Submitted by Deanna on Mon, 04/30/2018 - 13:42

Google is the most popular search engine in the world, so it makes sense that you want your law firm to rank as well as possible on Google. Unfortunately, finding new claimants online isn’t as simple as uploading one new blog post every day. Google’s algorithm changes daily. This is good and bad—it’s wonderful to receive new traffic, but there’s always the possibility that an algorithm update could erase all the traffic you’ve spent years building.

If you’re not signing as many clients online as you used to, here are some ways you can determine if the cause is due to a Google algorithm update.

1. Did You Actually Lose Traffic?

There are a lot of reasons why you may not receive as many online contacts as the week prior, but they aren’t all due to a loss in traffic. Some reasons why your firm might not receive as many inquiries include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • A drop in conversion rate
  • An error on your website
  • A loss in a good referral source
  • And of course, a loss in traffic

There are fixes for all of the above issues. Your website may not be converting if low-quality pages are suddenly receiving a high volume of traffic, and if you have a link to your firm removed from an online resource listing you may lose leads as well. If you’ve determined that the reason you’re getting fewer clients, the next step is determining if the loss was primarily from Google.

2. If So, Was Your Loss From Google?

If you did indeed lose traffic and don’t have a quick fix on your website, the next step is to determine if the loss was primarily on Google. The best way to see this is by sorting your organic traffic by source on Google analytics.

It’s almost better to find that your traffic is down on Google, Yahoo, and Bing. This means that another factor is affecting your website, not a Google update. The worst-case scenario is finding that Google’s organic traffic has dropped by 10%, but Yahoo and Bing remained steady. If you have a large sample size (more than two weeks’ data or so), it’s almost certain that you were negatively affected by an update.

3. Does Seasonality Affect Your Firm at All?

If you’re unsure where all the claimants have gone, consider seasonality and your area of law. For example, most workers’ compensation claims take place in the summer when people are working outside and high temperatures can factor into fatigue while working. If you’re finding your traffic tapers off in the fall, it may have nothing to do with Google and simply the fact that less people are injured on the job.

To confirm that a loss in traffic is seasonal, simply check last year’s traffic and compare the losses. If you lost 16% of your organic traffic from Google in September 2016 and 7% of traffic from Google in September 2017, it’s likely nothing to worry about.

4. Does Your Loss in Traffic Align With a Confirmed Update?

Google rarely confirms its algorithm updates. Google’s employees have stated time and time again that updates happen every day. But if you’ve actually been affected by an algorithm change, it’s unlikely that you’re alone. Many webmasters or SEOs may be experiencing the same loss.

Cruise SEO forums or news websites to see if there’s any chatter regarding a Google algorithm update, and if so, what caused the loss in traffic. If dozens of webmasters lost a lot of traffic on the same day as your firm, it’s likely you’ve all been affected by an algorithm update.

While it is a terrifying prospect, it’s extremely unlikely to have your traffic wiped out due to a Google update. If you’re receiving fewer clients than before, you’ll need to cross your T’s and dot your I’s before chalking it up to Google. There may be an easy fix your firm can implement quickly to get traffic back on track!

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