What is a backlink?
Why are backlinks important?
When it comes to your website’s SEO, backlinks are hugely important. This is because they determine where your content should rank.
To rank highly on Google and other search engines, a website needs to be relevant and offer value for searchers.
Search engine algorithms use backlinks as one of the ways to ascertain whether a website or webpage has value.
Therefore, the more backlinks you acquire from high value websites (also known as high domain authority), the better you’ll rank.
In other words, if you want to feature above your competitors on Google, you need to have great content. But also this content should also have the side benefit of being able to gain you lots of backlinks from authoritative websites.
The benefits of backlinking
Despite taking over 200 factors into consideration when determining where your content should rank on a page of search results, Google places huge emphasis on your website’s backlink profile.
When a site links to another, it’s effectively ‘vouching’ for that website as being a credible source of information. If that link comes from a website which has an established authority, Google assumes that the content is high-quality. They will then rank that page higher in a list of search results. As they believe the content will be valuable to searchers.
As such, backlinks are becoming an extremely valuable necessity for any website. Especially those looking to improve their off-page SEO and rank above their competitors.
But, ranking higher isn’t the only benefit of having a strong backlink strategy. Having high page rankings comes with a few other highlights, including:
- Higher domain authority (DA) – the more pages that rank highly, the stronger your overall domain becomes as a credible site. This will help you to win more competitive keywords in the long-term
- Exposure – When your content features on a third-party site, your brand will be visible to that websites’ audience, thus improving your brand’s exposure
- Increased site traffic – Not only will backlinking help you rank higher on search engine results pages, increasing the amount of organic traffic landing on your site. But, if your content is linked to on websites with high numbers of page views, it’s likely you’ll see a surge in traffic coming to your site through that link
As you can see, backlinking is extremely valuable for any brand or law firm. Especially the ones looking to increase their exposure and be known as the authority within their industry.
If you don’t focus your brand’s digital strategy on building a strong backlink profile, you will struggle to ever compete with the leading firms in your market.
6 Legal Backlinking Strategies That Work
As great a strategy as legal backlinking is, it requires a lot of time and effort to make it successful. Especially for brands who are only just starting out.
If you are a lesser-known firm, you’re going to have put in a lot of work. This is to ensure that your content is the best it can be. As a result, third-party sites will want to link back to you.
You’re also going to have to put in a lot of time reaching out to external sites. This could include building valuable relationships within your network and the press. As these are the ones who are going to be giving you this exposure.
However, once you’ve put the hard work in and you become more well-known as a brand, backlinking becomes much easier. Websites will look to you as a credible source, and so will link to your content. Regardless of whether you’ve reached out to them or not.
In other words, the ball will start rolling itself.
With that being said, as time-consuming as backlinking may be, the process itself is rather straightforward and easy to do. As long as you can dedicate the time to doing it effectively, you’ll be able to do it all in-house.
There are several ways you can obtain backlinks for your legal company, including:
- Legal guest blogs
- Non-legal guest blogs
- Utilise your lawyers
- Press releases
- Partnership or sponsorship opportunities
Let’s take a look at these 6 key strategies in detail. So you can start using them to build your own firm’s backlink profile.
1. Online Directories
Traditionally people looking for legal firms may have turned their trusted Yellow Pages or BT Telephone book. These directories were once the norm and were scoured for businesses in local areas.
But today, consumers can discover a whole host of national (and international) firms through online directories.
Online directories aren’t too dissimilar from the Yellow Pages or BT book. In fact, the only real difference is that online directories are much much bigger, listing hundreds of thousands of companies and their business information.
As there are so many directories available online, many of these are industry-specific. This allows modern searchers to narrow down their search by the service they’re looking for. For example, legal firms who specialise in commercial law.
Most directories tend to provide the business’ name, contact information, and a link to their website. But they can also be customised further. Thus, allowing brands to supply a short bio, feature reviews and even share photos of the staff and company directors.
Links from online directories can be hugely lucrative. They often have high domain authorities because of their quality content and high numbers of unique page views. As such, they are an easy way for legal firms to get some valuable backlinks. Whilst also giving their brand more exposure.
With a high-scoring domain authority of 71, gaining a backlink from The Law Society is hugely beneficial for Crisp & Co Solicitors website. In fact, their own website only has a domain authority of 38.Therefore having a backlink from a site with such a large score can offer them a lot of virtual credibility.
Another way in which online directories can benefit legal firms is by listing themselves with sites which offer location-specific filters.
For example, let’s search for ‘solicitors in Norwich’ via the BT phonebook (which is now online). We’re presented with companies who are listed in order of their distance from where we are searching.
These filtered directories can be great for consumers looking for firms within their local area. Thus, helping legal companies with a physical presence to drive potential clients through their door.
But it isn’t just your legal firm itself which should register with an online directory.
Take Freemans Solicitors for instance. They’re a great example of how encouraging your employees to register with online directories can give your brand more exposure.
The firm features on the lawyer-specific search directory, Resolution. This has a domain authority of 54 – much higher than Freemans’, which is scored as 30.
Seven of the firm’s lawyers are listed on Resolution. With each having their own ‘about’ pages – all of which link back to Freemans Solicitors’ website.
Not only can these pages help to strengthen the website’s domain authority, with seven backlinks arriving to their site. But the exposure from having their lawyer’s credentials shared on a third-party site can do wonders for the brand’s credibility. Not to mention their reputation.
These are just a few examples of how legal firms have used online directories to strengthen their position online. But, there are so many more directories you can list your firm with. All of which have great domain authorities. Some of these include:
- Legal 500 – DA 67
- Clutch – DA 71
- Xing – DA 88
- Directory Vault – DA 39
- Zoom Info – DA 65
- Review Solicitors – DA 40
- UK Small Businesses – DA 59
- Billion7 – DA 67
- Find Legal Advice – DA 64
- Yell.com – DA 71
- Kompass – DA 66
- DMOZ Internet Directory – DA 73
- Groupon Directory – DA 72
- Yahoo! Local – DA 91
Registering with them takes a matter of minutes. As such, they are a quick and easy way to gain some valuable backlinks for your website.
2. Legal Guest Blogs
As the name suggests, a guest blog post is where someone creates a knowledge-based article for an external website.
Guest blogging has been around for years. It is used as a strategy by individuals looking to position themselves in a place of authority. And build their reputation as the go-to person for knowledge in their industry.
In terms of marketing for law firms, guest blogging can be an invaluable tool. It can help you to build your reputation as an authority on the matter by sharing expert knowledge articles. As well as helping you to obtain valuable backlinks for your firm’s website.
For example, you could encourage someone from your firm to write a guest post. It could be an employee, lawyer or even a freelance writer. They can create an informative article or blog post for another website on a subject they’re well-acquainted with.
However, guest posts can also take the form of published journals. These are created by your partners or paralegals and shared on relevant educational sites.
For instance, international law firm Allen & Overy focus their guest blogging strategy on distributing their partner’s written journals. They share these publications to relevant websites in return for valuable backlinks and exposure.
Here is an example of one of their partners, Christiaan de Brauw. He has written a journal for the Harvard Law School Forum (DA of 86).
Several times throughout the article, Harvard Law School Forum reference Allen & Overy. And this includes relevant backlinks to their website.
With an unsurprising, but impressively high domain authority score of 86, Harvard Law School is a great backlink opportunity. Especially for Allen & Overy, who currently hold a score of 60.
As one of the most trusted and educational sites available online, Harvard Law School Forum also receives a high number of unique visitors (45.6M).
This means de Brauw’s article is gaining a lot of views. All of which will help to build Allen & Overy as one of leading experts within the legal industry.
Another example of guest blogging by legal firms
Another great example of how guest blogging can benefit legal firms is demonstrated by Stowe Family Law.
This legal firm craftily repurposed some of their own content. Then used it as an opportunity to guest blog on the popular family law publishing business, Lexis Nexis (DA – 81).
Stowe Family Law passed their article on defective child family arrangements to Lexis Nexis.
Then, Lexis Nexis recreated the article to feature on their own blog site:
The site is a central publishing and news hub of all things family law-related.
So, Lexis Nexis was an obvious choice for Stowe Family Law to post their blog.
And, with a DA score 25% higher than their own website, the exposure Stowe Family Law can gain from featuring on the go-to site for industry news is huge.
If you’re looking to use guest blogging as a strategy for building your firm’s legal backlinking profile, here are some blogs. These legal blog sites are currently accepting guest posts:
- The Lawyer Monthly – DA 53
- Personnel Today – DA 67
- Find Law – DA 79
- Bristol Law School Blog – DA 67
- Reading University Law School Blog – DA 70
- Legal Business – DA 50
- The Lawyer Magazine – DA 65
- Law.com – DA 80
- Legal Futures – DA 55
- Legal Technology – DA 50
However, be sure to check if each site has existing guidelines or guest posting processes in place before approaching them.
3. Guest Blogs (Non-Legal)
Often, to expand their demographic of readers, guest bloggers will create blogs for websites which aren’t specific to their niche, but are closely related.
For example, in terms of legal marketing, you might be a firm specialising in healthcare or injury law. As such, you might look to write a guest blog post which focuses on sports or health.
Similarly, if you are a commercial law firm, you could offer start-up guidance posts for entrepreneur or business blogs.
One firm who have used non-legal specific guest blogging to their advantage is legal healthcare firm Hempsons.
The firm has written several guest posts for an online pharmacy news and blog site called Chemist and Druggist.
These blog posts, despite bringing a legal element to them, were written for a non-legal specific blog. Therefore, allowing them to share their expertise with a wider demographic of readers.
Although these readers may not have ever sought to read about their industry in a legal aspect, they are presented with an opportunity to.
As such they are able to expand their interests and learn about their industry in a wider context.
And once again, with a DA of 52 vs 43, the link is valuable. Especially in terms of strengthening Hempson’s online position as an authoritative legal expert.
Similarly, family law firm Osbornes Law has opted for the same strategy. By reaching out to popular parenting blogs they’ve built a great backlink profile.
One example where they have done this particularly well is on Mummy Mummy Mum’s blog.
They produced a guest infographic to sit alongside their blog post on cycling safety for children:
As you can see, the infographic is quite stark. It shares details on fatalities and injuries occurred as a result of cycling.
But by sharing their own research and data in an eye-catching graphic, readers are immediately grasped and drawn to it. Which in turn, makes the blog post more impactful and engaging for readers.
Infographics used in this way can be very clever tools for legal firms. By hitting them with such horrifying facts and data, parents will undoubtedly remember Osbornes’ infographic. And, as a result, potentially turn to them in the future should they ever require a family law firm.
By diversifying your guest blog posts away from just legal websites, your firm will grow online.
You’ll be giving your firm an opportunity to gain even more backlinks. As well as gaining extra exposure by having your expertise and name featured on a diverse range of websites.
4. Utilise Your Lawyers Networks
Sometimes, you don’t need to do lots of external work to discover great legal backlinking opportunities. In fact, often they can be found right under your nose, within your own company.
In your law firm, you’re surrounded by an expert team of colleagues. All of whom come armed with a wealth of experience and a strong network of contacts.
Don’t be afraid to use your colleagues to help you gain backlinks for your firm. By making the most of their experience and connections you can optimise your legal backlinking strategy.
For example, take Stowe Family Law, who we looked at earlier. They optimise their backlinking potential effectively.
They ask their partners and employees to link to their website from their alumni profiles on their old university websites.
Universities are fantastic places to get backlinks from. Welcoming thousands of students every year, universities are internationally recognised institutions. And for many, the hubs for leading research.
As a result of their credibility, they tend to have very high domain authority. This means any backlinks received from them can have a great impact for a website’s SEO.
Here is an example of how they have showcased one of their trainee solicitors on UCL’s ‘Our Alumni’ page.
By highlighting their achievements on the university’s alumni page, this employee has scored Stowe Family Law a valuable backlink.
In fact, let’s look deeper into Stowe Family Law’s link profile. We can see they have gained backlinks from all areas of university websites, including:
- Having lawyers featured on ‘Where Are They Now’ pages
- Alumni case studies
- Links to lecturers profiles of lawyers at the firm who also teach classes
- Law school blogs
- News articles
Overall, Stowe Family Law has backlinks from 56 university websites. Combining their high DAs together, this helps to score Stowe Family Law an impressive domain authority of 55.
There are many universities which include opportunities for students to feature on their alumni profiles. Some of these include:
- The University of Law – DA 51
- Leeds Beckett University – DA 74
- The University of St Andrews – DA 71
- Northumbria University – DA 66
- The University of Birmingham – DA 76
- Keele University – DA 66
- UEA – DA 76
- Aberystwyth University – DA 67
- UCL – DA 77
Often, these backlinks are also very easy to achieve. As many universities are proud to showcase their alumni and are keen to highlight their achievements since graduating.
By having a conversation with your employees and looking to see where there is the potential for them to score a backlink for your firm (should they want to), there’s no end to the number of opportunities that could come your way.
You never know, you may just discover someone in your firm loves to blog in their spare time. If they’re blogging for other companies, adding a simple backlink could do wonders for your website.
5. Press Releases
Combining great news-worthy content with press releases is another great strategy to get backlinks.
Much like how your firm may distribute any company updates with local or national press to draw attention to a situation. So too can you use the press to promote your content for you too.
For example, say your firm has uncovered some great research around employee happiness and their parental leave policies at work. You will probably want to share this news-worthy work with as many people as possible.
By drafting your findings up as an article and distributing it to news firms, you can give your firm exposure on a national level. It’s a great way to build your authority within your niche, as well as gain high-value links.
Because of the size of this firm’s content strategy, they have a dedicated team. Their sole responsibility is to produce content and send out press releases to PR distribution sites.
Often, these articles then get picked up by various news outlets. And their journalists will produce their own news stories based on the originals (which they always include a backlink too).
Here is an example of two articles they have written. Both of which have been picked up by The Guardian:
Aside from gaining links from The Guardian – with their excellent DA of 81 – one of these articles also received backlinks from a further 12 websites. This list includes Yahoo, who, with their domain rating of 91, offers great credibility for Slater and Gordon’s content. In fact, from a search engine perspective, their content is considered as being the best on the market.
This is a great example of how using PR can get you high-value backlinks. As well as getting your name featured across national and international publications. And, helping to strengthen their position as an authority on the matter.
Slater and Gordon’s PR-content strategy is hugely successful.
On top of the article mentioned above, another of their pages of content, titled “Social Media is the New Marriage Minefield” has obtained 113 backlinks from 47 different websites.
And some of these websites are pretty high-profile, including names such as:
- Elite Daily – DA 68
- In Style – DA 72
- Business Insider AU – DA 72
- Business Insider – DA 84
- CBS Local – DA 82
- Huff Post – DA 80
- Bustle – DA 73
That’s an amazing backlinking result for one piece of content. And, it shows just how important great content is in making your legal backlinking strategy a success.
Two other notable articles with high views on their site include ‘Ethical Veganism as a Protected Philosophical Belief’ and ‘Mums Forced to Express Milk in Toilets at Work’
Both of these articles have backlinks to them from high-profile, international news outlets, including:
It’s hardly surprising that Slater and Gordon have replicated this process across the articles which feature on their website. Many of them are linked to at least one high-profile website.
Legal firms appear to have great success in creating news-worthy content that’s picked up by popular news outlets.
Some of the media firms which have linked their content back to law firms include:
- CNN – DA 87
- Wall Street Journal – DA 86
- The Independent – DA 83
- AOL – DA 69
- Daily Mail – DA 85
- BBC News – DA 84
- News Week – DA 80
- Library of Congress – DA 85
- Michigan University Law School – DA 81
- Pink News – DA 68
- Dazed Digital – DA 72
- UK Government Sites (Case Studies) – DA 67
- Wales Online – DA 72
- Plymouth Herald – DA 63
- Insurance News – DA 63
- Leeds University Law School – DA 74
- EDP24 – DA 66
So, if your firm has some great content which you suspect will be popular amongst news readers, try it. By sending it out to journalists or via PR distribution sites you can increase your backlink profile easily.
It’s a win-win scenario for both sides.
Not only are the journalists being given content on plate. But, you’re creating an opportunity for you to gain high-value backlinks and give your work the exposure it deserves.
6. Partnership or Sponsorship Opportunities
Does your firm sponsor a local event, partner with a charity, or have a partnership with a university?
If so, then you could be missing out on valuable backlinks without even knowing it!
Lots of legal firms with physical offices partner with local businesses and charities and sponsor their events. However, they do so without considering what impact it could have on their online presence.
If you already have these relationships, don’t be afraid to ask the relevant parties for a link to your website. Or even a shout out on social media.
Showing your prospective clients that you’re passionate about local causes could help hugely with turning them into paying customers.
In fact, 64% of consumers’ purchase decisions are apparently influenced by a company’s particular stance on societal issues. So, if you have a cause you’re passionate about, try to promote it as best as you can.
Below, you’ll see an example of how one solicitor features on the Norfolk Wildlife Trust (DA – 54) website. The firm was recognised for their continued support for the cause.
The website ranks all its supporters based on their donation, dividing them into either Bronze, Silver or Gold members. Each supporter also has a link back to their website too.
As we can see, Hansells Solicitors (DA -24) are listed on the Silver Membership area. And of course, with a link back to their website.
On their own website, Hansells Solicitors have also written about their partnership with the Norfolk Wildlife Trust. Thus, helping them maximise the promotion of their cause to any interested audiences.
Having a great local presence can do some considerable good in terms of brand awareness. And it can show you care about making an impact within the local community.
By promoting any sponsorships on your website, via backlinks or on social media can help humanise your firm. And your wider audience can understand and know your firm is sympathetic to helping local causes.
And, if you support a local cause with a website. Especially one that has a strong domain authority and high monthly page views. Then chances are you’re going to reap the benefits of backlinking for SEO. Therefore, helping you to climb the rankings and stand out against your competitors.
If you don’t currently have any partnerships or sponsorships in place, consider reaching out to local causes or clubs. However, if you decide to do so, don’t forget to ask the organisation to provide a link back to your website in recognition.
In addition to a backlink on the company’s website, they might also send out a press release – depending on the size of the partnership. By getting your sponsorship featured in as many local news sites and blogs, you’re improving the numbers of backlinks coming back to your website.
Backlinking is an extremely effective tool for legal firms. Especially for those looking to improve their website’s SEO or build awareness of their brand. Backlinking can also help to expose legal companies to a wider audience too.
By securing backlinks from websites with a domain authority that’s higher than them, legal firms can start to build their credibility online as an authoritative source of knowledge.
We’ve covered just six ways that backlinks can be obtained, all varying in degree of quickness and ease. Ranging from online directory listings to creating news-worthy content and distributing to journalists. However legal firms should creatively explore the avenues which are most relevant to their brand.
But, for those starting out with their backlinks, they should take into consideration the amount of effort that will be needed in order to set themselves on the path to success.
It takes time to research third-party sites, write content and create relationships within your network.
However, those that invest the time into their backlinking strategy will have an advantage over their competitors. Especially when it comes to appearing higher in the search engine results pages.
Working with a Marketing Consultant to Deliver Your Strategy
Of course, these strategies are only effective if you make them part of your marketing strategy.
Developing a robust legal marketing strategy is critical to your online backlinking success. Without great content and promotion, you have no chance of ever gaining the links your website deserves.
Creating and implementing a legal marketing strategy is a huge task. And one which many firms choose to outsource to a marketing consultant such as myself.
With tons of experience in helping companies across all sectors to improve their SEO rankings and brand awareness online, my team and I can advise and implement an effective digital marketing strategy for your business. One that can help your firm rank above the competition.
If you would like to hear about we can help you with your law firm marketing, please get in contact. I’d be happy to have an obligation-free chat. And can talk you through some of our previous clients’ work.