If you're a law firm marketing professional—or the person at your small law firm who is responsible for heading up web marketing efforts—you probably already know something about increasing your link popularity. However, many of the methods for improving link popularity have actually stopped working as recently as 2012, because Google and other search engines have implemented big crackdowns on websites using “black hat” techniques for link building. In this guide, you'll learn why white hat link popularity matters for your website, and five ways that you can start using the internet to generate more links.
Popularity Contest: Why Link Popularity Matters to Law Firms
Your link popularity is just a number that reflects how many inbound links come to your law firm's website. Why do inbound links matter so much? Because they're the easiest proxy by which Google and other search engines can detect your site's value to other websites and its perceived level of authority.
Because of this, when Google decides where your search results should rank, one of the top criteria it's using is your link popularity. However, link popularity today is a bit more complicated than it used to be. While pure quantity of links used to be enough to enhance your link popularity and get you on Page 1, today at least some of your links need to come from other websites that have high link popularity. If you're only getting links from unpopular websites, Google tends to assume that you have artificially inflated your link count.
That's why the five methods we're going to look at in this guide are all completely “white hat,” which is to say, they help you build links by actually creating appealing content and putting it in front of the right audiences. By using these tips, you'll greatly enhance your link popularity without using any techniques that Google might penalize now or in the future as search algorithms become more sophisticated
#1: Get a Law Blog, and Post Regularly
Over half of attorneys who have started a blog report that they've converted clients directly because of their blog entries. That's a statistic that no lawyer in 2012 can afford to ignore. If you want to, you can start a blog to increase your link popularity by just having it exist as one page on your website. Another way to increase your link popularity is to host your blog offsite (at its own URL), then link back to your website on a regular basis.
Having a blog won't help you to increase link popularity unless you're updating it fairly frequently. While too many posts (more than 2 a day) can actually make your blog harder to read and decrease your link popularity, having a few blog entries a week will really make a positive difference.
#2: Join Social Networks and Become Part of the Conversation
When you're working on increasing your link popularity, social networks need to become a part of your daily routine. These websites can increase link popularity rapidly, and what's more, they have a high PageRank—which means that Google will give them more link juice that they can then contribute to your website.
Make sure that if you're trying to increase your link popularity through social networking,
#3: Ask Personal Connections for Links
This is one of the easiest ways to build link popularity, but surprisingly, not many law firms are doing it. Your in person connections are an invaluable source for links. If you know other link firms who have blogs, they can help you to increase your link popularity. By arranging for a link exchange, in which you also link to their blog to help them increase their link popularity, you can be of mutual assistance to one another.
However, it's important that you don't build too much link popularity with link exchange. If you use this tactic too much, Google will start to suspect that you've automated link exchanges to increase your link popularity. Instead, build link popularity with a combination of reciprocal (two way) and one way links.
#4: Use Social Bookmarking Websites
One of the newer techniques that is great at increasing link popularity is called social bookmarking. While this kind of bookmarking was once the province of a few communities of geeks, big communities like Digg and StumbleUpon now have tens of millions of users and are adding more every day. The best part about building your link popularity with these websites is that they are generally free to join and allow you to make links whenever you want.
When using social bookmarking sites to boost link popularity, be careful not to violate website rules or do anything that could get you banned. Your link popularity won't see any positive effects from your efforts on social bookmarking websites unless you're actually contributing and making a positive impact on the sites you're using.
#5: Seek Out Press Coverage For Your Firm
If your firm isn't getting the link popularity you want, consider trying press releases. Don't just release your press releases to websites that publish any release that comes their way. As a law firm, your link popularity can improve immensely from news coverage, and you should be working to get your press releases in front of reporters and news editors all over the area.
Keep in mind that the most successful press releases, and the ones most likely to boost link popularity for your firm, are the ones that already give journalists a hook or angle that they can use to attract readers. The more generic your press release is, the less likely it is to be picked up by media sources and used to increase your link popularity.
Final Comments: Slow and Steady Wins the Race
Whether you use one of these methods or several, you need to build link popularity somewhat slowly. Google may sandbox your website if you are seen to be building links too quickly in a way that seems artificial. You can avoid this by making sure that you're only posting links in a slow, steady stream rather than all at once in a big blitz.