There’s lawyers who don’t care how they get the next client or case. Whether it comes via an ad above a urinal, a two page spread in the yellow pages, or a referral from someone who thought the lawyer was pretty good, they just don’t care.

In fact some lawyers would rather see their name at the top of search results or on the back of a phone book than have a reputation as a trusted and reliable authority in a niche area of the law. Wonderful that these cads are in the same profession as you and I who went to law school to right a few wrongs and to take pride in what we do.

The latest comes from lawyers throwing money down a rat hole by paying unscrupulous SEO-Search Engine Optimization clowns to get spam links via comments on good law blogs.

Scott Greenfield explains how the spam comments on law blogs scheme works.

One of the latest [trends] that has hit Simple Justice fairly hard is the latest effort in advertising by desperate lawyers, who apparently pay someone else to post comments to a blawg (such as this) with a link to their website.

The name of the commenter is listed as ‘Miami Lawyer’ and the link is to some Miami lawyer’s website.  One might think that the concept would be followed through with some further degree of thought, such as searching for posts that relate in some way to stories about Miami, so that people who read the comments to the story might have a better chance of being interested in Miami lawyers.  Not so.

In the course of a day, I get one individual posting a dozen comments to miscellaneous old posts without any apparent nexus to each other or the geographical or subject matter area of the lawyer.  Each will link back to this ‘Miami Lawyer’s’ website.  But here’s the rub:  The comment is written in broken English and fails to demonstrate any knowledge of the content of the post.

Example: Greet to the webmaster for this wonderful site.Keep up good work.

This is the actual comment left yesterday.  To the Miami Lawyer who paid someone to leave this comment and link to his website, this word of advice.  It makes you look like a blithering idiot.  Is that what you are trying to accomplish?

As Scott explains the comments usually say ‘nice job on the blog’ or something else complimentary. So lawyers new to blogging are apt to keep the comments up. Don’t. You’ll just be supporting the sleaze and lazy of our legal profession.

And for lawyers buying SEO from guys that sound and behave like crack cocaine dealers, follow Scott’s advise.

…[A]s a public service to anyone foolish enough to pay good money to some advertising ‘solutions’ company that outsources its work to people who will make you look far more pathetic than you are, let me say this.  Don’t do it.

You are wasting your money.  You are not going to get any cases from comments that make you look stupid.  You are going to have your comments deleted, and then I’m going to ban you from here.

If you’re really trying to market yourself by establishing yourself as an authority in the legal blogsophere, do it the old fashioned way. By working at it.

Subscribe to blogs in your niche as well as keywords and key phrases via Google Blog Search and Google News. Comment on other blogs – both on your own blog and in the comment field on other law blogs.

And at all times, add value to the discussion. You went to law school. You have 7 years of college and graduate education. It is actually possible to offer insight and commentary, as opposed to looking for the next get rich/cut corners advertising scheme.

Working at blogging the old fashioned way will get you plenty of links – and others citing you and your content throughout the net. I know you may not care, but it will save you money and get you more legal work.

  • I’d be willing to bet that this person hired someone claiming to be a virtual assistant through one of those freelancing sites. Those places are full of people from other countries bidding on jobs for $3 an hour. Problem is, you get what you pay for and this is a perfect example. And just like this “Miami Lawyer” person is giving lawyers a bad name, those so-called “virtual assistants” are giving VAs a bad name.
    Now there ARE some legitimate virtual assistants out there who do offer social networking as a service and that does include things like writing blog posts, leaving comments on other blogs, managing profiles on places like Linked In, etc.
    But, seriously, they need to be aware of what this person is doing/saying/writing on their behalf or it will just backfire.

  • Kevin, it’s not just with lawyers, but it’s a code of conduct thing throughout the blogosphere. Lawyers, being on the whole less tech-inclined than most bloggers, aren’t familiar with the do’s and don’ts of blogging and commenting.
    For instance, one of the very first comments on GamesLaw was from Raph Koster, one of the titans of the gaming industry (and a popular blogger himself). That didn’t happen by chance, it happened because I advertised myself through constructive commentary on other blogs, and working with other bloggers instead of spamming them. As a result, GamesLaw, and it’s predecessor Wikilaw, had a great relationship with a number of law blogs out there. (Case in point, Rick Lax, author of Lawyer Boy and creator of regularly prods me when my real life intrudes on my blogging and I end up missing posts).
    Too many lawyers, however, don’t know to operate like that. They’ll simply spam themselves across multiple blogs, even unrelated ones. The result is they won’t drive any traffic, and they’ll gain a bad reputation amongst the relatively tight-knit law blog community. Moreover, most of their comments will probably be deleted as spam. Over time, tracking services such as Akismet may start to look negatively on their site as a whole, meaning their SEO rankings will actually SUFFER instead of improve.
    By the way, I’m from South Florida and have never heard of this guy.

  • April, from everything I can tell looking at your comment, it sure smells a lot like spam. How you think you can tastefully turn the discussion on this post into exactly what you do to get a link is beyond me. But maybe I am missing something.

  • Kevin, if you didn’t think April’s post was spam, and then promoted the comment to a post, the link to her website would get google juice.
    (I assume that your comments are using the no-follow rule.)
    It is important for lawyers to understand this difference because it is their hands as to which links they want to google to spider.

  • Actually I think April has a point. I was thinking of pointing out the $3/hour thing to you when I already read it here in the comments.
    I think that April is just pointing out that the reason that the comments stink is PARTIALLY because the law firm is hiring out the commenting process to bad SEO firms who outsource the grunt work to non-english speaking countries.
    Sure, she got a plug in , BUT she at least made a point which is better than most of the spam comments I see.
    So What is the Golden Rule… Good content will always do better than spam linking/commenting

  • shg

    April put up quite a fight over at Simple Justice. Whether she was defending the honor of her occupation, or trying to spam up some notice, I’m fine with her efforts at gaining some face time as long as she’s offering something substantive.
    It may not have worked out all that well for her, based upon the quality of her argument, but she had plenty of opportunity to make her point.
    Still, the line between using the blawgosphere (whether posts or comments) purely to market or to provide substance, and gain a collateral marketing benefit, eludes many.
    Write good stuff and you end up at the top of the google page, no matter how much others pay SEOs to get their garbage to float to the top. And if the SEOs make them look like fools, they have no cause to complain.