Neil Patel

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post. If you want my team to just do your marketing for you, click here.

Link Building for Lawyers: Does It Work?

Link Building for Law firms, does it work?

As a lawyer, what one law firm marketing tactic would you say is the most likely to drive traffic to your website?

Word of mouth is great. So are positive reviews on Google. Perhaps your social media presence also plays a role in your traffic-building efforts.

If you really dug into the data, though, I suspect you’d find that link building plays a more significant role than you may expect.

Link building for lawyers is a marketing tactic that involves acquiring hyperlinks from other niche websites directing to your own. The end goal? Improve search engine rankings and drive organic traffic to your site.

While intentional law firm link building may seem daunting, I’m here to show you that it doesn’t have to be difficult.

In this post, we’ll discuss the importance of link building for lawyers and how to do it for your firm. We’ll review how link building affects rankings with specific examples from five top-rated law firms across the U.S.

Types of Link Building Law Firms Are Using

There are many link building techniques available to marketers. To name a few:

  • Guest blogging: Website owners can provide their expertise to more readers by writing guest blog posts for blogs in their field. This means a natural backlink to the website, whether within the article or as part of the author’s bio.
  • Social media: Website owners can join relevant groups or follow relevant hashtags for their field. Then, they can respond to inquiries with links to helpful blog posts or articles on their site.
  • Broken backlinks: These are links meant to point to a website, but they have become broken for one reason or another. This is often due to a misspelling in the URL or incorrectly applied HTML. You’ll need to use a tool like Ahrefs’ Broken Link Checker to find these.
  • Resource guides: A form of pillar content, these are a way for website owners to highlight their expertise and show their depth of knowledge. Website owners can then link to it offsite when relevant (e.g., social media, forums) or reach out to blogs and websites and ask them to hyperlink it in their own articles.
  • Link roundups: Also known as expert roundups. These blog posts contain links to niche websites for the blog’s readers to explore. Think of it as website networking.
  • Link reclamation: If there’s a broken or outdated link pointing to your website, try and reach out to the link owner to update it and reclaim that lost traffic.

Which link-building methods do lawyers use?

Our research below gives us a good idea of what link building for lawyers currently looks like.

The most common place for lawyers to seek out link-building opportunities is directories. These are common on blogs (e.g., link roundups), business directory sites (e.g., Yelp, Google Business Profile), and social media.

How do we know this?

Look at the most common anchor text for the lawyers in our research. You’ll notice that it often uses branded keywords (i.e., the name of the law firm, the name of the site) or the site URL alone. This is a telltale sign of a directory backlink. Here’s an example from AVVO:

AVVO directory listing screenshot link building for lawyers

Guest posting is another trend when it comes to link building for lawyers. This involves posting content related to their field of practice on other blogs. It often takes little effort, though the quality may vary from piece to piece.

How to Build Links as a Lawyer

Quality backlinks are essential for boosting your authority and credibility. Along with this comes an improved online presence and increased visibility in the SERPs.

Follow this step-by-step guide to learn how to do effective link building for law firms.

Step 1: Get Listed on Legal Directories

Legal directories are one of the easiest ways to start natural link building. Avvo, Findlaw, and Justia are all good options for valuable backlinks. As well as listing your site, some of them let you publish articles, giving you the perfect opportunity to share your expertise.

These sites are a key to link building for lawyers as they attract millions of visitors weekly.

You can also niche it down, too, by practice area or location.

For instance, look for directories representing your location. A search for “legal directory Chicago.” gets results like these:

Google results for Legal directory Chicago.

Once you’ve found some suitable sites, add your law firm’s information to them and check that your profiles are consistent and accurate on each site.

LawRank has a great piece on how to register with FindLaw.

Step 2: Create High-Quality Content

You can naturally attract other websites to link to your content by posting regular, high-quality content. The most obvious form is blogs, but there are plenty of other types you could try, like:

  • Case studies
  • Legal guides
  • eBooks
  • White papers

Sharing valuable content also establishes you as an authority, which gives searchers the confidence to choose you.

Once you’ve created the content, develop a content distribution strategy to start getting your content out there.

Step 3: Do Some Outreach

Link building for lawyers does involve a bit of leg work. Search for blog posting opportunities, as plenty of legal blogs exist. Just do a quick search under “guest posts for legal blogs,” and you’ll get some great resources, like “20 Legal Blogs That Accept Guest Posts” and “Legal Guest Posting Sites List 2024”.

If you’ve never pitched before, use my “Ultimate Guide to Guest Posting” as a guide.

Then, you could also pitch to legal publications and local news websites.

Go to the submission guidelines page to see what their requirements are.

You can do the same for local news websites; it’s an excellent way to build local links and gain more publicity.

These efforts help position you as a thought leader, giving you further credibility and visibility.

Step 4: Network with Other Law Firms

Networking within the legal community can lead to mutually beneficial link-building opportunities. You could mention each other on blogs and other content, share links on social media, and even host joint online events like webinars.

Lexology conferences and online webinars screenshot link building for lawyers

Start building relationships through your social media accounts and look for local networking opportunities, like your Chamber of Commerce or MeetUp groups. For example, a quick search for “lawyer groups legal USA” on Meta gives a ton of results like this:

Meta lawyer groups legal USA screenshot link building for lawyers

Attend local business breakfasts and small business groups for further networking opportunities.

Step 5: Use Social Media

Almost 90 percent of law firms are on social networks, according to the latest profile of the legal profession report from the ABA. Here are the most popular social channels used by lawyers in 2023:

most popular social network for lawyers screenshot linkbuilding for lawyers

It’s easy to understand why sites like LinkedIn are so popular in the legal sector.

For a cost-free way of reaching a large audience, you can’t do much better than social media. If you’re new to this technique, start by following other lawyers; some will follow you back.

Start building relationships with your followers by commenting on other law firms’ articles to increase your visibility.

Once you’ve got a decent following, start sharing your legal content and promote other law firms’ blog articles, too.

That’s a basic social media strategy, but you can take it further.

If you have the resources, you might also want to join forces with influencers to promote your legal firm. 

For instance, legal influencer Eve Cornwell has over 112k followers on Instagram alone and has received media attention in various media outlets. She was recently listed as one of the top legal influencers on social media in 2023.

There are plenty of other social media lawyers you could look at partnering with, too. 

Step 6: Do Some PR

Two simple methods to get free PR are press releases and Help a Reporter Out (HARO).

You can publish free press releases on various sites, including:

  • PR Log, for general press releases
  • PR.com, also includes a business directory/profile page
  • OpenPR, offers a free press release every 30 days

These press release sites enable link building for law firms by allowing you to publish links back to your site in any press release you send out. With the right strategy, you can create a steady stream of links to boost your law firm’s SEO.

Then there’s HARO (rebranding to “Connectively” in 2024):

HARO homepage screenshot link building for lawyers

If you’ve never heard of HARO, it’s a platform that enables journalists and writers to connect with expert sources. A journalist or writer posts a query on the site seeking expert sources, and if they use your quote in their piece, that equals free PR for your legal firm.

You can get started by signing up to HARO as a source and then wait for the three emails to arrive at intervals during the day. Respond with your answer or quote when you see a request matching your expertise. You’ll likely get a free backlink if your response appears in an article online.

Yes, there’s some work involved, and you might not get your response featured. However, you’ll likely have your fair share of wins (and backlinks), too.

Here’s a useful guide to get the most from HARO. Additionally, if you’d like to learn how to craft an engaging press release, give my article on how to issue press releases a read, too.

Step 7: Get Listed Locally

Take advantage of local listing sites like Google Business Profile, Yelp!, Bing Place, Facebook business pages, Yellow Pages, and Manta.

For all your profiles:

  • Fill out each profile fully, including business name, address and phone number, business hours, contact info, website URL, etc. Ensure your profile is consistent across all platforms.
  • Encourage customer reviews and share them.
  • Reply to negative feedback and be proactive about addressing problems.
  • Optimize your profile with keywords to help people find you.
  • Add images and detailed descriptions so visitors can get a real idea of what you sell.
  • Share special offers and time-limited discounts to encourage purchases.

Step 8: Monitor and Analyze Backlinks

Keep careful track of your backlink profile with tools like Google Search Console and look for opportunities for new quality backlinks you can link to.

You can use my free backlink tool to see how you stand compared to your competitors. Use this tool for:

  • Competitive analysis – find which sites are linking to your competitors.
  • Backlink overviews – evaluate the volume and quality of links pointing to your website.
  • Organic traffic data – identify new growth opportunities.
  • Referring domains – find potentially harmful or spammy backlinks pointing to your website and track the growth and progress of your backlink profile.
  • Domain scores – evaluate the overall authority and credibility of your website.

Just enter your URL and click “search” for a detailed overview like this:

Neil Patel backlink tool screenshot link building for lawyers

With your backlink profile available, take time to disavow spammy links to ensure your backlink profile remains relevant and trustworthy.

Link Building for Lawyers: What Does the Data Say?

So how does link building actually affect rankings?

We collected data from five law firm sites across the U.S. In particular, we targeted the highest-rated law firms in major cities (e.g., Boston, New York City, Los Angeles). When analyzing these firms, we looked at the following metrics:

  • The number of referring domains
  • The average monthly organic traffic
  • The law firm’s domain rating
  • The number of keywords ranking on page one
  • The number of keywords in positions one through three

To see how these metrics changed over time, we analyzed these sites during two time periods: January 2021 and January 2022.

Now, let’s dive into what we found.

West Coast Trial Lawyers – Los Angeles, CA

West coast trial lawyers homepage screenshot link building for lawyers

In January 2021, West Coast Trial Lawyers had 1,117 referring domains with an average monthly organic traffic of 2,147. Their domain rating was 52, with 156 keywords on page one of search engine results pages and 27 in positions one through three.

In January 2022, the website’s referring domains had jumped to 1,757. The average monthly organic traffic increased to 5,628. The domain rating increased by just one – to 53. However, the keyword universe improved considerably, rising to 883 page one keywords and 192 keywords in positions one through three.

Their greatest improvements were in the following keywords:

  • Sue city for pothole damage (increased 92 positions to position 6)
  • Pedestrian crossing rules California (increased 85 positions to position 12)
  • Personal injury attorney Long Beach, CA (increased 80 positions to position 20)
  • Personal liability attorney (MSV 40) increased 79 positions to position 21)

On analysis, you could attribute these keyword improvements to the referring domain anchor text, including:

  • West Coast trial lawyers (787 referring domains)
  • Personal injury lawyer (100 referring domains)
  • Auto accident lawyer (46 referring domains)

This is an important aspect of a link building strategy, as optimizing anchor text contributes to improved user experience and search engine optimization. Other site improvements, especially on-site content improvements, are likely to have contributed to the year-over-year success.

Data table of West Coast Trial Lawyers law practice showcasing a change in referring domains, average organic traffic, page 1 keywords, and domain rating from January 2021 to January 2022.

Alavi + Braza, P.C. – Boston, MA

Screenshot of Alavi + Braza, P.C.'s webpage screenshot link building for lawyers

In January 2021, Alavi + Braza, P.C. had just 34 referring domains with an average monthly organic traffic of 10. Their domain rating was 7, and they ranked on page one for three organic keyword terms.

In January 2022, the website’s referring domains more than doubled to 71. The average monthly organic traffic increased but was still relatively low, at 18. The domain rating did increase from 7 to 9. In addition, Alavi + Braza, P.C. saw an increase from 3 to 5 page one keywords.

Their most significant improvements were in the following keywords:

  • Alavi (increased 28 positions to position 6)
  • Boston real estate lawyer (ranking in position 40)
  • Real Estate Lawyers Boston MA (ranking in position 87)

With minimal link building effort on their part, Alavi + Braza, P.C. saw a respectable increase across their keyword universe. The numbers aren’t large, but the increase is almost a doubling of numbers in many metrics.

Data table of Alavi + Braza, P.C.'s law practice showcasing a change in referring domains, average organic traffic, page 1 keywords, and domain rating from January 2021 to January 2022.

Law Offices of James A. Welcome – Waterbury, CT

James A. Welcome  homepage screenshot link building for lawyers

In January 2021, the Law Offices of James A. Welcome had 97 referring domains with an average monthly organic traffic of 154. Their domain rating was 7, with 25 keywords ranking in positions on page one of search engine results pages.

In January 2022, the website’s referring domains had almost doubled to 184. The average monthly organic traffic tripled to 529. The domain rating increased by two points, to 9. Perhaps most significantly, their keyword universe increased to include 56 keywords on page one, with 22 keywords in positions one through three.

Their greatest improvements were in the following keywords:

  • How long does a settlement take (increased 66 positions to position 3)
  • Waterbury personal injury lawyer (increased 39 positions to position 2)
  • CT immigration lawyer (increased 35 positions to position 4)
  • Waterbury personal injury attorney (new keyword, ranks in position 1)

Perhaps most interesting about this site is that they did not have a noticeable increase in anchor text improvements. In fact, 21 of their 184 referring domains do not have any anchor text associated with the backlink.

When we look at this data holistically, it shows us that they had noticeable success in increasing SERP presence by increasing their number of linked websites and overall backlink profile.

Data table of the Law Offices of James A. Welcome's law practice showcasing a change in referring domains, average organic traffic, page 1 keywords, and domain rating from January 2021 to January 2022.

Gottfried & Gottfried, LLP – New York City, NY

Screenshot of Gottfried & Gottfried, LLP's webpage.  link building for lawyers

In January 2021, Gottfried & Gottfried, LLP had 64 referring domains with an average monthly organic traffic of 111. Their domain rating was 5, with 10 keywords on page one of search engine results pages and 5 in positions one through three.

In January 2022, the website’s referring domains had increased to 76. The average monthly organic traffic increased to 122. The domain rating remained the same at 5. While the keyword universe didn’t grow too much – it increased from just 10 to 11 page one ranking keywords – it did see an increase in keywords ranking in positions one through three from 5 to 7.

Which keywords saw the greatest increases between January 2021 and January 2022?

  • Robert Gottfried (increased 3 positions to position 5)
  • David Gottfried attorney (increased 1 position to position 2)
  • Gottfried law (increased 1 position to position 2)
  • David Gottfried lawyer (new keyword, position 1)

It’s no surprise that their gain in organic keywords is steeped in branded keywords. That’s because the bulk of the backlink anchor text (39 out of 76 referring domains) is the website URL.

The takeaway is that even minimal effort link building for lawyers can positively impact rankings and domain traffic. It would still require more effort to see a boost in domain ranking, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.

Data table from Gottfried & Gottfried, LLP's law practice showcasing a change in referring domains, average organic traffic, page 1 keywords, and domain rating from January 2021 to January 2022.

Sullo & Sullo – Houston, TX

Screenshot of Sullo & Sullo's webpage  link building for lawyers

In January 2021, Sullo & Sullo had 275 referring domains with an average monthly organic traffic of 4,025. Their domain rating was 20, with 400 keywords on page one of search engine results pages and 71 in positions one through three.

In January 2022, the website’s referring domains had almost doubled to 548. The average monthly organic traffic increased to 7,107. The domain rating increased slightly to 22. The greatest increase was in page one keywords and keywords in positions one through three, with a jump to 594 and 110, respectively.

The greatest keyword ranking increases seen from January 2021 to January 2022 were:

  • Speeding ticket attorneys (increased 69 positions to position 11)
  • Texas license classification (increased 68 positions to position 5)
  • Texas class c license (increased 14 positions to position 1)
  • Class c license (new keyword, position 1)

The increase in keyword ranking seems significant, and that’s because they are! We can associate the increase in referring domains with the 2-point increase in the domain rating score. After all, that’s a sure sign to Google that more people are finding the site worthy of traffic.

Data table of Sullo & Sullo's law practice showcasing a change in referring domains, average organic traffic, page 1 keywords, and domain rating from January 2021 to January 2022.

Is Link Building for Law Firms Worthwhile?

Absolutely! If you want to enhance your law firm’s SEO, increase online visibility, and bolster your reputation, link building enables you to achieve this.

By working on quality link building, law firms can signal to Google that their website is trustworthy and relevant. Over time, this can give you better visibility in the SERPs, making it easier for clients to discover your firm when they are searching online.

Additionally, when law firms use link building effectively through authoritative content, they can establish themselves as thought leaders within the industry. In turn, this makes more sites want to link to you.

Just make sure you don’t waste your time with poor-quality links; look for sites with a domain authority of 70 or above.

The greatest takeaway from our own research is that there is a strong correlation between increases in referring domains and increases in keywords and SERP rankings.

Simply put, the more domains referring to you, the greater your odds of ranking on SERPs.

That’s not to say that other unaccounted-for factors weren’t at play. However, we can only account for the known factors, such as referring domains, page one keywords, and monthly site traffic.

FAQs

What does link building mean?

Link building for lawyers includes any action you do to increase the number and quality of inbound links (or backlinks) to your website. These actions may include guest posting, answering forum questions, and participating in link roundups.

How do you plan a link-building strategy?

The first step in planning a link-building strategy is knowing your weaknesses and goals. Where are the gaps in your backlinks? What do you hope to achieve? Only with those answers can you determine a set plan and the next steps forward.

Does link building for lawyers still work in 2024?

Backlinks are still crucial to search engine ranking factors. As such, link building for law firms more than works – it’s a necessity – in 2024.

Conclusion

By following these steps, you can systematically build a robust backlink profile and improve your law firm’s SEO.

Consistent and ethical link building for lawyers helps build online visibility, increases organic traffic, and enhances credibility within the legal community.

Link building for your law firm doesn’t have to be complicated, either.

There are many link-building techniques that lawyers can benefit from, specifically:

  • Link roundups
  • Guest posts
  • Legal forums
  • Ultimate guides
  • Press releases
  • Local business directories
  • HARO

Ultimately, the link-building techniques you employ will depend on your specialty and your strengths. For example, a small business attorney may benefit most from participating in online forums, while an immigration lawyer may benefit from multilingual resource guides.

As we can see from the data above, these efforts do pay off. As you increase the number of domains referring (i.e., linking) to your website, you’ll also increase your website traffic

By using efficient link-building techniques, you can build a steady flow of links and enhance your law firm’s SEO strategy.

Have you done link building for law firms? Which techniques do you use?

Consulting with Neil Patel

See How My Agency Can Drive More Traffic to Your Website

  • SEO - unlock more SEO traffic. See real results.
  • Content Marketing - our team creates epic content that will get shared, get links, and attract traffic.
  • Paid Media - effective paid strategies with clear ROI.

Book a Call

Are You Using Google Ads?Try Our FREE Ads Grader!

Stop wasting money and unlock the hidden potential of your advertising.

  • Discover the power of intentional advertising.
  • Reach your ideal target audience.
  • Maximize ad spend efficiency.
Ads Grader

Share