Panda 4.0 Update – Lawyers Edition

Did your front desk phone stop ringing suddenly today?

Yesterday Google announced the launch of Panda 4.0 update – an update designed to further strengthen the quality of content they drive users to.  (Read that backwards:  Google is taking even more aggressive steps to filter out sites that deliver low quality garbage content.)

While this is an on-going roll-out, some results are already in and they are striking.

Alan Bleiweiss (as far as I’m concerned the web’s best Forensic SEO auditor) shared the Google Analytics data below showing just how massive an impact Panda can have on some sites.  What’s interesting in this case – its a client dealing with multiple algo penalties that has now cleaned up their act and under Alan’s guidance is played the game correctly and is seeing a massive upside from the Panda 4.0 roll-out.

Alan Bleiweiss

What Panda 4 Means For Lawyers

The legal industry is probably one of the worst offenders when it comes to low end content – driven heavily by the “content content content” call that was drummed by the SEO industry eager to sell lawyers blogging platforms and posts.  Given the extent of what we’ve seen from people like Alan and the incredibly heavy buzz this has generated among SEO geeks, I’d expect to see a very heavy impact to the legal industry.  Legal marketer, Shely Fagin has already reporting a heavy improvement in rankings for Avvo (this has NOT been confirmed by my old friends at Avvo, but frankly doesn’t surprise me as from my past experience I know they have a huge commitment to quality content.)

What to Do

Strap in and watch your Google Analytics account. If you’ve been outsourcing content abroad, spinning content, paying anyone less than $20 a post, or have content developed by one of the big box providers – I’d be very concerned.   Make sure you know how to generate a filter to look only at “non-paid search traffic” (image below) and look for big changes.  I generally recommend patience – but this is a big shift and unfortunately you might now being paying the price for a hiring a low quality vendor.

6 Responses to “Panda 4.0 Update – Lawyers Edition”

  1. Conrad,
    This is one of your best posts to date. I think what the legal community in particular fails to realize, is the DIY nature of the internet, especially of the Google Generation (No, we didn’t ALL belong to Frats, some of us had to work our way up). The Google Generation, so dubbed because we used Google in our “Coming of Age” years, used this particular search engine for one simple reason; we typed in a search string and got the results we wanted, on page one. Or, we rephrased the search string and again, got it on page one. If you don’t believe me, just look at what happened to the other search engines from a similar start-up era (Excite, Lycos, AOL, AskJeeves, et al.).

    But recently, Google has been flooded with cheap money and SEO black magic. My generation isn’t buying it. We were educated by Google and we know how to use it. Google will never lose us as a user base, period. We built it.

    “content content content” yes we want content, but we want content that is applicable to US and will TEACH us something, not some cookie cutter blog posts (See FindLaw) which ultimately end in a contact page. “Give me your money and we’ll see how it goes.”. NO, I’ll keep my money because I work hard for it and find a quality attorney on Avvo, because I now their rating system is built on results.

    Most attorney’s fail to realize this, it’s not marketing magic, it’s just common sense. We live in a democracy, we want the freedom to make a quality choice in our lives. I didn’t say we will always make a quality choice, we just want the option to.

    I could go on a 5 page rant, I’ll spare you because I now you’re trying to run a business but I think the point is made. With Google, creativity is king, not content.

  2. Very interesting on many levels. My firm has taken online marketing seriously for a long time, and we have had ups and downs, a bit like your graph above. We do, however, completely understand the new google, and are benefiting. What is amazing is how few law firms understand this stuff at all. In fact, some marketing companies we know also don ‘t seem t get it still – syndicated content etc etc etc – stop it ! Or, maybe don’t, if I am being selfish !