June 2021 Google Updates and the Potential Impact on Law Firms

Jon Robinson (00:02):

Jon Robinson here, VP of SEO at CAMG. We have a special episode today of our SEO Webcast. And that’s because it is July 1st when I am recording this and we had four Google updates during the month of June. We’re going to quickly run you through what happened, what we saw, and also what Google pre-announced of what’s coming up.

Jon Robinson (00:27):

So a lot of you were wondering when Google was going to release the Core Web Vitals update. It was delayed a month or so from May into June. That update finally got released around the middle of June. It impacts the page experience of your website, it compliments some other web vitals that are already baked into the algorithm like mobile-friendliness and HTTPS, avoiding obtrusive popups. These three Core Web Vitals, we had about a year heads up on how these are going to be impacting the page experience and that you should be addressing them in your website development.

Jon Robinson (01:05):

These are the Largest Contentful Paint, how long it takes the site to load from a user’s perspective, the first input delay, or total blocking time, which represents how long it takes the user to actually be able to interact with the page. And then the Cumulative Layout Shift, which represents how much of the elements are moving around on the page as the page loads.

Jon Robinson (01:27):

This Core Web Vitals update gives a boost to pages and sites that are meeting these and doesn’t pull your site down. It’s not like an anvil. It’s simply a boost. The algorithm started rolling out in the middle of June. It’s going to take a few months for it to continue and finish rolling out. Currently it only affects the mobile version of your website, but Google did say it will be affecting the desktop version of your site in the future as they continue to update the algorithm. We’ve done another video specifically on the Core Web Vitals update. If you have concerns around meeting these metrics, please check that one out.

Jon Robinson (02:05):

Another update that was released, it was right around, I believe it was June 2nd, and it really started picking up steam… People started seeing it affecting their sites around the 8th or 9th of June, but Google said, “Hey, we’re releasing a core update. These are things that we just do on a regular basis.” Sort of boilerplate commentary around it. They didn’t say exactly what was happening with the update, but there was probably a lot of different things that were baked into that core update. The last core update we saw had been over six months. So this was a big deal in the SEO community. People really started freaking out, but the update was a little bit different than other updates that we’ve seen in the past because it took so long for there to be an impact and it really hasn’t shown its head as to what actually it was addressing.

Jon Robinson (02:57):

So people were a little bit confused. We didn’t see that much of an impact in the legal community, but Google said, “Hey, in July, we’re going to be releasing another core algorithm update. So if you’ve got a boost or you got hit by this update, we’re going to be running another core update in July.” I think what Google does is they try and shroud what actually is affecting your site’s traffic and rankings by running multiple algorithms at the same time. We knew the Core Web Vitals update was coming. They decided to run a core update on top of it. Oh, and the Core Web Vitals update is going to take a few months to roll out. So, hey, we’re going to run another core update during the month of July as well.

Jon Robinson (03:41):

So the core update ran that was towards the tail end of the month. I’m sorry, that was the beginning of the month that we saw the core update run sort of shook out over the first two weeks. And then Google said, “Hey, we’re releasing a spam update.” Didn’t really give any clarification around what that meant. But they said it’s coming out in two parts. They released about a week apart, but both of those spam updates were completed at the end of June. Again, just so many different factors layered on top of each other.

Jon Robinson (04:16):

They’re boilerplate recommendations here or what they always are. Follow our guidelines. They’re very clear. Look at the intent of pages, the intent of the user, create high quality content. Don’t try to do manipulative things like building bad backlinks and spinning content and trying to manipulate the rankings because they’re saying, hey, it doesn’t work. We’re running updates continuously. We’re going to make sure that we’re catching this stuff that doesn’t work. Create really great content, earn quality backlinks from other websites that are siting your site as a resource.

Jon Robinson (04:53):

If you are in any of the Your Money or Your Life categories, which legal is in, finance, healthcare, we’ve got an extra level of scrutiny towards those websites. Make sure that your expertise, authority, and trust, E-A-T acronym, and the SEO community, make sure that those things are something that you’re paying attention to. Do you have the expertise, the authority, and the trust to write about the things that you are writing about on your website? Backlinks, content, technical things like the Core Web Vitals, these are all factors. It can get very complex. And running multiple algorithms just around the same time doesn’t make it any easier for those of us looking to SEO optimize our websites to understand exactly what Google wants, which is why they always come back to these general statements of just make sure you’re doing things the right way.

Jon Robinson (05:50):

The algorithm is more so reacting than it is coming up with new things that you should be doing. Create great content, make sure you’ve got great backlinks to your site, make sure your site is technically sound, and the rest will just sort of come. So we saw four updates, Core Web Vitals update, core update, two spam updates. In July we’ve got another core update at least. We’ll have the continual rollout of the Core Web Vitals update for mobile and then we will have the Core Web Vitals desktop updates rolling out sometime probably before the end of the year.

Jon Robinson (06:27):

If you have questions about these updates, if your site was impacted, if you want to talk about the SEO for your law firm’s website, feel free to reach out, at camginc.com. Drop us a line. We can schedule a time for you and I to talk about your website, your marketing goals, how we can help improve your Map Pack rankings, your organic rankings. We could help out with your paid digital, including paid search, paid social as well. So look forward to talking to you soon. We’ve got more episodes coming up. If you’re heading to the AAJ Conference in Las Vegas in a couple of weeks, please reach out. We can meet up there as well. Good luck with these algorithm updates as they go through your site. And we’ll see you on the next episode.

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