Findlaw caught selling "juiced up" links.

In some excellent reporting from the world of legal and SEO blogs it has been widely reported now that Findlaw, the legal marketing giant, has been caught advertising a service to lawyers that was essentially the sale of "juiced up" links for between $1000 and $2500 per month. Once this was shared with the Google internal control teams they slapped down the giant of the legal marketing world and put an end to a practice that some bloggers estimate might have added many millions of dollars to the media giants bottom line. What lawyers and others who aren't immersed in the world of blogs and legal marketing need to know is that selling of links is a big violation of Googles anti-spam policy.

I have to tell you that a lot of the mechanics of search engine optimization, and how links are juiced, escapes me. I just tend to our business here at The Legal Broadcast Network and The Settlement Channel by creating solid content, adding channels and watching our traffic grow organically. Our numbers for August just exceeded our estimates by showing over 200,000 view, listens or reads, with our growth tracking at 25% per month now that we have rebuilt our portal and implemented the strategy that we mapped out earlier this year.

However, as the extensive reporting on this issue illustrates, this has caused a major stir in the SEO and Legal Marketing world.

Money/CNN reported a very solid summary of the case here.

The blog at "get lawyer leads" has a summary.

Kevin O'Keefes " Real Lawyers have blogs" has an excellent run down as well as why this is such a big issue among legal marketing firms.

Todd Friesen has an excellent summary on the entire Find Law situation for those of you who really want to dig into the specifics.

In summary, all this shows is the incredible lengths, and expense, law firms and lawyers will go to just to market their services, while at the same time not taking the care to even know what it is they are buying. Everyone wants the magic bullet instead of realizing that having a web site, a blog and a podcast is hard work, requires a commitment of time and effort, but that the pay off is more enduring and less expensive then buying some juiced up service from Findlaw. I don't know how Google creates their search engine magic, and quite frankly I don't care about page ranks, SEO and all of the other things people obsess over. All I know is that if you create interesting, original content and put it on well designed blogs and podcasting platforms good things are going to happen.

There are no short cuts guys! Start a blog, tend to it on a regular basis, develop podcast content and if you want join a network of bloggers or broadcasters to magnify your reach. Just don't think putting up some canned $15,000 web site from a corporate media firm that is "juiced up" with spam strategies and questionable SEO tools is going to portray you or your firm in the best possible light.
Posted on September 11, 2008 and filed under Legal Marketing, New Media, Professional practices.