This might not be the end-all be-all list of link building strategies but it compiles a lot of the tactics we’ve mentioned before into one location. Feel free to add your own tactics in the comments below. I’ll try to update this from time to time.
- Guest Posting
- Lawyer-specific Directories
- Practice Area Niche Directories
- Scholarship Programs
- Link Building on Reddit
- Social Media Link Building
- Link Building with HARO
- Links or Resource Page Link Building
- Testimonial Link Building
- Accident Maps
- High PR Directories
- Local Directories
- Do Interviews
- Forums, Groups, etc
- Sponsorship Opportunities
- Crowd Sourcing
I. Guest Posting
Guest posting has recently been in the spotlight1 as being negative for link building. Just like any strategy for building or earning links, if you go crazy with it or use a service that has recently been dinged by Google, you might experience some negative side effects. Used responsibly however, guest posting can be a very valuable tool in both getting relevant, high-quality traffic to your site and some good backlinks.
Remember to choose the sites you guest blog on wisely. Check out their backlink profiles, PR, Domain Authority, indexed pages, curation, etc. Look for sites with high Domain Authority and that have reputable links pointing at them. Try and also stick to blogs that are relevant to your practice area or the legal niche in general.
II. Lawyer-specific Directories
Lawyer-specific directories are great industry specific links for your site. You will find both paid and free versions of these all over the internet. Be careful of submitting your site to any directory. Do your homework and make sure the site is reputable. Does it have a high Domain Rating (Ahrefs) and/or Domain Authority (Moz)? Are your colleagues or competition listed there? Chances are if the site has a DR or DA that is more than halfway to perfect, it is probably a good site to submit to.
Here is a list2 of the best free law firm directories that I’ve found.
III. Practice Area Niche Directories
Local and national niche-specific directories have also gotten a bad reputation lately but there are still some good opportunities. Below is a list of directories that are paid. You can continue to be a member if you find the service valuable however in many cases you can sign up, add your link and then cancel while the link remains out on the web sending link juice your way.
• TheInjuryGuide.com ($75) a PR2 site.
• FindCarAccidentAttorney.com Basic listing 149.95/year, standard 34.95/month, Sponsored listing 49.95/month, and Featured listing for 74.95/month a PR1 site.
• Enjuris.com (Free for 180 days then $45 per/year) a PR2 site
• AccidentPersonalInjuryLawyers.com ($250/year) a PR1 site.
• ThePersonalInjuryDirectory.com ($19.95 /year) a PR2 site.
(There are of course niche directories for every practice area. Just do a search for practice area + directory. Here’s another quality directory: http://www.findacriminaldefenseattorney.com/)
A scholarship campaign is designed to get links from .edu domains. It does require a moderate monetary investment and a large time investment but the payoff can be very significant. Lawyers can start by creating a real scholarship that people can apply for. They can choose whatever they want in terms of who and why to award the scholarship. Lawyers then promote rules and guidelines for entering on their own website then reach out to local colleges and universities and ask them to place a link to the information on their websites.
While links from .edu’s do not carry more weight than an equivalent .com or .anything else counterpart, they do tend to be more authoritative with higher domain authority due to the number of inbound links pointing to them and the age of the domain. We developed a step-by-step guide for creating and running an effective scholarship campaign that is featured on Moz.
V. Link Building on Reddit
Reddit is a very active community with all sorts of different topics (including legal related ones). You can also get do-follow links from the platform3. Lawyers can either submit links or submit text posts (with hyperlinked text in them) on Reddit but there is a specific strategy that should be followed.
The one thing you should avoid is just showing up and posting links. Even if those posts are helpful, lawyers need to first become a helpful member of the community. That means interacting with other members without posting links first. For instance try finding and responding to legal questions at least a few times per day on Reddit. For every handful of posts you respond to, you can then post a link to your own website. Be careful as the community is very sensitive to spammers and you can find yourself banned quickly for posting too many self-promotional links.
VI. Social Media Link Building
Lawyers should actively share links to their website in social media. While many of these will be no-follow anyway, it is still a good way to get exposure for your attorney brand, get traffic to your site, and perhaps get a few do-follow links in the process.
Try and get your most shareable content out on these channels to increase the chances that others will share it. Make sure it’s highly relevant to the audience and very useful content.
Neil Ferree does a great job of explaining Social SEO in this post here:
(Oh and don’t miss out on a link from About.me. It’s a PR7 do-follow link with a Domain Authority of 77!!)
Everyone likes a good infographic and if you can create one and encourage people to share it on their own sites, that’s lots of free links for you. A solid tactic (which is by no means original to me) is to create an infographic (either yourself, with a designer, or on one of the many infographic generation websites) and then place some embed code at the bottom of the inforgraphic encouraging people to embed it on their own websites.
VIII. Link Building with HARO
HARO (an acronym for Help A Reporter Out) is a free service in the north American market. It helps reporters get content and leads for stories and also helps users get publicity. HARO is owned by Vocus and content sourced by the service is used by The AP, Gannet, FOX and other major names in news.
Lawyers can use HARO for both building links and authority online. News pieces submitted through HARO get distributed all over the web helping attorneys get lots of exposure for their firm or private practice. They can also include links in content back to their site.
Here is the process:
Sign up for a free HARO account5: There are paid plans but the free one is good to start out with. If you find that it is super beneficial for you, there are always more options.
Look for opportunities: The way it works is you get emailed PR opportunities to your inbox and you can choose to follow up with them or not. Look for PR opportunities you think may be beneficial for your attorney brand and for links and go for those. You can start to segment your opportunities based on where you want to get exposure.
The big benefit here is that one news piece can get picked up and spread across multiple websites. That may not happen the very first time you respond to an opportunity but if you stick with it, HARO can be a valuable resource.
IX. Links or Resource Page Link Building
These are pages that have lists of links to partner websites or additional resources for site users. Site owners that make pages like these can be easy to get links from. Lawyers can find pages like these using a custom query in Google. For example by using the operator inurl: and the keyword “resources”, you can get a list of pages that have that term in the URL.
Add additional keywords for your attorney practice area and you can get contextually relevant results. Look for authoritative domains or those with few outbound links. Those are the pages that will yield the most benefit. There is a great post from Matthew Barby6 on link building that includes this strategy.
X. Testimonial Link Building
Do you ever use the professional services of other companies? For example marketing companies, office supply companies, temp services, IT services, etc. If any of these services have testimonial pages on their sites, (or even if they do not), reach out to them and offer to give a testimonial of their services. Ask for a link back to your own website during the process.
You can see an example of how we did that here with a testimonial on our home page.
XI. Accident Maps
We’ve talked about the attorney accident map before which is a similar strategy to infographics. You can provide useful information to users about traffic accident data in a specific geographic location. This is perfect for personal injury attorneys. It’s awesome for PR too because it puts you as someone who promotes accident safety rather than an “ambulance chaser”. This creates an opportunity for others to link to your page and share the content. There is also a sharing widget attached to the map so others can share it on their own social networks making more inbound links to a page on your site.
*UPDATE: Due to difficulties obtaining traffic data, we have stopped our accident maps as a link building option. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. Please feel free to contact us for alternative strategies. – Attorney Rankings
If you haven’t started a blog at this point, you really need to. Having a blog by itself isn’t going to help your site rank better in search. It’s how you use the blog that is important. Adding a blog affords the following link building pluses:
• The ability to rank for additional keyword phrases
• Generating content that people will want to link to
• The opportunity to build other links to other pages on your site that may not get a lot of attention
• Greater opportunity for your content to be shared online
Here’s a tutorial for you:
XIII. High PR Directories
Directories are in the category of low-hanging fruit. Many of the higher PR directories are paid versions. For the subscription type services, you can usually sign up, pay the fee and then cancel and the link will remain out on the web.
You can find a good list to get you started here12.
XIV. Local Directories
I serve clients all over the country so I can’t really provide a list of local directories in your area. You can search for local associations that are for attorneys and see if they have directories. Local chambers of commerce will often have directories of local businesses. I would definitely recommend submitting to Moz Local and Yext as well. Yext has a partnership network of around 50 of the top websites such as: Yelp, YP, eLocal, etc.
A good way to get really powerful, well-placed links is by collaborating with other attorneys or business owners. This could be in the form of guest posting, joint marketing efforts, or even just an honorable mention on each other’s websites that you are in collaboration in some way.
Mentions of your law firm name on other websites are good for search and the links accommodated in many of them are also good. Again, low-hanging fruit here and some of them may be no-follow. In any event, they still carry some weight and people will follow them to your site.
XIX. Do Interviews
Try and land an interview with some other website owner or blogger. You might collaborate with another business owner who’s audience would find your expertise valuable.
Here’s a couple interviews we’ve done in the past:
XX. Forums, Groups, etc
There are attorney-specific forums and groups like on AVVO or LinkedIn where you can be an active member. You can contribute comments and add links when appropriate. AVVO links are now no-follow15 but other sites are still do-follow.
XXI. Sponsorship Opportunities
Law firms and attorneys can sponsor organizations, events, sports teams, and/or foundations. These entities often have websites that links can be placed on. It’s probably not a wise idea to go out and sponsor something just for the link but if you already do, remember to ask for the link.
XXII. Crowd Sourcing
Lawyers can leverage crowd sourcing websites to get links in a couple of innovative ways16. They can insert links on crowd sourcing sites that call on a community to answer questions or they can use crowd sourced content to get links.
For example on Bountify.co, users can submit questions to programming problems. In the description of the issue, links can be placed to a website and they are do-follow. Multiple links can also be placed in the same post. You have to offer a bounty to fix whatever the issue is but you can set it very low and submit simple issues to be fixed by the community.
Crowd sourced content is another angle on this strategy. This involves multiple different contributors submitting content to you for a publication like a blog post. This could be something on an annual or monthly basis. For instance a lawyer might publish a quarterly post on trends in the legal industry. The idea is that the people contributing to the post will also link to it. They will also share it with their networks and those people may link to it.
How do you build links to your website? Is there something in this list that we’re missing? Join in the conversation by commenting below.