While there is no question that the web is moving in the direction of local and social search, links still remain one of the most important signals that search engines used to order sites. So, if you’re interested in increasing your visibility search engines, you must focus on attracting and building new links to your pages.
But, as you’ve probably read, not all links are created equal. Acquiring a link from some spammy off-topic directory site, isn’t the same as getting an editorial link from a respected news site. And, of course, link quality is a continuum.
There are literally thousands of ways to go about acquiring links to your website. In this post, I’m going to talk about just a couple ideas that should help you identify good sources for acquiring new links for your law firm.
First, when building a link prospecting list, you should focus on sites that are relevant. If you’re trying to develop links to a law-related site, your link prospects should be topically related to your site content.
If, for example, you maintain a website or blog about car accident law, you should start brainstorming on what sites, organizations, associations, and people might be publishing on this topic online. Here are a couple ideas:
- Government sites on highway safety.
- US Department of Transportation sites/blogs.
- State government sites on traffic accident information.
- Non-profit sites/blogs on traffic safety.
But, using our car accident example, you shouldn’t limit your prospecting solely to sites that are solely focused on car accidents. You should also find the people that cover this topic in your area. These people might include:
- Local reporters/journalists that cover traffic or child safety.
- Mom bloggers that are interested in accident prevention.
- People that have leadership positions at organizations related to traffic safety.
- Elected officials that deal with traffic safety issues in your state or community.
Think about all the different sites, blogs, organizations, and people that are related to your topic(s). My advice is to start very locally and then begin to branch out. Obviously, the web is a very big place and there are likely many sites and people online that are relevant to your topic(s). Don’t get overwhelmed. Think about the sources that people in your community go to for information on your topic(s).
In addition to relevance, you want to focus your link prospecting on sites, blogs, and people that have authority on your subject. Again, the web is a really big place and it’s getting much easier for more people to contribute to online conversations.
On the one hand, this is a great thing. More people are enabled a voice to participate in discussions. On the other hand, there is a lot more noise. Therefore, it becomes more challenging to discern authoritative voices from the white noise of the web. This is where authority comes into play.
First, brainstorm people that are authoritative on your topic(s) offline. Again, this may mean elected officials, community leaders, or people in leadership positions at recognized and respected organizations related to your subject matter.
Second, you’ll want to search for sites that have online authority. This means sites that are frequently linked to, shared, talked about, and otherwise referenced online. There are a host of tools you can use to measure online authority. One that I prefer using is SEOmoz’s Toolbar. This will give some quick general metrics with regard to the perceived online authority and quality of a site.
When prospecting authoritative sites, I like to set short, intermediate, and long-term link prospect targets. Generally speaking, less authoritative sites will be easier to acquire a link from (this is not always the case). These sites, from links are more easily obtained, go on your short-term link prospect list. Higher authority sites, from which it is more difficult to obtain links, go on your long-term list.
Segmenting link prospects into short-term, intermediate, and long-term lists, will help you build some links now, but also lay the foundation for acquiring much higher quality links over time.
Once you’ve developed a substantial list of people, sites, and blogs that are both relevant and authoritative on your subject matter, the next step is to engage these link prospects. But that is a subject for another post…