There are thousands of law firms in the marketplace. They all have their own websites, and they’re all competing with your site for customers. To separate your firm from the competition, you need to grow website traffic – and link building is one key way to do that.
Link building makes it more likely for clients to encounter your firm when they utilize search engines online. Link building involves creating what’s known as a backlink profile.
Backlinks, to provide a definition, are hyperlinks found on one web page which refer back to a different web page. Backlinks to your site, therefore, are links on other sites which lead visitors to your site.
Creating a strong backlink profile helps you grow website traffic by telling Google’s search algorithms that you deserve to be higher up in search rankings.
To learn how to do it the right way, read on.
Take Stock of Your Presence
To grow website traffic, the first thing you need to do is survey your existing web presence: Do you have hundreds of links to your site? Are the sites that link back to yours quality sites, or are they mostly spam URLs? And the actual text for the links to your site – does it include relevant keywords, or just random phrases?
This is what’s commonly known as a backlink audit. Usually, it requires tools such as Google Analytics, SEMRush, or some other site plugins, depending on how your site is hosted.
Some tools simply present you with a list, leaving you to evaluate the quality of the links yourself. Other tools automatically rank the referring sites by domain authority, and the risk they pose to yours.
Once you know which sites are best and which are worst for your backlink profile, you’ll want to inform the harmful sites that you no longer want them to link to your site. (An intern or virtual assistant can be helpful for this.)
Another option for removing harmful backlinks is to put together what’s called a disavowal report and submit it to Google; ideally, Google will adjust its algorithms accordingly.
Track Down Broken URLs
Another thing to note as you conduct your backlink audit: If you’ve changed your site’s domain, or revamped your website’s URL conventions, it could be affecting your link profile.
For instance, if you have an About page, and you changed the page’s URL text even only a little, you’ll have to reach out to anyone who is still linking to the old URL so they can update it with the current version.
If you don’t, you won’t get any link traffic from the other sites – and this will hurt your Google search rankings.
Build from the Bottom Up
Once you’ve eliminated any bad backlinks, it’s time to be proactive. In order to grow website traffic, you need to increase the number of high-quality links to your site.
Google’s ranking algorithms prefer links from sites which have: A) high domain authority (a.k.a. strong SEO presence), and B) links from sites which are relevant to your business in some fashion.
So, the ideal backlink comes from a site that not only shows up high in search engine rankings, but which also has a relative connection to the content on your site.
(You wouldn’t look for a law firm on a site for local nail salons, and neither does Google.)
A linking site can have relevance to yours in terms of location, specialty – accidents, divorce, litigation, etc. – and anchor text – the actual text into which the hyperlink is embedded.
To get more quality backlinks, start by identifying sites which you think would be valuable to your business. Focus on sites such as professional directories, news & industry media, and universities.
(You can use tools like SEMRush and Moz to assess the domain authority of those sites, and rank them.)
Next, start your outreach with the low-hanging fruit on the list. Target the sites most likely to agree to link to your website.
You’re much more likely to find success with a directory of local law firms than you are with The New York Times, so be reasonable. Maybe try local colleges with web pages that help students find legal services in the community. And don’t forget to share suggested anchor text, as this really helps your overall SEO.
Utilize Public Relations Opportunities
Another thing you can do is promote news items related to your firm. If you win big cases, move offices, or sponsor local softball teams, send out media pitches and press releases about these events.
Because news sites receive lots of visitors, and because online press releases function like permanent webpages within high-ranking sites which link back to your site, these are ideal backlink opportunities.
The downsides to these PR tactics are cost – you may have to pay to publish press releases, and perhaps even for the backlinks themselves – and opportunity – you probably don’t always have newsworthy updates to share.
As you accrue more backlinks, you can start aiming higher on your target website list. The more you grow website traffic, the more your firm’s real-world prestige will improve. And this will enable you to get backlinks from higher-ranking sites.
(To learn more about Google Analytics and other tools you can use to boost your search rankings, read this post on our blog.)
One final step you can take to build a good backlink profile is to produce content that’s worth other people’s time.
If you produce valuable content that people want to engage with, other sites will organically refer to your site.
The two main ways to do this are with “evergreen” content which steadily accrues visitors over time, or with viral content that generates lots of visits in rapid fashion.
This high-value content could come in the form of sharp blog posts analyzing important legal questions, videos explaining how to handle essential legal matters, or even photos promoting your community outreach.
Do some research on trends in your competitors’ sites, and check their domain authority periodically to see if their tactics are working.
If your competition is doing something right, emulate it. Depending on which tool you use, you can potentially find competitive firms’ backlinks and target those websites as hosts for your content.
If your competition is missing opportunities, take advantage. Get creative, make an effort, and you’ll likely soon outrank the other firms in your area.
Building a strong backlink profile requires a continuous effort – this can’t be accomplished overnight, or even in a month’s time. It may seem irksome and not worth the effort at first, but doing it will help you grow website traffic.
Over time, you’ll get more customers organically when they see your firm at the top of their search results. It’s practically free advertising.
(For more tips and deeper insights on how to build a backlink profile, there are lots of resources available to you. For instance, this walkthrough from SEMRush.)
Josh Elkin writes for SEMRush. This is his first post on the Lexicata blog.
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