New attorneys and law firms can have a hard time getting their website off the ground. Today's website building tools make it easy to create a website even if you've never made one before, but how do you get people to visit? With tens of thousands of new attorneys graduating law school every year, you need to be able to hit the ground running in order to make your business succeed. Link exchange tools increase your visibility online by creating more links and making you look more connected than you actually are. To succeed when using any link exchange tool, you'll need to know how search engines work—and how they're working to prevent you from succeeding.
Why Law Firms Use Link Exchange Tools
The appeal of link exchange is easy to understand. While just giving a link to another person takes time and energy—and will just improve their results, not yours—buying and selling links is against Google guidelines and can result in severe penalties. Link exchange solves this problem: instead of buying or selling links, two websites can trade them, and both can then share in the benefits conferred by their linking agreement.
It can take quite a bit of time to negotiate link exchange. Because of this, link exchange tools have been developed that can make it easier to do some of the things associated with exchanging links. The type of link exchange tool you'll need depends on what you're trying to accomplish.
Full Exchange Automation with Link Exchange Tools
Some law firms want to use a link exchange tool that will completely automate the process of building reciprocal links. This frees up your personnel to do more of the other work that keeps your law firm running. There are a number of link exchange tools that can fully automate your link building. Most of the time, a free link exchange tool works by having you copy and paste a snippet of HTML code into your website's code.
When you've done this, anyone who visits your website will be able to create a reciprocal link automatically. However, keep in mind that if you use this link exchange tool, you may attract unwanted negative attention from Google.
Google prefers for websites not to use automated link exchange, because quality control is low. If you're detected using one of these link exchange tools, it's very possible that Google will actually stop giving you any additional credit for your reciprocal links. This makes any new links you create in the future a waste of time unless you can convince Google that you've stopped.
Checking Reciprocal Links With Link Exchange Tools
Fully automating your links isn't the only thing you can do with a link exchange tool. Some link exchange tools work for more specialized purposes. The single best link exchange tool you can use if you've been creating reciprocal links is a reciprocal link checker.
Reciprocal link checkers are link exchange tools that work by automatically scanning other websites to make sure that they're still hosting the link to your website that they promised according to the terms of your link exchange agreement.
When you run this type of link exchange tool, you may discover that some of the reciprocal links you thought you had are no longer working. If this is the case, don't just take your links down right away! Instead, try to talk to the webmaster. In many cases, you'll find that it was an honest mistake due to a website redesign or simple human error.
Running link exchange tools of this type is something that you should do on a weekly or monthly basis. Allowing too much time to pass before using your link exchange tool could result in large numbers of links becoming non-reciprocal, which will result in a decrease to your search rankings.
The Best Link Exchange Tool: Social Networks
Today's internet has changed in many ways, but no change has been so overwhelming and so ubiquitous as the social network. While Facebook is obviously the most famous of these social networks, you can use most social networks, including LinkedIn and Twitter, as excellent link exchange tools.
Facebook and Twitter tend to work better when they're marketed to consumer audiences, while LinkedIn will primarily be a link exchange tool for legal professionals. Fine-tuning your social media presence and adapting to these different audiences' different needs is the first sign of a law firm that will have successful internet public relations.
Don't fill your social network feeds with spam. It's important that you create your own original content and use headlines that have at least some “link bait” to get visitors looking at your articles. If you start getting followers, follow them back—you may be able to use social networks to exchange links and share followers from each others' lists.
Other Link Exchange Tools: Social Bookmarking Sites
If you're looking for the next step beyond social networks, consider using one of the newest types of link exchange tool. Social bookmarking websites like Reddit, Digg, and Slashdot represent the place where viral content begins. By learning how to use these link exchange tools, you'll be getting into the forefront of social internet technology.
Much like social networking websites, you'll want to get to understand a social bookmarking site by looking around and interacting with a personal account before putting your business's reputation on the line. Failing to do your research can result in embarrassment—or, even worse, public outrage over a comment made in haste.
How Much Link Exchange is Too Much?
If you're creating more links than your web traffic would seem to suggest you ought to be, Google may see this as an offense worth penalizing. Keep your link exchange efforts slow and as organic as possible. One quality link that stays up for a long time and keeps providing meaningful, contextual connections to your site is worth a hundred links on websites that look like spam.