Does the Top Ranking Website Have More Links?

In this study, our objective was to look into the the backlink portfolios of the first- and second-ranking law firm websites to appear in organic searches in order to determine how many links the top-ranked firms have pointing to their websites.

We looked at competitive practice areas ranging from estate planning, personal injury, to bankruptcy law, and conducted searches in major metropolitan regions throughout the United States.

In short, a link profile (or portfolio) is a summary of all of the backlinks that point from somewhere on the internet (directories, websites, blogs, legal networks, etc.) to one of your web pages, thereby extending your website’s reach into the internet and often providing a new source of traffic to the page.

By peering into the link portfolios of well-placing law firm websites, we’re looking for answers to the following questions:

Questions

What characteristics do the backlink profiles of the top-placing law firm websites have in common?

Do large backlink portfolios typically outperform smaller portfolios?

Does the first-ranked website typically have a higher volume of backlinks than the second-ranked site?

Details

We searched in numerous metropolitan regions from Miami, FL to Los Angeles, CA.

As usual, If a directory or non-law firm website was ranked first, we reviewed the next two law firm websites to display in the search. Our goal was to review law firm websites.

After collecting this data, we reviewed the backlinks of the top two naturally ranking law firm websites in each metro area.

First-placed law firm website has more backlinks than second-place: 45.7% of searches

Second-ranked website has higher volume of backlinks than first-place site: 54.3% of searches

Analysis

Our findings indicate that over half of the websites that placed second in organic search results had more backlinks than the website that beat them out for the first-place position.

Given the relatively narrow margins between data fields, the info indicates that a high-volume of backlinks is not particularly harmful to search placement, especially considering that the second-place position is near-idyllic in the world of SEO.

Rather, the data challenges the practice of bulk link-building by showing a surprisingly high number of #1-ranked websites with less total links than their #2-ranked competitors.

Answers

What characteristics do the backlink profiles of the top-placing law firm websites have in common?

While many of the top-ranked websites had dynamic link profiles that utilized a range of link and resource types, most #1-ranked sites linked from fewer free web-directories than their competitors and more regional, government, and education-oriented websites.

Do large backlink portfolios typically outperform smaller portfolios?

Not necessarily – in fact, our findings showed that the opposite occurs more frequently. Over 54% of the #2 ranked sites had larger backlink portfolios than the #1 ranked site.

Does the first-ranked website typically have a higher volume of backlinks than the second-ranked site?

Our data indicates that first-place ranked websites often do not have a higher volume of backlinks than the second-place site but not for most searches.

Summary

In simpler times, link-building could be approached as a numbers game that assessed the quality of a backlink merely by the volume of traffic it referred to your website. Amidst Google’s efforts to achieve quality standardization, the company has eradicated traditional notions of SEO over the past several years. Major updates to their search algorithms have challenged search placement optimization strategies that attempted to garner as many backlinks as possible by creating duplicate listings on business directories, as well as numerous other questionable link-building strategies that lack quality content or regular upkeep by their webmaster.

This CLM Lab report highlights that Google is awarded quality over quantity in practice and not just as a lip service in their Webmaster Guidelines.

This data has significant implications for search marketing strategy in any industry, but the most important takeaway for your law firm is that when it comes to your backlink portfolio, quality counts.

Shareable Graphic

CLM Lab Chart Showing Percentage of Page 1 Websites With the Most Links

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