If you actually read my little bio over on the left up there (you didn't, and I'm not so pompous as to think you care :)), you'd know I'm a white hat SEO who is currently doing some serious SEO consulting for a law firm.  I'd like to share a few things I've noticed in this area, and complain about how horrible the scene really is.

Link Spam:
Many successful law firm web sites engage in bulk spam links.  By that I don't mean comment-spam.  I mean massive numbers of scraper sites with links pointing to the law firm.  I'm surprised at how well it works, actually.  I won't cite names for legal reasons (I'm sure, if I did, I'd receive a letter from one of these firms, letting me know that my definition of spam didn't align with theirs, and they are suing me for slander … ), but I've seen sites with literally thousands of these spam-network scraper sites pointing at them.  What I wonder is, why would any decent law firm let this sort of image-tarnishing stuff occur?  If you're a law firm reading this, ask yourself this:

"Would you want pages, with, among other things, advertisements for adult diapers and contraceptives, pointing to your site?  If you don't care yet, let me further analogize.  How about a big sign in a shady sex-shop?  In my opinion, though they're are a little less pronounced and obvious, links are just as much an issue as where you advertise in the brick-and-mortar realm.  Be careful of who you get to advocate for you."

Keyword Stuffing:
I know it's important to stuff some keywords in, but I'm seriously questioning the logic of using "query english" vs. "real english."  More on this here.  What people search for, by virtue of English's flexibility, sometimes only just-so-happens to be English.  Take, for example, the keyword "Vioxx attorney."  When a user is looking for a "Vioxx attorney," one must consider whether this is actually English. The answer is yes, and no. Ask yourself a simple question. Would you actually call up a law firm and say: "Hello, do you have a Vioxx attorney?"  Probably not.  If you're a creative copywriter, you may be able to repeat it a few times.  But a lousy copywriter proceeds to repeat that pseudo-English term 90 times in the document.  Yes, it may rank, but no, I don't think people will hire a lawyer who repeats himself so much.  I doubt he'd be a good trial-lawyer, in any case.  That would definately piss off a jury :)

Counter Links:
Then there are the firms that buy counter links.  I'm personally not opposed to counter links.  I see it as slightly gray, but I do it for some sites (not for the legal site — too concerned with image), though I feel it's a valid link-baitish approach to link-building.  I still wouldn't use it for a legal site, personally.

Pharmaceutical Injury SEO + Drug Store SEO = Chaos!
Lastly, let's forget about the slip and fall stuff in the search marketing landscape – that's pretty bad.  By far the worst area is the drug litigation stuff.  Not only, in this area, are you fighting legal spammers, but you're also fighting the drug store spammers.  The result is spam city, and a good metric for a search engine's filtering capabilities is this area.  Surprisingly, in my opinion, MSN does better than Yahoo.  But feel free to disagree with me.  Either way, legal SEO sucks.

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