You know the importance of building a strong linking profile, but there’s more than just link quality that matters. You also need to think about link location. If you get a link to your Chicago law firm from a quality, industry-specific website located in California, you are not going to get targeted traffic from that link. Array Digital can assist with local link building which packs a powerful punch. Contact us to learn more about implementing this strategy to improve your local SEO efforts.
Link building refers to getting backlinks from other websites to your website. These backlinks should be industry-specific links. This strategy helps boost your SEO by showing the search engines that your website is valid and worth ranking well.
Local link building refers to building backlinks that have a local SEO focus. Not only do you look for links that are specific to your industry, but also that are specific to your local search area.
By focusing on local link building, you can drive targeted search engine traffic to your law firm’s website. This strategy is more effective than general link building because it focuses on reaching the people you can actually serve with your law practice. Thus, it is an effective and valuable part of your overall search engine optimization strategy.
Local links are vital to effective local SEO, but they do not happen by accident. You need a plan to ensure that you create links that work for your efforts. So how can you go about building these local links to improve your digital marketing efforts? There are multiple ways to do so, and using each of these strategies will help you get backlinks that improve your ranking factors for local search terms. Here are the strategies to employ.
When answering local search queries, Google wants to see a site that sends many signals that it is relevant to your local market. Local content is part of that. When you have content that talks about your town or the towns you serve, that impresses the search engines.
You should have local content on your main web pages, but you can also have this as part of your blogging strategy. Does your local community have a festival coming up in the near future? Build a blog post around it. Do you have a favorite local business you want your clients to support? Write up a review.
Even on posts that are not about events or local businesses, use local content where you can by talking about landmarks or items specific to the community. Keep the content on your blog as local as possible, and other business owners in your area are going to be more likely to link to that piece of content.
If content creation is difficult for you, consider hiring this service out to a professional writer. If you work with a skilled SEO team, like the team at Array Digital, content creation is likely part of the services they offer. Do not neglect content if it is something that challenges you, because you have many options to get that content written outside of your own efforts.
Next, build a list of websites where you can add local citations. These are any places online where you can list your law firm’s name, address, and phone number (NAP). These can show up in many places, and you need to create a list of where you might find them. Some places to look include:
Brainstorm the different types of citations available to make a list, and then start adding your contact information to those sites.
Keep in mind that there are two different types of citations. A structured citation is one that has the name, address, and phone number of the business. These citations are found in the directory and social media profile listings.
Unstructured citations are mentions of your business in a context, like on a list of the “best law firms” in the community. These show up as forum posts and blog posts, most often.
Both structured and unstructured citations help your local linking profile if they include links. Try to build both types, but remember that structured are the type you have the most control over as you build your links.
To get listed on the structured citations, you can use data aggregators. These companies collect business information and distribute it to the various local citation options. According to ahrefs.com, the three data aggregators that serve the United States are:
Get listed with these, which is free to do with the first two and costs a small amount with Factual, and your site will get listed on many of the local citation options. Using these tools could save you time as you build your link profile.
Another way to get local inbound links is with guest posts on local blogs from influencers and local businesses. If you know of local websites that rank well, reach out and ask if you can blog on a legal topic for them. Many are in need of content to help their own ranking, and if your topic is relevant to their target audience, they will be happy to post it.
Sometimes you have to get creative in the subject matter because it should relate to both your business and the page where you guest blog. Brainstorm topics that the blog’s target audience would want to read, then pitch the idea to the blog’s owner. The more helpful the blog post is, the more likely it will be that the website will be willing to post your blog and your link.
When you get the opportunity to guest blog, make sure you make it a linking opportunity. You can ask for a link back to your website in your bio or somewhere in the blog post, and that can serve as a local linking opportunity.
When Google sees that local bloggers have links to your website, they reward you with a better rank for local search terms. Be willing to return the favor by allowing guests posts from non-competitors in your local market.
Guest blogging also benefits you by boosting your overall branding in the local community as a content area expert. When potential clients see your name frequently on blog posts in your legal area, even when they are browsing other local business sites, they start to trust you. When they need legal help, they will come to your firm to get it.
If you are not interested in guest blogging, or if you need more links than you can get with a guest blogging strategy alone, you can simply swap links with local businesses in your area. Many will be willing to link to you if you link to them, and this can help you build local backlinks quickly. Remember, they need the links just like you do, so this is a mutually beneficial arrangement. Keep in mind that these local sites should not be in the legal industry, because that makes them competitors, but should be in complementary areas of business.
This local link-building tactic is easy to implement if you have a “recommended businesses” page on your website. When you find a local website that is potentially a quality link opportunity, you can simply offer to swap links. If they are willing, you can quickly add their link to that page, and you both benefit.
Keep in mind that these links to your local business partners should not be on your homepage, as you want that page to focus entirely on your business and its services. Also, make sure that the websites you partner with are not spammy but are actually beneficial to your website and its readers.
If your local community has a chamber of commerce website, make sure your business gets listed. You may have to join the chamber of commerce, but this is a valuable thing to do because a business website link on the chamber of commerce page has a lot of value in local search rankings.
This link is also helpful in gaining clients because the chamber of commerce may be one of the first places people look when they need a local lawyer to help with a legal need.
While general business directories are helpful, make sure you also look for all of the local directories that may not be using the aggregators. These have less impact on local rankings than other options, but they are a good idea and do not hurt your overall local SEO strategy. Also, like the chamber of commerce page, local business directories are often the first place people look when shopping for a lawyer. Keep in mind that you want to look for high-quality directories, not those with spam content, to improve your overall branding.
Find ways to be active in your local community. Not only does this get your name and image out there for people to see, but it also gives you opportunities to potentially get organic links on local sites.
For example, if a charity event occurs, and you decide to attend or even sponsor it, you might get a backlink when the charity writes about the event on their own web pages. You will also get in front of your local audience out in the community, which may not have a direct impact on your link-building campaign, but will have a direct impact on your overall branding goals.
If you have not already done so, now is the time to claim your Google Business Profile listing (GBP). This listing gets you a backlink with Google, and you already know how important Google search is to your overall SEO strategy. It is also free to claim, so you have no reason to ignore it.
If you claim your GMB listing, you also improve your chances of getting the coveted placement in the three-pack, which has one of the highest values of your local link-building strategy and overall SEO. Make sure your NAP is accurate in the GMB listing and matches your listings on other pages, so your link profile is consistent.
Claiming your Google My Business listing is tedious, but important. Sign in to your Google account on Google Maps, and search your address in the search bar. Then, click “Add your business.” Follow the instructions to add your business.
Once you have done so, list as much information as you can on the page. Add photos of your product, storefront, or service. Give as much information as possible to ensure the listing is complete.
Before your listing is live, Google will ask you to verify it. Verification is usually done through a postcard that has a verification code sent to your business address. You may have the option to do the verification via phone or email. Either way, make sure you do the verification process because, without it, your listing will not go live.
Press releases with your local newspaper are another way to build backlinks and potentially conversions. Whenever something new happens with your firm, such as bringing on a new associate or closing a big case, type up a press release and submit it to the local news sites. They may not choose to put it in their print newspaper, but they will often put it up online. You then can weave in the link to the press release and your “about” section, and that gives you another way to show the Google algorithms that your firm is valid for your local community.
Once you have your press release written, submit it to as many places as you can. If your community has more than one local news source, then use them all. Make sure the press release is newsworthy, but make the most out of it once you have it written.
Even if you cannot attend local events, you can build links by sponsoring local businesses or charities. Giving a donation to a local small business startup or a charitable local organization is a way to give back to your local community, and they will usually thank you with a link on their page. Similarly, a town sports team that you sponsor may create a linking opportunity on the league’s website. Local sponsorships help brand you as a helpful business and also give you backlink opportunities with a strong local focus.
You can also add to your local link profile by asking your clients to review your firm on local review websites. The key here is to look for local review sites that have high domain authority, and then ask your clients to visit those sites and leave their reviews.
Reviews are a great way to get a referral. They help build trust. They also can help with your local SEO if you find local review sites, so take advantage of these when you can find them.
If you cannot find local review sites, do not neglect the national sites like Yelp, as these can still impact your local ranking since they give you a place to leave your NAP.
How can you encourage your satisfied clients to leave a review? First, you need to ask. At your exit meeting, ask them if they would be willing to leave a review. Send a postcard with a QR code that links to your chosen review site. Email them and request a review with a link to the site you want to have them add their review.
You can send all of your local links to your home page, but this has less of an impact on your local SEO than having specific, geo-targeted landing pages that you use instead. Build a local landing page that is geo-targeted, and then strategically link to the appropriate page with your local SEO efforts.
On that landing page, use title tags and meta descriptions to add your geographic keywords. This action will further improve your ranking in the SERPs as you show exactly what area your page targets.
If you serve multiple communities, consider having multiple landing pages unique to each market. These pages will give you multiple places to backlink to on your site, and you can target more than one location as you build your local link profile.
Learn to use analytics to ensure everything is working for you, and not against you. Your backlink profile is a good place to start. First, make sure your name, address, and phone number are accurate on all of your local listings and links. If you see any errors, fix them. This data is important to the search engines for showing consistency and your local location.
Next, evaluate the quality of the links. You will have better overall outreach if you have high-quality links, and your ranking will suffer if you have several low-quality links that link to your site.
To know if links are quality links, you need to look for three factors that make up the acronym EAT. These are expertise, authority, and trust. While EAT is not an algorithm, it is a good indicator of whether or not a site will rank well and have good domain authority. If it has all three aspects of EAT, it represents a good linking opportunity for your business.
Does the site build your expertise profile? Is the site a trusted expert in its field? If so, then it meets this factor well. If a site has expertise, then it has a good skill set or knowledge in its field.
Authority is similar to expertise, but it is slightly different. Authority is measured based on backlinks and mentions of the site, each of which serves as a vote for that site as valid and trusted. A site with good authority in the eyes of Google is a valuable link for your website.
Finally, you want to get links from sites that Google deems trustworthy. Signs that indicate a site is trustworthy include having a large number of organic reviews, easy contact information, an actual physical location, terms and conditions, and a secure HTTPS domain. Content that is relevant to the site’s topic is another way it can establish credibility.
So how can you know how your local link profile is working? You can use Moz’s Open Site Explorer or Majestic SEO to see your backlink profile, then use the analytics provided through these tools to analyze that profile. Remember, the total number of links is far less important than the quality of those links.
In addition to the linking quality, check the linking domains. Linking domains are the individual websites that link to yours. You want it to be a fairly even ratio because Google gives little value to having the same site link to yours multiple times. In fact, this metric could hurt your local link profile because Google could view it as a red flag that you are trying to work the system.
Once you learn how to monitor your link profile, check it regularly. You want to make sure that you have not received any no-follow links on the list, and clean them up if you find them. Websites, including those that link to you, change regularly, so make sure you keep an eye on your link profile.
Local listings and links can be challenging to build, and sometimes you need professional help to do it well. Array Digital is here to provide that. Because we focus our SEO work on law firms entirely, you can trust that we know what your firm needs to do to find success in the crazy world of search engine optimization.
If you are struggling to create a local link profile that works for you, our team at Array Digital has a dedicated department of SEO experts who understand local linking and its impact on your overall SEO plan. We also have unique insight into how SEO works for law firms specifically and what you need to do to reach your target audience.
We will come alongside you to help you build quality local links that will point to your business website. We will aid with the creation of geographic-specific landing pages that will make those backlinks more effective. We take on the hard work for you, freeing you to focus on serving your clients more effectively.
At Array Digital, we do not just build your link profile and leave you to figure out the rest. Analytics and link profile evaluation are big parts of our service. We will ensure you are doing a good job of targeting local links by providing the analytics you need and tweaking your link profile as needed to make it as effective as possible.
When you partner with Array Digital for your online SEO optimization and link building, you work with a team of true experts. We are passionate about helping you find online marketing success, and our team is ready to launch your success in the online marketing world.
Local link building is challenging, and we are here to help you make it effective. To request a free consultation today, call 757.333.3021 or complete the online contact form to speak with an experienced digital marketing expert at Array Digital today!