By Tom Foster
Sometimes, when we start getting caught up in advanced Internet marketing techniques like social media marketing and blogging, we start to forget some of the basics of search engine optimization SEO is, despite what a lot of people have been saying lately (probably because they’re mad about not ranking well for their keywords or because they hired an unethical firm who used some black hat techniques to build links and have now fallen off of the face of ever search engine out there), still important when trying to get more visits to your website.
We can show you a number of Foster Web Marketing clients whose traffic and leads have dramatically increased over the past few months because of these standard practices: proper web development (adding content on a DAILY basis) and basic search engine optimization techniques.
But when it comes to the point where your site and every site competing with yours have been optimized online, when they all have thousands of pages of content and features such as blogs and library articles included on their site, how do search engines decide whose site has the more authority and should rank better?
That’s easy, the amount of inbound links it has. The blog post I made a few weeks ago about a FWM client trying to figure out why he or she was being outranked for a specific keyword search is a pretty good case study to prove that building links is VERY IMPORTANT.
So, back to basics. It’s not enough to just write content. You, as an attorney or webmaster, always have to keep that thought in the back of your head: is this a link opportunity?
Google ranks sites and pages with more inbound links to them based on the fact that, if this is useful and informative content, than more people will be linking to it and sharing it.
But does this always come into play as attorneys? You have to remember that the area where you practice is geographically limited (or it SHOULD be! I can’t stress the importance of marketing yourself to one niche market as opposed to trying to conquer the world and rank for the entire east coast with only one website) so the chances of sites and blogs linking to you are as small as the size of your target audience.
You could always take the “link baiting” approach and come up with a story that will bring in readers from around the country or world. But, even though we always stress the importance of increasing your exposure online and that everyone, no matter where or who they are, is a potential client because of referrals and social networking, this usually results in a high bounce rate and a very low ROI.
Sometimes you have to take a more pro-active approach to link building. Some of these were mentioned in our ways to build links as attorneys and should be used regularly, but when it really comes down to it: link building is like everything else, the more personal and grassroots ways you use, the better.
Here areÂ 10 basic and usually overlooked linkbuilding techniques you can use:
- Posting on Craigslist. Sometimes it’s good for leads, but it also counts as a link. Don’t stress over the fact that the link is “nofollow”, look at your Google Analytics traffic report and see how many visits Craigslist resulted in next time you post. TIP: sometimes the services section postings get flagged or get lost in spam postings, so be creative with it.
- Register with your local Better Business Bureau and Chamber of Commerce if you’re not already. This almost always leads to a link or two.
- We’ve mentioned this before, but take a few minutes out of your day to answer questions on Yahoo! Answers , Fluther, and any law-related message boards you can think of like Injuryboard. Dropping a link back to your site on these kinds of sites, as long as you ADD VALUE TO THE CONVERSATION and answer the question can result in pretty good traffic.
- Build relationships with local bloggers.
- You SHOULD, by now, realize that you need to be active on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. But do you have a link to your website or blog on there? No? (smack forehead)
- You have a blog… is it linking to your website? Is your website linking to your blog? TIP: utilize site-wide footers as well.
- Sometimes you have to look in the mirror. Is your own site or blogÂ linking internallyÂ to other pages? Are you taking the time, when writing a blog post, to link to other blog posts and web pages? These count as links as well. ALWAYS think about how you can link internally, it’s very important.
- Google local searches. Know those maps and local business results you see for certain searches in your area? You should be concerned about not being ranked number one. Obtaining a number one rank for these isn’t something I’m going to share quite yet.
- Look for linking opportunities from local government and law-related websites.
- Create a Squidoo page.
- Okay I lied, there are 11. ALWAYS DEEP-LINK AND USE DIFFERENT ANCHOR TEXT. You don’t want everything going back to the homepages and you don’t want search engine spiders seeing the same anchor text when crawling for inbound links. Switch it up, you’re constantly adding content to your site for a reason, use those other pages!