Only 60 percent of American companies are using any kind of professional link building. For lawyers, that number is even lower, and with good reason. Many of the strategies for complete link building that were advocated even a few years ago may have made your web pages look better for search engines, but worse to real human beings. In this guide, you'll learn why that has changed, and why today there are more ways to do real, professional link building than ever.
Why Not All Link Building Looks Professional or Ethical
The idea of doing complete link building on your own or with a service may already make you skeptical. Many of the web's earliest professional link building companies were not particularly good at creating quality links, just a huge quantity that improved a website's Google PageRank and helped it climb into the top page of search results for many keywords.
As a result, many of these backlinks actually went through very shady websites—some with spyware or viruses, others selling everything from pornography to erectile dysfunction pills on the same page where attorney links were being distributed. This kind of “wild west” era in the web is over, and today's complete link building strategies regard it as best forgotten.
What does this mean for your professional link building efforts? Well, there's good news and bad news. The good news is, if you are already good at marketing, you're now on equal footing with everyone else when you do professional link building for your firm. The bad news is you may want to hire a complete link building service to help you understand what you're doing.
Your Blog: A Lawyer's Best Professional Link Building Resource
With hundreds of thousands of attorneys getting new business from blogs, it's surprising that any lawyer still remains blogless. Not only can blogs help you to create great search engine optimization opportunities for your website, they're also the single best way for you to start getting the backlinks you need.
Typically, when someone links to one of your blog posts, they'll link to your firm's website as well as the post itself. Complete link building is even easier if you're also willing to guest blog on other people's websites. Remember to return the favor, at least sometimes, and invite other attorneys to guest blog on your site too.
You may also want to try using video blogging rather than traditional blogging to do more complete link building. Video can help attract a different audience than just text blogging, and video content is significantly more likely than text to go viral. Whenever your content goes viral, you've got a professional link building success on your hands—this will usually lead to multiple links from high-quality websites.
Interacting With the Blogosphere: Tips and Tricks
Ideally, if your blog is part of your complete link building solution, you shouldn't just be posting—you should also be reading and participating in the greater blog community. Before you take that plunge, though, there are a few things you should know.
DO read blogs that are a few steps removed from your own field of practice. These attorneys may have areas that intersect with yours, and you could have a professional link building opportunity by guest blogging about those intersections later on. What's more, by building these relationships, you can get new client referrals.
DON'T confine yourself even just to law blogs. Remember that marketing blogs can teach you about many topics, from complete link building to the newest search engine optimization techniques. Other types of blogs may just belong to regular people in your area—but they're still worth it if your practice is consumer-focused.
DO make relevant, thoughtful comments on blogs and leave your website's URL at the bottom of them.
DON'T have just your URL as the entire text of your comment, or leave mass quantities of copied and pasted generic comments in many blogs.
DO make video responses to other video blog entries on YouTube—this is a great part of a complete link building strategy.
DON'T stifle comments unless they're defamatory or spam. Discussion is great for professional link building; you want to encourage it!
Creating Professional Link Building Opportunities With the Press
Some people today ignore the offline world when they start doing professional link building. But look where most blogs originally get their content—the same old fashioned media that many people are giving up on today. You can get a leg up on the competition by talking to television news producers, radio stations, and newspaper writers about legal topics.
You may even be able to get an op-ed or letter to the editor published in a local newspaper. Then, try linking a copy of it (either an online copy or a nice looking scanned copy of the newspaper edition) through Facebook or LinkedIn. People like to see some offline content to seed the online world, and you may be surprised how many people share the image or link.
Hiring Services for Complete Link Building
While professional link building services in the past have gotten a bad rap, there are still good services working for law firms right now. Outsourcing your link building to a complete link building solutions provider can ensure that you'll be able to work as much as you need to on other firm business.
Ask any professional link building service you're planning to hire about their strategies. If you see similar strategies to the ones advocated here—organic complete link building, working on blogs, social networking sites, and so on—they're using up to date information.
If they're still talking about article marketing, article spinning, or paid for links, you don't necessarily need to run in the other direction—but I'd walk pretty fast if I were you. These techniques could actually hurt your law firm, and you need to stay as far away from them as possible if you want to have a successful legal website.