Why You Shouldn’t Let a PR Agency Run SEO

Seems like an obvious title, but at least one Personal Injury firm in LA apparently needs this heads up.  About 5 years ago, I wrote a post for Search Engine Land about the value of good PR for linkbuilding.  The fundamentals remain true today and I can’t stress enough how good PR, working in tandem with smart linkbuilding can score big time for law firms.


Unfortunately, every man and his dog is getting in to the legal SEO business – frequently to the detriment of their own clients.  Social Media gurus, networking mavens and today…. PR “professionals”.

From LinkedIn email today:

I’m working with an LA-based lawyer and wanted to run a cross-promo idea past you. Let me know if I can send you some info.


OK. I’ll bite….

sure – give me a call 206 486 2087 Conrad


Hi Conrad, Thanks for LinkingIn. As I mentioned, I am working with a Los Angeles personal injury law firm. We are looking to collaborate with firms you represent to cross promote blog posts with the goal of increasing both of our online visibility. Below is a brief overview. Let me know if you are still rep-ing lawyers and if this interests you. Thanks, -Veronica

CROSS-PROMOTION OVERVIEW SUMMARY: A Los Angeles personal injury law firm is looking to partner with law firms you represent to help build online visibility for both firms.

HOW IT WORKS: We would mention “your firm” and link to your website in one of our blog posts or feature a “guest post” by your firm and link back to your site. In return, we ask that you do the same.

WHY: Peer recommendation, third party acknowledgement and “soft “referrals can build firm recognition with the intent of increasing our respective client base. Since we are in different states, this partnership will allow us to cross-promote without competing for potential clients.

GOAL: To acknowledge each other online, linking back to each other’s sites.

Uggg.  My reply:

So – you are interested in endorsing firms you’ve never worked with and ignore that what you are proposing is most likely going to incur an SEO penalty if done at scale?

I also sent Veronica to Google’s Guidelines about reciprocal links and just so you don’t have to read through:
  • Excessive link exchanges (“Link to me and I’ll link to you”) or partner pages exclusively for the sake of cross-linking
  • Large-scale article marketing or guest posting campaigns with keyword-rich anchor text links

Don’t get me wrong – PR can be amazingly valuable for SEO.  But not like this.  I’ve invested hundreds of thousands of dollars of lawyers’ marketing investment unravelling backlinking schemes like this that have decimated law firms business.  Hopefully by reading this you’ll never have to spend those dollars with us…. unless you happen to be a certain LA based PI firm… we’re here to help.

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