If you’ve ever endeavored to learn a thing or two about the practice of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in an effort to help increase your law firm’s online visibility, you may have come across several intimidating industry terms. Words like crawlers, robots.txt, no-follow, SERP, alt text, J-SON, pagination and the ever-dreaded canonicalization can be as complicated to oversee in practice as they sound. But don’t let the technical gobbledygook preclude you from realizing a significant degree of SEO success for your business. In fact, one of the most impactful SEO strategies available does not require technical training at all, nor HTML coding or data tagging knowledge necessary.
The SEO Process (Abridged)
Before we get ahead of ourselves, let me emphasize that the SEO process is an arduous one, and similar to building your own financial credit score. It often takes months or years to earn the trust of the search engines because, like the credit reporting agencies, they use mercurial algorithms to determine how your creditworthiness or trustworthiness adds up. So the search engines will not only consider your website functionality and thematic content (what we call “on-page optimization”), but will also strongly consider the number of high quality backlinks pointing to your site (what we call “off-page optimization”). Simplified: On-page optimization creates Relevance, while off-page optimization creates Reputation. This latter “Link Building” process is, arguably, the most catalytic part of an SEO campaign because acquired backlinks from authoritative domains will pass their trustworthiness (and referral traffic) to the sites they link to, while backlinks from low quality, spammy domains will conversely have a negative impact on your SEO.
Not All Backlinks Are Created Equal
Naturally, a local business such as your law firm will have a diverse backlink profile including local business directory links on Google Business Profile, Yelp, Apple Maps, Bing Places, etc, legal directory links, and social media profile links. These types of links are very useful, but also expected to a certain degree, in order for your business to establish its core business data (Business Name, Address, Phone Number, URL, etc) within the search engines. One of the greatest challenges in any SEO campaign is identifying unique opportunities for acquiring high quality links that will help propel the site’s performance in organic search results. The operative word is unique, since your law firm’s competitors will already have established identical local directory backlinks, legal directory and social media profile links as you — not to mention similar on-page content and keywords.
Stand Out from the Competition by Earning High Quality Backlinks from the HARO Network
The Help A Reporter Out Network’s site, helpareporter.com, connects journalists, reporters and bloggers in search of expert sources who can provide salient commentary to be included in their publications. For smaller firms and sole practitioners who do not have a PR company at their disposal, HARO can create valuable opportunities on top media outlets such as Forbes, CNN, Entrepreneur, Mashable, INC and more. When you respond with your pitch to a reporter’s query, you will provide your name, bio, and URL for citation. Here’s where the magic happens. If your response gets selected by the journalist, you will be cited in their article. This earns you three important things, which can significantly boost your SEO performance:
- brand awareness
- referral traffic
- an authoritative backlink to your site
How Does it Work?
You sign up for a free account on helpareporter.com/subscriptions. Once signed up, you will begin receiving three emails per day (morning, afternoon and evening, Monday-Friday) with a digest of queries from journalists, reporters, bloggers and book authors. Peruse the list of categories for topics that relate to you and your business. Tip: to find legal topics, you can use your keyboard’s shortcut key to search for “law”, “lawyer”, “attorney”, and “legal” words within the email. But no need to limit yourself to those topics only. You can respond to any query which you feel you can provide insightful feedback to, without it necessarily being legal-related.
When you identify a topic to which you can provide an insightful response, copy the reporter’s email and select “Submit A New Pitch” in your dashboard. Include your subject line, and your pitch, along with your name, short bio, email and website URL. Note that the majority of queries have short deadlines – between one and three days – so you’ll want to be proactive and jump on these opportunities once they arise, while still submitting a thorough, yet succinct pitch. Unique perspectives often get prioritized and get slated for inclusion, so be original. One last thing: please read the user guidelines carefully and follow the HARO policy. You don’t want to get permanently suspended from the network and lose out on such incredible backlink opportunities because of an innocent violation.
With this powerful tool in hand, you will surely be taking your SEO to the next level.