This year’s Penguin updates from Google have changed how many law firms are positioned in the search results. For years, we have identified many cheating law firms that heavily took part in link exchanges, buying paid links, forum spam, blog comment spam, paid posting and other link building tactics that are now yielding useless, if not damaging, links.
The old link building strategy was easy. Get a lot of links and hyperlink your key phrases (i.e., Asheville divorce lawyer links to http://www.example.com). As Dylan declared in 1964, “The times, they are a-changin’.”
If your SEO and online law firm marketing company is proposing thousands of directory links, grab their proposal, locate the nearest shredder and save yourself a lot of heartache. To help get you on the right path, we have put together a short list of ways to get good links in the post Penguin world.
1) Directories – Directories still have their place in your marketing strategy but don’t submit to thousands of them. Except for a few high quality website directories, avoid general directories that accept submissions from anyone. There are three categories of directories you should focus on:
1. High quality website directories – Look for web directories with a long established presence on Google such as the paid Yahoo! Directory, JoeAnt.com and Dmoz.org.
2. Local directories – Local directories still play a valuable role in your local rankings. Think about local sites such as Yahoo! Local, Bing Local, Manta, Angie’s List, YellowPages.com and CitySearch. Also look for directories that are focused on your metro area.
3. Lawyer directories – Lawyer directories are great because, not only do they yield a link benefit, but they also can direct traffic to your site. Look to directories like Nolo.com, Avvo.com, Lawyers.com, Lawyer’s Guide and directories that may be available through your local Bar Association(s).
2) Social Profiles – Many firms set up their Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, LawLink and Google+ accounts without linking to their websites. Make sure all of your social profiles are linked to your law firm’s website.
3) Guest Blogs – Look for high profile blogs that accept guest bloggers. This does not mean you should spam a bunch of blogs to try to get one to accept your submissions. Instead, look to websites like the Forbes’ blog or professional associations. You do not want to commit to too many blog sites. Any respectable blog will require you to submit unique content to them, so there is a time commitment involved on your part.
4) Articles – Write about what you know, and get that information out to the public. Unlike the old days, do not submit your articles indiscriminately to a site that accepts articles from anyone. Instead, post articles on high quality and industry respected networks like JD Supra and HG.org and law reviews that are published online and accept guest submissions. Look to your alma mater to see if they have online resources and networks to which you can contribute.
5) News – News is still very important to your link building strategy. Write intriguing stories based on current events. Avoid free press release submission sites and look to higher end news syndication services. Services such as Law Firm Newswire, MarketWire, PRWeb, PRNewswire and BusinessWire deliver extensive networks of quality publishers.
This list is just a starting point. Beyond this, you have videos, ebooks, podcasts and more opportunities to get valuable links from valuable websites. When developing a link building strategy for your law firm, the new rule of thumb is to be selective. Only align yourself with respected websites and networks. If a website will take a free submission from just about anyone, their link is not going to help and may actually work against you.
Focus on great content, get listed on great networks and see great results in the post Penguin world.
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