Google Crushes Law Firm Websites Overnight with their March 2012 Algorithm Change

Google Crushes Law Firm Websites Overnight with their March 2012 Algorithm Change

Google made major changes in their search engine algorithm in late February and early March 2012. The changes are ongoing. These changes have impacted law firm websites across the United States.
The algorithm change caused some law firm websites to drop from page 1 to page 7+, overnight.
Historically, the more links that pointed at your site, the higher you ranked in Google. This is still true.
However, as of March 2012, Google stopped counting various types of links that were heavily relied on by SEO companies. Therefore, some sites have dropped dramatically and others have risen overnight, depending on their chosen SEO strategy. Google has not specifically stated which links no longer count, but they gave clues.
MANY LINKS ARE NOW WORTHLESS
After carefully analyzing the updated algorithm’s impact on over 100 law firm websites across the USA, it appears that MOST LINKS THAT CAN BE BOUGHT, LINKS FROM LARGE PAID BLOG OR LINK NETWORKS, and MANY LINKS BUILT BY AUTOMATED SOFTWARE ARE NOT BEING COUNTED BY GOOGLE AND WILL NOT HELP YOUR RANK.
If your SEO company used any of these techniques, then your site will likely be impacted. In addition, the updated algorithm puts much more emphasis on Google Places results, than it does on organic search results.
WHICH WEBSITES INCREASED IN RANK?:
Sites that were well built, SEO optimized, with lots of unique content and internally linked pages
Firms with optimized Google Places accounts with lots of business listings (citations) throughout the internet
Sites that have links from numerous respected directories such as Yahoo Directory, DMOZ, and the Cornell Legal Directory
Sites that have diverse and natural looking links from legal websites and legal directories
Sites that have links from numerous quality blogs
Big Factor #1: Sites that have a robust and active Social Media presence. The social media presence must be integrated with the main website, Google Places and Google+
Big Factor #2: Sites with numerous SEO optimized videos on YouTube and various other video networks (these must be properly integrated with the main website and Google Places)
LONG TERM CONSEQUENCES:
As Google cracks down on cheap, easy to build links, the price of HIGH QUALITY SEO will rise. Most cheap and easy to get links are now worthless.
Proper on site SEO, Social Media, videos, and quality link building are crucial, but expensive and time consuming, if done correctly. If you cut corners, then you will get poor results.
All things being equal, a law firm that pays $2,000 or more a month for HIGH QUALITY internet marketing will crush a firm that pays $500-1,000 a month, both in the short and long term. The $2,000+ firm will get more clients and get their SEO investment back sooner.
Firms that invest in long term, high quality SEO will dominate the competition and will gain momentum over time.
Right now, the majority of small law firms with websites spend $500-$1,000 a month on internet marketing. This budge is inadequate to compete long term after the March 2012 algorithm update. The majority of law firms are in the middle of the pack, fighting over the scraps. The firms that invest the most time, effort, and money are getting the big cases and clients. These firms usually reinvest their profits in additional websites, SEO, videos, and social media and they get more cases and clients.
With the updated Google algorithm, law firms must take a back to basics approach and invest in a long term, high quality internet marketing strategy that will pay off now and in the future.