It used to be that building a successful business meant providing a useful service, printing some eye-catching business cards, and maybe hiring a sign spinner or two. Now, with business becoming more competitive than ever, there are more hoops for owners to jump through than ever before. Law firm owners are far from immune to this competition. In recent years, many professionals in this ever-competitive industry have listed competition from other businesses as one of the largest impediments to growth.
So, how do you stand out amidst a sea of competition? You could enlist some sign spinners, sure, but law firm owners are far better off focusing on their search engine rankings. LegalEase has written about the importance of these rankings as well as the factors that influence them, but today we’ll be focusing on a single factor: backlinks.
What Are Backlinks?
Backlinks, as the name might suggest, are links that go back to your site. In cases where your site is the beneficiary of a backlink, another site or business has linked back to you — which can significantly impact your search ranking.
Why Backlinks Matter
Google (like all prominent search engines) relies on a complex algorithm to decide which content makes the front page of a search. Criteria like keyword density and your site’s mobile-friendliness are part of the equation, but many believe that expert, authoritative, and trustworthy (E-A-T) content plays a starring role.
When another site or business links back to yours, they are effectively telling Google that they trust you and see you as an authority on a given subject. Therefore, the more legitimate backlinks you can (ethically) secure, the better your search ranking will be. Sorry, no linking to definitely-a-real-website.com/notfake!
Strategies for Earning More Backlinks
Look to Your Competitors
While looking at the strategy of your competitors can feel like cheating on a test, there are ethical ways to sneak a peek at what other firms are doing. Using SEO tools, you can see which of your competitors are performing the best in the search rankings — and then take a page or two out of their book. For example, Semrush allows you to see entire backlinking profiles. So, if you notice that a top-ranking competitor is penning articles for an open forum-style site (and receiving backlinks as a result), you can do the same. Once you’ve gotten your bearings, work to build your own backlink strategy — one that your competitors will want to spy on.
Leverage Your Community
Despite the vastness of the world wide web, some of your best opportunities for backlinks may be in your own backyard. Local publications can make for excellent partners, as your firm can serve as an expert source in an online article — therefore diverting eyeballs back to you. Or, if you’re like LegalEase, you can tap into your network for Streamed Shows and other joint content ventures which create a free flow of backlinks.
Google Search Console
Using this free tool from the search engine giant, you can view reports of which sites have linked to you in the past. This information can not only tell you what type of content linkers have liked, but also help you identify potential partnerships. After you’ve created link-worthy content (more on that below,) you can reach out to your backlinking best friends to serve as their expert resource.
Create Content Worth Linking To
At the risk of being obvious, one of the most effective ways to earn more backlinks is by creating link-worthy content. By building content with Google’s E-A-T criteria in mind, you give both your business and your site the best chance at being seen as an authority. When determining what type of content to publish, ask yourself one simple question first: Will this help people? If the answer is not a resounding yes, go back to the drawing board.
Look for Broken Links
Web pages come and go, and there’s a decent chance that a link to a five-year-old site may now be a link to nowhere. Using tools like Semrush, you can view sites with broken links in your respective niche. These broken links present one of your best opportunities for backlinking, and earning a backlink can be as simple as suggesting your site as a replacement link. If your content is worth linking to and demonstrates a level of authority, everyone wins! Plus, a single replacement link may just be the start of a backlink partnership — spelling great news for your search ranking.
Start Ranking the Right Way
While the above strategies can help you stand out from the competition and reach more potential clients, the search engine ranking game is one of chess, not checkers. When you’re ready, LegalEase can help you play the ranking game and win — getting you in front of more potential clients while building your firm’s brand in the process.