I’m taking a quick time out from our social media for lawyers series to discuss the need for attorneys to keep tabs on their web developer. The reason for this time out? We recently did battle with the spam man! By this I mean a so called web developer thought they were going to build back links for a law firm by leaving spammy comments on our blog. Wrong! This points out the need for you to ensure that the company you’re using isn’t getting you in trouble with the search engines. Let’s look at how you can make sure your developer is going about things the right way.

On Tuesday five different comments were left on our blog from two different firms. Neither of these comments added anything to our blog’s conversation and each included links back to the firm’s websites. These spammy comments were picked up by our comment filter and never appeared on our blog. Unfortunately, many so called “SEO consultants” see this as a legitimate way to build links to a client’s site. The truth, however, is that as far as Google is concerned people engaging in such link-building schemes look a lot like this guy:

Internet spammer wearing a mask

Playing such games, in order to get links, is a good way to get your site dinged and blacklisted by the search engines. The type of link-building attempts we saw on our blog this week are the type that Matt Cutts frowned on in this video:

It’s important for you to ensure that anyone managing your site is not engaging in these types of tactics – if they are then they are hurting you, not helping you.

The first and easiest step to avoid the type of mess, that the firms we dealt with this week will likely find themselves in, is to not get into such a situation in the first place. You can do this by hiring a web developer who makes content and user experience the center of your law firm’s SEO strategy. A strategy focusing around content and user experience will earn you the high quality organic back links which will stand the test of time, make your site perform well, and keep your site performing well. For tips on implementing such a strategy take a look at the following articles:

Given that the best way to stay out of trouble is to not get in it in the first place, you should be looking for someone implementing these types of strategies.

If you already have a web developer, and want to check up on them, then you can easily do so through Google’s “Search Console” tool (formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools). The search console tool allows you to see a list of the links to your site which have been found by Google. You can use the list to see what pages the links are from and then investigate whether your developer is engaging in spam man like activities. Getting your site set up in this tool is easy. Make your developer do it asap!

Want to do well in search and not get punished by search engines? Then employ a strategy of building links the right way. Trying to game the system is going to get you nowhere fast.