Turn Down the Volume on Links

BY Tyler Rhodes



Behold, the enigmatic backlink portfolio: probably the most important element of your website that isn’t getting its due diligence.

Your profile of backlinks might sound like an ambiguous list, lurking in the back-alleys of the internet, but in reality it is the foundation of your website’s search placement and a vital component of your relationship with Google.

Like the roots of a plant, backlinks extend a website’s reach into the internet and drive new traffic sources that help it grow. And according to our research, possessing a large number of backlinks is substantially less valuable than having a few high-quality and high-traffic links.

Our team collected backlink profile data from the top-placing lawyer websites for a wide array of practice areas in large metropolitan markets in the U.S. What we discovered was interesting and tremendously significant: roughly half of the #1 ranked lawyer websites for competitive search terms like “personal injury lawyer” had fewer backlinks than the #2 ranked website. Additionally, the slimmer, #1 ranked sites frequently linked from higher-quality resources.

What is a backlink portfolio?

Before digging into the meaning and consequences of these findings, here is some background, agnostic of SEO jargon:

The backlink portfolio is one of the most important factors calculated in Google’s cryptic search-placement algorithm because it is highly reflective of the quality and nature of the internet content that is connected to a website. While Google accounts for numerous factors when indexing a website’s backlink profile, two crucial areas of emphasis for SEO are “quality” and “informativeness.” Essentially, Google’s relationship with your website will improve if traffic is being directed to it from high-quality resources that provide useful (and relevant) information to searchers.

Why are we interested in the correlation between link-volume and search placement?

In simpler times, link-building was a numbers game that placed the greatest emphasis on sheer volume of links. Amidst Google’s efforts to achieve some level of quality standardization, the company has eradicated many traditional notions of SEO. Major updates to its search algorithms have dismantled search placement optimization strategies that attempted to garner as many backlinks as possible by creating duplicate listings on business directories, along with numerous other questionable link-building strategies that lack quality content or regular upkeep by their webmaster. Our LAB analysis indicates that these practices are not only ineffective, but in many cases destructive to search rankings.

Now that we know exactly what a backlink profile is and why it is important to your website’s search placement, we can consider the implications of our report: lawyer websites that rank best for competitive search queries in high-volume markets emphasize quality as opposed to quantity when it comes to link building. Low-quality link resources can have pernicious consequences. The derivative of this relationship between Google and your website is a particular strategy to building your link profile that is privy to search engine quality standards and considerate of the search terms your potential clients will most often use when looking for a law firm in your practice area.

This data has significant implications for search marketing strategy in any industry, but the
most important takeaway for your law firm’s website is that when it comes to your backlink portfolio, quality counts. Free tools like SEO Spyglass (www.seo-spyglass.com) enable users to peer into the backlinks of websites, and this is particularly useful for monitoring your own profile for spammy or malicious backlinks that do not contribute generatively to search ranking.

By implementing a strategy that seeks out high-quality channels to circulate your content, your website can improve search placement rankings more effectively than by depositing your website name and link in as many places on the internet as possible.

Good linking still matters

Like the roots of a plant, backlinks extend a website’s reach into the internet and drive new traffic sources that help it grow. Lawyer websites that rank best for competitive search queries in high-volume markets emphasize quality as opposed to quantity when it comes to link building. Links continue to be integral to the way Google measures site quality.

Tyler Rhodes

Tyler Rhodes is a guest contributor to Bigger Law Firm Magazine, Google Partner Certified in Adwords and Google Analytics, and is the founder of Remarkify LLC.


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