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Backlink Basics

Backlink ArrowIt’s a basic principle of search engine optimization (SEO) that bears repeating: Search engines like Google, Yahoo! and Bing are in the business of finding you the most relevant and important websites for your search query. The trust that they build with every query returning satisfactory results leads to money down the road in the form of a growing user base and increased advertising price and volume.

That is the game you’re playing in, once you decide to create a website for your law firm and invest in it to attract leads and clients online.

Search Engines Use Backlinks to Measure Your Site’s Importance

Backlinks are hyperlinks that come to your site, from another site. By marking how many backlinks come from the rest of the internet to your site, search engines can better understand how your site is seen online. The more backlinks, the more reliable your website likely is: Why else would so many other sites be sending their traffic there through a link? In turn, reliability is seen as a huge factor in the importance of a website, which is – together with relevance – one of the two main elements in the site’s online prominence for a given query.

In simple terms: Backlinks boost your site’s ranking by signaling to search engines that your site is a solid one.

Not All Backlinks Are Created Equally

If backlinks are a good way to boost your website’s prominence, why aren’t webmasters abusing this and planting backlinks everywhere?

Well, they used to. In a classic black hat SEO move, online marketers abused the backlink factor for their own gain by linking to their sites from web forums, social media, and even other websites that they themselves controlled, often for the sole purpose of housing backlinks.

Google and other search engines caught up with the practice and honed their algorithms. Now, backlinks from sites of disrepute can actually penalize the website getting the backlink. On the other hand, backlinks from sites that search engines consider highly reputable give the receiving site even more of a boost to its ranking. Trustworthy sites, after all, are more likely to backlink to other trustworthy sites.

How This Affects Your Law Firm’s Online Marketing Strategy

Obtaining good backlinks from reputable sites is a priority for any online marketing effort, and your law firm is no exception. Actively using social media outlets to engage your industry and potential clients, as well as showcase your legal blog, can work to put your site in front of others in the field. If they find your content useful, they may link to it, beginning to build the web of backlinks that your site needs to rise in the rankings.