Here's a good search engine optimization secret that isn't widely known.
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To do better in the search engines, you need to help others who mention you to do better in the search engines: linking to sites that mention your company is the key to success.
On this site, for example, we provide entrepreneurs with a comprehensive franchise directory.
Within the franchise directory, we have various categories. For example, we list coffee franchises, carpet care franchises, donut shop franchises, and many other franchise opportunity categories.
Within each franchise category, we then list the various players. For example, in the coffee category, our list includes Bear Creek Coffee Franchises, Caribou Coffee Franchises, Starbucks Franchises and many other coffee franchises.
So here's a question for you.
If you were the webmaster at Bear Creek Coffee, would you link to our Bear Creek Coffee franchise page?
Many webmasters don't bother to link to pages that mention them. Even worse, many webmasters don't bother to link to pages that have links to their sites.
The reason you should link to web pages that mention or link to your site is that you want to give those pages some extra PageRank. (If you don't understand PageRank, read our article on Understanding PageRank before you continue reading.)
By giving a page that mentions your company some extra PageRank, you are helping that page to do better in Google's search engine, which drives most of the search traffic in the world.
What happens if the Bear Creek Coffee page has higher PageRank than the pages in our franchise directory for Caribou, Starbucks and others?
First of all, when people search our site internally for coffee franchises, Bear Creek Coffee will outperform the competition.
In addition, when people search the entire web, the Bear Creek Coffee page on Gaebler.com will outperform other coffee franchises on our site.
This basic principle of linking to pages that mention you can be applied in many areas.
For example, if you are selling your business on a business-for-sale online listing service, then link to that page to make it rise above your competitors.
If you are selling a business asset on Craig's list, link to the page and help drive additional traffic to the page via organic search engine traffic.
Is the #1 search for your company name a page that talks disparagingly about you and your business? If so, do a little reputation management by linking to other pages that talk positively about you. By doing so, you'll power the positive pages to rise above the negative pages.
Don't forget. Use relevant link text when you link to other site's pages.
For example, in the case of Bear Creek Coffee, they can choose to link to our directory page using "Bear Creek Coffee" or "good coffee franchises" – using the latter link text, they increase the odds that our page will come up high in the rankings for "good coffee franchises" – which can help generate franchise leads for them.
The beauty of linking to other sites that mention your company, product or services is that they may be high ranking sites that can do very well on certain searches.
For example, it might be tough for a small car wash franchise to do well on "car wash franchises" but it's easy for them to link to our page and have their company, in effect, get a decent result for phrases like "good car wash franchises".
It's a bit of PageRank jujitsu that leverages the power of others to help your own cause.
If everybody did this, you wouldn't gain much competitive advantage. Fortunately, you're a bit smarter than everybody else, right?
You've read this article and now you can put it into practice and reap the rewards of doing well in search engines. Do it fast before others clue in to this SEO secret.