Link building is acquiring hyperlinks from other websites to your own. These links act as pathways to guide users to your content and signal to search engines like Google the credibility and relevance of your website, influencing its ranking in search results.
Link building for lawyers is essential for online visibility because Google uses links as a key factor in determining a website’s credibility and relevance, influencing its ranking in search results.
A solid online presence is essential for law firms to attract clients, build trust, and adapt to the evolving landscape of digital marketing and client expectations.
Your law firm operates in a highly competitive digital landscape, which means that many other firms are competing for the attention of their clients online. They are trying to stand out, attract people seeking legal services, and thrive in a fiercely competitive digital world.
But how do you begin creating links to your website, and how can you do it in a way that brings you the most advantages?
This guide will help you understand that. Let’s dive in.
Why is link building important for a law firm?
To understand this, we’ll analyze backlinks and domain ratings of a law firm called Kirkland and Ellis LLP.
Kirkland and Ellis LLP is a prominent Chicago-based firm specializing in a broad range of legal services and practices, including private equity, litigation, real estate, and bankruptcy, among others.
The image above shows that the website has around 64,000 backlinks from over 4,000 linking sites and a domain rating of 72.
These results can be attributed to effective link building and strong on-page SEO. Hence, we understand that building links is, at least in part, responsible for the results we’ve analyzed. High-quality backlinks to your site help them rank higher and get traffic.
• Credibility and trust: Backlinks from reputable and authoritative websites act as endorsements. When other trustworthy websites in the law industry link to your site, it enhances your site’s credibility and establishes it as an expert or authority in the field.
• SEO: A well-executed link-building strategy can contribute to higher rankings on Google, making it easier for potential clients to find your website.
• Referral traffic: Backlinks can bring referral traffic to the firm’s website. If a legal blog, news site, or other industry-related website links to your page’s content, it can lead people interested in legal topics to your website.
• Competitive advantage: A strong online presence gives you a competitive edge in the cutthroat legal market. Effective link building can make a law firm stand out and attract more clients.
• Networking opportunities: Link building in a law firm involves reaching out to other professionals, legal websites, or industry influencers.
The method of connecting to other professionals in the legal field can foster relationships and create networking opportunities.
• Content promotion: Link building is often tied to content creation and promotion. Lawyers can create valuable and informative content related to their specialization, and through this process, they can make their content reach a wider audience.
Below is an image of Kirkland and Ellis LLP’s blog on ‘Private infrastructure investment and the Covid-19 pandemic’.
The above article portrays the firm’s expertise in private equity and infrastructure by showcasing their knowledge, authority, and experience.
Before we learn about different strategies used in link building, let’s understand the commonly used terminologies in this subject.
Link building terms that you should know about
• Anchor text: An anchor text is the clickable text in a hyperlink. Search engines understand the linked page’s content with the help of anchor texts.
Carefully crafted anchor texts contribute to the professionalism and credibility of your firm’s website. Lawyers can use relevant and descriptive anchor text related to the content on the linked page.
There are two main ways an anchor text is created.
1. When the link text matches the exact text of a title or heading you’re referencing.
Example: Here are 15 best guest post email templates.
2. Writing a description of the destination page to use as anchor text.
Example: You can use link building tools to make your process smoother.
• Do-follow and no-follow links: These links inform search engines how to treat a link.
A dofollow link has a rel=”dofollow” attribute that allows search engines to follow and pass authority from a page with the link to the linked page.
A no-follow link has a rel=”nofollow” attribute, informing search engines not to pass authority from a page with the link to the linked page.
• Domain authority: Domain authority is a metric developed to indicate a site’s strength and authority based on various factors like backlinks, content quality, and age of a domain, to name a few.
• Referring domains: Referring domains are external websites with links pointing to your website. Multiple, high-quality referring domains are important to build high-quality links.
• PageRank: PageRank is a Google algorithm that measures how important web pages are by looking at the quality and quantity of links they have. Although Google no longer publicly updates PageRank, it continues to follow similar principles to decide how authoritative and relevant a web page is.
Link building strategies for law firms
1. Getting listed in legal directories: Listing your legal practice to respectable paid and free directories is a simple yet powerful link building tactic. Legal directories generally let you include a link to your law firm’s website.
Use directories that are respected in the law industry, to get the most out of your online presence. Here are a few to help you get started:
• Avvo: Avvo is a popular legal directory that provides ratings and reviews for lawyers.
• Findlaw: Findlaw offers many resources for legal practitioners and anyone looking for legal help and helps you connect with legal professionals online.
Above is an image of the location and list of attorneys at Kirkland and Ellis LLP on Findlaw.com.
• HG.org: HG.org offers a directory of lawyers and law firms, making it easy for people to find legal professionals for their specific needs. Additionally, HG.org offers legal articles, guides, and other resources to help individuals understand various legal topics.
• Justia: Justia is an online platform that provides legal information and resources to the public. It is a comprehensive legal portal offering a range of tools and services.
2. Creating high-quality, shareable content: Exceptional content is the foundation of any successful link building strategy. Law firms should create top-notch, helpful, and easy-to-share content that answers the needs and questions of their audience.
Whether blogs, legal guides, or insightful articles, valuable content is more likely to get shared and linked to naturally.
A reader values quality content. For your content to be worthy, it must be relevant, newsworthy, or evergreen. The goal is to create information that retains its value for an extended period and requires minimal modifications.
For example, an article on ‘5 clauses every employment contract should include’, by Findlaw can be considered an evergreen article because essential clauses in an employment contract are unlikely to change significantly over time.
The information in this article applies to a broad audience and is applicable universally, making it relevant for a long time.
If you’re interested to learn more, check out our article on creating authority content.
3. Building relationships with other law firms: Collaboration within the legal community can be beneficial because building relationships with other firms, especially those in related practice areas, opens up opportunities for reciprocal linking. This mutual exchange of links can enhance both the firms’ online authority.
There are multiple steps involved in this strategy:
• Participate in legal forums or discussion groups where representatives from other law firms may participate.
• Identify reputable law firms relevant to your practice area and have a positive online presence. Look for firms that align with your values and objectives.
• Research their content and identify articles, blog posts, or resources relevant to your audience that could be valuable for your website.
• Connect on social media by following the law firms on social media platforms and engaging with their content by liking, sharing, and commenting.
• Reach out to law firms through personalized emails or direct messages. Express genuine interest in their content and mention specific articles or resources you found valuable.
• Propose collaboration opportunities, such as guest posting or content sharing. Highlight the mutual benefits of sharing valuable insights with each other’s audiences.
• Offer reciprocal opportunities. If you request a link back from them, offer to reciprocate by featuring their content on your website or collaborating on joint projects.
Here’s a format for you to refer to while connecting with law firms that you are interested in collaborating with:
• Follow up. Building ongoing relationships requires consistent communication and engagement.
Here is a simple follow-up email draft for you to refer to:
4. Guest-posting: The process involves writing articles for other websites within the legal niche.
By contributing valuable content to reputable platforms, law firms showcase their expertise and get a link back to their site.
Choosing relevant and authoritative websites for guest posting is essential to ensure the good quality and relevance of the links you obtain. To dive deeper, I recommend reading our article on how to identify high quality guest-post opportunities.
Below is an image of a guest posting advertisement posted by Advocate Daily, a legal news site in Canada.
The above advertisement gives information on the preferred style, word count, and contact details for those interested.
Use your connections through strategic networking and outreach, and make an effort to guest post on a reputable site. Reach out to your contacts and express your interest in guest posting.
Communicate your expertise and the value you can provide to their audience through well-crafted and relevant content.
After making your initial request, follow up with your connection respectfully. Whether or not your connection can provide you with a guest posting opportunity, express gratitude for their time and consideration.
5. Social media: Social media links help boost your online presence.
Posting content on platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook increases its reachability. Visibility from social media profiles can lead to others sharing and referencing your content, which can be beneficial for your website.
For example, Kirkland and Ellis have about 132K followers on their LinkedIn profile.
A solid internet following, as shown above, enhances the firm’s overall brand awareness.
When familiar with the brand, users are more likely to reference and share its content, contributing to natural link building.
Social media platforms also help law firms to network with other experts and organizations within the legal sector. These relationships may lead to collaborations and improve your guest-posting opportunities.
6. Providing a scholarship: Law firms create and promote scholarship programs to relevant educational institutions with .edu domains through scholarship link building.
Since Google regards .edu sites as trustworthy and authoritative sources, providing scholarship to law students by linking with law schools with edu domains can help you gain attention and attract backlinks to your firm’s website.
Hence, getting a link to your site helps build backlinks and strengthen your backlink profile.
Below is an image of the University of Illinois, Chicago’s scholarship page.
The page offers required scholarship information to students seeking financial aid.
Law firms offering scholarships receive mentions and backlinks from universities, scholarship directories, and student-focused websites, which helps to improve their website’s search engine ranking and online presence.
Many scholarships granted to students require them to submit essays related to the industry as a part of their application. The articles submitted by aspirants act as high quality content that can be published on your website to improve its credibility.
7. Creating legal resources and tools: Creating useful legal resources like checklists, templates, or interactive tools can attract links from other websites that want to give their readers useful resources. These materials should be designed to address common legal questions and challenges.
The different steps involved in creating legal resources are:
• Identify Target Audience and Topics: Select the legal themes or issues relevant to your target audience. Consider the needs and questions your potential clients might have.
• Research Keywords and Trends: Conduct keyword research to understand what terms and phrases people search for in the legal domain. Use tools like Semrush, Ahrefs, and Moz for keyword research relevant to the current legal trends and issues.
In the above image, Semrush has been used to analyze metrics like search volume and keyword difficulty for the keyword ‘Link building for law firms’.
• Develop Comprehensive Guides and Articles: Create in-depth guides and articles that provide valuable legal information. Showcase case studies or success stories highlighting your firm’s expertise and positive outcomes for the client.
Below is a success story article by Kirkland and Ellis LLP in their blog.
This page highlights the law firm’s achievements and portrays its expertise and credibility.
• Interactive webinars or podcasts: Host webinars or podcasts where legal experts discuss relevant topics. Make recordings or transcripts available on your website for ongoing reference.
For example, ‘The Law Entrepreneur’, hosted by Neil Tyra, owner of Tyra Law firm, provides tips and strategies for law firm owners and legal entrepreneurs.
• Legal tools and calculators: Provide useful legal tools and calculators. For example, you may develop tools to calculate possible settlements, comprehend statutes of limitations, or estimate the expense of legal representation.
A few popular legal research tools available online for free are LexisNexis, Westlaw, and CourtListener.
• Legal glossary and FAQ section: Create an extensive legal glossary or a section of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). This section can be useful for anyone who needs help understanding legal jargon and concepts.
The Department of Justice, USA, has ‘The Legal Terms glossary’ online, providing definitions for more than 100 of the most frequently used legal terminologies.
This website includes definitions of legal terms, concepts, and terminology relevant to the American legal system.
• Legal templates and forms: Offer downloadable legal templates or forms that users can use for legal purposes. Ensure that the templates are customizable and adhere to legal standards.
For example, a website called SEQ Legal provides a range of templates like non-disclosure agreements, website terms and conditions, and copyright notices, among others.
• Legal news and updates section: The legal news and updates section should provide valuable resources for readers seeking the latest information on changes in laws, regulations, or significant events within the legal field.
The legal news section can also be used to publish news articles, event announcements, and analyze of legal developments.
• Design infographics and visual content: Create captivating infographics and visual content by designing legal information into infographics. Graphic material can get links from other websites and can be shared on social media to improve your website’s visibility.
Here’s an image of infographics created by Philips and Associates, a New York-based law firm, on the types of pleas in criminal cases.
8. Monitoring and updating old content: This is the final step in link building. Here are a few reasons why updating old content on your law firm’s website is crucial:
• Legal information is subject to change due to legislative updates, court decisions, and changing regulations. Regularly monitoring and updating content ensures that data on your website remains accurate and relevant.
• Visitors and potential clients on your website may question the reliability of information if it appears outdated, which may harm your website’s credibility.
• Updating old content on your website tells search engines that your law firm website is active and offers valuable, up-to-date information, which can improve your website’s credibility.
• By consistently updating your content, you display your firm’s commitment to staying informed and maintaining a high level of expertise in your practice areas.
9. Work with link building specialists: Alternatively, you can outsource professional link builders (like ours!) if you need more expertise or are short on time. These professionals deeply understand the SEO nuances and carefully design and carry out link building campaigns according to your law firm’s needs.
A professional will be responsible for developing a suitable strategy, creating and optimizing content, reaching out to industry influencers, and identifying opportunities for guest posting.
Working with a specialist requires clear communication, a well-defined strategy, and ongoing monitoring to achieve successful results.
Hiring a link building specialist consists of the following steps:
1. Research and find reputable specialists or firms.
2. Go through the specialist’s portfolio to understand their link building expertise in the law industry.
3. Discuss the strategy that will be employed by the specialist and ensure an approach that focuses on building high-quality, relevant links.
4. Discuss costs and budgets and clearly understand the pricing structure.
5. Be open to changes to your plan along the way based on performance metrics and evolving goals of your website. Flexibility allows for optimizing the campaign for a better result.
6. Regularly monitor your website’s traffic and backlink reports to see how your website is faring.
• Legal Directories: Get listed in respected legal directories such as Avvo, Findlaw, HG.org, and Justia for valuable link acquisition. Choose directories relevant to the law industry to maximize your online presence.
• High-Quality Content: Create shareable content like blogs and legal guides to attract links naturally. Aim for evergreen content that remains relevant over time, providing value to a broad audience.
• Relationship Building: Engage with other law firms through forums and social media. Identify, connect, and collaborate with reputable law firms for mutual link sharing. Use personalized emails and propose collaboration opportunities.
• Guest Posting: Write articles for reputable legal websites to showcase expertise and acquire backlinks. Choose relevant and authoritative platforms for guest posting.
• Social Media: Leverage social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter for content sharing and networking within the legal sector. Increase brand awareness and encourage natural link building through social media presence.
• Scholarships for .edu Links: Offer scholarships to law students through educational institutions with .edu domains. Gain trust and backlinks from universities and student-focused websites.
• Legal Resources and Tools: Develop comprehensive legal guides, interactive webinars, podcasts, tools, glossaries, templates, and news sections. Create in-depth guides and articles that provide valuable legal information and attract links from other websites.
• Update Old Content: Since legal information is subject to change, regularly monitor and update content to maintain accuracy and relevance.
• Work with Link Building Specialists: Consider outsourcing to link acquisition specialists. They develop strategies, create optimized content, and monitor campaigns for successful results. When hiring, research reputable specialists, discuss strategy and costs, and remain flexible to optimize the campaign based on performance metrics.
Quality vs. quantity
A link-building strategy considers quality and quantity when it comes to backlinks. How do we know which one would help a page rank better?
Both of these aspects are important, and finding the right balance is key.
Quality links: Quality links are acquired from relevant websites like legal blogs, industry publications, and directories. Links from these websites carry more weight. When these sites include your link on their page, Google views this as a vote of confidence in your website’s credibility.
Quality links are also earned organically by creating valuable and shareable content.
Quality links contribute to long-term improvements in search engine rankings and online authority.
Quantity links: Quantity links refer to the sheer number of links pointing to your website. Acquiring new, genuine links regularly helps maintain a steady online presence. It signals to Google that your website is active and relevant.
Aiming for natural and organic growth in both the quality and quantity of links is important. While quantity is important, remember also to prioritize relevance. Aim for authoritative backlinks that will benefit your website rather than just concentrating on the number of backlinks.
Building links in the constantly evolving digital landscape remains crucial for law firms to enhance online visibility and credibility. As seen with the examples of Kirkland and Ellis LLP and a few others, a good link building tactic contributes to a strong online presence.
The importance lies in establishing credibility, improving SEO, driving referral traffic, gaining a competitive advantage, fostering networking opportunities, and promoting valuable content. By implementing the tactics in this guide, you can improve your website’s visibility, attract valuable traffic, and establish your website’s authority.
1. Why is link building important for legal firms?
Building links is crucial for law firms to enhance online visibility, credibility, and search engine rankings. It establishes authority, drives traffic, and helps in gaining a competitive edge in the digital landscape.
2. Can link building improve a legal firm’s SEO?
Yes, a well executed link acquisition strategy can contribute to higher rankings on Google. This increased visibility makes it easier for potential clients to find the firm online.
3. How can legal firms benefit from networking opportunities through link building?
Building relationships with other firms by connecting with other professionals, legal websites, or industry influencers can lead to collaboration, reciprocal linking, and valuable networking opportunities.
4. What is the significance of guest posting in link building for legal firms?
Guest posting involves writing articles for other reputable legal websites. It allows firms to showcase their expertise and receive a backlink to their site. Choosing relevant and authoritative platforms for guest-posting is crucial for quality link acquisition.
5. How can law firms provide scholarships for link building?
They can link with educational institutions through scholarship programs. By offering scholarships to law students, especially those associated with .edu domains, firms can gain attention, attract backlinks, and improve their website’s search engine ranking.
6. What is the importance of quality versus quantity in law firm link building?
Striking the right balance is key, as both quality and quantity are important in link building. Quality links from relevant and authoritative websites contribute to long-term improvements, while quantity ensures a steady online presence.
7. Why is monitoring and updating old content crucial in legal firm link building?
Regularly updating old content ensures accuracy and relevance, portraying the firm as active and informed. It also signals search engines about the firm’s commitment to providing valuable, up-to-date information and improving credibility.