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Legal Tech: Google's new algorithm and why you should care

By Peter LaSorsa There is a constant battle between search engines and business people who provide search engine optimization (“SEO”) services.  Mega search engines like Google are always trying to return the most relevant content to users for a given search term string. In order to accomplish this task search engines utilize algorithms. An algorithm is just a sophisticated formula that is secret but allows search engines to read millions of websites and deliver links to those sites in a numerical ranking. So if you type in Chicago personal injury lawyer, Google wants to return the most relevant Chicago personal injury lawyers. The key word here is “relevant”. So Google would want to have the top ten listings on the first page of the search results be the top 10 Chicago personal injury lawyers. In design, that would be the top ten websites that the search engine believes belong to the top ten Chicago personal injury lawyers. The most recent problem for Google is that search engine optimizers learned how to manipulate Google’s algorithm to make low-quality writing more visible than quality content. What that means is marketers were able to trick the search engine into returning not the most relevant Chicago personal injury lawyers but marketing services geared to personal injury lawyers.  So instead of preparing Web pages designed to benefit readers, SEO-focused content farms were writing for search engines—read that as marketing boiler rooms. This new algorithm by Google is called Panda and it is specifically designed to punish the marketing mega-link farms and reward websites that provide updated reliable original content and valuable knowledge.   What that means to you is this; if you utilize links to mega-link farms, your website may get punished in the rankings from Google with its’ new Panda algorithm.  I recommend you do not link to these types of websites and instead update your website often and with valuable original content.  They key is original content.  Don’t hire this out, as the marketing firms that write for you will probably be writing very similar if not the same content for other law firms. In conclusion, do a Google search and see if you notice a difference in where your website comes up.  Remember, search engines are always changing their algorithms and you must always be changing your website in order to keep up with the changes.  It’s a game of cat and mouse and don’t be the mouse. Peter LaSorsa can be reached at He also publishes a blog at
Posted on April 28, 2011 by Chris Bonjean
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