Make no mistake about it – your law firm is in one of the most competitive online marketing niches. Nationwide, law firms spend tens of millions of dollars on digital marketing each year (and the onslaught of spending doesn’t show any signs of drying up). But this doesn’t mean your law firm should shy away. In fact, it’s all the more reason to throw your hat into the ring and develop a forward-thinking strategy that cultivates sustainable digital growth.
Does Link Building Still Work?
When it comes to digital marketing, your law firm has plenty of options available. There’s SEO, social media, content marketing, PPC advertising, and dozens of other specialized strategies you can employ to get ahead. But if you’re looking for an organic technique that combines elements of SEO, content, advertising, and brand exposure, look no further than link building.
Despite what some may tell you, link building for law firms is alive and well in 2019 – particularly for law firms that require both reach and engagement. Just a couple of years ago, one of Google’s Search Quality Senior Strategists went on the record as saying the top three ranking factors in Google’s algorithm are content, links, and RankBrain (though not necessarily in that order). And with nothing to indicate anything has changed, we’ll continue to operate under the assumption that links are critically important in SEO rankings and online visibility.
What Makes a Backlink Valuable?
Link building still works for law firms – but with one caveat: You have to play by the rules. Just as Google indicates the value in backlinks, they’ve gone to great lengths to explain the difference between high-quality links and low-quality links.
Low-quality links don’t just lack value – they can actually hurt your law firm’s website and damage its SEO rankings. Bad backlinks come from unrelated and unreliable sources. (This includes websites that have been penalized by Google or are unrelated to your law firm’s niche.) They may also contain spammy anchor text and overly optimized keywords.
High-quality backlinks, on the other hand, come from authoritative sources that are relevant to your website and law firm. The backlinks are naturally integrated into the copy and provide tangible value for readers.
As long as you’re focusing on high-quality backlinks, your law firm can gain a lot from investing in a link building strategy. In fact, it’s probably the most sustainable investment you can make (consistently out-returning PPC advertising and other heavily used strategies).
Law Firms: 7 Link Building Strategies for 2019
For law firms, in particular, there are a few methods that work better than the rest. Here are several link building strategies that are especially effective in 2019 and, presumably, far beyond:
1. Directory Citations
Let’s begin with the very basics. Before attempting to develop any sort of detailed link building strategy, you need to be sure you have the basics squared away.
The lowest hanging fruit includes citations on industry directories and online search portals like Avvo, Findlaw, Lawyers.com, Justia, LawGives, and Lawyer Central. It also includes general directories like Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook Business, Yahoo, Foursquare, YP.com, etc.
Having your law firm’s website linked to these directories won’t provide a massive boost, but there’s no sense in ignoring them. They’re foundational building blocks for the rest of your strategy.
2. Sticky Content Creation
Before you can go out and solicit backlinks (or expect anyone to naturally link back to your website), you have to develop sticky content that’s worthy of being sourced.
Move past salesy landing pages and self-serving blog posts. Create industry resources that are valuable to potential clients and/or lawyers in your industry. In doing so, you’ll give them reasons to link back to you. Not sure where to start? Check out this article for ideas.
3. Guest Blogging
Guest blogging – or the process of writing blog posts for someone else’s blog and linking back to your own – is consistently one of the highest-returning investments you can make. Not only does it increase brand exposure by putting your law firm in front of a new set of eyeballs, but it also sends “link juice” back to your website. Guest blog for enough high authority blogs and you’ll see a noticeable bump in your rankings.
4. Interviews and Podcasts
As a lawyer, you’re in a unique position where people want to hear what you have to say. You’re educated and experienced in a field that most people don’t know much about. Use this to your advantage and open yourself up to people who want to interview you.
While you should consider using HARO to connect with journalists, it may also behoove you to forge connections with podcasters. By securing an interview with a well-known podcaster, you’re able to increase visibility, attract backlinks (through podcast promotion), and diversify your link profile.
5. Law School Connections
Did you know that .edu domains are some of the most valuable referring domains on the internet? They’re viewed as highly authoritative and can provide a significant boost to your visibility and rankings. And as a lawyer, you have a unique advantage in that you have pre-existing relationships with colleges and universities.
Consider reaching out to your undergraduate university or law school and seeing if they’d be willing to conduct an interview with you or feature you in one of their online publications. Better yet, see if you can secure a column on one of their blogs!
6. Newsworthy Events
In order to generate backlinks for your website, put yourself in the shoes of other bloggers, journalists, and editors who include backlinks in their content. What would make them want to link back to you?
One way to secure valuable links is to do something that’s newsworthy. By sponsoring a scholarship for underprivileged law school students or volunteering in your community, you’re inviting others to link back to your law firm. Consider this a backlinking hack!
7. Answer Questions on Quora
You may have heard that you can use the popular Quora website – which lets people ask questions for others to answer – to build backlinks to your website. This is partially true and partially false.
Answering Quora questions won’t provide any backlink juice, per se. All backlinks are “nofollow,” which means they strip away many of the benefits that typically exist when securing backlinks on authoritative websites. However, answering questions that are relevant to your target audience may help you create awareness for your website, generate traffic, generate other “dofollow” links, and even directly drive conversions. For this reason, Quora may be worth a second look.
Partner With SEO.co
At SEO.co, we specialize in SEO for lawyers. Whether you’re looking for an outsourced partner to develop onsite blog content, or you need a team of experienced SEO professionals to assist you in building out a targeted backlink strategy that elevates you to the top of your niche, we can help.
In his 9+ years as a digital marketer, Sam has worked with countless small businesses and enterprise Fortune 500 companies and organizations including NASDAQ OMX, eBay, Duncan Hines, Drew Barrymore, Washington, DC based law firm Price Benowitz LLP and human rights organization Amnesty International.
He is a recurring speaker at the Search Marketing Expo conference series and a TEDx Talker. Today he works directly with high-end clients across all verticals to maximize on and off-site SEO ROI through content marketing and link building.
In his 9+ years as a digital marketer, Sam has worked with countless small businesses and enterprise Fortune 500 companies and organizations including NASDAQ OMX, eBay, Duncan Hines, Drew Barrymore, Washington, DC based law firm Price Benowitz LLP and human rights organization Amnesty International. He is a recurring speaker at the Search Marketing Expo conference series and a TEDx Talker. Today he works directly with high-end clients across all verticals to maximize on and off-site SEO ROI through content marketing and link building.