Link-building for lawyers is one of the most challenging SEO areas.
That’s one of the questions we answer in the article. More importantly, we share 13 effective techniques to build quality backlinks for legal firms.
Law firms battle each other not only in the courtrooms but also in SERPs.
Let me explain.
The legal industry is known for having some of the most expensive and competitive keywords.
For example, the CPC for the keyword ‘divorce lawyer’ is $30, and for ‘best mesothelioma lawyer’ is $91.71. In contrast, the CPC for ‘SEO’ is $5.32, for ‘poker’ - $2.10, and for ‘smartphone’ - $1.53.
Of course, with the soaring costs, it makes more sense for law firms to focus on enhancing their organic search performance. This often entails investing in building quality links.
The catch is that it also drives demand for high-quality industry-specific links.
As a result, link building for lawyers isn’t for the faint of heart, and not all link-building agencies have what it takes.
While the main principles of link-building for legal services don’t differ from other niches, some tactics may be more relevant and suitable than others.
Here’s our round-up of 13 link-building strategies that we’ve found particularly effective.
Local link-building isn’t a tactic, but more of a strategy or approach. That’s because to secure these links, you’re going to use the other tactics below, like scholarships or guest posting.
However, whatever tactic you use, rely on content that is relevant to your local context. For example, if you’re producing an infographic with statistics, make them relevant to your area so that it’s of value to local journalists and bloggers.
Why does local link-building matter?
Unless you’re a huge legal firm like PwC or Delloite, most of your clients are likely to come from the local area.
To help your local clientele find your firm, a fair bit of your efforts need to go into local SEO, and link building is a part of the process.
One way to do it is by backing cultural events, just like this firm supporting the local opera and film festivals.
One more example:
Directories are one of the easiest ways to get quality backlinks.
Apart from having high domain authority, they are considered credible sources for clients seeking legal advice, so they can boost your online visibility.
Popular directories include:
In addition to such large niche-specific websites, look for local business directories, like the one run by the Daily Echo (DA81).
If you don’t know where to start, analyze the backlink profiles of your competitors using a backlink gap tool. You won’t necessarily get an edge over other firms because all of you will have the same links, but at least you won’t be lagging.
Here’s how I’ve found a backlink opportunity for one of the local legal firms using the Ubersuggest Backlink Opportunity tool.
As you can see, two of its competitors are listed in the business directory with a decent DA of 91.
HARO, or Help a Reporter Out, is a smart way for lawyers to build links by sharing their unique knowledge and expertise.
In a nutshell, here’s how it works:
HARO has a bit of a limitation when it comes to going big, mainly because there aren't as many requests on legal topics as there are in some other areas.
However, it allows you to get backlinks from high-authority websites that don’t do sponsored articles or niche edits and boost the online visibility of your brand.
To increase your local presence, make sure that journalists writing for local newspapers have your number on speed dial. Such relationships are mutually beneficial because journalists have go-to legal experts to use in their articles and you - an opportunity to secure backlinks.
Sponsoring scholarships is worth considering because it gives you a chance to land links from high authority .edu domains and can promote your firm. This may also be an excellent opportunity to identify talented candidates to recruit in the future.
For example, this Boston-based legal firm offers scholarships to current and future law school students.
This has landed them a handful of links from .edu sites with DR80+.
Scholarships are expensive though and should be a part of a wider marketing campaign rather than just for building links.
Guest posting is another effective tactic that law firms can use to build quality backlinks.
In short, this involves writing an article on an industry-related topic for another website in exchange for a link.
For example, the UK-based New Law Journal publishes articles written exclusively by practicing lawyers.
Guest posting isn’t limited to legal publications because readers in pretty much every walk of life and sector may need legal advice. Here’s an example of a law firm guest post on a gardening website advising on issues related to overhanging trees and hedges.
How can you find such opportunities?
The only tool required is Google and a few search operators. Just search for the term, e.g. ‘injury law’ + one of the following:
Appearing in podcasts and videos is yet another opportunity to leverage your expertise to build links. That’s if the podcast producers and the platform where they host it allow it, of course.
Here’s an example from The Law Leadership podcast:
The page of the episode featuring Stephanie Stuckey contains several links, including to her firm, Stuckey’s Corporation.
In contrast to HARO or guest posting, appearing in podcasts requires far less effort as it’s the host and the producer that do most of the work.
However, the main challenge could be securing these opportunities, especially initially, when you’re still establishing your online presence and building brand authority.
Journalists and bloggers love statistics because they can use them to add authority and value to their articles. Hence, producing content based on unique research data is one of the most effective link-building tactics out there.
Have a look at this report with 2022 divorce statistics produced by Petrelli Previtera, a US firm specializing in family law:
The article has so far got 326 backlinks from 122 domains.
The best part is that you don’t have to conduct your own research, just compile the data that’s already available in secondary sources.
Infographics, just like reports, are a proper link magnet because they provide valuable information but in a format that’s easier to digest and more visually appealing.
So once you collate the data for a report or a blog post, make sure to repurpose it as an infographic as well.
Alternatively, instead of repurposing your reports as infographics, look for infographics already out there and improve them by updating the data and making them visually more appealing.
After you've created your awesome infographic, don't just sit back and hope for organic backlinks (although they'll likely come if it's a relevant and current topic). Take charge! Share it with journalists and bloggers in your niche, and spread the word on social media.
Digital PR is another way to gain coverage and links from large media outlets. Unlike, HARO, it’s also much easier to scale as each campaign can potentially bring a few links. In addition, it helps you develop valuable relationships with journalists covering your niche.
What tactics can you use in digital PR?
For starters, you can use digital PR tactics to actively promote your research reports.
If you’re writing content specifically for the campaign, try to think about a unique angle that can pick the journalist’s interests.
For example, Search Intelligence has recalculated historical data with the current inflation rate to give a new perspective on historical settlements.
You can further increase the attractiveness of such content by adding expert commentary establishing you as an authority on the subject.
An alternative approach to spinning your own stories is responding to current events or trends, like legal news, regulatory changes, high-profile cases, and trending topics related to the legal industry. This is called reactive PR or newsjacking.
Here’s an example of a legal firm hitting the jackpot by providing commentary on a controversial issue in an article in the Guardian, a UK-based newspaper with DR93.
You can do it through press releases, blog posts, or social media.
One more option: craft stories highlighting your wins.
Here’s a story featuring a legal firm that managed to secure damages for a cyclist injured in an accident. The story was published by road.cc, a cycling portal, with a decent Domain Rating of 76.
Once you create your response or story, the next step is to reach out to the media who might be interested in the story. You can identify them using tools like Roxhill or Muckrak.
Many universities run alumni directories where former students can reunite with their classmates, build professional networks, or promote their businesses.
These are a good opportunity to secure backlinks for your law firm from a high-authority site. For example, the ie university (DR78) allows their alumni to advertise their businesses on the website - with dofollow links!
Even better if you manage to get a mention as a notable alumni as this will give your online presence a boost.
Relationships are the foundation of the most successful link-building efforts. As mentioned, law firms rely heavily on a local client base, so such relationships can be particularly valuable.
Who can you team up with? Apart from local journalists, consider working with:
There’s no link juice coming from the links on your social media profiles. Yet, it’s still worth adding a link to your legal firm website on Facebook, Twitter/X, and LinkedIn.
Such links can drive referral traffic to your site and help you build a diverse link profile.
Moreover, social media is great for distributing your content to large audiences, increasing your online presence, and establishing your authority.
Links from forums like Quora or Reddit don’t pass link equity either, just those from social media.
But Google and other search engines still pay attention to nofollow links to determine a site's relevance.
Moreover, providing free legal advice to readers can drive traffic to your website and promote your legal services. You won’t be able to solve all their issues, but they will still appreciate your insights and may look in your direction if they decide to instruct a law firm.
Building backlinks for lawyers comes with a number of challenges. There’s a lot of money at stake and everyone wants a bit of the pie, so the competition is fierce.
However, legal service providers have a few reliable techniques to build links (and the financial resources to deploy them).
The question to answer is whether you have the necessary know-how and manpower to do it in-house, or you’d rather trust a reliable link-building agency.
If it’s the latter, why not contact the Editorial.Link team for a chat about your needs?