Google’s Broad Core Updates

Google’s broad core updates happen about 3 times per year and the latest one was rolled out in September.

So what does that mean and how does it affect law firm websites? 

Well, Google will typically make at least one change every day to improve our search results, but a broad core update is a larger and more significant change to its algorithm. Thus, Google confirms core updates and announces them in advance due to their impact. Google’s broad core updates do not come with any actionable takeaways for legal marketers on how to improve a firm’s search rankings but there are some things to keep in mind with these announcements.

Google’s broad core updates are never designed to penalize a law firm’s pages. Instead, they are designed to improve the way that Google systems access content. In this way, broad core updates let Google reassess their rankings and the way that the systems assess relevant content. But, what if your page ranking drops?

Reassessing Content With Core Updates

Unfortunately, while some pages will rise following a broad core update, others will drop. This does not mean that there is anything inherently wrong with your website. If you want to act, you should work to ensure that your law firm’s website is offering the best quality content you can.

You can find an updated list of questions to ask yourself regarding your firm’s content on Google’s blog.

Look at Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines

Google also suggests that legal marketers and webmasters examine the search quality rater guidelines: E-A-T, meaning Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. The search guidelines do not control rankings. Instead, Google uses these rater guidelines to help determine whether their systems are working properly. You can use the guidelines to determine if your own content is of high quality.

Recovering Following a Core Update

With every core update, search rankings are affected. Some websites notice better overall organic traffic, while others see declines in traffic. If your law firm’s rankings take a hit following a core update, it is natural to wonder how long it will take to recover and rise up in the rankings again.

First and foremost, it is important to surface all potential quality problems and fix them as soon as you notice that your site has been negatively impacted by a broad core update. It is also important to remember that even if you make improvements, your website will take time to recover. We encourage legal marketers to think of website recovery as a long-term process.

In order to diagnose problems with how Google is assessing and indexing your firm’s site, we encourage you to conduct an audit of your website’s content and technical SEO. Make sure your firm’s content is an accurate reflection of your credibility and expertise and remains up-to-date. Minor problems with your SEO, such as missing H1 tags or meta descriptions should also be addressed.


Keep in mind that Google’s broad core updates are “broad” because they do not target a specific variable and unintended drops or gains in search rankings are inevitable. The biggest thing legal marketers can focus on is producing great, key-word rich content. Also, don’t forget to neglect technical SEO! 

Do you need guidance on how to improve your search visibility and increase the number of visitors to your firm’s website, contact us for help today.