How the Google Bedlam Update Impacts Attorneys

If you just noticed a big fluctuation in the traffic on your law firm’s website beginning November 5, 2019, the changes are attributable to a recent Google update.

One SEO expert, Joy Hawkins, called these fluctuations the “Bedlam update” because it is “a scene of uproar and confusion.” Ms. Hawkins recently posted an article explaining why she thinks the update is more about relevance and not proximity.

The Bedlam update followed shortly after the so-called “BERT” core updated which involved adjustments to the Google algorithm to better understand the natural language trends.

After Google’s Bedham update, some attorney websites sites took a hit in their local results on Google maps on November 5th with a recovery that began over the next 14 days. Some law firm websites saw a big increase in the number of actions on their Google Business Listing. In fact, some listings increased more than 300% over a 14 day period.

Some of our client’s listings have been doing much better since late September. We included a few screen shots of what we found on one client’s Google My Business insights:

We started to see shifts in the organic rankings for the law firm’s main site (which sometimes went the opposite direction of the law firm’s traffic trend on Google maps).

Based on our anecdotal evidence, we noticed that sites with the fasted load times had the biggest improvements in traffic, especially when comparing the mobile load times. [You can find those mobile load times in Google Webmaster Tools in the new speed enhancement section.]

If your SEO company uses only white hat tactics, the Google updates typically cause small changes. The traffic to your website should be steadily increasing each year with some small dips. If the traffic to your main website or Google Maps listing dropped off a cliff, then your SEO company might be making some sloppy mistakes.

Some critics complain that more spammy listings with keyword-stuffed entries on Google Maps are showing up. Those types of listings will probably start to disappear in the coming months. Regardless, you should focus on providing accurate and informative information to the consumer on your Google Business Listing.

For this reason, well-established law firms with brick and mortar locations have to avoid taking shortcuts and making spammy changes. By doing it the right way, you should achieve the best results over time.

How Attorneys Can Deal with Google Updates

SEO just means optimizing the website for the search engines. SEO requires a well designed, functional, fast, and informative website. At Internet Lava, LLC, we build beautiful websites for attorneys and law firms with a big emphasis on SEO done the right way.

We deal with Google updates by doubling down on our efforts to create the best content and improve the website over time. We also pay particular attention to optimizing the attorney’s Google My Business listing for local searches.

For attorney websites, the best content answers the questions of your ideal clients when they begin their search for an attorney. You know the kind of cases you want. You know the questions your ideal clients have when they begin their search for an attorney. Your website should answer those questions that come up again and again during your initial consultation with your clients. That type of content constantly drives traffic to your website.

Creating the best content isn’t easy, but it comes with consistent results that grow steadily over time. If you read the content on your website and don’t like the message it conveys, then contact us for a free evaluation.

We can get you on the right track so that you don’t need to panic every time Google announces an update. All of our clients also have access to their “Google SearchConsole” including Webmaster Tools and Analytics so that they can easily track their progress. Additionally, we insist that our clients learn how to use the Google My Business app.

We also help our clients optimize their Google Business Listing by doing the following:

  • adding posts with updates and events each week;
  • updating the service areas, holiday hours, advance information labels;
  • responding to reviews; and
  • posting new photos of the law firm’s interior, exterior, team, and identity.

By constantly updating the Google Business Listing to make it as accurate and informative as possible, you can achieve the best results. 

We can help you manage your websites and Google Business Listing so you can manage your law firm.

For more information on the websites we build, call Internet Lava, LLC, at 1-800-292-5282.


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