Are you an attorney looking to build links or just want to learn more about SEO? We created this guide for anyone that does legal SEO.
Before getting started, you might be asking yourself, “do I need links?” We know that content and links are two of the top three ranking factors when it comes to SEO. How do we know? Google told us.
Our step-by-step link-building guide takes you through the process from beginning to end. We’ll cover:
- The tools you need to find good links,
- How to find links,
- How to assess link quality, and
- How to build links
Let’s get started.
- AHREFS Account: $99 per month
- Majestic Account: Free Version
- SEMRush Account: Free Version
- Google Sheets: Free
The first step to any successful link-building campaign is to find the links that your competitors are using. To do so, Google the keyword you’re trying to rank for. Here are the exact steps you want to take. As an example, let’s use “Chicago criminal defense attorney.”
You will see several attorneys on the first page. I start with the first URL I see, which in this case is: https://www.mjpetro.com/.
STEP 1: Open AHREFS
Now that you have URL, go to your AHREFs dashboard and enter the URL. After submitting the URL via AHREFS, you will see the results.
STEP 2: View Referring Domains
Click on “Referring Domains” to see a full list of the domains that have links to competitor’s site.
STEP 3: Sort by Domain Rating
Click on DR. This will sort the links by “Domain Rating”, which is AHREF’s proprietary ranking system. Typically, you want to focus your efforts on the 40+ DR sites.
Now you have a list. But before you start building links, we’ll show you how to assess the quality of each link. For some links, you can skip the quality analysis. Those include FindLaw, Avvo, and Justia. All three offer a free profile, which includes a link back to your site.
Assessing Link Quality
Once you have a list from AHREFs, you’ll want to assess the quality of a link before adding it to your link profile. As mentioned, you can skip the quality analysis for well-known sites like FindLaw, Justia, Avvo, and Yelp. You can also skip it for well-known publications like The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, etc.
You’ll want to assess the link quality anytime you’re not familiar with a particular site. Remember, quality is far more important than quantity.
QUALITY AND RELEVANCY: A special note on relevancy. When assessing the quality of a link, you’ll want to think about whether the domain the link comes from is relevant to your site. Some sites, like FindLaw, are hyper-relevant to an attorney site. With other domains, the relevancy isn’t as obvious. When you’re deciding whether to build a link, ask yourself, “does it make sense for this site to link to mine?” If not, then it might not be the most relevant link.
STEP 1: Start a New Google Sheet
Go to Google Sheets (or Excel) and open a new spreadsheet. You will fill out the first row of columns A – E with:
- DR (domain rating score from AHREFS)
- TF (Trust Flow from MajesticSEO)
- CF (Citation Flow from Majestic SEO
- Traffic (Monthly traffic from SEMRush)
Step 2: Fill in the Domain Rating
You already have your AHREFs report, so start by filling in the domain rating.
Step 3: Fill in the Trust Flow and Citation Flow
Trust Flow (TF) and Citation Flow (CF) are proprietary metrics used by Majestic to determine site quality. In a nutshell, you’re looking for websites that have a trust flow number that is close to or higher than the citation flow number. So a trust flow of 89 and citation flow of 89 would indicate that it’s a high-quality site. For more detail, see Majestic’s explanation by clicking here.
To get the TF and CF, copy and paste the root domain into Majestic. So for www.findlaw.com, you would just put “findlaw.com” without the “http://” or “www”.
Once you do that, you will see:
As you can see, FindLaw’s TF is actually higher than it’s CF, indicating that it’s a high-quality site.
NB: TF and CF can be manipulated by savvy SEO’s. Therefore, don’t overvalue this metric. If the site has good a TF/CF ratio but you still find it suspect, check out its traffic.
Step 4: Use SEMRush to look at traffic
If you’ve checked the DR, TF, and CF and still have doubt’s about the quality of a site, make sure you look at how much organic traffic the site receives from Google.
High-traffic is a good indicator that Google trusts the domain and that the site provides a good user experience. As a general rule, you want to stay away from sites that have less than 1,000 monthly visitors.
Another aspect to consider is whether the site has had a steep drop in traffic. If yes, it could indicate that Google has penalized the site in the past. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad link. However, you typically want to prioritize building the higher-quality links that have not been penalized and work your way down from there.
Step 5: Fill-In Your Google Sheet
Now that you have all your metrics, go ahead and fill-in your Google sheet.
You should have the following:
I also like to add the date I created the link and final url (the link on FindLaw that links back to my site).
Let us know if we missed anything in the comments below. We hope this guide helps you get started on your link-building campaign. Remember, focus on quality.
Stay tuned for our next post in which we’ll cover anchor text.