I sympathize with law firms looking for quality search engine marketing services. The volume of offerings and differences amongst them make deciding on a service difficult. One of the most important aspects of a quality search engine optimization service is building inbound links.
Understanding The Value Of Linking
In the eyes of a search engine, links to a website are like votes for that website. Acquiring authoritative, relevant inbound links to your website or blog is a critical. However, it’s important to recognize that not all links are equal. More to the point of this post, not all link building strategies are equal either. What I’d like to do is discuss 3 of the most common types of link building services you’ll come across. Understanding what each one is doing and what you are paying for can help you make a more informed purchasing decision.
Three Types Of Law Firm Link Building Services
1. Commoditized Link Building – Many SEO firms offer a “one size fits all” solution to link building. This type of service will offer “100 directory submissions” and “50 social bookmark links” per month as an example. Regardless of your firm’s practice areas, geographic location, or competitive environment the approach to link building will be the same. I call this a commoditized service because your website is simply plugged into the machine and you get the same link building as any other firm or business that hires the SEO professional. While there is nothing inherently “wrong” with this type of link building, it simply isn’t that effective.
2. Law Firm Link Networks – My colleague, Gyi Tsakalakis, has written about law firm link networks before. He tells us:
One of the most common, and currently highly successful, link strategies is link networking. While these networks take many forms, the very general structure looks something like this:
- Law firms pay the network administrator for access to the network
- Links to the law firm’s website or blog are added to some or all of the networked sites.
- Access to the link network provides a variety of links from several domains back to the participating law firm websites or blogs.
While a link network strategy can generate significant results in terms of search engine positioning, it is not without limitation.
First, it’s very important to remember that access to a link network typically hinges upon payment of a subscription fee to the network. If you stop paying the subscription, you may lose access to the links. This is not a problem so long as the subscription fee is generating results (however measured). Unfortunately, many law firms contract seo companies with the understanding that they are building links only to later find out that they are merely paying for access to a link network. When the law firm wishes to part ways with the seo company, they lose all their links. This is a key difference between accessing a link network and hiring an seo to perform strategic link building services.
Second, it’s also important to keep in mind that, depending on how the link network is constructed, it may be negatively viewed as a link farm. Search engines don’t like link farms and have imposed harsh penalties for sites that have participated in them. Unfortunately, search engines don’t provide bright-line rules for what constitutes a “bad” link farm and what constitutes a “good” link network. For the most part, the quality of the participating sites will play a large role in the distinction.
In some cases, we advocate participation in law firm link networks when it makes sense for our clients. However, it’s important when you are researching SEO services that you understand what you are paying for and the ramifications if you decide to part ways with your SEO company.
3. Customized Link Building Strategy – A customized link building strategy involves building links from a large variety of sources. While this can include submissions to certain types of directories, accessing law firm link networks, distributing articles, press releases, guest blogging, etc. the important thing to remember is that it is an aggregation of many techniques, not just one.
A customized link building campaign will also include research of the search landscape for your firm’s practice areas and geographic location. This includes gaining a good understanding of the competition, performing back link analysis of them, figuring out where they are getting links, and identifying which of these links are worth building on your behalf.
It also includes developing strategies to acquire high-end links such as developing a relationship with a contact at an organization, participating/volunteering with the organization, identifying sponsorship opportunities, etc. This type of link building is not simply a technical skill, but a very specific type of public relations activity with the goal of increasing links to your site. Obviously, this type of customized approach will yield the best results.
Want to learn how to get your law firm website more trusted, authoritative, and in front of more potential clients?
Download AttorneySync’s Free Guide On Building Links For Your Law Firm Website.