How To Recover From Bad SEO And Keep Your Law Firm's Website Current
SEO is accessible to those willing to take the time to learn—but if it were that simple, it would be too good to be true. The truth is, SEO is highly competitive.
Just do a quick search of "Employment Lawyers," and you'll see millions of results. If you don't research, take time, and adapt, your efforts can be all for nothing.
Here's why it's essential to do it right: SEO takes time. You have to pour many hours into simply learning it, another few hours applying it in practice, and another endless succession of constantly testing and adapting.
If you're not doing it right and it isn't gaining you any benefit, then it would be a tragic waste of valuable effort.
Even worse, SEO can be so competitive that other sites become your rivals. You're in a race to that top spot, after all. How can a competitor do this?
Simple: they check the list of all the SEO no-no's and do that to a competing website. If this happens to you, it's vital that you know how to recover—and take back all the countless amounts of effort you poured into your SEO practice.
In this guide, we'll give you tips on how to recover from bad SEO—and make sure it stays that way.
What is Bad SEO?
Google penalties aren't the same as negative SEO. It's not just the things you or a bad SEO might do carelessly to irritate Google. Negative SEO, on the other hand, is much more sinister. You may be completely unaware that it's happened to you.
It can cost you massive amounts of money in missed traffic and sales if you don't know about it and don't fix it. However, the good news is that it is not difficult to detect, and you can remedy it.
How Do You Detect Your Site?
As mentioned earlier, it's simple. Google doesn't like duplicate content, so they'll make it for you. Google doesn't trust websites with backlinks to other suspicious sites, so they'll make those low-quality sites and link them back to you.
If your rankings have dropped suddenly, you should be mindful that a rival might be ensuring your loss. It's possible you'll never know who did it. However, to get it right, you'll need SEO solutions.
However, it's not always easy to see bad SEO targeting you; there are millions of search results after all. They're likely buried deep down in the search rankings, so it's not likely you'll come across them from simply doing keyword searches.
Besides, when you're stats are tanking, you always assume that it's something you did wrong, so you don't immediately think that someone might be trying to interfere with your SEO practice.
If you're implementing SEO practices for your law firm's website, you might already be using some tools. A lot of all-in-one SEO tools have features that you can already use to detect bad SEO, such as:
Duplicate content monitoring
If your current tools don't have these features yet, it might be time to find new ones. If you (and/or your colleagues) are not ready to invest in paid services, you can always opt for the trial version first and see what you can use them for.
Disavow Bad Links
Google hates spam links. They'll penalize you for having backlinks on spammy content farms that hold little to no substance when it comes to content.
This is also the easiest way a competitor can tank your stats through bad SEO.
Luckily, you have the option to disavow links from suspicious sites. You can quickly do this through Google Search Console.
Get Rid of Duplicate Content
You should know much better than to duplicate material across various websites. Google can only index a single page, and if it detects duplicate content, yours be the first page to be indexed. However, what if your competitor is quick?
Before your new blog can be indexed, they scrape it and post it on various pages? Since Google cannot determine who the original publisher was, your well-written, high-quality blog will not be indexed into the searches.
Remember that some tools allow a competitor to track your site and scrape your content in real-time. So, it's not entirely impossible that they would get copies of your content and post it immediately afterward.
To address this concern, when you create a new page on your site, ask for it to be indexed right away. That way, scraped or copied content would be less likely to show up in searches in place of your original content.
It's possible that Google won't index it right away, but at the very least, you'll be able to establish that you were the first one in line for indexing.
Copyscape is a valuable tool for detecting duplicate material.
If you notice it, please contact the webmaster and politely request that it be removed. If you do not get a response, file a copyright claim with Google right away.
Protect Your Reputation
Negative reviews are bad for any business. It is, however, worse for law firms. Clients spend money to pay for lawyer fees, all while putting their faith into their counsel to attain justice. A badly-reviewed law firm isn't going to get many clients.
When people search for your website, bad reviews could be the first thing they see. Those reviews may or may not even be genuine, but they're (as mentioned) bad for your law firm.
There are numerous tools available on the market that allow you to stay updated on new reviews and your ratings across various websites.
You can also check them manually. Take a look at your new reviews. Take a look at the negative feedback.
Do they appear to be genuine? Is there anything that suggests they were made simultaneously or by the same individual on multiple accounts?
If you see something strange, notify the review site.
Look Out for Malicious Crawlers
Some crawlers are great. They look at the website and see what it's all about. They're used all the time by search engines like Google (for indexing).
Your competitors, on the other hand, may use them against you. It's possible that your website isn't hosted on its own server or hosted on a server that can handle regular but not excessive traffic.
Sending thousands of bots to another site is considered a DDoS attack.
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What is a DDos Attack?
A distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS attack), in simple terms, is the act of flooding a website with bot traffic to a targeted server. This may result in an internal server bug, causing the site to slow down or crash.
Not only can it affect traffic and conversions, but your site could also be de-indexed if search engines crawl the web when it is down.
To remedy this, you should inform your web hosting provider immediately.
They can offer you some solutions. If not, you can also try the following:
Request a new IP address from your hosting provider.
To avoid a flood of phone calls, automate client interactions.
To prevent the site from collapsing, clear your logs.
There are a variety of reasons to build redirects, as you are well aware. You may make use of connection shorteners. It's possible that you have a page that is no longer useful to you, so it comes in handy.
However, redirects have been used against competitors as well. A competitor might employ a hacker to break into your website and redirect your visitors to their own site (or somewhere else).
Review your redirect rules regularly, or use a tool to keep track of them. Someone is most likely targeting your website if the amount of redirects unexpectedly rises, or you notice re-directs away from it.
Always pay attention to visitors and clients who report redirects and other site issues. Immediately remove the redirects as soon as you find them, and tighten up security while you're at it.
How to Defend Your Law Firm Against Bad SEO
There are numerous ways for an external body to impact your organic efficiency adversely. The following are the most basic measures to ensure that you are safe and that problems are detected quickly:
Audit your backlink profile on a regular basis.
Crawl the website on a regular basis for injected code and malware.
Set up email notifications for when your website is down.
Ensure that anyone who has access to your website and resources has been given permission.
Conduct daily security health checks.
All in all, it's generally good SEO practice to monitor your stats, security, and content.
While we could always hope that no one subjects your law firm's website to attacks like these, it is better to be prepared.
Law firm SEO is a very competitive arena, and you can never truly control bad actors all around. Keep your website safe and updated. Always.