How to Do High-Quality Link Building for Attorney Websites
Of the myriad strategies to build links to your law firm’s website, one of the most effective ways to get quality links to your site is to build something of value on your own site. That starts with building authoritative, high-quality content.
Currently, more attorneys are seeking new clients for their respective practices than ever before. In addition, many have discovered that the legal profession has become one of the most competitive of all careers. There are many reasons why this is so. The economy never fully recovered following the economic downturn in 2007. There is an attorney glut at present, right when the Internet has brought the cost of legal information down to an all-time low. Many recent law school graduates, unable to land the lucrative position they’d imagined, have put up a shingle and a website and invested heavily in search engine optimization (SEO), hoping to attract targeted traffic that will convert into paying clients.
SEO is a specialty niche within a specialty (web design). More specific specialties have formed within SEO, as Internet marketing professionals increasingly narrow their focus to working with specific types of businesses. Some specialize in manufacturing, some in IT, some in healthcare, and some in law. Website marketers have a big bag of tricks they use to draw traffic to client sites. Among those strategies are techniques like keyword analysis, social media marketing, photographs, video, anchor text, content marketing and, especially, link building.
Every attorney in business for himself wants to know how to do high-quality link building for attorney websites. Inbound link building for law firms is like link building for any business, but with key advantages. Attorneys have a wide variety of social organizations with which they can affiliate. Done well, link building tactics for lawyer websites leads to better search engine ranking. Done poorly, and your website will end up buried beneath cyberspace.
High-quality links are still a very important part of Google’s algorithm
High-end link building tactics for lawyer websites include the following techniques:
- First and foremost, make sure you’re listed with the granddaddy link of them all: Google. Your firm should be listed on Google Maps and, also, Google My Business (formerly Google Places). Proofread carefully to make certain that all of your contact information, such as your name, address, and phone number are correct.
- Sign up to be listed in all reputable legal directories, such as Justia, FindLaw, and Avvo. Other popular, although not legal-specific, listings worth pursuing include Yelp, Thumbtack and, also, the Internet yellow pages, Angie’s List and more.
- List on local guides as well. City Search, Merchant Circle, Insider Pages, Local, Foursquare, Yahoo Local are excellent examples of local search engines that are favored and used daily by the people who live in your community. If you wish to know how to build back links for an attorney website, there is no better place to begin locally than with these sites.
- In addition to making sure your firm is listed on all the popular free directories listed above, there are paid ones worthy of consideration. Legal-specific paid sites of value encompass such well-known web pages as Lawyers.com, Nolo.com, and Superlawyers.com.
- Write a guest post for a local or professional association’s website. For example, a business attorney might write an article for the Chamber or BBB geared towards business owners. A plaintiff’s attorney might contribute and article to Martindale or perhaps even be quoted in Huffington Post or Inc.com (these are called “high domain authority (DA) links and we know how to get them).
- Some links are practically free for the asking simply by being active within your community, online and off. Sponsor a parks and rec little league team,offer a scholarship, volunteer at free legal clinics, and comment on blogs covering legal issues such as Attorneyatwork.com and Lawyerist.com. Local news stations often have an “Ask the expert” column online—volunteer to be the one who knows! Consider joining a local civic organization or two.
- Don’t forget the name recognition and instant value to be found in social media, as there is a reason everyone you know uses Facebook, Twitter, and the like.
There are but two caveats. Make the cyberspace rounds every week or two and make sure all your contact info, particularly your website, email, and telephone numbers, are correct. There is no faster way to generate bad press than to be perceived as unreachable or, worse, disinterested. Numbers and letters have a way of getting transposed, and it’s worth your time to make sure that people can, indeed, find you.
Second, link only to credible, ethical sites with above-board reputations. Do not associate with suspect sites, or even those that often turn out to be a mixed bag, such as Craigslist. If a site or directory has a reputation for spam, sex, or crime, avoid it at all costs. All the link building for attornies in the world will not be able to save your reputation once the gossip mills start up. In particular, be careful to not to link to sites such as those that follow.
- Irrelevant sites. Think about it. Would you contact a professional that associated with fluff, games, or general childishness? You would not.
- Links farms. The ploy is called link farming, or links for sale. Run the other way, as fast as you can. Even the slightest association of this kind of association will cause your search engine ranking to drop. Professional organizations aside, if you have to purchase links, they’re not worth having.
- Exact match domains. Again, an obvious ploy, one Google sees through and penalizes. Don’t go there.
- Blog spam. You may have seen this in action: a blog on horticulture has dozens of spam comments complete with links to sites selling Viagra. This is not the message you wish to send.
Take time to stay abreast of what’s going on in the SEO corner of cyberspace, particularly where King Google is concerned. Some larger algorithm shifts are announced and discussed extensively, but others take a trained eye to see. Google is dedicated to a quality user experience and gets to set the rules. If you want to be successful playing on Google’s turf, you need to pay attention and comply.