Link-Building for Law Firms: How to Construct a Robust Link Profile
BY Tyler Rhodes
Constructing a robust link profile can improve both a law firm’s visibility and its credibility online. Not sure what a link profile is? You’re not alone – even though this crucial dimension of your online presence is likely the most important factor in determining your search ranking placements, it often gets overlooked.
Backlinks, Anchor Text and Timing (Oh, My!)
A link profile consists of [s2Member-Login title=”Subscriber Exclusive Content. Login or Subscribe For Unlimited Access” /]
[s2If current_user_can(access_s2member_level0)]two key components: the backlinks that point from somewhere on the internet (directories, press releases, etc.) to one of your web pages, and the words that comprise the backlink, called “anchor text.” Google also accounts for a third, more temporal, factor – were your backlinks acquired rapidly and in clumps, or did they grow slowly over time (naturally)?
If you can develop your link profile with backlinks from quality sources and with informed anchor text, you can boost your search placements and impressionability with searchers. Timing considerations are less straightforward, but you can still strengthen your profile with awareness (by using ethical strategies and regular posting habits, for example).
SEO professionals love to argue about the hierarchy of significance of the three elements, but regardless, each requires a particular strategy and a great deal of care to maximize its value.
A common strategic objective of link-building (which we’ll define as “expanding your link profile”) is to make a website more visible (which we’ll define as “more prominent and easier to find”). Targeted visibility exposure enables new visitors to discover you online with less effort.
A meticulously crafted link profile is also more likely to convert those new visitors into new clients when they arrive.
Quality Sources for Quality Backlinks . . .
So, what exactly does a healthy link profile consist of? In a word: quality.
Search engines like Google create algorithms that presents web pages it thinks most relevant to the searcher first. Rather than simply placing the pages with the most backlinks first, Google appraises the quality of a backlink profile based on the quality of the aforementioned backlink elements.
A backlink’s quality is determined by design, but the today’s results are pretty accurately human. A quality website has rich content and many readers. It adds new content frequently and routinely offers content that is referenced by internet users in other contexts and places. Most of the time, you and Google would almost certainly pick the same sites as quality examples.
A quality backlink will connect to sites like these. This means that the quality of the pages that link to your website matters. So does the accuracy and contextual relevancy of the anchor text used to propagate the link.
The system used to be somewhat dupable, but Google has eradicated traditional notions of SEO over the past several years. Major updates to their search algorithms have trivialized the old optimization strategies that attempted to garner as many backlinks as possible by creating duplicate listings on business directories. Most questionable link-building strategies that lack quality content have already failed their users, or they will do so soon.
. . . And Quality Content for Quality Link-Building
You can’t game the system anymore, which actually makes your task simpler. Now, the name of the game is content marketing – the perfect union between backlinks and great content that contributes to the web by providing relevant information to searchers (as opposed to proliferating your business name to as many digital outlets as possible).
Fortunately for attorneys, content marketing strategies offer a strong beacon of opportunity. The legal profession requires its practitioners to master massive amounts of information that aren’t necessarily intuitive or easy to connect to isolated cases. As such, clear, insightful legal content has real value for a massive number of internet searchers.
Law firms are optimally positioned to capture searchers who queue phrases related to laws and major cases. Additionally, your position carries the valuable ability to increase your credibility with people who have just determined that they need a lawyer and are Googling questions about their legal situation online. And these searchers are all potential clients, directly looking for a credible attorney to hire. So, if your blog post or website content relates to their questions, the foundations for a flourishing attorney-client relationship have already been established.
The relationship between users, Google and your website naturally leads to a specific strategy: build your link profile to meet search engine quality standards, and always consider the terms your potential clients will most often enter into their search engine when looking for a law firm in your practice area. A content marketing approach enables law firms to create potent, content-rich link profiles that can significantly improve search placements.
Content marketing is also appealing to the temporal dimension of Google’s algorithm. It takes time and effort to create solid content, so material is usually generated and published over time, not in isolated bursts that scream “marketing operation” instead of “natural growth.”
Algorithms aside, content marketing is also a reliable, well-established practice in legal marketing. Law firms have utilized blogs to post industry analysis and legal insight for longer than Google has existed, and they published in circulated reports and journals before that.
If you are looking for a starting point for building your link profile, one of the best means of appraising the quality of a backlink is by analyzing its effectiveness for one of your competitors. Free tools like SEO Spyglass allow you to peer into the link profile of your competitors’ website so you can determine which backlinks are driving traffic to their site.
Link-building is extremely important, and not only to your relationship with Google. Your link profile is a digital reflection of the channels of potential clients your firm is able to reach. It is an ecosystem of content and information that represents your services to your clients.
Consequently, your link profile deserves the same consideration and professional standard as your website.[/s2If]
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