Is Google Stupid?

Yesterday Brian Tannebaum wrote about many of the law firm web site marketeers that write dreck for their clients (Blogging And Other Social Media, Like A Search Engine Whore)

The marketeers put this stuff online for the lawyers and call it content. Those with even minimal composition skills use far less charitable words to describe it.

As an example, he writes about the self-linking that takes place in pseudo-blogs and the embarrassing effect it actually has on the lawyer being promoted. He uses the example below — a monstrous keyword smorgasbord you may have stumbled across in the past, and were dumber for having done so:

Recently, this Craptown family lawyer read about a father being held in contempt for failing to pay child support. This case was not in Craptown and did not involve aCraptown family lawyer. As a Craptown family lawyer, it is important that anyone in Craptown who has a problem with Craptown family law call a Craptown family lawyer. It is unclear whether the father sought the services of aCraptown family lawyer, but contempt is a bad thing and is a reason to seek out aCraptown family lawyer. So for those of you fathers that are broke, it may be time to call a Craptown family lawyer.

This is a theme you have likely seen before, though it’s still worth reiterating as lawyers continue to come online with blogs, Twitter feeds, Facebook pages, etc., ad nauseum. Not knowing how to actually use these media, the attorneys outsource the content to the marketeers, outsourcing their ethics and public face in the process.

But I’d like to add a bit to what Tannebaum wrote, which he summarized like this:

Stop the multiple links in your blogs, and stop automating your social media accounts.

Fire anyone who you hired to do this for you.

Stop being an internet marketing whore, and start being a lawyer.

Now my two rupees to add on: The only reason to create such horribly dreadful prose is because the marketeers (or lawyers listening to them) think there will be Google link juice that will flow to those links; they think page rank will increase. In other words, the prattle isn’t written for the human, but for the search engine.

But do they really think Google is that stupid? Do they think Google doesn’t know that folks are trying to game them by passing along valuable page rank in the form of links?

If I were building a search engine, I would value the first inbound link from a site. The second link would be less valuable, and the third even less. It’s the only logical thing to do. Thus, my first link from Above the Law was likely good for my blog. But they’ve linked to me often over the years and additional ones probably have little impact as far as Google is concerned.

The same is true with multiple links within a post. The more links, the less value each will have. While I’m obviously not privy to Google’s algorithms, I do know these folks didn’t get to the top of the search game by being stupid.

So if you should happen to stumble across one of those Craptown blog posts that Tannebaum wrote about,  you have learned several things about the lawyer, none of them good

But adding to the humiliation factor that Tannebaum noted, you can add that:

  1. The lawyer has hired a marketeer that is incompetent;
  2. The lawyer has wasted his money because he gets nothing from it (other than humiliation).

And if you already made the mistake of hiring one of the marketing charlatans hustling business from lawyers left and right, and you can’t figure out whether the content being produced is good for you, ask your mother to read it. Ask your spouse. Ask friends who you trust for candor, the kind of friends that would take the car keys out of your hand because you’ve had one too many.

What would they think? Would they be proud to say they know you? If your kid’s friends read it, what are they likely to think of you?

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8 Responses Leave a comment

  • Gyi 2013.2.6 at 11:12 | Quote

    So I was searching for a Craptown family lawyer and Google sent me here. Are you available to handle my Craptown divorce?

  • Eric Turkewitz 2013.2.6 at 12:03 | Quote

    You should call Tannebaum for all Craptown litigation. I’m not admitted there.

  • Mark Draughn 2013.2.7 at 00:13 | Quote

    Exactly right, Eric. Repeating the same phrases over and over used to work back in the 1990′s when AltaVista was king of search engines. Google changed all that with their Page Rank algorithm, and they’ve refined the algorithm a lot since the early days. Google keeps the details secret, but it’s unlikely that repeated links on a page count for anything. Also, links within a website are only likely to affect the relative rank of pages within that site, not the rank of that site compared to other sites. Finally, Google spends millions of dollars a year researching and implementing ways to prevent people from gaming their search results. It’s not impossible to manipulate the results, but it’s not easy.

  • Eric Turkewitz 2013.2.7 at 11:26 | Quote

    I always find it amazing how many people — people with a lot of higher education I might add — think that Google is so dumb that they can be manipulated so easily.

  • Gyi 2013.2.7 at 11:34 | Quote

    @Eric Turkewitz – Potentially the most highly-educated, technically proficient and resourced company in history… On the other hand, organizing the world’s information is a big job.

  • Eric Turkewitz 2013.2.7 at 11:51 | Quote

    On the other hand, organizing the world’s information is a big job

    If it was easy, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.

    …swiped from A League of their Own…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZ-v3FbufEg

  • Greg H. 2013.2.8 at 14:26 | Quote

    In my opinion there are 2 big problems with “robo-blogging.” First, you lose respect of anybody who sees what you’re doing (and therefore customers). Second, as google improves how it ranks people, it will get harder and harder to ‘fake it’ and you could be punished (rank wise) for doing so.

    The thing that marketers forget in their headlong rush to be ranked #1 for “personal injury” is that people are also searching for “car accident help” and “losing a family member” and “depressed after accident” and so on. Those very human blog posts will bring very human customers through the door.

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