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A by-product of creating high-quality content on your law firm’s website is that it can attract attention from a variety of sources. When someone finds your content valuable, they will likely want to share it with others. One way that others on the web may share your content is in the form of a backlink. A backlink can encourage others to visit a page on your law firm’s website. 

Receiving a backlink from another site can positively affect your law firm’s visibility, but only if you earn the backlink naturally. Here’s what you need to know about backlinks and how they can benefit your law firm. 

What is a backlink? Why are backlinks valuable for law firm websites?

A backlink occurs when someone adds a link on their website that points to a page on your website.

Backlinks are valuable because they represent a vote of confidence to the search engines from the person who links to your website. The backlink suggests that the content on a particular page is valuable and worth sharing. 

Search engines use the content on your website as a significant factor in gauging the value of that page to web users who conduct a related search. However, backlinks can also signal to search engines that the content on your website is valuable. As a result, backlinks from high-quality sites that point to high-quality content on your website can have a continued positive effect on your website’s visibility. These kinds of links bolster and reinforce your website’s success.

What is a “natural” backlink to my law firm’s website?

A natural backlink (sometimes referred to as a “good” backlink) occurs when, unprompted, a website chooses to link to your website. When this happens, it is likely because a piece of content that you’ve created is relevant and provides a high level of value to the other website’s audience.

A natural backlink happens organically. It should not require any effort on your part, other than the creation of high-quality content on your law firm’s website. If you’re having someone go out and get links for you, this is not considered “natural” behavior. (More on what to avoid with links below.)

How do I get other sites to link to my law firm’s website?

Your law firm’s website can earn good, natural links through the publication of 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, and 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, what should I be careful about?

Good links are provided naturally by relevant, high-quality publications. When it comes to backlinks, what you’ll want to focus on is making sure that your content is worth linking to. 

In 2012, Google launched its “Penguin” algorithm, which is specifically designed to target manipulative link practices. This algorithm works toward ensuring that websites with natural and relevant links are rewarded, while those engaging in unnatural practices are not.

As a result, it has become increasingly challenging to benefit in search results by participating in link schemes and other manipulative link practices. 

So 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

(You can learn more about Google’s take on link schemes here.)

The bottom line when it comes to backlinks is that you should 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.