If you’re a local business, you want to show up on Google when people type in your business’ name or any of the services that you provide. For example, “Denver liposuction” or perhaps “Massage Therapist Boulder“. But there are a lot of spammers out there making fake sites. So consider Google’s challenge– to distinguish you from all the spammers out there– arguably over 95% of the web.
The key is trust– to be endorsed by other existing high trust sites. That trust is measured by links and citations. It’s going to be hard for spammers to get a link from the New York Times, your local newspaper, or any other site that is popular with users. You get a few of these links and you get a one-way ticket to the top of the search results for your local service. It really is that simple.
To get these links, you either need a story that local media can pick up on– hard to do– or you can just guest blog post. In other words, you write an article for someone else. They get a free article that is helpful to their users and you get the benefit of a link. Win win!
Some tips on guest posting:
- It doesn’t have to be on a newspaper site or even a site about your practice. It just has to be a site that has significant trust with Google, evidenced by having a Google PageRank of at least 3. Install the Google Toolbar if you haven’t already so you can see the Google PageRank as you browse.
- Do not self-promote. That’s a bad user experience and will cause the site owner to not want to invite you back again. When you write a guest blog post, consider the audience you are speaking to and what they are interested in. Provided it’s interesting and helpful, people will naturally want to know more about the author. Then they can click on your tagline or whatever reference saying “This is a guest post by so-and-so, who is a Palo Alto dentist”– or something like that.
- Make it at least 200 words. That’s a good rule of thumb to have sufficient content for a page. Longer is better, but there is no perfect number to hit. Write as long as necesary to get the point across.
- If you don’t have a website, get that up first. What point is there to guest post if you aren’t linking to your site. Do not set up a free site at blogger.com or any of those sites, since you’re just creating trust for someone else’s domain. You want to be building trust to your own site. There are a ton of tutorials for non-technical people at wordpress.org and you can get going quickly– $8 to buy a domain and perhaps $10 a month.
- Use relevant anchor text: Anchor text is the blue underline that you see for links. For example, facebook advertising agency is 3 words and helps us rank on those keywords. So make sure you’re telling the search engines what you want to rank on– most likely your city and primary service (san diego chiropractor, for example).
In summary, guest posting is a way to tell search engines you are a trusted site– not a spammer. How many links do you need? More than whoever is showing up #1 for your search term. Having a complete listing at JudysBook.com will also help increase trust– when you have references from JudysBook.com and other directories, it tells the search engines that you’re a legitimate business. Don’t use an automated listings service either– that will make you look like a spammer. Writing real articles yourself and submitting quality information yourself to directories does take time, but it’s worth it.