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Backlinks, Law Firm Websites, and Search Engine Optimization

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Recently, Google’s Matt Cutts published a new video for avid search engine fanatics, this time concerning backlinks and how their value may or may not have changed due to Google’s more recent algorithm updates. Cutts, Google’s head of webspam reaffirmed the importance of backlinks.

According to Cutts, Google’s testing of its own search algorithm in a variation that excludes backlink relevancy resulted in “much worse” search quality for the user. “It turns out backlinks, even though there’s some noise and certainly a lot of spam, for the most part are still a really, really big win in terms of quality for search results,” says Cutts.

What is a Backlink?

A backlink is an inbound link to your website from another website or online property. The number of backlinks pointed toward your law firm website is an important indicator to search engines of the popularity or importance of your website. Meaning, in simpler terms, that Google uses the number of quality backlinks you have pointed at your site to determine the value of your website and thus how it will present your website in search results.

How Can My Law Firm Website Gain Quality Backlinks?

Good inbound links are essential to a successful law firm SEO strategy. But, how do we analyze a site’s existing backlink profile; and what do we do to improve upon it? Find quality, highly-ranked sites that might be interested in your law firm website content. Engage in a successful strategy to gain links from your target list – no, don’t beg in emails, “Please link to my site, and I will link to yours” – do this instead:

  • Blog comment
  • Digital press releases
  • Guest blog
  • Infographic use showing embed code
  • Law firm directory listings
  • Provide downloadable whitepapers, templates, and the link and interested users will link to them
  • Online reviews
  • Social media channel profiles
  • Social sharing tools on your website
  • Squidoo
  • Write op-ed articles
  • Wikipedia
  • YouTube

Not All Backlinks Are Created Equal

Having low quality backlinks, links ranked as spam by search engines, pointing to your law firm website negatively impacts search engine rankings and can also be detrimental to your brand. Before the recent Google algorithmic changes, including Panda and Penguin, black hat link building tactics were prevalent and successful. A quantity over quality approach eventually led Google to penalize websites that had participated in questionable strategies.

Google reviews every link to your law firm website, checking whether or not each link is a “do-follow” or “no-follow” link. When a link is marked as “no-follow,” it does not count it as a backlink. Rack up too many “no-follow” backlinks, and your website can get a spam label from Google.  But, even do-follow links can damage page rankings when they link from bad sites with bad content.

Backlinks and Law Firm SEO Seem Complicated?

Well, they can be, and they require a strategy, regular monitoring, and maintenance. Questions? Contact us today for a digital assets audit to determine the state of your backlinks (and other website attributes) along with corresponding recommendations.

Sidebar stacey e burke About Stacey Burke

Stacey E. Burke is both an experienced trial lawyer and law firm business consultant. She works with lawyers and law firms around the world to improve their business development, marketing, and infrastructures.

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