In a previous article, we discussed the importance of links regarding where a webpage ranks. Linking still matters regarding where a webpage ranks in the search engines. While some may diminish links’ importance, links matter for law firms’ web pages. If a law firm does not even know what a link is (external or internal), it will have problems with having its law firm’s webpage rank high in the search engines.
However, it is vital to differentiate between internal and external links when discussing webpage search engine optimization. There is a big difference between the two that most law firms do not understand. Understanding the difference can have a big impact.
What Are Internal Links?
Internal links are internal hyperlinks within a webpage to another internal page. For example, it is possible that a law firm’s webpage on personal injury law might link its internal product liability sub-page on its webpage to its internal sub-page on slip and falls on the same webpage.
Or, for a family law firm, it could also be an internal link on a law firm’s internal page on divorce to its internal page on child custody. In other words, the language on the law firm’s webpage might have anchor text with a hyperlink to another page on their webpage.
Why would a law firm have internal links on its webpage? First, internal links are essential from a readability standpoint. It allows a reader of webpage content to organically click a link and navigate to other relevant information on a law firm’s webpage.
Second, internal links can raise the ranking of that internal page on a law firm’s webpage on the search engines. For example, if a law firm’s internal website has many links from other pages on the same webpage, the search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.) might assume that the internal page has a value such that they rank that page high on their search engine.
What Are External Links?
External links are coming from other websites to your law firm’s webpage. Links to your law firm’s webpage can be organic or paid. When an external link is organic, it can often mean that another website automatically finds information on your law firm’s webpage informative such that their website links to your law firm’s webpage.
In other instances, it could be a news webpage that has an article that involves a lawyer or law firm such that they link to your law firm’s webpage. It might be a local, state, or county bar directory with hyperlinks to law firm web pages.
External links can also be paid. Paid links could be from law firm directories that are out there from FindLaw, Lawyers.com, Avvo, LawInfo, and other web pages. External links can have value in terms of generating leads for your law firm. But, paid external links are often “no follow” links, versus “follow links,” with minimal value for the search ranking of your law firm’s webpage.
Can My Law Firm Ignore Linking?
In hearing about links, many law firms might find that the whole concept of internal and external linking is too much in the weeds. They might want a law firm webpage where they do not have to worry about linking and optimization. They might want a law firm webpage that operates as a brochure for current clients such that they can ignore linking altogether.
Is this thought process sound? If a law firm wants its webpage to show up high in its area of law to generate leads, links are vital (internal and external). Thus, linking really cannot be ignored. Internal links should be natural and help the reader. External links should be natural as much as possible and from authoritative sites such that trust is established.
A law firm’s webpage should also have helpful content. If a law firm’s webpage has lots of links, but no content of any value, it is true that the linking might hurt in the end because it can appear as “spam” to the search engines.
But make no mistakes about it: links do matter. If your law firm’s webpage does not have internal and external links, it will struggle to appear high in the search engines for relevant terms in its area of law.
If you have any thoughts, feel free to share them below.