If you’re marketing your law firm online and you’re in an even remotely competitive area, you can rest assured that someone else out there is already maintaining a legal blog. Because lawyers can be a very close-knit group, there’s a significant chance that you even know the attorney behind the blog. So how do you interact with it?
Reading Other Blog Posts Keeps You Up-to-Date
You can’t always be the first person to cover a big legal development on your blog. Sometimes, the competition beats you to the punch. Just because you’re not first in line, though, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t still be covering the news on your own.
You can use your competitors’ legal blogs to stay on top of your field. By reading what they’re saying on a topic, you can make sure you’re as current as the other attorneys are in your field. If they write about something that you might’ve missed or passed over, then you can use their blog post to get up-to-speed. Additionally, if they’re good legal blogger, you might even glean some valuable insight on a legal topic.
This doesn’t mean this has to be a tedious chore. Most of the time, you’ll find yourself just scanning the post titles, or signing up for an email subscription and scrolling quickly through the message.
You’ll Survive If You Give Them the Web Traffic
But if you’re going to a competitor’s site and reading their blog, aren’t you giving them valuable web traffic?
Yes, you are. But it’s not that big of a deal. One viewer every few days will not make your competitor vault over you in the rankings or solidify their position in the upper echelon of the search engine results page (SERP). Additionally, if you routinely go to their blog’s home page, scan the post titles, and then leave their page, it will hurt their blog’s bounce rate and send a signal to search engines that you’re not finding what you’re looking for.
Don’t Link to Competitors’ Blogs
While other legal blogs are valuable research tools and you can stand to give them an extra viewer, linking to them should be avoided. Backlinks are the lifeblood of search engine optimization (SEO), and handing one to your competitor’s legal blog would be a huge oversight.
But what if they’ve dealt with a legal topic and you want to respond to what they’ve written? Wouldn’t it help readers understand your post if they had a link to what you’re talking about?
This is where the “no follow” tag can come in handy.
By linking to your competitor’s blog, but then slapping a “no follow” tag on the link, the link works for readers, but not for search engines. Instead, search engines will just ignore the link and move on their merry way. Using the “no follow” tag gives your readers the information they need, without giving your competitor the SEO boost they’re looking for.
However, bear in mind that you’re still linking to a competitor’s site. People reading your blog might follow through and read your competitor’s post, giving them another viewer. They, unlike you when you do your research, might stick around on your competitor’s site to read some more articles. It also might be seen as a sign that you are endorsing their blog over your own, which is something to consider.