We had a client that runs a fairly reputable law firm in Florida. We started working with him in late 2019, and it was an interesting experience. He was a great guy to work with, but he already had a major legal marketing firm handling his law firm’s website (I’ll leave the name out, but trust me, you’ve heard of them). That’s no problem – the team at Blue Seven Content doesn’t handle anything other than content, so we regularly work with other agencies.
This client loved the work we provided. We wrote about three blogs that he and his law firm partner checked and green-lit. However, when they turned the blogs over to the marketing firm to publish on the website, the marketing firm sent them back. Their problem was our inclusion of a few outbound links within the content. They proceeded to convince my client that the links had to be removed and that we should simplify the blog to contain only general knowledge on the page so we didn’t have to cite anything.
This, of course, made me laugh out loud. First of all, there was nothing overly complicated about the information we included. If I recall, it was statistics related to pedestrian and bicycle accidents for their geographic area. For another blog, I think we included a link to a new law that was passed that affected the practice area. This type of data wasn’t going to confuse the reader, but it was relevant.
Using outbound links on your law firm website
If you’re an attorney, the terms internal links, external links, and outbound links may not have too much relevance. However, they all have a purpose. The links that my client’s marketing agency was having a problem with were external outbound links.
At Blue Seven Content, we strive to provide our clients with law firm practice area pages and law firm blog posts that are original, researched, and optimized. Part of that is ensuring that the data and statistics we include are actually researched and cited. We cite our sources, like most people do, by hyperlinking them into the page. This creates an external outbound link.
We cite our sources because we know that anyone can make up data and statistics and throw them onto a page. That’s not how we operate. Our writing team is filled with former teachers and college professors who understand research, citing, and producing quality work. We’ve graded enough papers to know what is acceptable and not acceptable.
Using made-up data is not acceptable, and neither is leaving out citations.
Why did the marketing firm take out our outbound links?
Ultimately, we removed the outbound links and provided proper citations for the material at the end of the posts we sent over. Their sole arguments were that the links had no SEO benefit and that the links draw readers away from the law firm’s website. However, I did put up my arguments for why we used outbound links and why I believed they should remain on the page:
- Outbound links to reputable sources create authority for your law firm’s website. So many law firm websites seem to come up with data and statistics out of thin air. We want to make sure that readers know we are providing them quality data.
- We don’t believe readers will be drawn away from law firm websites if a quality source is provided. In fact, we think it will help “hook” the client. If a prospective client clicks one of our outbound links, then they are engaged and are genuinely looking at the topic. They are going to return to your page if they need your help because you are the one who gave them the quality information. If the reader doesn’t come back after reading an outbound link, they probably didn’t need your help. Let’s face it – not every reader is a potential client, but we want to hook the ones that are.
Using quality sources for outbound links
When we use outbound links for our content, we are fastidious about the sources we use. We secure outbound links to our pages and blogs from:
- Websites that are considered “high authority.” This generally refers to websites that end with .org, .gov., and .edu. In general, these pages will be filled with trustworthy, quality content.
- News websites, though we tread lightly. In the highly polarized political climate we live in, we have to be careful when linking to news agencies. We really only use news sources when crafting law firm blog posts related to relevant and timely stories that tie back to the firm’s practice areas.
We also choose the “anchor text” for the outbound links carefully. The anchor text refers to the highlighted words that are clickable and direct the reader to the source. Which words we use as the anchor text will vary depending on the goal of the post, but we try to make the link fit seamlessly into the paragraph and sentence.
Blue Seven Content – crafting your law firm’s website pages from scratch
At Blue Seven Content, we are sticking with outbound links. We understand their purpose, and we think they add value to the page and the overall website. If your law firm or agency has any questions or needs help with any of the following, we are here:
- Law firm practice area pages
- Law firm blog posts
- Law firm landing pages
- Press releases
- Attorney bio pages
- Law firm “about us” pages
- Law firm homepages
Please reach out to us for a free consultation by clicking here or calling us at 843-580-3158. We’re off to a busy start to 2021, and we have a few spaces left for content at the end of March and the end of April.
Written by Allen Watson – CEO and Co-Founder of Blue Seven Content