Findlaw Violating Google Guidelines (and Scamming Customers?)


Via Oilman, Findlaw, the largest legal website and lawyer referrer around is attempting to sell links to other law sites for $1000/month. The offer is quite shameless in how it explains and outlines how these links will benefit your site and improve search engine rankings.

The problem is that this is a clear violation of Google’s policy against search engine spam, and these links will almost certainly be devalued when reported. (Google’s top cop, Matt Cutts has already taken note and commented in the thread at oilman’s site, so it appears to already be a done deal).

So now it’s just a question of whether Findlaw will stick with the deal and deceptively sell these links that will no longer have any search engine rankings enhancement value.

Why are Paid Links a Bad Thing?

Links themselves are a key element of how the search engine algorithms rank sites. Links are like votes, and the sites with the most authority, or PageRank, have the most value, especially when topically related. So it would make sense that links from Findlaw would be extremely valuable to any site in the legal space.

However, a link that is paid for is not considered an honest and unbiased vote. Therefore, when discovered, either by the algorithm or manually, paid links are discounted by google and other search engines, and given no weight in rankings.

It will be interested to see what results from this, but it wouldn’t surprise me if some big legal players do pay the monthly link fees, and never realize that they are getting nothing for their money.

About Dave Matson

Dave Matson helps criminal defense lawyers get more clients for Get Lawyer Leads, Inc. Dave Matson on g+

Posted by dave on Thursday, August 14th, 2008 at 11:37 pm and is filed under scams, seo. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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Posted by Larry Bodine Law Marketing Blog, September 4th, 2008 at 7:38 pm

Google Slaps FindLaw In Effort to Crack Down On ‘Link Juice’…

The Web’s No. 1 search engine has charged FindLaw with the shady tactic of selling Web links — a.k.a. selling "link juice," designed to boost a Web site’s search engine rankings — such as the law firms that are FindLaw……

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Posted by Search Engines Blog - FindLaw gaming Google, and possibly scamming lawyer customers?, March 7th, 2009 at 11:36 pm

[...] been caught gaming Google by selling links to lawyer websites and, in the words of one blogger, possibly scamming their lawyer customers. And, as of Friday evening, it appears Google has already taken steps to penalize [...]

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