Building inbound links is the cornerstone of any successful search engine optimization strategy today. What's surprising is how few law firms are actually doing it. Currently, only about a third of United States businesses doing internet marketing are working on inbound link building at all. If you don't know how to start building inbound links, or if your previous inbound link building strategies have come up short, keep reading. You'll learn 7 tips, including six that should be basic today and one advanced strategy for firms that really want to boost their firm's SEO performance.
#1: Inbound Link Building is Like a Diet—Balance is Key
If you're not maintaining well balanced link sources when you're building inbound links, it's very likely that you'll soon see penalties from search engines. This is because search engines want to discourage people from unnatural inbound link building efforts and creating any content that could be perceived as spam or overly repetitive.
Because of this, if you're going to work on building inbound links, you can't just use one resource. Many services that provide inbound link building only work with one or two types of links, and this is no longer good enough. Try building inbound links in house, using both big web sources and sources you have actual personal connections to, in order to get a much more diverse link presence than if you had outsourced.
Anchor text needs to vary as well. If you start building inbound links that all use identical anchor text, Google's search algorithm, Penguin, can detect exactly what you're doing and penalize your rankings to stop you from doing it in the future. You'll want to vary your anchor text, including both the exact keyword matches you hope will bring in SEO results, as well as branded anchor text (like the name of your law firm or an attorney who works there) or just ordinary words and phrases.
#2: Don't Do Too Much Inbound Link Building At Once
It's easy to go a little bit crazy when you start building inbound links—there are just so many sources to choose from today, and that can make it easy to just list dozens of links all at once. If you're doing this, you'd better make sure that your website already has very high traffic numbers. Otherwise, Google is likely to notice that you've done much more inbound link building than your web traffic would seem to indicate is natural.
In order to work on building inbound links without Google having this kind of problem, you should start very slowly increasing the number of links being built to your website. Link building won't look suspicious to Google's algorithms if it's done slowly and in accordance with the growth of your website's traffic.
#3: Only Build Links to Great Content
It can be easy to forget in the middle of your inbound link building efforts what the final goal of link building really is. At the end of the day, you're still trying to get conversions, not just people clicking on your website. Even the greatest efforts at building inbound links will go wrong if your website is ugly, outdated, or slow.
That's right—slow. If your website is slow, all the inbound link building you've been doing may be for nothing. Google now takes your website's speed into account when deciding which sites should be at or near the top of the rankings heap. To have the best success when building inbound links, you need to make sure your website works quickly and is hosted on reliable servers.
#4: Don't Take Inbound Link Building Shortcuts
When building inbound links, don't make the mistake of thinking that you can make lasting and high value links using any kind of automated link building program. These programs, while they may be flashy and promise high quality links, are at the end of the day just software. They can't really understand the context of a website, and can't really decide whether it would help or hurt your law firm's reputation to have a particular link posted.
If you're taking the automated inbound link building shortcut, don't be surprised if the links that work so well today fail when Google makes its next algorithm update. Building inbound links in an automated program just to take a shortcut is incredibly short-sighted, and could lead to big problems later if Google penalizes your site.
#5: Audit Your Inbound Link Building
Periodically, you need to check to make sure that your links still work and that you're maintaining a diverse group of inbound links. This is a great role for a computer program. Link auditing programs can check the links you're receiving, including the PageRank and anchor text. This helps you understand how to build effective links in the future and keep the ones you have intact.
#6: Keep Informed About Changes to the Web
Because of changing algorithms, it's a good idea to make sure you're always up to date about any changes that are occurring with Google and other search engines. Consider subscribing to an RSS feed for some blogs about search engine marketing, or just keep an eye on lawfirms.laws.com for the latest in information about how to keep building links in a constantly changing environment.
#7: Advanced Technique—Tier Your Inbound Link Building
This technique is really only for people who already understand all of the previous techniques. If you want to make sure that your links are indexed more quickly (and that they therefore give you more “link juice” faster), you can try building backlinks to your backlinks. While this process can be hastened with a computer program, it's once again better to build quality links on your own so that you don't risk penalties.
Two and even three or four tiers of inbound link building can make it much more likely that your link building efforts will increase your rankings fast. While the first tier of links is obviously most important, every new tier you build improves the indexing rate of your backlinks.