Getting to the Top of the Search Engines XI
Squidoo – Who ever came up with this name?
Building Backlinks on Squidoo
We have established that to advance up the search engines your site needs to be set up properly in terms of on page factors, and also needs to get Back Links from other sites to boost your credibility. Ideally these backlinks should be in the form of anchor texts that highlight the specific keyword you want your page to rank for. For most locally based businesses, it also makes sense to have these keywords and anchor texts include your specific geography such as Home Staging Atlanta or Minneapolis Best Meat Market, etc.
One point I should have made already and didn’t is that these back links need to be one way backlinks. I’ve used the term “Link Juice” before. Imagine that a web site by linking to you is passing on to you some of their Link Juice. If they are a high value web site the back link may be a gallon jugs worth, if it’s a lower ranked site you might just get a pint. That’s if the link is one way to your site from theirs. If you return the favor, you have a hole in your bucket, dear Liza. The Link Juice leaks right back to where it came from. Now if you have a higher ranking than the person linking to you, you may actually loose juice in the process.
At one time it was all the rage to build reciprocal linking arrangements, and one of our readers reported just that after my last post. Unfortunately these are no longer wise moves in terms of search engine ranking. That said, they may still make sense if they send traffic and business from one market to another as part of a referral system. If that’s the case, you may well want to keep them even if they cost some “juice.” But don’t build reciprocal relationships hoping they will help out your search engine ranking. They won’t.
Nor can you set up a circle, where A links to B and B links to C and C in turn links to A. Such circles are readily detected by the search bots, even when inadvertent. So pals we may be, but mutual admiration societies are not the way to get ahead on the search engines.
So how do we get these one way links? There are a lot of ways actually. I mentioned a few to you last time and today we will take a closer look at one of my favorites, Squidoo.
Squidoo is one of many so called Web 2.0 sites, which merely means it is part of the recent wave of sites that allow visitors to interact with the site rather than just read it like a static web page.
There are four primary things I like about Squidoo. First it’s Free. Second, it allows you to put blatantly self promoting commercial messages on it. And thirdly, it’s relatively easy to use. A fourth factor is that is has a high page rank of 7, which means that back links from Squidoo to your site send you giant economy size bottles of Link juice, which is very nice indeed.
To get to Squidoo just go to www.squidoo.com. Once there, sign up for an account. It’s free and easy.
Once you have your account, you are going to create your first site, which Squidoo refers to as a lens. Perhaps the most important thing to remember when setting up your first lens is that what you name it is critical.
For my Minneapolis Meat Market, I want to name the Lens “Minneapolis Meat Market” – if that is the phrase that I want to rank for on the search engines. Now every lens on Squidoo needs to have a different name, so your favorite term may already be taken. If that is the case try adding hyphens between words, or an extra relevant word before or after your desired name.
Some times it is easier getting your Squidoo lens ranked high in the search engines than your main web site due to Squidoo’s high page rank and its tens of thousands of pages, many of which are new every day. The search engines are crawling all over Squidoo constantly, and they will find your new lens very soon after you publish it.
Once you have created your title, you need to fill in the introduction module. Here you want to repeat your keyword/title in anchor text with a link to the page on your web site you want to drive traffic to. So if you are Shar Sitter, one of my Home Staging Clients you may introduce your lens as: “Rooms with Style is a Minneapolis St Paul area Home Staging firm specializing is serving the South Metro Area etc etc…”
If you did a good job creating your web site’s meta tag description, you may want to use that here. It should have your keywords in it, and be a pretty good sales pitch while including the key geography you serve.
By using HTML code to create a link on “Minneapolis St Paul area Home Staging” as I did above, the search engine bots learn that the end link is about Minneapolis and St Paul Home Staging and they have good memories. This is called anchor text and we went over how to set up this HTML code a few messages ago.
This is one of the advantages of Squidoo. Since you are creating the link yourself, you can control the way the link is created. You always want to use anchor text links. The only exception is when you are specifically letting people know what your web site address is and even then, make sure you use anchor text elsewhere in the posting.
If you go to Shar’s site via the link above, you will see it doesn’t go to her home page. It could have, but instead I set it up to link to her page titled “services.” This is called internal linking because it links to an internal page on her web site. Google in particular likes this, and you get a little extra juice for your overall site because of it. Since you have control of the link creation on sites like Squidoo, it makes sense to create these internal links whenever you can.
At any rate, the goal is to use anchor text right away in the introductory portion of your Squidoo lens. That will serve as a powerful back link to your web site. Complete the first module with what other introductory material you feel appropriate.
I’m already at book length for this post. So let me quickly say that the rest of the lens can be simple or complex. It’s up to you. Squidoo uses modules. I tend to use their text modules and fill them with text and pictures. To insert pictures you will need to learn a tiche of HTML code, which is not difficult. You can search on Squidoo for a lens on HTML, there are several good ones. Alternatively, I publish an inexpensive ebook called HTML in Simple Terms for under $10. The advantage of the ebook is that you can print it out and keep it handy by your computer. I find it easier to look things up in print than online.
I also publish an eBook called Squidoo Basics. It costs $17 and will help get you acclimated to Squidoo quickly.
The thing to keep in mind about Squidoo, is that you can publish as many lens as you want. For link building purposes they don’t need to be fancy or even complete. But spend a little time on them and focus on one topic about your business. Create another lens to discusss another aspect. If you serve more than one town, you can be DryCleanersOmaha and OmahaDryCleaners or SouthOmahaDrycleaners. Etc. Each additional link of this sort will help increase your ranking for Omaha Dry Cleaners.
If you are a home stager, you might want to create a lens just for Realtors, and use the Lens as the place you make your special pitch to them. Just be sure to link back to the Realtor page on your main web site.
Once you get the hang of putting up pictures, and I promise you that learning the little bit of HTML code to do that is not difficult, you may want to create a before and after lens for each of your projects.
Just be sure to include back links in each new lens to your web site’s various pages and in no time you will discover than not only is your web site on the top of the search engines, so too will be a number of your Squidoo lens.
When your prospects find you not just on the top, but also number 2, 4, 6,7 & 8 on the listings, they get pre-sold pretty fast that you are the dominant player in your community.
Yes, it will take a little work. You may need to learn a couple new tricks, but with a bit of persistence you can do it.
Next week, we will look at a similar site called Hub pages and maybe a couple of others. If you have questions about today’s post be sure to leave a comment. As I did today, I will incorporate any questions into the next posting.