What is PageRank and Why It Matters for Legal Content
Too many legal content writers go off the “content is king” approach. That is not entirely true though. Legal content is much more complex than just drafting blog posts and articles. But as you’ll read in this post, content is less than one-fourth of a webpage’s overall ranking. Each post or article must consider Search Engine Optimization (“SEO”) and how it will help increase a legal website’s PageRank.
PageRank is Google’s way of ranking webpages and is named after co-founder Larry Page who devised the algorithm to link websites. This system ranks a webpage on a scale of one to ten, with ten being perfect; very few webpages have a ten! What is important to note is that PageRank measures individual pages and not entire websites. This means that internal links between pages in a website are permissible.
Initially, PageRank looked purely at the number of links to and from a website equating them to “votes” for the page’s popularity. And this makes sense, because the more substantial and relevant the content, the more people will link to that website.
However, people learned how to abuse this and began spamming links on their webpages or having surrogate websites to feed to their main page; this became known as “Google Bombs.” Google countered by upgrading their algorithm to prevent his behavior–or attempted to. While there is still the possibility of websites abusing this to a decree, if Google identifies such behavior, there are major demerits given to a website’s PageRank. Google does not directly provide their own PageRank check unless you use their Toolbar, but other websites such as this link do have online checks for free.
In addition, Google added “Google Panda” in 2011 to look for higher-quality and more relevant website. This algorithm is significantly more sophisticated and was added to this year by “Google Penguin” which is an even more sophisticated algorithm program which takes into consideration a myriad of other factors. Most notably, Penguin looks for duplication content, manipulation, and violations of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Previously, we have posted this updated “Periodic Table of SEO Ranking Factors” which Google uses to add or subtract from a webpage’s rank.
So why is this important?
Well, if you go to the Periodic Table linked above, you’ll see that content encompasses five factors of the eleven “on the page ranking factors” that Google now uses to rank your webpage; about one-half. But that completely ignores the eleven “off the page ranking factors” and eight harmful factors you want to avoid. Content itself can certainly help your legal website’s ranking because it constitutes one-fourth of the positive ranking factors, but it cannot alone boost your rank to superior levels.
With so many other legal websites and competitor-attorneys, a lawyer or law firm’s legal content needs to distinguish themselves from their competitors both on and off the webpage ranking. Here at NAB Legal Marketing,we understand SEO and PageRank factors, while also having the ability to draft substantial legal content for your website.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.