June 22nd – June 28th, 2015
The links that lead to your website pages from other sites are called “backlinks.” The links on your site that point to other pages are called “forward links.” Getting backlinks is a major part of SEO. The difficulty of link building is that you need to get other people to place links on their sites to point to yours. Why should they? Google has a lot of criteria about what constitutes a good link source, and paying for links is one of the biggest errors that you can make, so you have to find other incentives to get links from authoritative sites into your law firm’s website. Search Engine Land, the Moz Blog and Search Engine Watch have some interesting features on linking strategies this week.
A great starting point to find out good sources for backlinks is to find out where competing law firms get their links from. This article runs through a method of investigating competitors’ links. The examples given in the article focus on using the tools offered by Majestic SEO.
The competitors that have great links that you can learn from might not be exactly the same form of business as your own. In this article, the idea of examining indirect competitors is raised. The example of indirect competitors given here is one of a business selling pet food looking at other pet related services, such as pet insurance. The definition of an indirect competitor for a law firm is not so easy to pin down and the types of business you might need to analyze would vary widely depending on your practice specializations. For example, a firm specializing in immigration law might benefit from the links that feed into sites offering interpreting services.
After keen research you will end up with a list of great sites that you want to get backlinks from. However, this is where the difficult part starts. Why should those sites link to you? This article covers the difficulties of small businesses, such as small law practices, and attracting links from prominent websites. Google frowns on any incentives you could provide to that site, such as payment or mutual links. The general advice from Google is to put up great content that will earn the admiration of others and encourage people to link to your site. However, as this article points out, you have to make the Web community, and particularly your target link source sites, aware that your content exists.
You need to draw attention to your site in order to attract quality links. In this article, PR guru Ken McGaffin illustrates the efforts of one company to draw attention to itself during the launch of a product. This is what McGaffin terms “an event.” He stresses that it is important to attract links before the event occurs so that you gain maximum attention for your services at the point that the event is current. In the case of the legal profession, an event would probably be a change in the law that impacts your practice areas. So you could alert the world to this change as soon as you hear that a new law is being considered and post analysis on the possible consequences of that law if it passed. By the time the law comes into force you should have attracted enough relevant links on the topic to make your site rank well for that area of legal practice.
As has already been explained above, just putting up great content and hoping someone notices is not a winning strategy for small businesses, such as local legal firms. This Moz Blog post explains ways to establish contacts within key organizations that run the sites where you want your backlinks to appear. Ultimately, a person will decide whether or not to link to your law firm’s website. You need to find out who that person is and make him like you.