What Happens When You Delete Links?
For those of you that don’t believe links are what make your website rank higher in Google, backlinks.com recently published these case study results that prove just that.
Before you go off to buy links from backlinks.com, I must say I am not endorsing their services. I have never used their services and don’t know if they are any good.
I will suggest you don’t buy links from a marketplace like that (especially to point directly at your law firm’s website) because any place that has blatantly sold links in the past has eventually been clobbered by Google.
What Their Case Study Tells Us
The case study shows that the links improved the ranking of three separate websites, taking them all to the first page of Google for their main keyword.
After that they wanted to see what would happen if they removed the links.
Two of the websites fell off the first page right away and the third held on for two weeks before falling back.
The links were providing the nutrients that powered the websites and kept them on the first page. Removing the links was like taking out the I.V. Soon after the websites were too weak to stay at the top.
What This Means for Your Law Firm’s Website
SEO is not a one time deal. If you are considering spending your hard earned dollars for a month long SEO campaign, don’t bother.
In order to get the maximum benefit from any SEO campaign, it must be long term.
I’m not just saying that because we like when you give us money for longer.
I’d rather a client give us less money but spread it out over twelve or twenty-four months than offer us a bigger amount for a one month campaign.
It just doesn’t work that way.
Even if the links aren’t taken down, they can eventually become stale and less effective over time.
Furthermore, your competitors are feeding their websites a continuous supply of nutrients. If you stop, they will eventually blow past you. It’s only a matter of time.
Spread Your Budget Out Over a Longer Period of Time
Whatever budget you are thinking of spending on SEO, spread it out over a one or two year period.
It looks more natural to Google and therefore gives you better results.
What if You Suddenly Halt Your SEO Efforts?
Again, I am not saying this to scare you. It is simply what I and other reputable sources have noticed over the years.
How natural does it look if people are linking to you every week for a few months, or a few years, and one day that abruptly stops?
Best case scenario, it looks to Google as though you are not popular anymore or that you have gone out of business.
Worst case scenario, it looks so unnatural that it triggers a manual review from Google.
Do you really want them snooping around to see if the links pointing to your site were earned only because people read and love your content enough to share it?
Please understand, Google wants you to focus on your content and leave the rankings up to them. Anything done with the intent of improving your ranking should be considered against Google Terms of Service.
Here it is straight from the horse’s mouth:
“Any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.”
You should at least know what game you are playing in. If you’re not OK with it, buy Pay-Per-Click ads. Your competitors don’t care about Google’s Terms of Service.
How to Correctly Stop SEO
If you decide for whatever reason that you’d rather invest your money in some other form of traffic, I suggest slowly scaling down to nothing. Decrease your SEO budget for three or four months until you are at zero.
You’ve come this far. Why would you risk throwing everything you’ve invested in the garbage? I’m not telling you not to stop. I’m telling you to do it responsibly and what the consequences of stopping abruptly are.