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What Law Firms Can Expect From Google’s March 2024 Search Update

Google’s March 2024 Core Update aims to improve search result quality and upgrade its spam policies. Here’s what the update means for your law firm’s digital marketing strategy.
March 10, 2024

If your law firm has worked on creating and implementing a digital marketing strategy to connect with potential clients and boost your conversion rate, it’s important to be aware of any updates or revisions in search engine optimization (SEO) best practices for lawyers to ensure that your efforts make an impact. Most content marketing for law firm strategies tailor their approach in order to appeal to Google’s algorithm, as Google remains the top search engine worldwide. When Google adjusts it algorithms, it can affect the way they reward certain SEO tactics, and this can mean having to ‘adjust your sails’ to ensure your rankings are not adversely affected.

At LegalRev, we make sure we stay aware and alert for changes so we can prepare and anticipate any optimization adjustments that may be needed. Just this week, Google announced a March 2024 core update that aims to combat low-quality AI-generated content and target spam and what’s known as expired domain abuse. Google anticipates that this aggressive March 2024 Broad Core Update campaign will remove 40 percent of unhelpful content from their index. As a small to mid-sized law practice, you are likely wondering how this core update could impact your digital marketing for lawyers strategy. The good news is that law firms that invest in creating high-quality, client-centered content for their websites, blogs, and social media posts do not need to alter this approach, as these principles will remain at the top of the SEO best practices list. However, if your law firm has been relying on (or thinking about using) AI-powered technologies like ChatGPT to generate digital marketing content, it’s time to rethink this approach to ensure that your web presence remains relevant and visible to those looking for legal information or services in your area. This post will cover the main components of Google’s March 2024 core update and explore how these changes may affect your law firm’s content marketing strategy.

The Need For Reliable, Trustworthy Online Content

When Google announced its March 2024 core update, the company explained the reasoning behind this effort. Google is implementing this core update in order to “improve the quality of Search by showing less content that feels like it was made to attract clicks and more content that people find useful.” With the explosion of AI-powered content generation tools and their increasing pervasiveness, search engines, and searchers are encountering higher volumes of inaccurate, poorly written, or misleading content and information. Unfortunately, the rapid increase and availability of low-quality content can overwhelm, confuse, or misinform internet users and push down higher-quality content from reliable and credible sources. Google wants its users to trust that the links and websites that appear high on the search results pages are helpful, reliable, and accurate. To this end, the company announced the March 2024 core update to crack down on poor quality content (usually generated by AI or by those wishing to “cheat” their way to the top of the search results pages) and protect user-centered, reliable, and relevant content.

What Google’s March 2024 Core Update Entails

So, how will Google accomplish its goal of combating spam and penalizing low-quality or misleading content? According to the March 2024 Core Update announcement, the update focuses on multiple systems, which means that it will take some time to implement the updates (Google expects that the rollout itself may take up to one month). Below are just a few of the main anti-spam policy updates and other changes that Google intends to launch in the coming weeks.

Expired Domain Abuse

Google recognizes the widespread problem of expired domain abuse. Expired domain abuse occurs when someone purchases an expired domain name and repurposes it to manipulate search rankings, typically by hosting content that offers little to no value to searchers and users. For instance, an outdated medical website may be purchased and repurposed to host low-quality gambling or casino-themed content, with the goal of dominating the search results based on the domain’s former legitimate reputation. It’s important to recognize that expired domain abuse does not happen by accident; rather, it’s a targeted practice that intends to mislead people and manipulate search results in bad faith. Google hopes to crack down on this practice so its users can trust that the results they click on will take them to reliable and trustworthy sites.

Scaled Content Abuse

Another manipulative practice that some individuals engage in is called scaled content abuse. This happens when someone generates several pages for the sole purpose of manipulating search rankings (rather than informing or helping users). At its core, scaled content abuse focuses on generating high volumes of unoriginal content that carries no inherent value other than to climb in the search results. Google intends to penalize this manipulative tactic so that users can feel secure in the quality of the results that appear at the top of the results page.

Site Reputation Abuse

Google has also announced plans to take action against site reputation abuse, which occurs when third-party pages are published with minimal or no oversight from a first party. Ultimately, the goal of site reputation abuse is to manipulate the search rankings by capitalizing on one party’s site ranking signals. As part of its March 2024 core update, Google will penalize low-value content that’s hosted on reputable sites in order to leverage their good standing.

How the Core Update Affects Digital Marketing for Law Firms

Now that you have a better understanding of the efforts Google intends to implement, let’s discuss how these changes may affect content marketing for law firms. In the words of Google, “There’s nothing new or special that creators need to do for this update as long as they’ve been making satisfying content meant for people.” In other words, if your law firm has invested in creating original, client-centered content as the cornerstone of your law firm content marketing strategy, you should simply continue to do what you are already doing well. However, if you have been playing around with entrusting content writing tasks to an AI-powered technology, it’s time to rethink this practice. Although AI-generated tools are attractive in their cost-effectiveness and quick output, the quality of the content they create varies widely. As Google becomes more tactical and intentional about cracking down on and penalizing content generated by AI, it’s best to leave your law firm’s content marketing strategy in the hands of human professionals. Once Google’s core updates begin to take effect, you will likely see a gradual rise in your website’s position on the search results ranking page—Google will send more people your way because it knows that your law firm’s content is genuine, reliable, and trustworthy.

If your law firm’s goal is to engage with more clients and grow your practice, talk to the LegalRev team today about how we can help. Call us at (800) 893-2590 or schedule a quick meeting here to discuss your vision and marketing goals. 

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