A Link From Your State Bar

Gyi Tsakalakis
June 17, 2011

So you know you need to acquire links, but you're having a difficult time of coming up with ideas about where to get links. Here's one, check out your State Bar's website. Many State Bars offer members advertising opportunities on their websites. And many of these opportunities include links. Here is an example from the Louisiana State Bar's site:


In this example, technolawyer.com has received a link from the Louisiana State Bar Association. A quick look at our tools reveals that this is a rather impressive link:



In addition to having strong search quality signals above, links from State Bar Association websites are highly relevant and also highly trusted both online and offline. If you decide to pursue links from your State Bar, here are a couple things to keep in mind:

  • Text or Image? - Is the link a text link or an image link? The example above uses an image link. Image links can be very helpful and can even work to drive some traffic. If the link opportunity is an image, make sure you optimize the image as best you can giving it an appropriate name and "alt" tag. While image links can be great, you should also look for text link opportunities. These links pass more semantic data back to search engines. Optimizing your anchor text links can help you achieve better search positions.
  • Follow or Nofollow - The next thing to look out for is whether the link is followed or nofollowed. Many sites will "rel=nofollow" to tell search engines that they're not "link-endorsing" your site. There is much debate about the value of nofollow links however, I think it's pretty well accepted that, all things being equal, nofollows are less valuable than followed links in terms of SEO.
  • A href="yourdomain.com" - Make sure that the link is an html link and not some bizarre looking javascript. Some webmasters will use different coding languages to encode links. Most of these will not provide any SEO benefit to your site. Look for the "a href="yourdomain.com" code where "yourdomain.com" is your website or blog's domain.
  • Beware of iframes - Iframes don't pass search engine value. Therefore, make sure that your link isn't surrounded by "iframe" tags.

Before you agree to any link relationship, check out the source code of the page where your link will appear. Then, when your link goes live, check back to ensure that it's been coded properly. We see a lot of lawyers that think they're acquiring great new links, only to find that they're "nofollowed" or coded in a way that doesn't provide any search engine benefit.

In general, if you take a "top-down" approach focusing on identifying quality trusted websites that are relevant to your practice, location, or field, you will get a lot more "bang for your link building buck." State Bar Association websites are just one of many types of trusted legal link sources that you should consider.

Gyi Tsakalakis
Co-Founder of AttorneySync
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Jay Pinkert
11 years ago

So how do you ensure that all those provisos are in place before you make the ad buy?

Gyi Tsakalakis
11 years ago
Reply to  Jay Pinkert

Hi Jay,

If the primary purpose of the link is for its "search benefit," then yes. Obviously, there are other reasons to consider advertising on these types of sites.

We have also worked to "negotiate" these provisos with sites that don't have a formal program.

Jay Pinkert
11 years ago
Reply to  Gyi Tsakalakis

BTW, really good, useful post.

Even if search benefit isn't the primary benefit, I think it's still good marketing practice to get as much out of your ad buy as possible, and you shouldn't be shy about asking for link love up front.
Seems like it would be in the best interest of the bar associations to specify that kind of stuff in the rate card, as it could enhance their revenue.

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