There is no good backlink strategy

I really dislike the term ‘backlink’.  It goes against everything SEO in my opinion.

Now my industry, Search Engine Optimization, is one of the most convoluted, fragmented, unregulated misleading industries in the marketing world.

This has led to an abundance of misinformation and poorly executed campaigns.

And strategizing to acquire ‘backlinks’ is one of my most hated strategies in my business.

Just because you acquired 17 new inbound links from 7 different domains and your rankings increased, doesn’t mean it was a smart move.

SEO is Just Marketing

This is a common theme in our practice.  But before you take my word for it, let’s think like Google.

In fact, let’s think like the founders….Sergey and Larry.

Larry and Sergey founded the first Google algorithm in 1996.  It proved to be very successful and provided incredible relevant results compared to any of the competitors in the ’90s.

Google quickly became partners with NASA, AOL, Sun, News Corp to name a few.  Their algorithm was so good, within four years they had market dominance.

The algorithm was so good because of the backlink structure Google looked at.

History Tells the Story, but Not All of It

Point is, Google was founded on backlinks.  But before you rush out for backlinks, let’s tell some more of the story.

Larry’s father was a scientist.  Larry noticed (in real life) that when he published a paper in a journal, his authority of a scientist increased in the community.

He also noticed that when someone else used his father’s research paper as a reference, Larry’s father’s authority further increased.

In other words, the more people talk about his father, referenced his work, the more people wanted his opinion and did not challenge it.

Larry and Sergeythen attempted to digitize this concept with webpages, as Google’s history tells us.

It was thought that if the webpage ‘A’ linked to webpage ‘B’, then the trust and authority of webpage ‘B’ increased and should be shown further in the list.

We call this list a SERP (Search Engine Results Page).

This is when the term Backlinks was coined.

The Algorithm of 2020 is Much Different

I’ve been involved in SEO since 2005.  I began teaching it in 2009.  With a Marketing degree under my belt, several years to old school B2B sales and some time in a corporate marketing department, learning SEO was hard.

The first days were very math-related.  Reverse engineering the algorithm and replicating it.  It worked.

I used to say I could sneeze at 40,000 links.  I could get a website 1,000 backlinks in two days.

Did you know I founded the first national online delivery company?  We did over 80,000 deliveries in our first year.  This was all from SEO in 2009.

It seemed every six months rankings would drop, and we’d have to keep up the momentum.  I always had a gut feeling thing would break.

In 2010 I had an epiphany. About Larry and Sergey.

They knew Google was not where it needed to be.

What they were doing was trying to replicate human behavior.

This was the big light bulb moment.  That’s when backlinks died for me.

I should not be chasing backlinks.  I should be going where prospective clients are hanging out

It was a short two years later Google’s updates started making major changes, such as with Keyword Recognition, Trust, Authority and dispelling page rank.

By this time, Google was claiming they were looking at over 200 factors to rank…backlinks being one (albeit a powerful one).

In the world of marketing, we create a message and distribute that message to where an audience resides.  [source: American Marketing Association]

It’s nearly impossible to isolate any particular ranking factor.

A Good Backlink Strategy is Good Marketing – with a Plan.

We know marketing is creating the right message, for the right audience and giving it to them where they are.  Sounds simple, right?

Well, no good strategy starts without a plan.  You should have a marketing plan.

Here is a good template to download a marketing plan for your law firm – Download Attorney Marketing Plan Template.

Attorney Marketing Plan Overview

1 ONLINE ASSETS

1.1 Personal Profiles

1.2 Business Profiles

1.3 Online Properties

2 OFFLINE ASSETS

2.1 Chamber of Commerce

2.2 Associations

2.3 Networking Groups / Events

2.4 Publications

2.5 PhoneBook

2.6 Printed Material

2.7 Charitable Community Involvement or Contributions

3 ONLINE CAMPAIGNS

3.1 Audience

3.2 Driving Traffic

3.3 Conversion

3.4 Online Reputation Management

3.5 Credibility

3.6 Assets

4 OFFLINE CAMPAIGNS

4.2 Market Selection

4.3 Tools / Assets

5 SALES

5.2 Sales Process

5.3 Up Sell Opportunities

5.4 Tools

But I’m not here to talk a lot about your plan and how to formulate it, I’m here to talk about execution.

Now while your strategy might vary, I want to show you what a typical link building strategy is for one of our clients.

Typical Monthly Backlink Strategy for an Attorney

  1. Citation & Profile Building– This month we used strategies to acquire citations. The first, and most difficult, is acquiring 30 new profiles manually.  Second, we use a cloud-based propagation service such as YEXT.  Here is an example of Citation Lists for Attorneys.
    1. This includes a full audit, NAP corrections, Duplicate Profile Suppression
  2. High Authority Blog Content– We have highly educated attorney writers on our team that research, write and produce some of the highest quality, highest-ranking attorney content on the internet. Our content is at least 1,500 words, uses multiple authority sources, goes through rigorous QA and is highly optimized to rank.  We will produce a minimum of two pieces per month.  Here is an example of our Blog Articles for Attorneys.
  3. Video Content– Complimenting the above blog content, we’ll create a high impact conversation client objection video. The video is keyword & client objection optimized, sully scripted, transcribed & optimized.  We create custom images, b-roll and thumbnails to be distributed & propagated to YouTube, embedded on Blog content and sent through social media channels. Here is an example of High Impact Video for Attorney Firms.
  4. Press Release– Utilizing the inverted pyramid approach, on a quarterly basis we’ll write a press release distributed to over 200 news sources, including NBS, ABC & Fox. Here is an example Press Release for Attorneys.
  5. Authority Guest Post– We have relationships with hundreds of industry-related blogs and new sources for attorneys. We will provide our partners with an informative piece which they publish, and link to our clients from high PageRank website.  Here’s an example report for Attorney Partner Linking.
  6. Foundation Authority Building– We create several mini-websites on Web 2.0 sites like WIX.com focusing on valuable, unique content for your niche. We then send many Web 2.0 links to the mini-sites, that link to your specific blob content called out in your marketing plan. Here is an example of a Foundational Link Building Strategy for Attorneys.
  7. High Authority Front Page Links– We have relationships with hundreds of industry-related websites, associations, magazines, media and forums for attorneys. Our partners allow us to request a permanent partner link on their homepage linking to your site.  These are extremely high-value links.  Here is an example of a High Authority Homepage Link for Attorneys.
  8. Social Media Brand Lock– While social media is sometimes overrated for small businesses, it doesn’t mean you should be taking action. Each month we acquire at least 50 new social media profiles, essentially locking your brand out.  Here is an example of a Social Media Brand Lock for Attorneys.
  9. Blog Syndication– We take your blog content and syndicate it through our partner media channels. In some cases, we can generate 100+ links by publishing your blog content on sites like ABC, NBC, and Fox.  Here is an example Blog Syndication Report for Lawyers.

So I hate backlinks. Everything we do generates backlinks, but everything we create is driven from a marketing plan.

Essentially our Backlink Strategy would still exist without SEO.  Can you see that?

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