The value of link building for lawyers is greatly debated and in many markets you may not need them anymore.
However that is not always the case, especially when it comes to entity building. So…
If your Law Firm SEO provider tells you that links are not important, or that “link building is dead” what they really mean is that building links is too hard, and you should fire them. A strong link profile will help you beat your competitors in the local pack and in organic results.
Below, you will find a whole bunch of law firm-specific link building strategies. Rest assured, these are all strategies that myself or someone I know has executed with success.
Have fun building links! This list has been updated for 2023 with new tactics and revised strategies.
Legal Directory Link Building
Note: These will tend to be the lowest value links, because, for the most part, any one can get them but it’s still a popular link building for law firms tactic.
Free Directories (you need to be on all these)
1. Lawyers.Justia.com | Get the link
Justia is a big lawyer directory site. Every attorney can claim/create a profile on this site. Each profile comes with two (2) followed links (website, blog). Here’s a look at how to optimize your Justia profile.
2. Lawyers.FindLaw.com | Get the link
The best I can tell, unless you want to pay for a listing with FindLaw, you need to wait for them to add your law firm to their directory, at which time you can claim and update it. If you know something I don’t, we’d love to hear it in the comments.
3. Avvo.com | Get the link
We think claiming and optimizing your Avvo profile is well worth it. If you need help getting your score up, read this.
Note: Avvo may have already created a listing for you, in which case you won’t need to use the link provided above. To find out whether they have, search this in Google: site:avvo.com “your name”
4. Thumbtack.com | Get the link
This site is not specific to attorneys, but it sure does rank well for a lot of attorney keywords.
5. Yelp.com | Get the link
Same as Thumbtack; not specific to attorneys, but it sure does rank well for a lot of local attorney keywords.
6. Hg.org | Get the link
HG.org offers free, basic profiles for attorneys. The links are “nofollow”, but the site gets a fair amount of traffic, so there is no reason not to be listed.
Note: In addition to these, your firm should also be listed on all of the major internet yellow pages. Read Casey’s post on the best citations for attorneys.
7. LawyersandSettlements.com | Get The Link
SEMRush estimates this website gets about 10,000 visits a month. Not only can you get a good link, but potential clients might find you here and contact you as well.
8. LawGuru.com | Get The Link
Law Guru is an attorney network where potential clients can ask legal questions. They also have a directory that you can sign up for.
Paid Legal Directories
1. Lawyers.com | Get the link
Lawyers.com ranks really well for a lot of high value keywords. But is advertising on Lawyers.com worth it? Read that article and decide for yourself. Link building for attorneys commonly involves getting listed in different directories.
2. Nolo.com | Get the link
Nolo.com gets a TON of traffic (over 3 million unique visitors in February 2015). Truth be told, I have no experience advertising with them, so I have no data in terms of what you can expect in the way of direct traffic and leads, or what you’ll pay. But, the site has a Moz domain authority of 84, so it’s an authoritative legal site.
3. Superlawyers.com | Get the link
As far as I can tell, there are two ways to get onto SuperLawyers.com; the first is to go through their nomination process and actually be selected as a “Super Lawyer”. Here are the details of their selection process. The other is to just pay for an ad on their directory. Here are the different online profile options.
Update: You cannot just pay for a listing on Superlawyers.com. You must go through the nomination process and be selected to the SuperLawyers or Rising Stars list. Thanks to Ruben Pope from Kemp, Ruge and Green for the tip.
Note: FindLaw.com, Avvo.com, Hg.org, and Justia.com all have paid listings as well. We have left them out of the “Paid Directories” list because you can get a link from them for free. Keep in mind that there are also plenty of nomination directories where you can get a profile like on BestLawyers.com.
There are a whole heap of other lawyer directories where you can get links. However, most of them really won’t move the needle, in terms of link authority or referral traffic, like the ones listed above. At any rate, here is a big ‘ol list of those directories.
Relationship-Based Link Building
We’ve covered legal directories, which are low cost and (relatively) low impact links. Now let’s dive into the ways that attorneys can leverage their existing relationships to build links.
Ask your friends for links
Do you have any friends who are also lawyers who have a website? Figure out a natural, mutually beneficial linking relationship with them.
For example, you could write an article for a friend which lends your unique perspective to an issue that her clients might have. If your friend is a personal injury attorney, and you are a tax attorney, you could write her a post on how personal injury settlements are taxed in her state.
Do something valuable for your law school
You are a successful alumnus, The odds are that your law school would love to publish an article from you on their website or blog wherein you give advice to graduating students, or simply reflect on how your education prepared you to develop your successful law practice. Reach out to your law school and figure out how you can do something valuable for them.
Help young lawyers and law students
Young lawyers and law students are all over the web. Find them and offer to help them with anything you can. These are the current and future publishers in your niche; make friends with them and links will follow.
Start a Meetup group
Attorneys have valuable knowledge that others could benefit from. Start a Meetup group on a topic that you are passionate about and hold at least one event every month. Then, follow this guide for ensuring that those efforts turn into links for your website.
Comment on legal blogs
This should really be a part of a larger online networking strategy rather than just a way to earn one-off links. At any rate, engaging with other legal bloggers by commenting on their work is a great way to build links quickly – by dropping your website or blog URL in the appropriate field – and to generate higher quality links over time.
Philanthropic Link Building
Host a Free Cab Ride Program
Holidays are a great time to get exposure to your website. Not only are most news websites writing about holiday activities, they are looking for community-centric events to promote. This generally means you will get free PR. One way we help our clients is by hosting free cab ride programs in a city.
To do this, start with a reasonable budget for your law firm. It could be as little as $1,000. Then you can create a page on your website dedicated to this program.
Once the page is up along with the reimbursement instructions you can promote the event by pitching it to news organizations, your local chamber of commerce, or other hyperlocal websites.
Donate time and/or money to a local cause you believe in
Most non-profits and charitable organizations have websites, and would be happy to throw your firm’s logo and link up on it in exchange for things like volunteering, pro-bono work, or a donation to their upcoming event.
Pro-Tip: Meetup.com is an authority site, and most groups on Meetup accept sponsorships from local businesses. These links are great for a few reasons:
Here is an example of a Meetup group that accepted a sponsorship from one of our clients.
*Disclaimer: Technically, these would be considered paid links. Proceed with caution. I suggest asking the organization to use a nofollow tag on the link.
Create a Scholarship Contest in your Firm’s Name
Everyone and their mother does this, so truly valuable links are becoming harder to come by. However, there are creative ways to execute a scholarship contest that can generate impactful links.
For example, this lawyer offered up a scholarship to students who were willing to admit their drunk driving habit. The contest got picked up and linked to by the Wall Street Journal, The Denver Post, Above the Law, among others.
If you want more relevant and niche related links consider, creating a law student specific scholarship and pitching law schools to post this on their outside scholarship pages. For personal injury attorneys you could also consider a similar approach with medical schools as well.
Content-Based Link Building
Give away your secrets on legal business blogs
There are so many great blogs composed of communities of attorneys sharing tips and stories to help their fellow lawyers run a more successful practice. Here are a few that come to mind:
- Lawyernomics.Avvo.com [No longer valid as Martindale purchased Avvo and moved this to thier main blog]
Reach out to the editors at these blogs and tell them how your insight can help their readers. Maybe you have tips related to actually practicing law, like how you prepare for trial. Or maybe you have advice on limiting distractions in your workplace. As long as it’s valuable, offer to share it with their audience and they will love you for it.
Answer Legal Questions on Forums
Forum spam has a long history with SEOs. For years, spammy link builders nuked forums in every corner of the web with spam accounts and spun comments. But there is a way to leverage forums for links that adds real value. In fact, we have outlined our process for doing so here.
Do something weird
This lawyer created a Super Bowl ad which includes quotes from the bible, a flaming graveyard, and heavy metal, and also got links from dozens from online publications like Time.com and People.com.
In a more extreme example, this lawyer recently made headlines by placing stickers on store fronts in Austin, Texas which read: “Exclusively for white people. Maximum of 5 colored customers, colored BOH (Back of House) staff accepted.” The lawyer said he was trying promote the issue of gentrification in East Austin.
Use custom and quality images
Bloggers like to find quality images to use in their posts. By always using quality, custom images on your website’s pages, and optimizing them for relevant search terms, overtime they will be found and used by legal publishers. Because legal publishers are hyper-aware of usage rights, they will often add an attribution link to your source image, which should be hosted on your domain, resulting in a link to your site.
You can take this a step further and use a tool like TinyEye to find where your images are being used, and then reach out to the publishers to ask that they add a link to your source image as attribution.
This lawyer used high quality images on his drug law pages, and has since gained links from several sites including vice.com.
Optimize for “research keywords”
We often observe that lawyers are hesitant to create content optimized for anything but “head terms” (eg. “Denver Personal Injury Lawyer”). While it’s important to optimize for these terms, it’s also important to have content optimized for what we refer to as “research keywords”.
As an example, if you specialize in drug crime defense in New York, you should have articles which address topics like “New York Marijuana Laws”. By doing so, the hope is that publishers who are researching this topic will find your article and link to you from their content.
Giveaways on your website
I suggest using this method as a way to diversify your link profile. Come up with an offer that requires an entry such as a $250 gas card or a shopping spree in your town. You can then submit the giveaway deals to local giveaway websites. In San Francisco, SF Fun Cheap is an example of this.
With a small promotion and a little bit of outreach, you will find your firm with more links.
Potential benefits of building links
Link building is an important aspect of search engine optimization (SEO) for law firms. It involves acquiring hyperlinks from other websites to your own, and can be a powerful way to improve your website’s ranking in the search results. There are several benefits to link building for law firms, including:
- Increased visibility: By acquiring backlinks from high-quality websites, you can increase the visibility of your law firm in the search results. This can help attract more visitors to your website and potentially lead to more clients.
- Improved domain authority: Domain authority is a metric used by search engines to rank websites. It is based on a number of factors, including the quantity and quality of backlinks to your website. By building high-quality backlinks, you can improve your domain authority and potentially rank higher in the search results.
- Enhanced credibility: When other websites link to your law firm’s website, it can be seen as a vote of confidence in the quality of your content and services. This can help enhance the credibility of your law firm in the eyes of potential clients.
- Greater reach: By acquiring backlinks from websites with a large number of users, you can increase the reach of your law firm. This can help you attract more potential clients from a wider variety of sources.
Make sure to follow Google’s guidelines!
Attorney link building is an important aspect of search engine optimization (SEO) for attorneys. It helps to improve the ranking of their website in search engine results pages (SERPs), which can lead to more visibility and potentially more clients. However, attorneys need to be careful about their link building efforts, as there are certain guidelines and best practices that must be followed in order to avoid any negative consequences.
One of the first things attorneys should consider when it comes to link building is the quality of the links they are acquiring. Links from high-quality websites, such as universities and government institutions, are typically more valuable than links from lower-quality websites. This is because search engines, like Google, use algorithms to determine the ranking of a website, and high-quality links are seen as a vote of confidence in the credibility and authority of a website.
Another factor to consider is the relevance of the links. Attorneys should aim to acquire links from websites that are related to their practice area and target audience. For example, a criminal defense attorney may want to acquire links from websites that cover legal news and issues related to criminal law. This helps to show search engines that the attorney’s website is a relevant resource for information on these topics.
It is also important for attorneys to be cautious about the anchor text of their links. Anchor text is the visible, clickable text in a hyperlink. It is used by search engines to understand the context of a link and the content of the linked webpage. Attorneys should avoid using anchor text that is overly promotional or spammy, as this can be seen as manipulation and may result in negative consequences from search engines.
Guest posting is another link building strategy that can be effective for attorneys. This involves writing articles or blog posts for other websites and including a link back to their own website in the author bio or the body of the article. However, attorneys should be selective about the websites they guest post on and ensure that the website is reputable and relevant to their practice area.
In addition to these considerations, attorneys should also be aware of the potential risks associated with link building. Acquiring low-quality or spammy links can result in a penalty from search engines, which can negatively impact the ranking of their website. It is important for attorneys to be transparent in their link building efforts and avoid any tactics that could be perceived as deceptive or manipulative.
Overall, link building is an important aspect of SEO for attorneys, but it is essential to approach it with caution and adhere to best practices in order to avoid any negative consequences. Avoid any black hat law firm website link schemes. By following these guidelines, attorneys can effectively improve the ranking of their website and reach their target audience.
What’d we miss?
If you have additional link building tactics for law firm websites that we’ve missed here, we hope you’ll drop them in the comments below. If your tactic is good enough, we’ll add it into the post!
At Juris Digital we can help your firm make more money by signing more of the better cases but we won’t engage a client for only attorney link building services as these goals are typically misaligned with desired outcomes 🙂
Last Updated: 05/26/23 by Casey Meraz