By Kevin O'Keefe

FindLaw scores low on the ‘Truth-O-Meter’

FindLaw barely tueLast month FindLaw Lawyer Marketing was caught selling links to law firm websites, a violation of Google’s guidelines and a practice considered unethical SEO – search engine optimization.

Rather than acknowledge its errors, FindLaw responded that it did not sell links to law firm websites. FindLaw said the story of selling links arose out of FindLaw sales literature leaked to the public about a FindLaw product called SEM – Corporate. It was that product purportedly pitched by FindLaw to corporations such as Avvo and JD Supra which involved the sale of links.

Typical of FindLaw’s response given to lawyers, its employees, and the media, including the Wall Street Journal, is this statement given by FindLaw spokesman John Shaughnessy to the National Law Journal’s Pamela MacLean.

FindLaw selling links to law firms

What FindLaw did not say is that FindLaw had been selling a similar product to law firms called SEM Advantage. Presumably standing for ‘Search Engine Marketing.’

I’ve received a copy of promotional information on SEM Advantage, apparently distributed to FindLaw’s salespeople in sales meetings this last Winter at Tucson’s Star Pass Resort. The literature clearly identifies the product as SEM Advantage, making no mention of ‘SEM-Corporate.’

FindLaw Law Marketing SEM Advantage

The literature clearly defines the customer of the product as law firms.

FindLaw law firm marketing

What’s included in this sale to law firms? Inbound links tops the list.

FindLaw SEO Marketing

FindLaw websites top the list of websites on which FindLaw will place the links to law firms.

FindLaw links from FindLaw websites

What do those links look like? In many cases, like the 100 links to law firm websites below the footer of this FindLaw Legal Connection web page. Links placed clearly not to provide greater visibility to law firms by the links being clicked on, but links sold by FindLaw to provide what’s called ‘Google Juice’ to the law firm websites.

I suppose FindLaw could say the sale of links was only one of four things being sold to law firms as part of SEM Advantage. I don’t know.

What do you think? Do you think FindLaw was being truthful in its denial of selling links to law firms?

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Kevin O'Keefe
About the Author

Trial lawyer turned legal tech entrepreneur, I am the founder and CEO of LexBlog, a legal blog community of over 30,000 blog publishers, worldwide. LexBlog’s publishing platform is used on a subscription basis by over 18,000 legal professionals, including the largest law firm in each India, China and the United States.

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