Search Queries and Link Building Opportunities for Lawyers (Advanced SEO)
Chris Dreyer | May 13, 2014
Link building (good link building) takes time and effort. Attorneys don’t always have the time to build high-quality links, so developing a strategy to create inbound links efficiently is even more important. Half the battle is finding good opportunities for linking. In general, you should find websites that are relevant to your practice area, that have authority and that may be open to collaboration. A good way to cut out a lot of the noise is by using search operators in Google.
intitle:Keyword inurl:”links” OR inurl:”local businesses”
This operator instructs Google to look for documents with your keyword in the title of the page and the word “links” or “local businesses” in the URL of the page. The results you are looking for here might be local.
For instance, you could use the query intitle:lawyers inurl:local businesses to find pages with the word “lawyers” in the title and the phrase “local businesses” in the URL. You’ll find a lot of results of local websites that link to local businesses. Website owners like these are typically open to adding to the resources pages for their visitors.
site:.edu “Keyword” + “resources”
This query will return results from .edu domains containing the two (or more) exact match keyword phrases you’ve entered. There is nothing inherently better about .edu domains, but they tend to be more authoritative than their .org or .com counterparts because of the institutions that own them.
We used the query site:.edu “personal injury” + “attorneys” and it returned many directories run by educational institutions. These are excellent linking opportunities for attorneys.
Hint: Creating a law firm scholarship is a clever way to get the inside track on links from educational institutions.
Practice area + inurl:forum
Contextually relevant links in the copy of web pages are great, but you can also build links in other ways. For instance, commenting on blog posts or in forums creates links to your site. This search operator finds pages where there are mentions of your practice area in forums. It’s up to you to weigh the cost/benefit of participating in forums or having your agency do it. Many times these links are configured as no-follow by default; however, real people still follow no-follow links. Having a healthy proportion of no-follow links in your profile is also beneficial.
An example would be family law attorney + inurl:forum. That query returns the results below. Not all will be quality sites to participate on, but you can surely find some opportunities where a response can be posted that includes a link to your site.
Your main priority here should be to help people with the secondary objective of obtaining a link to your site. Links in forum comments are highly sensitive to being seen as SERP manipulation, and you could get yourself into trouble by adding too many of these or adding comments that have little or no editorial value.
“help with” Keyword + inurl:forum
This is an extension of the previous query where we looked for practice areas in forums. Here, you might be looking for a user who is actively searching for help on a legal issue. The query essentially generates lots of leads right from a Google search for your practice.
The result found below was one from the first page of a Google SERP generated by the query “help with” + “slip and fall lawsuit” + inurl:forum. In these instances, you can build links and potentially obtain new business.
For attorneys, directories are still a great source for links. We published a post on the top law firm directories, but you can always search for others that might be relevant to your practice. The query above will find directories that are relevant to attorneys. Be careful which ones you submit to, and make sure you do your homework on how authoritative or useful they are to their audience.
Search operators are one of the little-known uses of Google’s search service. When used creatively, they are a powerful method of finding very specific locations and information on the web. If you’re interested in learning more about search operators, Google has a complete list here.
What search operator combinations do you use for search engine optimization?