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Your Law Firm Shouldn't Ignore the Latest Google Core Update

Your Law Firm Shouldn’t Ignore the Latest Google Core Update

On March 5th, Google introduced a significant core update aimed at enhancing the quality of search results by prioritizing content that genuinely serves users over content that seems primarily designed to attract clicks. This goal is nothing new for Google. In 2022 they went on the offense against low-quality content with their Summer 2022 Unhelpful Content update. Accompanying this update, Google also unveiled new spam policies targeting practices that negatively impact the quality of search results. For law firms and legal websites, understanding and adapting to these changes is not optional.

If your law firm's SEO company is employing any of these tactics, it could mean serious trouble for your rankings.

The March 2024 Core Update

The core update introduced by Google is more complex than its predecessors, involving adjustments to multiple core systems. This update signifies an evolution in Google's approach to evaluating the helpfulness of content and is very aggressively targeting "low-quality" content. With Generative AI being so widely available, content is getting rehashed, reworked, and republished, which is flooding Google's search results with junk.

In case you missed my video on Generative AI and SEO...

Be Original or Be Invisible

For your law firm's website, focus on informative content that addresses specific legal questions or concerns, offering clear, accessible explanations of legal processes, and ensuring that content is up-to-date and reflects the latest legal standards and practices. The goal is to provide value to users, which in turn should align with Google's updated criteria for content quality.

We kind of saw this coming. Last Summer, I wrote an article in Forbes about how AI was going to raise the bar for quality content. With these new updates, the bar has risen.

New Spam Policies

Alongside the core update, Google introduced three new spam policies aimed at curbing practices that degrade the quality of search results. These include:

Expired Domain Abuse: This involves purchasing expired domains to leverage their previous authority for hosting low-quality content. You should ask your law firm's SEO company if they're using this tactic or if any of their vendors are. If you're working with Custom Legal Marketing, I'll make it easy. We don't use expired domains in our link building strategy.

Scaled Content Abuse: This policy targets the creation of large volumes of low-quality content designed to manipulate search rankings (ie: releasing the AI bots to generate unoriginal nonsense.) For law firms, this underscores the importance of quality over quantity. Each piece of content should offer real value, focusing on depth and insight rather than superficial coverage of legal topics.

Site Reputation Abuse: This addresses the issue of hosting third-party content without oversight, which could manipulate search rankings. It's crucial to vet this content carefully to ensure it meets quality standards and genuinely serves the site's audience.

Visualizing the Google Core Update for Your Law Firm
To help law firms and legal websites navigate these changes, let's visualize the core components of the Google March 2024 Core Update and the new spam policies:

flowchart TB A[Google March 2024 Core Update] --> B[Improved Quality Ranking] A --> C[New and Improved Spam Policies] B --> D[Focus on High-Quality, User-Centric Content] C --> E[Expired Domain Abuse Policy] C --> F[Scaled Content Abuse Policy] C --> G[Site Reputation Abuse Policy] E --> H[Ensure Domain Registrations and Build Authority Legitimately] F --> I[Quality Over Quantity in Content Creation] G --> J[Vet Third-Party Content Carefully]

The Google March 2024 Core Update and the introduction of new spam policies represent a significant shift towards prioritizing content quality and user experience in search results. Well, it shouldn't really be a shift as this should have been your content strategy all along.

As with all core updates, you can expect some turbulence in the rankings during the roll out. Some of your old content might need to be removed but you may also see some ranking improvements has Google takes out the trash that might have been ranking above you.

Boost Your Rankings with Schema for Lawyers

While we're on the topic of your law firm's rankings, I want to remind you that we just completed our video series on Schema Markups. Sure, it involves a little code but on your WordPress site, Schema is really easy to add to your website. Check out our full series on Schema for Lawyers using the links below:

Jason Bland, co-founder of Custom Legal Marketing
Jason Bland is a Co-Founder of Custom Legal Marketing. He focuses on strategies for law firms in highly competitive markets. He's a contributor on, is a member of the Forbes Agency Council, Young Entrepreneurs Council, and has been quoted in Inc. Magazine, Business Journals, Above the Law, and many other publications.