Building Boomerangs: How to Build Backlinks to Your Website
Date: August 17, 2021
What are backlinks? Think of them like digital boomerangs that send readers from someone else’s site to yours.
How Backlinks Can Help Your Business’s Website Rank Higher
The search engine optimization version of a positive customer review, backlinks are one site’s way of telling search engines that they affirm the content on your site. The more authoritative and respected the referring site is, the bigger the boomerang effect on your site’s credibility with search engines.
And the more credibility your site has with search engines, the more likely you are to find the gold at the end of the SEO rainbow: a high search engine results page (SERP) ranking.
Fakers Going to Fake, Fake, Fake, Fake, Fake
Because everyone is trying to get backlinks all the time, a black market has sprung up around the process. This can lead to inferior, artificial links known as unnatural backlinks, which happen when:
- A site pays someone else to link back to them
- A site sends free products or provides free services in exchange for a backlink (think bloggers and influencers)
- Two sites agree to exchange backlinks (AKA reciprocal backlinks) with each other repeatedly or engage in a long list of “link for a link” trades with multiple partners
- There are high numbers of links from sites with low-quality content
- The same article is submitted and posted as a guest blog on multiple sites
Unnatural links have inverse consequences. Because search engines can tell that these links are artificial and not the result of a true recommendation, they penalize sites that have a large volume of unnatural backlinks by pushing them further down the results page.
Keep Your Backlinks All-Natural, All of the Time
Natural links are organically occurring links that don’t have tracking parameters, aren’t part of sponsored or paid content, and don’t redirect through monetization tools. Search engine algorithms are designed to heavily favor natural links over unnatural links when determining SERPs.
This is great, except for the fact that natural links that happen completely organically are about as common as a four-leaf clover.
To recap: you’re going to get punished by search engines for unnatural links, and truly natural links are hard to come by.
So in a field as crowded as say… law – how do law firms attract site visitors? We’ve provided examples below, and our recommendations can be used across industries.
How to Build Your Online Boomerangs
Luckily, we’ve got six techniques to share that you can use to start building your firm’s backlink catalog in a way that looks and feels natural to search engines.
1. Authoritative Directories
Facebook business pages, Apple Maps, Google My Business, the LinkedIn Company Directory, the Yellow Pages and Yelp are all examples of authoritative directories.
These sites aren’t the most effective way to boost your rankings, but their function as a digital phone book helps establish a foundational layer of backlinks that clues search engines into the fact that you’re an active business. This can improve your website’s performance in local search results.
2. Event Calendars
If your firm attends or sponsors a conference, brings in continuing education speakers, or hosts a community event, you can get a backlink from the event webpage or the partners’ webpages.
Like authoritative directories, links from event and calendar pages aren’t as valuable as some of the other types of backlinks, especially since they may be temporary if the event page deletes the listings once they’ve ended, but improving SERP rankings requires a careful balancing of volume and quality.
Calendar links are an easy way to boost volume. Just make sure you’re combining them with links from sites with higher domain authority and excellent content.
3. HARO (Help a Reporter Out)
Have you ever read an article from a national news outlet and wondered, “How did they find a tree law expert in the middle of Kansas to give a quote on this story?”
The answer, my friend, is HARO, or Help A Reporter Out. While developing a relationship with local journalists who cover legal stories is never a bad idea, the consolidation and 24-hour cycle of today’s news industry means reporters don’t always have time to track down expert opinions without some help.
Websites like Help A Reporter Out, JournoRequests, and Qwoted help journalists quickly find people who can give texture, color, and insight for their stories. These sites aggregate comment requests from reporters on all sorts of topics and send out several bulk emails each day.
When your firm registers as a source, you can select the specific issues or industries you’re interested in or can provide comment on (hint: you don’t have to stick to just law). If there are requests relevant to your firm’s expertise or experience, simply follow the directions in the listing to submit your response. If the reporter uses it in their story, your firm may get a natural backlink from a highly reputable website.
This technique is great for firms that work on hot-button topics or have a niche specialization, like practicing tree law in Kansas.
4. Unlinked Brand Mentions
Unlinked brand mentions are exactly what they sound like—mentions of your firm or brand that show up on other web pages but don’t contain a link back to your site. By using advanced Google searches or tools like the Free Link Checker Tool (by Scrapebox), you can find mentions of your firm across the internet. Unlinked brand mentions, in my opinion, are the lower hanging fruit opportunities of this SEO tactic. Why? They’re usually easier to land since requesting a hyperlink to be added to a pre-existing mention is a small ask.
It’s important to evaluate the credibility or domain authority of the sites where you find these mentions. Backlinks from cheap, spammy sites won’t help your ranking. But if there are mentions on reputable sites, it’s worth crafting and sending a good pitch letter to the site owner and requesting they link to your site.
5. Guest Posting
Writing guest blogs is a fairly user-friendly way to increase your backlinks and improve your SERP ranking. We have two caveats:
- This technique only works if you’re writing high-quality articles for sites with established domain authority (DA). You can check a site’s DA using free tools like Ubersuggest (look for a DA of at least 40).
- Don’t write guest blogs solely for the backlinks. Google’s algorithm is smart enough to figure out you’re trying to beat it. Good guest posts take time and effort to create, so don’t waste them on your running partner’s WordPress blog. Make sure you’re contributing original, insightful content to blogs that are a natural fit for your expertise.
Wondering how to find guest posting opportunities? Here are a few suggestions:
- Contact your law school, state bar, or local bar/lawyers’ association and ask if they accept guest articles and what topics they’re interested in.
- Find a prolific guest poster with similar expertise and Google them. This should give you a list of sites that regularly publish about issues you know a lot about. Send them a pitch letter and ask about their submission policies.
- Do an advanced Google search using terms like:
- Legal + “write for us” (or “become a contributor” or “guest article” or “guest blogger” etc.)
- “KEYWORD” “submit a guest post” (or “write for us” or “become a contributor” etc.)
6. Linkable or Downloadable Content
You’ve probably heard the saying that “content is king,” but people say it because it’s true. Putting unique, first-rate content on your website is an almost foolproof way to get backlinks.
This content doesn’t have to be weekly blog posts. Examples of linkable and downloadable content that performs well for law firms include:
- Comprehensive guides that provide usable, user-friendly explanations on common legal concerns like child support enforcement, immigration law, employment law, copyright or trademark law, estate law, or probate law
- Infographics that break down a process or law
- Case studies showing how you’ve helped clients
- FAQs or expert interviews about a current legal issue or proposed law
Need Help Building Backlinks for Your Business? We Can Help!
At 9Sail, we have extensive experience helping contracting companies and law firms improve their SERP rankings with SEO (yep – backlinking is included in each SEO strategy we create for our clients) and Pay-Per-Click Advertisements.
Call us today to start building the backlink boomerangs that will get you to the top of the search results page.