Traditionally, articles have linked to the home page of the publisher, which was the best practice for many years. However, as Google strives to make results more relevant to searchers, its algorithm has begun to de-emphasize the home page in results and instead link directly to individual practice area pages. This makes linking to contextually relevant pages more important.
For example, for many years it was necessary for law firms to put as much practice area content on their home pages as could reasonably fit while maintaining a good user experience. This helped optimize the site for those practice area-related keywords.
More recently, however, the value of having such content on the home page has been steadily decreasing while the value of having deep, informative individual practice area pages has increased. And you can help show Google how valuable those pages are by creating external links to them in your press releases.
If a criminal defense attorney writes a news release about white-collar crimes, then any links in the release need to link to the white-collar crimes-related page and not the home page. This is good for SEO and good for readers, as the home page often covers many topics causing a visitor to have to search for the information about white-collar crimes they need.
Similarly, if a family law lawyer issues a news release pertaining to the latest updated information about adoptions in their state, they need to link that release to the adoption page. Visitors who are taken directly to the page in which they are interested are more likely to convert to leads.
Unfortunately, to follow Google’s news release rules, keyword-rich anchor text links in press releases must include a nofollow tag, so this practice is best followed in non-news-related articles. However, law firms may still link using their firm name and a plain URL, like “http://lawexample.com”, without adding the nofollow.
It pays to also check your backlinks to see who is linking to your firm’s website, so if you are doing everything right, the backlinks do not undermine the overall results in terms of ranking or possible penalties.