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Law Firm Sites Blog

15 Google Penalties & How to Avoid Them – Part 1

December, 18 2017
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Jo Stephens
Law Firm Website Design

When it comes to online marketing for law firms, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a powerful tool. However, you need to use the right SEO tactics to get more traction for your legal website. If you don’t, you could get penalties from Google, resulting in lower rankings or no rankings at all. To avoid these common pitfalls and achieve better rankings in your legal advertising, consider the penalties and avoidance strategies below:

1. Penalty for Buying Links

In the past, it was easy to purchase links from websites to boost your SEO rankings. However, Google has gotten smarter over the years. Previously, a PBN (Private Blog Network) was used to send numerous links to your site.

A PBN is a collection of sites that provide content relevant to your niche. The reason they are dangerous is that low quality sites (which are often the bulk of a PBN) will tip Google off of this attempt to circumvent their algorithm.

Google actively looks for IPs used by these PBNs and delists them, taking away all the SEO juice from the links. To avoid this, don’t purchase low quality links from PBNs. Stick to high quality, verifiable links from legitimate companies and websites.

2. Penalty for Stuffing Keywords

In the old days of SEO marketing for law firms, you could rank your site higher by stuffing your site with tons of keywords. This used to work until about 2012. Google finally caught on and wiped a lot of sites clear from the rankings altogether. They take keyword stuffing very seriously. The best route to prevent this penalty is to focus on quality content and only mention keywords two or three times throughout your content.

3. Penalty for Bad Backlinks

Backlinks are a strong indicator of a quality site. However, they need to be from high ranking sites that are not spammy.

If Google detects a high rate of low quality links, they will penalize you. To prevent this from happening, manually disavow links by using the Google Webmaster tools or hire someone to check links and officially label them as “nofollow” links.

4. Penalty for Interstitial App Pages on Your Mobile Site

Having a mobile app is a great move for your legal advertising. However, if you optimize the downloads for your app too heavily, Google will begin to notice. For instance if someone searches your website from their mobile device and the first thing they see is a pop-up for your app, it could cause a penalty.

That’s because this isn’t a great user experience, and that is one of the things Google cares most about. To avoid this penalty, don’t have excessive popups. In addition, time your popups so they don’t appear until several seconds after the user has been on your site.

5. Penalty for Using Mobile Redirects

When a user lands on your site through their mobile device and they are instantly redirected, it creates frustration and confusion. After all, it could be a malicious sign. Google penalizes for this. Instead of redirects, law firm marketers know to play it straight and offer clearly marked links to other URLs.

Do you want to see your site with a new look?