Part 2: Building Your Online Authority With An Effective Linking Strategy
In the first Building Your Online Authority post, we discussed the importance of quality informative content on every page of your website. Of equal importance to your site’s success is a linking strategy.
The links that point to your website—and the sites you link out to—say a lot to the search engines about your site’s reputation. And while you don’t always have complete control over which sites link to yours, there are steps to ensure that any incoming or outgoing links on your site benefit your online authority and help boost visibility to search engines.
Designing an Effective Linking Strategy
The first step in building your linking strategy is to establish as many quality incoming links as you can. To start, your web address should be in the information you provide to all your bar associations, alumni groups and other organizations that maintain an online directory. If you or your firm is in Super Lawyers, U.S. News – Best Lawyers Best Law Firms or other industry-related directories, be sure they have your web address to include in your listing.
Links from these types of reputable sites register as a sort of professional “like” to search engines and gives your website credibility that can help place you above your competitors in the search results.
Outgoing links are a little different. First, you want to be pretty selective about which sites you link to from yours. There was a time when sites used to have “Helpful Links” pages on their sites that linked out to local statutes sites, non-legal service sites related to their practice areas or even competing law firms. Over time, however, these types of pages proved to have little impact on a site’s performance.
If you are going to link out to other sites, make sure that you are linking to valuable information—ideally information related to your firm’s areas of expertise. Search engines have gotten extremely adept at identifying quality versus non-quality links. More quality links from your site to valuable information can help improve your site’s credibility.
One important note on outgoing links: if you plan to link out to other sites, code the links to open in a new window. From a marketing perspective, you don’t ever want to provide a link that allows a user to leave your site completely. By coding links to open in a new window, the user is more likely to revisit your site before closing out of the browser.
A Good Linking Strategy Requires Ongoing Attention
Like your website content, the best linking strategies are continually updated with current information. While no harm is likely to come to your search rankings due to outdated links, your online authority can only improve if you actively seek out and link to the most current and informative content.
There is a lot more for you to consider in the optimization of your website. Learn more about building a comprehensive SEO strategy with a free download of our SEO playbook, “Rise Above the Rest: The Key Ingredients to SEO Success for Law Firms” [Link Pending].