I’m getting sick of lawyers leaving comments here under the name ‘DC Divorce Lawyer’ or ‘Injury Lawyer.’ Is that what your kids call you? Is that how you get introduced when speaking to a group? You mean you use your real name. Amazing.

Why not have the decency to use your name when participating in conversations on my blog and other blogs around the net? Blogs really are conversations.

Even if you don’t care whether you look like an idiot, lawyers publishing blogs aren’t blogging for the benefit of sleazy lawyers looking for a free way to get SEO for their blog or website. It may sound unbelievable, but lawyers are blogging to provide value to a growing Internet discussion, not for SEO to get traffic to a website.

I’m not the only one calling out lawyers on this junk. Widely read Scott Greenfield has said he’ll delete the comments and ban you. Scott also rightfully points out that you look like a ‘blithering idiot’ in spamming blogs, especially when paying SEO snake oil sales people to do it for you.

Worse than having your comments deleted is having them marked junk by the blog publisher. Junk filters work behind the scenes across tens of thousands of blogs at once. When I mark something as junk it alerts the junk filtering system that everyone else is using to mark as junk all blog comments coming from your ISP. Junk comments, like junk email, are never displayed, they are filtered out.

Why do lawyers do this crap? For SEO. They are being told they need links to their website or blog with the anchor text (words in link) describing what they do. They are further being told that blogs are nothing more than a way to get SEO.

Problem is that SEO spam is as offensive as spam email. Worse than spam email, SEO spam is on display for all. Shows the world how tasteless lawyers can be. Lawyers are among the worst, if not the worst, SEO spam artists on the net.

I have championed the Internet and blogs as the great equalizer for good lawyers in their marketing battle against the lawyers with all the money. I’d like to see good lawyers who give of their time by offering information and insight get the good work.

Greenfield has contended that lawyers will ruin a good thing like blogs. Though I remain an optimist, it’s sad to see lawyers who do not give a darn about their reputation or the reputation of our legal profession spam away like this.

  • I agree. It is just plain awful. I assume it works or people would not do it.
    What I have never been able to figure out is why I get so much span with no links. I can’t figure out the endgame.

  • “Blogfather” Kevin, chill – You are in Seattle and it is 25 degrees, sunny and there is snow on the ground – put your laptop and Iphone down and go make a snow angel.

  • Eric Turkewitz

    Perhaps one suggestion is to make sure the spammers know that all links in comments are marked as “do not follow” so that there is no Google juice for putting spam there. They are merely wasting their own time.

  • Amen! Wading through spam comments that ostensibly come from lawyers is not only a pain but demeans those of us who do it right.

  • Spot on. And worse still are those lawyers who report on every major accident in their geographical area with “advice” that if one is injured in such an accident, one should hire an injury lawyer such as the blogger. Why not just come out and say it: if you’re the one in this tragic case, call me. Borders on solicitation, I’d say. And it bores me too.

  • My guess: In the long run, Google will get better at recognizing this and it will have a reverse-effect on SEO for the spammers.

  • I hate that. I go to my comments and delete them. They think they’re savvy now by copying and pasting a portion of the post and saying “I agree that………
    Idiots.

  • The real problem is not the lawyers doing it. The real problem is the idiot SEO firms telling them to do it. Of course some of these firms have to give them the “secret handshake” technique to get the SEO juice.
    And you are right on that lawyers are making the mistake of thinking blogging is for getting SEO. Blogging is for building a relationship with your visitors so they become your regular readers. Blogging and doing it right by providing good, up-to-date, relevant content is what will get you noticed. Blogging is what will position you as the thought leader or opinion shaper in your particular niche or market. And it is those activities which will get you noticed by other thought leaders. It is truly a snow ball rolling down the hill if you do it right.
    Sleezy techniques like link buying and spam commenting is not it. It will make you look just like you are.
    Great post as always Kevin. Thanks for taking the lead.

  • Look, why not just require posts be reviewed before they are posted on the blog. It slows down the conversation but after a while the idiots go away when they can’t get on. Also add one of those stupid filters so you are not at the mercy of some SEO idiots bots.
    I also do not think that this is a lawyer move, it is some “SEO GURU” who is promising the sun moon and stars and not explaining to the lawyers how he is gamming google and ruining the lawyers reputation.
    As for Greenfield’s comments he is not just talking about these kind of posts. He has attacked legitimate posts and posters and I think he is way off base. There is a difference between what John Hochfelder is talking about above and a legitimate blogger whose motivation to blog is to drive traffic and business to his firm

  • I second Bill Marler’s advice: just chill.
    Not a big enough of problem to worry about.
    People buying seo advice who don’t even know how to read the source view of their web post ought to parted with their money.

  • Nice post and comments. Plenty of times I’ve heard the word “Blog” being sold as an acronym for “Better Listings On Google”. Yuck.
    I’m a fan of any attorney who blogs for the right reason and I follow these blogs because of it.

  • kevan

    Kevin,
    I would like to say:
    I’ve thought for quite a while that the giant link exchange you run (through the 300+ link blogrolls on most of your client’s blogs) is similar to the spammy activity you’re condemning here.
    These 300+ link blogrolls:
    1) Do not seem to be managed/updated by your clients. Are they? If so, is it simply an opt-in decision whereby all of these links are dumped into your client’s blogrolls?
    2) Because they’re probably dumped in, 90% the links in these blogrolls are almost completely irrelevant to the blog linking out, just like the spammy comments in the subject of this post. The other 10%, you could argue in defense, are links to other blogs in the same practice area and are therefore relevant. That should be acknowledged , though I doubt they are included for this reason. However, the only thing relevant to the other 90% of links is that LexBlog is the supplier. Is there something more relevant that I am missing? If not, it would be just as relevant to the reader’s of your client’s blogs, then, to link to 500 or 5,000 other lawyers who have blogs in these blogrolls; the readers of your client’s blogs obviously don’t care if LexBlog supplied the blog.
    3) Each of these mammoth blogrolls are conveniently paginated using javascript, thereby hiding the fact to search engines that 90% of these links are actually hidden on the page. If you weren’t running this massive link operation for your clients’ search engine gain, then why not let the search engines know this with display:hidden? The user experience would still be the same. Of course, readers can still paginate the links of these blogrolls, so in that sense the 90% of the links on the blogrolls aren’t really hidden. But, honestly, how many people are paginating through these blogrolls when the links they contain are so irrelevant in the first place?
    If search engines didn’t exist, can you honestly say that these blogrolls would be anything like what they are now? Search engines not considered, these blogrolls degrade the quality LexBlog blogs (which are otherwise done very nicely, I might say).
    Kevan
    Note: When this imported blogroll is featured on your own blog (here), these are clearly not irrelevant.

  • Kevin —
    Here here! Unfortunately, just as we have attorneys who are less than professional in their practice behavior, we have attorneys who will be less than professional in their online behavior.
    Thanks for speaking up on this point.
    Bill Wilson

  • Thanks for the comments on the LexBlog blogroll Kevan. We’re totally open about what the blogroll represents and what LexBlog is doing.
    * LexBlog’s list of blogs is placed on our client blogs where it is in an open place in the navigation bar. We wanted it easy to see and navigate. We also made it easy for Google to see what LexBlog was doing. It was designed specifically to able to be seen by Google and anyone else, not to hide via javascript as you allege.
    * Some of LexBlog’s client blogs have a display of other blogs, some do not. I would guess the majority do.
    * The list has come to represent a powerful network of good legal bloggers, some better than others. LexBlog clients appreciate the exposure of being seen by others in this network and the ability to discover others.
    * The list includes non LexBlog client blogs. The non-LexBlog blogs are good blogs that I have been following for years that I think deserve some recognition and that folks in the legal field may want to follow.
    * LexBlog clients are certainly not required to have that list of blogs on their blogs. It’s collegial in nature.
    * LexBlog knows that because our blog list of LexBlog client blogs and other law blogs is on lots of LexBlog sites, the value of the links may be discounted some by Google. That’s okay, blogs do well in the search engines because of organic links they garner by publishing good content and by our clients entering into conversations with other thought leaders.
    * LexBlog’s goal is to empower lawyers to publish good blogs by teaching them the art of effective blogging. We then showcase those blogs because we think they are good. Do we fail in making all our lawyers good bloggers? Probably.
    * LexBlog believes in the Google mantra – do good, offer value on the net. Let that be your guide and things work will work out for you on Google.
    * LexBlog has been reviewing its blog list since the advent of our LexMonitor, with the vision being that we can showcase good blogs by all lawyers by practice areas – LexBlog clients and non LexBlog clients.

  • Kevin / Kevan,
    While there is some fundamental SEO benefit from the blogroll having a link system, it really has very little overall SEO value. Blogrolls are noted as longterm links across a site, which do not pass the same amount of SEO juice as having a link in a recent article.
    I would say in the “big picture of blogging”, especially for lawyers, that the blogroll is a helpful way of establishing credibility to other firms talking online, as well as aggregating useful information to both the client author and the visitors of the blog.
    While there are thousands in the legal field blogging, it is still at such an infancy point that 99% of those interacting with such basic SEO issues have no idea why or how it all works.

  • The SEO Revolution

    When a niche blawger like me says something, nobody listens.

  • Dan

    Geez, Kevin,I’ve been deleting those comments since day 1. Of course.

  • Philip Gusterson

    This is one of the reasons that Facebook Connect, where publishers can seamlessly connect user Facebook accounts and information with their site, has much potential.
    Facebook’s big advantage over MySpace is the fact that real profiles are required.
    I see a drive to reduce anonymity on the web as one of the big issues in 2009. Reducing anonymity will lead to deeper dialogue and a richer online experience.

  • “Just Chill”?
    Obviously, you don’t run a blog. This spam takes time to wade through, time that I could spend getting things done.

  • Speaking as an experienced attorney and SEO I know the value of LexBlog. You have disdain for people that leave keyword anchor text yet you have a LexBlog. LexBlog provides a vast network of backlinks in a split second by you paying LexBlog. A good SEO will tell you that backlinking comprises about 20 to 25% of the SEO pie. On-page SEO about 20 to 25%.
    Rarely is the on-page SEO LexBlog provides on par with elite advice. I know because some friends use them. But their network of backlinks is a powerful and valuable tool.
    I think it is harsh to criticize an attorney that cannot afford a network of links, but tries to do his own SEO by leaving backlinks. It is easy to take shots when you have a blog with a PR of 6 just from signing on a dotted line. Go easy on those that are not fortunate to sign those contracts.
    Many are out there. I assist tons of small shop law firms that do not have a marketing budget at all.