Should Attorneys Use Article Directories?
Chris Dreyer | May 29, 2014
Article directories were once the silver bullet of the link-building and content-syndication world. They allowed SEOs (and anyone else) to build links to a website by writing one unique piece of content and submitting it to dozens of places online.
That was many years ago, though, and the usefulness of article directories has pretty much evaporated. Links from services like these are not heavily weighted, and using tactics like these can quickly get a site penalized or de-indexed altogether.
Rethink Your Strategy
With SEO, there aren’t always absolutes. Is submitting content that contains links to any article directory a bad idea? Probably not. In general, though, the strategy is outdated, and the impact it has isn’t necessarily worth the care and effort required to not get your site banned from search for using a directory.
In a webmaster video released by Google, Matt Cutts talks about article directories and the reasons why Google has largely ignored these content and link sources. Much like forums, blog comments and other corners of the web that once served as viable places to build links, article directories have become a popular target for black-hat practitioners and outright spammers.
Attorney-Specific Examples and Exceptions
Not all article directories are filled with spam, and your choice to use one in your online marketing efforts should be based on a thorough investigation of the directory. Two examples of directories that may fall may be legitimate for submissions are Targetlaw.com and Lawyers.com.
***NOTE – If you decide to utilize these directories and others like HG.org then it goes without saying that the content should be exceptional. If the article itself provides value and returns good signals to Google like above average time on site numbers and bounce rates you’re in good shape. Try to get socially active with this content as well. If it’s getting reshared you’re in good shape.
This is a free service for consumers looking for an attorney. They can search on legal topics and read articles submitted by members. If you are an attorney, you can submit a free profile. The profile includes the ability to add links to your site, social properties, blog and other pages. You can also submit articles to the directory for free. This is a good alternative to the paid options mentioned below.
UPDATE – Be cautious with this directory. After running a linkdetox.com scan for some of my clients targetlaw.com has been labeled toxic.
Paid Service Options
Lawyers.com, lawyer.com, HG.org and Nolo offer article article submission as part of a paid package. The standards for paid submission are higher than for free services. You have to make sure the content is very high-quality and that you’re targeting good keywords (i.e. no misspellings or words stuffed in articles out of context). Basically by submitting to these locations you are building relevance within the legal industry and it may help improve your SEO if you get links from the legal industry-related websites.
It’s usually pretty easy to spot a low-quality directory. Visit one that you are considering for your submissions and click on some articles to read them. Typically, directories that are of low quality will have poorly written articles, grammatical, spelling and factual errors and scores of ads.
Search for reviews or other publications for information about the directory. What are other people saying about it? Chances are, if the directory is no good, at least some kind of information will be available (whether comments on a forum, reviews or perhaps even whole blog posts) explaining why the directory is no good.
What Are Your Goals?
Ultimately, you should assess your reasons for using (or wanting to use) article directories before you go crazy submitting content to them. Is your objective to build links? Syndicate content? Get exposure for your firm’s brand?
If a directory can help you accomplish your goal, and it looks like a reputable source of information overall, then go for it.