Update 05/13/08 Google has removed some but apparently not all of the examples below.
In the conversation about Lawyers’ mapspam EarlPearl and Stephan Espinosa both wondered what type of spam panzermike and other lawyers were placing into Maps. I decided to delve into the moshpit that is the proxy for on-line legal marketing in LA and see what was up. It certainly has all the making for a new lawyer joke. Â
I started my search looking at the links that panzemike had posted:
It was not at first clear from the above links whether there was abuse or just some creative title optimization and lots of remote offices:
This firm, apparently has 24 offices throughout the greater LA area, San Jose and San Diego. It was conceivable to me that they had optimized each title like the above for each office. I decided to focus my research in the city of Pasadena to check for multiple listings per location but got a little nervous when Google indicated that it had 54,208 lawyer listings in Pasadena. Here is what I found just in Pasadena:
|Each listing found in Maps below contains:Â Â
â€¢ Main Search One Box (if available)
â€¢ Local Listing Graphic from Maps
â€¢ Search Phrase
â€¢ URL of mirror site
â€¢ site:URL in Maps to approximate number of listings per domain in maps
|Â Â Â Â
Search phrase:Â pasadena ca dog bite lawyerÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Mirror Site: Â www.dogbiteattorneys.bizÂ Â
Google Maps Site Search (11 results):Â Site:dogbiteattorneys.biz
|Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Search phrase:Â wrongful death attorney pasadena caÂ Â Â
Mirror Site:Â Wrongfuldeathexperts.net
Google Maps Site Search (12 results):Â Site:Wrongfuldeathexperts.net
|No One Box results Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Maps Search phrase:Â pasadena car accident lawyer
Google Maps Site Search (12 results):site:Caraccidentexpert.net
Search Phrase:Â Michael H Silvers Pasadena CaÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Mirror Site:Â michaelhsilvers.com
Google Maps Site Search (12 results): site:michaelhsilvers.com
|Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Search Phrase: pasadena personal injury attorney pasadena
These six Map’s listings are obviously all for one physical office location. I gave up looking after I found this many. Given that he has 24 offices, one could safely assume that most offices have been listed multiple times and there may even be more in Pasadena.Â
Many of the above Map’s record referenced different domains that offered slight variations on the same site. TheÂ whois record indicatedÂ that they owned 42 domains. The domains found point to mirror sites that are optimized for each key phrase/domain combo and other than titles and headlines, the sites have otherwise identical content. Many of the sites also each provide additional authority to the local record as they are referenced in the “Web Pages” tab of the record. Here is a list of some of the domains that I identified that were being used by Michael Silvers. Given the total number of domains there may be more than six listings for each address in many locales. I will leave that to Google to figure out.
motorcycleaccidentexperts.com (this one takes on a very cool harley color/look but alas no new content)
It was of interest to me that some of the records used the round pins instead of the pointed pin, which usually indicates that Google acquired the record elsewhere and has some level of unsureness about their location. It is likely that these records originated from the phone companies and implies that the law firm been using this marketing technique long before Google Maps existed.Â The other point of interest is that these folks were pointed out to Google by panzermike last week.
It turned out that Google’s actual listings of lawyers in Pasadena Ca was in the 950 range. Certainly a more optimistic sign for the future of local than 50 some odd thousand. However it still amounts to one attorney listing for every 16 residents of Pasadena, a likely indication that either there is more spamming to be found or that there will soon be a number of unemployed lawyers.
We have obviously entered the era of the long-tail local search map spam result. I for one am glad that Google will become more stringent on mapspam control.
Now lets get back to that new lawyer joke about this very real one box….any suggestions?
The Longtail of Local Search Mapspam by Mike Blumenthal