You can increase inbound link traffic on your website in a huge variety of ways, but Google now has some detection algorithms that can throw off your plans. Google doesn't particularly like when websites increase inbound links inorganically, and has in the last year penalized over 15 percent of web pages for appearing to be over optimized. If you want to increase inbound link traffic today, you'll have to be very careful to make the increase appear natural and organic. If you don't know how to do that yet—keep reading, and you'll find out before this guide is over.
What Are Inbound Links—And Why Do I Need Them?
Any time a website links to your website, it does so in the form of an inbound link. When someone clicks on the anchor text of the link, they'll arrive at your website and be able to look at your content. In the early web, it was relatively common for most websites to have few links, except the ones that went to the websites of personal friends or websites that pertained to an interest or related industry.
Today, inbound linking has become big business. That's because when you increase inbound link numbers, your search engine rankings get better across the board. Search engines make an assumption that when you increase inbound links, it means that your website has more authoritative and trustworthy content.
If you're working hard to increase inbound link numbers for your website, though, you should know that Google has created some red flags. If you increase inbound links in the wrong way, these red flags get tripped and your website's rankings go right back down to where they started from. Knowledge is power—by knowing exactly what kind of inbound links will lead to trouble, you can avoid common pitfalls and keep your rankings rising.
Why You Should Increase Inbound Links Slowly
When a company starts trying to increase inbound link traffic using inorganic techniques, it shows. One of the first ways that it shows is in a sudden increase in the sheer number of inbound links appearing for a particular website or specific web page.
When this sudden spike happens, search engines red flag your website. Even if you're in a rush to increase inbound links, you can't do it too quickly or you'll be wasting your effort. Increase inbound link numbers gradually, preferably in concert with any traffic that you've gained. The more traffic that your website gets, the faster you can increase inbound links coming to you per day.
Where Your Links Come From Matters
A link coming from Joe Schmo's Discount Legal Blog isn't going to be worth as much as one that comes from Above the Law or The Volokh Conspiracy. They're all blogs, so what's the difference? The difference is in a number that Google calls PageRank.
If you increase inbound link numbers at a good clip, but they're only coming from websites that are low visibility, Google may not take kindly to this. While it's possible for an organic link building effort to yield these types of results, the more usual reason is that someone has tried “black hat” link building techniques—things that spam other websites and make the internet less usable for most users.
Because of this, Google weights rankings much more highly if you increase inbound link traffic from high PageRank websites. By increasing inbound links in this way, you'll build better quality links—even if they're more difficult to obtain initially.
Increase Inbound Links With Your Blog
By using your blog in the right ways, you can increase inbound link numbers in a variety of ways. One of the most obvious ways is in generating publicity for your firm organically. As long as you're creating great content, even if you're not sharing it all that often, it's likely that your blog entries will be noticed and linked by at least a few other bloggers.
Of course, if you want to increase inbound link traffic even more, you can help the process along. By talking to other blog owners, you can get put onto their blogrolls, which will give you new inbound links. You could even get a guest posting gig, which is a great opportunity to increase inbound link traffic.
If you're not using blog comments for real discussions, you should start. Some of the best ways to increase inbound links involve using blog comments. As long as you're making relevant comments on other people's blogs, and as long as your link is at least somewhat relevant, a new inbound link usually won't be removed from a comment section. Don't just spam post to blogs with no moderation. Google can easily detect this method, and will know you are trying to increase inbound link traffic with black hat techniques.
Increase Inbound Links on Social Bookmarking Sites
Social bookmarking websites, including Digg, StumbleUpon, and Reddit are great ways to build new inbound links and get more attention to your website. However, while these sites can increase inbound link numbers, it's actually somewhat uncommon for a lawyer to get much new business from them. This is because you'll have tried to increase inbound links on a website that is being used by people worldwide, rather than just in your community.
This doesn't mean that it's worthless to increase inbound link numbers on social bookmarking websites. On the contrary, these websites have high PageRank values and can make your rankings soar. Just don't expect to get direct conversions—you'll see your results coming through in the changes to your SEO results.
Increase Inbound Links with Local Websites
The other strategy you can employ to increase inbound link numbers is to go local. Instead of using only big, high PageRank, global websites, focusing on sites that matter to your community can be a great move. First of all, there isn't as much competition for links at these websites. Second, Google can identify when you're being linked by local sources, and will dramatically increase your rankings in geolocational searches for law firms.