As Google understands more about user search behavior, it improves and innovates its systems.
Among the most recent developments in Google search are those that:
- Improve search results for misspelled queries
- Discover, understand, and rank individual page passages
- Better assess page subtopics for greater content diversity
Here’s how these changes could affect your law firm’s visibility in Google search.
How is Google improving search results for misspelled queries?
Whether search users struggle with spelling or type in a rush, a misspelled query can yield frustrating results.
Google’s new spelling algorithm provides better context for misspelled words so that users find the right results — faster.
“We’ve continued to improve our ability to understand misspelled words, and for good reason—one in 10 queries every day are misspelled,” writes Prabhakar Raghavan, Senior VP of Search at Google.
This search improvement centers on “a deep neural net” to improve Google’s ability to spot misspellings and give users better results.
According to Raghavan, “This single change makes a greater improvement to spelling than all of our improvements over the last five years.”
How is Google using individual webpage passages to improve search?
Google is honing in on improving overly general results for highly specific searches.
“Very specific searches can be the hardest to get right, since sometimes the single sentence that answers your question might be buried deep in a web page,” Raghavan writes.
While Google successfully indexes and ranks web pages, this “ranking breakthrough” means that the search engine can also isolate and rank individual page passages.
Google’s ability to “index passages” means it can understand how relevant specific passages are to a user’s query, not just the overall page alone. According to Raghavan, “We can find that needle-in-a-haystack information you’re looking for. This technology will improve 7 percent of search queries across all languages as we roll it out globally.”
How is Google using relevant query subtopics in search?
Broad search queries yield general results. Because Google is learning more about search user intent, it has turned its efforts to understanding and providing relevant subtopics when users search.
“We’ve applied neural nets to understand subtopics around an interest, which helps deliver a greater diversity of content when you search for something broad,” writes Raghavan.
He notes that if, for example, if somebody searches for “home exercise equipment,” Google can now offer relevant subtopics like “budget equipment,” or “small space ideas,” to give users a bigger selection of potentially relevant content.
What do these Google algorithm updates mean for law firm website visibility and rankings?
The most important digital marketing element for small law firms is a law firm website that you own and control.
When law firm websites have user-friendly, informational pages that guide and instruct your potential clients, your firm predictably and reliably attracts quality potential clients from Google’s free (organic) search results.
Google’s “make pages for users not for search engines” motto is reflected in every algorithm update it makes. Whether it’s anticipating a spelling struggle, a needle-in-a-haystack answer, or finding subtopics of interest for searchers, Google’s goal is to provide the best and most useful information without causing users to “work” for it. As a result, Google users stay loyal to the search engine because of its ability to anticipate user needs and meet their demand for quality information.
The most successful small law firm websites understand this and take a similar approach. When you provide the best and most useful legal information on your law firm’s website, both Google and potential clients interpret your site as helpful and authoritative. This creates better visibility, more web visitors, and a higher conversion rate for your law firm.
LawLytics makes it easy to get found in Google and convert more web visitors into potential clients.
When it comes to succeeding with Google, there is an unlimited upside for attorneys who play by the search engine’s rules. When attorneys do search engine optimization (SEO) Google’s way, the process is straightforward. And, with the right tools and information, any attorney can do it.
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