In this post you will learn the single most common reason law firm websites don’t appear in search results.
You will also learn what to do if your website is being filtered out for this reason.
What is the one sure-fire way to get your website filtered out of the search engine results for the phrase you’d like to rank for?
Over-using the same anchor text (the clickable text in a link).
For example, if too many of the links pointing to your website all have the anchor text “car accident lawyer Memphis,” your website will not appear on the first page when people search for that particular phrase.
Using the phrase you’d like to rank for in the anchor text of your links used to work great. In the past, the more you used a particular phrase, the higher you would rank for it and there was no limit to the number of links you could build with the same anchor text.
Like all shortcuts, people abused this tactic and Google quickly changed their ranking formula to close the loophole. The instant the algorithm changed, these over-optimized websites disappeared from the search listings.
Now, years later, there are still many law firm websites that are over-optimized for certain phrases. And perhaps some people never got the memo that this tactic no longer works so they continue to use it, getting no where.
If your site is, in fact, being filtered out because of anchor text over-optimization, the way to clear that filter is by diluting the anchor text.
If 25% of the links pointing to your website use the phrase “car accident lawyer Memphis,” the only way to lower that percentage would be to create or attract new links with different anchor text.
Each subsequent link created with different anchor text will lower the percentage.
If you’re unsure of which anchor text to use, you can’t go wrong with the name of your law firm.
Where to get these links will be the topic of another blog post. Without getting into great detail here about link sources, a press release would be one example.
The number of new links needed to bring that percentage down to a reasonable percentage, say 5%, will depend on the current number of total links.
25% of 20 links means only 5 links have the target anchor text. To get that number down to 5%, we would only need 80 new links with different anchors.
Our total number of links would increase to 100 and the number of target anchor links would remain at 5, dropping the percentage to 5%.
If, on the other hand, there are 4000 links pointing to your website and 25%, or 1000, of those links use the same anchor text, we would need a much larger number of new links to dilute that anchor text and get your website back in the game.
The same 80 new links as the previous example will only lower that percentage to 24.5%, a half a point improvement.
To get it down to 5%, we would need a total of 20,000 links. That’s 16,000 new links with none using our target phrase as anchor text.
Knowing how many new links we need gives us an idea about how long this might take, approximately how much it will cost and, therefore, if its even worth it.
Sometimes we can rank a brand new website quicker than we can recover from an anchor text over-optimization filter. In this case you may opt to work on a new website while simultaneously and gradually recovering the original site.
In the end, you may just have two websites taking up space on the first page of Google.
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