3 Link Building Strategies for Law Firms
There are two main branches of SEO: on-site and off-site. On-site refers to blog content and website optimization, including tags and canonicalization. Off-site refers to other SEO strategies like link building.
Why Build Links?
Your law firm’s position in search engine rankings will likely increase as more quality sites link back to your firm’s site. One way to beat your competition to the top of search engine result pages (SERPs) is to acquire high quality backlinks from authoritative websites.
If you want to dominate your competition online, you can’t just post content and sit back and wait for sites to magically find you and post links to your site. You need to actively plan and then execute a link building campaign.
Luckily, this is simpler than it sounds, and with a few hours of work each month you can plant the seeds for fruitful backlinks in the future. With the right links in place, you will increase your chances of boosting your search rankings. This will send valuable search traffic to your law firm’s site that may eventually turn into clients.
How Do Search Engines Work?
From a business perspective, search engines want to provide the best user experience for people looking for information online. When someone comes to Google looking for specific information, the search engine has an incentive to provide the most accurate results for what is being searched.
Google analyzes content on a website, combined with the quality of links to that site, to determine where to rank a site for a given keyword.
If you want your law firm to rank highly on Google and other search engines, the search engines need a way to recognize that you host quality content, and that quality sites link back to you. These quality backlinks can come from a variety of sources.
Good vs. Bad Backlinks
While great backlinks can surely boost your search rankings, the opposite could be true if you only seek out low-quality, spammy sites to link to your law firm’s website.
Some examples of high quality sites are news sources, like The New York Times or Forbes, as well as most nonprofit higher education websites.
On the other hand, obscure web directories are typically low quality sites with poor traffic. These don’t pass the eye test, and will seem blatantly poor to anyone reading them.
The Properties of a Qualified Backlink
Not only do helpful backlinks have to come from high quality sites, but the links must also have a property known as “follow.” That may seem like gibberish right now, but the concept is actually quite simple.
When you find a site you want a link from, simply right-click other similar links on one of their pages, then left-click “Inspect” in the drop down menus that arises. A panel should then pop up on the right side of your browser. If you see the tag “no-follow” anywhere in the highlighted section, then a link from that site won’t count towards Google’s rankings.
If you encounter a site that looks high quality, but then realize they only offer no-follow links, simply move on and look for another site. We won’t go into the technicalities of what this tag means here, but in essence it is a way for websites to flag to Google which links should be ignored in the search ranking algorithm.
If you feel ready to begin a link building plan, here are three types of link sources you’ll want to target:
Nonprofit Higher Education
Most nonprofit universities and colleges, both private and public, are excellent sources of backlinks. In order to get a link on one of these sites, you should create a scholarship landing page for your firm and submit the link to that page to as many financial aid departments as possible.
Do some research and collect a list of 50 to 100 schools in your area, go to their financial aid or scholarship web page, and find the appropriate email to contact. If you don’t get a response, don’t be afraid to follow up, and check back every month or so to see if your scholarship was posted.
Do a search for “legal directories in my area,” and dig through the first couple of pages on Google until you’ve found four or five online directories where you can submit your link. Be wary if a site looks very spammy, and use your own judgment whether you’d like your site to be present on that listing.
If you encounter a directory that is charging a one-time or recurring fee for a listing, it is highly recommended that you stay away and look for free directories instead. Unless the directory is a highly credible organization like Avvo, Martindale, Nolo, the Better Business Bureau, or other such sites, there is a high chance that a paid directory is considered low quality by Google.
Journalists or Local News Sites
The holy grail for any link builder is to find valuable backlinks that see high traffic and will be shared widely. As discussed above, most major national news sites are considered high quality by Google.
While it may be a stretch to expect your firm to appear in The New York Times, it is entirely possible to see exposure on municipal-, county-, and state-level news sites. Typically, this requires an investment in a rich piece of content, such as an interactive landing page or an infographic.
Some content ideas that might get shared by news sources would be things like “Most Dangerous Intersections in Georgia,” with a well-designed and interactive map of Georgia’s dangerous intersections, or “How to Report a Dog Bite Claim in New Jersey” that includes links to all possible resources someone in New Jersey might want to use if they were bitten by a dog.
The best performing content will give you the likeliest chance to gather high-quality links. This means you’ll have to do some original research and actively publicize your content by reaching out to reporters and news organizations.
Firms of all sizes can dominate the online search rankings with the right link building strategy. If you’re already investing time and money in putting together a blog, it is time for you to start a basic link building campaign to increase your law firm’s visibility on Google.
Tools to Consider
If you’re serious about turning your SEO strategy to 11, there are a few tools that you should know about that are vital for a growing law firm:
Moz – Viewed by many as the grandfather of SEO, Moz offers a variety of tools that let you analyze your own web traffic as well as your competitors. They also have a wealth of educational content to keep you up to speed on the latest search engine trends.
SEMRush – Similar to Moz, SEMRush is a comprehensive SEO and search analytics dashboard that provides in-depth reporting on your current web traffic. They work with high volume companies like eBay and Quora, but are also a great fit for smaller firms as well.
Raven Tools – This smaller player specializes in website analysis and auditing, and focuses on search engine traffic. They are a go-to provider for firms looking to put a magnifying glass to their current traffic.
Screaming Frog – This lesser known tool is a must-have for hardcore SEOs. Screaming Frog provides software with fine-tuned auditing capabilities that can alert you to any broken links on your site, or patterns in your overall link building strategy.
We Turn Visitors Into Clients
Once you launch a link building campaign and start seeing SEO traffic pouring in, your next step is to learn how to convert web traffic into clients. At Client Chat Live, we offer live chat operators 24 hours a day, 7 days a week who help you do just that.