For much of the last ten years, much of the aim for legal sites to gain traffic was to drive it from search engine traffic. Some became skilled at manipulating readers from Google and Yahoo and gained an essential edge in the market. There were some attorneys, especially in major metro areas that would see their case load increase by several orders of magnitude. Some were simply left behind– some didn’t want the web traffic or simply didn’t understand the sheer potential of good SEO on their caseload.
Recent changes to Google search algorithms and web crawlers have significantly changed the game. Many of the time worn strategies that drove traffic up until several years ago became a major liability. In short, some practices of the old style of SEO created a bubble and artificial manipulation of the market. When Google started instituting major changes starting in 2012, many sites lost their page rank. Others would lose even more.
Linkbuilding is Dead and Very Healthy?
Linkbuilding in the old style is dead as a door nail. Such a strategy is unable to keep up the former practice and have shuttered some sites. In some cases, owners would have to ditch their URL due to the sheer size of bad links and the coattail effect it carries. In others, prudent deletion of such poisonous links allowed some sites to recover– after losing a significant part of the market share. Back in the day, we could just get in some directories and get lots of links, and we could actually rank. Now a lot of that stuff actually keeps us from ranking.
Natural links, especially branded links are a means to create normal flows of traffic. The old style of artificially inserting key term links is now heavily penalized by Google if it is done too much, or with too many of the same keywords. In writing site and legal articles as you would normally write them, you are in better shape than you were trying to force in such links.
There are some cases where building links can be prudent. Linking to specific content related to the semantic terms you are using can be helpful. A series of similar terms are also far better than simply trying to use the same one multiple time for effect. That will get you nowhere.
If you are writing about a series of car accidents and their effects on personal injury suits in the Modesto area, linking local news stories in addition to one or two links to your site or other attorneys’ sites can be a major leg up. Not cramming in too many artificial links and including those that should be in a non-optimized page will help immensely.
Google is making further changes, including optimizing for mobile sites. As such, simple linkbuilding schemes are outdated and is often flagged as a scheme. If you are linked in the middle of a news related article as a branded link you stand a much better chance. Perhaps you can include a key term or a link for a unique photo needed by your article. Even better if a page on your site is cited to as a reference by a reputable site that would naturally link to good stuff like that.
Use your resources prudently and not as a means to try and simply goose the system. Brute force linking is easily caught by Google. Some of you are removing links and asking former linkers to remove theirs of yours to remove a penalty. Make sure that you use properly constructed SEO with a combination of branded links, semantic terms, and proper formatting to best use Google’s current setup.
Posts by Michael Ehline
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