In 2013 a personal injury lawyer came to me needing assistance. Incidentally, practically every lawyer who gets screwed eventually sits down and takes the time to research and educate themselves about SEO finds me, or at least that is who emails me.

After about 60 days of ranking on the front page of Google search an algorithmic penalty hit his site and it was wiped off of search results. The site went from page 1 to page 35. A quick look at Google’s Webmaster Tools revealed that there was no manual action; this meant he was hit with an algorithmic penalty, more specifically, a Google Penguin penalty.

How To Recover from a Google Penalty

The best course of action to recover from a penalty varies drastically from penalty to penalty, just as a spinal cord injury is much different than a fractured tibia. If you’re not sure which penalty you’ve been hit by, email me today.

In the case above the injured website was a wrongful death. We buried the old website. While the lawyer went through the grieving process I started a new WordPress website from scratch. It took some time but it ranks again on page 1 for many tough key phrases. In large cities such as Chicago or Los Angeles this can take 18-24mos, or significantly longer with the wrong SEO guru or an inadequate budget.

Panda penalties and Phantom penalties are easier to recover from. Those websites have content issues. Content is king and I am a king in the content world. I am a pretty quiet and reserved guy but when it comes to content I have zero issues declaring myself one of the best. Websites hit with Panda or Phantom will have a drop in traffic, often vary drastic.

google panda penalty

A website hit with a Google Panda penalty.

Recovering from the algorithmic penalties involves removing duplicate content, thin content, and making sure each and every page on a website benefits the user. These sites can be difficult for the untrained eye to discover and I can usually point them out to you and make sense of them in seconds.

If you have a FindLaw or Justia site this is also usually a good time to abandon ship and make the change to WordPress and improve the quality of your site all in one shot. After all, step #1 in SEO is all about usability and user experience.

The recovery process

Again this varies. If you’ve been hit with a manual action for unnatural links you can disavow your bad links in Webmaster Tools and start white hat SEO immediately.

For Penguin penalized sites you can speak to an SEO expert who specializes in lawyer websites and they can advise you on the next best course of action which may involve recovering the site or scrapping the site.

Panda and Phantom penalties can be corrected “easily” involves correcting your content problems and watching your traffic return fairly quickly.

In 2016 Google Panda is going from a randomly updated algorithm change to a full blown “rolling algorithm” which will be interesting to see.

Website injured?

Contact me today. I have references available by other personal injury lawyers who rank very well and obtain cases from Google search. Or visit my comprehensive page on personal injury lawyer seo.

Related Google Resources


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