We are signing up beta users for law firm linking system. If you manage the promotion of a law firm’s web site and would like to participate or get more information, just send an email to me (Jerry) at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will let you know what you need to do. This is a private system only open to invited users, so this is ONLY for those who promote a law firm.
I’ve been involved in a very interesting discussion on one of the LinkedIn groups that I participate in, and I thought it would be worth blogging about to bring the conversation into the public arena. The discussion started when I proposed an informal three-way linking arrangement among law firm members of the group. Basically, web site A would link to web site B, web site B would link to web site C, and web site C would link to web site A. It is similar to reciprocal linking, except the sites don’t swap links, but rather link to one another in a chain. The advantage to this kind of concept is that it helps each site build its link portfolio, and the links carry more weight since they are not reciprocal links.
What has surprised me about the conversation is the amount of resistance to the plan. There is a lot of worry about being banned by Google. Technically, this kind of arrangement is a violation of Google’s policies…as is just about everything that my company does. It was pointed out that in 2007, Google banned a bunch of real estate web sites for reciprocal linking. So is there some risk involved in something like this? Sure. But in my opinion, it is just as risky to do nothing.
Which is the better situation? Your web site not having any visibility because you haven’t taken steps to promote it, or your web site getting banned? Answer: there’s no difference! Either way, you’re invisible.
I think one point that I probably have not been clear on is that I am not at all suggesting that you should RELY on any particular link building strategy. I think that is where the above referenced real estate web sites made their major mistake. These were sites being promoted by amateurs who relied on link swapping to build their link portfolio. You don’t need a single technique; you don’t need a stick. You need an umbrella! In other words, you need to use lots of different strategies to get links from lots of different places.
Swap links. Do three way linking. Distribute articles. Post blogs. Submit to directories. Distribute press releases. Post blog comments. Build social networking pages. Submit to social bookmarking sites…
Do you get my point? Again, search engine optimization ain’t about using a stick. It’s about using an umbrella. If this sounds like a heck of a lot of work, it is. But either you do it or you don’t. Either you promote your web site or you don’t. If you’re NOT going to promote your web site, if you’re not going to be aggressive in doing things to improve your search engine rankings, then you might as well stick to Yellow Pages advertising.
When you are working on building a catalog of links pointing to your web site, you need to remember to think deep. Deep linking is the act of linking to sub-pages of a web site, and not just the home page. You need to remember these two rules:
1. You should seek keyword links that point to web pages optimized for those same keywords.
2. You can really only optimize a single web page for a couple of keywords.
So if your web site has different pages optimized for different keywords (and if that is not the case, you need to call me today), then you need different keyword links pointing to each of those pages specifically. Here is an example. Let’s say you have a web site with pages covering the following practice areas: automobile accidents, maritime accidents, and aviation accidents. To help raise the search engine visibility of each of those pages, each one needs keyword links related to the subject of the page. The automobile accident page needs links such as “automobile accident attorney,” the maritime accidents page needs links such as “boating accident lawyer,” and the last page needs links like “airplane accident lawyer.”
What you have to keep in mind is that search engine optimization is a business of specificity. Specific pages are optimized for specific keywords, and those pages need specific keyword links.
You may be wondering how you go about getting links with specific keywords in it. If you rely on other web sites to hopefully link to you, then you are at the mercy of those other sites with regard to what keywords they use in the links, if any. Most of the time those types of links will just contain your web address, which is useful for the fact that it is a link, but not as useful as a link that uses a keyword.
One of my favorite strategies for creating links that contain the keywords I want is article marketing. Write an article related to some keywords, and then place a couple of keyword links in the article resource box to the pages you want to promote. Then distribute the article to lots of article directories. If you want to get more complex (and more effective), you can do something called article spinning, which will result in lots of technically unique articles being distributed rather than duplicate articles. Another way is by posting on others’ blogs with a keyword as your name (but you will need to find blogs that allow “dofollow” links).
Here is an advanced strategy that will give you an edge over your competition: build your own legal information hub. There are a number of good reasons for doing this, such as just attracting traffic, but for this discussion the main advantage is that it gives you a way to guide search engine spiders to pages you want them to find.
If you use social networking, article distribution, or any of the other content-based strategies that we recommend, then you want to make sure those pages get found. But you’d like to make that happen without directly linking to those sites. Otherwise, you’ve created two-way links, when what you want are one-way links.
If you own an information hub site, then you can use it to guide the search engines to any site you want without having two-way links between your main site and sites that link to you. It may become that the information hub itself ends up ranking higher than your main site for numerous long-tail keywords, which is another advantage. Even though the site will be very focused on providing information, it will still feature your brand and a very soft marketing message.
RSS feeds give you an easy way to display content on your information hub that updates itself. We may cover the technical aspects of how to do that in another post (or you can hire Work Media to do it). It’s really not difficult.