Google Penalty Recovery Process: Fixing the Issues
If you think your website falls victim to the issues mentioned above, you can take these simple steps on Google penalty removal and recovery to fix it right away.
Audit Your Website Analytics
Check Google Search Console and go to “manual actions.” This will inform you of any penalties imposed by Google’s team. If there’s no manual penalty present, check for errors by going to “Index” to view any internal errors caused by any new changes to your website. Next, you can explore the “Experience” section to view any symptoms of a penalty such as a drop in rankings.
You can go further by heading to Google Analytics and reviewing your website’s performance. Check your website’s impressions, clicks, and conversion rates and compare them with past data. While it may not always be a penalty issue, it pays to check how your site’s performing so you can pinpoint where it went wrong and do some SEO fixes right away.
Removing Low-Quality and Duplicate Content
Before removing any content that doesn’t serve your website, you must identify them first. For low-quality content, this is pretty straightforward. You can follow the guide mentioned above and support it with performance metrics. If it has a low click-through rate, low session time, and a high bounce rate, it’s a sign of low-quality content.
Identifying duplicate or plagiarized content will be easier if you use tools such as Copyscape or other plagiarism checkers. Another more straightforward method is to copy a portion of the content and use it as a search query on Google. If it pulls a similar article from a different website, it’s duplicate content.
Removing Unnatural Links
Conduct a backlink audit to identify all the links pointing back to your website. Once this is done, you can evaluate each link for its authority and relevance to your website. Check to see if the backlink is also a website suitable for your content.
Once you’ve identified the unnatural links, you can contact the website owner and ask to have your links removed from the site. Additionally, you can also use the Google Disavow tool and create a list of unnatural links that the search engine shouldn’t associate with your website.
Submitting a Reconsideration Request
Part of your recovery process is submitting a reconsideration request after you’ve fixed all the search engine penalties. If your site is experiencing any access issues, a reconsideration request is a crucial step, so be sure to check first if your site is showing up on the search engines before proceeding.
If, after removing the penalty and your site is still not indexing after a few days or weeks, it may be time to request reconsideration from Google.
Avoid Google Penalties. Consult a Local SEO for Lawyers.
Ensuring your website SEO is doing all the ethical practices to rank is always the best move. It’s a long and tedious route, but it is the only way to ensure your mind is at ease.
Local Business Marketing Solutions’ SEO experts can help take the load off your shoulders and get your site ranking in no time. We help small law firm websites get to the top of search engine results flawlessly. We can also help you build high-quality links and rank on relevant keywords while keeping your website penalty-free.
If you want to find out more, request a strategy session with us today.