Personal Injury Lawyer Link Building
Law firms have a legal and moral responsibility to maintain integrity while practicing law and in their personal conduct.
Why would link building be any different?
When building links, you have a responsibility to follow Google’s guidelines. Failure to do this leads to the law firm’s website being banned or penalized by Google. Personal injury attorneys need to hire link building services that are earning natural links which do not put their online reputation at stake. Paid link-building is black hat link building and could result in your law firm’s website being permanently banned from Google.
Unlike other link building services, our services deploy link building strategies with a responsibility to earn inbound links that align with Google’s guidelines.
Why Should Law Firms Care About Ethics in their Link Building?
Law firm websites have an ethical responsibility to earn links that follow Google’s guidelines. Failure to uphold these ethics could lead to significant long term damage to their online presence. Think of links as a vote to your website from Google that says your website has their support for more traffic. Here is a direct quote from Google’s Guidelines,
“Google and most other search engines use links to determine reputation.”
In an election, if a politician were to buy votes and not earn them ethically, it would lead to the end of their career. Your online reputation works the same way. Buying links is a violation of Google’s guidelines and can have steep negative consequences long term. Here is a direct quote from Google’s guidelines,
“Engaging in the practice of buying and selling links can have a long term negative impact on a site’s reputation and rankings.”
Choose a link building company that cares about your online reputation as much as you care about your firm’s reputation.
What are the legal implications of building links in Unethical Manners?
According to the Federal Trade Commissions Guidelines (FTC) on the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising paid links may not be legal.
Specifically, the FTC’s Guideline that says,
“When there exists a connection between the endorser and the seller of the advertised product that might materially affect the weight or credibility of the endorsement (i.e., the connection is not reasonably expected by the audience), such connection must be fully disclosed.”
No matter what the circumstances, if you are paying someone to mention you in a positive manner, then it needs to be disclosed. In the vast majority of cases, paid links are never disclosed to the audience. This means these are lawsuits waiting to happen, similar to how copyright lawsuits are everywhere now. Paid links may end up being the next wave of consumer and corporate lawsuits to stretch across the internet.
Google considers paid links as an endorsement of another website as quoted in their guidelines here,
“Links are usually editorial votes given by choice….”
Since paying for a link removes the editorial vote doing so will put your website’s reputation at risk. From a legal standpoint, as long as the website discloses that they are paid to endorse your website, you will not be in hot water with the law.
What if you sent a gift or did a favor for a website to incentivize them linking to you?
The FTC conveniently has an example of this exact situation…
“A college student who has earned a reputation as a video game expert maintains a personal weblog or “blog”…As it has done in the past, the manufacturer of a newly released video game system sends the student a free copy of the system and asks him to write about it on his blog…
Because his review is disseminated via a form of consumer-generated media in which his relationship to the advertiser is not inherently obvious, readers are unlikely to know that he has received the video game system free of charge in exchange for his review of the product and given the value of the video game system, this fact likely would materially affect the credibility they attach to his endorsement.
Accordingly, the blogger should clearly and conspicuously disclose that he received the gaming system free of charge. The manufacturer should advise him at the time it provides the gaming system that this connection should be disclosed, and it should have procedures in place to try to monitor his postings for compliance.”
As we can see, a situation like this would require the blog to disclose the fact they received a gift to write up a product or service. Meaning if you were to provide a gift in exchange for a link unless the link is disclosed to be not endorsed by the website, this would be an advertising violation.
From a marketing standpoint, Google has guidelines on this too. This is a direct quote from their guidelines,
“Sending someone a “free” product in exchange for them writing it and including a link.”
Google describes this as a link scheme that could negatively impact the rankings of your website on Google.
The biggest challenge in hiring a link building service is trusting them with your websites online reputation.
How do you know they are earning valuable links in an ethical manner?
There was a situation where unfortunate clients were duped by well known “reputable” link building providers. Buzzfeed ran an article on the situation entitled, “Hackers are Breaking Into Websites And Adding Links to Game Google.”
Two well know providers of “relevant links”, DFY Links and Serpninja, were caught redhanded injecting links into hacked websites. These websites were not just any blog on the web neither. Some of the hacked websites included Peter Thiel’s Venture Capital firm, journalists, celebrities, charities, veteran organizations, and even churches.
Now more than ever, the public needs education on ethical link building and how link building companies deceive clients. Continue reading because we detail exactly what to look for when hiring a link building company and how to avoid black hat link building.
“As a Law Firm How Do We Hire an Attorney Link Building Company We Could Trust?”
Search engine optimization is an intangible service with a low barrier of entry which leads to a lot of misleading providers. The best way to combat this is with education and transparency on the reality of a seo campaign.
The best link building campaign is centered around your business and your target audience. Expectations are clearly set at the beginning, and the company is not promising anything unrealistic. For starters, any company that guarantees all of the links will go live is doing a link scheme of some sort. Online publications and reputable websites are real businesses, blogs, media websites, universities, nonprofits, and organizations. These websites have their own publishing schedule and a long list of priorities. Often linking out to another website is at the bottom of the list.
This is why link building takes time, and the role of a link builder is to get these websites to say yes to linking out to your website. From there, it is on the timeline of the external website for when that link goes live.
What about Existing Relationships?
Yes, existing relationships with valuable pages do exist, but they are not what you think. Think about the relationships in your life. How many of them would give you $100 if you asked for it? Probably less than 5%, and one of them would be your Mom.
The situation is the same during a linking strategy. There needs to be something actually valuable to give these existing relationships a reason to link out to your website. The relationship means you are already in the door but now that you are in the door, what do you have to give? Website owners make the mistake of believing link builders that say they have existing relationships and can get your post up on their site. The reality is this situation does not exist unless they are buying links or doing something worse.
Signs a Law Firm Link Building Company is Not Honest
Inventory of Websites to Choose From
One of the telltale signs of dishonesty from a law firm seo company is selling you links from an inventory of sites. Often these websites mention that they have over “35,000 sites to choose from” inside of their “inventory.” Claiming that all of the websites are real and will not put your site at risk. This is not true.
Any company that provides you with an inventory of websites to choose from is misleading law firms. The reason why is every website has to have a reason to link out to your website. There needs to be an angle or excuse for reaching out to them using what is unique about your law firm but beneficial to the website in reaching their ultimate goal. Choosing a website from a list of others and then your link magically appearing there in 30 days is impossible without an angle. This is why an inventory of websites to choose from is too good to be true.
2. The One Size Fits All Approach
As a personal injury attorney, each of your clients has different needs and requires a slightly different approach. In the SEO industry, every client has different needs and requires a slightly different approach too. Companies that provide you with a list of guest posts before learning about your business and target audience may not be selling you the whole truth.
The reason why is true guest posting may not be possible for your business. Unfortunately, dishonest companies sell “guest posting services” that are really paid links. Without understanding your business and your ideal customer, guest posting may not be possible.
3. Focusing on the Links Over Driving Growth for Law Firms
Companies that build links focused on consistently hitting a link quota may not be delivering quality. Many of these companies mean well, but the reality is they do not understand how links convert to the bottom line. Law firms need growth by generating higher quality leads that convert to sales at a high rate. A good link building strategy is going to measure the impact of the links on driving sales while lowering the cost of acquiring a customer.
One of the only ways to drive high-level growth in organic traffic that converts into sales is high-quality links from other websites. Google’s Guidelines say that a link is not only focused on the quantity but, more importantly, the quality. This means large scale guest posting on blogs designed for guest posting is not going to deliver growth in organic traffic and sales. Neither will referring domains from low-quality legal directories, social media sites, or other so-called “high-quality backlinks.”
4. Placing Domain Authority on a Pedestal
Domain authority is not a real ranking factor used by Google. It is an arbitrary metric created by Moz to determine the authority of a website. In no shape or form does this represent the viewpoint of Google on the authority of a website. Credit to Moz, they have done a phenomenal job marketing domain authority as the one size fits all metric when determining the authority of a website. In fact, it could be used as a factor to consider when choosing websites to reach out to during a campaign. Although, we do not focus on it because Google does not focus on it.
Companies that place raising domain authority as the number 1 priority for a search engine may lack the knowledge of how a search engine works. Be careful trusting these companies with your link building. Many of them will sell you links based on a specific domain authority tier. These companies use private blog networks designed to manipulate domain authority to place your links. Once Google or any search engine catches on to these links, it will result in your website being permanently banned from Google.
Examples of a Link Scheme
A link scheme is any link building strategy that manipulates links to your site or outgoing links from your site. This does not mean all link building is bad. Quite the contrary, link building is crucial for promoting real valuable content to the correct targeted audience of other sites.
Here are some examples of link scheme’s that violate Google’s guidelines…
- Free Directories
- New Web Pages or Web 2.0’s
- Guest posts from websites that are designed for guest posting
- Forum commenting
- Blog commenting
- Paid Legal Directories
- Paid Association Links
- Paying other organizations and businesses to link to your law firm’s website
- Paying blogs to link to your law firm’s website
How to Design a Personal Injury Lawyer Link Building Strategy That is Ethical?
Designing a link building strategy for a law firm starts with learning about the law firm. The discovery call is our first step in learning about your law firm. Our goal on the discovery call is to learn everything we can about your law firm to understand:
- Where we can help you
- Who your ideal client or customer is
- What SEO means to you?
- Your previous experience and expectations for SEO companies
- What your biggest challenge is that we could help you solve
The best part of the discovery call is it is free, and our goal is to help law firms overcome their number 1 challenge regardless if they move forward with us or not. We ask law firms questions such as the following…
- What would your company like to achieve?
- What marketing channels are you currently focusing on?
- How are those marketing channels performing for you?
- What is your experience with SEO?
- What does your ideal client look like? How old are they? Where are they located? What are they interested in? Etc.
- What would you like to achieve if we were to work together?
Key Principles of White Hat Link Building for Law Firms
Unlike other personal injury lawyer link building services that only focus on building links for search engines. Our company is focused on earning links from other websites that drive growth for law firms. In order to do this, we need to understand your business and your customer. During our process, we use this information and our internal brand strategy process to figure out what is unique about your business. We use the unique selling proposition to earn links from other websites where your customer spends their attention online.
Focus on Building Links That Align With Your High-Level Law Firm Business Goals
Our focus is to build links that align with your high-level business goals. We focus on what is most important to your law firm. From our experience, businesses want higher quality leads that convert at a high rate, higher quality clients that pay more, and an increase in sales year on year. This is why we focus on earning links from web pages where your customer spends their attention online.
We find that not only are these links highly valuable to search engines and increase organic traffic that converts into sales. Even more, these links may drive targeted referral traffic from the website’s link to your law firm. Your target audience trusts these websites that we are earning links from, which means they trust you. Website traffic referring from trusted websites that have your target audience often turns into sales for your business.
Over time we begin to develop your firm’s brand across the web. We are focusing on earning links from where your customer spends their attention online, and this turns into your firm consistently transferring your message into your ideal customers’ mind. No matter where they are on the web, they see your firm everywhere. Building a brand is one of the best tactics that leads to high-level growth because these customers will know you, like you, and trust you—leading to them searching for your brand when they are in need.
How to Find Your Unique Selling Proposition for your Law Firm to Earn High-Quality Links?
Finding your unique selling proposition is our company’s specialty. Our entire process is centered around figuring this out. What we do is run a brand strategy to learn everything we can about your firm. During this process, we put ourselves in your shoes and love it when you join us in brainstorming.
Asking ourselves questions such as:
- What Is Our Client’s Product Or Service?
- Does Our Client Offer Multiple Products Or Services? If So, What Are Each Of Them?
- What Does Our Client Need To Produce Our Clients’ Products Or Services?
- How Are Our Clients’ Products Or Services Delivered?
- What Are Our Clients’ Products Or Services Made Of? [The answer is, or possibly related, to What Does Our Client Need To Produce Our Clients’ Products Or Services?]
- Does Our Client Employ Other Businesses’ Services To Make Our Clients’ Products Or Services?
- What Other Products or Services Would Our Clients’ Customers Purchase?
- Who Profits When Our Client Profits?
Using the answers to all of this information, as well as considerably more questions that we ask about your business, service, and client, we create a unique selling proposition. The USP or unique selling proposition is what we have that is unique to your firm that we could use to help other businesses, brands, media websites, universities, blogs, or nonprofits reach their ultimate goal.
For more information check our process page on how to build links for SEO.
Which Attorney Link Building Tactics to Focus On?
Once we understand your company, client and have a USP, how do we decide which link building tactics to focus on? The answer starts with asking ourselves one question.
Where does your customer spend their attention online?
Our goal is to figure out which types of websites does your customer spend their attention on online. These could be specific types of media websites, organizations, nonprofits, authority blogs, and other websites. From here, we figure out what is the ultimate goal of that specific website and how could we help them using our USP. Here is an example of a scenario:
Perhaps we found that your potential clients frequent hospitals often. After we dive deep through the hospital websites, we find they are consistently linking out to legal guidelines on getting into a car accident. In this case, if your law firm specializes in car accident law, we could create an article entitled “The Legal Guidelines of Car Accidents” because your firm specializes in car accident law. Then we reach out to them, mentioning their previous legal guidelines are outdated and contain broken links. However, we created legal guidelines to help patients that were recently in car accidents and mentioned they could link to ours as a replacement. Then the hospitals replace the broken links with your guidelines page, and you earn links. These links serve as a resource for the patients and are recommending in the hospital for patients that have been in a car accident. As a result, organic traffic grows, and referral traffic from patients that were in a car accident turning into massive growth of sales over time.