You’ve invested countless hours and plenty of resources in your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. However, despite your best efforts, several of your competitors still outrank you for vital keywords, leaving your website struggling to earn a top spot on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs). Sound familiar?
If so, you may be overlooking the missing link to SEO success: backlinks. A backlink is a link from a page on another site that links to a page on your website. With the right backlinks, you can elevate the authority of your site and climb those organic rankings.
Take some time to explore link building for lawyers so you can acquire authoritative, high-quality backlinks. This guide covers everything from why link building is important to the different types of links you need to know about.
What Is Link Building?
Link building is the process of acquiring backlinks from other websites. There are numerous ways to go about link building, including:
- Email outreach
- Content marketing
- Guest posting
- Unlinked brand mentions
- Broken link building
We’ll dive deeper into these link-building strategies below. For now, just know that link-building for lawyers is a means of expanding your presence and boosting your website’s authority.
Think about it. Traditionally, you drive website traffic from emails, social media posts, organic search results, and paid ads. However, when you acquire quality backlinks, you can drive traffic from other websites. You’ll also be easier to find and rank higher for important keywords, which can lead to a huge boost in organic traffic.
Why Is Link Building So Important?
According to Statista, there are over 1.3 million active lawyers in the United States. This means there are many lawyers in your area vying for the attention of your target audience. To get noticed, you need to rank high in organic search.
Link building for lawyers is a critical component of SEO and will help you rank higher. Depending on your practice area and geographic location, you might not be able to achieve page one ranking without link building.
But can’t you just rely on paid ads to fill in the gaps in your SEO strategy? Technically, yes, but it’s going to be incredibly expensive. The legal category has the most expensive cost-per-click (CPC) for pay-per-click (PPC) keywords. According to an analysis of the top 5,000 paid keywords, 19.4% were related to the legal industry.
Make no mistake: PPC advertising has an important role to play in your marketing strategy. However, you can’t over-rely on it due to the cost and competitiveness of paid legal keywords.
Understanding Different Types of Links
Link building for lawyers is a complex and nuanced process, primarily due to the different types of links out there and the rules governing link acquisition. Broadly speaking, backlinks fall into one of five categories. Let’s take a closer look at each of them, along with their benefits and drawbacks.
Dofollow links are essentially votes of confidence from one site to another. When a reputable site links to your law firm’s website with a dofollow link, they pass along link equity, or “link juice.” This SEO term refers to the passing of value or authority from one site to another.
Imagine that you are looking for a contractor to oversee some renovations in your law office. You don’t know any contractors in the area, so you speak to a few associates for recommendations. A trusted friend recommends a contractor they used to renovate their business. While you haven’t had any first-hand interactions with the contractor, you view them as reputable because of the positive experience your friend had.
Dofollow links provide a similar benefit for your site. They lend some of the other site’s authority and reputation to your web page. Search engines recognize this and give you a bump in the rankings.
Nofollow links don’t convey any link juice. They include a piece of HTML code that tells search engines to ignore the authority of these links. Google created the nofollow tag in response to link spam. Generally, any links from the following sources are automatically tagged as nofollow:
- Blog comments
- Social media links
- Links from widgets
- Links in press releases
- Forum post links
Some websites, including YouTube, Reddit, and Quora, use nofollow tags on all outbound links. Nofollow links won’t necessarily help you in the rankings, but they can be a source of extra traffic. That said, it’s important that you don’t spam other sites with links.
Internal links connect different pages within your website, guiding visitors to relevant content and keeping them engaged longer.
For a legal website, this could mean linking a blog post about estate planning to your service page on wills and trusts. This not only helps users navigate your site but also allows search engines to crawl and index your content more effectively.
Internal links can also distribute page authority throughout your site, which can give a slight SEO boost to newer or less visited pages. For instance, suppose that all of your core service or practice area pages rank highly. Linking to relevant service pages each time you publish a blog will help the new content rank higher.
External links are links that point from your website to other domains. While the primary goal of link building is usually to get other sites to link to you, linking out to authoritative, relevant content can also be beneficial. It shows that you’re confident in your content enough to send users elsewhere for additional information.
For law firms, linking to landmark case studies, statutes, or regulatory agencies can enhance the informational value of your content. However, make sure that you aren’t linking to any competitors, even if they have good data on their site.
In the legal industry, you must be careful not to link to third-party sites that are designed to drive traffic to competitors. For instance, you may not want to link to a Clio page published by another attorney in your practice area, as the content likely includes links to that lawyer’s page.
Editorial links are given naturally by sites that want to link to your content without any direct action on your part, aside from creating the content itself. These are powerful because they are unsolicited endorsements of the quality of your content.
For lawyers, earning editorial links from leading law journals, news outlets, or educational institutions can have a huge impact on your site’s authority. Such links are a strong signal to search engines that your content is valuable and trustworthy, and this is critical in the legal field, where reputation is everything.
Should You Buy Links for Your Website?
Absolutely not! According to Google’s policy for developers, doing anything to manipulate rankings in Google Search can be classified as “link spam.”
Buying links is a waste of time and money. Instead, you should seek other strategies for link building, such as publishing guest content on other reputable sites and including a link back to your pages. However, the aforementioned editorial links are the most powerful and sought-after type of links.
How to Know Whether a Backlink Is Good for Your Website
Not all backlinks are good for your website. Dofollow links to sites that aren’t reputable can actually hurt your rankings. Therefore, you need to vet the quality and reputation of sites before attempting to acquire links from those pages. Here are a few factors to consider when evaluating a site’s link equity.
Domain authority (DA) is a metric developed by Moz, a software development company. It’s a search engine ranking score that indicates the likelihood a site will rank in SERPs. DA ranges from 1 to 100, with higher scores indicating a higher ability to rank. A link from a site with a high DA will have a greater impact on your rankings.
Relevance to Your Niche
When engaging in link building for lawyers, it’s vital that you prioritize channels relevant to your inch. A backlink from a renowned legal blog is worth more than a link from an unrelated high-traffic site. That’s because Google and other search engines consider relevance when ranking your site and evaluating link quality.
Link Quality and Attributes
A natural link profile has a diverse range of links that are not overly optimized and appear as a natural part of the content. Be wary of any patterns that suggest artificial or snappy links. For instance, if you notice precisely one link for every 50 words, the links are probably spam or artificially generated.
Traffic and Engagement Metrics
A link from a high-traffic website can lead to direct referrals and greater visibility. It’s not just about the numbers but also the quality of the audience the site attracts. Consider the user engagement on the site. High engagement levels are indicative of quality content and a loyal audience, which can enhance the value of a backlink.
Content as a Cornerstone for Link Building
Creating compelling content is crucial for attracting backlinks. This can range from informative blog posts that address common legal queries to insightful commentary on recent legal reforms.
Remember, you’ve got to give other sites a reason to link to your content. Content that is educational, informative, and enjoyable to read is more link-worthy than bland, formulaic pieces. When you can offer a unique perspective on relevant topics, you further enhance your odds of earning links.
Blogs are the cornerstone of link-building for lawyers. However, case studies, white papers, and other academic-quality content can also be a great tool for attracting reputable backlinks. The key is to include a wealth of quantifiable data and statistics in your case studies and white papers.
Link Building Strategies for Lawyers
Ready to start building links and boosting your rankings? There are numerous ways to acquire high-quality, reputable links. Here are a few recommended strategies.
Guest posting involves creating blog content for another website. These partnerships generally allow you to include at least one link back to your blogs or service pages. However, most guest posting forums prohibit explicit calls to action (CTAs) or advertisements for your firm. Therefore, you need to be subtle when directing readers to your links.
Broken Link Building
Broken links are links that lead to pages or sites that are no longer functional. Find websites with broken links and offer your content as a replacement. This is a time-consuming process, but website managers will typically jump at the chance to swap out broken links with quality content.
Content Collaboration and Co-Authoring
Team up with legal influencers or bloggers to create content that benefits from shared promotion, expanding the reach of both parties. Ideally, you want to find co-authoring partners whose audience is slightly more varied than your own. That way, you can reach more prospective customers and build site authority.
Local Partnership and Community Engagement
Get involved in local initiatives to earn backlinks from neighborhood associations and local commerce sites, grounding your practice in the community. For instance, if you practice real estate law, collaborate with the local REALTORS association to acquire links on its site.
If your law firm is mentioned without a link, reach out and kindly request one. If someone is already dropping your name in their content, they probably won’t mind adding a link.
Ensure that your firm is listed in niche directories designed for legal practices. A few examples include Super Lawyers, Avvo, Clio, and Justia. The more directories you get listed in, the broader your reach. However, you don’t necessarily have to register with all of them; focus on those that are most beneficial to your growth strategy.
Mastering the Art of Link Building for Lawyers
Link building for lawyers is part art and part science. To thrive in the link-building arena, you’ll need a creative, content-driven strategy and a clear set of goals to guide your efforts. While there are no shortcuts to link building, leveraging content marketing services for attorneys can help you accelerate your climb up the rankings and acquire quality backlinks from reputable brands.