Google Penguin 4.0 Algorithm Update Case Study

In mid September and late October 2016 the Google Penguin 4.0 algorithm update was released into the wild. This update will be known as the “real time” algorithm update as Google has stated this animal is going to be roaming around and updating search results in real time. We have also learned that Google will penalize specific pages or posts rather than an entire website. So, if you are a personal injury lawyer or work at a law firm, what can you expect from your website?

We have conducted a case study in which we have looked a law firms in one of the most competitive markets in the United States – Los Angeles. If you are a personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles you know just how much SEO, internet marketing and web design can cost. Some law firms are paying $100 to $150 a click for car accident and catastrophic injury keywords. This was a perfect market to look at the Penguin 4.0 update.

What we quickly saw is the search results are changing in real time. In months and years past, it could be 30 to 60 days before any of the top 10 search results would change for keyword phrases such as “Los Angeles car accident lawyer”. The search results change by the second now. If you search at 3:00 pm pst and then again at 4:00 pm pst the search results will likely be different.

We have also noticed that a number of firms that were buried on Page 3 or lower are now showing up on the front page periodically. While some of these law firms are there for only a few hours, others have stayed since the announcement of the Google Penguin 4.0 update.

What does this mean?

This means that as a personal injury law firm you will now see results much quicker. That said, also remember that SEO is not an overnight process. Every single personal injury lawyer and law firm that jumped in the rankings in Los Angeles had consistent content published on their websites for well over one year. They also had a solid link portfolio that included links that were acquired years ago.

It also means that you should be focused on keeping your website updated with fresh content. If you are a website owner that was once able to rank for keywords without updating a website in the past, that is likely changing as you read this. You may find that you rank for long tail keywords but you no longer rank for the competitive keyword phrases. You will want to make certain you have a WordPress website that can be updated on a daily basis.

We have also noticed that some law firm websites have specific pages that rank but the overall website does not have much SEO strength. This is something Google warned us about. If an areas of practice page such as a “bus accident lawyer” page has dozens of powerful links pointing to it, it may rank for a number of different keyword phrases; even more than the home page or other areas of practice pages.

If you are a personal injury law firm that would like to get more clients and cases from your website contact us today at We have a number of monthly SEO and content packages that will help you rank at or near the top of Google search even after the Google Penguin 4.0 algorithm update.