Link Building: Your Guide

Search engines – and let’s be honest, Google is what we all mean – reward websites that other websites hold in high regard.

How do the search engines know when a website is considered an authority by other sites? Links.

If a site has multiple links pointing to it, search engine algorithms will generally reward that site by pushing it up the rankings. And the higher the rankings, the more chance a site has of securing clicks.

So here’s our expert guide to link building for your firm.

What is link building?

Link building is the process of building valuable links to your site – which are known as backlinks – to raise brand awareness and hopefully result in improvements in search engine ranking positions.

And there’s a very good chance that it will. Google has named backlinks as one of its most important ranking factors. This means that the more high-quality backlinks your site has, the more valuable it will appear to Google. And that means it should rank it higher.

To build links, you might create something new on your site to drive links towards – a linkable asset. This could be a piece of research-led writing, a video that delves deep into a topic, or a quiz.

You could also build links to an existing page on your website. What you want sites to link to is up to you.

How to build links

The most successful method of building links is usually creating a linkable asset. This involves putting together a new piece of content and designing a new page on your website to host it. As we suggested above, this could be a quiz – something First4Lawyers went with in our most recent link building campaign.

After creating your asset, you then need to outreach it. This could be to journalists or popular sites in your niche. The legal industry isn’t exactly full of blogs and sites that will gladly link back to yours, so it could be beneficial to prioritise news-based sites in your link building efforts.

This means you’ll have to create something newsworthy. Journalists won’t be interested in something that doesn’t come with a strong hook. Pieces that focus on original research and data tend to perform well as they give journalists new stories to hit their article targets with.

You could look at data sources like the Office for National Statistics, government departments or your own records to produce something compelling.

Outreaching your asset

But your story could go unnoticed by journalists without the right pitch.

In an ideal world, you’ll have built up a relationship with journalists before pitching to them. This is because they receive so many pitches and requests in their inboxes daily that they can’t open every email. There’s more chance they’ll click on your pitch if they know you.

But every firm has to start somewhere. So if you don’t yet have that relationship with your outreach targets, don’t despair. You still stand a chance.

If you have a social media presence, you can use that to get in touch with journalists you think will be interested in your piece. Make sure you check what the journalist you’re approaching writes about, however – pitching an irrelevant story won’t win you any favour.

Other ways to gain backlinks

You may not have the time or resources to devote to creating a new piece to help you garner backlinks. But there are other ways of boosting your link profile.

Commenting on news stories is one quicker way of building links. If you can get one of your subject matter experts featured in the news discussing a story, you could be able to garner some of that publicity for your firm – as well as often secure a link from the news outlet to your site.

These sorts of links will generally come with a high degree of authority. That can help to enhance your backlink profile, which can signal to the search engine algorithms that your site is well regarded. This can then see it rewarded with a higher ranking position.

There are other ways of generating some quick win – and low cost – links:

  • Directories

Registering your firm in local business or industry directories can help enhance its link profile. This isn’t always helpful, though, as these sites can often use nofollow links.

  • Mentions

You can find mentions of your firm online – in news stories, for example – and ask the site owner or article author to link to your site to help make the client journey more seamless.

  • Sponsorships

If you strike up a partnership with a local organization – like a football club or charity – you could get them to link through to your site.

Backlinks to avoid

If you receive an unsolicited email or call from a company or individual promising you guaranteed links for payment, it’s best to stay away.

The first reason is because search engines punish sites that sell or pay for links. The second is that these offers will generally come from spammy sites, rather than authoritative ones. And this can then drive your site down the rankings as search engines will then associate your site with these spam sites.

It’s also unlikely that you’ll drive any meaningful traffic to your site from links like these, so it’s improbable that these kinds of links will offer any sort of advantage.

Link building tools

Certain tools can make your link building efforts easier – at any stage of your campaign planning. Some of the most well-known link building tools are:

  • Ahrefs

You can use Ahrefs to find sites that have linked to your competitors and therefore might be more likely to link to your site. You can also see which sites have already linked to yours, see which keywords you might want to focus on and look at content gaps for inspiration.

  • HARO

Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is a free service that connects you to journalist requests. Sign up to their alerts – you can choose which fields you’re interested in – and receive requests from journalists and bloggers for comments and stories in your inbox.

  • Hunter

If you’ve found a site you’d like a link from, but can’t find any contact details, Hunter can help. It lets you find email addresses so you can pitch to relevant sites. It comes in free and paid plans. With the free version, you can conduct 25 searches a month, while the paid plans come with more features.

  • ResponseSource

ResponseSource connects you to relevant journalists in your industry. You can use the service to find out who’s writing about your areas of expertise and to get in touch with your pitch. It’s a paid service and you pay per individual category you want to focus on.

  • Twitter

Twitter can help you find story and information requests through the hashtag #journorequest. It can also facilitate relationship building with journalists and site owners who you’d like to secure a link from. And it’s free.

These are just a small sample of helpful tools. There are plenty of others out there can simplify the process of building backlinks to your site. You’ll undoubtedly come across some that you prefer during your campaign journey.

What’s important to remember about building links is that you want to target relevant sites that search engines consider an authority. These are the sites that will lend credibility when they link to your site.

If you want to know more about our link building efforts or how we can help your firm generate more business, just get in touch.


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