While looking for additional link building opportunities for my clients, I realized that the process itself for doing so could be information that plenty of people could find useful. After all, link building is one of the most mysterious, misunderstood aspects of SEO and (subjectively, but certainly to me) the most important.
It is, of course, the main way Google and other search engines perceive your website to be authoritative. You may have heard plenty of people claim that there are “White Hat” and “Black Hat” approaches to link building, where White Hat would be obtained ethically, and Black Hat would be shady. Suffice it to say, any proactive means of obtaining links any way but naturally would be considered Black Hat to Google. So, it’s better to just approach it as if there was no hat at all.
Building Links Naturally on Your Site
Having said that, since 99.9% of small to medium-size businesses have to rely on getting links in different ways besides counting on their content to (somehow hopefully) naturally build links, they rely on dozens if not hundreds of places to make that happen. Most people with some background would suggest some of the following:
- Profiles on industry websites
- Other businesses
If we started to get a little bit more involved in our scope of link building, we may start including:
- Guest blogs
- Web 2.0
- Links from supplemental digital assets
- Sponsorships, charities, donations, scholarships etc.
- Awards, accolades, speaking engagements, content contributions
- Press Releases
- Article Syndication
- Blog commenting
And advanced link building as we know it accessibly in the SEO community:
- Outreach campaigns
- Broken link campaigns
- Webmaster contributions for backlinks
- Backend loophole profile creation
- Social bookmarking
- Plugin link hardcoding
Obviously, the list goes on almost indefinitely. Most of these approaches, if you want to stick to your White/Black hat mentality, can range from heavily expensive yet ethical to heavily creative, unorthodox, possibly time-consuming.
Links have to be approached uniquely too, and have considerations such as “Link Diversity”, which in turn contributes to having a solid Link Portfolio. Much like planning for the future financially through diversifying potentially though stocks, bonds, REITs, mutual funds….links should be approached the same way. You wouldn’t want all your links coming from guest blogs, nor would you want to rely on citations and directories to be all you need to be authoritative.
Typically, the anchor text, or the text being linked that links to your website, would be good for diversification as well. You have a few different kinds of anchor text:
- Calls-to-action (contact us, click here, learn more)
- URL (example.com)
- Vanity keyword (dui lawyer, injury attorney)
- Informational reference (estimated to be 20,000 accident a year, explains that the law is a new one)
- Title of page/article blog (Why Civil Rights Are Important, What Do I Do After I Lose All My Money)
Between the two, you have plenty of variation between source and text, and this formula is observed by nearly any law firm participating in link building proactively out there.
As confirmation, I downloaded the backlink portfolios for 5 law firms around the country dominating in their respective markets (high rankings for most important keywords, maps placement, confirmed DA/PA via Moz etc.). Designating the thousands of backlinks into the dozens of backlink categories that exist would take hundreds of hours, but I could at least break down where the links pointed to and what kind of anchor text was used.
|Calls to Action||12.39%|
Firm #1 Criminal Defense in Orlando
75% homepage, 25% other pages
Firm #2 Personal Injury in Tampa
7% homepage, 93% other pages
Firm #3 Personal Injury in Houston
22% homepage, 78% other pages
Firm #4 Personal Injury in Orlando
30% homepage, 70% other pages
Firm #5 Personal Injury in Ohio
50% homepage, 50% other pages
The main reason there is a “spread the wealth” approach to building links to a website is the same reason the homepage can’t rank for every single one of your keywords – the links have to point to individual, interior pages on the website to build up the authority of those specific pages as well. That’s why you’ll see Moz and other SEO tools put an emphasis on DA (Domain Authority) and PA (Page Authority). There needs to be separate acknowledgement for the authority and optimization of a website from the page level.
Link building is an important component of a comprehensive SEO campaign, and unless you’re a fairly large company or corporation, have a huge social engagement, or are simply famous, getting links naturally is tough. When multiple websites are battling for the same coveted positions on SERPs and everyone seems to put in the same effort for their on-site optimization and content, links will ultimately be the biggest differentiator.
SEO Tools That Can Uncover Other Firms’ Back Links
If there’s anything you can take away from this blog right now, it’s the fact that a website’s backlink portfolio is not a secret shrouded in mystery. There have been SEO tools for years that uncover the huge portion of the backlinks in a matter of seconds, such as SEMRush (which we mostly use), Ahrefs, Spyfu, Moz, and many others. What separates SEOs — and other agencies, for that matter — from others when it comes to link building is typically figuring out how one law firm managed to get placement over another law firm on authoritative websites, and if they can’t obtain the link (maybe because it’s an exclusive organization, a private blog, an extremely expensive placement, an alumni group, etc. etc.), how they can get a comparable link to compete.
If you’re wondering how the Smith, Smith, Smith, and Smith law firm in Anyplace USA is #1 for all of their keywords, use a free scan on SEMRush right now of their backlinks and you’ll see plenty of places they’re featured which attributes to the majority of the rankings. But there’s more than that. Law firms engaging actively in backlinks for their SEO are also more calculated about their links besides just getting them.
There are plenty of other factors that attribute to solid rankings:
- Proper meta information (description, title)
- On-site optimization (internal/external linking, unique content, keyword density, H tags, EAT standards)
- Site speed and structure
- Domain age and content age/refreshing
Enhancing Your SEO Through Effective Link Building Strategies
Understanding how an effective backlink strategy can boost your SEO efforts is something you’re likely to find very useful in the future. We know that link building can seem like one of the most mystifying aspects of legal SEO, so that’s what we want to share our knowledge of this process with you.
At Market My Market, we have helped many law firms attract and retain quality leads by maintaining all aspects of their websites, managing their online reputation, helping them generate stellar reviews, and more. See how we can provide a long-term strategy for any or all of these potential issues during a free consultation with me. Let’s chat and see if you referral network is as secure as you’d hope it is.