Not to long ago the conventional wisdom with law firm SEO was that an aged or established domain was gold. The older the site, the more trusted your URL and thus it would likely rank better. In addition, these older sites tended to have a much more links number wise. This made it virtually impossible for a brand new URL to compete quickly.
However, over the last two years, Google has done a wonderful job evening the playing field with their various penguin updates. By penalizing those firms that have accumulated lots of bad links – it has made it easier for new sites with clean link profiles and a quality SEO program to rank much faster than they once did.
For example lets look at a very competitive keyword like “Phoenix Car Accident Lawyer”. A new website released in July. www.curielandrunion.com is already ranking on the first page for this hugely competitive keyword despite having a relatively new domain with very few overall links:
By contrast up until last year – the top spot was held by www.krattorneysautoaccident.com. In fact that site held the top spot in the Google SERP for close to 5 years. The site was old, content rich, focused exclusively on car accidents and did have some great links. The problem was that the SEO company he used (FindLaw) also added lots of spammy directory links. Many of these links are working against him now. Today that site is now on the 8th page for the same term. Of course this site is not alone, hundreds of Phoenix injury attorneys were doing the same thing and have also been penalized or soon will be.
You can see from above that krattorneysautoaccident clearly has more links – the problem is that many are of very poor quality. In a previous post I offered examples of the type of junk links that are likely hurting this site.
Think of it this way – every “clean site” starts with a zero points. Adding a quality link would add points, but having a bad link profile or a bad link would subtract points. This is why it is so important to perform link removal or in some extreme cases – start over with a new URL.
In conclusion, these updates are a very good thing for attorneys who are just starting out with a new domain. In most competitive practice areas, the vast majority of competitors have some issues with their link profile that will continue to work against them. Likewise, if you have been hit with a penalty, starting over with a new “clean” URL may be a great opportunity for you to once again build a dominant web presence – this time doing it the right way.