Backlinks Indexing – A Case Study on Why it Matters

If you’re a lawyer who participates in Search Engine Optimization, you may have heard your vendor say that they need to get you “backlinks”. Many people understand that concept, but what they don’t understand is that just because you get a link to your website from another website doesn’t mean that it benefits you – unless that page is indexed on Google. Essentially, if Google doesn’t know that a page exists, how would they know that a link to your website on that page exists? The issue at hand is the importance of getting your backlinks indexed and the benefits associated with it.

What is a Backlink?

A backlink is a link from one website page, to another. Backlinks are essentially the foundation of Google’s algorithm, generally* the more backlinks you have from reputable, high quality relevant sources the better your website could rank in a Google search (assuming you have properly organized, high quality content on your website). There are several types of backlinks, but for the sake of simplicity we’ll stick to the most recognizable – a hyperlink. If you want to link to your website from an article or business profile, you’ll probably be using a hyperlink. For example, here’s a hyperlink to our blog.

Why Are Backlinks Important?

Backlinks are still a critical component of Google’s algorithm in how they perceive your website. If you have a lot of “great” backlinks, you will assuredly rank higher in search results. If you have a bunch of backlinks from spam websites, blog comments, porn websites or low quality websites you probably won’t rank as well and may even get a manual penalty if Google takes notice. *This is generalized information, if you don’t understand feel free to comment below and ask questions.

Doesn’t Google Index Every Page on the Internet?

No. There are millions of pages that Google either doesn’t know exist, or won’t index because of quality issues or potential dangers to Users (spam, malware, phishing etc). Often, if you create a business profile on a business directory (for example) Google may never know that it exists – ergo Google will never know that the link to your website on that page exists. That’s when you need help getting those pages indexed.

How do I know if a Page is Indexed on Google?

In order to find out if a particular page is indexed on google, simply copy the URL and search it in Google with “info:” in front of the URL. So the search would look something like “info:” If the page is indexed you will see it in the results, if the page is not indexed you will see nothing in the results.

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Backlink Indexing Case Study

For one of our clients, we decided to have a number of business profiles developed to help with various aspects of their SEO effort. All in all we had 63 profiles that were completed on September 24, 2018. After auditing the profiles, they were all of similar quality and had consistent NAP – Name, Address, Phone number. To get a reliable data set, we didn’t touch these profiles for 4 months and then did our first indexing audit to see how many profiles would get indexed naturally.

January 24, 2019 Results:

Only 8 out of the 63 profiles that were published were naturally indexed by Google. That means that roughly 87% of the profiles we developed were unknown to Google, and therefore provided no SEO value. On this day, we ran the profile URLs through a backlink indexing tool. We set up the program to “drip” the indexing effort over a 30 day period as to not spike the number of backlinks indexed in one day with Google. We’re not mentioning the name of the tool we used, nor linking to it as we cannot endorse that your results will be similar to ours.

February 8, 2019 Results:

33 Profiles had made it through the dripped indexing, and the results were pretty compelling. 17 of the 33 URLs that had been processed by the indexing tool were now indexed on Google. Now our index rate was over 50%! From an ROI standpoint, this is essentially a fully recovered investment.

February 22, 2019 Results:

26 of the 63 processed URLs have been indexed by Google. In roughly 30 days, we jumped our index rate from 13% to 41%! Something strange we also noticed in the data was that some of the URLs that were indexed on February 8th had been lost (see line 2 in the graph as an example). While we can’t say exactly why these URLs were dropped, we suspect it was due to either page quality or loading times of the website. We’ll continue to monitor see if they reappear in 30 days.


How Does Backlink Indexing Impact Authority?

As we mentioned earlier, backlinks help elevate your authority with Google. However, bad backlinks can have the opposite effect. In order to measure authority, Everest Legal marketing uses an industry standard tool called Ahrefs. For this particular client, we ran a report to see what impact the backlink indexing had on their overall ranking within the 30 days of running this test.

We found that Ahrefs had only recognized a total of 8 of the 26 backlinks that Google has now indexed. That’s not Ahrefs’ fault, their tool is a lagging indicator and Google will always be the first to recognize an indexed page – they simply report the data they see as quickly as possible. However, those 8 referring domains had raised the global rank dramatically (869,056 positions). We are likely to see better results on March 22nd when we publish a conclusion to this case study. Additionally, we are waiting to see what impact this effort had on our client’s ranking for targeted searches.

Time to Hire an Attorney SEO Expert?

Chances are if you read this far, you’ve either become very confused as to what the hell we’re talking about, will implement some effort to get your backlinks indexed, or you’ve recognized that you need some assistance with your search engine optimization efforts. Everest Legal Marketing helps attorneys get to page 1 of Google through data driven efforts. When it comes to your law firm we don’t shoot from the hip and we implement tried and true strategies that help you effectively market your website at the moment people are looking to hire an attorney in your area. If you have questions we welcome you to ask them below, or contact us today.

About The Author

Doug Bradley
I work with law firms to increase their presence on search engines through website optimization. Marketing a law firm hasn’t been “like it used to be” for a while now and the only guarantee is that it will continue to change. Learn more about my experience here.
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