My business site, remarcom.com, is on page one of Google today (and reasonably high up on the page) for "Denver copywriter"! I’ve been pursuing this competitive keyword pair for maybe six weeks, and I’m very jazzed to have progressed so quickly.
My guess (since the ways of Google, much like the universal unconscious, are unknowable) is it’s about 90% due to the Squidoo lenses and 10% due to creating the backlink from this blog. I haven’t driven much traffic here yet, so this link isn’t yet as valuable as it will become.
If you have any doubt that you can rate decently on Google without a lot of spam, trickery, or highly technical knowledge, remove that doubt from your mind. I did it the old-fashioned way, by creating high-quality content in a plain brown HTML/CSS wrapper, and so can you.