In surveys, small firm and solo practitioner attorneys frequently list marketing and advertising as their least favorite aspect of their job. Unfortunately, in an increasingly competitive, linked in world, popularity matters more than ever, and link popularity (the number of websites linking to yours) matters more than just about any other kind. If you have no idea how to build links yourself, you may be considering link popularity building services. While a link popularity service may initially seem like a win-win division of labor, there are some drawbacks. Keep reading this guide to find out both the advantages and the disadvantages of hiring link popularity services to do the dirty work of marketing for you.
Pro: Spend Less Time Working On Your Links
You didn't go to law school to build links. Most attorneys would rather be doing just about anything else—even document review—than working on establishing links from a website. A link popularity service can step in and take over all of those responsibilities for you. Link popularity building services leave you with more time to talk to clients, research cases, and do all the other things that keep your firm running from day to day.
Link popularity services are generally so automated that you won't even need to think about your link popularity service on a daily basis. Most link popularity building services will send you updates as frequently or as infrequently as you request, so that you can put your linking out of sight and out of mind.
Con: Lose Your Control Over Some Links
At the same time, having your links automated by link popularity building services takes away some of your control. When you're building links yourself, you can personally choose which websites will host them. When a link popularity service is doing the link building for you, you won't have that ability any more.
This aspect of using link popularity building services can be an especially big problem for established firms with a reputation to uphold. You should always check link popularity services before you use them, and ask them what kinds of websites they post to. If your link would be posted all over online pharmacy and pornography sites because you decided to use cheap link popularity building services, your firm is very likely to regret it.
Pro: Get Links on More Websites
Odds are, you only have a short list of websites that you know you could get a link on. For most link popularity building services, the list is in the thousands and growing by the day. A link popularity service can ensure that your links are displayed even on websites that you hadn't heard of before, and that are extremely valuable for contributing “link juice” to your own website.
Con: Google's Over Optimization Detectors
If your link popularity services link to too many websites all at once, it is quite probable that they will set off a chain of events you won't like very much. First, Google will notice that you've posted links in an artificial pattern and will assume that you are using an automated link popularity service to artificially inflate your search rankings. Next, they'll “sandbox” your site—this means that your links won't count, or will even penalize you, until you have them removed. Not all link popularity building services are good at helping clients take links down, so you should find out about the policies of any link popularity service you use before this happens to you.
Pro: Professionals Know Which Links Work
One of the reasons that lawyers commonly give when they decide to use a link popularity service is that they want to leave link building up to the professionals. Search engine optimization and link building is a rapidly changing world. The most popular link popularity services are likely to have professionals researching the newest techniques, even if you as an attorney can only barely keep up with SEO blogs.
Having professional expertise at your fingertips is a great reason to hire a link popularity service, especially if you're not quite sure why your link building efforts haven't been working. Link popularity services can analyze your current link traffic and help you understand what went wrong and how to fix it in the future. Many link popularity building services will even give a free initial consultation so that you can get this information before making your decision.
Con: Professionals Have a Reason To Lie
On the flip side, remember that your link popularity service is a business, and because of that, it has a motivation to tell you that its methods work—even if they don't. Let's say, for instance, that a new Google update renders the methods used by your link popularity building services completely irrelevant to search results. If this happens, do you think the link popularity services company will tell you about it? Instead, your link popularity service is likely to tell you to keep paying while it tries to work out a solution that may or may not work.
For this reason, if you decide to use link popularity services, you should check up on their work periodically. Make sure that the links from your link popularity building services are still working, and that your link popularity service is actually leading to overall increases in your web traffic. If you're not seeing changes to your rankings or your traffic, chances are that you've chosen link popularity services that just aren't working the way they're supposed to and you may need a new service provider.
In some ways, hiring link popularity services can actually be fairly risky for law firms. However, for some firms, the unique benefits of having your firm rise in rank without having to dedicate hours of valuable time to it every day can be worthwhile.
You can improve the chances that you'll be satisfied with your link popularity services by seeking out services with good reviews and that don't fully automate link submissions. Some link popularity building services will actually use exclusively hand-created links, which can be a much more effective way to do natural looking link building than full automation.