Law firms set to tumble down Google rankings as update looms

Borrett: Consequences of failing to comply are real

A lot of law firms are set to suffer a major ranking penalty from Google because of their failure to prepare for an update to the search results algorithm, research has warned.

Legal digital marketing specialist Legmark found that almost two-thirds of the top 200 law firms scored less than 50 out of 100 overall in a compliance test.

At the other end of the table were gunnercooke and BDB Pitmans, the only two firms to score more than 90, followed by Nelsons, Stephensons, Wright Hassall, Express Solicitors and Stowe Family Law, with scores in the 80s.

Very few of the major City law firms performed well, with Ashurst, Slaughter and May, Clyde & Co and Bird & Bird the only ones scoring a shade over 50.

South-west firm Foot Anstey propped up the top 200, scoring a mere two, with central London practice Teacher Stern one mark better off.

For the first time, the internet giant has given advanced notice of an algorithm update, coming in May, and Legmark said it would likely produce a significant shake-up in the organic search results landscape.

From today, using a proprietary API, Legmark is publishing a live chart that tracks on a weekly basis the top 200 firms’ performance against the ‘core web vitals’ that are the basis of Google update.

These focus on the speed a page loads, how quickly it becomes usable, and how much it shifts around as it loads.

“The consequences for failing to comply with Google’s latest guidelines are real,” said director Sam Borrett.

“The pages that aren’t complying with these new core web vitals, which focus on site speed, could see significant drops down the search results pages and the correlating reduction in website visits and new enquiries.”

Mr Borrett added that content was still the most important factor in how high up Google pages appeared.

Law firms outside the top 200 can have their data added to the list if they want to track their performance. Go to

    Readers Comments

  • David Gilroy says:

    I think all SEO agencies need to be careful not to ‘scaremonger’ law firms. Google update their algorithm ALL the time. Is the Core Web Vitals change any worse than ‘mobile first’ or HTTPS possibly, but possibly not.

    Whilst firms do need to pay attention to the changes, they do not need to panic as Google does not tell anyone how much ‘weight’ they put behind each algorithm change.

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