I've been trying to learn SEO in more detail recently. A client of mine has a site competing in 2 specific states - Illinois and New York.

Both on Google and SEMRush, the top keyword phrase for my client's competitor's home page is very successfully #1 all of the time and it appears to be due to the way the competitor's links are including city names to what appears to be a single page.

For example, using a Google search term of malpractice attorney chicago returns the competitor as #1 to a page with a URI of ... /malpractice-attorney-chicago/

I see on that page there is a blurb saying "Serving the following Illinois cities:" and then an entire paragraph of links to popular cities in Illinois - Springfield, Moline, Rock Island, etc.

Each of those city links is a unique URL to the same, exact page:

... /malpractice-attorney-chicago/
... /malpractice-attorney-chicago-il/
... /malpractice-attorney-illinois/
... /malpractice-attorney-springfield/
etc, etc.

I haven't checked, but I suppose there's also a valid link to just /malpractice-attorney/ as well.

This seems to be very effective for the competitor in Google's results. In looking at the other content on the competitor's page I see that they mention attorney over and over again. Looking at the competitor's keywords it seems they rely primarily on 4 variations of their keywords:

malpractice attorney chicago  (85% of their traffic)
malpractice attorney chicago il
malpractice attorney illinois
chicago malpractice attorney

I don't know what this is called in terms of SEO - where many links are created that point to the same page. Actually, I thought SEO was more sophisticated in this particular area.

Of course, my client mentions in his content that he is a malpractice attorney serving the Chicago, Il area - but this doesn't seem to pull the weight like an actual link to a page with the city name in the URI.

So my question is, does this actually help the competitor's rankings when searching for malpractice attorney in specific cities? Is it legal with Google?

Assuming this is valid competitive strategy and in this case both sites are WordPress, what is this called so I can track down how to do this also?

  • "it appears to be due to the way the competitor's links are including city names to what appears to be a single page". Are you sure about that? There's a couple hundred ranking factors and that's just one of them. I am willing to bet there's a lot more at play then just that one factor.
    – John Conde
    Apr 15, 2019 at 16:55

1 Answer 1


IMO, this is key word stuffing and is typically penalized by Google. It's spammy and only works in the short term, and only works if all of the other sites, have similarly poor quality content.

I think if you focus on writing good content, and building a site that answers user's questions, you'll rank better in the long run. Google's algorithm will ultimately favor sites with valuable content, over sites that rank solely on key words. Give it time and you'll see sites like this slowly pushed down the SERPs.

Remember, if SEO was easy to do, everyone would be successful at it.

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