This is part two of our two-part blog on types of bad writing we often see on legal websites. These are all real examples, some of them taken from websites created by firms that charge over $10,000 per month for content like this. Only the locations have been changed to protect the guilty.
For part one, please click here.
“Buggy whip” SEO is SEO that’s years out of date. Yes, once upon a time you could get away with “keyword stuffing” – packing the text full of multiple repetitions of keywords, regardless of the damage that did to readability.
But despite the fact that keyword stuffing hasn’t been the state of the art in a long time, and can even get you de-listed from Google and Bing, law firm websites still have text like this:
Our Podunk Insurance Claim Attorneys have the experience in insurance claim disputes that you need to get the settlement that you deserve. XYZ Law Group is a boutique insurance law firm with persistent and tenacious attorneys that can navigate the complex arena of insurance claim disputes and litigation.
See how they slipped that keyword in there? Subtle, right?
In the following example, the firm actually bolded the key words, to make sure no one would miss them:
Have you been injured while on a cruise ship? Then a cruise ship injury attorney in Podunk may be able to help you if you’ve been injured while out at sea. Even if you have been injured while on shore through an excursion arranged by the cruise ship, we may be able to help.
Sometimes it’s painfully obvious that lawyers actually wrote their own content – because they apparently wrote it for other lawyers.
Here’s an example:
Historically, strict products liability, strict liability, and products liability claims, (all terms encompass the same or similar types of claims and will be referred to herein as “products liability” claims), were adjudicated pursuant to the joint and several liability theory of recovery. Under joint and several liability, any one party in the chain of distribution could be found wholly liable for the entire amount of damages awarded to the plaintiff in a products liability action. This system resulted in a series of tenders of the action from the retail seller to the supplier to the manufacturer; and, in many cases, there were many more layers of entities between the consumer and the manufacturer.
OK, that MIGHT work in a court brief. But what is a non-lawyer who just had her tires explode going to get out of it?
Here’s how we wrote on the same topic (in English) for a client:
Product liability law is an area of tort/personal injury law under which victims can seek compensation for injuries caused by defective products.
“Products” can include pretty much anything tangible that’s sold, other than real estate.
“Duh” is a relatively rare form of bad writing which state the obvious. For example:
It’s common sense that swimming pools are full of water
Wow, really? That’s news I can use!
As we said in our article Attack of the Killer Website,
Bad writing hurts SEO.
According to Matt Cutts (Google’s SEO guru), spelling, stylistic elements and factual accuracy are among the elements used in the Panda algorithm to determine whether websites and blogs are being properly monitored and edited.
And worse, bad writing makes you look bad. It makes you look careless. It makes you look ignorant. It’s like going to an important business meeting with an enormous gravy stain in the middle of your shirt.
If you’re afraid of what you might find if you actually read your own website, we’d be happy to take a free peak and tell you just how ugly it is – and how we can make it better.