Today, I lost a potential freelance writing client- a law firm looking to outsource freelance writing.
In reviewing their guidelines for the test project, I noticed that they asked for a minimum of 15 links to other sites/resources pages in a blog of 600 words. This is called link stuffing, and Google does not like it.
Wait, what? Am I back in 2006 again?
I'm not even sure strategies like this worked back then.
How is it possible that companies still think this is a viable way to grow their organic search ranking?
Yes, linking to other places is key. It often helps to support claims I make in my writing, for example. It shows that you respect the role other domain names play in content marketing.
But 15 links? No. That’s overoptimizing your website, and it ruins any of the good traction you already had.
That's not working in a 600 word blog, and I said, "no thanks" because I don't want any part of it. I don't want to hear "Why aren't we ranking?" three or six months down the road when they tried to implement this strategy. Simply put, I didn't want to be blamed for acting on a strategy I knew wouldn't work because the client said it was a "non-negotiable" in their guidelines.
If we're writing a whitepaper, yes, we want solid links to show research and give credit.
If we're writing a 4,000 word blog, we might want more links than a 600 word blog.
But 600 words is about one page of single-spaced content. And adding 15 links is not only annoying, but unnecessary.
As pointed out in this question about how many website outbound links response on Moz, you could be making Google think that you're even selling space on your website by having so many links in place.
Google is smarter than that. Your law firm blog readers are smarter than that, too.
You don't need to overdo it. You don't want to, either- it can actually drive traffic and rankings away from you.
Use links, but don't overuse them. Much like a lot of advice in life, too, right? Moderation is key.
Here are some general guidelines for law firms to share with your legal freelance writer when you first work together:
Don't allow them to link to other law firm websites (this should be obvious, but I'm listing it at number one for a reason. I've been an editor for too many legal content marketing sites when the writers didn't realize it was a problem to reference another firm's work.
Establish a range of how many links should be used on your law firm's blogs upfront so that it's easy to edit or redirect a confused writer.
Tell writers to watch out for "hidden competitors." Those lawyers in the birth injury or mesothelioma space know how many competitor law firms buy domains like "Mesothelioma injury help" to make it look like a resource guide when it's actually just another way to quietly market their firm and drive traffic.
Stuck on how to make things work for your law firm with content marketing? Tired of hiring legal freelance writers who didn't know the basics? Partner with a trusted legal SEO writer with seven years of experience- that's me! Send me a message today! (Click on the contact us form!)