Doing well in the search engines, like Google, Yahoo! Search and MSN Search, involves three primary components – (1) Search Engine Optimized Web site structure and page layout (see the free Justia Web sites post), (2) links to your Web site from other related Web sites (this post 🙂 and (3) strong legal content with related key words and phrases that Web users search on (to be covered in a later post).
The Open Directory is the largest, most comprehensive human-edited directory of the Web. The listings from the Open Directory are provided under a free license and are used by Google, for their Google Directory, and hundreds of other Web sites. Getting a link in the Open Directory thus essentially gets you 100s of links to your Web site.
To find the best place to get linked, look at both the practice area and locality of the directory page, the PageRank (download the Google ToolBar or a FireFox extension [ PageRank Status (Google PageRank) | SearchStatus (Google PageRank & Alexa) ]) of the page, and the number of links on that page. What you would ideally like is a Web page that matches your firm’s primary practice area, matches your city, has a PageRank of 3+ and few links. To find where to ask for a link, you have two starting point choices, the Society: Law: Services: Lawyers and Law Firms section or through the Regional directory section.
Washburn Law School’s WashLaw.edu is the best law school Web directory site for getting a link to your law firm. Washburn has long been at the forefront of online legal research, and their directory is well maintained and updated quickly.
Where else should you get your Web site linked? Well look for places that have legal or locality content that is related to your practice. Practice specific Web site directories and local directories. Sites with a lot of good content are also great for getting links from.
And a non-free note: How much should you pay for a link? Well that depends somewhat on the content of the Web page, the PageRank and number of links on the page, but I would place $100 per year at the upper end, with the exception of the Yahoo! directory, which is $299 per year.
And a Yahoo! directory note: I will have other posts on this blog on the Yahoo! directory and other Yahoo! marketing solutions (Yellow pages etc…) in the near future, but a quick note about Yahoo!’s Web directory placement. Choosing the correct page on Yahoo! to get linked up is non-trivial, and involves many of the same factors listed above in choosing a page to be linked in the Open Directory. But no matter what your practice is, do not submit to a Yahoo! directory listing page that is being split into multiple pages unless your Web site will show up on the first page of the split directory page. Being on page two or three of a split page is of minimal value, and probably not worth $299 per year, especially since there should be other places to purchase a Yahoo! directory link.
Peace – Tim