As it relates to online marketing, a topic that often interests attorneys is the concept of “backlinking.”
Valuable content gets noticed not only by potential clients, but by other sources on the web. And, when someone discovers valuable content, they often share it with others. One way that other website owners may share your content is through a backlink.
Backlinks from reputable sites that point to your website can improve your law firm’s visibility, but only if you naturally earn the backlink.
In this blog post, we’ll explain what backlinks are, the difference between natural and unnatural backlinks, and how to get more natural backlinks that point to your law firm’s website.
What is a backlink?
Backlinks happen when someone adds a link on their website to a page on your website.
Backlinks are valuable because they act as a citation and represent a vote of confidence to the search engines.
When someone creates a link that points to a page on your website, it indicates that your page content is valuable and worth sharing.
Why are backlinks valuable for law firm websites?
Search engines examine website content to assess the value of that page for web users. (Remember: Google’s goal is always to return the best and most useful pages when somebody conducts a relevant query. To learn more about Google’s business model, see: “Why Google Wants Law Firms to Focus on High-Quality Content.“)
However, that’s not the only way that a search engine can assess value: backlinks from reputable sites can also signal that your website content is worth reading.
Backlinks from high-quality sites that point to your website can have a continued positive effect on your website traffic. Backlinks from high-quality, reputable sites can bolster and reinforce your website’s success.
What attorneys should know about “natural” and “unnatural” backlinks on law firm websites
Not all backlinks are built alike.
A natural backlink occurs when, unprompted, a website chooses to link to your website.
This usually occurs because the owner of the other website realizes that your content is relevant, authoritative, and provides value to their audience.
The most important point to make about natural backlinks is this:
They generally happen on their own.
It may sound counterintuitive, but it can be easier to develop natural backlinks when you don’t focus on them. Gaining new, natural backlinks from other sites happens when attorneys instead focus on quality content creation.
By contrast, “unnatural” links are the product of a coordinated effort to make the backlink happen. For example, you may have hired someone to go out and get backlinks for you. Unfortunately, this is not considered to be a natural behavior by Google. As a result, Google has created ways to track down these kinds of coordinated efforts to ensure that sites collecting unnatural backlinks don’t get ahead unfairly.
In 2012, Google launched its “Penguin” algorithm, which Google designed explicitly to target manipulative link practices. This algorithm works toward ensuring that it can reward websites with natural and relevant links, while those engaging in unnatural practices are not.
It has become much harder to benefit in search results by participating in link schemes and other manipulative link practices.
What does Google consider to be a “link scheme”?
What does Google consider to be a link scheme? Link schemes include (but are not limited to):
- Buying or selling links that pass PageRank
- Exchanging money for links, or posts that contain links
- Exchanging goods or services for links
- Sending someone a “free” product in exchange for them writing about it and including a link
- Excessive link exchanges (“Link to me and I’ll link to you”) or partner pages exclusively for the sake of cross-linking
How do I get other sites to link to my law firm’s website naturally?
Your law firm’s website can earn good, natural links by publishing relevant, high-quality content.
As Google notes:
The best way to get other sites to create high-quality, relevant links to yours is to create unique, relevant content that can naturally gain popularity in the Internet community. Creating good content pays off: Links are usually editorial votes given by choice. The more useful content you have, the greater the chances someone else will find that content valuable to their readers and link to it.
When it comes to backlinks, focus on developing quality content worth linking to, rather than focusing on backlinks. When you produce useful, relevant, educational information, quality backlinks are likely to occur over time.
How LawLytics makes it easier for attorneys to develop natural backlinks to their websites
LawLytics is designed for lawyers, and makes content-based SEO — and its result, client acquisition — easy. It empowers attorneys to control and understand their website easily.
LawLytics helps you develop a content-based SEO strategy to meet your firm’s goals efficiently. By using our platform, strategy, and support to create a quality website, the result is a law firm website that becomes a sustainable money-making asset which predictably produces the business you want.
To experience LawLytics yourself, schedule an interactive 20-minute demo.