What Backlinks Mean to SEO for Your Law Firm

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock when it comes to SEO for law firms and other small businesses, you know that backlinks (also known as “external links” or “inbound links”) are important to a site’s ranking on SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) such as those that appear when a potential client types a query into Google or Bing. But did you know that backlinks can be the single most important factor when it comes to SEO?

That’s right: backlinks are not in any way a secondary consideration. To understand both what they are and their importance, please consider the following:

1. What a backlink is.

A backlink is a link to your site from another site. For example, if a former client posts a great review about your law firm on her blog and links to your law firm’s site within the post, that would be considered a backlink.

2. This is why backlinks are important:

The number of backlinks a site has is how Google and other major search engines (such as Yahoo and Bing) determine how popular, relevant, and legitimate a site is. Each backlink to your site from another site can be considered a vote of confidence in your site by each of those other sites.

Even though things like search keywords, location/local SEO, and all the new factors presented by the new prominence of semantic search also play a role, backlins may be the most important factor in determining where your site ranks in search results from Google and its competitors.

If it helps, think of it this way: keywords and other factors determine whether or not you’ll rank at all for a particular search, and backlinks determine where you’ll rank for that particular search. Although this isn’t exactly how it works in practice, this is a good approximation of how Google’s algorithm (and its competitors’ algorithms) works.

What does all this mean for your law firm?

It means that if you want your law firm to be successful in the age of 21st century internet marketing, you’ll need a lot of backlinks to your site. And while you might be able to get those backlinks by producing good content and then sitting and waiting, it’s not likely. You’ll need to do something a bit more proactive. Here are your options:

  1. You could directly solicit either your competitors or objective law firm review sites and gurus for backlinks to your blog.
  2. You could try to write guest posts for prominent law blogs on subjects of which you are deeply knowledgeable.
  3. You could hire external SEO expert marketers to complete these tasks on behalf of your law firm.

Number 1 has a high rate of failure. Number 2, if you are willing and able to put the work in (in addition to worrying about everything else that happens at your law firm), has a high success rate. Number 3, if you hire the right SEO marketers, has an extremely high success rate – and those marketers can often use their experience and contacts in the industry to take care of numbers 1 and 2 for you.