Clients often ask about competitors who rank higher than them on Google, and then suddenly disappear from search results completely. Why does that happen? Often it is the direct result of law firms that work with companies using black hat SEO. These strategies don’t follow the best practices guidelines of search engines and don’t focus at all on the user experience. They exist solely to ratchet the law firm’s presence up in the rankings. The risk is being knocked off of search indexes completely. That’s why many firms using black hat SEO appear and then—woosh!—they disappear.
Using black hat techniques can get your firm banned from search engines, which undoes all of the good work that you have done in building credibility, authority and a strong user experience for your estate planning and Elder Law firm. It’s a big risk, and not one worth taking. At IMS, we focus our website development, search and social marketing on best practices. We are in it for the long-haul, helping your law firm build and maintain strong rankings because by doing all the right things.
Black hat methods are also used in paid search (AdWords) campaigns, known as black hat ppc.
Remember that Google changes its algorithms almost daily, and the algorithms measure the human experience of your website. How relevant and useful is your content, how are videos used on the website to educate and inform visitors? These are just two of the elements that make a strong website.
But if you add a single page that is stuffed with keywords that have nothing to do with your law practice and everything to do with getting people to find your site, that’s black hat SEO.
If you engage with a company that conducts a link farm operation, where multiple websites connect with each other for the sole purpose of building the number inbound links, that’s also black hat SEO.
A legitimate relationship, like having an article that you wrote appear on a consumer finance website that links back to your law firm site, is not a link farm. Google will know the difference.
Black hat doesn’t just include tactics you or a vendor might use for your website. It also refers to techniques used by others against your website. Those include someone hacking your website, building a negative SEO campaign with spammy links, or creating pages or even entire domains using your content.
If you are concerned about the health and well being of your website, submit a support ticket and let’s talk. If you receive an email or a phone call promising top rankings, fast, be careful not to put your website or your firm at risk.