Last week I received the following notification about a comment on my blog from TypePad:
If you are suffered in any personal injury cases and do not understand what do be done due to time of the injury. To better investment for your cases, you take a help from Injury Attorney and solicitor. They ultimate guide on How to be do efficient at your injury time. They provide a better settlement for your cases.
Clearly, the writer of the comment doesn’t understand English. The commenter name was listed as, "SEO solicitor," but the commenter's email address did not match the commenter's URL, so I did some investigating.
I went to the commenter URL listed in Typepad and it’s an Irish construction accident firm. Their website is written in perfectly fine, understandable English. The commenter email address was from a different company, whose site shows them to be a web design, development and SEO company based out of India. (I suppose that explains the poor grammar in the comment). I have to assume that this company designed the Irish solicitor’s website and is using these kinds of comments as part of their “SEO strategy” (or perhaps they are just doing SEO, and didn’t do the original site).
I am still wrestling with the quetion of whether or not to mark the comment as “Spam.” It had absolutely nothing to do with the post it was attached to, and was obviously not contributing to the conversation or commenting on my post - it was just an attempt to plant links to their site. As a result, I have been encouraged by many whom I have asked for an opinion to mark the comment as spam, but I hate to punish the Irish solicitors by slapping them with the spam label, although the idea of simply deleting the comment bugs me. I am sure that many would have no problem marking the comment as spam.
More and more lawyers are being solicited by so-called "SEO experts" who want lawyers to pay them a great deal of money to "increase their SEO ranking," "improve their visibility online," or "get them to the top of the Google rankings." But what does this really mean? Most lawyers know very little about search engine optimization or web strategy, but are eager to increase their business, particularly in this economy - and that makes them vulnerable. They don't know what questions to ask and don't have any idea what these so-called experts are doing in their name on the internet.
While there are plenty of professionals who can help lawyers maximize their visibility on the web, create pay per click campaigns to help increase traffic to their sites and increase the chances that those sites will be found on the web, there are also an increasing number of companies who use questionable tactics to get results - and though it may appear to work in the short term, those results themselves may be questionable -- or even harmful.
If I were the principal of the Irish firm for whom the above comment was planted, I would not be happy to learn that this was the way this company was approaching web strategy. The comment does not help build online relationships or encourage ongoing linking. It does not relate to the post in question or continue a conversation. It is unlikely to attract visitors to the site. The comment does NOT represent the firm in the best light since it is poorly written. Others who get these kinds of comments might be marking them as spam comments, which could hurt them. Of what value is such a link (and at what cost)? Is this really a good strategy for good lawyers who want to build a solid reputation and an honest practice?