Discovers ‘Negative SEO Marketing’ Aimed at Law Firms

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The law firm Web marketing company’s analysts say that two firms appear to be behind an attack that targeted law firms in the New Jersey and Philadelphia areas.

law firm web marketing consultant discusses investigation of negative SEO marketing

J.R. Oakes

What he discovered, Oakes says, ‘should strike fear in the heart of every law firm.’, Inc. , a national leader in law firm Web marketing, reports that “a suspicious and alarming spike in harmful backlinks” to a client’s website led to one of the company’s analysts uncovering a negative SEO campaign that attempted to harm the websites of law firms in New Jersey and Philadelphia.

“In the day-to-day world of SEO, it is not always that you get to play detective,” writes J.R. Oakes,’s director of search marketing, in a new blog post about his investigation posted on the industry blog,

In the 2,100-word investigative report, Oakes writes that this is the first “true example of negative SEO” that he has observed. What he discovered, Oakes says, “should strike fear in the heart of every law firm.”

In the report, Bernie Clark of Majux Marketing explains that “negative SEO” refers to a practice in which a competitor damages the Internet footprint of a website by engaging in tactics that are likely to trigger a red flag in Google’s algorithm. This can negatively impact the site’s ranking or even cause Google to drop pages or an entire website from its search index.

A negative SEO campaign can be done manually or with inexpensive software, Oakes states.

In the case he investigated, numerous bad “backlinks” were being posted to the targeted law firms’ websites.

Relevant incoming links can have a positive effect on a website’s search engine rankings. For law firms, this might include links from scholarly articles or news reports related to the kinds of cases the firm handles. On the other hand, low-quality incoming links from websites or articles not relevant to the law firm site’s content can hurt rankings, according to Oakes.

“We found that a large portion of the highest ranking sites [examined in the Philadelphia and New Jersey area] had seen a surge in low-quality backlinks over the … three-month period,” Oakes writes. “Many of these low-quality backlinks overlapped, indicating that someone was using the same harmful backlink campaign against those same clients.”

Oakes reports that he and fellow analysts eventually identified two law firms that were likely to be behind the negative SEO campaign. The article does not name the suspects.

Oakes reports that has contacted Google about its concerns and has shared its findings with other SEO marketing firms in the impacted geographic area.

In the article, Oakes provides steps that can be taken to protect clients’ websites from negative SEO campaigns. He also calls upon Google for help.

“Google should include some type of tool in Web Master Tools that notifies you of new links that appear to be harmful and that gives you the option of easily disavowing them,” he writes.

About, Inc., Inc., provides Web marketing products and services to law firms across country. The company’s offices are based in North Carolina (The Forum I, 8601 Six Forks Rd., Suite 400, Raleigh, NC, 27615) and Kentucky (114 Main Street, Berea, KY, 40403). For more information, call Marketing Director Tanner Jones at (800) 872-6590 or (859) 353-7720 or simply submit the company’s online contact form.

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