I’ve been sitting on my hands for the past year or more, trying to keep from writing this post. The fact that you’re reading it means I’ve failed. That sucks for me, but it’s good for you.
I am pretty good at this SEO stuff. I don’t know everything, but I can write content that human beings can read.
I use a whole bunch of tools when I need to, and I’ve got a decent grasp of the English language.
I also know (in theory) how to hang a kitchen cabinet.
But I also know the golden rule of life.
Just Because You Know How To Do Something
… doesn’t mean you should be doing it.
Unfortunately, the people you hired for SEO are either too stupid or too lazy to pass on that tidbit of information.
I get it – SEO skills are important to getting readers to your blog or website or whatever you’ve got going on. But you’ve got to realize that once you get someone to come to your site, you’ve got to have something that’s not cringe-worthy for them to read.
Take, for example, this gem. There’s a bankruptcy blog written by a lawyer in California. Stuff’s pretty good, if not a bit technical for most consumers. Every single post – and I do mean each and every one – begins and ends with a link to his basic bankruptcy page. The anchor text (the anchor text is the text that’s underlined – when you click it, you get taken somewhere else) invariably states a different location plus some variation on the term “bankruptcy lawyers.”
For example, here are a few of his recent openers and closers (the underlined text is not a hyperlink to his site, but they are all links in the original articles):
… our Corona consumer bankruptcy lawyers warn every bankruptcy client about the penalties for lies in bankruptcy — including lies that become relevant in a later bankruptcy as well as lies during the bankruptcy itself …
… our team of Rancho Cucamonga foreclosure defense attorneys regularly reads about “show me the note” cases …
… our team of Moreno Valley foreclosure defense lawyers were interested to see a recent case in which … all of our Tustin foreclosure defense attorneys would be pleased … our Norwalk foreclosure defense lawyers feel strongly that …
I mean, really? Someone told these otherwise smart lawyers (at least, I’m guessing that they’re smart) that blatant SEO-pushing is a good idea for readers?
Did they not realize that these self-serving, SEO-heavy links at the top and bottom of every post might make their stuff seem promotional rather than informative?
Probably not. They hired an SEO guy (it’s usually a guy, though there are some very good women in the field as well) who sold them on the technical aspects of web publishing without bothering to remind then that people are actually going to read this stuff.
The Legal Marketing “Experts” Are No Better
It’s not just the lawyers who follow this awful guidance, it’s some of the big names in legal marketing as well. Over and over I see marketers posting blogs that are so clearly designed to “fit” into the SEO “best practices” mold that it’s barely readable. They look like desperate attention-seekers who are using the platform for nothing else but to climb to the top of the search engines by hook or by crook.
That sucks, because some of them are pretty good at what they do otherwise.
Here’s an idea for you, legal marketing “experts” “gurus” “ninjas” and similarly-meaningless terms.
Why not write someone that people are going to find interesting and entertaining? Perhaps a bit of, I don’t know, information? Guidance?
Or are you doing this blogging thing merely because it’s in fashion and a way to get eyeballs to your next conference, retreat, seminar, or pow-wow?
As for you, my lawyer friends, I have a bit of advice. Take it leave it, as you see fit.
Write stuff that sounds human. If it’s good, people will read it. If it sucks, nobody will read it. And if nobody reads it, you’ll be forced to get better.
Image credit: and.e.