Tag Archives: search engine marketing

What Goes Around, Comes Around

While we’re on the topic of what we don’t do (see Yelp’s Troubles: Keep the User-Reviews Community Strong), we thought we’d take some time to explain a little more about what we do and why we get so excited about it. We like to think of ourselves as a friendlier Web search engine that allows people to look up local businesses and read recommendations (the good and the bad) about them that people just like themselves have written. Simply put, Judy’s Book is word of mouth on the Web, allowing anyone who’s looking around for a good local service or business to choose the best and avoid the worst.

We get excited about this business because it goes beyond Web search results and helps foster local communities. Say that your car’s brakes are on the fritz and you’re new in town: few things bring anxiety faster than the thought of choosing an automotive repair shop that may charge double what the brake job is worth. However, when a quick search on Judy’s Book helps you find a shop that 20 people in your neighborhood have found to be trustworthy, suddenly you’re not just the newbie any longer. You’re the newbie with a lot of Judy’s Book neighbors who have your back.  This is why this community activity is so valuable, even if it isn’t happening face-to-face.

Local businesses play the other equally critical role of leveraging the local community on the Web. At Judy’s Book, we recognize that not all local businesses are run the same way. Your business may be that trustworthy local repair shop, trying to get a fair share of customers while the shady shop down the street has twice the advertising budget. Judy’s Book was created to help businesses like yours leverage the power of these local Web communities to bring new, loyal customers to your doors.  And they will, because all the hard work you put into treating existing customers right will show up in the reviews they write up and the new customers who take their word for it and pay you a visit.

We have a rich set of tools designed for different types of local businesses, and for businesses at different stages.  If you are just hanging up your shingle, we have an Enhanced option for new businesses that allows you to enhance your profile with photos, a message from the owner, your own Web site, and more.  If your business has been operating for a while and you want to take it to the next level in 2010, check out our Premium option, which lets you add video, get broader exposure on the site, and get a professional write-up, among other benefits. Also, if even the thought of online marketing makes you want to go back to bed, the Premium option includes social media marketing tools.

Check out our comparison chart to see what works for your business. If you’re interested, we’d love to have a conversation with you about what it’s like to work with us. And thanks for being part of the Judy’s Book community.

Why guest posting is a simple way to get your small biz site trusted by Google

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.

huge.67.338188The 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).

shaking_handsIn 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.

Hope this helps your business get more Google love! As a bonus, have this template of 10 ‘submit guest post’ buttons to use on your blog – thanks for reading.
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