Link building is one of the most time-consuming and enigmatic search engine optimization (SEO) practices, but it’s a necessary evil for law firms. You won’t rank well on Google without backlinks, and furthermore, you won’t outrank your opponents if you don’t have more, or better, backlinks than they do.
This guide explains the necessity of backlinking, offers some strategies for acquiring backlinks, and provides useful examples. If you’d rather skip the work and trust Majux’s law firm SEO services, please get in touch.
What are the Top Link Building Strategies For Lawyers?
Here are the seven most effective link-building strategies for attorneys – each will be discussed in detail below:
- Law-Specific Business Directories
- Podcast Interviews
- Contacting Journalists via HARO
- Offering Commentary on Notable Cases
- Taking Note-Worthy Cases
- Writing “Link-Bait” Content
- Broken Link-Building
What Is “Link-Building,” and Why Does It Matter?
What is Link-Building?
Link-building is the practice of acquiring hyperlinks from other websites that point to your website. If another site chooses to link to yours, Google’s algorithm considers that as a vote – another site is now vouching for your site. This, in turn, can help you rank higher on Google.
The added wrinkle is that backlinks are not all created equal. A backlink from a small, regional publication is great to have, but the authority passed from a backlink on Fox Business Journal is weighted much more heavily by Google’s algorithm. The contextual nature of the link also matters – if you get a link from a law-specific website, that will theoretically help you more than a link from a mommy blog.
Lastly, we need to differentiate between “do-follow” and “no-follow” backlinks. If you receive a backlink with the “no-follow” attribute attached, that webmaster is asking Google not to follow the link and not to pass any authority. A “followed” link, however, allows Google’s crawlers to pass through to your site.
Note – Google may or may not acknowledge a “no-follow” attribute.
And here’s an example of that nofollow attribute to look out for: <a href=”https://www.majux.com/link-building-for-lawyers/” rel=”nofollow”>
Does Link-Building Really Matter For Law Firms?
Yes, you must acquire backlinks for your website if you want to compete on Google. Especially in a competitive niche like personal injury, you will never rank on the first page of the SERPs for a phrase like “truck accident lawyer in [city]” without a high volume of good quality backlinks.
You will also need to have a properly optimized law firm website, lots of good content, and more, but the main differentiator is usually your backlink profile.
How Do Law Firms Build Backlinks?
Here are the seven top strategies for acquiring backlinks for your website. They can take a tremendous amount of time to implement, but if you want to win on Google, they are necessary.
1- Law-Specific Business Directories
Directories are the low hanging fruit of link building. And fortunately for law firms, there are tons of industry-specific opportunities. Here are few examples of directory listings that every law firm has:
At Majux, we already have a huge list of legal directories that we can feature you on rather quickly, but if you are starting from scratch, you will need to use SEO research tools or Google searches to find your list of directories. Use search operators on Google to find opportunities, like +”lawyer” +”directory” and such.
You will also benefit from building profiles on business directories that aren’t attorney-specific. Localbusinesslisting.org and Serviceprofessionalsnetwork.com are popular backlinks.
Please note that you need to build good directory listings. To do this, write a unique, lengthy business description (do not copy and paste the same description. This will help the listing get indexed by Google once you publish it.
Also, make sure your name, address, and phone number (NAP) are consistent across all of your law firm’s directory listings. They need to match the information on your website and your Google My Business (GMB) profiles – if they do, you will rank higher in local search, known as the Google map pack.
2 – Podcast Interviews
If you appear as a guest on a podcast, the host will likely publish a transcript or recap on their website (or platform website, like RadioPublic). It takes time to pitch your expertise and do the actual appearance, but it can be worthwhile.
The easiest way to do this is probably through Qwoted.com – that’s basically a PR platform for the podcast industry. It will cost you $150 per month as a sole practitioner, but it’s much cheaper than hiring a PR firm.
You can also achieve this on your own by compiling a list of relevant legal industry or small business podcasts, familiarizing yourself with their content and audience, and pitching your expertise.
Make sure you have an actual pitch. Something like, “Hi, I’m an IP attorney and I’d love to appear on your podcast,” will not work. It would need to be more compelling:
“Hello, I’m John Smith, the intellectual property attorney who represented so-and-so in their recent legal dispute. I would love to appear on your show and discuss [insert hot-button issue] with you – I think your audience would enjoy it.”
3 – Contacting Journalists and Bloggers on HARO
Help a Reporter Out (HARO) allows you to create an account, receive lists of inquiries from journalists every day, and respond directly to those writers’ inquiries. If your answer is chosen by the writer, you may receive a backlink in the article as a form of attribution.
Many writers need expert input for articles about bankruptcy, civil law, and other common legal issues. If you, an attorney, write a thoughtful and unique response to these queries through the HARO platform, you do have a decent chance of getting quoted on a meaningful media platform like Business Insider, Forbes, and more.
Some tips for using HARO:
- The faster you respond, the likelier you are to get quoted
- Generic responses will fail – have unique insight
- Your success rate will be fairly low, so don’t get discouraged
4 – Offer Commentary on Notable Cases
If there is a mainstream legal issue in the news, or if a Supreme Court decision is on the way, you can be proactive in your PR strategy. This will also help you acquire backlinks.
If you are a small business attorney and notice that new legislation will affect businesses in your region, reach out to the editors or writers on every local-ish and relevant online publication. Pitch yourself as an expert, explain what the legislation is, and explain how it impacts local businesses. If you get through to someone, you can land an excellent backlink and quote on a local news website.
5 – Take Noteworthy Cases
Attorneys are often picky about which cases they take, and this is understandable. You only want cases that you can win and make money from.
However, the opportunity sometimes presents itself to represent either a person who is notable, or fight an entity who is notable. These can be excellent PR magnets. If you take on a case that is likely to get press, you will likely get quoted in articles about the case. Those articles will often include a backlink to your website.
You may need to be proactive in these situations – syndicate a press release, reach out to journalists manually, or search the internet for your name, and if you’ve already been mentioned, ask those writers to link to you.
6 – Write “Link Bait” Content on Your Site
Consider this strategy as a “passive” link building effort. Bloggers and journalists love eye-catching data, and if you have useful content on your site, you could acquire backlinks. We’ll use an example from our client base for this section.
As part of our law firm content strategy, we wrote a blog post for one of our personal injury law firms that ranks very well on Google for the question, “How Many People are Killed By Falling Trees Each Year?”. This blog post won’t get cases for our client, but we wanted to attract backlinks.
Sure enough, that blog has been linked to by other websites more than 30 times, making it a huge success. It took years for the blog to attract that many links, but it only took a few hours of effort.
7 – Broken Link Building For Attorneys
Broken link building is the act of identifying broken outgoing backlinks from a website and offering a resource on your website as a replacement. Ahrefs.com is a great tool for this.
Firstly, identify a set of websites that publish a tremendous amount of useful content in your niche. Then, take those domains one at a time, drop them into Ahrefs, and scan the website for “broken outgoing links.” If an article on the site is linking to an informative blog post that is now broken (a 404 error, the site expired, etc.), the editor on the linking website would want to know.
Next, either find a relevant blog on your website that could replace the broken resource, or write one. This is the most labor-intensive part of the strategy.
Finally, reach out to the owner of the website linking to the broken page and offer your resource as a replacement. This strategy does work, albeit with a fairly low conversion rate. Even a link or two would make this worth it.
Call Majux For Law Firm Link Building Support
To speak with Majux about getting significantly more leads through your law firm’s website, send us a note or give us a call. We help firms across the United States grow and increase revenue. In addition to SEO, content, and web design, we help clients with law firm PPC strategy as well – we would love to hear from you.