How Panda Affects Your Firm

Submitted by Deanna on Fri, 12/15/2017 - 11:12

If your firm is familiar with search engine optimization (SEO), you’ve surely heard of Google’s Panda update. Google constantly modifies its search algorithm to ensure the best results are displayed when users try to find online resources. One of the biggest updates is known as Panda. If your firm optimizes for Panda, you may receive significantly more online traffic than ever before.

What is Panda?

Google Panda is a search updated released in February 2011. Panda targets websites with low-quality content, meaning that law firms with blog posts or articles that aren’t beneficial to potential claimants won’t show up as high as competing law firms on search results. What does “low quality” content actually mean? Here are a few specific factors Panda targets:

You Cannot Have “Thin Content”

Thin content refers to content that’s either short or scant in factual or beneficial information. Essentially, a piece of thin content doesn’t offer any value to a reader.

Panda targeted websites with thin content because many webmasters were pumping out dozens of articles every week in the hopes of gaining more traffic, but the content they added on a daily basis wasn’t useful to a reader.

If you want to ensure your content isn’t “thin,” there unfortunately isn’t a good word count rule of thumb to rely on. For example, a 600 word blog post written by an ALJ will likely be much more beneficial than a 2,500 word article drafted by a paralegal. Quality content all has to do with how a user interacts with a page, whether it’s staying on a page for more than one minute or navigating to additional resources.

Unique and Original Content

Webmasters using low-quality content would often plagiarize from other sources or from its own website, adding content that isn’t unique and subsequently adds no new value to a domain.

How can your firm ensure Panda doesn’t think you’ve plagiarized? First off, it should go without saying but you should never copy someone else’s work. You can use websites like Copyscape to ensure your content is unique. You should also take the time to brainstorm content ideas that are unique from one another. For example, the following pages are all relevant for personal injury attorneys, but are also unique:

  • How do I file a personal injury claim in Massachusetts?
  • How long do I have to file a PI claim in Massachusetts?
  • What thresholds do I need to meet to be eligible for a PI claim in Massachusetts?

Not only will unique content ensure that you don’t receive a Panda penalty, but you’ll also have a better chance of new claimants finding your firm through long search queries!

Fewer Ads

Big pop-up or banner ads are frowned upon. Panda penalized websites with primarily advertisements “above the fold,” or within a consumer’s direct line of sight when a page loads.

It’s unlikely that your firm will have too many ads on its website, but keep in mind that a large auto-play video or obnoxious “contact us” form will meet Panda’s penalty outlines as well.

When dealing with Panda, a good rule of thumb to follow is if the content is high quality and useful for potential claimants, it’s fine to use online. Anything else—keyword stuffing, low-quality pages, or plagiarized content, will only hurt your firm in the long run.