There are a lot of elements to search engine optimization (SEO). Search engines are incredibly complex and, to make matters worse, change constantly to maximize their users’ experience. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that optimizing your site’s performance in these search engines is complex and ever-changing, as well.
In a recent blog post, we went over the basics of one of the more solid aspects of SEO: Backlinks. Backlinks are hyperlinks from other websites, leading to yours. Search engines are unanimous in considering backlinks to be a sign that your site is trustworthy – if it wasn’t, why would other websites be linking to it?
Of course, search engines have learned to get a bit more nuanced than simply counting the number of backlinks to a website. Black hat SEO professionals abused this aspect of online marketing by littering the web with backlinks to their sites in online forums and on sites dedicated exclusively to hosting backlinks. Now, backlinks to your site that come from disreputable websites can actually result in a search engine ranking penalty for yours.
So how do you get backlinks for your site? Social media is one of the leading methods to make it happen.
The Power of Social Media for Backlinks
To determine the “influence” of a backlink, search engines look at the reputability of the site providing it. Social media websites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ are high on the reputability scale: Links to your site from social media give the signal that people are talking about your website, making it seem more relevant and important than if they weren’t, and boosting your search engine ranking.
How to Use Social Media to Build Backlinks
The first step is simple: Be on social media. As a law firm, LinkedIn should be a priority, because of its professional atmosphere. However, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter should also be near the top of your list, as well. Twitter is a great way to engage potential clients, as well as your peers – locally and nationally – in more casual conversations. Having a Google+ page and being active on it has been shown to be an exceptionally useful SEO tactic for your Google ranking.
The second step, though, is more difficult: Be active on social media. Following people, companies and accounts of interest is a good way to get your name out there, but engaging with others on social media is an ongoing task. For some, it’s a chore, but constantly interacting with people on social media pays dividends in the long run if done well. By being active and engaging and helpful, you establish yourself as a solid contributor online, earning the trust and reputation that you want in real life.
The third step, however, is the hardest: Be active off social media, as well. By creating content for your website, you also create material that you can link to from your social media outlets, as well. If you’ve done a good job at getting your name out there and engaging with others on social media, you’ll find that they are more interested in your posts and more willing to share them with others. These shares, likes, and other engagements all indicate to search engines that you site is relevant and important, boosting it in the rankings.