Does Google “Page Rank” Matter for Law Firm Websites?

I apologize in advance for all the parentheses in this post. For those of you who may not know what Google PageRank is, the short explanation is that it is a sort of authority index that Google assigns to websites in an effort to push content published by authoritative, long-standing, popular, or big-brand websites.

PageRank used to be a much-hyped and talked-about factor in the internet marketing world; although nowadays, PageRank updates so quickly that if you are doing the right things, you should see your rank increase during the course of a normal law firm SEO campaign.

The higher your PageRank, the more often your site is indexed, and the easier (‘easier’ meaning exactly that, easier, it doesn’t mean automatically) it is to get your content ranked higher in Google search results (although the two are independent of each other).

There are several factors that affect a site’s PageRank, and there are thousands of websites where you can find what those factors are, so I won’t cover that in depth here. On a macro level, the major factors include the number of visitors to your site, where and how often on the internet your site is mentioned, and the age of your website. 10 is the highest, 0 is the lowest. For instance, Twitter is a 9 or 10, Facebook is a 9, a blog you just started last week would be a 0, and the New York Times is a 9.

How Often is PageRank Adjusted?

So you are a blog or company that launches a new website – you do all the right things, post good content often, get organic mentions from other websites, but other websites can effortlessly publish content sporadically and rank higher immediately after publishing. How long will it take you to get a PageRank boost for your efforts? Well, stay the course, because lately, it appears that PageRank is being adjusted every 3-4 months.

When is The Next Google PageRank Update?

It was last updated in August. I can confirm this because our PageRank rose in August. So, that means that we are probably not all that far away from the next update, or at least halfway there. I found this schedule of all the past PageRank updates going back to 2007 (Courtesy of Hobo SEO; click on the picture for the site). I can confirm this as accurate at least from November 2011, on (more or less).


What Does This Mean for Attorneys?

PRs aren’t the end-all-be-all when it comes to exposure and internet marketing. But for the most part, it means that international law and accounting firms like Morgan Lewis (a PR 6) and Deloitte (a PR 8) could probably outrank you in the SERPs tonight if they wanted to and were doing it right. The good news for you is that they aren’t (for the most part).

Why that is probably deserves its own post, but the simple fact is that they either don’t want the size of the client that comes in from the web, or internet marketing is so new for professional services, that the big firms with traditional structures, big budgets, and red tape simply can’t move fast enough to stay ahead of the curve.

It also means that a small firm with a quickly adaptable and focused strategy can outrank those sites with elephant-in-the-room PRs. In short, it means that if you get out there and maximize your efforts and resources correctly, you can play on the same stage as the big boys regardless of PageRank (for now).

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