Law Firm Internet Marketing in 2019: Offering a Scholarship? You Need to See This…

By | August 12, 2019


Hey guys, I want to show you something here real quick
that happened to me about a week ago, and actually it’s kind of been
an ongoing project for me. But basically,
one of the issues with SEO is that when a trend starts working really well,
and it starts spreading, then other SEO companies jump on board and other SEO companies jump on board, and basically they ruin it for everybody. So, a perfect example of this is
scholarship links. Now, a long time ago,
I’d say maybe two or three years ago, we used to scholarship links
for our clients as well, and the idea is is that website links for .edu domain. So you see over here this Columbia Basin .edu .edu links are extremely valuable
for your website. And they’re still valuable,
but the easy way to get them was to set up a scholarship on your website,
give away maybe a $500, you know, law firm scholarship to a law student
or whoever it was, then contact and every school and say “Hey, Colombia Basin University, we’re this law firm and
we’re giving away a $500 scholarship, so would you mind linking to it
from your Financial Aid page?”. And that worked really well for a long time. But it hasn’t been working in my opinion,
for about a year, maybe year and a half now. And the reason is is because it’s just been taken
advantage of so many times that– There’s a lot of websites out there that are– Like for example, Colombia Basin University,
you can see this page. Look at how many scholarships are on this page, and some of them are just kind of
crazy scholarships. Like, let’s see, I saw one that was like
the welding scholarship. Here’s the landscape architecture
scholarship which goes to LA Foundation. And these are all you know, so here’s the
May Law Firm Injury scholarship. Let’s see what other law firms there are. Here’s Thomas Law Offices scholarship. You know, all of these different firms. And what’s happening is it leads you, you know, you click on this page,
it takes you to their website, and then it links internally to
some of the other pages. Now, this was a really popular method
and it used to work really well. And recently I think, like I said, in the last year, year and a half, its stopped working so much. But even more recently,
on Christmas Day of 2017, Google actually put out a lot of penalties
for people that were using this type of thing. And it’s kind of interesting,
because I had never seen Google actually go after
a specific type of thing, especially when you’ve got like,
you know, your links are edu links
that they’re going after. But, I actually had a client who got a penalty on, let’s see when was this, this was January 6th. And this is a client that recently came to us
and we had some work to do on their site. So, they didn’t give me any, Google didn’t give me any idea as to what,
what caused the penalty. They just said “unnatural links”,
this is an issue that sometimes you’ll get if you do a lot of unnatural link building and if you kind of play in the BlackHatWorld
and things like that. So, basically what I did is I went through the Backlink profile, and they
definitely have some questionable links. But, I went through and
I removed about 4 or 5 .edu links. That’s all I did, was only 4 or 5 .edu links, and I mean, they had other links and everything. Actually, I didn’t even remove them,
I just disavowed them. I didn’t email the webmasters. I didn’t even email the schools
or anything like that. I just disavowed them and
I filed a reconsideration request. And this morning I got this,
my reconsideration request was approved. So basically, I got an actual
manual penalty by Google, for having these types of links
going to a website. So, it’s just something to think about that
if you have an SEO company, and your SEO company is actively building
.edu links for you using scholarships. Now, if they can figure out other ways
to get .edu links, I think that that’s fine. I think the issue is scholarships,
because Google is not stupid. They understand that the reason
that all these links here, you know, the reason that the May Law– The reason all of this is here,
is to boost rankings. So, when you’re on a page like this,
first of all there’s so many outbound links that the link juice really isn’t
all that valuable. But second of all,
now you’re actually hurting yourself, cause now you’re risking
getting a manual penalty. So, if you get an SEO company that says “Hey, we’re going to build some edu links for you
by way of scholarship”, you really want to question them,
because this show’s first hand, you know, just a few .edu links from– or just a few scholarship links I should say,
got my client a penalty. And once we removed them,
the penalty went away. So, just keep that in mind, just something to consider
if you have an SEO company and they’re giving all kinds of strategies. I know that sometimes SEO can be
a bit of a whirlwind and the challenge is is that a couple years ago
this was a great strategy. But you know, SEO changes. Things change, and you know, a lot of companies don’t keep up
with these changes. So just keep that in mind. If you have any questions,
let me know. Thanks.

One thought on “Law Firm Internet Marketing in 2019: Offering a Scholarship? You Need to See This…

  1. AttorneySync Post author

    Thanks for sharing this example. We'd love to learn more about the specific situation. In our experience, it seems you'd have to be fairly aggressive to earn a penalty for scholarships. However, we have definitely seen some unnatural scholarship link building. I wouldn't "throw the baby out with the bath water" though. In our experience, sponsoring a scholarship can be a great way to give back to your community, earn meaningful attention, and yes, earn valuable links. It tends to depend on the execution of the campaign. We tend to recommend topically relevant and geographically specific themes. Thanks again for sharing this example.

    Reply

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