Beware of Google’s Manual Actions
When you hear the phrase “manual actions” in the context of search engine optimization (SEO), you might think that it is something good. After all, user engagement helps your site’s SEO rankings. If a user manually clicks on your site, that means more to Google than if a user simply is aware that your website exists; it should also count at least as much as time on page, where the user could simply be staring into space while your site is visible on their screen. Outside of the Internet, manual actions by customers, such as signing a check or taking cash or a credit card out of their wallet, are among the best things you can hope for. When an employee at Google clicks to make a decision about your site that overrides the judgment of its algorithms, though, it means trouble for your site. Therefore, if the content on our site has been there a long time, you should review it to make sure that it is manual action-proof, and you should add new legal blog content that complies with Google’s current standards.
Google’s Manual Actions Are Penalties, Not Ranking Factors
Google ranks websites in the order of their relevance to users’ search queries, in other words, how useful it thinks they will be to the user. It judges their relevance by a variety of factors, including keyword matches, high quality writing (grammatically correct and idiomatic language that stays on topic), the number of clicks the site has received in the past, the length of time previous users have spent on the page, links to other web pages, and how recently the website has been updated, among other factors. Google changes its algorithm (the mathematical formula it uses to give weight to each ranking factor) periodically. Therefore, a comprehensive SEO strategy requires you to monitor the rankings of your law firm website and update your site as necessary.
Website designers and content creators often find ways to game the system and make their sites rank higher without enhancing the quality of the site. A classic “black hat” SEO tactic is to write keywords dozens of times in a font color that matches the background, so that users will not see the phrase “Hattiesburg personal injury lawyer” repeated ad nauseam in the margins, but Google’s bots will, and they will think that the site is more relevant than the sites of other law firms in Hattiesburg. Google’s algorithm updates are a way of staying ahead of the black hat SEOs. If Google catches your site trying to bend the rules while its next algorithm is still in the works, it will take a manual action. This means that a Google employee in a cubicle somewhere will physically click on the search result of your site and move it off of the first page results or remove it from the results list entirely. If Google takes a manual action against your site, it will notify you. The good news is that manual actions are not forever, and you can always repair the violations on your site so that Google will reinstate it.
Excellent Content With No Risk of Violations
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