What Are Backlinks?

Most everyone who’s searched for information online is familiar with links that are often inserted into the content they read. However, internet users who’ve dabbled a bit more into search engine optimization (SEO) are likely familiar with the concepts of internal links and external links. They might have even heard the terminology “backlinks” thrown about.

If you’ve heard these terms utilized, then you may have a basic understanding of how they can positively impact ranking but not have a clear perspective on how or why that’s the case. Below, we’ll provide you with a primer on what backlinks are and how they’re critical in gaining visibility for your law firm’s website.

Understanding the Difference Between Internal and External Links and Backlinks

While internal links aren’t the focus of this page, it’s important to describe how they contrast with external links. Internal links direct your law firm website’s readers to other related content for further reading within the same site, such as a “contact us” or practice area pages.

External links often get confused for backlinks, but they’re not the same. An external link refers to a link on your website that directs your website visitors to other sites other than your own. In contrast, a backlink is a link another website places on one of its web pages that links its readers back to your site.

What Types of Websites Can Be Linked to With Backlinks?

A writer for another website, such as a law firm-sponsored Little League team, could plausibly consider linking to your “about us” or perhaps your practice area pages or blog if they wanted to. That same sports team could additionally choose to link to any other type of content housed on your site or the internet, including:

  • Websites or web directories
  • Blogs
  • PDF documents housed in virtual storage spaces

While many authors aren’t very selective as to whether the content they link to is housed on a domain ending in .com, .gov, .edu, .org, or something else, it is important. It can affect the domain authority, impacting both sites’ rankings.

The potential for a site like this to link to a .com may be unavoidable in your case, as many law firms have a .com suffix at the end of their URL. In that case, the quality of your legal marketing content matters. It can improve how search engines view its authoritativeness.

Know That External Links Aren’t Created Equally

To illustrate the point above with more tangible examples, take attorney websites with the following specialties who choose to insert an external link to the following in their web content:

  • Bankruptcy law: A credit repair company or a lender offering loans to sub-prime borrowers.
  • Family law: A do-it-yourself (DIY) county divorce forms company.

The issue with linking, as described in the two examples above, is that you would likely be generating traffic to commercial sites that could take would-be clients away from you. Also, there’s the potential that the sources you would be providing referral links to wouldn’t be authoritative. There’s the prospect that they might be engaging in false advertising simply to get a click or land a sale instead of serving as an authoritative source of valuable information.

Using the example above, it would be far better in those scenarios to link to the following types of content:

  • Bankruptcy law: The United States Bankruptcy Court website in your district where they share details about alternatives to bankruptcy or rebuilding your credit post-bankruptcy.
  • Family law: The local county court website that outlines details about the divorce filing and adjudication process.

As you can see, the links suggested above were both to government agencies, which search engines like Google tend to view as authoritative websites.

The fewer sales-y types of .com links and the more authoritative ones published by non-profits, court systems, municipal, state, or federal government departments, and institutions of higher education (.org, .gov, or .edu domains), the better it will help both parties’ sites.

More Advanced Backlinking Tactics To Know About

When it comes to backlinking, there’s little incentive from government agencies’, business owners’, and others’ perspectives to link to a law firm’s website. After all, they don’t want to show impartiality to a specific attorney, funneling business to them without anything in return, or to appear to encourage litigation.

However, in our experience as a legal marketing firm, different entities are often more than willing to link to your site if there’s something in it for them, say, like a valuable link in return (a backlink). That’s where our legal marketing team comes in.

How GAVL Helps You Acquire Backlinks to Your Law Firm Website

Reaching out to companies that may not be familiar with you but that you may want to align with to advance the ranking of your website can be a tedious task. It starts where you have to identify companies that have a target audience you want to reach and content that you think may prove valuable to them. After that, you must identify the gatekeeper and their contact information to remit correspondence. As you might imagine, business owners and others are often quite busy and may not prioritize your communication as much as you would like.

Our GAVL team is well-versed in identifying backlink opportunities for law firms and communicating with relevant parties regarding them. We are eager to discuss with you a potential backlink strategy that could help expand your law firm’s reach. Get in touch to schedule a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you.