How to Avoid a Google Penalty in 2015

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Google is the king of search engines. How does Google stay on top? It’s constantly improving itself, and changing to increase the quality of its search results. How does Google continue to improve? It updates its algorithms on a regular basis.



Google algorithms are sophisticated. They can scan your website—checking the quality of content, links, and flagging the site for annoying features such as pop-up ads to name a few. Google will reward high-quality websites, and punish low-quality sites. Delivering the most relevant search results to its users remains its main priority.

Google news released this statement about the recent Panda update: “As you know, we’re always working to improve Google so search results are higher quality and more relevant for everyone and this is just one way we do that.”

Staying on top of Google’s updates is extremely important. If your website doesn’t meet Google’s new standards for quality, you could lose a significant amount of traffic almost instantly. Within a matter of days, your legal website can lose as much as 90+% traffic. A Google penalty can be devastating for your law firm, and take months to recover from.



How do you stay on top of Google’s updates, and avoid getting a penalty? A search engine optimization SEO strategy is key. SEO is an online marketing technique focused on delivering results—such as increased web traffic, and improved rankings on search engines,

Many online advertising agencies specialize SEO. An advertising agency will run a customized audit and SEO check of your website to see how search-engine friendly it is, and how well it ranks on Google. Two factors matter most: how user-friendly your site is, and how search engine-friendly it is. Without an SEO optimized website, search engines cannot find, index, or “crawl” your site, and visitors won’t stay.

The best website development agencies stay on top of Google’s updates. And, their SEO experts know all the latest Google news. They’ll design a custom online website development plan for your law firm. The goal: ensure that your website maintains it’s ranking, and doesn’t lose traffic—no matter what changes Google makes.

Google is often mysterious, and reveals little information about how to avoid receiving a Google penalty. It’s never clear about how to recover from a penalty either. And, Google recovery is never easy. But, many webmasters have pointed out that you can never go wrong when you focus on improving the quality of your website. It’s common sense, and it works every time.



PANDA 4.2 (#28): JULY 17, 2015


Panda 4.2 was officially launched on July 17, 2015, but the rollout will take a few months. Panda’s impact won’t be known for some time, which can leave webmasters at the edge of their seats. Google rollout times are getting longer, on average, with each new update.

Panda is technically a “refresh,” and not an official update. This means that the algorithm signals will remain identical to the previous Panda updates.

2-3 percent of search queries will be affected by the Google Panda update. This number isn’t as small as it seems. In fact, 2-3 percent adds up to a whopping 36 million searches.

What’s the best way to respond? Create high-quality content. Evaluating, judging, and screening websites for quality content (or lack thereof) has always been the main goal of Panda—since it was first introduced in 2011.


Every Google update has a cut-off date. This means that any improvements made to your website after this date will be applied to the next refresh or update.

If your website has been hit by the Panda update, it’s too late to make changes. Even if you scramble to improve the quality of your site, it won’t make much difference. Your website’s traffic will still be affected no matter what. And, you’ll have to undergo a “punishment period” between now and the next Panda update—before you can fully recover.





Not sure how to proceed? A web development company can help. Our advice: make sure you develop a content strategy that is thorough, and includes every part of your site. And, always maintain a high level of quality control. But, don’t use that as an excuse not to improve your website! Improving the quality of your site is always a good idea. An Internet marketing strategy is an investment in your law firm. When the next Panda update comes, which could be anytime, you’ll be prepared—and Google will reward you with increased traffic and better rankings.

How do you develop high-quality content? Consistency is key. Low-quality content on some parts of your website can have a big impact. A few badly written pages, with shallow or weak content, can damage the ranking of your entire are some questions to keep in mind when developing your online marketing strategy:

Is the information on your site trustworthy and authoritative?

Does your website have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles?

Do articles contain spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?

Are the topics discussed on your site interesting, and geared to what readers want to know?

Is your content mass produced, or outsourced?

Do articles contain annoying ads that distract readers?

Do readers want to bookmark your articles and blog posts?

Google doesn’t leave us totally in the dark. Check out these guidelines for how to create a Google-friendly website.




· It happened quietly. It snuck up on people. That’s why the Quality update has been dubbed the “Phantom Update”

· Google has been mysterious about the Quality Update ever since its launch on May 3, 2015. As usual, Google doesn’t want to reveal its secrets. But, it has revealed that no spam-related update has happened.

· The update didn’t target a specific class of website, or go after any particular site.

· The most significant change relates to how websites are ranked. Google announced that it improved the way its core ranking algorithm processes quality signals.

The name speaks for itself. Google will reward websites with high-quality content, and punish those with low-quality content. Your online visibility—and whether your website attracts traffic—depends on your site’s quality. The bottom line: enhancing the user-experience is the key to your success.

What is low-quality content? Low-quality content is easy to spot. Google flags websites with redundant content, thin web copy, self-starting videos, banner ads, and 404 errors.

Google won’t reveal how quality is judged. Even though we don’t know the specifics about Google’s quality control methods, we do know that the quality of a website, or page, is determined by a wide range of individual factors. These individual factors add up, and impact the ranking of your website.

“How Google assesses quality is sometimes a thing of mystery,” writes Thomas Smale for Entrepreneur (, “but we do know that it wants to provide users with the best information possible.”

Top websites make marketing online a priority. They work hard to meet Google’s quality standards— and when a new update arrives they’re rewarded. How does Google reward websites? With increased visibility and higher search engine rankings. Many websites are benefiting from the Quality Update, and many are suffering.

Search Metrics ( ) reports:,, and were big winners.,,, and all took significant hits.




· Google was less sneaky about this update. They announced the Mobile Update ahead-of-time— more than two months in advanced. This update was focused on responsive web design.

· We live in a tech-savvy world: more people are using mobile devices today, and Google needed to adapt.

· This algorithm update affects mobile searches in all languages worldwide

· The Google Mobile Update improves the user experience. Mobile users will get more targeted, relevant, and high-quality search results. And, these search results will be optimized to their mobile devices.

Google gave us valuable information to prepare ahead of time. They launched an online resource to help you create a mobile-friendly website ( Google explains how to “customize your website software,” and how to “implement mobile SEO best practices.”

They also provide a tool for testing how mobile-friendly your website is. The test analyzes your URL and reports if the site has a mobile-friendly design. (

What makes a website mobile-friendly? Google discusses this topic in a blog post ( Google’s mobile friendly-criteria, and how this criteria affects search results, is revealed here.

Mobile-optimized websites are easy-to-navigate and reader-friendly. You shouldn’t have to squint to read the text because it’s too small, or struggle to click a link because it’s too tiny. And, visitors never want to scroll sideways to read the content. Text should be readable without needing to zoom in, and links should be easily “clickable” and placed far apart. These are just a few of the ways you can optimize your website for mobile devices.

There was a lot of hype, and fear, about the impact Mobilegeddon would have. Online advertising gurus and SEO specialists predicted this update would be powerful—and they were right.

Adobe’s “Digital Advertising Report” ( revealed that non-mobile-friendly websites were hit hard. Traffic to non-mobile-friendly websites dropped 12%— compared to mobile-friendly websites. And, these changes occurred only two months after Mobilegeddon was launched


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