In part 1 of our advanced guide to free SEO, we explained how you can optimize your law firm’s website using free on-page techniques. Now, we will focus on off-page optimization methods that will drive traffic to your website. Continue reading to find out how you can improve your website metrics without spending any money.
Start building backlinks
When you finish the keyword research and create some engaging content targeting specific keywords, according to the guidelines provided in part 1 of our advanced guide to free SEO, you need to start promoting your legal practice on the Internet.
One of the best ways to increase your Google ranking is through the practice of backlinking. Backlinking is when another website links to your website. An easy way to do that is by guest posting and creating content for other websites.
While you might be thinking that it’s better for you to focus on publishing articles on your own website, that’s not always the case. Backlinks can drive significant traffic to your law firm’s website.
Inbound links are essential for ranking in the search engines. Google algorithms consider links on other websites pointing to you as a certain vote of confidence. In the eyes of Google, an inbound link to your website means that the linking website considers you as a valuable source of information.
The more inbound links you have to you law firm’s website, the higher your ranking will be in the search engine results.
However, you must bear in mind that not all backlinks are the same.
Due to the widespread abuse of backlinks, Google had to develop its Panda and Penguin algorithms to solve the issue of spammy links. After their introduction, Google started differentiating between “dofollow” and “nofollow” links. The “nofollow” links allow pages to link to your page, but without giving you any of the “juice” that makes you an authority in Google.
Nowadays, the algorithms only consider dofollow links when they’re determining your site’s ranking and ignore the nofollow links.
Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean that you should only be looking to build dofollow links. A high proportion of dofollow links are unnatural and it can occasionally negatively affect your ranking. That is why it’s important to build both dofollow and nofollow backlinks. Google does value nofollow links, albeit not as much as dofollows. Although there’s no specific ratio of links that you should be trying to attain, you shouldn’t be worried if you have a lot of nofollow links.
Now, you might be wondering: how do I know if a link is dofollow or nofollow?
That’s a complicated matter and it probably deserves an article of its own, but here are two simple methods that you can use to determine the nature of your backlinks.
Use a software solution
This is the easiest and most precise way to analyze your links. With these software solutions, you can simply enter your website information and the program will do everything for you. After that, you’ll just need to go through their comprehensive report.
Inspect the code manually
If you prefer to do everything on your own, you can examine each link in the code of the linking page. You can do that by opening the desired page and using the Inspect Element option (Ctrl + Shift + C).
Once the browser opens the code, you should scroll through it and look for the part of text that contains the link. It’s easy to get lost in the code, so you need to pay special attention to this.
When you find the link, you’ll notice that it contains various attributes. You can disregard most of them. You just need to see if the link contains a part of text that looks something like this: “rel=”nofollow””. If yes, the link is nofollow. If not, the link is dofollow.
As you may imagine, this method requires time and it can be very tiresome. Especially if you have a lot of backlinks. That’s why it usually isn’t worth it to check every link and page manually.
What’s more, if you’re looking to build backlinks, you’ll have to inspect each website that you may want to use to publish your content and link back to you. This will take even more of your time.
If you don’t have time to write content for other websites and spend all that effort to find out if their links are dofollow or not, you can exchange links with other sites. This is usually done in a separate website section called Partners, Sponsors or Friends, which lists out various websites and links to them.
This method is relatively simple. You just need to find niche websites (preferably, outside of your target area) and contact their webmaster with a proposal. Although most newly created websites will accept the link exchange, you should know that you could get rejected. If you have a good relationship with other lawyers outside of your practice area, they would be a good place to start.
Of course, you can reach out to more established brands and sites as well, but they’ll rarely accept the proposal. They probably rank well for their target keywords and they’re not looking to boost the ranking of their lower ranking competitors (you).
However, even if someone accepts your proposal, you should always be careful. Check their website regularly to see if the link is active. Companies often place your link in exchange for a link on your site, but then remove it after a certain period. If or when that happens, you’re basically giving them free marketing, for nothing in return.
None of the previously mentioned steps will do you any good, unless you carefully measure and monitor the analytics. In other words, you need to be checking your law firm’s website’s performance on a regular basis.
In our previous article, we mentioned that SEO is an ongoing process. This means that you need to follow your metrics and adjust your strategy on the go. What’s more, it means that you should repeat all these steps as often as you can to find out what works and what doesn’t work.
If you notice that a specific strategy is yielding great results, focus more on it. Similarly, if a method isn’t getting you any results, give up on it and start looking for alternatives.
You need to work on your SEO strategies continuously. That is the only way for your firm’s website to keep growing.
Our advanced guide to free SEO explained what you can do to optimize your firm’s website with no investments. However, if you want to achieve the optimal results and grow your company more quickly, you’ll need to invest in some paid marketing techniques as well.
Check back on our blog next week, when we will deal with the paid marketing techniques and explain how you can get the best ROI (return on investment) with search engine optimization.