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Backlinks for Lawyers

Glengarry Glen Ross Backlinks

*Updated April 2024

In the iconic movie Glengarry Glen Ross (watch on YouTube), the Glengarry leads were the most prized, and valuable leads available to a local real estate sales office. So much so, that the sales guys were willing to beg, cheat and steal to get them. Getting the “Glengarry links” for law firms is similar.

If you’ve built a website, you probably understand the value of being found online and you might have heard that you need “links”. Unfortunately, if you’re like most attorneys I’ve met, you’re probably not a search engine optimization jedi in your spare time and might be wasting valuable time or money building useless — and potentially even harmful — links that point back to your website.

One piece of advice you might have heard SEO firms give during conversations about your website over and over (and over) again is that you need “links” to improve the performance of that website that you invested so much money into if you want it to perform well. That’s usually followed up with them saying that only they have the “secret” links.

So, to help you from falling victim to this trap, I am going to offer some of the things you should know about backlinks so that you can make informed decisions on your efforts, and avoid the annoyance of wasted time down the line.

Backlinks are hyperlinks that direct someone to your website from another website. If I wanted to provide you with a resource to understand the technical aspects behind backlink importance, I could provide a hyperlink to a wikipedia page like this. To Wikipedia, this link I included is considered a backlink. It is directing someone to their website from our website. Think of a link to your website as a “vote” from the Internet that your content is valuable. Search engines pay attention to those votes to help index and rank websites.

Generally the more backlinks the better…right? Not always… sometimes it can have the opposite effect if abused. The importance of backlinks has somewhat been reduced over time as search engines have altered their algorithm. Unfortunately spammers learned ways early on to manipulate the rankings of their website by building junk links from spam websites or link farms.

This article is intended to give those new to Search Engine Optimization a high level overview of linking. BEWARE: A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing, overuse of backlinking can get your website hit with a “manual penalty”. This article is but one page in an encyclopedia of knowledge about search engine optimization and backlink strategies.

To begin you should know that some links are more valuable based on the website that is linking to you… this can be determined by examining certain aspects of a backlink and the sending website.

Here are 5 major elements you need to know about a backlink:

  1. Topical Relevance
  2. Domain Authority – backlink power
  3. Types of Backlinks
  4. Anchor Text
  5. Follow vs. NoFollow

1) What Is Topical Relevance?

Topical relevance is very similar to authority in terms of how Google treats it as a ranking factor. The more natural and honest the connection there is between the sending page’s content and the receiving page’s content, the more likely it will be perceived as a useful backlink. As a preference, at Everest Legal marketing we typically value relevant links over “high authority” links – getting both is like winning the lottery.

Conversely, a website with a ton of backlinks from irrelevant websites might be devalued, completely ignored or may harm you if they’re the only links in your backlink profile.

In order to make sure the link you are earning is relevant, it would be ideal to make sure the topics and keywords of your website line up with the linking page’s:

  • Content
  • Domain topical relevance
  • Page level URL
  • Title
  • Meta description
  • H-tags
  • Anchor text

The general rule of thumb here is the smell test. If you can see an honest, natural benefit to someone reading the content and clicking a link to your content, then there is probably nothing to worry about.

2) Understanding Domain & Page Authority

Generally, the more backlinks your website has, (and links from authoritative unique domains), the more relevant and valuable your website may be perceived to be by search engines. While this is the typical idea, it isn’t always the case. Sometimes, backlinks can have the opposite effect when they are abused.

Moz, the creator of the concept of Domain Authority, describes it in this way: “Domain Authority (DA) is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how likely a website is to rank in search engine result pages (SERPs).” In addition to Domain Authority, Google now puts a much bigger emphasis on EEAT and backlink relevance to determine the value of a website.

Domain Authority and Page Authority are essentially the same thing for different levels of content.

Domain authority is the rating of your entire website, whereas page authority is the rating of a specific page (URL) within that domain. (You may also see authority sometimes referred to as PageRank or Page Equity depending on what or who you’re reading).

In order to determine which web pages you should be scouting for backlinks, I recommend using Moz’ Link Explorer SEO tool. This tool will give you a quick and easy look into top sites to target getting a link from, and you can use it 10 times a month for free for simply creating a log in.

Just type in a website address that you want to research — a well-performing competitor, for example — and take a look at the report:

MOZ Domain Authority


You’ll notice that there is a section titled “linking domains.” You can click into this tab to see which backlinks a website has earned. Then, you can work to duplicate and improve your efforts and earn similar backlinks from those sites. You’ll need to be strategic, though, and realistic about what connections you can pull off.

If most of the links you acquire are from websites with a low domain authority and do not earn decent traffic, you may not get much benefit from that backlink.


Many website owners know that SEO companies often only target “High DA” websites to post on, or pay for a guest post. However, high domain authority websites don’t necessarily mean high quality & credible. Below is a typical Email blast from someone who does Guest Posting services.

High DA website spammer

If we examine one of their advertised websites we can see that it’s a DA 61 website, which is impressively high. BUT we can also see that this high DA website is only ranking for about 1,500 search phrases. Most SEO professionals know that there are countless websites that have a much lower DA that rank for far more search phrases.

High DA website, low keyphrase rankings

And if we look a bit more, we can see that they the phrases this website ranks for are low volume, irrelevant, and are mostly Indian language search phrases. This is a telltale indicator that the DA of this website has likely been artificially increased with backlinks from other high DA, low quality websites. I would avoid being included on his website(s), and I certainly wouldn’t pay for the privilege.


What’s the lesson? High DA websites aren’t always high value websites.

3) Types of Backlinks

You can categorize most backlinks into the following general types: directory, guest posts, social, editorial, and sponsored. While they are all valuable, each type with have its own benefits over the others, which is why it is important to have a diverse link program rather than just focusing too heavily on one type.

Let’s review the five of the primary options you have for earning (or buying) backlinks:

  • Directory links – These are links from online directories and aggregators like Yelp or industry specific listings, sorted either by topic, location, or industry. These links help establish domain authority and serve as local citations since they are often sorted by specific locations & practice areas. You’ll also specifically want to get links from legal directories and other legal sites that have good visibility on Google.
  • Guest posts – Guest blogging means providing high quality content on an external website with a backlink pointing to your site (or to another article you’ve published). These can establish topic relevance and authority for your website and give you a chance to demonstrate expertise to a new audience.
  • Social links – Links shared on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Content posted on social media that links to your website can rank well on Google, but don’t directly impact rankings on search engines. They are particularly useful if you are also trying to build your brand awareness on social media.
  • Editorial links – Mentions or links within a non-sponsored article or blog content on other high authority sites. The most valuable type since they demonstrate genuine relevance and endorsement., although they are harder to obtain since most sites that use them are news or at the pinnacle of their industry.
  • Sponsored links – Paid placements, sponsored guest posts, or sponsored backlinks which must identify relationships with advertisers. These might be considered low quality for SEO despite high relevance since they are usually sold by sites that don’t always have great traffic.

4) Anchor Text

The “anchor text” of a backlink is the actual text that links to your website. Search engines read anchor text so that they can learn & associate relevant keywords with your website. If you can establish a link on a high authority website that’s awesome, if you can get a mix of links with relevant keyword rich anchor text, branded text, and other natural variations it’s even better. BUT Spammers helped screw this up too. If Google sees an unnatural amount of links to your website with the same key word or phrase in the anchor text, your website may be punished because you’ve over optimized.

Follow & NoFollow links illustrated

In the world of backlinks there are 2 main functional types, Follow and NoFollow links. Follow links are the most prized and carry “SEO juice” (not my preferred term) because they instruct search engine spiders to follow a link on a page to the destination website. As you’d guess, NoFollow links instruct spiders not to follow a backlink to the destination website. To the User the link appears & functions the same and they still hold value to provide your website with some referral traffic, but generally don’t pass authority or link equity as a Follow link would.

How can you determine if a website has Follow or NoFollow links? Unfortunately it’s not as easy as looking at the website, hyperlinks look the same on a page whether they’re Follow or NoFollow. You could right click on the page, click “view page source” and examine the html, or you can take the easy way out and install a free plugin called NoFollow. The NoFollow extension outlines NoFollow links in red as shown in this screenshot.

So why do NoFollow links even exist, shouldn’t all websites just put Follow links on every page of their website? Well there are many reasons a webmaster would want to avoid putting Follow links on their website. Have you ever noticed the spam comments below a blog with the person’s name linking to their website? Those used to be “Follow” links until webmasters wised up and started designing their blogs to have NoFollow links issued to deter spam… unfortunately not a lot of people understand this yet and still spam comment sections with backlinks.

Also, purely as a business decision, some websites won’t issue a Follow link on your profile until you become a paying advertiser, even if that may be against Google’s guidelines.

A Note on “Unlinked Mentions”

Unlinked mentions (inferred links) have become somewhat of a hot topic with the popularization of social media and other public formats. Here’s a brief video I did on this topic. Put simply, an unlinked mention refers to when a website, page or video mentions your brand, product, or website but does not include a link. They are still valuable to your firm for the following reasons:

  • Unlinked mentions can help build brand awareness and credibility. Having your brand name mentioned on authoritative, high-traffic sites even without a link demonstrates that you are notable and influential enough to be referenced.
  • While links allow search engines to directly pass page authority and signals, unlinked mentions still notify the search engine that a site found your brand relevant enough to mention. This in turn can indirectly influence your site’s authority over time.
  • Having influential news sites, industry publications, or high authority blogs reference your brand builds data points search engines can leverage to correlate you with certain keywords and topics.
  • An influencer in your industry mentioning your brand carries authority weight that, if combined with linked references on other reputable sites, can positively influence SEO through association over time.

So, don’t discount the value of simply being mentioned in articles, videos and on websites. Get the link when you can, but foster the relationships with the people that mentioned you in the first place in the hopes that, some day, they will go ahead and throw you a link to accompany your mention.

How do I Get the Glengarry Links?

Getting the best links to your website involves having a well designed website that conveys trust, having excellent content that other websites would want to link to, knowing where to get high quality links, and building relationships with other website owners that might want to link to your content. Having a marketing partner who is very knowledgeable about law firm SEO like Everest Legal Marketing is also critical if you’re not going to take on this process yourself.

Most highly experienced law firm SEO professionals already know exactly where to get Glengarry links to your website, and would be transparent about it. Often, SEO agencies aren’t very forthcoming about how they acquire backlinks, or are hesitant to show you the websites you’re linked from.


I hope that this was good information presented in an easy to digest manner. If anything it should help guide you on the types and styles of backlinks. The strategy of obtaining backlinks, however, is a whole different topic. I should also remind you that this article is a high level overview, doing too much of any activity in SEO can result in a negative impact on your rankings as algorithm changes occur everyday.

If you need assistance with your backlink building strategy, contact us here or call (909) 697-7484 to schedule time to discuss your goals.

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