Law firm SEO is multifaceted. Not only do you need to manage your technical SEO, but you have to conduct on-page SEO, create content, optimize your local listings, and more.
One important SEO task for law firms is link building – the process of attracting high-authority links back to your website.
These links can boost your site’s authority in the eyes of Google, leading to higher rankings and more traffic.
But attracting backlinks to your law firm isn’t always easy. Being in a competitive space, you’ll have to be creative if you want to attract the right types of links back to your site.
In this chapter, we’re covering some tried-and-true ways to drive links to your law firm website.
First Things First: Why Do Backlinks Matter?
Backlinks matter because they are essentially a “vote of confidence” from one website to your website, indicating that your site is a good source of information for users. Backlinks signal to search engines that your content is legit and is therefore worthy of being ranked high in the search results.
Some of these backlinks you will earn naturally simply by publishing engaging content that gets noticed by other website owners. But, usually, you’ll need to be a bit more proactive about earning these links if you want to increase your Google rankings.
One important thing to note is that Google values “natural” links – i.e., links that appear to have been earned naturally rather than bought. Buying links is a risky practice, so we encourage you to follow these manual link building practices to avoid any penalties.
40 Link Building Methods for Law Firms
Attracting backlinks to your law firm website can make a significant impact on your website’s SEO, but not all link building methods are created equal.
Below, we’ve listed 40 link building methods you can use to attract the right kind of links to your site without having to pay for links.
1. Ask Your Network
Perhaps the most obvious yet underrated link building method is to ask business owners and bloggers in your network to link out to your website. This can be especially effective if the website is related to your industry, and you can get a contextual link back to your site.
For example, if your contact has a legal blog that references the top lawyers in each state, it may make sense to get on that list. Or, see if any local bloggers will add your law firm as a resource for people looking for legal services in your area.
2. Alumni Lists & Directories
Most college and university websites have a section dedicated to their alumni – and some of them are willing to link out. If your alma mater has an alumni page and you’re able to get listed, see if you can link to your law firm’s website.
Further, you can run some PR to see if you can get featured on the alumni blog. For example, the University of Washington often publishes features of notable alumni, linking out to their businesses or websites.
3. Better Business Bureau (BBB)
While links from the BBB are all nofollowed (you won’t earn that coveted “link juice”), they can work to drive traffic to your site.
These listings do cost money; the cost of a BBB listing is determined by region and the number of employees you have. But, BBB is a reputable site, so you don’t have to worry about facing any penalties. It may be worth getting listed here, if only for the referral traffic.
4. Chamber of Commerce
Getting a link from your local Chamber of Commerce is essentially a guaranteed link. The trick is getting in touch with the right representative to get listed.
You might have to go through a simple application process to get listed, but the link and possible traffic are well worth it.
5. Local Listings
You’ve likely heard of Yelp, YellowPages, and Whitepages, but there are nearly endless local directories that you can get your law firm listed in. Be on the lookout for directories that focus on your city or state, as these will be more relevant to your business and are often easier to get into.
6. Niche Directories
Similar to local directories, niche directories are directories that focus on a particular industry. In your case, you will want to find directories that are relevant to the legal industry, like Avvo, Nolo, Justia, and Findlaw.
Many of these directories have followed links or, at the very least, can send traffic to your site via nofollow links. An added benefit of these directories is that many of them allow you to collect client reviews, which can work as social proof to help you attract even more clients.
7. Blog Directories
If your law firm website has a blog, you can potentially get it listed in blog directories. Again, it’s best that these directories be relevant to your industry or service area.
To find these directories, simply do a Google search for “blog directories,” and you’re certain to find loads of options.
Help A Reporter Out (HARO) provides journalists with an entire database of sources they can reference in their articles and magazines.
By signing up for free HARO updates, you can respond to journalists’ queries and potentially get featured in reputable publications. If you get featured, you’re likely to get a link back to your website and earn some valuable media coverage.
9. Social Media
Most social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn give you the option to include a link back to your website. While not all of these links are followed links, they can send traffic to your website. There is also some evidence that social media mentions can be good for SEO.
Law firms can earn backlinks, naturally, by publishing what’s called “linkable assets” – most often in the form of ebooks and other downloadable content.
The goal here is to create content that’s so good, and other sites can’t help but link out to it. Think of some topics that are relevant to your audience, turn the information into a downloadable, and publish it on your website to start attracting links.
11. Crowdsourced Posts
Crowdsourced posts can be hard to find, but if you get an opportunity to participate, the answer should usually be “Yes!”
These are posts where other sites are looking for experts to contribute to the article, usually in exchange for a backlink. It usually only takes a few minutes to write a response but you can bank on that link juice for months or even years to come.
12. Content Marketing
If you’re taking the time to publish your own content on your website or blog, you should be marketing it across platforms to generate as much reach as possible. This might involve sharing it to your email list, social media, or emailing it to outside publications.
The more eyes you get on your content, the more likely you will earn more backlinks from people who love your content.
13. Paid Directories
If you are going to pay for backlinks, at least focus on earning links from reputable directories. There are some directories that are legit but require a fee to get featured.
You can earn a few followed backlinks this way and possibly drum up some traffic. Simply do a Google search for [best paid directories] and compare your options.
14. Networking/Offline Marketing
Like asking your network for backlinks, you can attend in-person networking events to form new connections that might result in backlinks.
While the goal should be to form genuine relationships, keep your eyes open to different opportunities. You might meet someone who is willing to interview you on their site or offer you a guest post slot, which could result in some valuable links.
15. Web Tools
Creating web tools to earn backlinks is an advanced method but can be highly effective. Web tools like calculators can be highly valuable to your audience and, therefore, valuable to other sites in your niche.
Think: [legal fees calculator], [loan calculator], [child support calculator], and the like.
Despite what many marketers might say, newsletters aren’t “dead” – as long as they deliver amazing information users actually want to read.
If your blog keeps up with legal news, has interesting information to provide, or otherwise offers content users can’t find anywhere else, you can earn tons of subscribers and possibly links back to your newsletter.
17. Press Releases
Google has said that they “ignore” links from press releases, but they can still be a good source of dofollow links. This is because syndication can get your press release in front of other journalists and earn you backlinks from those websites.
So, if you have a story to tell, it might be worth running a press release to get you featured on high-authority websites.
18. How-to Guides
[How to] keywords are some of the most searched keywords because people are constantly looking for tutorials on how to complete tasks and accomplish their goals. Guides like “How to File for Divorce,” “How to Hire the Right Family Attorney,” and “How to Avoid Foreclosure” not only provide value to your potential clients but can also be picked up (and linked to) by other sites looking to reference this information.
19. Q&A Sites
Sites like Quora can earn you nofollow links that send traffic to your site, as long as you mention your website in your answer. On these sites, users ask questions, and you can answer based on your own expertise.
For example, if a user asks what to do after they get a DUI, you can answer with a step-by-step explanation and then link to your own law firm if they want more information.
20. Attend Speaking Events & Conferences
Speaking events and conferences are great places to build connections, especially if you are one of the speakers.
If you’re able to land a speaking gig, you’ll often earn links back not only from the event hosts but from people who attend the event. You’re also likely to generate some social and referral traffic from the publicity alone.
21. Charities & Non-Profits
Charities and non-profit organizations often have donor pages that list the businesses and individuals that have donated to their org.
You have to be careful about these ones because they can be interpreted as paid links. We recommend donating out of the kindness of your own heart; if you earn a link back, that’s just a bonus.
22. Sponsor Events
Local events are almost always looking for sponsors – and they’ll usually link to you if you sponsor their event. At the very least, you’ll get a mention at the conference and possibly earn some clients that way.
Simply do a search for events in your local area and ask if they are looking for sponsors.
23. Branded Mentions
Sometimes websites will reference your business without linking out to your site. If you’re able to find these “branded mentions,” you can usually request a link back. To find them, use tools like BuzzSumo to scan the web for your brand name and then manually reach out to the website owner to see if you can turn that mention into a link.
24. Offer Scholarships
Looking for a way to give back and earn a backlink in return? Your law firm can offer scholarships to athletes, high school students, or college students and possibly earn links from schools and scholarship directories.
Update your scholarship information year after year to earn more links and help individuals at the same time.
25. Cover Current Events
Law firms can write about current events to attract traffic from search since the topic is likely fresh in peoples’ minds. If you can get ahead of the curve or at least offer an interesting spin on a current event, you’re likely to get picked up by other publications (links) and get your content shared on social media.
26. Ego Bait Content
“Ego bait” content is content the strokes the ego of other business owners, thought leaders, or influencers. This usually takes the form of a “best [title] in [industry]” post that rounds of the very best names in the game.
For example, if you publish an article titled 10 Best Class Action Attorneys That Earned Giant Settlements, you can then follow up with the attorneys featured in hopes of earning links back from their sites.
27. Evergreen Content
Evergreen content is content that never goes out of style and therefore can earn backlinks for years to come. Think of this as your foundational content that addresses the most common questions your potential clients have if you can get this content to rank organically – even better – as other sites will be inclined to link to your resource time and time again.
28. Email Mentions
Occasionally you will come across mentions of your law firm in online magazines and blogs, but they might not be linking back to your site. It’s always a good idea to just email the publisher and ask if you can get a link back.
Worst case, they say no, and you still get some brand recognition; best case, you get a dofollow link and some bonus traffic.
29. Local Newspapers
While print newspapers obviously can’t link to your website, many of them post digital versions of their articles online. With a little PR, you might be able to get featured in local newspapers and earn a few links back to your site. This is another reason to stay up-to-date on current events and keep your eyes open to opportunities.
30. Industry Websites/Magazines
Industry-specific websites and magazines are always looking for new businesses and experts to feature. They might conduct interviews, accept guest contributors, have their own directories, or host a resources page. Do a search for legal websites that offer these kinds of opportunities and see if you can get featured.
31. Resource Lists
Like linkable assets, resource lists provide a ton of value to your audience and attract links from other websites looking for this information. As a law firm, you have tons of opportunities to reference legal documents, forms, tutorials, cases, and other guides that might be valuable to your potential clients.
Infographics have a way of making even the most complex of information easy to digest and understand. You can work with a graphic designer to turn your legal how-tos into infographics that can be found via organic search or image search. If you create an awesome infographic, other websites will be itching to link to it.
33. Cover Controversy
Most businesses like to shy away from controversy, but there’s no doubt that controversy can drum up a lot of visibility.
Is there a controversial court case that warrants your expert opinion? A trending topic that could use some input from a trusted lawyer? If people are already searching for these topics, you can attract loads of traffic to these articles and even earn yourself some backlinks from other publications.
People love a good survey. They’re simple. They’re engaging. And, yes, they can even earn you backlinks.
Law firms can publish interesting surveys to get users buzzing about their results. These are easy to share on social media and can attract a lot of intrigue. If your survey runs for a long time and gets your audience talking, you’re likely to earn some backlinks too.
People look to statistics to get a better understanding of the world, which makes them popular to cover in industry articles.
Do you have some knowledge to share about a legal topic? Want to summarize some industry findings? Posting about legal statistics can earn you links from blogs and industry websites alike.
36. PR Outreach
While we would love to earn backlinks naturally, sometimes it helps to do a bit of outreach. You can reach out to industry publications in search of opportunities like interviews, podcasts, and guest posting spots.
Don’t underestimate the power of a well-crafted email to drum up some backlink potential for your law firm.
37. Guest Posting
Guest posting is one of the best ways to earn backlinks because you are providing a ton of value to a website in exchange for a link.
Usually, you have to pitch some ideas to an industry blog in hopes of them offering a guest posting slot. Sometimes, though, you can write about whatever you want.
You can do a Google search for “guest posting sites” or simply keep your eyes open for industry sites that might accept guest posts.
Are your clients constantly getting confused about legal jargon? It might be valuable to your clients – and other sites – if you created your own glossary. That way, you can help your clients understand the important information you send their way, and you can possibly get your glossary to rank organically, attracting links.
Listicles are those “best of” or “top #” posts that tend to drum up a lot of engagement. By publishing a listicle, you can possibly outrank existing listicles, generating traffic and links.
For law firms, some listicle ideas might include “15 Famous Court Cases You Should Know,” “20 Contracts That Landed NFL Athletes the Big Bucks,” “25 Tips for Overcoming the Stress of Divorce,” and the like.
40. Expert Interviews
Like ego bait, interviews can earn links back from the people you feature because you are essentially stroking their ego by showcasing them to your audience.
You might think of some interesting topics that are relevant to your audience and ask an expert to provide their take. Then, you can market the interview across platforms, earning social shares, and backlinks.
While legal may be a competitive industry – with law firms fighting neck and neck to rise to the top of the search results – there are many, simple ways to earn backlinks to improve your SEO.
So, before you start paying for links, try some of the natural link building methods above to approve your rankings and attract new clients to you.
Featured Image Credit: Paulo Bobita