Here’s a hypothetical: Prescription drug Samsonex (fake) has been linked to heart attacks and strokes. How do I maximize my ability to generate Samsonex cases?
Well, I probably start with SEO I’m ashamed of. I’m going to first do a few generic blog posts about how the FDA has “blah blah blah” to say about Samsonex. I’ll link those pages to a page called Samsonex Lawyer Lawsuit Attorney or something like that – a title that makes no sense but stuffs appropriate keywords. (Seriously, who looks for “lawyer lawsuit attorney?”)
Then, I’ll create a bunch of BS pages for relevant geographical areas (Dallas, Texas Samsonex Lawyer) and throw up some super-thin content. Just to get by Google’s filters for duplicate content, I’ll add the addresses of hospitals in the area: (Generic Samsonex blurb followed by, “If you’ve suffered a heart attack while taking Samsonex, you could go to the Dallas General Hospital on 123 Fake Street…)
And that’s basically how one ranks for geographic searches on Google. The geographic pages have absolutely no useful information on them whatsoever. They just have enough unique information on them that Google thinks they’re unique.
The algorithm is dumb. It’s easy to trick. I may not be able to rank #1 for ABC lawyer, but I can rank #1 for City, State ABC lawyer by spinning content and throwing in links to local hospitals, etc. on the page. Only trouble is, I’m ashamed to do it.
So my mental scales of justice are currently balancing the shame of bullshitting Google with the reward of dominating the SERPs. What do I do? That’s not a good question.
The better question is when will Google get smart enough to know that I’m a lawyer representing people across the country, and I’m just as able to represent someone in Nome, Alaska as I am Houston, Texas? This isn’t a rhetorical question. How many years away are we from having a search engine that is smart enough that I don’t need to try and game it? Five? Ten? Never?
Take your bets.