August 17th – August 23rd, 2015
The Searchmetrics Ranking Factors study and the Search Engine Ranking Factors 2015 report from Moz were both published this month and both highlight the importance of backlinks as ranking factors. Although many SEO consultants like to downplay the influence of links on rankings, these two reports show that the influence of backlinks is actually increasing and not decreasing. The important aspect of links is their source, so you should look for quality sites to get links from. However, how do you judge what qualifies as “quality?” Your assessment of site quality, as a lawyer, may be completely different from the opinion of Google’s algorithm programs. As Google doesn’t publish lists of high quality sites, it is difficult to know which sites to approach for backlinks. Also, if everyone finds out about these quality sites, they are probably bombarded with link requests and might not get around to linking to your law firm’s site.
There are a few types of sites that Google categorizes as quality sources of links. Anyone can access these sites and post links there, so you don’t have to wait for a programmer of the linking site to write up a new link to you. Search Engine Watch and Search Engine Journal have some advice this week that will help you get access to the right sources for backlinks for your law firm’s website.
The number one easiest source of “quality” backlinks lies in review sites. They have become so important as sources for link juice that even a bad review can boost your rankings. This Search Engine Journal article runs through the categories of review sites that you can register your business on to get reviews that will put links through to your site. Initially, you could get a satisfied client to give you a review. Sit with them immediately after winning their case and run through the review process with them, to make sure you get a good review. As an ongoing strategy, build a quality survey into your client-handling procedures to try to make sure everyone you work for gives you a review.
Facebook “Likes” and mentions provide a good source of links into your site and also offer a good way to get your law firm noticed by particular sectors of the public. People who use your law firm’s services are likely to have friends in similar circumstances, who also may need to hire you. This report shows that not only will links from Facebook boost your rankings, but offer a better source of site visitors than a high ranking in Google’s search results pages.
Pinterest is a dark horse in all types of search, not just mobile. However, this report proposes that Pinterest links have some sort of edge in boosting your rankings in search results offered to those searching from their mobile devices. Pinterest is a “curation” service, which means that people present collections of sources. Essentially, each Pinterest page is just a page full of links and is not intended to contain original content. As Pinterest content is driven by images, it is difficult to imagine how this type of content could be used to present a law firm. However, if you can crack that problem, your rankings will fly.
Google seems to be hammering Wikipedia at the moment. The amount of traffic the site gets from Google is in decline. However, in this report from Search Engine Journal, it seems that Wikipedia staff are not that worried – they get a lot of traffic from people typing in their address rather than people searching for a topic in Google and getting forwarded to them. Wikipedia is a great source of quality backlinks that few understand how to exploit. In order to benefit from ranking-boosting Wikipedia links, post a very factual article on your law firm’s website that covers a particular aspect of your law specialization. Register as a volunteer on Wikipedia, find a page that covers that aspect of the law and edit it. Put in a reference to the article you posted on your site, providing a link. That will get your Google rankings a boost.
Here is some general advice on how to structure your link building campaign. The example given in this piece covers a food website which posts recipes to attract links. Obviously, that strategy would not be a good idea for a law firm. However, it illustrates how you can use advice pages on your site to pull in links from other sites. Once you have those factual advice pages on your site, you then promote them through Wikipedia, Facebook and Pinterest pages.
You can also send out press releases referring to those pages. Post topical, news-related articles to attract interest from the local media.