Guest Posting and Legal SEO
Chris Dreyer | July 26, 2013
Attorneys are always in the networking business and a good referral is worth more than any advertising campaign. Making the right connections can make or break a firm. The online world is no different, especially when it comes to attorney SEO1. Making connections can help your site rise above the rest but only if the right connections are made. Given the importance Google algorithm updates2 place on content, one of the best ways to make connections and become part of the community is by posting guest blogs on the websites of others.
Why Bother with Guest Posts?
Posting content on your own site can be demanding enough, so questioning the value of posting on another blog is undeniably reasonable. In reality, the necessity of posting a guest blog can be summed up in one word: backlinks. Links from other websites to your own help to establish your credibility while pushing you further up the Google search rankings. As a key part of legal SEO, these backlinks can propel your site into better ranking positions.
There are obviously a variety of other sources to get inbound links3 but guest posting offers a unique opportunity. Attorneys have the ability to control the placement, context and anchor text of the links they place in guest posts.
Guest posting also gives you the opportunity to enter into reciprocal relationships with other sites. As an attorney, networking is already a priority. A guest post plainly allows you to expand your real-world references into the online community expanding your social reach. Setting up a guest post will create a backlink that can expose your site to new clients; the guest post could also help you to seal successful business relationships.
Make Use of Existing Relationships
A lawyer’s first choice for guest blogging outreach should be with a contact with whom they already have an established relationship. Start with another local attorney who practices in a different area of specialization or the site of an attorney who practices in another jurisdiction. These types of connections offer contextually relevant backlinks and the greatest opportunity for well optimized anchor text. The joint relationship between your site and the other can help you to set up referral traffic, while consequently giving you both a chance to develop fresh content to satisfy Google’s algorithms. Lawyers should be sure that any site they target for a guest blogging relationship is well maintained. Backlinks from low-ranking or toxic sites4 can cause more harm than good.
Look for Open Calls
Given the importance of fresh content (discussed in the articles on Panda Penalties5, among others), it should come as no surprise that many legal blogs are more than happy to hold open calls for contributors. Your role is to find the blog that gives you the maximum return for your investment.; this means seeking out a blog that is related to the legal field, has a relatively high page-rank, and is well curated. You do not want to guest-post on a blog that would let just anyone post, and you certainly do not want to do anything to harm your own rankings by posting on a site.
When in Doubt, Reach Out
If there is a blog that you frequent, it might be a good idea to reach out and ask if the blog is accepting guest posts (as long as it is relevant to your practice). This is a huge reach for many attorneys, and it is one that can rightfully backfire if it is not done tactfully. Blog owners know that any attorney attempting to make a guest post on a blog is likely looking for some form of publicity, and there has been some backlash against lawyers who try to ride the SEO coat tails of more successful individuals. However, you can ask about guest posting activities if (a) your proposed content is relevant and of interest to the site, (b) you have some sort of long-term relationship with the site, and (c) you do contact the blog discretely. A quick private e-mail is often worth the trouble, and it can pay out legal SEO dividends in the future.