Ranking high in Google has become a catchcry that echoes about the Internet like a Nigerian money scam. And some of the claims are about as outrageous as anything coming out of Africa.
Attempts to unscramble Google’s evolving and increasingly sophisticated algorithms as to how it ranks web pages are a holy grail for many SEO companies and others but, frankly, trying to outthink the massive brain trust at Google is a bit like trying to figure out how to build your own fuel-depriving electic car. Only Elon Musk can do that, evidently.
A single tweak of Google’s algorithm can see the fortunes of websites disappear. They are more than happy to down-rank those who fail to play by their rules.
And so the link farming, the blog networks, the link exchanges and the other devices used to force your way up the search engines have resulted in disaster for those who endulged in such elicit practices.
There was a time once when black hat methods could be used to ‘game’ Google, but they work no longer and anyone engaging in them risks bringing the wrath of Google upon their heads, let alone their sites.
Google has, from time to time, been tricked by ‘black hat’ methods to get through their rankings and there have been everything from link farming to keyword stuffing, from blog networks to authority site tactics.
But there is a symetry to what Google is doing that actually works for those who simply deliver what the search engine is wanting which, in essence, is quality, relevant and timely information. It wants its users to find what they’re looking for without stumbling upon spammy sales messages and irrelevant, nonsense content.
Google knows that if it doesn’t continue to deliver a quality experience then it is on a slippery slope. It knows that it must work hard to ensure the user is finding what she or he wants – and quickly.
Recently Google has improved the importance in its equations of website speed and mobile optimization. It has also increased the importance of social popularity for websites by fine-tuning and adjusting its algorithm.
But for lawyers or any business seeking a high value experience in terms of good rankings, there are some simple things you can do to feed the giant and give Google what she wants.
So How Does Google See Your Site?
To see your blog or website through Google’s eyes you should check your site at this link:
https://adwords.google.com/o/KeywordTool and then put your URL into the “Website” field and check ‘only show ideas closely related to my search terms’
Y0u can then click ‘search’ and click on “keyword ideas’ or the ‘ad group ideas’ tab, which will then give you the ideas that Google thinks is relevant to your domain or brand.
At the bottom of the page you will see searches related to your domain.
You will see how Google sees your site and the people who search for it, which is important for determining relevancy.
A handy tool for seeing what your link categories are is linkdetective.com, which requires you to download a CSV file and open your site in Open Site Explorer, which is a very useful tool to determine your links and ranking.
Check at the foot of the Google search term and find out what Google thinks your firm name or brand is “related to” –
Check your Anchor Text
Using spammy anchor text is one way to arouse Google’s ire very quickly.
To achieve good rankings you need to mix up your anchor text and there are ways you can go about doing that, including the useful tool at Site Explorer, which will let you enter your site details and provide details on the spread of anchor text for your site.
You can literally “explore” to see your anchor text distribution and what it should be ideally. Your firm name or brand will generally predominate, but you can vary your links to terms like “this page”, “this link” etc, or use the actual link for the page you’re on as the anchor text link.
Spreading your anchor text rather than over-using the same link will not only create a more natural look for the search engines, but it will also help generate more links overall and by dint of that process higher rankings for your site.
How To Generate Additional Links Quickly
Before looking at some of the ways you can generate links readily, let’s consider some of the tools available by which you can quickly build up your site links.
These can be very useful, particularly if relevant to your industry or business, such as law directories like our LawFuel.com/Directory/
Although some top tier press release networks are expensive, there are also free press release services that are useful to spread your links on the Net.
An example is Release.News.com with a free distribution component that you can use.
However to be effective a good press release should avoid all the spammy ‘tricks’ mentioned with devices like keyword stuffing and overuse of anchor text. And create a good, well written piece that will help generate eager eyeballs wanting to see your “news”, rather than self promoting guff designed merely to create links back to your site.
This is a highly effective means of generating additional content and you can mostly include your website link in the author details. If you forward something to the site, then right click your domain in Word and insert your site.
But remember, as always that you should not be linking constantly to your main domain, but use other pages on your site to link to as well in order to spread your links beyond merely your home page, which can lead to unwanted attention from Google.
Let’s look at some of them.
1. Unique content
The importance of quality content has never been greater. Google wants to see unique content and that is what people are searching for online. They want information so provide it by creating and delivering useful, relevant, interesting content that will be shared as well as read.
The best way to generate great content and llinkks to your site is to create truly epic, great quality content that will generate links for you. There are some articles that will attract more backlinks than others, but that’ for an article coming shortly.
Using content, including video, blog content, reports and other content will create a great benefit for users, but also for your site. The more backlinks that are created by your content (for instance by sharing) the better your website or blog will benefit.
Part of this process involves ‘offsite optimization’ and is something you can easily do through your blog or site. It is a key part of SEO strategy that any law firm seeking good rankings needs to use.
There is a general belief that around 80 percent of effectiveness for SEO campaigns is through building links. Back links are any link that is used on your site that links through to another page and also that link through to YOUR page.
Essentially a link back to your page is a vote in favor of the page and the more votes then, just like a baby-kissing politician, you achieve higher ranking in Google’s eyes. However there are traps in securing links for the sake of them. And not all links are equal, either.
A link to your law firm site, for instance, will be much more valuable if it comes from another relevant site (like LawFuel, or Law.com, or Lawyer.com) than if it comes from a local site that is lowly ranked itself.
Similarly, a link that is in your content will have more power and influence in terms of ranking than one that is in your sidebar or at the foot of your page.
So how can you go towards achieving that 80 percent effectiveness in SEO by getting great backlinks to your site or blog?
Here are five key tips that you can start using now.
1. Check your competitors
It’s simple, but checking on your competitors will let you see what they are doing and also help you enhance your own rankings by seeing who they are linking to and matching them. You can use some key tools to see search ranking results here . .
2. Provide quality content.
It’s simple but it works. Great content will always generate great backlinks and sharing on social media and elsewhere. Make it as relevant and useful as possible and write with your own style so people can develop a relationships with you, knowing that you’re someone with authority and a voice they can trust.
Try and put out a couple of good content pieces weekly and you will start building your ‘rapport’ with both your clients and potential clients as well as with Google and the major search engines. (Remember we’re not just talking Google here, but Bing for instance is a terrific traffic source and should never be ignored).
How to Find Great Content
Using the Google keyword tool to search for highly searched (but rankable) keywords is an excellent way to see what content might be good for your blog or site, and also help your rankings.
You can also search on the free tool SEMRush to find ‘organic’ keywords that you can rank for as well as seeing what your competitors are ranking for.
Often SEMrush will throw up keywords that the Google keyword tool does not and you need to collect those words and put them into your spreadsheet or notebook before then checking on Google to see what the competition is for them.
Remember too that structuring your article is important so you have appropriate keywords in there, but clearly without keyword stuffing which will see you penalized, and using title tags and meta tags in your piece.
Check the details elsewhere on these and we will be providing onpage optimization tips for you shortly but there’s nothing intimidating or difficult here.
Once you write your content based on your research, you also want to ensure you have good onpage optimization so that the search engines will pick it up, along with the increasingly important – indeed vital – social media channels.
You can analyse a ‘competitor’ article by going to this link and seeing what their link juice is: http://www.seoworkers.com/tools/analyzer.html
Does the article have a proper ‘tag’ describing the article? Is it well optimized for the keywords you have searched out?
Remember too that your article will be more recent and therefore have an edge over your ‘competitor’, on the basis that it is also relevant and unique as well.
Put in images, screen shots, multimedia if its appropriate and ensure your article is attractive and ‘shareable’. You want something compelling and good to read and look at so go to work on those areas as well because it is going to help with the all important sharing and linking back to your site.
These are blogs that actually aggregate links and they tend to be more powerful lthan simple web directories as they can also pull content from an RSS feed which will link back to your blog content.
An example is from Alltop.com, which lets you generate content
By going to sites like Technorati and AllTop you can find people writing in your niche and also write to them to see if they will contribute to any piece you might be doing – eg. DUI driving law changes in the past 5 years; Privacy law data changes you need to know about. If you have niche-related content from these sites you will necessarily be assembling some terrific page ranked, links.
Go to a site like AllTop and choose the best niche for your practice.
You need to insert your RSS feed which, for most sites will be somethiing like: Yoursite.com/rss, although you may be redirected to a site like Feedburner and you would then insert your RSS feed.
Some good blog aggregators you should consider include:
The Importance of “Brand”
So-called ‘brand signals’ are more important now in Google’s algorithm and if you list in a business-listed site you can greatly assist your visibility.
You can add your site to a range of different directories, including:
Get Power links
Getting links from top level domains like government and education sites can create huge momentum for any site. These are the .edu and .gov domains that have trust and authority. Obtaining these links is more difficult, but is achievable if you follow some routes like the following.
Most of the educational institutions have blogs and other ability to generate links. If you use the SEO Quake Toolbar you can actually identify what the page rank isfor some of these sites.
Similarly, dropmylink.com is another site letting you check the page rank and visibility of some of these sites.
You sometimes have to provide a little flattery to the academic egos in these blogs but if they are actively wrriting and have clear contact information then you can frequently contact and have your blog or site linked.
But how do you find such creatures?
You can do so by using search strings in Google such as the following:
.edu “keyword”post comments”
These can generate great returns for your blog links.
Use Resource Pages.
Resource pages are a terrific way to generate more backlinks because they are there to generate external, outgoing links to other sites so you simply need to contact the webmaster who is there to provide value for their users.
Again, you can use a search string to find these such as:
site:.edu keyword+ inurl:links
Don’t forget to try and get links from your old university as an alumni. Check the news section on alumni sites and apply by writing nicely. It still works to be polite as well as providing value.
There are any number of local websites that will also have resource pages for experts in different areas, so check them by using similar string searches as referred to above and then submit your blog or site.
3. Guest Blogging
By providing content on established sites or blogs you can generate traffic back to your site. It is a very common and very effective backlinking strategy that can pay huge dividends in terms of traffic and links to your site.
Obviously you want to provide your content to a site that is one that Google values already and that has the necessary authority for your own site to achievbe rankings through.
With most guest blogging your site link will be in the bio box at the foot (or top) of the blog post, but if you can link to a relevant article or page on your site in your post then you will have a more powerful, contextual link for your site.
Write to the blog or site owners and suggest articles for them in your niche. You can also suggest link exchanges with the right sites and while not everyone is going to accept your request it is a numbers game and you will achieve success with some that will help elevate your site with quality links.
Contacts can be made by direct email or through social networks and message boards.
Forums as a means of achieving good links might seem a little old school, but they can still be highly beneficial and relatively simple to garner quality, relevant links from.
To see what forums accept posts use a search string like:
“Forum” + “Your keyword”
allintitle + keyword
Check to see if the forum is active and has comments and make your own post useful and informative rather than spammy (getting the theme, here?) Quality, relevant content always.
4. Social Media
Major social media sites like Tumblr, Delicious and StumbleUpon are very important backlink generators that generate their content from site users.
So too is Technorati, which also permits you to provide a do-follow backlink and also has a high page rank, another very helpful metric although it has become somewhat more controversial in terms of value overall to rankings. Nevertheless, a high page rank link is always going to be better than a low-to-no page rank link, right?
They also facilitate information and message exchanges that can lead to collaborations that help generate significant link generation. Google attaches considerable importance to these sites and a good ranking for one of your articles on any of them will see vastly increased traffic.
5. Testimonial and Partner links
Firms all have clients and business providers who will lbe happy to provide testimonials, which can generate free backlinks from relevant and ‘real’ websites. If you have your keywords in the testimonials and a hyperlink to your web pages – not necessarily your home page either – then you will see good results.
Use your existing network to help build links, including details shared on Facebook and LinkedIn as well as family members and friends. All of these contacts have the potential to create backlinks for your site.
If you’re also able to obtain links for educational institutions you are getting a high-value lift that is worth it’s weight.
Good content can help achieve that, even if you pro-actively promote an article to a university, night school or even your kids’ school and the .edu link can provide a high value, authority link that is a major bonus.
Building relationships in your niche is a very good way to also build high authority, relevant links. Simply requesting content, ideas, feedback etc from others in y our key areas can result easily in backllinks from their site to yours.
If you’re searching for key influencers in your area you can check tools like “FollowWonk” – http://www.followwonk.com which is part of SEOMoz and you can access it through that site and then enter the keyword your searching for. This will bring up the key figures with social authority.
You can also check on who the authority figures are following themselves on Twitter for instance. By checking the people they follow you can soon assemble a powerful list of influencers who can radically transform your website or blog’s ranking and authority.
The best approach may sometimes be the direct one of emailing for a contact, but a better way is to generate some profile with them by commenting on blog posts for instance. These people will generally be active bloggers and you can make intelligent, useful comments that will put you on their radar prior to making contact.
Similarly with Twitter you can reply to specific tweets without burdoning our prospective contact with a barrage of replies.
The same applies to the less crowded Google Plus space where you can easily comment on an entry made by your contact and generate extremely useful leads.
When you do approach them the highest value offering you could make – remembering that this must be a win/win situation – is to provide a high quality guest post for them. It will generate high interest to your target audience, generate your back links and increase your profile and authority in the area(s) you want to develop.
In order to check which authors will accept posts, check these search strings:
site:Blogsite.com “guest post”
site:Blogsite.com “post written by”
site:Blogsite.com “guest author”
Remember too that you can provide high quality content by updating old material, adding extra value, providing specific advice and so forth.
Use Images for Links
Words aren’t the only way to build links. In this section I show you how you can quickly and cheaply produce high quality images, and submit them for authority links (including a few techniques I can almost guarantee that you’ve never heard of).
I’m also going to show you my step-by-step system for getting the most links, traffic and social shares from infographics.
There are a lot more tactics involved in SEO to help you compete and surpass your competitors in search engine ranking results. The aforementioned tactics are basic initial strategies that help build a strong foundation and starting point for your SEO efforts, and will immediately help you move your website traffic and search engine ranking results to the next level.
What About You?
Are you creating content that is valuable enough to be linked to? Is your content entertaining, educational, informative or inspiring?
Are you using multi-media such as videos and images in content creation or is it mainly articles? What content marketing tcatics work for your website or blog?