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Family Law Websites Got Wiped Out and Marked as Spam by Google! (Google Core Update)

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There has been a significant March 2024 Google core update to search rankings. The update includes multiple changes to core ranking systems to reduce spam. Many sites have also been wholly deindexed.

The updates rolled the helpful content system into the core ranking systems. These updates are vital to ensuring that Google’s search results provide the best possible experience for users. However, some family law websites have suffered collateral damage from the Google algorithm updates.

In this article, we’ll explore the consequences of these changes. We’ll also review how effective search engine optimisation can resolve these issues.

Key takeaways

  • Google’s latest update targets spammy content generated through AI or human authors.

  • Algorithmic improvements and manual action will help prevent expired domain abuse.

  • Google has a new policy designed to discourage site reputation abuse.

  • LawSEO provides high-quality content for its clients through Google’s E-E-A-T guidelines.

Why update Google search rankings?

Google has identified several shortcomings that allow bad actors to manipulate search rankings. Here’s what they’re targeting.

Spammy content

Google’s search algorithms have already taken steps to weed out spammy automatically generated content. This has become a significant issue since the proliferation of AI software. This software has made producing low-quality content at scale easier than ever. However, spammy content can incorporate human-generated text as well as AI content.

One indicator of this spammy content is web pages that claim to provide certain information but fail to deliver helpful content. Instead, users receive useless information unrelated to their queries.

Expired domain abuse

Another spammy practice involves purchasing an expired domain to manipulate search rankings with poor content. When spammers appropriate these expired domains, users can be led to believe that the new content is associated with the old domain.

Site reputation abuse

This technique is sometimes called “parasite SEO“. With this method, a marketer will place content on an authoritative third-party website. For example, they may publish payday loan reviews on a reputable site, even though that content may be irrelevant to the host site.

The idea is to piggyback off the website’s authority. This method is misleading and confuses users with different expectations of the site.

spam content

Why are the updates necessary?

Google has received many complaints about the deteriorating quality of their search results. Studies have also shown that Google’s algorithm requires regular updates to keep up with evolving spammy SEO practices.

Google is confident that the updates will reduce unhelpful content in search queries by 40%.

March 2024 Google core update

This broad core update, which began in March, encompasses several system updates. The entire program will take several months to complete. The core updates cover more elements than before.

Previously, Google released helpful content updates separately. These updates targeted content that appeared to exist only to manipulate search engines. Now, these updates form part of the core system updates.

Fighting scaled content abuse

Google has broadened its approach to tackling scaled content abuse. Before, Google only targeted automated content. However, low-quality content designed only to rank on search engines isn’t just generated by AI. A lot of spammy content is the product of AI and human generation.

Google’s update assesses content created through AI, human generation, or both. This change is necessary because of the more sophisticated scaled spam being used. The update will enable Google to identify more types of bad content aimed at ranking without providing real value.

Eliminating expired domain abuse

Google has warned content creators not to repurpose expired domains to manipulate the search engine. The update will include algorithmic spam system improvements and Google staff manual actions.

Combating site reputation abuse

Google has changed its policy regarding creators who try to rank by featuring poor content on high-quality sites. Google warned that site owners must maintain close oversight over what third-party content they choose to host. If they don’t, third-party content could be considered spam.

Not all third-party content will be considered spam. Only content that appears to exist solely to boost rankings without benefiting the user will be clocked by Google’s update. Sites may host advertising that targets their regular readers. This is sometimes called ‘native advertising’. This type of content isn’t a violation of Google’s policies.

Google Core Update

What should you do?

Google has been transparent that site owners don’t need to do anything different in response to this update as long as they follow the appropriate content principles. Some reputable sites may still take a temporary hit to their ranking. However, these will resolve themselves in time with good quality SEO.

LawSEO’s clients experienced a short-term reduction in traffic. However, they have recovered because of our quality approach to family law SEO.

SFL GSC April 2024

Here’s how we ensure our clients stay at the top of Google’s search results.

E-E-A-T quality standards

Google uses the E-E-A-T framework to assess a website’s quality. This framework is particularly important for what Google calls YMYL (your money, your life) pages. These pages host content about topics that affect a user’s welfare or livelihood. This includes webpages about medical topics, financial advice, etc. Family law firms fall under the YMYL category.

This is why E-E-A-T informs all the content we create for our clients. It’s the reason we’re able to produce consistent results. This is how it works.


Google’s algorithm values content from authors with real-world experience with the topic. You can demonstrate experience in many ways. The article can include a bio for the author that shows their connection to the topic. The author can also recount experiences in the content.


Authors with expertise in the topic create good-quality content. Expertise can be shown by including in-depth, well-researched information. You can bolster your content with references to reputable studies and listing sources.


Your website’s authority contributes to its standing in Google’s quality standards. Updating your website by publishing consistently high-quality content regularly. You can also seek backlinks from relevant external sites with high reputability. This signals Google that your site is authoritative and should be prioritised in search queries.


Trustworthiness is the most crucial element in the E-E-A-T framework. Ensure that you’re open about who the authors of your content are. Websites must have clear contact information to handle user interactions. Following ethical guidelines will help you maintain a good reputation in your field.

E-E-A-T guidelines

You can check this blog to see how our client made $166,000 monthly with our L.E.G.A.L. Lead flywheel strategy.


Google’s March update has implications for many websites. Website owners have suffered reduced ranking. Some have even been completely deindexed. The update targets several known exploits some site owners use to improve their ranking. These include scaled content abuse, expired domain abuse and site reputation abuse.

However, reputable SEO professionals such as LawSEO can keep your website following Google’s best practice policies. You can also stay up-to-date with Google’s latest changes through their Google Search Central blog.

Are you concerned about your search ranking? Contact us today and let us help.

If you want an effective SEO strategy for your firm, book a free discovery call.

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