One of the golden rules for higher search rankings is: more links, rank higher!
What is link building?
Search engines look at how many links you have coming into your site that relate to the search term in question. The more relevant links you have, the more credible you are to the search engines.
Link building has been a buzz word for a couple of years but the practice has not completely won over law firms and accountancy firms. But link building is an important part of your firm’s digital strategy. Links have always been an essential part of the internet and the web. It’s how people move from one information hub to another.
A few examples of link building are:
Natural editorial links: An editorial link is a one-way link placed within the body of content that is given naturally by other websites to highlight or specify a resource. It’s a form of online citation. I believe that these types of links are the most powerful and carry much weight in signalling to search engines that your content is offering added value and they should return your website on their search results for people to see.
Manual ‘outreach’ link building: Outreach is the vital second link in the link building chain. It’s the process of contacting link prospects, such as industry bloggers and online press, to elicit a link to your site from theirs. It’s vital when doing outreach to have something of value to offer in exchange for a link. Typically this is either money (although heavily frowned upon), a reciprocal link or of course your fantastic value adding content.
Self-created, non-editorial: There are many websites in the legal and accountancy sphere which offer any firm the opportunity to create links through guest book signings, forum signatures, blog comments or user profiling. These links are usually low in ‘value’ but they add up and the number can aggregate substantially over time. So every time you contribute to discussions on The Law Society Gazette or Accountancy Age, make sure you add your website address. It counts as a link!
What are the benefits of link building?
When other websites link to your firm’s website you stand to gain three benefits:
Search engine optimisation (SEO): Although SEO entails much more than link building, the fact remains that links from other sites constitute an important variable in the search engine ranking formula. A large number of quality links, accumulated naturally, over a period, will definitely help you improve your search rankings.
Direct traffic: When readers access the content on the site that links to you, there is a great possibility that they will click on the link and visit your site. Over time these visitor numbers add up. Even if you ignore the SEO benefits of links, the direct traffic they can bring in might be reason enough to build links extensively.
Brand awareness: Even if visitors to the site that links to yours do not click on the link, they get to see the link. That improves their likelihood of recalling your website at a later point of time. When this logic is extended to a large number of websites that link to you, the branding effect can be substantial.
The common link building strategies
There are many strategies to building links. These are just a few:
Get your clients to link to you: Many firms have clients, referral sources or business partners that enjoy the relationship with your firm. You can use this to your advantage by sending out partnership badges, graphical icons that link back to your site.
Build a blog: Turn your blog into a valuable, informative and entertaining resource. You can create a firm wide blog, service line blogs and individual lawyer or accountant blogs. This content and link building strategy is an extremely worthwhile strategy. It’s one of the few recommended by Google too! Blogs give law firms and accountants the ability to create fresh material on a consistent basis, create and participate in online discussions and earn valuable listings and links from other blogs.
Be shareable and newsworthy: Your firm needs to create content that is sexy enough to be shared! Readers who enjoy content will share it with friends, bloggers and web masters. High quality, editorially earned votes build trust, increase your firm’s authority and increases your search engine rankings!
Establish directories or listings of relevant resources: There are many directories and shared resources in the legal and accountancy world. You just need to go out and build an online relationship with them.
The Rokman view
Is link building worth it? In short, yes. Definitely. But link building is hard work. It’s no different from any other form of networking that you or your firm maybe doing. Building legitimate links that have genuine value in search is hard work. Lawyers, accountants or their respective firms don’t have the patience or the expertise. But the links your firm earns from relevant, high authority sites will be of such value to your firm’s page rank that the time invested will certainly pay dividends.
His passion for marketing and client acquisition has developed into a 20-year career, working for some of the leading professional service firms in the UK.
Graham can be contacted by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by mobile: 07484 644846.
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