Remember when we mentioned backlinks in the beginning of this article? Well, guest posting and contributed content are where they come into play.
A backlink, otherwise known as an inbound link, are links that go from one website to another. For example, if a large tool supplier posted your article on their website and linked it back to your site, this would be a backlink.
Remember, you don’t always have to have large companies backlinking to your site, although those backlinks are very valuable and boost your authority in Google. You can get backlinks from local news sites, community blogs, and other local forums that will help solidify that your business is trusted by your neighbors.
One way to achieve these links is through guest posting. This is where you provide content for a blog or other publication, which will be attributed to you. You’re probably asking yourself, “where do I find these opportunities?”
Well, you can start by looking for local bloggers who have a small following, but that entire following is within your locality. You can also look for bloggers via social media platforms like twitter and instagram. Search for local hashtags such as #dallastexas. Bloggers will likely appear on the first page if you’re look for blogs around specific niches or the location.
You’ll likely run into one of two types of bloggers when conducting your search: company/business bloggers, and influencer bloggers. Company/business bloggers are generally more serious, and will likely give you a specific set of guidelines. In contrast, influencer bloggers are much more free form and flexible, however they may request a small fee for posting your content.
You can also find opportunities with local event pages that write content about what to do in a locality, such as tourism sites, downtown directories, chamber of commerce. Other local businesses that also have websites and are open to having a local partners page or a ‘businesses we love’ page.
Local charities are also a great option, but you’ll likely need to sponsor or volunteer in exchange for guest posting opportunities..
When your website shows up on Google, it shows three parts of your website: the page title, URL, and description. Let’s take a deep dive into those three items and why they’re important for helping Google read your page.
Here’s an example of this:
When including the keyword in the title, keep in mind that Google only shows about 67 characters for its titles (including spaces).
In the example above, Google cut off ‘water heater repair’ because the title is far too long. Keep in mind that Google will index up to around 85 characters, meaning that while people viewing the search results won’t be able to see ‘water heater repair’ it’s still there. Google itself can and will factor that information into how it ranks the page.
PRO-TIP: Often, users don’t search using full sentences. So, while it might make sense to write PLUMBING REPAIR IN DALLAS, the user will be searching for PLUMBING REPAIR DALLAS. A trick for dealing with these kinds of situations is to break the text up using | and –. Google ignores these symbols. So, you might use: DRAIN CLEANING | ATLANTA.
Your meta description doesn’t directly factor into whether or not your website will rank, but it helps to grab the searchers’ attention since the keywords they searched for get bolded.
That means the primary goal of your meta description should be to ensure users choose to click your link instead of the other results present on the page. The better your click through rate, the better your rankings. Ideally, meta descriptions should be between 139-156 characters.
If you go over (not that you should with a meta description as it won’t benefit you or your readers), Google will use an ellipsis.
When creating a link, the website name should be organized similarly to your navigation structure. So, URLs should be organized like so:
As can be seen above, we used our keyword ‘drain cleaning’ in the URL to help Google understand our page is about drain cleaning.
You should also be sure to:
When you’re writing an article or text for a page on your website, there are several places you want your keywords to appear:
This is the most important factor because when people link your website, they’ll most often link using your title. If Google sees your article is being linked often using the words “drain cleaning” Google will go: Aha! This page must be about drain cleaning – and since so many people are linking it using that keyword it must mean this is a good result to show people when they search for it. I’ll rank it higher.
Your keyword should be spread throughout your article 2-3 times.
Add an image and use your keyword in the alt text of the image in order to gain more visibility in search.
Keep in mind that your primary keyword doesn’t always have to be an exact match to what the user is searching for. Google will read NYC vs. New York or advice vs. tips as being synonymous. That’s why in the search result example shown below, MAINTENANCE has been bolded even though we searched for REPAIR.
These synonyms help Google better understand what your page is about. Google has also confirmed that by using more LSI keywords (synonyms), your page will rank higher.
PRO-TIP: Make sure to clear your browser history and log out of Chrome/Google or use incognito mode so that your former searches don’t affect your results.
Google likes it when you link to 1-2 reputable websites within your content. Reputable websites act as sources to show your material is credible and has authority.
For example, you might place a link in your content to your BBB listing. Google also likes when you link to other, connected pages on your site 1-2 times. This does not necessarily keep people on your website so much as it makes it easier for search engines to crawl the content.
A general goal to aim for is around 400-500 words for your page to rank well, but Google seems to be giving an advantage to longer content (1,000-2,000 words). Longer content is also more likely to be shared, leading to more social signals (shares on Facebook, Twitter, etc.) which tells Google to rank your article higher.
Users are also more likely to link/share (70% more often), stay on your page longer, and treat it as authoritative as the content is seen as a quality reference (instead of a short opinion piece) when your content ranges between 1,000-2,000 words.
Be sure that you don’t over-optimize. Google doesn’t want your exact match keywords to be in the title, image alt, URL, content, and anchors. That’s where your synonyms come in.
Additionally, don’t make separate pages to rank for similar keywords. Instead of making three pages for the keywords USED CARS SEATTLE, USED AUTOS SEATTLE, and PREOWNED CARS SEATTLE, it’s better to have it one page and mix those keywords together like so: USED AND PREOWNED CARS IN SEATTLE.
Remember, if you don’t have the time or expertise to write content for your website, there’s no shame in contracting this work out to a professional. You can utilize websites like clearvoice, fiverr, and upwork, which will let you select what writer you want to use, as well as present that writer’s background information and expertise.