Is google destroying the commercial law SERPS ?

by evolvedlegal on July 28, 2012

  • SumoMe

Many law firms have, perhaps belatedly, picked up on the importance of the internet, with many more noticeably getting active online, either on social media channels or via blogging and a greater input on the web generally.

A lot of law firms still do not seem to fully appreciate however that it is one thing producing content and another thing having that content seen by those searching for information. In other words, to communicate your message online you need to get visitors to your website in the first place.

there are many law firms and legal sites that get the internet – among a few examples of legal sites that create and leverage a lot of content are Darlingtons Solicitors, who have a wide ranging site with many business and personal law guides. The same applies to Law on the web.

It will be clear to readers that we advocate strongly that law firms produce great content and seek to leverage it well, but for one reason or another, and we hope this changes fast, google seems to be making a mess of the legal search engine results.

Google is the predominant, virtual monopoly on online search. It makes a huge amount of money via pay per click but in turn, it depends on the loyalty of it’s billions of clients who use it, by default, when they search for something. As some will know, in the last 4 months google has gone literally on the rampage like never before against what it terms “over optimisation”, which in simple terms means the practice of pushing hard to leverage a particular search term connected with a page ion the internet, so that it is visible in the top 10 results.

Having previously had a fairly laissez faire attitude, google is severely penalising over optimisation, which has a corollary effect of potentially boosting those sites and pages that, via ignorance or otherwise, have not sought to leverage content.

The problem in the legal sector is that sites that google tends to trust most in the above circumstances, tend to be academic sites. So, what we have seen in the search engine results, for search terms where the searcher is perhaps looking for practical guides to commercial  legal topics, is for these practical type resources to be replaced with multiple, frankly irrelevant or too in-depth academic resources. It seems that google or its algorithm seems ti have lost the plot, as this is predominantly happening for commercial law issues and not for topics like personal injury for some reason.

Why is this important ?

It’s important because the internet is the medium of choice for online information and a great place for lawyers to demonstrate that they can produce accessible information which as much as possible demystifies the law. By doing this, law becomes more accessible and clients can see the value of instructing law firms who produce content at the right level and in plain english.

The current google legal search results are regressive and disappointing. Many, including the writer are cynical about google’s statements that they are simply cleaning up the web, since a major effect of what they have done, whether temporary or not, is to push more business and higher costs onto pay per click. We hope this is a temporary measure.






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